|The name 'Shodokan Aikido'
2001 is a very important year for our aikido. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Kenji Tomiki Sensei's birth. Also, in October, the 4th International Aikido Tournament will be held at Maishima Arena in Osaka. This is a great opportunity to convey to everyone Tomiki Sensei's dying wish.
Compared to when the JAA was started the number of members has increased greatly both in Japan and internationally. With the Internet and other forms of communication the volume of information has also increased and the possibility of being introduced to our aikido is greater than before.
Within our membership and in general it is not uncommon to hear the terms Tomiki Aikido or Tomiki-ryu Aikido. However, Tomiki Sensei told me about his extensive ideas and thoughts concerning aikido and budo. He poured his heart and soul into aikido but wanted to avoid his name being used in this way and indicated his great disapproval.
He was Morihei Ueshiba's best pupil and the first person to receive an 8th dan from him. In spite of this, after Ueshiba's death, Tomiki Sensei was criticised for his actions by the leading members of Aikikai at that time. They demanded that he should stop using the name 'aikido'. I recall Tomiki Sensei's strong reaction, "I have got only one teacher and that is Ueshiba Sensei. Only he can excommunicate me". The use of the terms Tomiki-ryu, Tomiki System, etc. prompted an austere look and resolute manner, "It was never my aim to create competitive aikido for only one specific group". I can recall his politeness and the things he used to say about his cherished ideas. So why was Tomiki Sensei so strongly against having his name used? I think that this was because he had much more sincere and more noble ideas concerning aikido and budo.
At that time he mentioned the name of Kano Shihan to use as an example, "Kano Sensei aimed at creating judo as a modernisation of budo. Although he established judo, we never hear term Kano Judo."
Referring to own's name in this way is shortsighted and won't allow budo to change at all. Tomiki Sensei did not boast about competitive aikido belonging to him but believed it was connected to the development of aikido as a whole and for the benefit of everyone. He believed strongly that without this process aikido would not modernise. This way of thinking was perhaps why he was particular about the name.
Tetsuro Nariyama Shihan