From Allen Beebe’s website trueaiki.com:
Who am I? And, why should you care?
I am Allen Dean Beebe. I am also Henjo Yuko, Genko Beebe, and Biko. Allen Dean Beebe is my family name. When I served as a Shingon Buddhist priest under Henjyoji Daiyu, Henjo Yuko was my ordination name. Genko (Source of Light) Beebe was the name given to me when I was registered and began training on Mt. Koya, where the headquarters of Shingon Mikkyo is located. After my father, Ken Beebe, Aikido Sensei Shirata Rinjiro, and Shodo Sensei Iwamoto Isamu, passed away, Biko (Beautiful Light) became my Shodo name.
Who I am hardly matters, though.
However, if one is at all interested in Daito Ryu/Aikido and/or Aiki, my experiences DO matter!
Well . . . Takeda Sokaku taught Ueshiba Morihei Daito Ryu and Aiki. Ueshiba Morihei taught Daito Ryu and Aiki to Shirata Rinjiro. Later, Ueshiba Sensei changed the name of what he taught to “Aikido” and Shirata Sensei followed suit. Early schools of Daito Ryu often referred to their training as Aikido as well.
Regardless of any name change, what Ueshiba and Shirata Sensei taught remained unchanged. (Despite contradicting popular Aikido “history,” these facts are well documented and proven by historical evidence. We’ll get to that in a later post.) Whatever the name used, Daito Ryu, Aikido and Aiki*, are what I learned from Shirata Sensei when I studied under him from 1986 until his death in 1993.
All three of these men (Takeda, Ueshiba, Shirata) studied Mikkyo, relating its teachings and practices with theirs. I too study Shingon Mikkyo. Ueshiba and Shirata were members of Omoto Kyo. I became a member of and studied, to the point of representing my region at the U.S.A. Headquarters of, Seicho no Ie. Seicho no Ie is an offshoot of Omoto Kyo founded by Taniguchi Masaharu who, while in Omoto Kyo, was integral to the organization’s massive publishing endeavors. (Seicho no I was also closely involved in first bringing Ueshiba Sensei to Hawaii.) Ueshiba and Shirata both studied and produced Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy). I too studied Shodo for years, eventually inheriting my teacher’s school after his death. And, as mentioned earlier, I learned Daito Ryu/Aikido and Aiki as taught by Takeda Sokaku, Ueshiba Morihei, and Shirata Rinjiro.
Besides these things, I studied Karate beginning in 1973, rubbed friendly elbows with Don Angier of Yanagi Ryu Aikijujutsu (student of Yoshida Kenji, son of Yoshida Kotaro, a student and peer of Takeda Sokaku), was awarded a Shoden Menkyo license from Toby Threadgill Menkyo Kaiden of Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu, (Who’s teacher’s teacher knew both Takeda and Kotaro Sensei) before (amicably) resigning, and had the pleasure of being introduced to (by the very talented Howard Popkin) and training with, Okamoto Seigo of the Roppo Kai before his death. I dabble in Judo at Portland’s highly recommended Seiwakan Judo Dojo. (My brother-in-law who was a Japanese Police Officer, Police Judo instructor and dearly missed Budo Brother first got me out onto the Judo mats in his Dojo in Kesanuma before the Tsunami.) Also, I was appointed, despite my best efforts to decline the honor, Shihan of the USA by the inimitable Jon Bluming (10th Dan Kyokushin Karate, 9th Dan Kodokan Judo, etc.)
In order to survive in Japan, communicate with family, and out of personal interest (And because my Shodo Sensei yelled at me for not being able to read my own writing!) I learned to speak, read, and write Japanese to varying degrees at various times.
Finally, I had the good fortune of meeting, training with, and learning from the martial Phenom Mr. Dan Harden of ‘Body Works Seminars’ fame, who learned Aiki via Daito Ryu, and amalgamated Daito Ryu Aiki with his extensive knowledge of both Ancient and Modern martial traditions. It was Dan that both recognized and acknowledged the depth and value of Shirata Sensei’s teachings and tirelessly encouraged me to get out and share what I have learned with the world.
This eclectic, but purposeful, mix of experiences has given me a unique collection of perspectives from which to study and understand these unique individuals and their teaching of Daito Ryu/Aikido in general, and Aiki specifically.
The written teachings left by these teachers almost always have at least three layers of meaning. It unfortunately has become common “knowledge” that “none” of Ueshiba’s students understood what he was talking about in his lectures. Consequently, when Ueshiba’s writings are interpreted and/or translated, if they are interpreted and/or translated at all, they are commonly interpreted from only one perspective, and by individuals who often have no experience in Daito Ryu/Aikido, Aiki, and/or admitted to not understanding the original utterances in the first place! This is unfortunate, because if one wishes to receive the fullness of meaning being delivered, it is important to understand the message holistically. Furthermore, miss interpretation has become more commonly known and accepted as authentic than lesser known but more qualified sources.
Am I claiming to be the sole possessor of “the truth” of Daito Ryu/Aikido and/or Aiki.
No. The truth is the truth that stands alone beyond any one individual’s understanding or interpretation regardless of how “August” the title that that individual may hold.
I do have many unique perspectives and experiences directly related to Daito Ryu/Aikido and Aiki, which enable me to have an ever increasing understanding of these subjects.
It is that ever increasing understanding that I will be sharing here.
*There is Daito Ryu: Jujutsu, Aiki Jujutsu, and Aiki no Jutsu. So it is possible, in fact history indicates that it is probable, that one might study Daito Ryu and only learn Jujutsu the entire time. Very few (one or two per teacher) were taught Aiki no Jutsu. This is why I say Daito Ryu/Aikido and Aiki.
PacMAC Instructor – 2018