PDA

View Full Version : Aikido is Love text


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Ethan Weisgard
07-19-2006, 12:30 AM
I am translating a text from Japanese in which the text by O-Sensei which starts with "Aikido is love..." is included. I know it must be translated into English somewhere, and probably in a better version than I can create!

I have heard that it may be in one of the old Aiki Journal editions from around 1974-75. If anyone has the DVDs with these editions on them, and can find the text, could you help me, please?

The text may also be in one of the many Aikido books out there, I just can't find it in any of the ones I have.

For those who can read Japanese, the text goes:
“合気とは愛なり、天地の心を以って我が心とし、万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ、合気とは自己に打ち克ち敵をして戦う心なか らしむ、否、敵そのものを無くする絶対的自己完成の道なり、而して武技は天の理法を身体に移し霊肉一体の至上境に至るの技であり、道程である”


Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Onegaishimasu!

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Robert Jackson
07-19-2006, 09:52 AM
According to a chinese co-worker. This is a copy and paste of email I recieved back. I'm assuming he means aikido and not Taekwondo :D

"If Taekwondo designates the heart of love either heaven and earth as our heart from here and large mind of universal protection very from here completing the mission of oneself it is not the road of the military affairs, is not, Taekwondo it strikes in oneself and wins and does the enemy and heartlessly the mustard which fights, the road of the absolute self completion which loses no and the enemy itself or, military affairs skill moves law of the heaven to the body and reaches to the supreme boundary of body and soul one body to be skill, it is distance."

Ethan Weisgard
07-20-2006, 12:43 AM
Hello Robert,

Cool! That text reads like some of the t-shirts I collect in Japan with the most amazing random English written on them!
Close, but no cigar! Thanks for the input, though.

In Aiki,

Ethan

Carol Shifflett
07-20-2006, 05:06 AM
Hello Robert,

Cool! That text reads like some of the t-shirts I collect in Japan with the most amazing random English written on them! Ethan See Engrish.com

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett

MM
07-20-2006, 07:52 AM
Pasting the Japanese text into:
http://babelfish.altavista.com/
I get the translation below,

"If the combination air heart of love either heaven and earth is designated as っ て our heart from here and large mind of universal protection very from here completing the mission of っ て oneself it is not the road of the military affairs, is not, the combination air it strikes in oneself and wins and does the enemy and heartlessly the mustard which fights む, the road of the absolute self completion which loses no and the enemy itself or, 而, military affairs skill moves law of the heaven to the body and reaches to the supreme boundary of body and soul one body to be skill, it is distance"

I don't read Japanese, so I can't tell you if it's a good translation.

Mark

Ethan Weisgard
08-02-2006, 05:55 AM
Thanks to all the many people who have replied in regard to this quest!
Jason Wotherspoon and cbateman found the exact translation I was looking for, so special thanks to them both.


For those interested:

Aikido is love. You make this great great love of the universe your heart and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo. True budo means to win over yourself and eliminate the fighting spirit of the enemy…No, it is a way to absolute self/perfection, in which the very enemy is eliminated. The technique of Aiki is ascetic training and a way through which you reach a state of unification of body and spirit by the principle of heaven.


In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

dps
08-02-2006, 06:37 AM
For those interested:

Aikido is love. You make this great great love of the universe your heart and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo. True budo means to win over yourself and eliminate the fighting spirit of the enemy…No, it is a way to absolute self/perfection, in which the very enemy is eliminated. The technique of Aiki is ascetic training and a way through which you reach a state of unification of body and spirit by the principle of heaven.


In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard The " mustard which fights" part is missing. I kind of liked that. :)

statisticool
08-03-2006, 03:20 PM
I am translating a text from Japanese in which the text by O-Sensei which starts with "Aikido is love..." is included. I know it must be translated into English somewhere, and probably in a better version than I can create!

I have heard that it may be in one of the old Aiki Journal editions from around 1974-75. If anyone has the DVDs with these editions on them, and can find the text, could you help me, please?

The text may also be in one of the many Aikido books out there, I just can't find it in any of the ones I have.

For those who can read Japanese, the text goes:
"合気とは愛なり、天地の心を以って我が心とし、万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ、合気とは自己に打ち克ち敵をして戦う心なから しむ、否、敵そのものを無くする絶対的自己完成の道なり、而して武技は天の理法を身体に移し霊肉一体の至上境に至るの技であり、道程である"


Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Onegaishimasu!

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Very nice. I appreciateyou posting this,


Justin

Upyu
08-21-2006, 08:56 PM
"合気とは愛なり、天地の心を以って我が心とし、万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ、合気とは自己に打ち克ち敵をして戦う心なから しむ、否、敵そのものを無くする絶対的自己完成の道なり、而して武技は天の理法を身体に移し霊肉一体の至上境に至るの技であり、道程である"


For those interested, I thought I'd throw in a rough translation of this
first let's break it up into parts

"合気とは愛なり"
Aiki is Love! ( oh man, there's that word again)
"天地の心を以って我が心とし"
I make my heart the heart of heaven and earth.

<commentary>
In this case heart can refer to "feeling". As in the core of his physical being is related to the "up-down/heaven-earth" relation. Refers to a physical feeling I'm guessing. Ark has no relation to Ueshiba, never has read this, but describes it in the same manner.

"万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ"
I recieve my mission from the Universal Spirit of Protection/Love/Care/Lovedovey, and the consummation of this is the ultimate goal of the Martial Way.
<commentary>
Anyone that can come up with a better translation, feel free to do so. I could state my opinoin, but it'd turn into a page long dialogue, most of it having to lay out why he talks like this, and lay parallels to bodyskill development. In short, it's not that important in the overall scheme.

"合気とは自己に打ち克ち敵をして戦う心なからしむ,否、敵そのものを無くする絶対的自己完成の道なり"
敵に戦いの心を起こさせず、また敵という概念を超える

Aiki is not about breaking down our inner enemy and "winning" against it. Rather, it is the ultimate way to complete oneself and erase the conception of "enemy" all together.
<Comments>
The fat and short of it, get rid of the conception of "enemy" all together, or "clashing" with an opponent. Again, typical of the developmental process in internal styles, not limited to just Ueshiba, Inc. This refers to a physical feeling when engaging the opponent, and isn't some half baked hippie mystical gobbley gook if you ask me. Others might have a different take on it.

"而して武技は天の理法を身体に移し霊肉一体の至上境に至るの技であり、道程である"
Martial technique is about making the Laws of Heaven one with body and soul, and a way to take the body and soul to the summits (of "insert whatever sounds inspiring to you")
<Commentary>
This probably refers to the natural harmonies governing the body, which you strengthen with internal connction, continue to train this, and there are no "limits".

FWIW

Erick Mead
08-21-2006, 09:02 PM
The " mustard which fights" part is missing. I kind of liked that. :) That's some mighty sharp mustard ... and heartless besides...

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 09:16 AM
For those interested, I thought I'd throw in a rough translation of this
first let's break it up into parts

"合気とは愛なり"
Aiki is Love! ( oh man, there's that word again)
"天地の心を以って我が心とし"
I make my heart the heart of heaven and earth.

<commentary>
In this case heart can refer to "feeling". As in the core of his physical being is related to the "up-down/heaven-earth" relation. Refers to a physical feeling I'm guessing. Ark has no relation to Ueshiba, never has read this, but describes it in the same manner.

"万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ"
I recieve my mission from the Universal Spirit of Protection/Love/Care/Lovedovey, and the consummation of this is the ultimate goal of the Martial Way.
<commentary>
Anyone that can come up with a better translation, feel free to do so. I could state my opinoin, but it'd turn into a page long dialogue, most of it having to lay out why he talks like this, and lay parallels to bodyskill development. In short, it's not that important in the overall scheme.

"合気とは自己に打ち克ち敵をして戦う心なからしむ,否、敵そのものを無くする絶対的自己完成の道なり"
敵に戦いの心を起こさせず、また敵という概念を超える

Aiki is not about breaking down our inner enemy and "winning" against it. Rather, it is the ultimate way to complete oneself and erase the conception of "enemy" all together.
<Comments>
The fat and short of it, get rid of the conception of "enemy" all together, or "clashing" with an opponent. Again, typical of the developmental process in internal styles, not limited to just Ueshiba, Inc. This refers to a physical feeling when engaging the opponent, and isn't some half baked hippie mystical gobbley gook if you ask me. Others might have a different take on it.

"而して武技は天の理法を身体に移し霊肉一体の至上境に至るの技であり、道程である"
Martial technique is about making the Laws of Heaven one with body and soul, and a way to take the body and soul to the summits (of "insert whatever sounds inspiring to you")
<Commentary>
This probably refers to the natural harmonies governing the body, which you strengthen with internal connction, continue to train this, and there are no "limits".Thanks, Rob. That loose translation actually indicates a re-stating of the idea of the "order of the Universe" idea, which would be more traditional for a martial arts expert to do than to talk about "love" in the sense that we in the West mean it. In other words, if you look at it in your terms, he's really simply stating that his martial art fulfills the "orderliness", the "harmony" of the universal laws that is the cornerstone of the Chinese cosmology (which is used as a basis in the Japanese beliefs as well).

The problem in discussing the issue in front of people that don't have the kokyu and ki skills (i.e., they're just some "academic" things that are mentioned probably as rituals by the Asians, etc.), is that the idea of using kokyu/jin to "blend" with all incoming forces doesn't seem to be more than some academic maunderings.

To me, he is saying that he makes his heart/core/essence the standard "primal qi", which is the combined "Ki of Heaven" and "Ki of Earth".... combining the qi of heaven and earth is the cornerstone concept for the "internal" jin/kokyu/ki development. Using that core, he has no need to conflict because any incoming attack is simply accepted into one's own circumstances, rather than fought against. If there are no conflicts because you "aiki" everything that comes into contact with your sphere, then there are no "enemies".

So I agree that this is more a discussion about what you can train, physically, to do with this wondrous combination of "the ki of heaven and earth", than it is a ministerial exhortation to love all things and then there are no enemies. This actually sort of feeds into my comments about some translators conveying ideas that are not necessarily reflective of the original intent of some of these classical writings. Ueshiba was at core a traditionalist; he would have made sure that whatever he espoused would have conformed with the accepted traditional ideas of the cosmology and the harmony with the natural laws of the cosmos.

Thanks for taking the time to write that, Rob.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-25-2006, 07:59 AM
I had a thought about this thread last night while showering. I disagree with the "Aikido is Love" in the syrupy sense which becomes spoken as a "philosophy" or as a behavioural mandate. Naturally, and tellingly, that makes some people angry because it is their pet belief. But let me lay out what I think is the larger alternative:

The idea of "aiki" is that there is no conflict... what goes wrong is that people hear "no conflict" to mean things like "there should only be love in this world and all conflict should be abjured", etc. In actuality, the idea of "no conflict" means that you never directly contend with any incoming attack and you make it a useful part of what you are doing within your own sphere of influence. This premise of "no conflict" is actually pretty widespread throughout Asian martial arts (but not completely, of course).

It's this bigger picture of using everything in a positive manner that is more of a key than the "love" part. The philosophy of the larger context is to train your body and your mind *first* and then apply (the emphasis is martial but to extend it beyond that *afterward* is OK and desireable, as I understand it) the "aiki" concept. In that sense, "aiki" is an instinctive harmony, not a "love", as nifty as that would sound.

Shioda, Sunadomari, Ueshiba Sensei, and others have all, at one time or another on filmclips, shown the ability to blend and bounce off an opponent with no real perceptible movement.... that's essential "aiki". Of course, it can be done with larger movements, too, and sometimes that is unavoidable, but the focus I would have is how these experts made their movements smaller and smaller to where the movements approach "stillness". At least that's the perspective I would suggest as a good one.

My 2 cents and opinion.

Mike Sigman

John Matsushima
08-25-2006, 10:11 AM
This text which you are translated is actually called "The Spirit of Aiki Manseido". It was recorded by Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei. I practiced at a Manseido Dojo for some time and we all had to recite it at the beginning of class. Here is the translation in English which can be found in Sunadomari Sensei's book, "Enlightenment through Aikido".

Aiki is love
It is the path that brings our hearts into oneness with the spirit of the universe to complete our mission in life by instilling in us a love and reverence for all of nature.

Aiki overcomes self. It not only takes hostility from our hearts but in making those who appear as enemies, enemies no more, it leads to absolute perfection of self.

This martial art, therefore, is the supreme way and call to unite our body and spirit under the laws of the universe.

Ron Tisdale
08-25-2006, 10:39 AM
I liked that book. A little on the philosophical side for my tastes, but still enjoyable. Strangely enough, I was reading it while in Paris, and got to train at a Iwama style dojo at the same time. Interesting mix...

Best,
Ron

statisticool
08-25-2006, 03:24 PM
I disagree with the "Aikido is Love" in the syrupy sense which becomes spoken as a "philosophy" or as a behavioural mandate. Naturally, and tellingly, that makes some people angry because it is their pet belief.


I think it is more telling that people, such as yourself, view someone having a disagreement, a different take on things, as someone being angry. :)

If you disagree with aikido is love in the syrupy sense, then you probably disagree with Ueshiba. One can, of course, disagree with Ueshiba, nothing wrong with that, but going from direct quotes from his writings, and from the writings of Kiss. Ueshiba, and writings of others, love was certainly central in what you call the syrupy sense, not just not harming your attacker, but spreading peace and love to everyone.

One of many examples (I can probably find at least a dozen):

"true budo is the way of great harmony and great love for all beings"
(p. 98, Spirit of Aikido)


Justin

Moses
08-25-2006, 10:06 PM
Ok, I understand that references have been stated as to Aikido's philosophical "deeper meaning", I am not doubting this & I don't want to get bogged down in semantics, nor I am I willing to say that Aikido, at heart, in its core functionality is an ineffective means of combat.

That said, with the afore mentioned Aikido is "love", then where is the justification for combat (which I am here defining as any non-cooperative exchanges, i.e. not playing w/ ya buddy's). What's the point, sure love is fine, but why spend a lifetime training "martial techniques"? Obviously it would be easier to find a mountain top & meditate. Yet, we of the Chinese our Japanese arts, find ourselves training self defense, for combative purposes. Even if you justify yourself as only interested in the movement, or the cooperative exercises (which is fine), these practices are still martial based & martial functional. Why not just mediate on love?
Please help me to understand
Moses

David Orange
08-25-2006, 11:32 PM
with the afore mentioned Aikido is "love", then where is the justification for combat (which I am here defining as any non-cooperative exchanges, i.e. not playing w/ ya buddy's). What's the point, sure love is fine, but why spend a lifetime training "martial techniques"?

As far as I can tell, this kind of talk began in the 1920s or early 30's, when OSensei survived a determined attack by a sword-wielding Naval officer. Maybe someone else can correct me on the details, but I am under the impression that this happened when he was teaching aikijujutsu at the Imperial Naval Academy of Japan. Apparently, one of the officers took umbrage at the casual way that Ueshiba avoided attacks and countered decisively. After the class, he challenged Ueshiba and came at him in the hold of a ship with a live sword.

Ueshiba avoided attack after attack from this enraged military man who was very good with the sword and intended to kill him, but found that he could not.

After this, Ueshiba went into a garden and took some water from the well. When he raised the dipper to his lips, he had a sudden revelation of oneness in the universe. He said that the sky split open and golden light filled the universe and he realized that the true nature of budo was love.

What is seldom pointed out in this story was that OSensei was, at that time (if I'm not mistaken) teaching the elite of the Japanese military to kill. He was still teaching daito ryu and his students were soon to be (if not already) deeply involved in the invasion of China and the rest of Asia. So what he was teaching was not the modern swirly, smiley kind of aikido in which, real love means that you fall down faster. His students were strong, heavy fighting men with experience in killing.

So how could he have equated budo with love?

To me, it is as I said in the thread on subtle shades of meaning in the Japanese language. The first purpose of the sword is to protect. If it goes too far, it enslaves, but the original purpose is to protect one's own family.

In that way, the sword is like fire. In the stove, it keeps us warm and cooks our food, but if it gets out of hand, it destroys our home.

OSensei's greater change occurred when he realized that Japan was losing the war. Indeed, in terms of musubi, it had already lost, as soon as it began. Many Japanese understood this and opposed the war, but incidents such as 2/26, when many government figures were murdered, silenced most of the opposition. Ueshiba, himself, had supported the war, but he soon enough saw that it was destroying Japan.

In those days, he went back to his old pursuit of farming and gradually changed his techniques to something less overtly deadly, more fundamentally protective, maybe. Perhaps more influenced by nurturing his plants, encouraging their life force to come out, cooperating with their nature to bring about support for himself and his family.

Maybe this was when he changed from seeing budo as "love" in "defending" his nation to "love" as in defending all the people of all the nations.

Anyway, to me, this ability to defend is based on a sword-like capacity to destroy. Through his deep and deadly training, OSensei became able to overcome any attack without having to resort to deadliness. But it was based on his ability to be deadly.

So I think we have to remember the serious need to be able to protect ourselves and our families against serious attempts to harm us and them. Yet we are supposed to extend that same protection to the attacker, himself, as a member of our own family, in humanity.

Unfortunately, modern training, without solid technical focus on serious attacks, seems to leave practitioners with a subconscious realization that they cannot really defend against "any" attack and they fantasize about how they would handle a "real" attack. And these fantasies tend to get pretty violent, from ripping out shoulders, shattering joints, breaking bones, clawing eyes, and trying to kill the attacker in any way possible. And these fantasies sometimes come out in the dojo when a nage becomes frightened of attacks that come too close for comfort. Rather than seeing this as a sign of their own lack of technique, they perceive it as uke's "trying" to hurt them (even if the technique does not touch them) and they respond with harsh technique or atemi when it is not necessary. I suppose we've all felt some of this.

Well, the old way provides tested and sure ways to kill the attacker at a single stroke. Training with that in mind, it is not necessary to resort to violent fantasies and we can concentrate on doing techniques safely without injuring our partners in the dojo. And if we see ourself as the one most likely to get us into a bad situation, and work mostly on refining ourself through hard and serious technical practice, it becomes much easier to view attackers as misdirected and confused people and treat them with compassion and love--even if it is rather tough love.

For me, the most recent experience of this kind of thing came one day when I was riding my bike near a public park where my wife sometimes took our little boy. I noticed some people fighting in the children's play area. I pulled up near them and saw a young bum on top of an older bum, in the mount position, pounding down on the older guy's head. And then I noticed that the fighters were surrounded by six or eight other bums, watching from the benches.

I pulled up beside the play area and barked at the guy on top of the other guy: "Get off him! NOW!"

He looked shocked, but got up. The older man got off the ground, looking indignant at the man who had been beating him. The other bums looked at me, but didn't say anything.

I rode across the park to a restaurant, went inside and asked them to call the police to come to stop the fighting in the park. I guess the bums all took off. I didn't wait to see but went on home.

To me, that was protecting everyone without fighting.

Another time, I was approached by a "bum" in his twenties--a big, healthy-looking guy who wanted money. The only other person nearby was an older Chinese lady and I figured if I didn't engage the bum he would go after the Chinese lady. So I walked up and let him talk to me. He asked for a dollar. I took out my wallet and let him see that I had more than one dollar in it, but took out one dollar and gave it to him. I wanted to see if he would try to take the rest of the money. He didn't.

I finally decided that the best way to protect my own family was to move them out of that neighborhood. We now live in a nice little neighborhood. So that, again, is protecting without fighting.

I also think that if you train hard and seriously enough, with real technique rather than symbollic movement, it's not necessary even to think in terms of harming an attacker. And when you have done that, the would-be attacker finds it difficult even to think of attacking.

And there you have a full ni-en dama's worth of opinion.

Best wishes.

David

Gernot Hassenpflug
08-25-2006, 11:52 PM
Moses, maybe because once you have these skills (kokyu) then what you use them for is extremely important. If you use them in the spirit of love, they become constructive assets to society. The fact that the faces of the Kongorikishi are stored behind this face of love is vital too, else you do not have the power to put yourself at work in the spirit of love. This is the same as the idea of the sword that gives life, not the sword that destroys. It does not mean that there is no violence or no death, it means the spirit of every action is guided by a constructive desire. I suspect you cannot do this if you are so weak that every action is determined merely by self-preservation. Remember if you have better aiki (in most cases your opponent will not have any, since the training is secret :lol:), you can determin the outcome, your opponent cannot overcome you.

Ethan Weisgard
08-27-2006, 11:16 AM
Dear Mike,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I am looking forward to having a little more time to go deeper into it. There are a lot of O-Sensei's texts that have been translated a long time ago, and it is great to take a second look at them.
It is also wonderful the way that people's responses point in so many interesting directions regarding the interpretation of the meaning behind the words.
In my opinion, in our Western cultures there is a very sort of clear division between the touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy faction and then the rough and ready. blood and guts and veins in your teeth faction when dealing with the more spiritual aspects of O-Sensei's words. Where I come from, having grown up with the group of wonderful instructors from the old Iwama Dojo, with Saito Morihiro Sensei as my teacher, and now having a close relationship with Isoyama Sensei, Inagaki Sensei, Hirosawa Sensei and Nemoto Sensei, I am very privileged to see that the rough and ready aspects of these gentlemen in terms of their physical attitude in Aikido finds a wonderful counterpart in their very serious belief in practicing the spiritual teachings of the Founder. The best of both worlds - boo rah!

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Mike Sigman
08-27-2006, 12:43 PM
Dear Mike,

Thanks for the alternative translation. Hi Ethan:

If you're talking to me, I have to note that while I made some comments, I didn't do any of the translating.In my opinion, in our Western cultures there is a very sort of clear division between the touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy faction and then the rough and ready. blood and guts and veins in your teeth faction when dealing with the more spiritual aspects of O-Sensei's words. Well, I'm sort of in the middle. There is a quite beautiful and immutable logic that governs the whole net of ki, kokyu, kiai, Misogi-breathing, "ki tests", "ki of heaven; ki of earth", etc., etc. It's like a beautiful gem. I'm interested more in the body skills supported by that logic and the personal strength and health aspects. The philosophy and the "martial prowess" stuff doesn't interest me very much; it's just coincidence that I'm large and have a lot of martial background.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ethan Weisgard
08-28-2006, 12:55 AM
Hi Mike,

Sorry, I thought you had done the translation.
I respect your comments for their insight. I myself have been somewhere in the middle, regarding the different ways of relating to Aikido. I find that coming from a "hard-style" background, as I get older, I find myself moving more towards the inner workings of Aikido , but without letting go at all of the importance, in my opinion, of Aikido as a martial art. ( I just can't train as hard as I used to! )
Saito Sensei was very adamant about keeping Aikido - in its physical form - as a realistic and logical budo, as he had learned it from O-Sensei. But as the other Sensei from the Iwama Dojo make a clear point of, it would be a shame if all of O-Sensei's deeper thoughts and intentions for what Aikido can be used as, were not put into use. If we don't try to apply the spiritual sides of the principles that are adherent in the techniques of Aikido in our daily life, then we might as well just train some kind of sport.

In Aiki,

Ethan

John Matsushima
08-28-2006, 04:39 AM
Dear Mike,

Where I come from, having grown up with the group of wonderful instructors from the old Iwama Dojo, with Saito Morihiro Sensei as my teacher, and now having a close relationship with Isoyama Sensei, Inagaki Sensei, Hirosawa Sensei and Nemoto Sensei, I am very privileged to see that the rough and ready aspects of these gentlemen in terms of their physical attitude in Aikido finds a wonderful counterpart in their very serious belief in practicing the spiritual teachings of the Founder. The best of both worlds - boo rah!


Yes, I know exactly what you mean. One of my closest friends is Iwabe sensei who was the doshu's personal uke explained things that were just out of this world. When I grabbed his wrist, it was as if I could feel the power of the whole universe including Pluto come through his fingertips. On occasion, I even drank sake with doshu and I learned the true spirituality of it all.
I now practice at my own dojo, given the menkyo shou about one year ago. I am sure o sensei would be proud that we can still be rough and ready and full of love and laughs. :crazy: :square: :triangle:

Peter Goldsbury
08-28-2006, 04:43 AM
I now practice at my own dojo, given the menkyo shou about one year ago.

Menkyo shou? You need a menkyo shou to open a dojo? I just opened mine without any problem.

gdandscompserv
08-30-2006, 06:21 AM
Menkyo shou? You need a menkyo shou to open a dojo? I just opened mine without any problem.
lol
me too. :D

gdandscompserv
08-30-2006, 06:28 AM
"万有愛護の大精神を以って自己の使命を完遂する事こそ武の道であらねばならぬ"
I recieve my mission from the Universal Spirit of Protection/Love/Care/Lovedovey, and the consummation of this is the ultimate goal of the Martial Way.
<commentary>
Anyone that can come up with a better translation, feel free to do so. I could state my opinoin, but it'd turn into a page long dialogue, most of it having to lay out why he talks like this, and lay parallels to bodyskill development. In short, it's not that important in the overall scheme.
Why would you say this concept is "not that important in the overall scheme?"

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 05:56 PM
...it would be a shame if all of O-Sensei's deeper thoughts and intentions for what Aikido can be used as, were not put into use. If we don't try to apply the spiritual sides of the principles that are adherent in the techniques of Aikido in our daily life, then we might as well just train some kind of sport. Hi Ethan:

Well, to keep my comment short, I don't think that anyone can rightfully claim to apply the spiritual/philosophical side correctly unless they can demonstrably show they have accomplished the techniques and skills correctly. First the physical... then the "spiritual" interpretations have some validity behind them, I would suggest. ;)

All the Best.

Mike

Upyu
08-31-2006, 09:12 PM
Why would you say this concept is "not that important in the overall scheme?"

Reason I said that is because it's a result of the training. You'll "get" it if you pick up the bodyskills. Its just the way it works ;)
More like the whole "love" concept is a side benefit, a good one, but just a side benefit all the same I think.
If you train with the notion that aiki is about "Love", then I doubt you're going to get very far, to put it bluntly. I agree with Mike, accquire the bodyskills first, then you can discuss philosophy.

David Orange
08-31-2006, 09:15 PM
I don't think that anyone can rightfully claim to apply the spiritual/philosophical side correctly unless they can demonstrably show they have accomplished the techniques and skills correctly. First the physical... then the "spiritual"

I think a lot of the spiritual quality is in the sincere effort to learn the truth and adhere to it. Whether you can do it or not, sincere effort means a good spirit. IMHO.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
08-31-2006, 09:20 PM
Reason I said that is because it's a result of the training. You'll "get" it if you pick up the bodyskills. Its just the way it works

I would say "not necessarily" because if you're only in it to fight, you can still get the physical skills without ever realizing that principle.

More like the whole "love" concept is a side benefit, a good one, but just a side benefit all the same I think.

Well, if your original motivation is love of your family and a desire to protect them, to be strong for them and to live a no-nonsense life of frugal austerity, it's central.

If you train with the notion that aiki is about "Love", then I doubt you're going to get very far, to put it bluntly. I agree with Mike, accquire the bodyskills first, then you can discuss philosophy.

Definitely, if one thinks spinning on the mat will somehow improve the world, I would guess you'd never get the skills or change the world, either. A real "love" orientation in budo is first based on discipline and doing the right thing. It is a fundamental principle that martial arts must first be effective.

Best wishes.

David

statisticool
08-31-2006, 09:29 PM
If you train with the notion that aiki is about "Love", then I doubt you're going to get very far, to put it bluntly. I agree with Mike,


All life is a manifestation of the spirit, the manifestation of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love.
Morihei Ueshiba

Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

The Way of a Warrior is based on humanity, love, and sincerity; the heart of martial valor is true bravery, wisdom, love, and friendship. Emphasis on the physical aspects of warriorship is futile, for the power of the body is always limited.
Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term "samurai" is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

If only we could all not "get very far"..


Justin

Upyu
08-31-2006, 10:03 PM
I would say "not necessarily" because if you're only in it to fight, you can still get the physical skills without ever realizing that principle.

Let me elaborate a bit on this.
I'd say that if you get the bodyskills, then you'd at the very least "understand" (in a rough sense) what ueshiba and others postulated by Aiki is love etc.
The bodyskills necessitate a "flip" in thinking. If you use your body in this manner it happens.

Another point I wanted to raise, although off the topic of the thread a bit is that, these bodyskills are a different way of moving your body. But they need to be integrated such that your movement in daily life is no different from when you step on the mat.

FWIW

Upyu
08-31-2006, 10:18 PM
Well, if your original motivation is love of your family and a desire to protect them, to be strong for them and to live a no-nonsense life of frugal austerity, it's central.


There's a flip side to every coin though.

What I find funny (and I'm not slamming what you wrote David, just to be clear) is that while you'll find a lot of tasujin/masters that talk about this, you'll also find other masters that expressed the "love" concept differently.

Takeda Soukaku treated his family horribly by modern day standards, leaving his wife and kids to go off on his own training, not hestiating to take exorbiant fees from people that wanted to learn from him. But was considered peerless in his time.
Sagawa maybe wasnt as severe (maybe), but he wasn't exactly a nice accomodating grandpa either. However, both expressed this "flip" in intent and simply expressed it differently. (Aite wo ukeireru, "accept the opponent")

On the chinese side you have

Li Shu Wen
Notorious for killing people in matches. The chinese also have a bad habit of blowing things out of proportion, but if even 1/100th of the stories were true, the guy was still pretty crazy. Still the body skills expressed in Baji Fist (which is what Li Shu Wen practiced) also necessitate that you "absorb"/"accept" the person into you, if you want the techniques to actually work. with any efficiency.

Various Hsing-I guys come to mind, but I don't remember the names.

So what does this point to?

Basically the bodyskill necessitates that you accept the person "into" you. If you want to hurt him badly, you don't eject him. Instead you bring him into "you", literally like a blender, into your center, crushing him. (I'm talking about intent here, not physical movement.) If you don't want to hurt him, you eject, a la aikido, or tai chi etc. The "bring him into you", "accept" then "eject" is where the whole love concept comes from, but I feel very strongly that you have to be able to have the bodyskill first before you understand what this implies.

Just my two cents.

Gwion
09-01-2006, 12:55 AM
All life is a manifestation of the spirit, the manifestation of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love.
Morihei Ueshiba

Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

The Way of a Warrior is based on humanity, love, and sincerity; the heart of martial valor is true bravery, wisdom, love, and friendship. Emphasis on the physical aspects of warriorship is futile, for the power of the body is always limited.
Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term "samurai" is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.
Morihei Ueshiba

If only we could all not "get very far"..


Justin

right on Justin.

We need people like you to keep the true spirit of Aikido alive. The great thing about Aikido, is that it seems to bring people around in spite of themselves. I started off thinking it was about throwing and kicking ass, but the more I do it, the more I realize what a child I was before, and how far I have to go now. Everyday that I let the spirit of love and harmony with my fellow man conquer my ego and my anger, I feel one step closer to Osensei.
:ki:
--Wayne

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-01-2006, 07:36 AM
I didn't see Justin's original post, so from teh quote: I think there's a lot of bunk in there. For instance, no practical guide on what it means to let this 'tuning' with the universe, etc., happen successfully, consistently and constantly. I am only guessing here, but there must be practical methods, and we should be discussing those. Also, the definition of 'samurai' is half way out: the "serve" part is right, but the "love" part is totally off. It could of course be referring to the same 'love' as Robert John was hinting at, but then we'd be getting back to the practical training methods and the results those offer.

Mike Sigman
09-01-2006, 07:52 AM
Let me elaborate a bit on this.
I'd say that if you get the bodyskills, then you'd at the very least "understand" (in a rough sense) what ueshiba and others postulated by Aiki is love etc.
The bodyskills necessitate a "flip" in thinking. If you use your body in this manner it happens.

Another point I wanted to raise, although off the topic of the thread a bit is that, these bodyskills are a different way of moving your body. But they need to be integrated such that your movement in daily life is no different from when you step on the mat.
((and from another post))
Basically the bodyskill necessitates that you accept the person "into" you. If you want to hurt him badly, you don't eject him. Instead you bring him into "you", literally like a blender, into your center, crushing him. (I'm talking about intent here, not physical movement.) If you don't want to hurt him, you eject, a la aikido, or tai chi etc. The "bring him into you", "accept" then "eject" is where the whole love concept comes from, but I feel very strongly that you have to be able to have the bodyskill first before you understand what this implies. I think what Rob is saying is a far more accurate gesture toward the true general meaning of the "aiki" idea. The western behavioral interpretation is a nice thing, but in some ways it implies that Ueshiba was simplistic and that Aikido is, too. I tend to reject that. Ueshiba was a classicist... the way Rob lays it out is more "in harmony" with the original thrust of the "no resistance, only harmony with the physical laws of the universe" sort of thing. And the body skills were the sophisticated part. If you read some of Abe Sensei's comments on the obviously secret body-skills training, Inaba's more direct statements, etc., and keep in mind what Rob just wrote, I think you can get a glimpse of the true edifice that is the art of Aikido.

Just my opinion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

David Orange
09-01-2006, 08:28 AM
Another point I wanted to raise, although off the topic of the thread a bit is that, these bodyskills are a different way of moving your body. But they need to be integrated such that your movement in daily life is no different from when you step on the mat.

I have thought a lot about that relationship, inspired in large part by Musashi's statement in Go Rin No Sho:

"Make your everyday stance your fighting stance and make your fighting stance your everyday stance."

Depending on the type of training, we may be taught a very different way of moving for the martial context. For instance, my early teachers taught that we should always keep the knees slightly bent. After decades of that influence, I realized that this required constant semi-conscious inhibition of the natural nervous system impulse to stand up fully and I decided it was better to cooperate with that impulse than to habitually keep the knees slightly bent at all times. And that was supported by Musashi's advice to stand up as tall as possible when facing an enemy. He also said to put "vigor" into the hairline...

Best.

David

David Orange
09-01-2006, 08:38 AM
I feel very strongly that you have to be able to have the bodyskill first before you understand what this implies.

Absolutely. If it doesn't work for life-and-death encounters, why call it a martial art.

Aikido is said to be an art of mercy, but mercy is only possible if you have the ability to destroy and you choose to be kind.

A Christian idea is that "Mercy is Justice tempered by Love."

If you can't defeat someone absolutely, you also can't be merciful to them. Clearly, Ueshiba had the ability to defeat most anyone. He must have had a limit, but I never heard of anyone approaching it.

But I do think he was entirely scrupulous about that and insisted that budo implicitly demanded that mercy as a factor of developing that strength. I think he did differ from Takeda Sokaku in that way. Think how nasty he could have been if he hadn't taken that tack. I also think that he came to some of those conclusions as a result of his relatively minor role in Japan's ruinous actions in WWII. And a lot of the later sayings came after he spent a lot of time farming.

BTW, did you see the video on AJ which contains his speaking voice in the radio interview? He talks about giving up training for awhile and how sick he got at that time.

Best wishes.

David

David

David Orange
09-01-2006, 08:47 AM
I didn't see Justin's original post, so from teh quote: I think there's a lot of bunk in there...the definition of 'samurai' is half way out: the "serve" part is right, but the "love" part is totally off. It could of course be referring to the same 'love' as Robert John was hinting at, but then we'd be getting back to the practical training methods and the results those offer.

Gernot, Justin's original post is just a few posts up: #30. The sayings are all straight from Morihei Ueshiba. Of course, without proper context, they can be completely misconstrued and I think we can see many examples of that in modern aikido, where the attacks and defenses are so symbollic as to be meaningless.

However, assuming reasonably realistic attacks and defenses, enacted with sincerity, I think OSensei believed that dilligent practice alone would develop the necessaries.

Look at soldiers, for instance. Most of them have few body skills, actually, but they can march together and the army becomes a whole body that can strike very effectively. If the soldier enters the service out of love of family and country, even though he has no fighting skills and even if he is only a clerk, his dilligent efforts help the whole army to fight. And that is more real than most of us do on the mat.

I believe you said that you were a student of Morihiro Saito? I was looking at his book recently, reading some of what he said about training exercises, and I saw a video clip of him recently. It's no wonder he was counted among the greats of aikido.

Best wishes.

David

Mike Sigman
09-08-2006, 10:55 AM
I didn't see Justin's original post, so from teh quote: I think there's a lot of bunk in there. For instance, no practical guide on what it means to let this 'tuning' with the universe, etc., happen successfully, consistently and constantly. I am only guessing here, but there must be practical methods, and we should be discussing those. Also, the definition of 'samurai' is half way out: the "serve" part is right, but the "love" part is totally off. It could of course be referring to the same 'love' as Robert John was hinting at, but then we'd be getting back to the practical training methods and the results those offer.Just to make an oblique point about how a lot of the Aikido tenets don't point to a particularly new idea, let me post a section of comment by one Ren Gang, found at this website I stumbled on:

http://www.doubledragonalliance.com/

So the problem for foreign students learning Wushu or the Chinese language itself is how to understand what real emptiness is, as in the state of "Wu Ji".
We must realize that emptiness is not just nothing, but that it is emptiness and fullness combined. It is nothing and everything in complete harmony.
Before one moves, thinks, talks etc, one is first empty – wu ji. An integrated whole which is in complete harmony with its surroundings.
So, wu ji is in fact a quiet balanced state, where one thing exists peacefully and in harmony with another.
Ren Gang says that in push hands or sparring etc, one must first look upon the opponent not as a separate entity that you must defeat – The Enemy – but as a part of you, a part of your energy circle.
Chinese philosophy looks upon a person as being as one with the earth and sky; they are in harmony not separate. If you can fully realize this and have a sensation of this state, than you can cultivate the feeling that the opponent is also one with you.
But, it's not just his physical body that is one with you, his spirit and "shen qi" vital energy around him, is part of your energy sphere too.
So in Taiji, we want to first become aware of and later be able to harness this shen qi.
Often people play the form and have a feeling of energy moving the body's structure, but as soon as they push hands with someone, they go back to using physical strength or their structure, and are more concerned about winning and thus lose control of their shen qi.
In "Nei Jia Quan" internal arts, like Taiji, we want to forget about the body's structure and strength and utilize the shen qi to move our own body and deal with the opponent.
In Chinese they say the "Xin" heart or unconscious thought controls your waist, the waist controls and moves the shen qi and your shen qi moves the physical body.
If you want to do something, you feel what it is you want to do, and then your body responds.
Ren says that you must train yourself to use your heart (Xin) and waist to control your shen qi and thus change your old habits of the physical body or your rational thought moving the energy.
He said that when one moves, whatever one wants to do or decides to do, the body will just follow precisely what you intend. In push hands, when you see the opportunity to dissipate or strike the opponent, your body immediately obeys this "thought" or feeling with action.
He said if you have to wrestle and struggle to try and overcome the opponent to move him, then this is wrong.
At first, Ren mentioned, your body won't listen to your intention or your waist, but over time, as you concentrate on this aspect, you will start to cultivate a sensation.
Ren says that he personally doesn't think that a person's form postures are so important, for example if your hand is higher, lower etc; but a student's basic postures and structural position must be correct.

FWIW

Mike

shodan 83
09-08-2006, 12:47 PM
I believe that the thoughts which incorporate a level of skill before the attainment of this universal ethic are closer to the ideals O’Sensei had in mind with the notion that Aikido is love. There are plenty of stories of people who are very skilled martial artist who do not develop this harmonious attitude; as an example Ledyard sensei makes mention of one of his dojo buddies who “goes to the dark side”, in his post “Thanks to my Teachers”. In the early days of the SEAL teams one of the biggest concerns was what to do with these guys in time of peace, same scenario in feudal Japan when the samurai class was faced with a period of peace, how do you occupy a warrior caste with no war? I believe that O’Sensei attained enlightenment as the story goes and believing that he was developing the ultimate martial art saw that his work needed a direction and a goal other than physical skill level. But to believe that from the beginning that this is the art of peace, is akin to believing that there should be no atemi in aikido, idealistic, but not very realistic, you can not protect and love others until you can protect yourself. So we get the cart put before the horse and believe that the overly flowery and idealistic “do no harm” form of dance is akin to a martial art. I do not believe this is what O’Sensei had in mind, I believe it was closer to the final goal of being able harmonize with any attack, thus rendering the attack to no attack at all.

Ethan Weisgard
09-22-2006, 06:40 AM
Hello Mike, and others,

Sorry, I didn't see your reply directed to me before now. There are really some very interesting points being made on this thread. I agree with yours, in regard to having to first of all have a substantial physical form in your Aikido, before anything else. You need a vessel to put the more spiritual elements of our martial art into, otherwise it just becomes empty talk. But I also do feel that it is important, especially for those of us practitioners doing what is roughly labeled as "hard-style" aikido, to remember that there is more to our art than just the physical realm. I try to show and teach my students the flowing forms of our techniques, even though much of our training is based on kihon/ solid forms. By seeing these forms, and trying them out, they see what we are aiming for in the end. Therefore, even though people maybe haven't reached a higher level of proficiency in their training, I like the idea of being aware that O-Sensei had deeper intentions with his art than just for using it as self-defense. Saito Sensei always emphasized the point that O-Sensei meant Aikido to be an effective martial art. I believe one hundred percent that the deeper spiritual aspects of the art shouldn't soften the edge of the sword!

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Mike Sigman
09-22-2006, 07:09 AM
I like the idea of being aware that O-Sensei had deeper intentions with his art than just for using it as self-defense. Saito Sensei always emphasized the point that O-Sensei meant Aikido to be an effective martial art.Hi Ethan:

I agree that O-Sensei had deeper intentions than just what can be seen by people doing the waza, etc. The question is whether most people see those intentions or whether they see what they want to see and are swapping those things for the real intentions.

Insofar as Saito's belief that O-Sensei meant Aikido to be an effective martial art, I totally believe that and agree. Ueshiba was a proven martial artist and traditionalist.... he would never conceive of the idea of some bogus, incomplete martial art that served as a philosophical Love Vehicle. The idea is ridiculous that Aikido is somehow "The Dance of Souls", as I heard one Aikido acolyte put it.

You end your post with "yours in Aikido". "Aiki" signifies the highest level of technique, where there is no enemy because he cannot attack you; every movement he does against you becomes part of a self-balancing movement of your own, which in turn uses his own force against him. If he cannot attack you, then there is no enemy and the universe is in order. It is a cold, calm and beautiful use of the "natural" forces of the universe (say, "the laws of physics and movement"), not some trendy ideal about "love your brother and he will come over to your way of thinking".

True, this balanced, unemotional (this is a very important part of the core beliefs, not to be distracted by emotions) appreciation of "Aikido" is not quite as enjoyable as the "Love Your Brother" interpretation, or "Aikido is Love", but it's closer to the idea of following the idea of universal harmony and it's a much more sophisticated philosophy, truer to the accepted Asian ideal.

My 2 cents.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-22-2006, 08:34 AM
Can't get much clearer than that! The unemotional part is easier to get to if you have a technical goal, and know how to achieve it, a task. It is much harder when teaching is vague and people have to find their own rationalization for what they are being asked to do. The great thing with these discussions is that slowly but surely, more people are bineg made aware that there is a very specific technical goal out there, and that it is kept fairly secret: "There are no secrets in aikido" (hollow laugh).

Mike Sigman
09-22-2006, 08:49 AM
"There are no secrets in aikido" (hollow laugh). The people who think "there are no secrets" are in a way going down the "Dumb Ole Asians" route that I've mentioned before. There are inescapable clues that there are indeed "secrets". Tohei didn't go outside the dojo to learn ki things because "there are no secrets".... there are secrets that Ueshiba simply wouldn't tell him and that's pretty obvious. I believe you've mentioned that Abe laughs about some things remaining secret (in a good-hearted way). And so on. Anyone who thinks there are no secrets besides wearing some black culottes and "loving your brother" isn't really doing any thinking and research... for those people, Aikido is more than likely a social matter.

Mike

Ethan Weisgard
09-22-2006, 08:51 AM
The way I see it, the Japanese disciplines - "Do"- all focus on attempting to gain physical mastery of the given discipline, be this Sado, Shodo or Budo, hereby making a physical form in which you then - as you progress- can add more and more of the spiritual aspects of The Way. The idea of jumping over the physical aspects of the discipline and going straight to the metaphysical aspects is not in my opinion the traditional way in any of the "Do" forms in Japanese culture. My point is: don't get stuck in the physicality of the techniques, but constantly polish them ("waza wo migaku"), and your spiritual understanding will develop as well.

In Aiki,

Ethan

dps
09-22-2006, 09:01 AM
Do you mean secrets as in deliberately withheld by a person or secrets not yet discovered by the seeker that can only be discovered by practice and study.

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-23-2006, 01:32 AM
Do you mean secrets as in deliberately withheld by a person or secrets not yet discovered by the seeker that can only be discovered by practice and study.

Yes and yes

Mike Sigman
09-23-2006, 08:03 AM
My point is: don't get stuck in the physicality of the techniques, but constantly polish them ("waza wo migaku"), and your spiritual understanding will develop as well.Have you ever noticed that it's mainly the westerners that carry on about the "spirituality" in all these eastern martial arts? Yet among the Asian (and western) practitioners of Aikido, Taiji, you-name-it, there are expert practitioners with all sorts of different "spiritual development", some of it deplorably lacking (and I've seen tons of scurrilous behaviour excused as representing something "spiritual" that westerners "just weren't ready to understand", too, BTW).

Look at the bickering, irrascible behaviour, role-playing, etc., etc., among the higher ranks of most martial arts and you can see a lot of examples of what I'm talking about. I.e., doing any particular martial art with the idea that it leads to some spiritual height is a bit naive; anyone with common sense should be able to see the amount of unspiritual behavior. If you look around most "martial arts" that supposedly have a spiritual bent, you'll see a lot more pretend spirituality than you'll ever see real spirituality.

But recognizing that and moving forward away from the pretend role-playing and the costumery is probably indeed a step forward. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mark Uttech
09-23-2006, 01:06 PM
Terry Dobson was fond of saying that he did not know any japanese senseis that didn't smoke like chimneys, drink like fish, and chase pussy every chance they got.

Mike Sigman
09-23-2006, 01:35 PM
Terry Dobson was fond of saying that he did not know any japanese senseis that didn't smoke like chimneys, drink like fish, and chase pussy every chance they got.What it boils down to is that "spirituality" is a subjective term, with everyone choosing their own definition of what's correct (and which therefore gives them the right to try to force everyone else to conform to, since it's the "True Spiritual" behavior). Again, I think recognizing the subjective nature of spirituality and learning to work with it instead of against it is probably a good first step to true spirituality. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-23-2006, 01:40 PM
Damn, I'm not very advanced yet, I can only enjoy 1 out of 3. Sigh.
<Note to self: Must train harder!!>

On a more level note: first visiting Japanese shihan, private visit early 90's in Cape Town. Skinny, old, his fawning students accompanying him were good at showing what to do, though I did not understand what it was at the time. The shihan smoked like a chimney and showed what I thought was a demeaning manner towards his students after class and at the hotel, etc. I remember my first dissonant thoughts of "wait a minute...."

Ethan Weisgard
09-25-2006, 12:29 AM
Good point, Mike.
Basically, everyone still puts on their hakama one leg at a time ( exept for one sempai at the old Iwama dojo, who after a rather wet lunch with Saito Sensei, managed to put both legs into one side of his hakama, and didn't realize it before entering the dojo!).

I am happy to see in my part of the Aikido world, that many of the older sensei have moved past the pure physically focused part of their training, and have developed very much in terms of their spiritual awareness - and also the way they impliment this in their daily lives.

I think this awareness is best when it develops out of a long life of good, hard training - which as I mentioned before, in my opinion is the traditional way of developing in any discipline. It's sort of like listening to a 12-year old waxing philosophic about the deeper meaning of life - you need some hands-on experience of things before you can reach the higher levels of awareness.

In Aiki,

Ethan