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dps
05-22-2006, 11:22 AM
I once studied Aikido with a new sensei who was an admitted pacifist. He did no teach the use of a bo, jo, ken or atemi in practice. He said his sensei ( can't remember who) studied with O'Sensei toward the end O'Sensei's life and this is where his pacifist view of Aikido came from.
Was O'Sensei a pacifist?

MikeLogan
05-22-2006, 11:39 AM
Did this new sensei not teach weapons because he was "an admitted pacifist", or because he never studied them? There's zero reason a genuine pacifist should not be capable with a weapon. In fact one should reasonably conceive that a pacifist would be as such because they have an idea of how effective weapons may be, and how painful they may be when used effectively. So in that brief and foggy light, I would say as other's have reported, O Sensei was a pacifist, and he certainly used, trained in, and taught weapons.

michael.

SeiserL
05-22-2006, 11:50 AM
Was O'Sensei a pacifist?
IMHO, no.

billybob
05-22-2006, 12:05 PM
Pacifism to me is passive resistance, the kind used by protesters in the 60's (I saw it all on tv). :)

I don't prefer weapons in training my body to move. I don't prefer training sword, when any of my pistols is a more effective weapon and more likely to be around then a sword.

I train these things in aikido because it is offered to me, and I do what I'm told. That's the 'martial' part of martial art. I bought my first gun the week I bought my first house - I just didn't ever want to have to explain to my wife's family that I had let her be killed because of a belief I had, even if it is a noble belief such as 'pacifism'.

IMHO peace comes from strength not weakness.

dave

Niadh
05-22-2006, 12:11 PM
In order to truly be a pcifist, one must know that one has the ability to deal, immediately and with necessary force (up to and including deadly) with a threat. To truly be able to choose pacifism takes work in realism. otherwise one is simply stating that one thinks violence is bad, not making a choice based on what one is capable of.

Also IMHO- No

MikeLogan
05-22-2006, 12:50 PM
I wish I could remember, Niadh , a poster here on aikiweb uses a quote roughly to the effect of your post as their signature.

The funny part is that it always reminded me of what i saw as the pacifist nature of the societal principles of aikido.
I'll ask a question now, so I'll have better reason and ability to reply.
Am I pacifist even though I wish to learn about violence? And odd way to say it, I know...If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst. Or, to make the best go of it, we must know the worst of it.

Oh, and, SDEWTIA*



*Some day everyone will talk in acronym :rolleyes:

Chris Li
05-22-2006, 02:56 PM
I once studied Aikido with a new sensei who was an admitted pacifist. He did no teach the use of a bo, jo, ken or atemi in practice. He said his sensei ( can't remember who) studied with O'Sensei toward the end O'Sensei's life and this is where his pacifist view of Aikido came from.
Was O'Sensei a pacifist?

1) Morihei Ueshiba trained with weapons daily until the end of his life.
2) Kisshomaru Ueshiba stated specifically that his father was not a pacifist. See this posting by Ellis Amdur:

"I recall a presentation 2nd Doshu gave to the Japan Martial Arts Society in the 1980's, and someone raised his hand as asked just when it was that Osensei became a pacifist. After the translation, Doshu looked rather puzzled, and asked for clarification, and the question was asked again. Doshu seemed to be suppressing giggles, and said, in effect that his father was never a pacifist, nor was aikido a pacifist practice. "After all, it is a martial art," he said. He then continued on to say, vaguely but accurately that his father created something new, that was outside the dualism of violence and non-violence."

Best,

Chris

jeff.
05-22-2006, 03:10 PM
i don't think he was.

that is: it seems to me that we can see three general catagories in this equation: pacifism, the belief in violence and non-violence. in my opinion, non-violence is the middle ground between pacifism and violence. that is: it is the idea of minimizing violence as much as possible, while recognizing that sometimes violence might be unfortunately necessary to stop even worse violence from happening. or perhaps better put: sometimes violence might be required to minimize violence.

as an example: suppose someone is about to shoot a friend of yours. you come upon the situation and realize you could get the drop on this person using an aikido technique (using the gun as a lever to do gyaku-kotegaeshi, say). however, in the process the person with gun will have their fingers broken. do you allow them to shoot someone in order to be true to "pacifism" or do you break their fingers (a lesser violence) in order to stop them from killing your friend (a greater violence)? it seems to me that ethically reponsible action is to break the fingers.

further, i think its important to recognize how this kind of violence is qualitatively different from shooting someone, or attacking someone for selfish reasons. but it is also important to recognize this as a slippery slope. to wit: this justification has been used to allow all manner of atrocities.

so: in my mind, part of osensei's genius was to create an martial form that trains us to be mindful of this slippery slope, to pay attention, a martial art of nonviolence (as opposed to pacifism or violence), so that we will be able to take ethically responsible action (which, of course, is not always, or even not usually, violent. see terry dobson sensei's story about his train ride [printed in aikido and the new warrior, and other places]). and to do so with love in our hearts for all involved.

jeff.

jeff.
05-22-2006, 03:15 PM
thanks chris! i'd never heard that story... and you posted it while i was writing my reply. but it seems like my feelings on the issue can be understood as correct, if the dualism is actually understood as violence and pacisfism, while non-violence is a different middle ground. thinking about this i'm reminded that many of the so-called fathers of pacifism supported violence actions when they thought they were necessary. thoreau supported john brown, gandhi supported the war against the nazis, etc. i think this puts them into the realm of non-violence that i'm trying to describe.

by the way: how would you translate / understand the word muteiko, which osensei seemed to use frequently, and which is often translated as "non-violence"? could it be that osensei understood muteiko in the sense i'm trying to describe?

thanks!

jeff.

dps
05-22-2006, 03:17 PM
Did this new sensei not teach weapons because he was "an admitted pacifist", or because he never studied them?

michael.
He never studied them because he felt practicing violence was wrong.

billybob
05-22-2006, 03:45 PM
He never studied them because he felt practicing violence was wrong.

I won't criticize your Sensei for taking a stand.

dave

Chris Li
05-22-2006, 03:50 PM
by the way: how would you translate / understand the word muteiko, which osensei seemed to use frequently, and which is often translated as "non-violence"? could it be that osensei understood muteiko in the sense i'm trying to describe?

thanks!

jeff.

I would say that "non-resistance" is a better translation, generally speaking. "Teiko" means "oppose" or "resist" rather than "violence" (with "mu" meaning "non"). OTOH, it would depend upon context and usage for exact meaning and shades of meaning.

Best,

Chris

dps
05-22-2006, 04:01 PM
I won't criticize your Sensei for taking a stand.

dave

This was about 5 years ago for a month.. I stopped practicing with him because of a re injured knee. When I was able to practice again he had stopped teaching.
At the time I was surprised at what he told me. From what I had read about O'Sensei he continued to practice with a bokken until illness stopped him. My feelings were and still are that Aikido is a martial art first and foremost and as you practice the art that practice works on your mind which works on your spirit.

Qatana
05-22-2006, 04:11 PM
Hmmm, practicing a form with a stick or sword is violence, and throwing,twisting and pinning another human being are pacifistic?

dps
05-22-2006, 04:14 PM
Hmmm, practicing a form with a stick or sword is violence, and throwing,twisting and pinning another human being are pacifistic?
:D :D :D Wish I had thought of that then. Where were you when I needed you.

Bronson
05-22-2006, 04:29 PM
...a poster here on aikiweb uses a quote roughly to the effect of your post as their signature.

That would be me :)

I'm not at home right now or I could give you the name of the person quoted in my sig. He was a high level sword art practitioner is all I can remember (the sig. box didn't have enough room to fit his name at the end of the quote)

Bronson

George S. Ledyard
05-22-2006, 05:28 PM
1) Morihei Ueshiba trained with weapons daily until the end of his life.
2) Kisshomaru Ueshiba stated specifically that his father was not a pacifist. See this posting by Ellis Amdur:

"I recall a presentation 2nd Doshu gave to the Japan Martial Arts Society in the 1980's, and someone raised his hand as asked just when it was that Osensei became a pacifist. After the translation, Doshu looked rather puzzled, and asked for clarification, and the question was asked again. Doshu seemed to be suppressing giggles, and said, in effect that his father was never a pacifist, nor was aikido a pacifist practice. "After all, it is a martial art," he said. He then continued on to say, vaguely but accurately that his father created something new, that was outside the dualism of violence and non-violence."

Best,

Chris

Thanks Chris,
The lack of Japanese language skills makes it difficult for Aikido folks to get a good picture of the Founder's spiritual views. This distortion wasn't accidental but rather purposeful. The vast majority of the material presented by the Aikikai under Kisshomaru Ueshiba after the war in which the Founder was quoted was highly selective and the words used to present his ideas were tailored to the message the Aikido leadership wished to present to the West.

As I described elsewhere, it was Arikawa, Osawa and the Nidai Doshu who cherry picked through O-Sensei's writings and lectures to present a picture that would make Aikido "sellable" to a world that had only recently been at war with Japan. The Peace and Harmony part got top billing while virtually all mention of Shinto, the Kami, overtly religious material was expunged.

It's not that O-Sensei didn't wish for Peace but his idea of how that would be attained was much more complex than what most folks call "Pacivism". Most Americans get their ideas of Pacifism from Martin Luther King who was inturn influenced by Ghandi. This type of Pacifism has almost nothing to do with what O-Sensei was putting forward.The mechanism by which the world will become a peaceful place has to do with training and individuals, one by one, becoming in tune with the Way of the Kami. O-sensei's unique vision was to see that this could be done through budo training.

In fact O-Sensei believed that all of the elements which go into drawing oneself into accord with the "Will of the Gods" are contained in true budo practice whihc is what he believed Aikido to be (and he didn't mean this in an exclusive way - not maintaining that Aikido had it and other martial ways didn't).

It is through proper training that one comes to understand the proper relationship of all things. "Non-resistence" calls for putting ones own actions into accord with this realization. Violence is produced by a failure to understand this proper relationship. In O-Sensei's thinking, violence violated the fundamental balance of the myriad elements in the Universe and automatically led to the destruction of the purpetrator. However, the mechanism of his destruction would be the warrior who is acting in accord with the Way of the Kami which exhibits the "spirit of loving protection of all things". This is where many Westerners start forming their ideas about O-Sensei's "pacifism". But O-Sensei's idea of true Budo involved protection of all things and that would sometimes need to involve the removal of the destructive element from the system. The spiritual warrior would attempt to bring the ignorant violent person into harmony with the proper order of things but, failing that, he would do battle in order to protect his people and restore balance.

It is true that O-Sensei's idea of what kind of personal power one who has attained true budo would be able to wield would, in itself, tend to bring those around him into the correct path. But nowhere does anything O-Sensei writes infer that one would sacrifice himself and let an evil person prevail out of some idea that violence was "wrong". Violence would have more to do with ones internal state. The spiritual warrior could fight evil and do so from altruistic motives and that would not be violence, from the internal standpoint.

Passive resistance is not the same thing at all. However, I think that the internal state required to pursue real passive resistance would actually be very similar to what O-Sensei seems to have meant when he talked about true Budo. It would require the same spirit of self sacrifice that the follower of True Budo would have been expected to cultivate.

Chris Li
05-22-2006, 06:17 PM
Thanks Chris,
The lack of Japanese language skills makes it difficult for Aikido folks to get a good picture of the Founder's spiritual views. This distortion wasn't accidental but rather purposeful. The vast majority of the material presented by the Aikikai under Kisshomaru Ueshiba after the war in which the Founder was quoted was highly selective and the words used to present his ideas were tailored to the message the Aikido leadership wished to present to the West.

As I described elsewhere, it was Arikawa, Osawa and the Nidai Doshu who cherry picked through O-Sensei's writings and lectures to present a picture that would make Aikido "sellable" to a world that had only recently been at war with Japan. The Peace and Harmony part got top billing while virtually all mention of Shinto, the Kami, overtly religious material was expunged.

Of course, Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, and Minoru Mochizuki were all seperate from the above three after the war, but their own arts incorporate even less religious material than the Aikikai.

Also, you would expect that, if religious references were deliberately eliminated in translation, that Japanese practitioners of Aikido (who still had access to the original material) would be more conversant with that facet of the art, but they are, if anything, less knowledgeable of such things than practitioners overseas.

I would describe the process in somewhat less nefarious terms. In general, the deemphasis of Shinto, the Kami, and overtly religious material was a cultural change that occurred throughout Japanese society, and Aikido was no exception. The general deemphasis on religion in Japan had little to do with the west, but was so complete that many young Japanese people look puzzled today if you mention the word "Shinto".

Material containing heavily religious references continued to be published throughout Kisshomaru's life. "Aikido Shinzui" is one collection of such articles published by Morihei Ueshiba, "Take Musu Aiki" is another.

Unfortunately, Morihei's writings are very difficult to understand, even for Japanese. Virtually all of his students, from Gozo Shioda to Mitsugi Saotome have made public comments that they often had no idea what he was talking about. Accordingly, a large part of Kisshomaru's efforts were spent on attempting to make his father's ideas more understandable. This may be best seen in "Aikido no Kokoro" ("The Spirit of Aikido"), where he does a fair job of expressing his father's views in more accessible language.

Best,

Chris

senshincenter
05-22-2006, 08:12 PM
On Aikido and atemi: The radio interview that one can hear on one of the DVDs sold over at AJ.com has the interviewer asking Osensei about Aikido having no strikes, being purely defensive, etc., and you could tell he was asking looking for an agreement of sorts, like he had been prepped in one way or another to have his understanding affirmed by Osensei. To me, this is a sign of what George is saying - that a view of the art was developing and that that view wasn't too in line with Osensei's own understandings. Well, what does Osensei say? After chuckling at the guy - like saying, "Man, weren't you listening to what I have been saying (i.e. what a stupid question)," Osensei says something like, "Of course there are strikes, an offense, etc., in Aikido - Aikido is about reconciling dichotomies, so yes, it has to have both offense and defense." (etc. yada yada yada)

I'm with Chris on this one - there was a whole "secularization" of Japan - not just Osensei's Aikido. However, I'm not so sure this is the exact thing we are seeing in the "pacifying" of Aikido. In my opinion, that is something that actually came from outside of Aikido - at least Osensei's. It was something that came in to Aikido mainly through the rhetoric Judo was trying to use to distinguish itself (where the "other" was "what came before"), to get its curriculum understood one way and not another, and to get it in the favor of certain institutions (e.g. the public school system). Whatever Osensei was doing in Iwama, I don't think he was at all partial to this view of "martial arts," but all those young folks training during that time or entering into training soon thereafter, in and outside of Aikido, really couldn't understand their art in any way outside of what Judo was saying about itself and "budo" as a whole. In my opinion, that is where you get all this stuff from - and why there is this obvious effort to look at certain things Osensei said over others and/or in a certain way.

d

dps
05-22-2006, 09:19 PM
George, Chris, David are you saying there was a disconnect of O''Sensei religious beliefs in order to make Aikido more palatable for it to spread in Japan and outside Japan?
O'Sensei's religious beliefs were from Shinto and Omoto-kyo. I think the disconnect has left an opening for the individual to use their own spiritual, religious or philosophical beliefs for the spirit part of the mind, body ,spirit relationship.

senshincenter
05-22-2006, 09:30 PM
I wouldn't say that anything so conscious took place, or if it did, it was not enough to cause the kind of shift we can see. Rather, there were a lot of social/cultural changes that took place that had a lot do to with the epistemic shift or rift between Osensei and others (i.e. some) - others, by a set of circumstances, that went on to dominate how Aikido was to be understood and practiced, etc., by the majority of us in the world today.

Additionally, I would not say that Osensei's religious beliefs, especially his Omoto-kyo beliefs, would have gotten in the way of anyone using their own spiritual, religious, or philosophical beliefs for the spirit part of the mind/body/spirit relationship. Osensei's religious beliefs were not of the kind that had a strict doxa - one that could be contrasted against others. For example, Omoto-kyo was very much into the idea of all religions leading to the same place, etc. It would not have made sense for him to say, "You must do what I do - only!" He would have rather said, "You do that? It's the same thing - meet you at the same top of the same mountain."

dps
05-22-2006, 09:38 PM
Of course, Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, and Minoru Mochizuki were all separate from the above three after the war, but their own arts incorporate even less religious material than the Aikikai.


Does anybody know what their religious beliefs were?

dps
05-22-2006, 09:44 PM
Additionally, I would not say that Osensei's religious beliefs, especially his Omoto-kyo beliefs, would have gotten in the way of anyone using their own spiritual, religious, or philosophical beliefs for the spirit part of the mind/body/spirit relationship. Osensei's religious beliefs were not of the kind that had a strict doxa - one that could be contrasted against others. For example, Omoto-kyo was very much into the idea of all religions leading to the same place, etc. It would not have made sense for him to say, "You must do what I do - only!" He would have rather said, "You do that? It's the same thing - meet you at the same top of the same mountain."

This in part could be what O'Sensei meant when he said that everyone was to find thier own Aikido ( I hope my paraphrase was right).

dps
05-22-2006, 10:04 PM
That would be me :)

I'm not at home right now or I could give you the name of the person quoted in my sig. He was a high level sword art practitioner is all I can remember (the sig. box didn't have enough room to fit his name at the end of the quote)

Bronson

Great quote. I found this link http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=578.
Thanks.

dps
05-22-2006, 10:23 PM
. Most Americans get their ideas of Pacifism from Martin Luther King who was inturn influenced by Ghandi

" When the choice is between cowardice and violence, I would strongly recommend violence." Mohandus Ghandi written in a letter to his son.

From a post by James Williams on Aikido Journal.

George S. Ledyard
05-23-2006, 01:54 AM
Of course, Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, and Minoru Mochizuki were all seperate from the above three after the war, but their own arts incorporate even less religious material than the Aikikai.

Also, you would expect that, if religious references were deliberately eliminated in translation, that Japanese practitioners of Aikido (who still had access to the original material) would be more conversant with that facet of the art, but they are, if anything, less knowledgeable of such things than practitioners overseas.

I would describe the process in somewhat less nefarious terms. In general, the deemphasis of Shinto, the Kami, and overtly religious material was a cultural change that occurred throughout Japanese society, and Aikido was no exception. The general deemphasis on religion in Japan had little to do with the west, but was so complete that many young Japanese people look puzzled today if you mention the word "Shinto".

Material containing heavily religious references continued to be published throughout Kisshomaru's life. "Aikido Shinzui" is one collection of such articles published by Morihei Ueshiba, "Take Musu Aiki" is another.

Unfortunately, Morihei's writings are very difficult to understand, even for Japanese. Virtually all of his students, from Gozo Shioda to Mitsugi Saotome have made public comments that they often had no idea what he was talking about. Accordingly, a large part of Kisshomaru's efforts were spent on attempting to make his father's ideas more understandable. This may be best seen in "Aikido no Kokoro" ("The Spirit of Aikido"), where he does a fair job of expressing his father's views in more accessible language.

Best,

Chris

I understand that secularization was taking place throughout Japanese culture after the war... It appears to me that even Kisshomaru, and certainly Moriteru, looked at the Founder as something of an anachronism.

It's just that Aikido, as the creation of Morihei Ueshiba, can't be separated from it's spiritual components and still be Aikido in the way that O-Sensei intended. At Rocky Mountain Summer Camp two years ago, I had the chance to sit with Stan Pranin and Saotome Sensei and chat. The topic of which of O-Sensei's students had tried to understand his teachings, as he had himself understood them, came up. Both of them agreed that it was Hikitsuchi Sensei, Abe Sensei, and Sunadomari Sensei who had pursued Aikido from the spiritual point of view as outlined by the Founder.

Often we hear O-Sensei quoted as having told his deshi at honbu dojo that none of them were "doing my Aikido", if I remember the gist of the quotation. In the discussions on the forums this has often been taken to mean that their technique was lacking in some way. I think that he was referring more to the fact that Aikido technical practice had been largely separated from its spiritual underpinnings. The deshi all tried hard to understand and master his technique but only a small number put much attention on his spiritual message.

What is ironic about this is that it is precisely the spiritual message, abeit very simplified and watered down, that grabbed most folks in the West. O-Sensei, as the Founder whose insights allowed him to create this marvelous practice, is an icon for many in the West in a way that he isn't much at all in Japan. Of course there are styles whose originators purposely distanced themselves from the spritual aspects of Aikido as presented by O-Sensei. But I don't think it is accidental these styles have a much smaller following than the styles in which O-sensei still represents some sort of model for the practitioners.

I trained under Saotome Sensei, as most folks are aware. I don't think we had a practice go by when Sensei didn't refer to O-Sensei in one way or another. My whole experience of Aikido is essentially imbued with O-Sensei's influence, although second hand. For me, it is precisely my own attempt to understand what O-Sensei meant when he talked about Aikido and its spiritual principles that keeps me going in the art after thirty years. Aikido without O-Sensei, so to speak, would not merit so much of my life's time, effort, financial expenditure, etc. It would be just another form of martial exercise.

I have a hard time with the folks who impute all sorts of spiritual ideas to the Founder when that wasn't what he actually meant at all. But I have an even harder time with the folks who don't care at all. Their continued interest in Aikido is mystifying to me, absent as it is of any focus on what O-Sensei was trying to create with his art.

I have been so fortunate in having started my Aikido with someone who spent 15 years associated with the Founder. Short of training with O-Sensei directly I couldn't have had a better beginning. But I have been extremely lucky to have known so many teachers of the art for whom O-Sensei's message meant something crucial to the art. The Shingu lineage: Mary Heiny, Jack Wada, Tom Read, Linda Holiday, and Clint George; the vision they got from Hikitsuchi Sensei still inspires their teachings and their practice. William Gleason Sensei, whose renditions of O-Sensei's teachings and his presentation of Yamaguchi Sensei's version of the art has shaped the direction my own training has taken. John Stevens and Allen Beebe, both students of Shirata Sensei who, unlike many of the thirties deshi, was deeply interested in the spiritual side of Aikido. Even new friends, like Matsuoka Sensei, who is busy trying to get as much as he can from Abe Sensei before he passes away, are inspiring. These folks care deeply about the message. Each has his or her own take on what that message was but they are all commited to it.

If the majority of Japanese practitioners have lost touch with O-sensei's Aikido, this is all the more reason for the folks practicing here, where there are so many gifted teachers who do care, to try to keep his art alive in something close to the way he envisioned it. That is something worth spending ones life doing. I can't see merely workin to perfect one's nikkyo as fitting the bill.

Peter Goldsbury
05-23-2006, 02:11 AM
I think one can approach the question of whether Morihei Ueshiba was a pacifist from two directions: from his writings; and/or from seeing how Morihei Ueshiba would have fitted in (or not) with mainstream Japanese society from 1931 to 1945 and after. Either way, the ground is somewhat slippery.

I know that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Sadateru Arikawa 'edited' the writings of Ueshiba (for the latter told me so), but I have never seen any texts which show the extent of the editing: the 'before' and 'after', so to speak. We are left with the biography written by Sundomari, the more 'official' biography written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and the reminiscences of his father contained in Aikido Ichiro. There is little evidence from any prewar written sources that Ueshiba was a pacficist in any sense of the word.

The second direction is to attempt to place Ueshiba in the context of wartime Japan. Again, there is not a great deal to go on here. He was an avowed Omoto believer right up until the Second Omoto Incident in 1935, after which his connections with Omoto-kyou became far more distant. There is some evidence of anti-war sentiment among Omotokyou and Tenrikyou believers in rural districts, but the political climate became more and more hostile and there is no evidence that Morihei Ueshiba himself publicly espoused anti-war sentiments. The Kobukan Dojo was a meeting place for young officers who eventually attempted a coup and Ueshiba himself taught aiki-budo to the Japanese military at numerous schools. It is very hard to believe that he would have done this had he been a pacifist, as this term is usually understood. It is also hard to believe that Ueshiba understood aikido, even at this time, in anything less than spiritual terms, even though this should not be understood as synonymous with anti-war sentiments.

There is some evidence that Ueshiba became upset at how the war was being fought and that this was a contributory factor in his decision to move to Iwama in 1942. There is some discussion of this in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido Ichiro.

After the war, however, Ueshiba might well have changed his views, especially in view of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the thousands of military and civilians killed, and Japan's defeat. I know a number of Japanese who are now in their eighties, living here in Hiroshima, who did the same thing.

Best regards to all,

Dieter Haffner
05-23-2006, 02:42 AM
This discussion reminds me of a quote by the roman writer Flavius Vegetius Renatus around 400 AD:
"If you want peace prepare for war".

MikeLogan
05-23-2006, 07:11 AM
My brain was off yesterday, which must explain my rather exceptional practice last night. The term pacifist as it is commonly regarded is on a larger scale than a self defense situation anyhow. I forgot O Sensei's time on the mainland for one thing, but I also got stuck on the term itself, which I should have realized is obsolete for reasons stated above. gah.

And yes, Jo, that is a good question.

michael.
good thread.

Josh Reyer
05-23-2006, 12:37 PM
Messrs Valadez, Li, and Ledyard,

Have any of you (or any one else, of course) read 開祖 植芝盛平の合気道 Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei no Aikido, by Omiya Shiro? The subtitle is "Waza" to "kotoba" ni himerareta seishin sekai; "The spiritual world hidden inside 'techniques' and 'words'".

According to the bio, he is apparently a Daito-ryu shihan and researcher into Koshinto 古神道 and Gengaku 玄学. I myself have no idea how to evaluate his credentials and expertise in this area. It strikes me as a bit esoteric. And yet, unlike most Japanese books I've come across, it seems meticulously researched. It actually has a bibliography(!) 54 books long, including, as near as I can tell, everything by Ueshiba Morihei, everything by Kisshomaru, everything by Tohei Koichi, authors including Tanaka Bansen, Sunadomari Kanshu, Sunadomari Kanemoto, Saito Morihiro, Shioda Gozo, Kimura Tatsuo, Takeshita Isamu, Tenryu, Tomiki Kenji, Deguchi Onisaburo, Honda Chikaatsu and many more. It reminds me very much of Tom Shippey's The Road to Middle-earth, in a kind of "source analysis for the layman" kind of way. He looks at things Ueshiba says, and then refers to Omotokyo writings to help decipher what they mean, and then shows how these concepts show up in various techniques in various styles of aikido.

As I said, I don't have the background and specialized knowledge to judge how good this book is, nor how credible Omiya may be, but it certainly seems something worth checking out. At the end, he looks at the different styles of funakogi of Kisshomaru, Tohei, Shioda, and Sunadomari and how they relate to misogi!

billybob
05-23-2006, 12:54 PM
FWIW i took three oaths while I served with the U.S. Navy:

Upon enlistment:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Upon finishing basic training:
"I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense."

Upon finishing Hospital Corpsman school:
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE MYSELF BEFORE GOD
AND THESE WITNESSES
TO PRACTICE FAITHFULLY
ALL OF MY DUTIES AS A MEMBER OF
THE HOSPITAL CORPS.
I HOLD THE CARE OF THE SICK AND INJURED TO BE A
SACRED TRUST
AND WILL ASSIST THE MEDICAL OFFICER
WITH LOYALTY AND HONESTY.
I WILL NOT KNOWINGLY PERMIT HARM TO COME TO
ANY PATIENT.
I WILL NOT PARTAKE OF NOR ADMINISTER
ANY UNAUTHORIZED MEDICATION.
I WILL HOLD
ALL PERSONAL MATTERS
PERTAINING TO THE PRIVATE LIVES OF
PATIENTS IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.
I DEDICATE MY
HEART, MIND, AND STRENGTH
TO THE WORK BEFORE ME.
I SHALL DO ALL WITHIN MY POWER
TO SHOW IN MYSELF AN
EXAMPLE OF ALL THAT IS
HONORABLE AND GOOD
THROUGHOUT
MY NAVAL CAREER.

dave

Chris Li
05-23-2006, 01:47 PM
Messrs Valadez, Li, and Ledyard,

Have any of you (or any one else, of course) read ŠJ‘c@AŽÅ·•½‚̍‡‹C“¹ Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei no Aikido, by Omiya Shiro? The subtitle is "Waza" to "kotoba" ni himerareta seishin sekai; "The spiritual world hidden inside 'techniques' and 'words'".

I haven't read the book, so it may be perfectly good, but Omiya's credentials are, as I understand the situation, somewhat exaggerated, to say the least.

Best,

Chris

senshincenter
05-23-2006, 08:12 PM
Hi Josh,

I have not read the book either. I only know of the author from his "Hidden Roots of Aikido" book. it does sound like a very interesting read. I think, if you really wanted to get a handle on its credibility, you could track the research through the bibliography. That is always one's best bet - and the best way of learning more about a book's topic. However, it is a lot of work (the downside).

I'd have to say that I think the book's perspective sounds very reasonable to me - I'd have to, I think. I've done such things, or tried to do such things, twice here at Aikiweb.com. First there was my article on Ichirei-Shikon-Sangen-Hachiriki (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8831&page=1&pp=25&highlight=sangen) and then my latest article in this month's columns - on Osensei's "Kannagara no Jutsu" (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/thegrindstone/2006_05.html)

Note: I'm with George on what part of Osensei's message folks were missing, etc., - (it being the spiritual part - it not being the technical/kokyu part).

regards,
d

6th Kyu For Life
05-23-2006, 09:51 PM
I stumbled upon this article while doing research for a paper (Unfortunately, the paper was not on Aikido--I was just wasting time).
I don't know how JStor works if you don't have a subscription, but you might be able to access it from a library.

Link to article on JStor (http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0031-8221%28198204%2932%3A2%3C177%3APATEMA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-C)

Allan Bäck and Daeshik Kim. "Pacifism in the Eastern Martial Arts," from Philosophy East and West, Vol. 32, No. 2. (Apr., 1982), pp. 177-186.

Here's the first paragraph:In this article we wish to claim that, despite the paradoxical appearances, there is a positive relation between pacifism and the Eastern martial arts. We shall argue that all moral agents, even absolute pacifists, have a duty to learn how to fight. Further, after making some observations about the peculiar way in which the consciousness of the practitioner of the Eastern martial arts is supposed to be related to his acts of violence, according to the tradition, we shall claim that it is morally preferable to learn to fight in such a system rather than in one without such features.
It's an interesting article, but I don't think that Kim and Back's understanding of pacifism necessarily correlates to all martial arts, specifically, Aikido. For the purposes of their argument, they divide pacifism into "absolute" pacifism and "conditonal" pacifism, and then argue "the person who is not an absolute pacifist has a moral obligation to learn how to fight."(179)

It's not the moral obligation part that concerns me, as much as the implication that doing martial arts negates absolute pacifism. If absolute pacifism is "never fight in any circumstance" then couldn't a martial art without fighting be compatible with absolute pacifism? Of course, painting all of Aikido with the "not fighting" brush has it's own problems, but we know that to some people, Aikido is "not fighting." Can martial arts have both absolute pacifism and conditional pacifism? I think so, or rather I think that this classification doesn't work well for Aikido

Peace (neither absolute nor conditional),
Tom Newhall

billybob
05-27-2006, 04:12 PM
An adventurer seeks battle to further his own sway over others; his power. I have no time for these people.

A person unwilling to fight may as well be dead already, and shamefully allows others to be hurt because they will not take responsibility.

A person who puts themselves aside to fight to bring peace, and bears the hurt fully knowing what suffering is - walks the true path.

A person willing to fight, but having the wisdom and humility to use diplomacy - is beyond my understanding.

A person who embodies all those persons listed before and seeks peace --- is someone the world desperately needs.

dave