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Thread: Noriaki Inoue, the Omoto-kyo, and Karate

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    Default Noriaki Inoue, the Omoto-kyo, and Karate

    Hello Ellis,

    Is there any information in your book concerning the relationship of either Shigeru Egami or Tadao Okuyama to Noriaki Inoue and the Omoto-kyo? I find it interesting that the only karateka widely rumored to have "transcended" "ordinary" karate training are those who had some association with the Omoto-kyo. And this despite the fact that other karateka of the period (such as Yasuhiro Konishi) did train a bit with Morihei Ueshiba.

    Is there something to the Omoto connection, or is this simply a case of mystic asceticism selectively attracting students who are rather more likely to develop a folklore of "internal strength" (even if the physical basis of that folklore is no more remarkable--in principle, if not in form--than more "mainstream" karate)? Of course, I lean toward the latter (why else would anyone write such an awkward sentence?), but it is interesting that the stories don't only come from awestruck students--even Taiji Kase considered Okuyama's technique "the highest."
    Richard Garrelts

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    There is nothing in HIPS about the relationship, but here's the little I know.

    1. Egami's son told me that his father trained for many years with Inoue, and that was what made his karate different.
    2. A leading disciple of Egami's system in Portugal (now that got confusing, because he told me that there are now three opposing factions) - told me that Egami told him that he trained with Inoue on a personal basis for eight years, and that he kept a training diary of each practice, still held, if I recall correctly by the Egami family.
    3. I know too little about Japanese karate to venture an opinion on the merits of anything, including if Egami and Okuyama actually did get something special through their contact with Inoue. The Portuguese teacher showed me a very cryptic form with a lot of opening and closing movements - he did not do it with a very connected body. His explanation of "Egami style" technique looked a lot like aikido.

    There is a DVD from Aikido Journal on Inoue Noriaki. As a younger man, Inoue seems to move with a solid connected body - the film at the end with him as an old man is painful, almost unbearable to watch - it is so bad.
    Back to the subject at hand, it is remarkable to me that stalwarts from a lot of martial arts - hardcases - gravitated to Ueshiba and Inoue. One doesn't see a similar phenomena among present day practitioners, so I do believe that the two of them had something special, based on their Daito-ryu training. (Inoue mostly through his uncle, but also through contact with Takeda Sokaku).

    Ellis Amdur
    Last edited by Ellis Amdur; 5th February 2010 at 03:26.

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    Thank you for the information. Was the Portugese contact Tetsuji Murakami or someone from his group? Murakami seems to have been an interesting case in that his karate looked very "normal" prior to his meeting with Egami. In the late sixties, though, he seems to have changed completely, adopting the very long, low stances and stretching, reaching method of punching taught by Egami. Why, I'll never know, but it is maybe something to consider.

    I thought the case of Inoue and Okuyama/Egami was interesting in light of the speculation about Omoto-kyo and/or Kenzo Futaki type misogi and the influence they had on Ueshiba. While in Ueshiba's case one can argue that everything directly came from Takeda, it is a bit harder to do that with Egami and Okuyama because Inoue didn't care for Takeda's technique or demeanor and refused to train with him. Of course, one can still argue that it was Takeda's influence (through Inoue via Ueshiba) that was responsible for any "leaps," but this smacks of stylistic possessivism--that anything wondrous must have come from Daito-ryu even if it is three generations removed from Takeda. And, of course, if one does go down that road, it would have to be explained why the post war students of Ueshiba (and their students) didn't (don't), apparently, "measure up."

    Actually, I suppose it's really not such a difficult balancing act when one can simply claim that anyone doing anything remarkable was surely taught Takeda's "gokui" while anyone doing anything lackluster was surely not!

    Thanks again.

    Best regards,
    Richard Garrelts

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    1. The Portuguese contact with not Japanese - he was Portuguese. Don't remember his name.
    2. You gotta take everything Inoue said with a very large grain of salt. The film of him put out by AJ reveals him as being a carbon copy of his uncle in pre-war version. Pre-war, Ueshiba was teaching and licensing Daito-ryu. Inoue's prime learning time with Ueshiba was during the latter's close relationship with Takeda. Inoue also claimed he discovered entirely new principles that Ueshiba never realized - as I recall, the power was in the syllable "i" as opposed to "su" - (sigh). Inoue learned Daito-ryu/Ueshiba style and I bet, contrary to his claims, had a lot closer relationship/contact with Takeda that he would admit.

    That said, I have no idea what Inoue taught Egami and Okuyama. The best hope of finding an answer would be
    a. Egami's diary
    b. if Egami's son knows what his father learned and would be willing to talk. The son got into Shin Taido and then later branched off in his own nouveau direction.
    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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    Question Egami and Okuyama

    According to Wikipedia Okuyama Ryuho is the founder of Hakkō-ryū Jujutsu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakk%C5%8D-ry%C5%AB

    I found this article on Wikipedia is this the same Egami http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeru_Egami

    Is it these guys you are referring to?

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    Shigeru Egami or Tadao Okuyama were both karateka. Okuyama Ryuho of Hakko-ryu was an entirely different individual, who studied Daito-ryu with, as I recall, someone named Matsuda.

    Ellis Amdur

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