Friday, August 27, 2010

That's a joke... I say, that's a joke, son

It's Friday, so I'm probably like most of you and in need of a bit of humor to help transition into a welcomed weekend.

This is an excerpt from a post authored by the esteemed Professor Peter Goldsbury on Aikiweb where he quotes another work. I quote Professor Goldbury because he edited the material to remove names from the original piece to protect the innocent.

The context of the original quote is Kisshomaru Ueshiba's alleged knowledge/ignorance of what may be called ‘aiki' skills.


"So let us imagine an announcement, either publicly or privately, among the ruling body of the Aikikai:

I, Ueshiba Moriteru, have just realized that our million strong international organization has gone down a terribly wrong path. My grandfather taught a particular, very sophisticated training method that was derived almost in whole cloth from Daito-ryu. He then amalgamated it with a charismatic neo-Shinto sect that is now the provenance of elderly devotees, and subject to attempts by a number of yakuza organizations to take control of their millions of yen in money and property. My grandfather used to practice, obsessively, specific drills which enabled him to achieve this internal power. My father rejected this, post-war, and focused on turning the cryptic phrases on peace among the three realms into a feel-good formula of cooperative, pseudo-martial circular movement to enhance relationships among people in the world. This has vitiated it as a martial art, but allowed the art to spread to almost every country, to have a level of political and social influence in our own country, and made beaucoup yen as well. To my shame, however, was stunned to find that not only I, but almost all of the shihan are ignorant of my grandfather's skills. We must recover them - but not through the weird religion grandpa followed. I've tried reading his writings on the subject, and if the old man wasn't crazy, he was eating lots of mushrooms behind that shrine in Iwama!

So I have, in secret, reached out to the various Daito-ryu organizations, the very groups we have slandered as old-fashioned and violent, the legacy of a psychopath that my grandpa was well shut of. Daito-ryu, the martial art transcended by our (not) magnificent aikido. To my surprise, Daito-ryu turned out to be either incredibly rigid, constipated kata training, or ridiculous dive bunny techniques that make Takeda Yoshinobu look normal, and a few really amazing guys who said that they would only teach me if I revealed what I learned to no one - ever. And they sort of indicated they would lie to me and not teach me anyway, while pretending to.

So there is only one way to save aikido - we must get outside help. We have three choices that I have found: All would state that they are far form the best at these skills, but they are the only ones who are not focused on a specific school. So we have, here, a large wheel and we will spin it and draw lots, and one third of the shihan will be dispatched for five years to study in Tokyo with a pugnacious little man named A - yes, please forget that we've previous accused him of being a gangster and told everyone to stay away from him; one third will go to Colorado. I'm sure all the shihan will get along fine with B, a 60+ year old ex-Marine ex-engineer. He will have a number of personality traits that they will like - obsessively meticulous and abrasively direct. (That third is ordered to give your bokken and jo to the nearest deprived child and buy pool noodles, the new weapon of the Aikikai). The other third will go to the eastern USA to study with a man named C of whom - well, just go and find out - I can't explain him easily. When you all return, we will have a battle royal in the Budokan, in pitch dark, like my grandfather used to do, with live swords (because aiki is universally applicable) and the team that survives will be responsible for promoting that version of aiki forever after. Actually, the Colorado group can use their pool noodles if they choose.

Me? Ahem. Well, my son and I will be making trips to a small village in China, just in case our elder brothers might somehow have something that we Japanese have not yet had an opportunity to improve. Just to check."

That's a joke, son. It is, isn't it?

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