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Thread: Interesting Sagawa Book Translation and Commentary=

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    Default Interesting Sagawa Book Translation and Commentary=

    Tai chi chuan practitioner, teacher and author Scott Meredith has provided (in his blog, TABBY CAT) some translation and commentary on a memoir about Yukiyoshi Sagawa, reputed to have been the most powerful of Sokaku Takeda's disciples. Aiki is the predominant theme, and there are some very interesting anecdotes of a historic nature as well as Meredith's commentary as a practitioner of internal body method. There are five blog entries on the subject, so be sure to check them all out.

    #1
    http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_ca...cks-grabs.html

    #2
    http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_ca...nips-from.html

    #3
    http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_ca...as-in-his.html

    #4
    http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_ca...gawa-book.html

    #5
    http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_ca...gawa-book.html
    Cady Goldfield

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    Wouldn't this be better posted in the Aikijujutsu forums?
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    There are a number of juicy topics in those links that merit separate discussions on different forums. By rights, these linked essays could span the Aikijujutsu, Aikido, Internals/Aiki and perhaps other forums. My purpose for posting the thread here is to provide an opportunity to discuss the significance of the aiki/IP references in the essays.

    If anyone wishes to discuss the linked essays in another context, they should feel free to frame a new thread in a manner that reflects the desired area of discussion, and place it in the appropriate forum.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Baffling Budo also comes to mind.

    Mythology is cool and all, but I don't really know how useful the second- and third-hand accounts of students who sometimes had to wait years and years outside the gate before being allowed in the door, let alone on the mat, are to any kind of understanding of what the man could really do.

    I am particularly disappointed by the fourth one, which talks about Sagawa using a sword to throw someone, as though that's something you want to do with a sword, and then pivots from this story to talk about how Sagawa always says that aiki is not just about throwing people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    Baffling Budo also comes to mind.

    Mythology is cool and all, but I don't really know how useful the second- and third-hand accounts of students who sometimes had to wait years and years outside the gate before being allowed in the door, let alone on the mat, are to any kind of understanding of what the man could really do.

    I am particularly disappointed by the fourth one, which talks about Sagawa using a sword to throw someone, as though that's something you want to do with a sword, and then pivots from this story to talk about how Sagawa always says that aiki is not just about throwing people.
    I'd consider that the throwing-with-sword demo might have been more of a showcasing of how the capture and control of the opponent's center can be done through extensions of the body, through a weapon. What you are doing within your body is not limited, in its reach and its effects, to empty-hand. There are videos of Horikawa Kodo throwing people with a jo. How about Ueshiba's famous "Jo Trick"?

    Demos serve a different purpose than to reveal all of the facets; they are more overt displays and often have some aspect of showmanship in them. Less for teaching, and more that they are for demonstration of principles and also to display the high-level capabilities of the art and of the wielder. "Modern-Day Real Life" fighting applications are another matter altogether.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 27th March 2014 at 15:04.
    Cady Goldfield

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    It would really be neat if Sagawa where still alive and see it in person. Some how talking about it from accounts published in a book, post his death is a bit awkward really. There is no way for confirmation on fact vs. myth. At best one can do in conversation is roughshod speculation. We don't see things happening, we are told by testimonials which are filtered and bias. The book gives no technical information to really sink one's teeth into for a discussion. I think the book was written that way for such a purpose. For one to intrigue the reader, and two keep people guessing creating an air of esoteric mystery. Isn't that a way to have a legend is born?

    Whether or not the events in the book are accurate or not, someone, somewhere at sometime will say this: "Put [Sagawa] in the ring!" Or what ever MMA guys say. If Japanese Aiki arts or Chinese IP arts are going to be tangible they will have to be tested up against the benchmark of MMA. Sagawa never tested his skill or went up against an MMA fighter. Until someone does, it will never be taken seriously and linger in the clouds of "what if." It is just how things are. Has anyone seen any publicly video recording of an event of Sagawa parting the Red Sea? Until then it is myth and speculation.

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    True, such books have always been written to intrigue the curious, without revealing any "meat." Demonstrations are a visual version of the same thing. As to getting "into the ring," again, that is another topic separate from the internal methodology itself.

    However, this particular book I found more interesting than Tatsuo Kimura's "Transparent Power" because the above passages of the book Scott Meredith translated has a few more insights than Kimura's book, such as the baseball analogy.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    True, such books have always been written to intrigue the curious, without revealing any "meat." Demonstrations are a visual version of the same thing. As to getting "into the ring," again, that is another topic separate from the internal methodology itself.

    However, this particular book I found more interesting than Tatsuo Kimura's "Transparent Power" because the above passages of the book Scott Meredith translated has a few more insights than Kimura's book, such as the baseball analogy.

    We need a method by which to test, to quantify it, in order to know what we are dealing with for the sake of discussion. Speculation gets us know where. As it stands the benchmark in the martial arts is MMA. Sagawa was of that mind set correct? Is there record of a public demonstration of Segawa video recorded? He had an open challenge didn't he?

    Placing the discussion in the "Prove it in the ring" context allows for scholarly martial art discussion of accurate data, and facts to discuss eliminating opinion and speculation. An analogy falls very short of proof. Yes, analogies function well for their purpose in language and creative writing, they just don't deliver on the details, or evidence for a scholarly or alike discussion.

    I have nothing against folk lore or myth it has it's place, but it isn't tangible evidence. In this case, not only do we have the means for, but we need tangible evidence to have a solid grounded discussion.

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    Last thought that has come to mind. To achieve the goals as "...to provide an opportunity to discuss the significance of the aiki/IP references..." Sagawa supposedly proved Ueshiba sensei had no "aiki" skill by grabbing him. No different in theory than testing skills in the ring, btw. Maybe, Ueshiba sensei was just not going to play that game with Sagawa then and there. After all what did it really prove, what was gained by it. The story has been buried for decades until the writing of the book. How do we know the story wasn't fabricated or distorted. Ya gotta wonder, right? After all the book was written by a Sagawa student.

    I think the best person to achieve the discussion goal would be Ueshiba sensei. It is a known controversy whether Ueshiba sensei learned skills in China. There was time and opportunity for him to either learn directly or research CMA and IP. Did Sagawa ever leave Japan, travel and do public demonstrations? Did he travel to other dojos and places like Ueshiba sensei? Of what we know of Sagawa is from articles, photos, and a couple of books. Both books by his students are very different from each other. In contrast Ueshiba sensei was all over the place with volumes of film, and published material, he was extremely open and accessible. His skill challenges where recorded on film. Even his jo work is recorded on film. We have something there to bite into to discuss. Let's take the discussion in that direction where there is fertile solid ground.
    Last edited by Joe McGraw; 27th March 2014 at 17:42.

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    Something else that i think is interesting is that out of these snippets, the Sagawa magic they discuss is not all aiki.

    We've got the ability to dodge punches, where throwing a kicker away with aiki is added on.

    We've got skill with the sword, with ability to throw by projecting aiki through the sword seems added on.

    We've got a thing about Sagawa finding Ueshiba's aiki lacking in 1956. So there's one that is definitely about aiki.

    There is something about focusing ki into your wrist when grabbed, but that passage seems like it wants to talk more about relaxation and concealing your movements from your opponent.

    And something about an Aikido shihan who was trounced by a newish student of Sagawa - though of course, in another passage we hear about how Sagawa never taught his students the developmental methods he insisted everyone needed to do.

    I wonder if, in the bit about the sword kata, and throwing the kicker, the throw with aiki is basically an embellishment to make it seem like Sagawa was all aiki all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe McGraw View Post
    Did Sagawa ever leave Japan, travel and do public demonstrations? Did he travel to other dojos and places like Ueshiba sensei? Of what we know of Sagawa is from articles, photos, and a couple of books. Both books by his students are very different from each other. In contrast Ueshiba sensei was all over the place with volumes of film, and published material, he was extremely open and accessible. His skill challenges where recorded on film. Even his jo work is recorded on film. We have something there to bite into to discuss. Let's take the discussion in that direction where there is fertile solid ground.

    As far as I know, Sagawa Yukiyoshi never taught abroad but we know and this is confirmed by different sources, one of them being Takeda Tokimune that he did follow Takeda Sokaku as an assistant instructor while the latter was teaching all around Japan during the 30´. It seems that Sagawa Yukiyoshi did teach quite openly but then, for different reasons, decided to adopt a much lower profile later on in his life, opening a relatively small Dojo attached to his house and having few students. One of the reasons being that Sagawa Yukiyoshi felt that he needed to settle down on order to have the necessary amount of time to further develop the skills he had learnt from Takeda Sokaku.

    I remember reading, in an article about Aiki no rentai, that Ueshiba Morihei did actually try to hire Sagawa Yukiyoshi at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. This proposal was allegedly turned downed by Sagawa Y owing to some comments, once again allegedly, made by Ueshiba Morihei in a newspaper called Yomiuri somewhere in may 1956 which reflected poorly on Takeda Sokaku´s personality.

    There are also evidence that Takeda Tokimune tried at least two times (in 1954 and 1974) to give the leadership of the Daito-ryu to Sagawa Yukioshi. Coming from the son of Sokaku, this attempt should not be overlooked since it does indeed speak volumes about the respect that Takeda Tokimune felt for Sagawa Y.

    While it is true that Sagawa Y probably paid very few visits to other intructor´s Dojo, it is also true that many top practioners regularly came to his Dojo. I do not think this is a secret anymore but only to make an example, Matsui Shokei of the IKO 1 (Kyokushin Karate) is a member of the Sagawa Dojo. It seems that there is indeed a very strong connection between some practioners of Jissen Karate and the Sagawa Dojo and that many advanced Karateka fighters are joining or have joined this Dojo.

    Raphael Deutsch
    Last edited by Raff; 8th June 2014 at 19:30. Reason: forgot to write down some words
    Deception is one of Kenpo´s best technique.

    Väck ej björnen som sover


    Raphael Deutsch

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