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October 19, 2014

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Christopher Li

Some thoughts off the top off my head...

1) "Internal Power" isn't a new term, it pre-dates Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda by quite a bit, but it is true that it has become a little more popular lately.
2) "Internal Power" was not previously known as "Aiki" - at least, not in our circle of acquaintance. The two are intimately connected of course. It's not for everybody, many people enjoy doing what they're doing without it, and that's fine.
3) Kenji Tomiki did the "dual-dojo" thing of course, as did Sokaku Takeda and Morihei Ueshiba, but I understand that it may not work for everybody.
4)Actually, the general practice of martial arts in Japan was never prohibited by SCAP, although this is something that is often misunederstood. It was even understood by many Japanese at the time, so the confusion is understandable, but was actually prohibited was the inclusion of the militarized arts as an official part of the public school curriculum that had been implemented before the war. There's some discussion of that here: http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_svinth_1202.htm

Best,

Chris

l.F. Wilkinson

Hi Chris: Thanks for the comments. I found the ejmas compilation of post WW II doc's very interesting in how SCAP handled Budo after the war and was interested to see that arts such as aikijutsu wasn't mentioned. YOU are correct in the mistaken ideas based on how the edicts were laid out and then later reversed. It's also interesting that it confirms stories told my one of my Japanese Sensei who spoke of having to hide in the basement to train. It's possible I suppose that the other (not mentioned) art forms were outliers that the nationalists didn't use or that they were simply too small with little following or that they were just lumped into the global term of "Judo" in describing the ban.

In the circles I grew up in starting in the late 1960's the terms "aiki", "chi", ("Chi Power" actually as used by Aikido players coming from Tai Chi backgrounds) and "ki power" were very commonly used but then I come out of an Aikido background with a VERY strong Kokokan Judo flavor and influence. The term "internal power" I do not remember hearing ever until about 3-4 years ago when the "internal power" seminars kicked off in a big way (or when I became aware of them since I don't make many seminars anymore unless I'm teaching them). The term "internal strength and/or internal training" was used occasionally, again by Aikido players coming out of Tai Chi backgrounds. Based on this I would assume/extrapolate/guess? that the terms ki and ki power and aiki have been overcome by internal power based terminology from all the Tai Chi/Chinese background articles and posts I see all over the internet. No issue here as I agree it's largely all the same (a rose by any other name as-it-were) but the evolution of terminology usage is interesting in how it appears to have shifted from Japanese terms to Chinese terms. i guess that this could be a result of the Japanese not talking much about it while the Chinese talked about it all the time. I've been told about and read interviews by Tomiki in which he directly stated that all the powers ascribed to aiki/ki were true but that actual training was more important.

Tomiki wasn't really dual dojo (at least from what I've told) as he didn't train with Ueshiba until he was already 7th dan in Judo under Kano. After the war was a different matter but by then he was 8th dan in both Judo and Aikido so he was certainly had enough seasoning and knowledge to be able to do the "multi-dojo gig" and not become confused at what he was seeing. i've never seen anything conclusive on Takeda as most of that history I see posted is largely contradictory. My issue with "dual-dojo" syndrome is that instead of fully learning, internalizing and being highly ranked in an art form (say 6th dan or so) and only then branching out into other studies; people today are going into Aikido, maybe ranking at Shodan or Nidan and then jumping into karate or systema or something else before they understand their original art form.

They now don't understand the 1st art form, then they jump into a 2nd looking for the "magic mojo", can't find it there (because they are still an amateur except now an amateur in two art forms) and then jump into a 3rd, still looking for the magic mojo. Now they go back to the "home" dojo and start arguing about how to do waza because Sensei #3 said this but Sensei #2 said that. They just made themselves "unteachable" by anyone and create havoc in the dojo.

Aside from ignoring all the original rationales behind sealing a keppan, the issue of training in differing art forms, under different teachers who stress different aspects or teach differing and conflicting underlying principle results in an amateur player going from art to art, dojo to dojo, sensei to sensei in a futile quest for the magic mojo and receiving and attempting to internalize contradictory information. I think that one should pick the best art form available to them and only after learning it inside out and becoming legitimately high ranked as a reflection of that understanding, only then go into other art forms to see what their answer may be and whether their original art form just missed the mark.

I teach Tomiki Ryu and if you count everything in the system there are 100's of waza and drills focused around about 3 dozen randori-oriented waza and 6 koryu kata (large chunks of which come straight out of Daito Ryu almost waza for waza). Unless and until a player makes their way thru' all that material AND understands it, he simply will not know whether or not the magic mojo he is looking for is in there. As someone who has been thru' all that material many, many times and who spent about 5 or 6 straight years being coached thru' it during a filming project requiring 100's and 100's of hours of receiving, "Don't do it that way ... do it THIS way" from Sensei, I can tell you that the mojo is indeed there. It just isn't there for a beginner to see due to lack of background knowledge becasue they cannot see nor understand the "hidden" or ura sides, much less the waza hidden between and under other waza (as failures or extrapolations).

I'll have to find time over the next few days to blog on this topic as I think too many players (even senior ones) don't understand the concept. If you'll re-read my original post you'll see that I do allow my SENIOR PLAYERS only (NOT beginners) to branch out and go elsewhere for some "sharing of the magik mojo". The senior players have the background. The beginners simply do not.

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