Mark Murray: „The Ueshiba Legacy – Part 1“

Ueshibas idea on form and technique equals what Stephan Yamamoto has been emphasizing in his training and teachings during the past few years:

The focus on techniques was a modern change instilled into what became Modern Aikido for the world. Ueshiba never preached techniques. In fact, his art was formless. Students griped that they rarely saw a technique twice. When asked about techniques, Ueshiba’s reply showed the overwhelming nature of trying to learn them all. He said, “There are about 3,000 basic techniques, and each of them has 16 variations … so there are many thousands. Depending on the situation, you create new ones.”

Shioda also said that Ueshiba told him, “In a real fight, Aikido is 70 percent atemi and 30 percent throwing.” (12) The specific factor here is “real fight”. We can guess that in a real encounter which isn’t preset, Ueshiba relied upon his Daito ryu training, which included atemi and aiki. Techniques were not the focus. We can see that Ueshiba definitely had the skills, but chose to only show or use certain aspects, or certain subsets, in his vision of aikido. Consider that when a student was picked as an uke by Ueshiba, if that student didn’t attack in a very specific way that Ueshiba wanted, then that student didn’t get picked as uke again. Ueshiba was very specific in demonstrating his vision of aikido. He viewed what he did as a spiritual ideology using his students as training partners rather than focusing on actually teaching his students the secret of aiki.

There are two very different legacies to aikido. Kisshomaru created a worldwide vision of aikido that was accepted by millions. The world adopted the peaceful vision and the created curriculum. Some took the spiritual message as the most important part over martial viability, some took the martial viability over the spiritual, and others blended the two. Someone who wanted a peaceful, spiritual training environment could find it. Someone who wanted a more martial environment could find it. Make no mistake, even with all the hoopla about aiki bunny hopping, there are people who have made Modern Aikido very martially viable.