Thursday, June 08, 2006

Aikido History 1946-1956

I just read Aikido in the Postwar Years: 1946-1956 on, and would recommend it to anyone who has more than a passing interest in Aikido. An excerpt:

Since only a relatively small percentage of aikido practitioners have more than a vague acquaintance with the origins of the art, there are a number of common misconceptions about how aikido attained its current status as one of Japan's modern budo. The most glaring misunderstanding is the idea that the founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was the driving force behind the postwar spread of aikido. This is far from true. Rather, his role can more accurately be described as inspirational in terms of his impact on early practitioners. In reality, it is the technical and pedagogicial approaches of other key figures such as Koichi Tohei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba --the founder's son-- within the Aikikai, and Gozo Shioda of Yoshinkan Aikido (an early student of aikido), that became the de facto standards. Even today, the training methods adopted by the majority of aikido organizations and independent schools can be traced back to these figures.

In this article I will attempt to describe the first challenging years of aikido in postwar Japan, the principal figures whose thinking and actions shaped the early development of the art, and the confluence of circumstances that allowed aikido to gain momentum in Japan and flourish internationally.

Read the rest.

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