Masters of Aikido: History, Anecdotes, and Oral Instruction

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by koyo, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    SHIHAN CHIBA KAZUO

    Although aikido was introduced to Britain by Abe Kenshiro in the late fifties early sixties it was the appearance in 1966 of Shihan Chiba Kazuo that heralded the true birth of aikido on these shores. Shihan Chiba had trained in karate at the JKA honbu in Japan alongside Enoida shihan and Kanazawa shihan when they were beginning their studies. He had also trained in judo and it was an incident at a judo tournament that was to set him on the road to becoming one of the most respected of O Sensei's uchidechi.
    Chiba shihan defeated a third dan judo in a competition and the judoka was so incensed that he remarked that Chiba had " stolen his judo" but he still had kendo and issued a challenge. Giving Chiba shihan a bokken (wooden sword) and taking up a shinai (bamboo sword) proceeded to beat him severly.
    Chiba shihan related that this was when he decide to find an art that would be effective against armed or unarmed attack.He went to O Sensei's dojo and requested to be taken on as an uchideshi (live in student). He was turned away being told that O Sensei was not there.
    He sat down in the garden refusing to move. On the third day he was invited inside and O Sensei told him that martial arts training was very sever and asked if he thought he could take it. He answered in the affirmative and was accepted as an uchideshi.During his time as an uchideshi Chiba shihan taught at the Kokugakuin (self defence force) Kogaku Kan and Aichi Daigakuin universitys He came to Britain in 1966 when Abe kenshiro approached O Sensei and asked that an instructor be sent here,and remained for ten years spreading aikido until he returned to Japan in 1976 before going to San Deigo in 1981.

    Kuden (oral instruction)

    I have no time I make my students learn.
    Aikido is the confrontation of two spirits.
    You must show respect for me by trying to kill me with your attack.
    I shall take you to places from which there is no escape.

    Known for his incredible martial spirit I feel that this has blinded many to the utter dedication he shows to O Sensei and to his own students and the true compassion of the man.Everything he did or said in the ten years I was his student was always aimed at the progress and growth of his students.

    Respectfully koyo

    edit

    once when asked who would win if an aikidoka fought an exponent of another martial art he answered that if we have no other option we must fight instantly and immediately but to "fight" to simply see who is best is the action of a fool.

    Chiba shihan training with O Sensei incedently it was Chiba shihan who first introduced Iwama aiki ken and aiki jo to britain.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
  2. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Aiki wolfie

    I had thought to start a thread on "masters of aikido" with anecdotes and kuden (oral instruction) received from them. Above is the first. If you think this would be of value would you please activate a thread.I would not wish to "derail" this one by including them here as they shall only be of interest to some aikidoka.

    Koyo
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2006
  3. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Looks like someone beat me to it :p
     
  4. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    When was the judo tournament?
    When did Chiba begin aikido training?




    FYI for the interested: Aikido in America by John Stone and Ron Meyer recounts the early years of, well, aikido in America. It is told in their own words in the form of essays that were actually interviews editted to remove the Q/A divisions. The first part is by aikido instructors who learned directly under O-Sensei. The second part is by aikido instructors who trained in Japan but not under O-Sensei. The third part is by first-generation students of those first two groups.
     
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Aiki mac

    The judo tournament had the third dan judo fighting a number of opponents Chiba shihan was near the last in line and only a 1st kyu. It took place just before he became uchideshi that would be 1959 (coincidently the same year I began aikido under Abe kenshiro) who years later requested an instructor be sent to Britain.That instructor was Chiba shihan who was in his early twenties.

    regards koyo
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2006
  6. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    Ah, gracias.
     
  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Chiba shihan anecdote

    Sitting on the stirling hills looking down on the Bannockburn (a site of a terrible battle) as we watched the sun rise Chiba shihan asked if I wished to learn "real" aikido explaining that he could not teach hundreds of students properly. There were about three hundred at the seminar.
    Aikido cannot be explained with words let alone taught by them it must be learned " through the pores of the skin"

    There are many (too many) stories of the brutality of Chiba shihan's teaching in the early days. These are simply not true. It was only those in whom he saw the spirit that he tended to demand more from. Others were allowed to train to their limit.If they chose to push themselves he would teach if not he simply ignored them.

    He said that true budoka would always be in the minority.

    koyo

    Chiba shihan's ude garami not brutal (frightening ??yes!!)
     

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  8. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    O SENSEI UESHIBA (Early influences)

    O Sensei studied many classical martial arts in his early training which may have influenced his creation of aikido. Among these were..
    Tenjin shin'yo -ryu jujutsu under Tokusaburo Tosawa in1901
    Goto -ha Yagyu shingan- ryu under Masakatsu Nakai from 1903 to 1908
    Judo under Kiyoichi Takagi 1911
    Daito-ryu jujutsu under Sokaku Takeda from 1915 to 1931

    O Sensei received a Shinkage-ryu sword transmision scroll from Takeda 1922
    He also was given the Daito -ryu Hiden mokuroku,Hiden ogi and Goshin'yo no te scrolls.

    O Sensei spent a number of years teaching Daito-ryu before setting out on his quest to create aikido.
    Some "histotians" have attempted to deny the influence Daito-ryu had on aikido.Technically there is a great influence. Spiritually it was Onisaburo Deguchi of the Omoto religion that was to influence O Sensei in his creation of aikido.

    below is an "untouched" photo of O Sensei as Daito-ryu instructor. Some copies have had the calligraphy of Daito-ryu removed.
     

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  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Masters Of Aikido

    O Sensei Throws Saito Shihan (iwama Aikido) The Other Attackers Are Gozo Shioda (yoshinkan Aikido) And Koichi Tohei (shin Shin Toitsu)
     

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  10. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    AIKI BUDO

    A quite incredible irrimi nage from O Sensei during his aiki budo period (1930s)
     

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  11. Dillon

    Dillon Valued Member

  12. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Iinfluences The Swordsmen
    YOSHIO SUGINO

    A master of Katori Shinto Ryu swordsmanship which he studied along with Minoro Muchizuki and Jiro Takeda. Sugino shihan saw O Sensei demonstrate aiki budo in 1932 and entered training becoming a lifelong aquaintance of O Sensei he would often demonstrate Katori Shinto Ryu swordsmanship for O Sensei. Although O SEnsei had studied Kashima Shinto Ryu ,an offshoot of Katori Shinto Ryu ,and held a mokuroku in Shin kage ryu from Sokaku Takeda, rather than study the sword arts he would observe the training and see the principles.
    Kuden
    Whatever O Sensei studied became aikido, if it were sword it became aiki ken or spear it became aiki jo. (Sekiya shihan)

    Sugino shihan helped O Sensei as he developed his own art from Daito ryu through aiki budo to aikido opening the first dojo to support the kobukan.

    Kuden
    When O Sensei taught often he would show us four or five techniques and we wished to see just one repeated but he never did this we had to "steal" the technique by observing very closely. People today a very lazy they do not "see" even when it is explained to them. (Sugin shihan)

    Obsevation
    Many of the first shihan to teach aikido outside of Japan were budoka and saw aikido as budo therefor an understanding of kenjutsu was common among most of them.

    Kuden

    If a swordsman should be disarmed and must face an expert in unarmed fighting and is defeated then his swordsmanship must be questioned similarly if an exponent of an unarmed art should take up the sword and be defeated in swordplay then his unarmed art must be questioned.(budo principle)

    This shows the close relationship between kenjutsu and aikido.

    O SEnsei had considered Sugino as a potential heir to aikido but this would have ment Sugino shihan having to leave his wife and family which he could not bring himself to do. Two other men were considered and interestingly both were master swordsmen.Kiyoshi Nakakura (9th dan kendo) and Minoro Mochisuki (founder yoseikan budo)

    Kuden
    Do not fight when unarmed continue to fence.(aiki ken principle)

    Yoshio Sugino

    Sugino shihan had a long term relationship with film director Akira Kurosawa and was the swordfight choreographer on a number of his films most famous being seven samurai where he also taught Toshiro Mifune Katori Shinto Ryu and Kashima Shinto Ryu then had him corrupt these arts to his own Aragoto (brutal unsiphisticated) style to fit with the character he played in the Yojimbo films. (koyo)
     

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  13. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Speaking of films here is Ken Takakura receiving instruction from O Sensei Ken Takakura is most famous in the west for appearing opposte Robert Mitchum in The Yakuza and Michael Douglas in Black Rain that also had the lone wolf himself Tomasaburo Wakayama.Ken Takakura made many yakuzu films and is one of Japan's most famous actors.

    koyo
     

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  14. Hirotaro

    Hirotaro Valued Member

    Hello Koyo,

    I have seen this picture before and I understand that the deshi who is on his knees executing the waza is a youthful Yoshimitsu Yamada. Is that right?

    Best,

    PAG
     
  15. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Actually it is Ken Takakura he does look like Yamada shihan. I once commented to Yamada shihan that he looked like the star of the Yakuza but I ment Robert Mitchum!!Hope the photo of Chiba shihan's ude garuma brought back fond memories.

    The photo first appeared in a commemorative photo collection celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of O Sensei published by the aiki kai in 1983.

    regards koyo

    Ken Takakura in Asha the demon
     

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  16. Hirotaro

    Hirotaro Valued Member

    Hello Koyo,

    Yes, I have the book and the picture is on Page 53. In the caption Takakura was called a 'new face' in movies (which was around Showa 31 = 1956). I wonder who the youthful deshi is standing next to O Sensei. I asked the question because I am pretty sure I have seen the same picture used in relation to Yamada Sensei (perhaps he was Takakura's uke).

    EDIT: No he can't have been. He entered the Hombu in 1956, when the picture was taken.

    Best,

    PAG
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  17. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Modern masters

    All of the masters shown here, Chiba shihan, Saito shihan, Noro shihan, Abe shihan , Nakazono shihan and Sekiya shihan stressed to me that aikido cannot be understood through words let alone taught using them. It is a budo that can only be learned "through the pores of the skin".

    koyo
     

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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2006
  18. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    SAITO SHIHAN

    KUDEN
    The secret of aikido is in the triangles.
    This kuden had a tremendous effect on my own aikido making me realise that the attacker is made to spin, turn and spiral around the aikidoka not the opposite. The movements of aikido are triangular rather than circular.
     

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  19. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Kiyoshi Nakakura

    KUDEN

    Attack at all times. Develop a superior fighting spirit and dominate the spirit of the attacker.
    This was the attitude demanded of the first practisioners of aikido outside of Japan. Aikido was a budo and little or nothing was taught of the philosophy. It was demanded that all practisioners should behave with dignity and respect towards teachers and students of all arts.
    Kiyoshi Nakakura was to inherit aikido from O SEnsei therefor he married into the Ueshiba family and took the name Morihiro Ueshiba however his first love was kendo and he left to become one of the finest kendoka in Japan.
    However the influence that swordsmanship and swordsmen such as he remained in aikido and can be seen in the legacy left by Morihiro Saito shihan in the aiki ken and aiki jo of what has become known as Iwama aikido.

    While the kuden above may seam particularly martial to some (not I) it speaks of asserting control during combat. One with this ability shall give pause to many would be assailants ending conflict before it begins and in conflict shall have the ability to subdue rather than destroy the attacker.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  20. sakumeikan

    sakumeikan Valued Member

    Dear Koyo,
    Nice to read your articles.Regarding Chiba Sensei he recently celebrated his 40th Anniversary of arring in Britain.The event was a course in London followed by a celebration dinner attended by most of his old students and members of British Birankai.
    Among the guests were Harada Sensei, the famous Shotokai master, Henry Ellis and Derek Eastman of the Ellis Schools of Aikido_Others included Birankai International Shihan, Norberto Chiesa, Chris Mooney , Tony Cassells,Mike Flynn, Gabriel Valibouse ,GloriaNomura. Dee Chen [Gen.Secy.of British Birankai]was promoted to Shihan.
    The course itself was well attended with Chiba Sensei displaying graceful movements and complete mastery of the Art.It was wonderful to see such rich talent
    of Aikido tuition in this event shown by senior instructors of Birankai International and the U.K.A.
    With it being the 40th year of Chiba Sensei's arrival ,he arrived in 1966 .The would make him 26 /7 years old at the time of arrival.I know he is one year younger than I am.He was born in 1940 the Year Of the Dragon.My birthday is Dec. 1938 , the Year of the Tiger.
    I also agree with your other threads that Chiba Sensei was/is only harsh[a relative term]with people he really likes.I know he is passionate about Aikido retaing its martial aspect and not degenerating into a meaningless 'dance'.
    Any, Koyo[I think I know you under another nickname] all the best to you for Xmas.Have a Happy Hogmany [in Possilpark].
    Cheers, Sakumeikan.
     

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