The Evolution of Kamido Aikido

EVOLUTION OF KAMIDO AIKIDO

Archeological Research –

Archeologists have postulated that since the beginning of time, self-preservation or self protection has been a major concern for mankind and, that, what they call “primitive man”, developed simple yet effective methods of survival. Archeological research has led some to conclude that very early “man-like beings” most likely lived in trees to avoid falling prey to wild animals and when they did venture down from their lofty sanctuary in the trees, it is supposed that they stayed in groups, an appropriate application of the concept of “safety in numbers”. Even simple acts like avoiding dangerous situations are interpreted as a demonstration of man’s instinctive concern for survival.

Archeologists have unearthed, so to speak, evidence that early man developed tools for farming and found them to be useful as weapons. Man’s need to provide food caused him to improve his tools and his instinct to protect himself caused him to improve implements that could be used as weapons. This will to survive has given rise to specialists in various methods of self protection with weapons as well as without weapons. Examples would be the gladiators of the Roman Era, the knights of the Crusade Era, the fencing masters of France and Italy and the Samurai of Japan.

Archeology is defined as “the science or study of history from the remains of early human cultures as discovered chiefly by systematic excavations.” It is very interesting that by digging in the ground, “systematic excavations”, one would conclude that man-like beings lived in trees, “above ground”. It would seem that one would be better convinced that lofty habitats were the abode of choice if domestic implements, tools or weapons were found in abundance in the trees. Could those early man-like beings actually have been monkeys? After all, monkeys even to this day tend to reside in trees.

Religious Records

Scientific research is not alone in indicating tendencies toward violence in early man. Religious records support this premise as well. That familiar biblical story of Cain and Abel recorded in the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, beginning with the first verse, relates to us a story of violence that occurred within the very first family in religious history. The eighth verse in particular states, “And Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother and slew him”.

A special “THANK YOU” to Oriental ingenuity

Obviously, the Orientals did not invent fighting, but they did make fantastic strides in developing fighting arts virtually into a science. Just as the oriental fighting arts evolved as a blending or refinement of new ideas, based upon the ideas and fighting forms which have preceded them, so too, KAMIDO AIKIDO is a systematic and scientific blending of the elements of AIKIDO, KARATE, JUDO and JUJITSU.

The Evolution to Kamido Aikido

To better understand the essence of KAMIDO AIKIDO, it would be desirable to be familiar with the history of the oriental fighting arts which preceded and influenced the development of KAMIDO AIKIDO.

Jujitsu

Many of the more popular information sources indicate that a, “Jujitsu like style”, was practiced around 2852 B.C. It is interesting to note how many of these same sources consistently associate the “around 2852 B.C.” date to China’s first historical emperor, Fu-Hi (Fu-xi), as if to lend credence to how truly ancient the roots of the martial art actually are. Especially note that the “2852 B.C.” date and “Jujitsu like style” are linked to an emperor from “China”, not Japan.

Historians have indicated that Chinese writing was introduced into Japan around the 4th century and that prior to that time Japanese myths and rituals were passed on orally. In the 8th century around 712 A.D., “the written record of the ancient beliefs and customs, including a “Jujitsu like style”, first appeared in the Kojiki [records of ancient matters], prepared under imperial order.” It is said that the imperial order was issued around 681 A.D. by The Emperor Temmu due to his desire to preserve the pure traditions and out of concern that the records of the prominent families appeared to be conflicting and erroneous. Emperor Temmu began instructing Hiyeda no Are in the authentic traditions. Hiyeda no Are, it is said, possessed an exceptional memory and was able to recite anything he read and repeat anything he heard without error. Although Emperor Temmu died in 686 A.D., apparently before the writing had commenced, Empress Gemmei, approximately 20 years later, ordered O no Yasumaro, a scribe, to write down the words of Hiyeda no Are. Kojiki was the collaborative effort of O no Yasumaro and Hiyeda no Are.

Thus far we can determine that a “Jujitsu like style” appears to have existed in China “around 2852 B.C.” and through the compilation of “Japanese myths and rituals” around 712 A.D. that a “Jujitsu like style” existed in Japan. This raises the question, is the “Jujitsu like style” practiced in China the same as the one in Japan? A book written in 1904 by Sumitomo Arima, considered to be the first full length book written on Judo, states that there are differing views as to the origin of Jujitsu and that three particular views seem to be in contention for acceptance. One view, of course, is that Jujitsu originated in Japan. Another view is that Shirobei Akiyama, a Japanese physician, visited China, received Jujitsu like instruction, and brought it back to Japan. Still another view is that Chin Gempin, a skilled practitioner of the Chinese art, relocated from China to Japan.

Simitomo Arima’s book addresses obvious confusion as to the true origin of Jujitsu. An earlier document written by Jigoro Kano and T. Lindsay, dated 1887, addresses several reasons for the confusion. (It is worthy to note that Sumitomo Arima was a product of Jigoro Kano’s teaching. Sumitomo Arima was a black belt in Judo, a system founded by Jigoro Kano.) So as not to distort Kano’s findings the following is an excerpt from Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Volume 15.

In tracing the history of the art, we are met at the outset with difficulties which are not uncommon in similar researches–the unreliableness of much of the literature of the art. Printed books on the subject are scarce, and while there are innumerable manuscripts belonging to various schools of the art, many of them are contradictory and unsatisfactory. The originators of new schools seem often times to have made history to suit their own purposes, and thus the materials for a consistent and clear account of the origin and rise of jujutsu are very scanty. In early times, the knowledge of the history and the art was in the possession of the teachers of the various schools, who handed down information to their pupils as a secret in order to give it a sacred appearance.”

“Moreover, the seclusion of one province from another, as a consequence of the Feudal System of Japan, prevented much acquaintance between teachers and pupils of the various schools, and thus contrary and often contradictory accounts of its history were handed down and believed. Further, it is to be noted that the interest of its students was devoted more to success in the practice of the art than to a knowledge of its rise and progress in the country.”

Another view related to the disparity of opinions regarding the true history of Jujitsu could be couched in the internal conflict between humility and acceptance. It would be quite conceivable that a truly humble person might relinquish the attention generally associated with being founder of a new concept, for the greater good to mankind. The truly humble person, by nature of their modesty, might consider their ideas certain to fall short of the acceptance of the majority. But, their intense belief in the benefits to be gained, might entice them to pass the credit to a source already held in high esteem, as were the Chinese.

We could continue in our attempt to uncover the true history of Jujitsu but it seems as though Jigoro Kano summed it up in his statement “In tracing the history of the art, we are met at the outset with difficulties which are not uncommon in similar researches–the unreliableness of much of the literature of the art. Printed books on the subject are scarce, and while there are innumerable manuscripts belonging to various schools of the art, many of them are contradictory and unsatisfactory.”

Judo

Jujitsu gave birth to Judo, and Jigoro Kano is acclaimed the father of Judo. Kano was born in Japan in 1860 and at 17 years of age, began his martial arts training in Jujitsu under Ryuji Katagiri. Kano did not receive the depth of training he desired and moved on to be trained under Hachinosuke Fukuda, a master of Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujitsu. Fukuda grew very ill and died causing Kano to begin training under Masatomo Iso, another master of Tenjin Shinyo Ryu. Due to Kano’s dedication to his practice he was rewarded with an appointment to assistant and his continued success earned him the title of master in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujitsu at 21 years of age. When Iso grew ill, Kano began training under Tsunetoshi Iikubo, master of the Kito School of Jujitsu.

One day while practicing, Kano encountered a man weighing about 200 pounds and being merely half that weight he found himself at the mercy of the bigger man. Kano recognized there were weaknesses in some of the techniques and his desire to defeat the bigger man prompted him to work out new approaches to correct the flaws. He worked very diligently and devised a throw that allowed him to slip under his opponent’s center of gravity and throw him to the ground. Kano became determined to improve jujitsu by applying scientific principles to the techniques and eliminate those techniques that did not adhere to the scientific principles.

In 1882, Kano set up his own school in Eishoji Temple and with some of his private students from the Kito-ryu school he began to develop his Kano Jujitsu style and his Judo style. Iikubo regularly visited Kano’s school and one day, during free style practice, Kano not only prevented Iikubo from throwing him but actually threw Iikubo several times. Iikubo acknowledged Kano’s success by saying “now you teach me.” In 1884 the by-laws of the Kodokan, judo headquarters in Japan were drawn up and judo began to take its place among the martial arts of that time.

Karate

As in Jujitsu, there are conflicting stories concerning Karate’s history and one might be tempted to wonder if the “humility and acceptance” conflict previously mentioned may again be a consideration. Without delving into lengthy comparisons of the various views, presented here is one of the more widely accepted renditions concerning Taishi Daruma, a Buddhist monk. Daruma was also known as Bodhidharma, meaning “enlightenment” and “way of truth”. Daruma taught a modified form of Buddhism that was believed to be better suited to achieving enlightenment than the classical Buddhism.

Daruma’s Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, did not advocate the need to forsake worldly possessions in order to attain higher spiritual evolution as did classical Buddhism. Also, Karma, the belief that a person’s station in life is based upon his deeds in previous lives, and Nirvana, the attainment of permanent and total enlightenment requiring no further spiritual evolution, were excluded from Zen Buddhism. Is there any wonder why Daruma’s modified form of Buddhism became the most widely accepted form in all of China? One might wonder if Daruma’s Zen Buddhism was considered better suited to achieving enlightenment because of reluctance to the forsaking of worldly possessions, the perceived stigma of past lives and the nebulous goal of perfection were no longer an obstacle.

Not all obstacles were removed however. Mental, physical and spiritual disciplines were devoutly adhered to in Daruma’s Zen Buddhism and the practice of each enhanced the development of the others. In as much as the mind, the body and the spirit are each individual parts of the whole, they each must be developed so that they may compliment one another. To develop one without the others is to stint the undeveloped aspect and add to the burden of the developed aspect, resulting in the “whole” being incomplete. Daruma found his monks unable to withstand his rigorous mental, physical and spiritual disciplines in view of their poor physical condition. Their poor physical condition and thereby, incomplete “whole”, bred the feeling of inadequacy, and inadequacy in turn bred a lack of confidence – the first giant step toward failure and a lackadaisical attitude. Daruma persisted in his rigorous disciplines and soon his monks were on the path of harmonious development evolving toward a complete “whole”. From this harmonious development of mind, body and spirit, Daruma’s monks steadily developed greater confidence and eventually came to be known for their courage and strength. Gradually, Daruma’s monks came to be known throughout China for being very capable of protecting themselves against thieves and robbers. From this reputation the monks began to alter their disciplines to include fighting practices leading to the eventual birth of Karate.

Aikido

Aikido, like every other fighting art, evolved as a blending or refinement of new ideas based upon the philosophies and fighting systems which preceded it. We have seen how Jigoro Kano took his experience and expertise in Jujitsu and applied scientific principles to develop new approaches and correct flaws in the techniques giving birth to Judo. In much the same manner, Morehei Ueshiba took his experience in Jujitsu and applied his deep rooted spiritual philosophy giving birth to Aikido.

Morehei Ueshiba was born in Japan in 1883. It is said that when Ueshiba was a small boy he stood helplessly nearby as some young ruffians beat his father over differences on political issues. Ueshiba vowed that he would do whatever was necessary to make himself very strong and help his father protect himself. Throughout his youth Ueshiba worked very hard to develop his strength. If others carried heavy loads he would carry twice as much and during rice harvest time he could handle the heavy rice pounder with such ease that he would individually match the total output of many other young men’s collective efforts.

Ueshiba had an interest in fighting skills (budo, translated “martial way”,” way of war” or “way of the warrior”) as early as ten years of age. He began studying Kito Ryu Jujitsu in 1901 but his training was interrupted when he joined the army around 1903. After returning from military duty, Ueshiba resumed his Jujitsu training and in 1908 was awarded a certificate. In 1916 he was awarded a certificate in Daito Ryu Jujitsu and around 1925 he became engrossed in learning skills associated with swordsmanship and the spear.

The list of Ueshiba’s successes grew yet he did not derive satisfaction from his many achievements. Something was missing – knowledge of the essence of true budo (the way of the warrior – the code of chivalry) still eluded him. He had acquired a deep rooted interest in spiritual matters through his study of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism and he was left with the question of how to unite his spiritual beliefs and his fighting skills. Ueshiba devoted himself to concentrated practice of his fighting skills and passionate study of his religious beliefs in his quest to discover the secret of true budo. One day a navy officer, an instructor of kendo, visited Ueshiba. Their discussion turned into a disagreement and they agreed to fight one another. The visitor attacked Ueshiba repeatedly with his wooden sword, and although the visitor was very skillful, Ueshiba eluded every blow. Eventually his visitor became exhausted and ended his onslaught. Ueshiba went into a nearby garden and he suddenly came to the realization that he had effectively united his spiritual beliefs with his fighting skills. Although he possessed the physical skill to defeat his attacker, his mind, body and spirit worked harmoniously together to protect himself yet not injure his attacker unjustly. Ueshiba had unlocked the secret of true budo, the code of chivalry; the way of the warrior is to conduct oneself in a spirit of love and protection for all beings.

In the early 1920’s Ueshiba began teaching the art that he would later name Aikido. The name says it all. The word AI-KI-DO is comprised of three Japanese words. AI meaning “harmony”, KI meaning “spirit” and DO meaning “the way”. AIKIDO therefore means “the way to harmony with the spirit”.

Kamido Aikido

Kamido Aikido integrates Kano’s philosophy of applying scientific principles to technique and Ueshiba’s revelation of “true budo”. Kano’s philosophy of applying scientific principles to technique is implemented in Kamido Aikido in that the Kamido Aikido student learns:

1. Aikido’s linear and circular movements that combined with gracefulness and fluidity, develop subtle but decisive power.
2. Karate’s stances that provide stability without sacrificing mobility, blocks that either stop or divert attacks and punches and kicks that stun or annihilate.
3. Judo’s throwing and grappling techniques that overwhelm an attacker whether standing or on the ground.
4. Jujitsu’s joint twisting techniques and the application of pressure to sensitive nerve centers that gently or forcefully control an attacker.

Kamido Aikido unites the elements of which the other oriental arts are comprised through a strict and devout adherence to the laws of physics (God’s laws for nature).

Ueshiba’s revelation of “true budo” (the code of chivalry – the way of the warrior) is implemented in Kamido Aikido in that the Kamido Aikido student learns:

1. Knowledge of and faith in the Creator (Rom. 10:17)
2. Faith that produces moral excellence (2 Pet. 1:5)
3. Moral excellence that leads to knowing God better (2 Pet. 1:5)
4. Knowing God (that) leads to self-control (2 Pet. 1:6)
5. Self-control (that) leads to patient endurance (2 Pet. 1:6)
6. Patient endurance (that) leads to godliness (2 Pet. 1:6)
7. Godliness (that) leads to love for others (2 Pet. 1:7)
8. Love for others (that) leads to genuine love for everyone (2 Pet. 1:7)

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