Friday, September 12, 2014

Tomiki's murky past

I posed the question the other day, just because I was curious...
When Tomiki went to study with Ueshiba (in 1926), did he take some ukes with him to practice with, or did Ueshiba already have a bunch of other students for Tomiki to practice with, or do you suppose Tomiki actually got to throw Morihei around a lot?  I was curious because you don't hear much about the folks that were practicing aikido that far back.
Well, during my searching, I found this old video of Ueshiba throwing some guys around.  It says it is 1930, but it was probably closer to 1935 - in any case, It's the oldest Ueshiba film I've seen, and the one closest to Tomiki's time.  Some of the ukes mentioned on the video include Tsutomu Yukawa and Shigemi Yonekawa.  Someone also responded (but I haven't checked the reference) that Rinjiro Shirata mentions Tomiki in his book.
Anyway, Tomiki remains a murky sort of mystery.  We have a bunch of his writings and we can touch people who touched Tomiki, but we don't have any film of him doing judo (except for goshinjutsu - no kumijudo), and we have little or no info about his time with Morihei.  There is, however, this great old pic of Tomiki and Morihei lounging around on the porch in matching bathrobes :-)
It seems odd to me, and sad, that someone as prominent and as recent as Tomiki sensei can be so thoroughly obscured by time.

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Patrick Parker
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