Open letter in response to an interview with Olivier Gaurin by Guillaume Erard.

Version Française :

Dear Olivier,

We do not know each other, and yet we have, in our respective journeys, many coincidences which could have allowed us to meet. So, I decide to talk to you on familiar terms, hoping that you accept it for what it is: a way to give our conversation the most natural and friendly turn possible.

I do not answer you to satisfy the amateurs of controversy. I write because in my opinion, your interview raises important issues for any Aikido practitioner. These questions are usually drowned in the general confusion of modern Aikido. You have the merit of not avoiding them.

We both started Aikido in the mid-1970s. In 1984 I lived in Paris for a few months and trained in Vincennes where Christian Tissier welcomed me with great kindness. I knew the training comrades you mentioned: Jean Michel Mérit, Patrick Bénézi, Philippe Gouttard, Bernard Palmier, etc. So, it is very likely that we shared some shiho nage around this time but forgot about it.

We both went to Japan for the first time in the same year, in 1986. You, if I read your interview correctly, “on the road of disgrace”, to discover as many masters as possible, and after you have gone around the circle of a teaching seductive by its "panache", but whose thirst for power and commercial ambition no longer suited you. Me, to seek, from a single master, the teaching of the fundamentals of Aikido that I could not get from master Tamura.

The almost exclusive study of nagare during my first ten years of Aikido, and the technical vagueness that surrounded this practice, convinced me that you definitely can't run before you learn to walk. And I have since explained on the TAI website that the dead end which modern Aikido has reached is a consequence of a break with the study of technical bases, without which the mastery of nagare is only a game of roles.

This idea, we share it since you say :

“Nagare (…) is the typical characteristic of Aikido developed after the death of the founder. This dynamic use of Aiki is what makes the particularity of so-called modern Aikido. And in Aikikai, the emphasis was quickly put on this unique side of the Aiki. Today we can see the positive and negative effects.”

The negative effects of nagare, when we only work as you say on this unique side of the Aiki, is in my opinion the impossibility of understanding the precise technical bases of the movements that we practice, and therefore the inability to perform them correctly.

Here also it seems that we think the same way since you explain:

“The advanced techniques of Daito-ryu are nagare techniques, dynamic and without confrontation (…) O Sensei did that at this high level, but his students were thus reduced to attending this very advanced form of Daito-ryu without being able to pass by the lower bases to understand them.”

But Olivier, if that is true, and on this I won’t contradict you, then none of the Aikikai teachers you attended when you arrived in Japan could have any idea of ​​the bases of which you speak. Yamaguchi no more than any other as you yourself say:

“Yamaguchi Sensei was the most advanced representation of a type of Aikido called nagare.

It is true that you nuance this general ignorance of the bases by explaining that some of O Sensei students had nonetheless learned them indirectly:

“People like Yamaguchi or Watanabe Sensei who, although they demonstrated quite a thorough knowledge of the bases of Daito-ryu, did not know they had them because they were taught to them indirectly.”

I would be curious to know what exactly this indirect mode of learning could consist of, given that the teaching of O Sensei, in nagare, was the same for all the students of Aikikai in the 1950s.

In any case, and unlike you, I don't believe for a second that the study of other martial arts could have helped in any way students like Yamaguchi or Tamura to understand the structural bases of the movements that O Sensei demonstrated in nagare. Besides, do you really believe it yourself, you who today are learning Daito ryu with teachers capable of clearly designating the fundamentals to be acquired, and who measure, despite these ideal conditions, the sum of efforts necessary to acquire a scrupulous and rigorous definition of the school techniques?

Like many Aikikai teachers I have tried this path, I sought to better understand Aikido through the study of disciplines such as iaido, ken jutsu and jodo. It does not work, I will explain why a little later by answering your arguments on the teaching of weapons.

My analysis is therefore as follows: all pupils of this period soaked in as best as they could, and to the extent of their abilities, the movements of O Sensei, by reconstructing with more or less success the elementary components, the fundamentals that made it possible. In this context, Tamura's motto "we must steal the technique" is understood as a burning necessity. Yamaguchi, Tamura, and a few others were talented people who have certainly come a long way down this path, and discovered some of the bases on their own.

In this regard, I fully understand your feeling when you say:

"Personally, it was only when I started studying Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu that I understood why Yamaguchi Sensei made his movements like this or like that."

I understand you, because I had the same feeling when I returned from Japan. My first reaction upon seeing Master Tamura again after my first stay in Iwama was: "he completely changed his technique", before obviously realizing that he hadn't changed anything at all, just that it was I who was finally able to recognize the furtive but sufficiently clear bases of the movements, under what had before been the opaque veil of ki no nagare.

It was a real revelation, but when I think back on it today, I say to myself that it was basically of very little importance for the students that we were, that our respective teachers had more or less intuitively found some bases, since they were in reality unable to teach them for what they were. They couldn't pass on what they themselves didn't know they had, as you witnessed. Or rather, they could only transmit it the way they had learned it themselves. And “this very intimate heart-to-heart exchange of complicity” with a sensei, which you mention, is of course pleasant, even necessary, but not enough in my opinion if the authentic technical background is neither there nor clearly defined.

This clear definition has always been lacking. I remember entire keiko at the Aiki club in Cannes with Tiki Shewan, Daniel Leclerc and Werner Meier, devoted to researching the definition, the fundamental basis of ikkyo. It changed every second week. Some would say this is evolution. No, the reality is that we groped forward, in the dark, and tried without realizing it to redo, alone and without real information, the journey of O Sensei, guided that we were not by "blind people" - as you say taking matter a little too far - but certainly by the visually impaired.

For the scales to finally fall from our eyes, you had to study Daito ryu, and I had to study Iwama. And this is where things get interesting. We can indeed understand that this very strong feeling of an unveiling of the technical bases, of a sudden revelation, occurred for you when entering Daito ryu, because by passing this door you "left" the school of Aikido for the school of the origins of Aikido. But I, who only entered the Iwama dojo, I who therefore remained in the bosom of Aikido, how was I able to have - within this same school - an experience in every way comparable to yours, rich in same sensations, the same absolute contrast, and the same revelations?

In the end Olivier, my answer is the measure of what separates our two journeys : it is because I put my suitcases without knowing it, one morning in February 1986, in a no man's land, a place halfway between Takeda ryu and Aikikai, a strange place where a man was teaching, a student who had fallen somewhat behind the personal development of O Sensei, a master halfway between Daito ryu and Aikido.

You might speak with too much certainty when you say:

No post-war student ever learned directly [from O Sensei], I mean directly the ancient Daito ryu techniques he had inherited from Takeda Sokaku. It turns out that Saito Sensei began the study of Aikido in 1946 (...)”

I would say with more caution that no one can say for sure what O Sensei did or did not teach to his student Saito. But on the other hand, I can fully testify as to how Saito taught, and I guarantee it was not nagare. I saw him lambaste his student Tomita who thought that his 7th dan dispensed him from the laborious static kotai work which was the rule in Iwama. And I could have written exactly this sentence which is from you:

“In Daito-ryu we start with basic jutsu, primary techniques that make people understand the meaning of Aiki, but in a practical and static way. Daito-ryu is boring at the beginning for us Aikidoka, we don't move and they grab us like bulls to hurt us. On the other hand, it creates the need to understand why what we are doing does not work, and why it would be better if it worked.”

I would have only replaced Daito ryu with Iwama style. However, I don't agree when you continue:

“This observation does not exist in Aikido, since if we resist, we are just told to do it differently, to follow, to learn, that we are not good, that we are worthless, that we are not strong, etc.  ".

Because you are referring here to a widely found conception of Aikido, and which you and I were confronted with at the beginning, but which does not apply everywhere, not to the Yoshinkan of Master Shioda for example, and not at the Iwama dojo, where “this observation” has always existed.

When my friend Paolo Corallini's first partner on Iwama tatami grabbed his wrist, he was unable to move. Paolo was at the time 4th dan by André Nocquet, therefore a 4th dan in nagare, his partner, an American of good build, was a white belt. This kind of incident was a daily occurrence in Iwama, no one ever thought to complain or blame uke. In kotai uke holds on tightly, it is normal for tori to find his way. Usual practice at Iwama dojo was kotai

During all my time in Iwama, only once did I see Master Saito teaching in nagare. It was during aiki ken in the morning class, he was obviously trying an experiment : to gradually evolve towards a more fluid practice. It lasted two days. At the end of the second practice, he said “dame !”. And we returned the next morning to our kotai practice. And he was right, two days had been enough for everyone to start play-pretend beeing little samurai. The practice imposed by Master Saito was therefore the opposite of the "all nagare" drift of modern Aikido that you describe with a lucidity that does not mince its words:

“O Sensei’s late students learned to play the movements he showed them without going through the essential technical bases of doing them in this or that way, or in this or that situation. So, ultimately, we have techniques that only work in certain conditions of ease or convenience, and that's all. This is what created the fundamental problem of the so-called modern Aikido: it is a nagare Aikido that does not work if you stop mid-movement or if you fall on a stronger opponent than yourself. So, we have to invent things to make this Aikido work anyway. But it is very unlikely to fall back on the real and correct bases in this manner. There is therefore a gap between what is being done and what should be done. [...] So it's a bit of a mess in Aikido today. And that is the problem with Aikido today; this Aikido has no more benchmarks, no more Aiki bases. Everyone therefore ploughs their own furrow.”

I fully share this vision.

Now, what information can we learn from the no nagare teaching of Iwama, systematically done from a static position and with power. This I believe: Master Saito received from O Sensei a teaching which allowed him to know and understand the techniques in their most elementary definition, and which allowed him subsequently to teach these techniques himself in a static, precise, rigorous and systematic way, without any appeal to ki no nagare.

What techniques are we talking about here, will you ask.

Well, just like you, I say that the kihons that I studied in kotai in Iwama for thousands of hours, were not the original techniques of Daito ryu, as taught in their pure form to Morihei Ueshiba by Sokaku Takeda, in Hokkaido, in the years 1915-1917.

I also think that there was no reason for Master Saito to retrieve more than a Yamaguchi or a Tamura the constitutive bases of the movement, from a permanent nagare of O Sensei.

Nor do I believe that he could have achieved an encyclopedic knowledge of kihon on his own, in other words I do not believe he invented what he was teaching. And even supposing that it had been the case, I personally experienced and I know enough the scrupulous conscience Master Saito had in his historical duty towards O Sensei, to affirm that he would never have attributed to Morihei Ueshiba an invention of his own, never passed off his teaching as that of his master.

So, what then? Where did Saito get his technical knowledge of the bases, of kihon, since that is what he taught almost exclusively, and what could he teach in this elementary form since it was not the techniques of Daito-ryu?

Well here it is Olivier: your analysis hits the mark in my opinion on many points, but you base it on a continuity of the practice of O Sensei in relation to Daito-ryu.

You say for example:

A lot of people don't want to admit it, but technically speaking, Morihei Ueshiba Sensei has never stopped doing Daito-ryu all his life. [...] What O Sensei was doing in post-war Aikido was actually very high-level techniques of Daito-ryu.”

This interpretation separates us.

I obviously do not deny the Daito-ryu origin of shiho nage, kote gaeshi, irimi nage, etc. No one disputes I think the importance of Daito-ryu in the formation of Morihei Ueshiba. Only, I say that there was no continuity but on the contrary a rupture between the teachings of Sokaku Takeda and that of O Sensei. You mention this rupture by bringing it back to real problems but which remain, in my opinion, minor:

“Morihei Ueshiba had various problems with Takeda Sokaku, financial and others. In particular, O Sensei could not teach Daito-ryu under that name since he did not have the necessary teaching license.”

I do not believe for a second that O Sensei founded Aikido because he was not licensed to teach Daito ryu. The split between Takeda and Ueshiba is in my opinion much more fundamental: it is technical.

Ueshiba modified a funding principle of Daito ryu: the shikaku position, the square position of the feet. He adopted - presumably in the 1920s - the sankaku (hanmi) position. This technical modification is not a detail. Why? Because the mere fact of beginning a technique in the triangular position rather than in the square position has an impact on the very concrete way of performing this technique, as well as on the mobility of tori, and therefore on its ability to respond in all eight directions.

I am not saying that the triangular position is not used in Daito-ryu, in the course of one technique or another, to elude the attack. I am saying that the triangular position is not the unique fundamental guard of the art, it is not the position from which we systematically start to perform each technique, and it is not the one to which we systematically return once the technique is finished. This hanmi requirement is unique to Aikido, it is repeated with significant emphasis by O Sensei in his book "Budo", it is imposed on the beginner who takes his first class, it does not exist as such in Daito-ryu.

As a matter of fact, you acknowledge this specificity of the hanmi position in Aikido, since you say:

“Few people know [...] where this position of hanmi so characteristic and fundamental to Aikido comes from in relation to Daito-ryu.”

And it is without any spirit of provocation that I plagiarize your sentence to go even further than you: few people yes, and few people even within Daito-ryu, know where this position of hanmi so characteristic and fundamental to Aikido comes from in relation to Daito-ryu. They don't know because they have no idea why Morihei Ueshiba one day broke with the foundations of their school. This reason - I have been trying to explain it for some time on the TAI site in the "Roppo" files - is that it is not possible to work in the 360​​° of a circle from a square position. Only the triangular hanmi position allows you to work instantly and at any time in all directions of space, giving life to this famous six-way position (roppo). And the fact that Daito-ryu practitioners call their nagare practice Aikido, as you recall, only justifies the famous phrase of Master Ueshiba:

"What I call Aiki has nothing in common with what has been called Aiki in martial arts until now."

This phrase from O Sensei becomes, in the context of my explanation here, a strong argument.

I have no doubt that there is, at an advanced level of Daito-ryu, a nagare version of these basic techniques studied for so long by practitioners in their sole static version, and I have no doubt that there are significant variations between kihon and nagare of Daito-ryu. But I do not see within the basic techniques of Daito-ryu any concrete indications of future work that would take into consideration the eight directions. On the contrary, these clues do exist from the start in the basic techniques of Aikido as taught by Master Saito, and the first among them is hanmi.

When I write that Saito sensei was indeed situated between Daito-ryu and Aikido, it is an image intended to make it understood that he had an "attitude, a Daito-ryu approach" towards kihon, however, the content of this kihon was not that of Daito-ryu. And that was due to the same reason which had moved O Sensei away from Daito-ryu: Morihiro Saito, like his master Ueshiba, was giving primary importance to the hanmi in his practice, it was the heart of his teaching. However, hanmi is not the heart of Daito-ryu’s teaching.

And that is why I claim, unlike you, that O Sensei's fundamental work between the 1930s and the 1960s was not to refine his competence in the high techniques of Daito ryu. His work consisted of laying the new foundations for an art that came out of the womb of Daito ryu, destined to develop in a radically different way as a result of a major genetic modification - and this word is to be taken here in its etymological sense. Because the kihons of Daito-ryu no longer sticked to O Sensei’s new laws of displacement, he had to create the Aikido kihons - not from scratch of course, from his encyclopedic knowledge of Daito-ryu, but taking into account henceforth the demands born out of the roppo guard.

This is where Saito was involved as uke, because he lived with O Sensei for 23 years between 1946 and the Founder's death. No student other than Saito has been uke for O Sensei for such a long time, and especially no other student has lived with him for so long. Receiving lessons from a master and living with him are two different things. Whether or not this situation is a matter of fate or chance, we cannot kick such a reality into touch by bringing it down as you do to a point of detail:

“It is said, for example, that Saito Sensei received more than the others, I admit, but that remains in a very limited period compared to the long evolution [of O Sensei].”

23 years of living together with the Founder of Aikido is not "a very limited period", and it is a historical circumstance which has had a major consequence. Whereas during these two decades - as you said - the students of Aikikai had access to the famous technical bases of their discipline only through O Sensei’s nagare, Saito however, received them in the very process of their gestation, because O Sensei needed a partner for his research.

And although the young Morihiro could not then take the full measure of what was unfolding before his eyes, it is nonetheless true that he witnessed, in his capacity as uke, the birth of an art, and the delivery by O Sensei of all the foundations of a discipline which had severed any direct link with Daito-ryu.

You ask in your interview that "we explain to you the criteria" against which the idea spread that Saito had received from O Sensei more than others, this is my explanation, and I am part of those who can claim some legitimacy to speak as I do.

You say this in the sentence which to me, is the most relevant from your interview :

"It is in relation to the principles of Aiki that one can be more or less true and not in relation to people, and even less in relation to O Sensei."

I would put principle in the singular, but with this reserve I sign this sentence with both hands. I agree with you that it is only in relation to the Aiki principle that the truth of a practice can be defined. And it is only in this sense that the truth of Master Saito's teaching can be retained. But you will grant me in good logic that all judgment is impossible and must be suspended as long as the principle of Aiki has not been identified as such, otherwise the very criterion of judgment is lacking, and everyone does nothing more than give their opinions, which is of no interest.

What then is this principle? You put us on its trail:

“We can only see the Aiki when we know its "motor". If we do not know it, then the meaning of what is happening remains invisible (...)”

I completely agree.

The motor is the rotation on itself of the vertical axis of the body, the physical image of which is the spine, this initial rotation triggers the rotation of the hips, one forward, the other backward, necessarily. This complementary rotation of the hips is an application of the yin-yang principle, what we call in Aikido irimi-tenkan. No irimi-tenkan, no Aikido. O Sensei is extremely clear on this subject at the beginning of “Budo”, in this first essential chapter which lays the foundations of his art, and which is the key to all the following chapters devoted to technical applications.

Here is its layout:

– Hanmi

– Irimi

– Tai no henka

– Irimi-tenkan

The principle is summarized in its entirety in this way, and the indications given here are of the utmost importance:  they confirm the first, fundamental, dimension of hanmi, as I have indicated, and they show sufficiently clearly that hanmi is the condition of irimi-tenkan.

Here we put our finger on the heart of the problem which took Morihei Ueshiba away from Daitoryu: the shikaku position does not allow the irimi-tenkan principle to be applied, only the hanmi position allows instant and permanent rotation of the hips in complementarity. And that is why the hanmi position is absolutely essential at the beginning and at the end of the technical cycle. This is why O Sensei insists so much on the importance of hanmi at the beginning of the movement, it is the first sentence of his book:

“Fill yourself with ki and assume the hanmi stance.” - p. 39 of the English translation .

This is why he insists so much on the essential character of this position at the end of the movement:

“When the movement ends, it is essential to always adopt the roppo (hanmi) position.”  - p. 39 of the English translation

Roppo is indeed the sine qua non condition of irimi. The Aikido’s irimi has nothing in common with what is called irimi in Daito-ryu, because Daito-ryu does not use hanmi as a founding principle of the art. This is the cause of O Sensei's break with this school, and the reason why Aikido cannot be confused with a Daito-ryu practice, however high the level.

You say:

“If you want to study weapons in Japan, you are spoiled for choice, you can even go directly to study the original school of Itto-ryu Ono-ha or in traditional staff schools which are so numerous. There are Kashima staff techniques too and why not? All of these too can build a good Aikido.”

No Olivier, we cannot "build a good Aikido" without hanmi. All the arts you speak of ignore what the hanmi position is as defined by O Sensei. There is of course here or there a profile position, a waki kamae, a leg opening, etc. but none of this has to do with the foundational structural role that the hanmi position plays in Aikido. And this, moreover, is the underlying reason which gave the Founder's sword its atypical character, and which has always prevented the contemporary masters of O Sensei from truly understanding what he was doing.

The error which consists in thinking that the understanding of Aikido will come out of the study of the koryu that Morihei Ueshiba more or less frequented before he founded his art, is the consequence of a misunderstanding of the notion of riai, of the synthetic unity that makes each Aikido movement a member of the same family.

As I mentioned above, I made this mistake at a time when I didn't even know what the hanmi position was. I practiced Muso Shinden ryu and Katori Shinto ryu for the sword, and Shindo Muso ryu for the staff. However, hanmi is absent from these schools, just as it is absent from Ono-ha Itto ryu and Yagyu Sinkage ryu. And without this basis, no unity around a common principle can appear between the techniques proposed by these schools and the irimi-tenkan of Aikido, even though the gestures of a cut or of a thrust could show points of resemblance.

Guillaume Erard asks you a direct question about the practice of Master Saito's weapons to which you answer this:

If the late Saito Sensei had practiced the Ono-ha school, I would not necessarily have said that he was right, but: that he placed himself in the historical straight line of the great Aiki. [...] Saito Sensei practiced something else, an art of weapons manufactured, concocted by O Sensei for O Sensei, for his own training, in his own personal approach, and that O Sensei did not teach on a truly regular or general basis to all of his students.

This analysis goes against logic.

Indeed, if Saito had wanted to study the Ono-ha school, he would naturally have turned to an Ono-ha master. However, Morihei Ueshiba was not a master of Ono-ha and did not teach this art, he taught Aikido. But precisely, Saito wanted to do Aikido and had no desire to leave his master to study another discipline. Through which strange approach Saito, who served as uke to O Sensei for the ken, jo and tai jutsu, would have decided that in order to learn Aikido, he had to leave the Founder of Aikido with whom he lived and who taught him each day?

"Saito sensei practiced something else" you say.

Yes, certainly.

He practiced "an art of weapons made by O Sensei for O Sensei, for his own training, in his own personal approach".

Yes exactly.

But this "something else", this art made by O Sensei has a name, it's called Aikido. And this is what Ueshiba passed on to Saito, through the use of aiki ken and aiki jo, among others. By what logic Saito, who had the historical opportunity to be there during this "making" of Aikido, should have gone to study another discipline in order to understand his master ? In the name of a historic lineage that O Sensei's profound transformations had reduced to peanuts, and in all respect to non-essential elements ?

This weapon skill, O Sensei himself never "taught it on a really regular or general basis to all of his students."

Yes again, Olivier, yes of course, and that’s why it was so difficult for all of his students to understand what it was really about, and especially at Aikikai. And this is why today the students of these students think that this practice was at the end of the day a negligible evolution compared to the koryu, a minor divergence, a digression, and even, as you suggest, a simple training method.

We must not confuse O Sensei's creative profusion in the implementation of Aikido, with the method developed by Morihiro Saito to try to better understand the great work that was unfolding before his eyes. I spoke about this on the TAI site, especially in the technical notebooks devoted to Saito’s method.

Thus, I completely disagree with the idea that the study of koryu helps in understanding Aikido. As if Master Ueshiba's entire life had unfolded in a purring continuity with the traditional schools of Japan, and as if the lost Tom Thumbs of Aikido had only to retrace the steps of the Founder to find their way back home.

It is the opposite: the whole life of O Sensei consisted in transcending the ancient martial arts, by modifying precisely at the root the bases which established them, to make them produce what they had not produced until then, this is the deep meaning of Takemusu. And the paradox is that the bases of these schools have become, by this authentic transformation, a real lure for anyone who would seek a form of fundamental Aikido there, on the pretext that a kiri otoshi looks like another kiri otoshi, and one kote gaeshi looks like another kote gaeshi.

So, ask yourself, Olivier, if the "highway of ignorance" that you stigmatize, would not also go through the approach which seems all traced, so natural and so obvious, of going back to the sources, given that these sources are nothing more than a smokescreen since O Sensei's break with Takeda.

I think so, and yet I won't contradict you when you say:

“What is the point of learning weapons in Aikido if not for the establishment in the practitioner of the fundamental principles of Aiki, of this motor?”

Because that’s what it is indeed. But I have the feeling that we both have a different conception of this motor. The motor of Aikido is not the motor of the Daitoryu or of the Itto-ryu. And we cannot blame O Sensei for not having insisted, both in his book and in his lectures, on the uniqueness of Aikido, irreducible to everything that had existed until then in Japan in terms of martial arts.

As critical as I may have been in the past towards Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba on a technical level, I will not insult him by thinking that the commitment that was his in the dissemination of Aikido at the international level, could have been the result of a vulgar calculation.

So, I don't follow you any more when you say that:

“When O Sensei died, a problem of stabilization and transmission arose for Aikido as an autogenous art. One way to do this was to cut away from the history of Aiki-jutsu. It was obvious, because from the moment we could say: "Aikido is new, we invented it", we did not have to be accountable to anyone.”

Aikido is nothing new, Aikido is as old as human beings, but Aikido is profoundly different from classic bujutsu, deeply original for the reasons I have given, and Kisshomaru Ueshiba knew it. He didn’t master the whole technical aspect, that’s all. And I would never have criticized the “easily exportable package” that he created, as you explain, to respond to the internationalization of Aikido, and of which I fully understand the need, if he had carried it out in accordance with all the proper rules.

Thus, when I compare a technique performed by O Sensei, and the same technique performed by his son in his “package”, I compare two elements of the same nature, contrary to what you reproach me with.

Why Kisshomaru "showed what he showed the way he showed it" has nothing to do with why he included this technique in a package to the world. This reason is independent of the technique in itself, and even more so of his way of performing that technique.

On the other hand, if he does not perform it - in my opinion - according to the rules of Aikido, what better way to show it than to check the difference with the highest model that we have of respect for these rules: his father? There is a logic in doing this, and whether his father learned this technique from Daito-ryu, Ba Gua Zhang, or invented it himself, does not change the nature of the technique being compared, at the time of the comparison.

And if there is a "fool's game", it is not in such a comparison, it is in the effort to pass it off as some sort of "revenge". The Aikikai didn't do anything to me, and I don't have to take revenge on anything or anyone, Olivier.

If I have given the impression of waving flags in the past, it was to shake up an ill-founded empire and a stifling consensus, to lift a little the lead cloak that was like a burden thirty years ago on teaching Aikido in France and elsewhere.

I've done it in a sometimes-iconoclastic way, scratching a few idols, but it’s by attacking the head that you have a chance to topple an empire. I didn’t topple anything of course, but this leaden ignorance has cracked somewhat since then, and the contribution you make through your experience and your thinking is not negligible regarding this development.

I want to thank you for that, and for giving me the opportunity, in this answer, to express my ideas on the various points that you raise, and which are, for the most part, the testimony of a lucid vision of the problems of what is now called modern Aikido, or rather, as Master Arikawa preferred to call it, budo sport.

I send you my cordial greetings.

Philippe Voarino, Cape Clear, January 15th, 2015
Translation from French into English : Lugh Voarino, September 2020