“When Systems Falter,” by Francis Takahashi from aikiweb.com

“The direct students of the Founder appear to have had a wide range of personal martial arts backgrounds, from predominantly Aikido related, to having mastery or in depth knowledge of several martial arts systems prior to placing themselves under the direct tutelage of Morihei Ueshiba. Even then, it was not uncommon for many of these students to avail themselves of additional knowledge and involvement with philosophical, religious and martial training influences while remaining students of Aikikai and the Ueshiba Iemoto system.”

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  1. bruce baker says:

    If you look at the rise and fall of different endeavors over the course of history .. different generations embrace and let fall into disuse, different ideas, different teachers, different systems of martial arts, that is totally normal given the necessity of circumstances for that point in history and where ever in the world you are in that point in history.

    Sure, there will be strong organizations that thrive for a period of time and keep central practices and ideas alive, but over time .. splinter groups will break away and, eventually, venerate the founders of their practices and principles … especially if those practices and principles are able to transfer and translate themselves as valid practices generation over generation.

    What becomes lost over time, and the distance of history, is the origins and names of those that were important to the rise of practices, that is obvious by asking any practitioner of any martial art the history of not only their practice, but where their art resembles other arts that trace back their origins to common historical ancestors.

    On the other hand…

    Every martial art has a means to deceive the mind and senses, thereby breaking the mental balance, and a physical means to break the physical balance or in some way cause injury, injury being the more extreme means of breaking the physical balance. Locked within the ‘mostly safe’ practice of aikido is a variety of martial arts that can be employed if .. and only if .. the practitioner keeps an open mind as they employ the safe practice methods created by the many people who have contributed to the evolution of Aikido since World War 2. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by reading all the history of Aikido here on Aikido Journal as I sometimes read the archives.

    This too ..the video and documentary evidence is obvious that within the roots of Aikido practice are some very violent techniques that were once employed by master practitioners who were not so kind and gentle, and indeed, they did practice a wide variety of martial arts that were intended for the battlefield, not for the pleasure of everyday citizens enjoying pleasurable practice in our modern age.

    Think deeply when you study these histories and realize … how Aikido fits into the bigger picture with it’s own particular style of training and practice. When you employ your “SAFE” aikido practice in a dangerous situation .. there are people who would shoot you, cut you, strike you and damage your internal organs or cause you serious injury, and THEY .. are not playing games or protecting you as your practice partner would with a safe practice of Aikido.

    I only mention this because when I talk to people I meet .. I find out how some of them,like myself, were injured being kind to people when they were sparring, or fighting in some street situation, and our nagging injuries in our now older bodies remind us everyday how violent the world can really be.

    Indeed, an education in many styles of other arts may be the only means to learn to protect yourself when words or actions cannot save you from the more violent confrontations, and so the only solution is for you to embrace the violence of other arts to reach that peaceful solution, or direct the violent confrontation towards the path of a peaceful solution.

    Of course the avoidance of violence is the most preferred method, but can you say, when you are red-faced “I want to kill someone mad” you will be able to control yourself so you can find your way back to the peaceful path? There are actually times, when you shouldn’t but just the same, that still small voice of peace should be like a bell leading you back to peace.

    Sometimes .. it is the VARIATIONS that continue to test the practices of any central group.

    That my friends, is why it is GOOD to have the splinter groups and have people in aikido who study many different styles of martial arts .. we then can evolve and adapt so Aikido is not a static art that dies, but one that lives and evolves, even if it is adapted into something else for a while, eventually .. it is rediscovered in some future age and it’s validity is reconfirmed.

    And that, is what we do everyday .. rediscover .. ALL the different arts that contributed to giving us this practice of Aikido.

    All I am saying, is don’t forget to discover the roots of Aikido so it will continue to live, to evolve.

  2. We’re a funny species who keep reinventing the same wheel in so many different ways.
    I just read the thread at AikiWeb and everyone has something valid to say, each from their own perspective, even opposite views (hmm,is not nature releasing an aiki sort of a teaching here?)
    But, Bruce, above here says it most succinctly. All these permutations (most nonsensical when viewed by an outsider whose not taking at least herself so seriously) are part of natural evolution and have been done-to-death for millions of years in so many other journeys of human, get-together.
    Evidently not enough.
    As for me, today is today, the mat is the mat, the sun rose this morning and the air is still breathable. Much to be thankful for.
    And I hope when I walk to the supermarket to buy the milk today no sad mugger will try for my wallet. But if he should, its all in a day’s travels.
    Today is today and life goes on.
    Thank you sensei, thank you O’Sensei and thanks to the whole of the long lineage for the privilege of this day being free and able to sort myself out in the dojo.
    I can’t think of a greater gift!

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