Professor Tomiki and kenkyuu (research)

Posted on by & filed under Essays.

Recently Bob Dziubla Sensei gave me the opportunity to digitize his personal copy of an out of print book Professor Tomiki wrote in 1956. The work is called Judo and Aikido, and it was written as a basic introduction to these two arts from a sport perspective. 

From the outset, Professor Tomiki makes it very clear that he interprets aikido through the lens of the principles of judo; and he articulates the three principles we still teach today – shizentai, ju and kuzushi. 

What I found most fascinating about this book was that while the core concepts, principles and movements are all the same as that practiced today, it is also clear that Professor Tomiki was still developing his teaching method and his expression of what aikido truly could be. In other words, he was still doing his own research – kenkyuu. 

You could almost say that what distinguished Professor Tomiki’s aikido from the aikijujutsu he learned from O Sensei was this quest to explore and develop and teach rather than simply repeat. To his dying day, Professor Tomiki was exploring his aikido and his judo. He never stopped learning, never stopped teaching and rethinking; and he believed strongly that his students should not either. In failure and in success, we must continue to grow and think and research.

The do in aikido and judo means “way.” It is a path of the whole being, the whole person – growing and developing not only martial skill but intellectual vigor and physiological possibilities. The spirit of Professor Tomiki lives on not in static and unchanging preservation but in kenkyuu and growth. 

The TAA holds out the hope to one day get permission to reprint the entire volume and make it available to everyone.