Author: Bret Gordon
Mention anything related to energy or internals to the average person, and you're sure to be met with a look of both criticism and arrogance. There are so many videos of people claiming to use chi (ki in Japanese) to overcome an attacker with little to no physical contact. Subsequently, when facing a live attack they're embarrassed and seriously hurt. Therefore, the greater martial arts community writes off anything or anyone teaching energy work or internals. And you know what? It's our fault! Very few people in the internal community have spoken out against the frauds. Instead, they simply write off people's disbelief as ignorance and go on about their day.
But here's the thing. Aiki Jujutsu was once regarded as the highest form of jujutsu by such notable masters as Kano Jigoro, and to see it fall from grace for no real reason other than ignorance and frauds hurts me on a personal level. When you're looking at a demonstration of anyone claiming to use internal power, there are very specific bodily responses that you must look for. Unlike external arts where you can watch a technique and replicate it, internal arts must be directly transmitted through hands-on experience because the nuances that internalize the movements cannot be seen except by the expert eye. So how do you distinguish the diamonds in the rough from the slew of frauds and garbage polluting the internet?
Author: Bret Gordon
Saigo Shiro was the adopted son of Saigo Tanomo. It is rumored that he was actually Tanomo's illegitimate son, but that has not been verified. Saigo Tanomo was Takeda Sokaku's primary instructor, in addition to his father Takeda Sokichi. It is from Tanomo that Sokaku inherited the art of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. There is some controversy as to whether or not the art taught by Sokaku was called Daito Ryu prior to his teachings, but I will not go into that. Whether or not the specific name has been transmitted through the generations is not as important as the material, which has a verifiable lineage to Minamoto Yoshimitsu (1045-1127).
Prior to Takeda Sokaku inheriting the art from Saigo Tanomo, Saigo Shiro was supposed to be Tanomo's successor. However, Shiro was involved with a highly nationalistic group of people of which Kano Jigoro was also affiliated, and he turned away from Daito Ryu to pursue the new art of judo.
About Our Blog
The articles posted here have been shared from the US Association of Martial Arts website, run by our headmaster Bret Gordon, for their relevance to Aiki Jujutsu. For more of his writings, please click here.