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A conversation between Kisshomaru Ueshiba and a Kendo practitioner. (Part3)

Translation of Magazine Aikido Tankyu Vol.13 1997 p24-29


Successor Qualifications Mr. Watanabe: We are very happy that Mr. Moriteru Ueshiba has been appointed as the new chairman of the board of directors, and we are also very grateful that he has been connected from the founder to the dojo master and now to the current dojo master. We are grateful that the head family is doing such a right thing as a source of comfort for us. Kisshomaru Doshu: The depth of aikido lies in the fact that we need to stay connected to its source. In this respect, I think it makes sense to be connected by bloodline.

If there are no tournaments, people will become arrogant and think that they are strong, and they will start to have their own iemoto (headmaster) here and there. We have to be very careful and that is our policy. I hope that my grandchildren will follow our footsteps. Mr. Watanabe: Since such a system has been established, those around him must also pay attention to it. Even a man of his caliber like Mr. Osawa (Kisaburo Osawa) was always saying that he would only be an assistant. Then, when someone comes along and says that he or she is stronger, it becomes a funny thing, doesn't it? Kisshomaru Doshu: Today, if we start talking about whether we are strong or weak, we will never get anywhere. Devotion in the training will humble a person. In order to grasp such feelings..., in order to be in a state of mind..., if you do aikido, and if you have a pure intention, I think that you will eventually be able to create a society without mental conflict. Mr. Watanabe: This is what aiki means, isn’t it? It was mentioned that in Aikido there are no matches, no winning or losing as a method of training. I think this is really wonderful. (※method of training 修練法:means training not only physically but also mentally.)

Kisshomaru Doshu: Most of the other martial arts have adopted a match or competition system as their training method which has helped us to solidify our Aikido principles. Mr. Watanabe: Some people say that you can't tell if you are strong or weak without a match, but people in training can tell if you are strong or weak. In kendo, there was also a non-verified match in which both sides said "参りましたI'm beaten. (I lost.)" without a referee. In martial arts, it is a way you can see how much training is lacking in each other, and I think it is not right to ask other people to decide which one wins and which one loses by a red flag or a white flag. Kisshomaru Doshu:

There used to be a Sumo wrestler named Tenryu who was our uchi-deshi. He said that the moment, the founder grabbed his hand, his whole body went numb and he had no desire to try to control him. After that, he was inspired and he continued aikido for a long time. It was really admirable. (Public domain picture of Tenryu Saburo in 1932)

Mr. Watanabe: Before I started aikido, I thought that it looked like a “fixed game”. However, when the founder held my hand and told me “Try to move.”, I could not move at all. I said to him, "Please let me start my aikido training, right away" (laughs). That is why I understand the wrestler story so well.

Speaking of sumo, Wakahaguro 若羽黒 also came to practice for a while before becoming an ozeki 大関(high rank). He said he was able to become an ozeki because he gained a his positive attitude after practicing aikido. Kisshomaru Doshu: I think I am the one who trained with him the most. The power to rush forward was strong. Before him, there was also another Sumo wrestler named Wakashima. At that time, there were less than six tournaments a year (Sumo matches were less than now), so he was able to come to practice aikido. Mr. Watanabe: I think it is very beneficial for a Sumo to train his body and learn tasabaki (体のさばき:たいさばき). To be continued...

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