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billybob
12-11-2006, 07:36 AM
"Perhaps the real question is, "Where do you set the boundaries of your aikido?" What is inside and outside your field of study?" - Ted Ehara

Stolen from the thread - "Why are you Here?" asked by D. Hooker Sensei.

Ted, aikido serves my life, not vice versa. Aikido is a way to see my (sorry) self reflected in others. It is my current path for turning my violent carnal desires into peaceful expressions, in a socially appropriate way - and it costs less than psychotherapy. :)

I say 'sorry self' not because I am pathetic, but because there is plenty for me to work on.

David

tedehara
12-11-2006, 03:36 PM
"Perhaps the real question is, "Where do you set the boundaries of your aikido?" What is inside and outside your field of study?" - Ted Ehara

Stolen from the thread - "Why are you Here?" asked by D. Hooker Sensei.

Ted, aikido serves my life, not vice versa. Aikido is a way to see my (sorry) self reflected in others. It is my current path for turning my violent carnal desires into peaceful expressions, in a socially appropriate way - and it costs less than psychotherapy. :)

I say 'sorry self' not because I am pathetic, but because there is plenty for me to work on.

David
After writing that, I realized our personal boundaries were the cause of most of the arguments seen on these threads. How we defined our identities and aikido practices becomes the various positions that we take online.

Most of the time we're unconscious of our boundaries. Only when we start reading threads from people outside of our group/mindset, do we see where we stand. Because this web site draws from a large slice of the aikido community, we see many different perspectives in varying views. The popularity of this web site also draws in people who don't regularly practice aikido but can have things to contribute because of their own experiences.

You can react to this flood of viewpoints emotionally. Flaming is an art that developed along with the Internet. An alternative is to see these viewpoints and find your own position in relation to them. This helps you to define or redefine your own concepts.

Most of the time we're unaware of of our ideas until they're brought to the surface of our consciousness through thread titles like Spiritual Practice in Aikido?, Aikido and Street-Fighting, Cross-Training in Aikido and ***. For those who have read the discussions for more than a few months, the same topics seem to keep rotating though the forums ad infinitum. Perhaps that is because these are basic questions that should be constantly asked.

Sometimes if you start looking thought a discussion, you might find a kernel of objective truth. Often you'll discover a tailor-made truth. Something completely subjective that it applies directly to your life. In this world of one-size-fits-all clothes and fast food lines, finding a personal truth isn't so bad.

Dennis Hooker
12-11-2006, 03:59 PM
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of ďmartial artsĒ as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us arenít buying it. They canít understand it and they donít want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ainít so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you donít need any other arts. Other arts donít hurt but you donít need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Mark Freeman
12-11-2006, 05:26 PM
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Great post Dennis, and I hope the your underwear holds up :D

regards,

Mark

DonMagee
12-11-2006, 06:04 PM
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Just for clarification, are you saying aikido is no longer a martial art? That it has changed (or risen above) the purpose of martial art and now has high more ethical goals? If so, what word would better describe aikido? When I hear most people's definition of budo, I think religion. Do you feel aikido was ment to be a religion?

Dennis Hooker
12-11-2006, 06:59 PM
Just for clarification, are you saying aikido is no longer a martial art? ?


Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

George S. Ledyard
12-11-2006, 07:18 PM
Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

Dennis, absolutely to the point and spot on.

Mike Sigman
12-11-2006, 07:47 PM
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam onUmmmm... I wouldn't want to expend enough energy to "flame", Dennis, but I disagree. I have never been convinced that Ueshiba was talking about "peace" so much as he was parrotting the "harmony with the Universe" which is the basis for so much Asian cosmology. But hey.... each to his own.

Here's the word from Aikikai Hombu:

Aikido is a Budo (martial art) created by Morihei Ueshiba. After the Founder's passing in 1969, his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba was inaugurated as Aikido Doshu. At present, Moriteru Ueshiba, grandson of the Founder, has succeeded his father as Aikido Doshu. The Aikikai Foundation, officially recognized by the Japanese government in 1940, was founded in order to preserve and promote the ideals of the true Aikido created by the Founder. As the Aikido World Headquarters, it is the parent organization for the development and expansion of Aikido throughout the world.

Of course, they may not have gotten the word. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-11-2006, 08:44 PM
... we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. I have never been convinced that Ueshiba was talking about "peace" so much as he was parrotting the "harmony with the Universe" which is the basis for so much Asian cosmology. Here's the word from Aikikai Hombu:

Aikido is a Budo (martial art) created by Morihei Ueshiba. ... The Aikikai Foundation, ..., was founded in order to preserve and promote the ideals of the true Aikido created by the Founder. ....

Of course, they may not have gotten the word. ;) Ahem...
Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the Three Worlds -- Appearance, Subconscious and Divine -- and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it takemusu aiki when we clarify the true meaning of God's works.

... In a sense, with aiki, you purify and remove evil with your own breath of faithfulness instead of using a sword. In other words, you change the physical world into a spiritual world. This is aikido's mission.
... In the same spirit as the Bible on the return of Michael (see Daniel 12), all the three worlds will completely admire this Great Saint and follow his words with joy. Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1. At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book.
2. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.

David Yap
12-11-2006, 08:55 PM
Actually I am saying it never was (a martial art).

Oh my kami. You make me realize that that I have been wearing those white pajamas for the past 13 years assuming all the time that it was a martial art. No wonder at some of the dojo I attended, the instructor would give me a funny look and told me that I was attacking him wrongly.

I may have to consider whether I need to train again. If aikido is not a MA, then I shouldn't be committed with the "attacks" and I should be more charitable with the falls, I might as well fall voluntarily. Aah! This explains the no-touch throws in some of the dojo too. :p

About tonight's class, I think I will stay at home and spend some aiki time with the family. I will probably laze about and watch some TV. What's the difference being a couch potato and being a bag of potatoes in the dojo? :D

On a serious note, Nidai Doshu said that Aikido is Bu Do (martial way) and according to you it was never a martial art. The aiki in Ai Ki Do is not the aiki of martial art. Can anyone grasp spiritual aiki without understanding martial aiki? The path to spiritual aiki is by way of martial aiki. The recent threads address the martial aiki of aikido and I appreciate all contributions from ppl within and without the aikido circle to help me at this level of the Path.

Why do we put boundary on knowledge of aikido? Worst still,why do you put boundary on your students' aikido?

David Y

Peter Goldsbury
12-11-2006, 09:50 PM
Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

I think Mr Hooker is quite right.

I also think it is important to see how Morihei Ueshiba's original thinking was transformed, especially, but not only, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I am quite close to the Aikikai Hombu and I am also convinced that Kisshomaru and the present Doshu believe thay have inherited a precious legacy, but one that also has to change.

Sorry to be somewhat cryptic. I am at school and in between classes & meetings etc, but I chanced upon this thread. I will contribute some more later, when I have the time.

tedehara
12-11-2006, 10:55 PM
Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.
Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the Three Worlds -- Appearance, Subconscious and Divine -- and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it takemusu aiki when we clarify the true meaning of God's works.

In a sense, with aiki, you purify and remove evil with your own breath of faithfulness instead of using a sword. In other words, you change the physical world into a spiritual world. This is aikido's mission...
As Onisaburo's most important scripture, The Reikai Monogatari (or The Monogatari for short) is a saga of deities in the three spiritual worlds--namely, the shin-kai (world of divinities), the gen-kai (physical world) and the yu-kai (world of lost spirits). It is also an odyssey of how good deities establish a Maitreyan utopia on earth while leading evil spirits to mend their ways with divine power.
Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance (gen-kai), Subconscious (yu-kai), Divine (shin-kai).

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit. Really? Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Peter Goldsbury
12-11-2006, 11:23 PM
A little more to add to my previous post.

I might have come at Morihei Ueshiba from a different angle to Mr Hooker.

I think it is fair to say that none of my earlier Japanese teachers ever explained what aikido was in 'western' terms. I know that my first teacher, who was a friend and associate of Minoru Inaba, thought that 'martial art' was not a corrrect translation of 'budo'.

However, I trained for many years in a dojo with a thriving judo dojo on the floor below ours and it was clear that the dominant conceptual framework underpinning the 'martial arts', as this term was understood in the UK, came from Jigoro Kano and judo. Aikido was something like this, but was different because it did not have competition.

It was not until I came to Japan, learned Japanese and read what O Sensei wrote in his own language, that I realised that his whole conceptual framework was quite different and the only things he borrowed from Kano were dan ranks.

It is interesting to me that the very first direct quotes in English attributed to O Sensei were in Aikido, written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and published in the late 60s (when I first started). Koichi Tohei might well have included some sayings in his own works, but I do not remember clearly. These sayings were problematic, for, as they stood, to me they were largely false.

It is clear to me from where I stand now, many years later, that it was a crucial problem for the Hombu how to deal with O Sensei's legacy, given the fact of the war and its aftermath. I had a conversation here a couple of years ago with Fumiaki Shishida, who was a close student of Kenji Tomiki. Tomiki saw the same problem as the Hombu, of which he was also a member, but his judo training at Waseda led him to deviate from the Aikikai about how best to handle this legacy.

There are some serious issues here and I do not want to state that Tomiki was wrong, for example, and the Aikikai was right. This is far too simple a way of looking at it. Shioda was also around at the time and he, too, devised his own way of handling the legacy, as did Morihiro Saito.

Which was, basically, their own individual experience of training with Ueshiba, in all its subtlety, and hearing his voluminous spoken discourses, of which they understood very little because they had not had the same exposure to Omoto-kyo.

I got to know Kisshomaru Ueshiba and occasionally had talks with him. I think he was convinced that aikido HAD to be opened up and offered to all, including non-Japanese, because otherwise it had no future. But this was like opening Pandora's box, since there was no telling whether non-Japanese would be able to understand what budo really was. Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing.

One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.

Best wishes,

Erick Mead
12-11-2006, 11:50 PM
Appearance (gen-kai), Subconscious (yu-kai), Divine (shin-kai). .... Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology? And thus, I suppose is the Pope thus merely parroting Western Cosmology.

I think the point is that the focus on integrated spirituality in Aikido is not some woolyheaded innovation of wide-eyed acolytes. O Sensei plainly intended his comprehension of these things to be related to a Western setting. Omoto itself was very universalist it drawing upon Japanese myth to meet and connect to Western Doctrines such the Divine Logos, the Trinity and the fundamental Godhead. He went out of his way to select those references from the Omoto theology to do so, as shown in the quote, which is not an isolated example. His intent was to spread the art worldwide and particularly to the West. He said as much in other settings.

Second Doshu can hardly be blamed if he assumed that his father's teacnings on the more involved aspects of mikkyo and the Omoto derivation of Shinto would be poorly understood in the West. If he diminished its emphasis for that purpose, it would have been to serve his father's larger goal. By all evidence, it worked admirably.

Erick Mead
12-11-2006, 11:54 PM
I think it is fair to say that none of my earlier Japanese teachers ever explained what aikido was in 'western' terms. .... Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing. An elegant disproof ... :D

raul rodrigo
12-11-2006, 11:55 PM
HI Peter:

What do you think Arikawa "had" in that particular incident you witnessed? What was he doing internally? What was he trying to show the unnamed 8th dan?

R

DH
12-12-2006, 06:49 AM
One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.
Best wishes,
Seems that a Budo with a goal of bringing peace through nonviolence could make very good use of that particular skill. It would leave me wondering if that wasn't the best skill set of all. As it is the basis for everything else that has meaning. Odd that it isn't at the forefront of everything.
Which leaves the questions.
1. Did he do this regularly?
2. Did others do as well- or just him?
3. Was anyone interested in knowing what he was doing?
4. Did you ever see anyone ask?

Tomiki was supposedly witnessed doing these things?
Did anyone ever see anyone being taught how to do these things?
Did anyone ask?
Reminds me of conversations I've had with various men under Menkyo Kaidens, under Shihan, and under master level teachers in the CMA. Sensei can do this, sensei can do that, sifu this, sifu that.
I always wonder when they say these things. What can you do, what can't you do .....why?


That leads to the thought of just how we got here in all these arts.
Various guys had these things and trotted them out on occasion to either show or just to "show-off." They are reported everywhere. I mean if you read, it keeps popping up. Yet a student training, looks up, and sees these wonderful skills and either asks for help and gets some obscure answer, or just goes right back to the grind, hoping to eventually get it through technique.
So, in the end It leaves a curious person to wonder
Were these skills cherished and venerated and so hard won they were not openly shared? Or were they denegrated as curiosities and ancillary skill sets not needed. Were that the case-why are they shown or shown-off with at all?
Why when they are indeed written about, and referred to in many books and interviews and arcticles in such a favorable context-are they still obscure and percentagewise, so very difficult to find?
Then again ....who looks? Seems most are happy doing what they ae doing.
Curious thing budo is.
More so, the people in them.
Cheers
Dan

billybob
12-12-2006, 07:50 AM
In the company of such heavy hitters let me speak as a child would:

Last night in class we trained basic techniques for testing later that night. I was training with my good friend who was testing for 2nd kyu. He punched me while I was doing shihonage, so I got a little mad and thumped him hard on the ground even though I knew he had a tough test coming up. He laughed. I immediately realized what I had done and said 'sorry'. We both laughed some more and kept training.

I'm afraid my instincts are still governed by violence, and not peace. Need more training.

David

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 07:53 AM
Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.I'm not sure that you understand what I said, Erick. You appear to simply be rummaging through Ueshiba's history to try and find something you can quibble about. Do you understand the cosmology, not the ribbons and garlands of Ueshiba's later life and sayings, which involves the Yin-Yang, Ki, Heaven & Earth, etc., which is at the base of all the frippery you're talking about? If you look at my remark, it has to do with cosmology and not religion. If I wanted to get into a religious debate, I'd widen my position to include Buddhism and Cosmology. Did the Japanese layer Shinto onto and with Buddhism...yes. But even the Kojiki is heavily influenced by the Chinese cosmology and Buddhism.

The heart of what I was saying was that the peace and harmony of/with the Universe has to do with the same idea of harmony with the laws of Nature (the Universe) that is found widely in the common cosmology of Asia.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 08:00 AM
Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing. I heard a quite similar comment from a man who had lived most of his adult life in China and who provided the West with *some* understanding of the ancient texts on some interesting subjects. Even though he was a trained classicist, had a deep knowledge of Chinese culture, idiom, legends, etc., he himself felt that he was not on a par with some of the native classicists because he had not been born and raised in the culture. Comparing the two viewpoints, all I can do is smile enigmatically like this: :cool: One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.Could you explain for us what he did, based on your extensive years in Aikido, please?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
12-12-2006, 09:45 AM
Really? Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Ted,
I absolutely have no idea what you mean by this statement... what do you mean he is "just" transposing cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Of course he was transposing Omotokyo ideas into somethjing new which he created out of his spiritual practice and his martial practice. O-Sensei had an extensive Shingon background as well as a deep commitment to Omotokyo. He had a varied martial background with a primary influence of Daito Ryu. His creation of Aikido was a unique interpretation of those elements.

As far as O-Sensei's view that aikido was primarily a spiritual practice and not just a new way of fighting... that is pretty much indisputable as far as I am concerned. There is pretty much nothing that he siad or did after WW2 that would indicate otherwise.

The fact that his son Kisshomaru and his grandson Moriteru have seen fit to rework O-Sensei's Aikido to fit their ideas of what the modern world can understand and accept is a separate issue.

Every one of the Deshi did as Peter has described... each one came up with an interpretation of Aikido that fit his own interest and ability to understand what O-Sensei had taught.

In a conversation with Stan Pranin and Saotome Sensei I had in Colorado, I asked who the deshi had been who most tried to understand Aikido the way O-Sensei himself had done. The answer was Sunadomari Sensei, Abe Sensei, and Hikitsuchi Sensei. I don't think that anyone would argue that any of them thought that O-Sensei's art was some revamped fighting art. Anyone who says that has an agenda of some sort.

That doesn't mean that the teachers like Shioda Sensei, who weren't interested in the spiritual vision, weren't doing highly proficient Aikido from a technical standpoint. But they certainly weren't doing Aikido as O-Sensei envisioned it. As I say, to maintain that O-Sensei did not see Aikido primarily as a form of spiritual development (which is not in the least inconsistent with its designation as Budo) would be to force some sort of gross misinterpretation on his writings, his lectures, his interviews, his oral teaching in class, etc

Ron Tisdale
12-12-2006, 09:56 AM
Hi George,

I'm surprised Shirata Sensei didn't make that list (especially with his family Omoto connections...)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 12:39 PM
I absolutely have no idea what you mean by this statement... what do you mean he is "just" transposing cosmology into Aiki terminology?I think we're having a mixup between the ideas of "cosmology", which has to do with the nature of the universe and "religion", although of course there are some relationships which are used to tie a religion into a cosmology.

Maybe if we understand that a number of different religious beliefs in Asia were still based on the same cosmology, it becomes clearer?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-12-2006, 12:47 PM
I'm not sure that you understand what I said, Erick. .... Doubt and uncertainty are healthy things, Mike. The beginnings of other things. Stay with that ...
Do you understand the cosmology, not the ribbons and garlands of Ueshiba's later life and sayings, which involves the Yin-Yang, Ki, Heaven & Earth, etc., which is at the base of all the frippery you're talking about? If you look at my remark, it has to do with cosmology and not religion. It involves a great deal more than that. I would deny, in the first instance, that there is any meaningful distinction between them in this context. In the "Takemusu Aiki" lectures O Sensei said that "Aikido is a religion without being a religion." The attraction of Omoto to O Sensei was its exploraiton of wide and deep connections between the expressed elements of fundamental faith across the globe. His conscious mission was to give those connections a physical form founded on the selfless compassion often found in mortal combat. That is the art.

You, I gather, do not wish to practice that art. Amen. (="So be it." ~ "Tathata."~ "Thus it is")

Andre Nocquet "asked him one day if there wasn't a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, "Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn't. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my Aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian"

As far as the mythology, I understand the significance of making the sword from the dragon's own tail. I understand the relationship between the Trinitarian Omoto Shinto Creator Omikami. I get the creative face of the destructive trickster and stormy sea-god Susano-o (also part of a secondary trinity). Again I will ask -- do you surf ? If you did, you would have great experiential insight into the meaning of immense, implacable, capricious power that always evades attempts to harness it directly, and which nonetheless you can only use by being in intimate contact, and having a willingess (nay, an eagerness) to be moved, in your whole being, at once.

There are no Chinese antecedents for this teaching. Only common principles expresssed in other, often widely divergent, expressive forms.

Back to the point about boundaries, between the internal and external. Like "quiet sitting" in zazen, Aikido, connects the internal with the external. But Aikido seeks transcendance in deep connection of the active internal with the active external. Aikido becomes practice in attaining that peak of interior (dare I say, grace?) experience at the peak of the externality of experience in attack.

From Peter's "Touching the Absolute" article (from which I gleaned my earlier assessment of the Second Doshu's concerns about cultural misunderstandings prematurely impeding the overall mission of aikido: One of our major concerns is that aikido, because of its unique qualities rooted in Japanese spirituality, tends to invite misunderstandings. This tendency increases as aikido is introduced to people of different cultures and lifestyles, not only among beginners who have unrealistic expectations, but also among advanced students who may miss its subtle principles and may misrepresent them.
...
As far as aikido techniques are concerned, there may be only minor problems, but the philosophical and spiritual basis of aikido presents an entirely different challenge. Real problems may arise unless we return to the original teaching of the Founder and clarify the essential meaning of aikido as fundamentally a matter of the spirit.The bottom line for this connection with the West, for those who have not forgotten its significance, lies in the three-fold face of Creation and the contemplation of these meanings in the Doka, and in particular, 十 字 道, in its fullest expression, which ties so many other elements and formulas together into a coherent whole.
The heart of what I was saying was that the peace and harmony of/with the Universe has to do with the same idea of harmony with the laws of Nature (the Universe) that is found widely in the common cosmology of Asia. O Sensei was doing more than mouthing mere platitudes -- he was applying PRINCIPLES -- and expressing them in a rich manner.

Apart from his above statement on "becoming a better Christian," and whether or not you think kotodama are wholly Shinto or partly Shingon mikkyo, by the recurrent references he has made between the kotodama and the function of the Divine Logos, he has opened up a global field of references and connections (musubi):
This is far wider than the prefitted room you would limit him to. Peter has provided this quote in proof of that in his article "Touching the Absolute" "Kirisuto ga Ďhajme ni kotoba ariki' to itta sono kotodama ga SU de arimasu. Sore ga kotodama no hajimari de aru." (ĎIn the beginning was the Word', spoken by Christ is this kotodama SU. This is the origin of kotodama.) As to Cosmology, Second Doshu said this (also quoted from Peter's article) that sort of sums it up:

At the heart of aikido as a spiritual way is ki: the world-forming energy which lies at the core of each human being, waiting to be realised and actualised. The world forming energy - the Divine Logos - the divine spark - the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit -- the Ki of the Great Origin -- call it what you will -- in whatever system of reference you like -- the point is precisely same and the teaching is one piece of cloth -- regardless of the differing embroidery around the fringes.

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 12:56 PM
It involves a great deal more than that. (snip)That's fine, Erick, but the "great deal MORE " is not what I'm talking about. I said the basis of Ueshiba's stuff is part of the Asia-wide cosmology and within that cosmology is the well-known concept of working in harmony with the natural laws of the Universe. Ueshiba, Tohei, and many others (not just Japanese, either) feel that part of the natural harmony is a desire to get along, etc. All the religious and peaceful, etc., thoughts you're coming up with are simply offshoots of the ancient cosmology that espouses a "harmony" with the laws of the universe. That's all I said. And I'm correct... no matter how much you'd like to tack onto the end of what I said.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-12-2006, 01:24 PM
I said the basis of Ueshiba's stuff is part of the Asia-wide cosmology and within that cosmology is the well-known concept of working in harmony with the natural laws of the Universe. ... apart from the facts I mentioned as to "the basis" that he himself understood for his art (among many others that I did not) that just don't fit at all into your overly broad assumption.

If we simply assume away facts contrary to our position we can reach any result we like. This kind of argument from selectively generalized assumptions is dismissive to a degree that is not fitting of aikido, (i.e. - it lacks musubi or close connection with the subject being discussed).

I cannot assume away a bokken being swung at my head. I had better address it squarely. One way or the other we will certainly achieve musubi, but I'd really prefer it to be on my own motion.
That's fine, Erick, but the "great deal MORE " is not what I'm talking about. I take it, then, that the boundary where your desire to understand aikido stops -- is at "LESS."

Okami
12-12-2006, 01:31 PM
Wow there seems to be alot of contraversy about whether Aikido is a religion, so I would like to say my humble opionon, I guess it really depends on the persons feelings. Some people may see it as a religion, others not, O' Sensei said Aikido is a religion that is not a religion, it embraces all reilgions and purifies all. And well I guess I wouldn't call it a martial art. O'sensei saw all the strife and violence around him and Aikido was a physical expression of his beliefs, one of his dokas states that Budo can not be emcompassed or explained in words and that one would have to explore and discover it for themself. O'sensei's overall message was one of peace so really you needn't learn the physical aspects of Aikido to be doing Aikido, so in some ways I guess it is a religion :p

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 01:40 PM
... apart from the facts I mentioned as to "the basis" that he himself understood for his art (among many others that I did not) that just don't fit at all into your overly broad assumption.

If we simply assume away facts contrary to our position we can reach any result we like. You haven't given any "facts" that dispute what I said, though. All you've done is blather. Here's what I said in my post: I have never been convinced that Ueshiba was talking about "peace" so much as he was parrotting the "harmony with the Universe" which is the basis for so much Asian cosmology. But hey.... each to his own. That's all I said. The peace and harmony with the laws of Nature is part of the whole Yin-Yang cosmology which Ueshiba used. It's blatantly in his Douka and other writings. My opinion that you're doing your best to tear down is in that little box, Erick. It's not a major statement, but it's certainly true. If you don't think that Ueshiba used the Yin-Yang cosmology as a basis for his religious beliefs, then show me what he did use. If you say "Shinto", then you need to do some research on the Kojiki.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Fred Little
12-12-2006, 04:20 PM
The peace and harmony with the laws of Nature is part of the whole Yin-Yang cosmology which Ueshiba used. It's blatantly in his Douka and other writings.

Ueshiba's "Peace and harmony with the Laws of Nature" also draws heavily on Neo-Confucian authoritarian paternalism in the sphere of human relations, on shamanistic practices both native and continental in the realm of personal spiritual adventurism, and simple consonance with the smooth rap and flow of the charismatic Onisaburo, all wrapped up in a furoshiki woven of such disparate strands of rhetoric as Norinaga's 18th Century nativist Kokugaku, Wang Yang Min's 19th Century intuitive Buddhist revolutionism, the Esperanto Society's 20th Century internationalism, and the high sheen of triumphalist gnostic exceptionalism.

They're all blatantly there in the Doka.

And it all makes about as much sense as Sun Ra's cosmology, an example I choose simply because I think his music is at least as brilliant as Ueshiba's Budo, and many of his other expressions of his genius just about as esoteric, syncretic, non-systemic, and -- dare I say it -- out to lunch as Ueshiba's works off the mat.

That said, I'd be remiss if I didn't allow that the world would be a poorer place if George Clinton hadn't taken on Sun Ra's Mothership concept and gotten up on the down stroke with it.

FL

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 04:40 PM
Ueshiba's "Peace and harmony with the Laws of Nature" also draws heavily on... Hi Fred:

I understand all that and I have never gainsaid it. My point was that at core is the Yin-Yang cosmology and the attention on following the laws of nature in "harmony". That cosmology is also the basis for many of the other things you mentioned, BTW. Peace and Harmony is good. It feels good. Ueshiba, though, didn't come up with the concept and the fact that if feels good, nor was he the first person to include it in his martial teachings, by any means.

Incidentally, I'm not trying to come across as a nihilist. My approach is more in line with dispassion being a correct approach as opposed to passionate defense of strongly-held beliefs somehow being a proof of the "spiritual". Martially, you're probably well-read enough to know that I'm on firm ground with that correspondence. ;)

Best.

Mike

Erick Mead
12-12-2006, 05:47 PM
... Neo-Confucian authoritarian paternalism in the sphere of human relations, on shamanistic practices both native and continental in the realm of personal spiritual adventurism, and simple consonance with the smooth rap and flow of the charismatic Onisaburo, all wrapped up in a furoshiki woven of such disparate strands of rhetoric as Norinaga's 18th Century nativist Kokugaku, Wang Yang Min's 19th Century intuitive Buddhist revolutionism, the Esperanto Society's 20th Century internationalism, and the high sheen of triumphalist gnostic exceptionalism. ... many of his other expressions of his genius just about as esoteric, syncretic, non-systemic, and -- dare I say it -- out to lunch as Ueshiba's works off the mat.
Geez! Not a poet among the bunch of ya ...! BTW -- Wang Yang Ming -- 16th century. The Old Man was trying to communicate complex things that do not denote well in the ebst of circumstances -- if at all. That does not make the attempt to get inside that stream ofthought meaningless or worthless to consider seriously in its own right, and without prejudging assumptions about what it does or does not have to say. I am constantly amazed at those who, not having the time, inclination or background to delve carefully into these things treat them as not worthy of being delved into at all. The lamp may be worthless to a blind man -- that does not mean it has no uses.
My point was that at core is the Yin-Yang cosmology and the attention on following the laws of nature in "harmony". As opposed, say, to the "laws of nature" "red in tooth and claw" ?? Exemplified in the Warring States? There is a world of Chinese thought beyond Taoism, you know. Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang have nothing to say about peace in preference by prinicple, other than it is a pole opposite war. Taoism my fit your ideas of dispassion and moral remove "Heaven is very high, and the emperor is far away." It does not refelct O Sensei's thoughts on anythign other than a rudimentary level

Worse yet as counter example to the "common Asian cosmology" you falsely posit, was the recurrent resumption of the totalitarian legalism (fajia 法家 ) that sanctioned a minefield of laws, selective enforcement, harsh punishment and bound it all up in a nice little bow of the cult of rulership. The foremost modern practitioner of this ancient school of Chinese philosophy is named Kim Jong-Il.

If you really want a closer call on any "root" doctrione of Chinese philosophical as influence on both Omoto and particularly O Sensei's EXPRESSED sensibilities -- look more carefully at the passionate engagement that WAS expressed and the emphasis on Love and Peace in O Sensei's writing -- in other words, ya left out Moism.

Mozi proclaimed the doctrine of universal love (兼愛 jian ai). O Sensei, in several Doka, would write "Aikido" with the variant "love" ("ai" 愛 ) substituted. His conception of the "Art of Peace" and his principles of technique are spot on with Mozi's stance against all aggression and war. Also in common was MOzi's reliance on Heaven not a s a dispassiont amoral force of nature, but as a benevolent and personal, moral force in human nature and society. This is much closer to the humane principles expressed by O Sensei in his work, and his own sense of affinity to root Christian teachings, to which Moism has often been compared.
My approach is more in line with dispassion being a correct approach as opposed to passionate defense of strongly-held beliefs somehow being a proof of the "spiritual". When dealing with objects -- objective terms are usually best. As a general rule, however, people should be treated as subjects, not objects, and it is better to try to understand a person on his own terms. That way we can see what commonalities or distcintion actually exist betwen different people and their circumstances, rather making poorly drawn assumptions, yet again, based merely on one's own unsubstantiated terms.

Mike Sigman
12-12-2006, 06:05 PM
As opposed, say, to the "laws of nature" "red in tooth and claw" ?? Exemplified in the Warring States? There is a world of Chinese thought beyond Taoism, you know. Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang Really, Erick. In your now-seemingly-ingrained habit, you just look for something to argue, even when you don't know what you're talking about. You think Yin and Yang are solely Taoist concepts?

Mike

Peter Goldsbury
12-12-2006, 06:07 PM
One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.

The comments and questions (not unexpected) from Mr Harden and Mr Sigman are partly why I added the final sentence to the above quote.

I was training with someone else at the time, about fifteen years ago, and saw what was going on as I was doing so. Arikawa Sensei had a fearsome reputation in the Hombu and when he came on the mat 'just to practise', it was best to be aware of where he was and what he was doing. So I cannot say for certain.

George S. Ledyard
12-12-2006, 06:26 PM
Hi George,

I'm surprised Shirata Sensei didn't make that list (especially with his family Omoto connections...)

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron,
I thought of that at the time but was in listening mode as Stan and Sensei talked. I also thought of Inoue Sensei, O-Sensei's nephew... Of course he distanced himself from O-Sensei after the Omotokyo suppression but he continued to call what he did Aiki Budo right up to the war, I believe which was what O-sensei was calling his art. From the films I have seen, no one looked as much like the Founder as he did and from his interview in Aikido Journal he seemed to have a very compatible view about what he was doing. :triangle:

tedehara
12-12-2006, 07:18 PM
Ted,
I absolutely have no idea what you mean by this statement... what do you mean he is "just" transposing cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Of course he was transposing Omotokyo ideas into somethjing new which he created out of his spiritual practice and his martial practice. O-Sensei had an extensive Shingon background as well as a deep commitment to Omotokyo. He had a varied martial background with a primary influence of Daito Ryu. His creation of Aikido was a unique interpretation of those elements...
Like a musician who transposes music from one key to another, Morihei Ueshiba changed the concepts that appeared in Onisaburo Deguchi's The Reikai Monogatari (Tales of the Spirit World) into the practices that would become known as Aikido. He did not originate these concepts, but transformed them into a budo.

Of course you could argue that "he" didn't create aikido, but it was the kami which possessed him that did. This could be sticky argument from a psychological standpoint, but it is certainly easier to argue than Erick's AJ article of O Sensei as rabbinical student.

I don't see any difference between Dennis Hooker's statements and what Kanshu Sunadomari wrote in Enlightenment through Aikido. Normally I would assume Hooker was repeating the book, except that Sunadormari also mentioned the Monogatari utopian concept from O Sensei's writings and talks.

About the Monogatari...It is also an odyssey of how good deities establish a Maitreyan utopia on earth while leading evil spirits to mend their ways with divine power.
Life's true purpose is to build an infinite and eternal Heaven on the face of the Earth. from Enlightenment through Aikido pg. 65That is just transposition.

Peter Goldsbury
12-12-2006, 10:08 PM
Seems that a Budo with a goal of bringing peace through nonviolence could make very good use of that particular skill. It would leave me wondering if that wasn't the best skill set of all. As it is the basis for everything else that has meaning. Odd that it isn't at the forefront of everything.
Which leaves the questions.
1. Did he do this regularly?
2. Did others do as well- or just him?
3. Was anyone interested in knowing what he was doing?
4. Did you ever see anyone ask?

Tomiki was supposedly witnessed doing these things?
Did anyone ever see anyone being taught how to do these things?
Did anyone ask?
Reminds me of conversations I've had with various men under Menkyo Kaidens, under Shihan, and under master level teachers in the CMA. Sensei can do this, sensei can do that, sifu this, sifu that.
I always wonder when they say these things. What can you do, what can't you do .....why?

Dan

I think one reason is mindset. At Japanese universities it is traditional for students not to ask their professors questions and I once had this explained to me by one of my earliest aikido teachers: in Japan asking a question implies a whole lot more than simply asking the question. But this becomes a major problem when you are a graduate student and need to chart your own course of future studies.

There is an acute awareness here that Japan has too few Nobel prizes and too few Japanese universities are top ranked. So the Japanese education ministry now want students to be taught to use individual initiative, but note that they are telling people this, as if it will simply happen as a result.

I think that Tomiki, Arikawa, Tada and a few others figured out for themselves what M Ueshiba was doing in his personal training. They did not so much ask him questions as watch, feel, especially when they took ukemi, and then work out what they thought was going on. The problem here is that the focus of this training is still the Master and what the Master shows. However, I have indicated above that this is not a problem unique to budo training.

I added the reference to Arikawa to show that some shihans had figured out for themselves that the distinction 'internal/external' when applied to aikido (CMA = mainly internal / Aikido = mainly external--and less efficient than, e.g., DRAJJ or BJJ) is too superficial. But it has to be faced, and accepted for what it is, that none of them talked about it in those terms (internal vs. external training), if they talked about it at all.

Fred Little
12-12-2006, 10:49 PM
Geez! Not a poet among the bunch of ya ...! BTW -- Wang Yang Ming -- 16th century. The Old Man was trying to communicate complex things that do not denote well in the ebst of circumstances -- if at all. That does not make the attempt to get inside that stream ofthought meaningless or worthless to consider seriously in its own right, and without prejudging assumptions about what it does or does not have to say. I am constantly amazed at those who, not having the time, inclination or background to delve carefully into these things treat them as not worthy of being delved into at all. The lamp may be worthless to a blind man -- that does not mean it has no uses.

Erick:

I plead guilty to not having read Want Yang Ming in a decade, and thank you for the correction on the date of his life, which my dim recollectionI led me to confuse with the date of his revival.

As a past recipieint of the Ina Coolbrith Prize in Poetry, I have an intense interest in the saggy tits of circumstance and no compunction whatsoever about saying unequivocally that whatever virtues Ueshiba's doka may have, few -- if any -- of them have to do with their quality as poetry.

Excellence in one area of endeavor rarely extends to other areas, Jefferson, daVinci, Vico, or even less illustrious but more contemporary examples such as Edward Said and Noam Chomsky notwithstanding.

That doesn't mean the doka don't have evidentiary value.

But I'm not about to pretend to hold the view that they have value as poetry or as a unique philosophical distillation and reformulation of old wisdom made new for our times.

If you want to make that case, I wish you good luck. You're going to need it.

Best,

FL

Erick Mead
12-12-2006, 11:22 PM
...whatever virtues Ueshiba's doka may have, few -- if any -- of them have to do with their quality as poetry.
....
That doesn't mean the doka don't have evidentiary value.

But I'm not about to pretend to hold the view that they have value as poetry or as a unique philosophical distillation and reformulation of old wisdom made new for our times. Well, they beat Ginsberg all to hell, let's just say that ...

Their value (along with his lectures) is not in their success as art, but as guide to his other art. Whatever the marks for quality a modern critic of poetry may give, they are his considered effort to put his own mind into words about the art he gave us.

Interpreting meaning from them requires poetic imagination, and a willingness to explore levels of allusion and symbol, regardless of the level of art that they represent. They are myth, fairy-story, and alchemy. The prime criticism of them from the modernist standpoint is also the key to them -- you can only understand them by standing inside them.

Erick Mead
12-12-2006, 11:40 PM
Really, Erick. In your now-seemingly-ingrained habit, you just look for something to argue, even when you don't know what you're talking about. You think Yin and Yang are solely Taoist concepts? Mozi too much for you ?

It is easy to dismiss with trivial observations what you do not really wish to comprehend. The fact that yin/yang concepts informed many other streams of Chinese culture and its adopted daughters, is not arguable. Of course, I didn't argue it. Taoism informs Chinese culture generally, as it informs Japanese and Korean culture generally. So what? It was a point I did not dispute. They are hardly the only ideas originating in China nor even the most influential in a given circumstance.

Nor does it matter for this purpose. I only made the point that your levelling assumptions about their predominance in his work are overwrought and wrong.

That aspect of O Sensei's teaching is neither novel nor exceptional. There are novel and exceptional aspects of his art in the context of Japan that are not so easily trivialized as seem wont to do. Those aspects have no reference to the yin-yang cosmology that you assume to predominate everything else. I have pointed some of them out, with refernces both to Western cosmological thought as well as Mohist doctrines that are spot on point. Whether this was his own pastiche or an amalgam of Omoto concepts, does not matter if you want to understand what he thought and why he thought it in the context of the art that he taught.

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 08:10 AM
I think that Tomiki, Arikawa, Tada and a few others figured out for themselves what M Ueshiba was doing in his personal training. They did not so much ask him questions as watch, feel, especially when they took ukemi, and then work out what they thought was going on. The problem here is that the focus of this training is still the Master and what the Master shows. However, I have indicated above that this is not a problem unique to budo training.It's a good point. My personal guess (based on some observations and experience, but admittedly limited) is that there was a certain amount of anecdotal knowledge of Ki things in the dojo. I think that's prevalent in most martial arts dojos in Asia. Knowing anecdotally that the Ki things were there (and what they could do, what they were comprised of, etc.... the common knowledge can be pretty high in an Asian dojo), being able to see Ueshiba demonstrate these things, etc., gave a situation probably more ripe than they "figured out for themselves". It was probably far more obvious than that, in my speculation. I added the reference to Arikawa to show that some shihans had figured out for themselves that the distinction 'internal/external' when applied to aikido (CMA = mainly internal / Aikido = mainly external--and less efficient than, e.g., DRAJJ or BJJ) is too superficial. But it has to be faced, and accepted for what it is, that none of them talked about it in those terms (internal vs. external training), if they talked about it at all.The "internal" vs "external" dichotomy is probably not pertinent in these discussions. All the Chinese martial arts use "nei gongs" ("internal exercises") to develop "nei jing" ("internal strength"), but to varying degrees, to varying degrees of added musculature versus ki, and so on. Only a few (tops = 16) Chinese martial arts are considered to be part of the "Nei JIa", the "internal families" or "internal styles". These styles use a store and release of the dantien that is simply a variant usage of the "nei jing" skills... nothing more.

So to be perfectly accurate, Aikido has "Nei Jing" (internal strength) and there is a general variant shown by Ueshiba, Tohei, and Abe Sensei's (among others) that indicates the preferred usage of nei jing in Aikido is one of the softer varieties, not the harder varieties seen in some karate's, southern Chinese martial arts, and so on

What can be said of Aikido is not that it's an "internal art", but it is accurate to say that it uses "internal power", etc.... just like all the other Asian martial arts. Right now there is beginning to be a movement by some people to re-insert that core strength intot their Aikido; others will resist even if the logic becomes inescapable. But that's not the concern, or it shouldn't be, IMO. The concern should be for the accuracy with which we all transmit our knowledge of the various arts (and that includes the use of these skills in calligraphy, tea ceremony, Japanese dance, and so on).

Regards,

Mike Sigman

MM
12-13-2006, 08:34 AM
I think that Tomiki, Arikawa, Tada and a few others figured out for themselves what M Ueshiba was doing in his personal training. They did not so much ask him questions as watch, feel, especially when they took ukemi, and then work out what they thought was going on. The problem here is that the focus of this training is still the Master and what the Master shows. However, I have indicated above that this is not a problem unique to budo training.


I wonder how much had to do with the year/time differences, too? The "pre-war" students were learning at a time when Ueshiba was still younger and "polishing" his art. While the "post war" students studied under an older Ueshiba who already had the time put in to polish his art somewhat.

Do you think that the pre-war students might have gotten better access and insight into Ueshiba's art while he was still "experimenting"? And the post war students having a harder time learning because Ueshiba didn't show nearly as much access or insight into his art?

Mark

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2006, 08:46 AM
Well, look at who really "taught" them...how much actual training did Ueshiba Sensei lead "post-war"? How much in Tokyo, as opposed to Iwama? Or other places, like Abe Sensei's dojo in Osaka?

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 08:56 AM
Erick:

I plead guilty to not having read Want Yang Ming in a decade, and thank you for the correction on the date of his life, which my dim recollectionI led me to confuse with the date of his revival. Aw heck, you get a full pardon for having read him at all... or really even, for anything other than a blank stare at the mention of his name ... :D

I guess the point I am making here is actually the one Wang also made. Our conceptions and actions are of one piece.

To say we know without acting on that knowledge or practicing it is to demonstrate the illusory (false and seducing) nature of that assertion as "knowledge" in the first place. I find this tight interlacing in O Sensei's expression of his knowledge with the expression of actions in the art. It is far from being a parroting of the principle of the unity of knowledge and action. It is an exceedingly fine example of its detailed application.

This is the heart of the teaching and application of musubi -- eliminate the boundary between the external and the internal -- yin and yang. That is why Mike is overreaching the yin-yang aspects, because exploiting duality is precisely NOT what the art is about.

The disconnect or the unwillingness to realize connections between the things we know and things we do, are troubling and a source of disharmony, both internally and externally. They are one thing -- only falsely distinguished. In musubi, I need not know what my enemy plans or "knows" he will do to formulate my strategy in advance -- he does it and, at that moment, he is not truly capable of knowing or planning anything beyond what he is actually doing, or else he has ceased to actually do it and is occupied in doing something else.

The only question is whether I am in connection with his action by sharing in that action and therefore sharing immediately in his knowledge of it -- or disconnected and ignorant of both knowledge and action.

The internal power pushing tests described by Dan, Mike Rob and others demonstrate this problem. They wish to be pushed -- but do not wish to be pushed. The cognitive dissonnace is written on the face of the problem. The internal and external are set conflict. There is no unity -- only conflict. That the conflict is not overt is irrelevant. Can anybody spell p-a-s-s-i-v-e a-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e?

As a result, if he really does not wish to be pushed, if I achieve musubi, why would I ever push him? We just stand there. Aikido is operating perfectly and absolutely nothing is happening, not merely the appearance of nothign happening. For more aikido to happen he needs to decide something and act on it and I'll gladly join in. I'll wait....

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 09:04 AM
Right now there is beginning to be a movement by some people to re-insert that core strength intot their Aikido; others will resist even if the logic becomes inescapable. Only if one accepts given assumptions from which a certain logic operates does it become inescapable. I don't; It isn't.

That is particulalry so when the level of assumption is:
My personal guess .... observations and experience, but admittedly limited ... anecdotal knowledge .... the common knowledge ... in my speculation. This form of argument fallacy is called chain of inference, and it is not -- logical. Not proved.

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 09:11 AM
Only if one accepts given assumptions from which a certain logic operates does it become inescapable. I don't; It isn't. Not proved.I realize you don't understand or accept the logic of the jin and ki skills, Erick. And granted, it's obviously "not proved" to you personally, but frankly it's pretty well proved in a lot of the martial world and is sort of a ho-hum topic. Whether you catch up or not is up to you.... it's not up to someone to prove it to your satisfaction. Pretty much the only options I see for you at the moment is to get out there and look (as has been suggested to you) or for you to wait until it's overwhelming and then to try and pretend that's what you meant all along.

Good luck in your practice. Best of luck to your students.

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard
12-13-2006, 09:24 AM
Like a musician who transposes music from one key to another, Morihei Ueshiba changed the concepts that appeared in Onisaburo Deguchi's The Reikai Monogatari (Tales of the Spirit World) into the practices that would become known as Aikido. He did not originate these concepts, but transformed them into a budo.

Of course you could argue that "he" didn't create aikido, but it was the kami which possessed him that did. This could be sticky argument from a psychological standpoint, but it is certainly easier to argue than Erick's AJ article of O Sensei as rabbinical student.

I don't see any difference between Dennis Hooker's statements and what Kanshu Sunadomari wrote in Enlightenment through Aikido. Normally I would assume Hooker was repeating the book, except that Sunadormari also mentioned the Monogatari utopian concept from O Sensei's writings and talks.


That is just transposition.

I still don't get the point... why the "just"? as if his contribution to creating something new was somehow smaller than it was...

Lots of folks subscribed to these spiritual ideas. The Omotkyo had a hundreds of thousands followers at one point. Only O-Sensei took these concepts and related them to Budo movement and prectice. His interpretation of Budo is unique.

You can find the sources for his spiritual ideas in a number of places. You can find the sources for his martial techniques in various places. But before O-Sensei, you could not find a form of Budo that was like what O-Sensei created; not in the outer form or in the practice.

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 09:26 AM
I realize you don't understand or accept the logic of the jin and ki skills, Erick. I do accept them in their own right and I have not disputed their contribution to the cultural and technical underlayment of aikido. Which you routinely ignore so as to make ill-founded ad hominem slaps in place of informed argument.

Please carry on. It is fun. Beating me up does exactly nothing to prove your position, I might point out. Gee, is it third grade all over again?

What I do not accept is YOUR contention that YOUR conception of these skills is necessarily correct in regards specifically to applying Aikido, nor that it is the "lost secret" for the salvation of Aikido -- nor, indeed, that it is in need of rescue, nor yet that there is anything lost at all.

Granted, there are some people who may be...

... wait until it's overwhelming and then to try and pretend that's what you meant all along. And a prophet, too... well -- that is persuasive.

MM
12-13-2006, 10:18 AM
The internal power pushing tests described by Dan, Mike Rob and others demonstrate this problem. They wish to be pushed -- but do not wish to be pushed. The cognitive dissonnace is written on the face of the problem. The internal and external are set conflict. There is no unity -- only conflict. That the conflict is not overt is irrelevant. Can anybody spell p-a-s-s-i-v-e a-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e?


Erick,
I just have to chime in here. It seems that you have the wrong interpretation of what they are doing and what is happening. There is no conflict, only "harmony" of energies. Really.


As a result, if he really does not wish to be pushed, if I achieve musubi, why would I ever push him? We just stand there. Aikido is operating perfectly and absolutely nothing is happening, not merely the appearance of nothign happening. For more aikido to happen he needs to decide something and act on it and I'll gladly join in. I'll wait....

And the same goes for what they are doing. Only here, you are a bit backwards. It isn't that they are pushing as in your former example above, but that they are standing there like you, centered. Aikido is still operating perfectly and nothing is happening. It's that simple. However, if that person does do something, then there is a harmony of energies ... a "join in" ... just not in the way that most people "harmonize" in Aikido.

What they are doing is all about harmony and never about conflict. They couldn't do what they're doing if they used a conflict method. The basic, underlying premise is a bit different, but the resultant is the same -- harmony.

Where a lot of Aikido people will actively harmonize (action verb) with uke, internal stuff has an affect that causes uke to harmonize. Both ways end up doing something to uke that causes harmony.

Hmmm ... maybe this example:

Let's say that there is a 4' diameter ball weighing 150 pounds. It's rolling along an even path in a straight direction at a slow pace.

A person trots beside it, harmonizes with the ball and slowly creates a different spin/path/direction/speed such that the person/ball creates a new path.

Or the ground starts sloping/altering in such a way that a new spin/path/direction/speed opens up and the ground/ball creates a new path.

Either way, the ball has had some change. There is no conflict. For just as the person "harmonized" with the ball, so did the ground. The person had to create some sort of harmony with the ball just as the ground did. If the person's actions are viewed as harmonizing, then the ground's actions must also be viewed that way for both are physical forces applying some change upon the ball and neither have a direct, stopping effect.

But, the person *effected* the ball while the ground had an *affect* upon the ball. Different manners to change the ball, but there was a "harmony" from both.

Mark

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 10:19 AM
Like a musician who transposes music from one key to another, Morihei Ueshiba changed the concepts that appeared in Onisaburo Deguchi's The Reikai Monogatari (Tales of the Spirit World) into the practices that would become known as Aikido. ... That is just transposition. I still don't get the point... why the "just"? as if his contribution to creating something new was somehow smaller than it was...

But before O-Sensei, you could not find a form of Budo that was like what O-Sensei created; not in the outer form or in the practice. This theme and the nature of Ted's and other's objections addressed here reminds me of a topical scene from the film "Amadeus." Emperor Joseph of Austria is expressing some diplomatic displeasure on hearing Mozart's opera in Vienna.
Emperor Joseph: My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.

Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty? Obviously, O Sensei had the same problem.

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2006, 11:04 AM
I have to echo Mark's post...

They wish to be pushed -- but do not wish to be pushed.

False. They wish to have a partner push on them...and they maintain their internal structure. So the push has no outward affect.

The cognitive dissonnace is written on the face of the problem. The internal and external are set conflict. There is no unity -- only conflict. That the conflict is not overt is irrelevant. Can anybody spell p-a-s-s-i-v-e a-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e?

Personally, I see much more passive agressive behavior in aikido...but maybe that's just me. Oh, wait...it's been mentioned before! Maybe it's not just me...

Best,
Ron

dbotari
12-13-2006, 12:36 PM
Cheap shot coming!!! Be warned! :p

Can anybody spell p-a-s-s-i-v-e a-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e?


Well we know you can't - Where I come from we spell aggressive with two "g"s. ;) :D

tedehara
12-13-2006, 12:50 PM
I still don't get the point... why the "just"? as if his contribution to creating something new was somehow smaller than it was...Because I practice aikido, it's creation and development is important to me. If I didn't practice aikido, the development of the art would be just a curious scholarly incident. This art becomes just a transformation of Omote concepts into a budo.

What the founder was doing applies to a much wider setting than Japanese martial arts. He probably didn't realize this. Certainly most people don't today. People are caught up in the mysticism and superstitions of aikido's creation. They can't see a larger picture.

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2006, 01:45 PM
Cheap shot coming!!! Be warned! :p



Well we know you can't - Where I come from we spell aggressive with two "g"s. ;) :D

:o
oops, mea culpa too...

R :D

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 02:01 PM
They wish to be pushed -- but do not wish to be pushed. False. They wish to have a partner push on them...and they maintain their internal structure. They cannot maintain that structure without 1) movement or 2) resistance.

To will the act is to will the effect. If the effect is resistance, then it is not Aikido. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. For reference: http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html

What nuance on "absolute" am I missing here ?
So the push has no outward affect. Are we throwing Newton's Third Law out the window ?

If the input force is unbalanced by reaction, however derived (active or inertial) then it induces motion. If it does not induce motion, it is a balanced force equation -- there is a reaction, and it is necessarily equal and opposes the input force, i.e.-- it is resistance.

And therefore outside the boundaries of Aikido.

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 02:05 PM
:o [spelling of agGressive]
oops, mea culpa too... :D Declaration of Independence -- the gold standard, has two (2) interlineated spelling corrections -- in the original.

billybob
12-13-2006, 02:06 PM
Erick,

The force is redirected through the system of 'sticks and strings' that is our bodies. The movement you seek may be unmeasurably small flexions of tendons, and compression of bones.

It does not 'feel' the same as resistance, because of the network. It's a subjective thing - best I can do bro.

Isn't the engineering definition of 'rigid' - ten units of force in and ten units out = rigid. God help me here, but maybe there are losses to friction also.

dave

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 02:28 PM
If the input force is unbalanced by reaction, however derived (active or inertial) then it induces motion. If it does not induce motion, it is a balanced force equation -- there is a reaction, and it is necessarily equal and opposes the input force, i.e.-- it is resistance.

And therefore outside the boundaries of Aikido.Who are you to define the boundaries of Aikido, Erick? According to your self-styled rules, the demonstrations by Ueshiba, where someone pushed on him and he did not move, are "outside the boundaries of Aikido". I think you need to recognize that as brilliant as you undoubtedly are, your abilities to define for everyone what Aikido is are probably limited when your theories miss the point.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2006, 02:30 PM
And therefore outside the boundaries of Aikido.

In your opinion...not mine...

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 02:32 PM
The force is redirected through the system of 'sticks and strings' that is our bodies. Fair enough, where to? Ground reaction is still reaction -- being a buttress instead of a piston.
The movement you seek may be unmeasurably small flexions of tendons, and compression of bones. Yikes. I don't go for bone compression. Is this not, again, language of simple inertial reaction? Or elastic deformation -- i.e spring-force resistance ?
It does not 'feel' the same as resistance, because of the network. It's a subjective thing - best I can do bro. The first thing I learned about 3-D mechanics is that it is a counterintuive, and frequently nonlinear environment. Try force paths in spaceframe analysis for statics. Or masonry vaults. God loves vaults. He had medieval stonemasons curse generations of engineers by building lots and lots of them. For dynamics -- I can put you in an airplane and make you "feel" perfectly "right-side-up" but that does not make it so.
God help me here, but maybe there are losses to friction also. God won't help you there -- friction is wholly the work of the Devil -- ruined a bunch of perfectly good perpetual motion machines ... :p

billybob
12-13-2006, 02:55 PM
Erick,

Spend the $30.00 on a 'tensegritoy'. Build one of the models. My favorite is the icosahedron (twenty sides) with six sticks all parallel. It looks, and kicks, like a soccer ball when done.

Point is - the 'compression' i'm speaking of is because the tendons/fascia, I'll use 'strings' pull in a balanced way Down the length of the bone. You can snap a pencil easily - can you crush it by pushing directly along it's line (compression)? Probably not.

dave

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 03:02 PM
And therefore outside the boundaries of Aikido. In your opinion...not mine... Who are you to define the boundaries of Aikido, Erick?
Not my opinion nor my authority. OSensei's. I quoted him directly. He was pretty clear on that point; "absolute," in fact.

Aikido = NOT-resistance :: resistance = NOT-Aikido.

A = NOT B ; B = NOT-A.

Among the more basic logical propositions.

The only question is whether what you all are doing is resistance or motion, or a combination thereof. You all seem to claim it is neither one nor both. And that is just not possible.
According to your self-styled rules, "Self-styled." Quoting O Sensei. An intersting usage that I was not previously aware of ... ... the demonstrations by Ueshiba, where someone pushed on him and he did not move, are "outside the boundaries of Aikido". I think you need to recognize that as brilliant as you undoubtedly are, your abilities to define for everyone what Aikido is are probably limited when your theories miss the point. Fortunately for me, since I am not, a brilliant effort is not required. I simply reconcile the statements you make with the conflicting statements he made -- by concluding that you are wrong when it comes to Aikido. How can I conclude otherwise? You all do bear the burden of overcoming O Sensei's direct statements that facially conflict with your premises -- if you hope to persuade anybody.

I have seen many clips of what you speak: the "chest push;" the "thigh push;" the "seated push."

"Il muove." So far.

Point me to one where he doesn't move; you keep saying that there are. Show me. I am open minded.

You also have not attempted to rebut a earlier point I made in another thread that even if he can be shown "not moving" (assuming such a clip exists) in responcse to force, how do you show that this is not merely a demonstration to show the pointlessness of "strength" contests versus aikido. He was by all accounts plenty strong. This is especially suspect since all these examples seem to be limited to demos as opposed to principles he gave in his explicit aikido instruction and were recorded by his primary deshi.

That he did not teach these means of resistance is also evidence that they were not aikido. Not useless, but not aikido.

billybob
12-13-2006, 03:17 PM
Erick my friend, you are resisting opening up to a new way of understanding.

Perhaps rather than the word 'resistance' we could substitute 'struggle'.

My friend asked how I loaded uchi mata so easily - he knew my back was injured and painful. I told him - one leg stands relaxed, and you simply join uke by hugging with one arm, and you both fall over - except that as you fall forward, uke falls UP - up your back. There - I've used magical language, but it's really just leverage as far as the pivot goes. The leg bearing the weight is not being used muscularly - the bones and fascia form nice little triangles with minimal effort on my part.

Imagine a creature that can intuitively find strength in static - linear compression, triangles etc. - but be able to reprogram itself at will. God - I want to be one of those!



dave

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 03:23 PM
Spend the $30.00 on a 'tensegritoy'. Build one of the models. Yes. Build a tower out of them, which I have seen done. They are very survivable in severe wind conditions because they are very elastic and THEY MOVE at the slightest input.

http://ropesandpoles.blogspot.com/2006/03/step-by-step-tensegrity-tower.html

Along these lines, I designed and built a pentagonal plan, chain-suspended, center-pivot treehouse for my kids seven years ago, It is tied to the tree with radial eyebolts and a suspending circumferential roof truss space-frame that carries the floor loads on beams hung on chains. It has withstood direct hits from Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis --- all because it MOVES and does not resist at all.

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 03:27 PM
Erick my friend, you are resisting opening up to a new way of understanding.

Perhaps rather than the word 'resistance' we could substitute 'struggle'.
That's all fine and good, and had I the opportunity I would gladly play -- but what has that to do with Aikido?

Disregard what the Old Man said, but how is that then Aikido?

billybob
12-13-2006, 03:28 PM
I edited my post. read above.

dave

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 07:05 PM
My friend asked how I loaded uchi mata so easily .... The leg bearing the weight is not being used muscularly - the bones and fascia form nice little triangles with minimal effort on my part. .... strength in static - linear compression, triangles etc. As a model, the adaptive truss you describe is not terribly apt anatomically. An adaptive-jointed chain is a better one. See this structural image: for something that does make sense -- anatomically and mechanically.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1860940579/ref=sib_dp_pt/002-9095144-6632023#reader-link

To illustrate the significance of this model, let me follow up on your earlier bicycle stability question:

Fold a chain in two and hang both ends from one support. Then let one end drop from the support.

How would it fall in relation to a simultaneously dropped ball?
Less acceleration? Same acceleration? More acceleration?

With the ball terminal velocity is reached when drag equals gravity.

Does the falling chain tip have the the same limitation? What limitation does it have? Greater or lesser, and by what magnitude ?

What the falling chain achieves in pure tension -- the linked chain of body and limbs can adaptively achieve by proper kokyu in pure compression.

As per the illustration cited above. You cannot do that with a truss.

DH
12-13-2006, 08:35 PM
Boundless Aiki-do does not rest on truss diagrams and empty extrapolations.
The path to power is in-yo ho. Resolving in-yo.... in you. Aiki blossoms from there.
The results of your training and hard work lies in your understanding.
And your level of understanding is alive.... in your hands.

The path has to be shown. And it does not take twenty years, or even ten.
Sadly, many are going full speed...in the wrong direction... on a well traveled highway. Hoping to find it under those either incapable or unwilling to teach it.
At least they have a lot of company.
And it applies to all the arts.

Good teachers are jewels.
Dan

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 11:43 PM
Boundless Aiki-do ... The path to power is in-yo ho. Resolving in-yo.... in you. If I sought power, I would look for things far more cruel, selfish and immediate. Bullets are the old standby; bombs work; poisons too. Understanding in the pursuit of power is self-limiting -- it only understands greater power. The counsels of power are therefore rarely the counsels of wisdom. There are things much greater than power, and which can overcome the greatest of powers. I practice that heiho.

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2006, 02:27 AM
What the founder was doing applies to a much wider setting than Japanese martial arts. He probably didn't realize this. Certainly most people don't today. People are caught up in the mysticism and superstitions of aikido's creation. They can't see a larger picture.

Ted, you keep saying things that, at least to me are self evident. O-Sensei certainly did understand that what he was doing applied well beyond Japanese martial arts. He quite clearly stated that Aikido had the power to transform the world.

I also disagree that most people don't see it that way. You can find folks out there running every which way and that with the concepts they've taken from Aikido. I don't see many people at all who are caught up in the "mysticism and superstitions" of Aikido's creation... in fact it's the opposite. People have almost no understanding of O-Sensei's spiritual ideas. What passes in general for Aikido spirituality is a sort of ethical system based on the idea of "do no harm". It's simplistic. Just look at the bulk of the posts on the various Aikido forums. The number of people who have even an academic understanding of what O-Sensei about his spirituality is quite small. The number who have actually experienced training of the type he underwent is even smaller. I don't see where you can maintain that some significant number is caught up in the mysticism and I actually have no idea what you might be considering superstition...

I think that there are many people who see the "big picture" just fine. It's the little picture they don't get. The current discussion and the related threads are all about the fact that there are technical issues which Aikido practitioners need to deal with if they aspire to technique that is comparable to teachers like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei. I see lots of ideas about how one applies Aikido principles in the world. I don't see a lot of real understanding about how Aikido principles apply martially.

It's amazing to me how various folks want to remove O-Sensei from Aikido or selectively focus on what he said in order to maintain some position. The man was the Founder of that art. The art was his unique creation. Of course it was based on elements that had gone before. Everything is based on what has gone before. But O-Sensei's structuring of the techniques, his development of the manner in which we practice, and his spiritual expression of how the physical art connected with the spiritual art was unique. It did not exist before him. Many would maintain that it may not have existed after him.

It is not an overattachment to O-Sensei's spiritual beliefs that is the problem for Aikido... It's that most people don't ever get their Aikido technique up to the level at which they can actually connect their physical technique to the spiritual concepts O-Sensei talked about. A working knowledge of O-Sensei's spiritual ideas is important for giving direction to ones practice. Without that, it commonly happens that simplistic spiritual concepts arise out of incomplete understanding of physical technique.

Everybody likes to call these folks "aiki fruities" or "aiki bunnies" or some such. The folks that refer to them as such generally pride themselves on not having much involvment in the spiritual side of the art, as if that would make their Aikido more martial. Well, they are no closer to the Aikido of O-Sensei than the "fruities"... I know that there are many folks out there who don't really care if they are doing anything like what O-Sensei had in mind. He is just some figure from ancient history as far as they are concerned. But for many of us, the connection to O-Sensei's art is important. If Aikido was limited to what goes by that name in a lot of cases, I would never have stayed in the art for thirty years. I might not even have started.

xuzen
12-14-2006, 04:05 AM
...<snip>...I think that there are many people who see the "big picture" just fine. It's the little picture they don't get. The current discussion and the related threads are all about the fact that there are technical issues which Aikido practitioners need to deal with if they aspire to technique that is comparable to teachers like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei. I see lots of ideas about how one applies Aikido principles in the world. I don't see a lot of real understanding about how Aikido principles apply martially.
A case of putting the ox-cart infront of the oxens. Totally agree.

It is not an overattachment to O-Sensei's spiritual beliefs that is the problem for Aikido... It's that most people don't ever get their Aikido technique up to the level at which they can actually connect their physical technique to the spiritual concepts O-Sensei talked about. A working knowledge of O-Sensei's spiritual ideas is important for giving direction to ones practice. Without that, it commonly happens that simplistic spiritual concepts arise out of incomplete understanding of physical technique.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner here. I like this paragraph, George.

As for me...
After years of doing the art AIKIDO... I am no closer to finding out whether I can apply it in a stressful environment yet (e.g. shiai or competition or "on the street") This unknown is really bugging me and in my current aikido training, there is no way I can find out.

That is why I am exploring Judo (and competition) to know more about myself, my limits and boundaries.

My sensei started his martial journey in alive type martial art (Boxing, Judo) and his aikido teacher (namely Gozo Shioda) before him also did Kendo and Judo prior to aikido. And they are both martially competent, IMO. I am only following their foot step. I may return to aikido later, but first I must find out more about myself.

Boon.

Nafis Zahir
12-14-2006, 05:15 AM
A nice explanation!



THE NOBLE STRUGGLE OF THE WARRIOR

By Taisen Deshimaru


Budo is the way of the warrior; it embraces all the Japanese martial arts. It explores through direct experience and in depth the relationship between ethics, religion, and philosophy. Its association with sports is a very recent development; the ancient writings are essentially concerned with a particular form of cultivation of the mind and a reflection upon the nature of the self: who am I? what is I?

In Japanese, do means the way. How do you walk on this way? How can you find it? It is not just learning a technique, still less is it a sporting match. Budo includes such arts as kendo, judo, aikido, and kyudo or archery; yet the ideogram bu also means to cease the struggle. In Budo the point is not only to compete, but to find peace and mastery of the self.

Do, the way, is the method, the teaching that enables you to understand perfectly the nature of your own mind and self. It is the way of the Buddha, butsudo, that leads you to discover your own original nature, to awaken from the numbness of the sleeping ego (the little self, the limited "me") and accede to higher, fuller personhood. In Asia this way has become the supreme morality and essence of all religions and philosophies. The yin and yang of the I Ching, the "existence is nothing" of Lao Tsu, have their roots in it.

What does this mean? That you can forget your personal body and mind; attain absolute spirit, nonego. Harmonize, unite sky and earth. The inner mind lets thoughts and emotions pass by; it is completely free from its environment, egoism drops away. This is the wellspring of the philosophies and religions of Asia. Mind and body, outside and inside, substance and phenomena: these pairs are neither dualistic nor opposed, but form one unseparated whole. Change, any change, influences all actions, all relationships among all existences; the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of one person influences every other person; our movements and those of others are interdependent. "Your happiness must be my happiness and if you weep I weep with you. When you are sad I must become sad and when you are happy I must be so too." Everything in the universe is connected, everything is osmosis. You cannot separate any part from the whole: interdependence rules the cosmic order.

Throughout five thousand years of the history of the East, the sages and philosophers have fixed their attention on this spirit, this way, and transmitted it.

The Shin Jin Mei is a very ancient book, originally Chinese, and at one point it says, shi dobu nan: the way, the highest way, is not difficult, but you must not make choices. You must entertain neither affection nor distaste. The San Do Kai (or "interpenetration of essence and phenomena") says, similarly, "If you cherish one single illusion, separation comes, as between mountain and river."

One of the things Zen means is the effort of practicing meditation, zazen. It is the effort to reach the realm of thought without discrimination, consciousness beyond all categories, embracing and transcending every conceivable expression in language. This dimension can be attained through the practice of zazen and of bushido.

DonMagee
12-14-2006, 06:56 AM
Ted, you keep saying things that, at least to me are self evident. O-Sensei certainly did understand that what he was doing applied well beyond Japanese martial arts. He quite clearly stated that Aikido had the power to transform the world.

I also disagree that most people don't see it that way. You can find folks out there running every which way and that with the concepts they've taken from Aikido. I don't see many people at all who are caught up in the "mysticism and superstitions" of Aikido's creation... in fact it's the opposite. People have almost no understanding of O-Sensei's spiritual ideas. What passes in general for Aikido spirituality is a sort of ethical system based on the idea of "do no harm". It's simplistic. Just look at the bulk of the posts on the various Aikido forums. The number of people who have even an academic understanding of what O-Sensei about his spirituality is quite small. The number who have actually experienced training of the type he underwent is even smaller. I don't see where you can maintain that some significant number is caught up in the mysticism and I actually have no idea what you might be considering superstition...

I think that there are many people who see the "big picture" just fine. It's the little picture they don't get. The current discussion and the related threads are all about the fact that there are technical issues which Aikido practitioners need to deal with if they aspire to technique that is comparable to teachers like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei. I see lots of ideas about how one applies Aikido principles in the world. I don't see a lot of real understanding about how Aikido principles apply martially.

It's amazing to me how various folks want to remove O-Sensei from Aikido or selectively focus on what he said in order to maintain some position. The man was the Founder of that art. The art was his unique creation. Of course it was based on elements that had gone before. Everything is based on what has gone before. But O-Sensei's structuring of the techniques, his development of the manner in which we practice, and his spiritual expression of how the physical art connected with the spiritual art was unique. It did not exist before him. Many would maintain that it may not have existed after him.

It is not an overattachment to O-Sensei's spiritual beliefs that is the problem for Aikido... It's that most people don't ever get their Aikido technique up to the level at which they can actually connect their physical technique to the spiritual concepts O-Sensei talked about. A working knowledge of O-Sensei's spiritual ideas is important for giving direction to ones practice. Without that, it commonly happens that simplistic spiritual concepts arise out of incomplete understanding of physical technique.

Everybody likes to call these folks "aiki fruities" or "aiki bunnies" or some such. The folks that refer to them as such generally pride themselves on not having much involvment in the spiritual side of the art, as if that would make their Aikido more martial. Well, they are no closer to the Aikido of O-Sensei than the "fruities"... I know that there are many folks out there who don't really care if they are doing anything like what O-Sensei had in mind. He is just some figure from ancient history as far as they are concerned. But for many of us, the connection to O-Sensei's art is important. If Aikido was limited to what goes by that name in a lot of cases, I would never have stayed in the art for thirty years. I might not even have started.


The problem I see with the spiritual side of everything is that it is open to interpretation. Technique is hard to get confused about, you can climb out on the mat and see if it works. However, with philosophy and religion, you can change and warp words to mean anything you want to mean.

Look at the church. 99% of all Christians I know pick parts of the bible that support their positions, and ignore the parts that do not. I think the same is true of aikido. They pick the part that supports their position, and ignore the things that make them uncomfortable. The problem is there is no way to really know what someone means when they same something spiritual or philosophical.

If I said "I am like the willow, dancing in the wind as the universe flows around me.", you would be hard pressed to really know what i'm talking about. Of course I'm talking about the correct mindset to have while playing nintendo wii. For combat I would say, "The sapling grows forth with infinite girth, allowing the truth of flora to be grown in its shade." Ok, even I do not know what I mean by that.

I find O Sensei's writings (The small amount I've been exposed too) to be just as cryptic and sometimes even express opposite viewpoints to his previous work. Look at how people argue about the attemi quote if you want a better handle on what I'm describing.

billybob
12-14-2006, 07:50 AM
Erick,

The beauty of the tensegrity icosahedron is that when you push two of the sticks together - the other two sets of sticks move together also. The sticks and strings - in balanced tension and compression - beautifully demonstrate unity in multiplicity. If you push on one part of the structure it reacts as a whole - no single part moves in isolation. This is the underlying principle of the 'my body is all one thing' that folks are proposing.

Sensei Ledyard,

I respect you very much sir. However, I will express some disagreement: I have heard God's voice myself, and had my own spiritual experiences. Dropping the argument that I may be insane for same - I have no interest in OSensei's spiritual discoveries. I try to walk the path he put me on - but I have zero attachment to what he discovered. I must find my own way. I am paying attention to the method he gave me, and letting the results care for themselves. How else can I find the truth?

david

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 09:02 AM
However, with philosophy and religion, you can change and warp words to mean anything you want to mean. Actually, no you can't, not unless one is intentionally sloppy about defining one's terms, or departs from traditional meanings without saying so. Which is admittedly a problem with many modern philosophers and religious, but not with philosophy or religion themselves.
Look at the church. 99% of all Christians I know pick parts of the bible that support their positions, and ignore the parts that do not. Only those that do not have an authoritative understanding of the tradition that both created that text and that continues serves as its interpretive foundation. Orthodoxy and Catholicism (together, 1.3 billion people or so, ~20% of the population of the planet) do not have that particular problem.
I think the same is true of aikido. They pick the part that supports their position, and ignore the things that make them uncomfortable. The problem is there is no way to really know what someone means when they same something spiritual or philosophical. Yes, there is. And the solution is the same. There is a stream of tradition that lies behind everything that O Sensei taught. That tradition informs the meaning of all the terms he used. You can find ways to interpret them in modern terms and find direct connection to modern observations by understanding those traditions faithfully from their sources. It just takes time and honest attention to the subject matter.
If I said "I am like the willow, dancing in the wind as the universe flows around me." you would be hard pressed to really know what i'm talking about. Let me preface with a bit of Western tradition: "The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. ... What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Actually, your quote is a paraphrase of Lieh-tzu from the Classic of Perfect Emptiness, in which he describes the experience of enlightenment.

A similar paraphrase of Lieh-Tzu was recently used by Wash Hoburn, the pilot in Joss Whedon's film "Serenity."

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar." He repeats it (far more ironically) when he comes to ground.

The translation of the original is My mind was frozen, my body in dissolution, my flesh and bones all melted together. I was wholly unconscious of what my body was resting on, or what was under my feet. I was borne this way and that on the wind, like dry chaff or leaves falling from a tree. In fact, I knew not whether the wind was riding on me or I on the wind. There is plenty to comprehend from these, together or in isolation.
I find O Sensei's writings (The small amount I've been exposed too) to be just as cryptic and sometimes even express opposite viewpoints to his previous work. Try spending some more time with the source material and you will see that, in fact, he meant and said a great deal of useful and specific stuff for the practice of aikido and its ultimate purpose. The paradoxes, too, have their purposes. It's just not a dance instruction manual with numbered footsteps.

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 09:12 AM
The beauty of the tensegrity icosahedron is that when you push two of the sticks together - the other two sets of sticks move together also. The sticks and strings - in balanced tension and compression - beautifully demonstrate unity in multiplicity. If you push on one part of the structure it reacts as a whole - no single part moves in isolation. This is the underlying principle of the 'my body is all one thing' that folks are proposing. Not when they go on about pushing -- not moving -- and trying to connect that mode of grounding or inertial resistance to aikido. I get internal adaptive motion (which is why I gave you an alternaive physical model of the action), but non-resistive internal adaptations are not invisible. That is why I can identify visible movement in all the O Sensei videos so far offered on him allegedly being "unmoved." The tendency, especially for beginners, is to interpret what they are talking about internally as requiring "resistance." If they are actually grounding dynamic forces -- it is resistance. This is a commonplace problem in kokyu tanden ho exercises that must be overcome.

So -- how about the chain tip, slower, same or faster accleration?

L. Camejo
12-14-2006, 09:29 AM
Interesting comments.

Getting back to the point of the thread and seeing the subsequent conversation here it is quite obvious that the limitations of any individual's Aikido is directly related to that person's understanding or misunderstanding of what "Aikido" is.

In the end it really does not matter what Ueshiba M. hoped, taught, knew or practiced since for every individual what will be achieved and manifested as "Aikido" will be limited by that person's approach, understanding or misunderstanding of his core concepts. Therefore their definition of what "their" Aikido is may or may not resemble anything like what Ueshiba M. may have taught or done.

Imho the last person who did Ueshiba M.'s Aikido was Ueshiba M. All Aikido since has been an approximation based on varying degrees of understanding and skill by successive Deshi and Doshu alike.

Just like some well known holy books, Ueshiba M. said and did a few apparently contradictory things throughout his development of Aikido. These contradictions can be addressed by taking all things that agree together and developing them, discarding the rest for future contemplation; or by trying to make the contradictions coexist within the same overall paradigm which can lead to great confusion or great insight.

In the end it comes down to the individual and what they want out of Budo.

Nafis: Great post btw.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 09:49 AM
In the end it really does not matter what Ueshiba M. hoped, taught, knew or practiced since for every individual what will be achieved and manifested as "Aikido" will be limited by that person's approach, ... their definition of what "their" Aikido is may or may not resemble anything like what Ueshiba M. may have taught or done.

In the end it comes down to the individual and what they want out of Budo. That is the attitude by which the connection (musubi) to an interpretive tradition is abandoned and meaning is indeed lost to the vagaries of time and history. Then all you truly have are the increasingly "empty forms." Protestantism in Europe has begun to discover this in the Christian context (I hope not too late.)

Tradition does not do anything useful without new growth, but it is new growth from the strength of old stock. That has vigor to bear far more circumstantial beating than does any newly planted shoot.

Tradition is not an individualist enterprise (undertaking), but it is not dictatorial either. There is much room for novelty, discovery and invention, but it must be faithful to the tradition or it loses its source of vitality, depth and endurance very shortly.

billybob
12-14-2006, 09:54 AM
Erick,

Don't know about the chain. Didn't understand if you were suggesting a pendulum or Galileo's dropping stuff off the tower in Pisa. I'm not an engineer, just love the stuff.

I think you may be creating 'the false dilemma'. Something described as 'immovability' by a practitioner may in fact be 'really really damn strong, seemingly and effectively, immovable' - thus not subject to analysis as though it were in the thing in fact, only because it was described in the same terms.

In terms that don't make my head hurt - displaying in a hypothetical way that one's body is totally coordinated displays one of the secrets of great physical power.

dave

L. Camejo
12-14-2006, 10:10 AM
Tradition is not an individualist enterprise (undertaking), but it is not dictatorial either. There is much room for novelty, discovery and invention, but it must be faithful to the tradition or it loses its source of vitality, depth and endurance very shortly.This is very true.

However in the case of Aikido as being dealt with in this thread it is obvious that what the "tradition" itself is comprised of is up for debate at some levels. It is important to use the tradition as the central guiding force for any novelty and evolution, but this first requires a deep degree of understanding of what that tradition was in the first place. In this case the question becomes "What is the Tradition of Aikido?". It would be great if an undisputable answer can be given to act as a central point of reference for all, but from what I've read, seen and heard so far, the answer to that question has also been subject to the observer effect of those who took on the job of continuing Ueshiba M.'s Aikido legacy. This is why when one gets to the meat of the issue there are many differing points of view on fundamental matters, sadly, not many of these points of view can be categorically stated as being completely incorrect.

For example, on my first Aikido class and in most Aikido readings I was told that it was a purely defensive martial art (foregoing kobo itchi for a state of go no sen), however as I have evolved more and more in my understanding of how Sen is used along with the mind in Aikido it is appearing to me that this may not quite be the case. Hopefully further research and time will yield an unquestionable result.

Just thinking out loud.
LC:ai::ki:

DonMagee
12-14-2006, 10:35 AM
Actually, no you can't, not unless one is intentionally sloppy about defining one's terms, or departs from traditional meanings without saying so. Which is admittedly a problem with many modern philosophers and religious, but not with philosophy or religion themselves.
Only those that do not have an authoritative understanding of the tradition that both created that text and that continues serves as its interpretive foundation. Orthodoxy and Catholicism (together, 1.3 billion people or so, ~20% of the population of the planet) do not have that particular problem.
Yes, there is. And the solution is the same. There is a stream of tradition that lies behind everything that O Sensei taught. That tradition informs the meaning of all the terms he used. You can find ways to interpret them in modern terms and find direct connection to modern observations by understanding those traditions faithfully from their sources. It just takes time and honest attention to the subject matter.

I do not disagree with out. However, I would submit that most people rarely work to have an authoritative understanding.


Let me preface with a bit of Western tradition: Actually, your quote is a paraphrase of Lieh-tzu from the Classic of Perfect Emptiness, in which he describes the experience of enlightenment.

A similar paraphrase of Lieh-Tzu was recently used by Wash Hoburn, the pilot in Joss Whedon's film "Serenity."

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar." He repeats it (far more ironically) when he comes to ground.

The translation of the original is There is plenty to comprehend from these, together or in isolation.
Try spending some more time with the source material and you will see that, in fact, he meant and said a great deal of useful and specific stuff for the practice of aikido and its ultimate purpose. The paradoxes, too, have their purposes. It's just not a dance instruction manual with numbered footsteps.

I try to read all I can, simply because I love reading. So i'm sure I'll read a lot more of his writings. However I was still talking about how to hold the wii controler in your hand with a single focus and thought on the tv. :D

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2006, 12:35 PM
The problem I see with the spiritual side of everything is that it is open to interpretation. Technique is hard to get confused about, you can climb out on the mat and see if it works. However, with philosophy and religion, you can change and warp words to mean anything you want to mean.

****

I find O Sensei's writings (The small amount I've been exposed too) to be just as cryptic and sometimes even express opposite viewpoints to his previous work. Look at how people argue about the attemi quote if you want a better handle on what I'm describing.

In the first case, this is precisely why some understanding of O-Sensei's take on the spiritual is important if you wish to stay in touch with an Aikido that has something to do with what he was doing. If one makes the assumption that he had some deep degree of spiritual insight, then one might want to do this. If one assumes that one man's insight is as good as the next, then by all means everyone can do whatever one wishes and it's all just fine.

Once again, the atemi dispute exists because there is such a wide range of understanding about both the spiritual message O-Sensei put out and an imensely wide range of understanding of how Aikido works in a technical and martial sense. So I guess I am saying that there is a wide range of opinion about what O-sensei meant by his comments about atemi but when you get to a fairly high level of experience there is a lot less so. For myself, I think that I am fairly clear about what he meant. Much of this debate would be solved by being on the mat with folks with opposing points of view. Folks could directly experience what works and what doesn't. Generally this doesn't happen. People usually train with people who come from the same basic style with the same assumptions.

Anyway, spiritual insight with regards to Aikido should be constantly tested by way of the practice. You can ave all sorts of ideas about what O-sensei meant by this and that but if you understand what he was doing, it will show up in your technique. There are literally tens of thousands of strongly help opinions about what O-Sensei meant by this and that statement... there are only a fairly small number of people who can manifest their understanding on the mat.

Also, there are a small number of folks who chose to pursue the technique without the spiritual underpinnings which O-Sensei gave his art and still managed to get very proficient. This is proof that it isn't necessary to delve into the spiritual side in order to understand "aiki". "Aiki" is value neutral. You can do technique with "aiki" and be part of the dark side of the force so to speak.

But if you want to tread the path started by O-Sensei, it's important that you understand where he was coming from. You can have all sorts of your own spiritual insights... God may speak directly to you and inform your practice... but if you happen to think that O-Sensei's Aikido was something unique and you wish to understand Aikido from something like his point of view, then you have to keep checking back with what he taught and comparing your own insights to what he wrote. As your understanding of Aikido changes, your take on what O-Sensei meant will change.

ChrisMoses
12-14-2006, 12:48 PM
Wow, this is a great thread, I wish I'd checked it out earlier. Forgive me going back to page1 here...

To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo.

Dennis, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "evaluation of budo," is there another way you could say that?

As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick.

I've heard that more than a few times. Here's my thinking process:
If Aikido has risen to a new level of budo, it must offer the same level of protection (in terms of martial validity) as what came before it, but then offer some improvement, either in terms of martial effectiveness or a new paradigm (say the protection of the attacker). If that's the case, then it should be able to stand up to the standards that we hold for any other budo/martial art (and to be honest, I don't understand the distinction you're making between the two terms, is there a different word in japanese that you would translate as martial art?)

The alternative is:
Aikido is simply no longer a budo. In this case, none of the traditional critera for evaluation apply (like effectiveness) and training with resistance is no longer critical or even necessary. Aikido becomes an experience you have with a partner, much like dance. It becomes a way for people to connect in a shared experience. This very well may be true. The difficulty I see however for the continuation of this kind of practice, is that without insight into what OSensei's vision actually was for Aikido, or a method from pragmatic evaluation, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain down the generations. Logically, there is also a huge danger posed by experimentation. Without a mastery level of understanding, how can even an accomplished practitioner be sure that the changes and adaptations that they have made are still in keeping with the new paradigm that OSensei envisioned?

Thanks in advance for reading this post in the spirit of dialectic rather than an opportunity just to flame. These are concepts I've struggled with for years.

billybob
12-14-2006, 01:00 PM
Sensei Ledyard,

I must confess, that since you put your opinions out there without fear, I am partly challenging you for the joy of argument, and partly because I'm learning from the interaction.

I agree with your post above, and I'm not saying that studying the saints is of no value. But, what I have read of OSensei has him pointing to nature, and the workings of the universe to learn the truth. I don't feel from him that I had to convert to his religion to benefit from his martial way.

I can and must learn spiritual truths from my own training and experience. I hope I'm not stoned to death for this but I feel the same way about Christian teachings; the tradition I was raised in. Jesus said he was the first among brothers, not that he was God. (my interpretation, my opinion, my ticket to hell if you insist)

Did OSensei say that he and his teachings embodied the art, or did he tell me to seek my own truth according to a suggested method? I trust the method - why do I have to try to understand an esoteric frame of reference, when the language of my body and the universe (life) around me, is apparent without cracking a book or making a pilgrimage to Japan?

dave

Kevin Leavitt
12-14-2006, 01:42 PM
Interesting discussion concerning budo. Back to the ole' aikido vs. dance issue. I think it depend on how you define budo and what your goals are in budo.

Here is my take on it.

I think there needs to be some degree of martial effectiveness or at least the basis for that effectiveness along with the ethics, code of conduct and philosophy to be called budo.

Actually dance has all those things as well right? minus maybe the goal to resolve violence either figuratively or actively.

Along with martial effectiveness one might argue that aikido has been diluted/evolved to the point that it is no longer budo because it is not martially effective any longer...especially compared to things say like BJJ that I do today.

Yea i'd agree with you there are better methods for training martial effectiveness, but martial effectiveness is not in it's self, budo.

I train many soldiers daily in martial effectiveness, that however, does not make it budo as for many there goal is to simply do there job and go home at the end of the day. Are they warriors, most certainly, if not in mind in spirit, but in practice and profession.

There are others that have embraced the warrior ethos we profess in the military and are true warriors or budoka in the truest sense.

How do you tell the difference? You can just see it in their actions and eyes. They are a rarity among men, even in the infantry.

(sorry for the wandering!)

Anyway, maybe many of us aren't ready or evovled to practice aikido at the level of budo that o'sensei was at. I think if you cannot understand/apply the martial effectiveness of the movements underneath his techniques, then maybe you are just dancing. If you are not embracing the path, philosophy, etc then you are not studying budo.

To me, it is not so much the techniques or practicality that makes it budo, but the intent and mind of the individual practicing it that makes it budo.

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 03:00 PM
Don't know about the chain. Didn't understand if you were suggesting a pendulum or Galileo's dropping stuff off the tower in Pisa. I'm not an engineer, just love the stuff. Neither, actually. Try this for some graphic depictions:

http://math.arizona.edu/~ura/031/Taft.Jefferson/Report.pdf

On page 2 you can see the chain tip out-running the ball dropped at the same time.

Or if you have the really itchy diffy-q bug:

http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1367-2630/7/1/045/njp5_1_045.html
http://personnel.physics.ucla.edu/directory/faculty/fac_files/wong_cw/ajp_2006_falling_chains.pdf

My ob-Aikido thoughts at greater length over here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=161909&postcount=58

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 03:13 PM
In this case the question becomes "What is the Tradition of Aikido?". It would be great if an undisputable answer can be given to act as a central point of reference for all, I'll start with O Sensei as an indisputable foundation and work outward contingently on any reasoned disputes that arise from that point.
For example, on my first Aikido class and in most Aikido readings I was told that it was a purely defensive martial art (foregoing kobo itchi for a state of go no sen), however as I have evolved more and more in my understanding of how Sen is used along with the mind in Aikido it is appearing to me that this may not quite be the case. Hopefully further research and time will yield an unquestionable result. An exellent example of O Sensei actually saying something on point that has not been adequately transmitted. He expressly said that all aspects of sente -- sen, go no sen, sensen no sen (basically all timing issues) ---are irrelevant to aikido.
http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html B: Does that mean ~[g]o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)
O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory.

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 03:15 PM
I do not disagree with out. However, I would submit that most people rarely work to have an authoritative understanding. We'll just have to remedy that, won't we?

However I was still talking about how to hold the wii controler in your hand with a single focus and thought on the tv. :D Enlightenment is right where you are, man. :D

billybob
12-14-2006, 03:33 PM
Hey Erick - that chain thing was cool. Apparently there was some additive force that made the chain act faster than gravity?

Anyhoocious, try this link: http://wwwhome.cs.utwente.nl/~jagersaa/Pictures/Icosahedron_tensegrity.jpg

the one we made was a bit smaller :)

dave

jeff.
12-14-2006, 06:55 PM
okay... to throw my one one-hundreth of a cent in, because i obsess over these issues:

on the language issue... martial art vs. budo...

if i'm not mistaken, "budo" was originally / essentially used as a short form of "bushido", and was later adapted in the meiji and post era to denote a classless bushido. i think the generic term for a martial art would be something like bujutsu or bugei. so "budo" would then be something like martial arts plus moral-ethical-spiritual perspectives a la bushido. thus, if aikido is the evolution of budo, it would be some kind of uber-budo for the modern world.

tho as a bone to throw in: didn't osensei also talk about aikido basically being a reinteration of the original purpose/meaning of budo ("second opening of the rock door", etc.)? if so, then mike's assertion that aikido is not necessarily expressing anything knew would be manifestly correct, from osensei's mouth. the thrust would then be that it was time for this stuff to be insisted upon again. this might be shown to be so by the simple fact that so many serious budoka of all styles, etc. (sorry, i don't know what the corresponding term for "budoka", given the above definition of "budo", in korean, chinese, etc. would be) who are concerned with such "internal" (on all levels) aspects find themselves having to deal with the challenge of osensei and aikido at some point. as an example: my ninjutsu sensei would always bow to the photo of osensei in the dojo (which we shared with the aikido group i later joined). he insisted repeatedly that any budoka who exists now must take osensei and what he said and did very seriously, and treat him with great respect.

and my thoughts/questions on the question of martial effectiveness: in any budo, wouldn't martial effectiveness be necessary for any spiritual development? that is: it seems to me that spritiual development requires a confrontation with conflict, death, etc. and ways of effectively dealing with it. and if budo is an important part of one's spiritual methodology, isn't this more so?

finally: props to erick for the wash quote.

"you can't take the sky from me!"

jeff.

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2006, 07:34 PM
Here's my thinking process:
If Aikido has risen to a new level of budo, it must offer the same level of protection (in terms of martial validity) as what came before it, but then offer some improvement, either in terms of martial effectiveness or a new paradigm (say the protection of the attacker). If that's the case, then it should be able to stand up to the standards that we hold for any other budo/martial art (and to be honest, I don't understand the distinction you're making between the two terms, is there a different word in japanese that you would translate as martial art?)

Hi Chris, in my own opinion, Aikido is a new form of Budo, not because it has taken some aspect of martial technqiue to some new standard but rather it has given martial training a new meaning. I don't think that anyone who is serious about Aikido belives that it is some sort of "ultimate" martial art in that it is the most desctructive or deadly fighting system ever evolved. I feel quite confident that I could more than hold my own with most martial artists if it came to that but that would really have more to do with my being better at my art than they are at theirs, not some superiority of system.

The classical Japanese martial arts certainly eveloved from practical fighting systems but I don't belive my friends doing Katori Shinto Ryu would maintain that their system is some sort of "fighting system" in a way that would be meaningful today. But they strive very hard to keep its original martial validity.

I think that Aikido must do the same thing. I think that all of us who train in Aikido must strive to maintain the martial validity of the practice, at least in terms of the essential assumptions of the practice. In other words, if someone REALLY attacks me using a traditional Aikido technique like shomen uchi or yokomen uchi or grabs me susing one of the kihon grabbing techniques used in Aikido practice, I should be able to execute a traditional Aikido technique and I shouldn't require the collusion of my partner to do it.

The issue of whether I can defeat a parctitioner from any given martial art who walks through the door is of quite a bit less interest to me. It would entail my putting a lot of attention on "fighting" and I am simply uninterested in doing that past the point where I have already done so. I definitely do not believe that this is the point of Aikido. I think that Aikido is meant to be a means of personal transformation and that the practice should inform every aspect of your life. That would pretty much be my definition of Budo and so I consider Aikido to be a form of Budo. I would not be arrogant enough to maintain that it is superior in any way to other forms of Budo I have encountered... I have met and trained with some of the best. The level of insight they have gained from training in their arts is every bit as deep as anything we get out of our Aikido. Additionally, I think it is total hubris for Aikido folks to have the illusion that their art is somehow morally superior to the arts that have gone before. Many of the finest human beings I have met have been practitioners of classical Japanese "combat" arts and many of the biggest wretches have been Aikido people.

Aikido isn't superior, it's just different. I think that the essential insecurity that causes people to feel the need to devolve the art into what they see as something more martially effective is the result of a complete misunderstanding of what Aikido should be about.


The alternative is:
Aikido is simply no longer a budo. In this case, none of the traditional critera for evaluation apply (like effectiveness) and training with resistance is no longer critical or even necessary. Aikido becomes an experience you have with a partner, much like dance. It becomes a way for people to connect in a shared experience. This very well may be true. The difficulty I see however for the continuation of this kind of practice, is that without insight into what OSensei's vision actually was for Aikido, or a method from pragmatic evaluation, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain down the generations. Logically, there is also a huge danger posed by experimentation. Without a mastery level of understanding, how can even an accomplished practitioner be sure that the changes and adaptations that they have made are still in keeping with the new paradigm that OSensei envisioned?

I am sure that you and I are in complete agreement on this. If one looks at Aikido from the martial standpoint, as Budo, you can see all sorts of Aikido which is simply substandard. In a city with a huge number of dojos, how many would be there if being able to actually do Aikido technique under real pressure was a requirement to staying open? A small fraction I suspect. But there are no checks and balances on Aikido... anyone can open a dojo. No one expects a challenger to come through the door and even ukes that attack too strongly compared to the generally accepted level at a given dojo are considered rude and pressure will be brought to make them go away so that the group can return to a state of harmony.

Since there are no checks and no agreement about what actually consitiutes Aikido, any nonsense can be passed of as valid. I do not think that will ever produce anything that represents a high level of understanding martially and it cannot avoid resulting in a mediocre level of spirituality. The practice itself should produce insight but bad practice will produce bad insight. This is one of the reasons I have gone out of my way to train with some of the top aiki jutsu folks. These people understand aiki. They have a deep level of understanding of martial arts. Since it is so difficult to find folks in Aikido itself who have a comparable level of understanding or, if they do, can teach what they understand in some sort of systematic fashion, I have turned to some of these exceptional teachers to get the insight I need to take my Aikido up to the level I am striving towards. There is nothing incompatible about about what I have leanred from these teachers with what I have learned from my own Aikido teachers. In fact they have helped me immensely gain an understanding of what my teachers have been doing all these years. I feel that it is my own mission to take that understanding and put it out there to the folks in Aikido who can't or won't seek out these non-Aikido teachers who have so much to offer Aikido folks. As rare as this level of teacher is in general, they are even more rare in Aikido. There are still some Aikido greats around, I have been fortunate enough to have trained with a couple of them, but there is a lot more mediocre Aikido out there than there is really good Aikido. So I think that the interchange that we are having with folks from outside is crucial to maintaining Aikido as a an art that can offer something other than a nice social experience and a good aerobic workout. But we don't need to change Aikido into something else... we simply need to do our art better than it is apt to be done.

DH
12-15-2006, 07:53 AM
George
That was truly well thought out and an enjoyable read. I agree that fighting or being martially-effective- doesn't have to be an issue or talking point at all-thats an interesting topic-but not relevant here.

I have often been intrigued -and I understand it on some levels-by folks who like the ride, the energy exchange of "catching air." They like that feeling of their balance being taken and the give and take of "doing Aikido." I remember that feeling well myself. But went in a different direction.
Where-in your opinion does training your body to maintain its balance and structure beyond the hope of most people being able to take its center come to play?
Is it a viable goal in Aikido? Is is something worth striving for?
Ueshiba did not get involved in aeorobic training and did not take ukemi. He threw people.Was he doing Aikido?
Many shihan I hear don't take ukemi anymore, they throw people
Are -they doing aikido?
If someone were to arrive at a point where few ukes ever get in to really throw them but they can pretty much throw anyone who tries-are they still doing Aikido-and everyone else is catching up? Or does "doing Aikido" mean you need to offer an attacking body that is open to being thrown?
Do you have a method for training the body to be ever increasingly difficult to be thrown or taken?
Or do you think that is not a goal that can be attained?
When......or how are you finished or grad-iated? :)
"Never" is the obvious answer. And one we all toe-the-line to. But what is the arts ultimate goal for physical skill sets in an adept?
Is it a "horizontal playing field" goal designed to have an adept get better at playing well in the field?
Or a linear progression of built up body knowledge culminating in superior...er....something or other?
What are its goals of attainment on a physical level?

Believe it or not I was just asked this on the phone by an Aikido person and I didn't have an answer.

Cheers
and Happy holidays
Dan

Ron Tisdale
12-15-2006, 08:24 AM
George, wonderfull post. Thank You.

Dan, I have no clue how to answer your questions. They are difficult, and I think they are one reason I have some issues with aikido. The thing is, I still love catching air. It's fun, it makes me feel young, vibrant, alive. I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training. Even though at 45 (still young, I know) I can't do some of the things I used to.

I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.

While I realize that people who have tried this before me say it's hard to go back once you've started this, I will also struggle to find a way to use as much of this training as I can...and still catch some air. ;)

Best,
Ron

MM
12-15-2006, 09:48 AM
George, wonderfull post. Thank You.

Dan, I have no clue how to answer your questions. They are difficult, and I think they are one reason I have some issues with aikido. The thing is, I still love catching air. It's fun, it makes me feel young, vibrant, alive. I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training. Even though at 45 (still young, I know) I can't do some of the things I used to.

I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.

While I realize that people who have tried this before me say it's hard to go back once you've started this, I will also struggle to find a way to use as much of this training as I can...and still catch some air. ;)

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron!

Catching air. yeah, ditto on what you said about it. I remember a time when I loved that rush. I still do, to a point. But, after experiencing a little internal "stuff" from Dan, I can actually see where that would go away. Not the fun or vibrant part, but rather something else would replace the fun and vibrant part. After doing the solo work, I can start to understand why it would go away.

But it also makes me start to realize that it's just another progression in training, and that it might be part of the reason that you don't see shihans like Ikeda sensei take many falls. It changes you. I can start to see where it would be hard to go back. But, I can also see, as a teacher's role, where it would be needed to go back.

Merry Christmas to all,
Mark

ChrisMoses
12-15-2006, 10:16 AM
Hi Chris, in my own opinion, Aikido is a new form of Budo, not because it has taken some aspect of martial technqiue to some new standard but rather it has given martial training a new meaning. [snip]

The classical Japanese martial arts certainly eveloved from practical fighting systems but I don't belive my friends doing Katori Shinto Ryu would maintain that their system is some sort of "fighting system" in a way that would be meaningful today. But they strive very hard to keep its original martial validity.



So if I may pose another question to you, and forgive me if you would prefer to have this kind of conversation off-line, I genuinely admire your candor on these forums. I'm not trying to argue you into a corner, but rather flush out your understanding, because this is an area that I've spent way too many hours thinking about.

You state first that Aikido is a new kind of Budo, not because of it's awesome martial validity, but rather, because it has given training new meaning. You then later mention how the KSR folks you know also consider their budo training to be more than just simple techniques and strategies. How would you describe the difference is between those two kinds of budo? KSR is after all pretty much the gold standard for traditional budo, so if there was going to be a difference between the budo of Aikdio and koryu budo, it should certainly be there between Aikido and KSR. Unless you feel that Aikido changed the scope of budo for budo in general? If that were the case, wouldn't all the nihon budo again share a common meaning?

I know I had a similar view when I started Aikido. My teachers talked about how traditional Aikido was vs. Iaido or Kendo or 'sports' like judo or the barbarism of jujutsu. I didn't know any better, and they were my teachers so I sucked it up and spit it back out again when asked. I know you have a ton more experience than I did back then, and I've never heard you make similar claims. But I know some of the people you have trained with still do. Then after leaving that school, I started learning Iai. I was blown away by the depth of knowledge from this art that had 'lost it's way'. Then when I went to Japan to meet the shihan and soke of our ryu-ha, what was it they talked about over beers? How only through dedicated practice of Shinto Ryu can we understand the true lessons of Shinto Ryu, that the true goal of batto was to learn the value of human life and bring ourselves closer to a personal understanging of that value. That a ryu-ha was more than techniques and fancy names for simple kata, it was a method for creating better people and in a small way make a better world for those around you. Any of this sounding familiar? :) This is in an art that has *nothing* to do with Aikido, either from a historical standpoint or through common teachers.

So maybe it's new because it combines Omoto kyo with budo? Well perhaps for Osensei and Inoue Sensei, but it's been made perfectly clear that understanding Omoto kyo is NOT a requirement for understanding Aikido. Besides, combining a religion with ones martial art isn't new at all. Most koryu have some legacy aspects of Shingon Buddhism, but then there are arts like Mugai Ryu that were notable for being deeply influenced by non-dominant religions (Zen Buddhism). Mugai Ryu is certainly not a new kind of budo, so association with a new religious ideal can't really be enough to change the definition of budo to become something else.

Using an attacker's force and power against them? I think a lot of jujutsu and judo schools would point out that they do that quite well, and have for a very long time.

Intricate arms length stuff that feels like it shouldn't work but dumps you anyway? Shindo Yoshin Ryu's myojutsu waza would certainly fill that bill.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to bounce some of this stuff off of you. I hope it's obvious that I've spent a lot of time thinking through this stuff and am not just trying to bag on Aikido here. I even tried starting a thread several years ago over on AJ about what Aikido actually was, but was doomed to get a bunch of tired soundbites and old catchphrases. No useful discussion, just lots of patronization.

At this point, I can't think of a single thing that separates Aikido from other jujutsu/budo.

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 10:38 AM
At this point, I can't think of a single thing that separates Aikido from other jujutsu/budo. I would have said "some other jujutsu/budo", but I pretty much agree, Chris. However, it's human nature to think that your own baby is much cuter than other babies and I can remember being somewhat surprised at how open-minded and "we all do martial arts that are similar" many of the really expert martial artists of Asia were when I met them. The higher-level types considered all the martial arts to just be expressions of the same basic truths.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

tedehara
12-15-2006, 11:37 AM
...I think that there are many people who see the "big picture" just fine.... I disagree and the reason I disagree is World War II. Even Kansu Sunadomari, who was with him during that period, just mentions it in passing. The creation of modern-style aikido was Morihei Ueshiba's reaction to World War II. Even though the founder credits his enlightenment in 1925 after a duel, it would not be until the war years that he would shape it into what is now seen as post-war aikido.

Although Japan had modernized it's army and navy, the propaganda forces used by the government was a nationalistic Shinto and promoting the code of the samurai. This conviction of the dominance of the Japanese Spirit would led to the atrocities and defeats of World War II.

As these acts were being carried out in Asia and the Pacific Theater, Morihei Ueshiba would be expressing his own convictions on the samurai tradition and budo. His statements like, "A martial art in which there are conflicts, winning, and losing is not true budo." are in direct opposition to the propaganda of the government at that time. This can be seen as a movement for change in the concept of budo and conversely in the Japanese Spirit.

The tradition concept of Japanese Spirit could be seen in the war with the "do and die" attitudes of the military and citizens. After the defeat the term "bunmei kaika [flourishing of civilized society]" was used to indicate the joining of Western knowledge and the Japanese Spirit. This is the "big picture" that I was describing. Because of his reinterpretation of budo, the founder was part of this dialog.
I don't see many people at all who are caught up in the "mysticism and superstitions" of Aikido's creation... Then perhaps it's just me. I always thought of the founder as a throwback. Someone who spent his life living the tradition of generations before his own birth. He was someone I never considered within his own time-frame. To realize that perhaps, he was participating in the ideas of his own lifetime makes him more human.

I'd like to note that while the war years marked a change in the founder's type of aikido, I personally don't believe this makes the post-war styles any better than the pre-WWII styles. There are no good styles or martial arts. There are only good martial artists.

I also don't see what you're complaining about. If you were to wait for others to see aikido as a spiritual practice, you might not have anyone to train with for years. You should be glad there are so many reasons to appear at a dojo.

While I can see how one can argue that aikido is not a martial art, I like my sensei's statement that aikido is a martial art and more. It's the more that confuses us.

Besides:
"This budo is both martial art and religious faith."
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, spoke these words directly to me in 1942, when I was his live-in apprentice [uchideshi].
Preface pg. XXIII "Enlightenment through Aikido"His English translator went on to explain:
A phrase often repeated throughout the text is,"Aikido is both a martial art and a religious faith," which is what the Founder stressed. Unfortunately, much of the "religious faith" has been lost in the way that Aikido has been and is practiced both in Japan and throughout the world. In Japanese, the word is shukyo, which can be translated as "a religion." However, an important point must be made here, which Sunadomari Sensei hopes will be understood in the following way: The meaning is not that Aikido is another religion like the great religions of the world or the strange cults that often spring up from them. It is a religious faith. It is not a dogma or a set of beliefs or a form of worship. It is an all-encompassing belief in the victory of love and a harmony that unites our hearts with the loving heart of the universe. Call it god, or karma, or whatever, but it is living and continually challenges us to face up to the evil in the world and to do our best to help the good win.
Foreword pg. XX "Enlightenment through Aikido"

kironin
12-15-2006, 12:25 PM
While I can see how one can argue that aikido is not a martial art, I like my sensei's statement that aikido is a martial art and more. It's the more that confuses us.



It's the tension brought on by the "and more" that make training interesting for me.


all due respect to those espousing a new kind of budo and it's not a martial art, it just seems like so much sophistry to me.

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 01:07 PM
Catching air. Now THERE is a succinct image, in every sense, of what ki and kokyu are ALL about!
I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training....I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.I remember a time when I loved that rush.
I still do, to a point. But, after experiencing a little internal "stuff" from Dan, I can actually see where that would go away. Not the fun or vibrant part, but rather something else would replace the fun and vibrant part. After doing the solo work, I can start to understand why it would go away. ... It changes you. I can start to see where it would be hard to go back. Now you have also summarized the problem. What Dan, Mike, Rob and others in their circle are talking about, by your own admission is not additive within aikido, it is substituting for something else that aikido training provides. Your own language sets apart what they are showing you as something heavier, duller, less vibrant than ki and kokyu as you have experinced aikido . And yet you all seek after it.

That is, in my mind, a real danger in blurring what aikido is and is not. Your own words express a sense of real loss in the effort you all are undertaking to gain somethng else -- for the purpose, I might add, of also reliving the rush of a new experience in what they are teaching.

In maturing into any art, or skill, or relationship, or faith even, the "rush" is an ephemeral thing that is often lost early on. Always seeking that rush by some new thing, lover, faith, art, automobile, is the dissipative side of addictive temptation, as alcoholism and drug use are on the obsessive side. Speaking as someone of similar age, I know personally that these sorts of temptations weigh, perhaps, harder on us than on those younger or older.

One cannot be everything, enjoy everthing or do everything that one might, in an infinite lifetime desire to do. Younger people struggle against the fact that desire exceeds the reality of its actual fulfillment. We are struggling against the realization that desire exceeds the possibilities of finite reality. We, moreover, have the freedom and wherewithal, generally, to struggle more and longer. Dangerous combination.

It is a counsel of wisdom not to seek forever that same experience of novelty by moving on to the next new thing and forgetting to mature in what you have chosen. Shoshin, the beginners mind, constantly sought within the art you have achieved some depth in already, is the proper response in budo, as it is in love, as in faith, as in craft and all other meaningful human effort.

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 01:11 PM
The higher-level types considered all the martial arts to just be expressions of the same basic truths. Yes. But there are some mighty deep and deadly gorges between those different paths to the same mountaintop.

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 01:14 PM
Now you have also summarized the problem. What Dan, Mike, Rob and others in their circle are talking about, by your own admission is not additive within aikido, Why be so negative on what he's saying, Erick? I read it just as easily that he's seen what a "dance" most Aikido is and now he's perhaps seeing the serious and important martial art that O-Sensei thought was a crown jewel... while you appear to be missing the joyful play in a black skirt on a mat. ;) Why not go look for yourself. A man of your prestige and ability should have no trouble in flitting up to Massachusetts, Japan, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 01:26 PM
While I can see how one can argue that aikido is not a martial art, I like my sensei's statement that aikido is a martial art and more. It's the more that confuses us.
Besides:

"This budo is both martial art and religious faith."
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, spoke these words directly to me in 1942, when I was his live-in apprentice [uchideshi].
Preface pg. XXIII "Enlightenment through Aikido"
His English translator went on to explain:
Reverend Andrew Ellis wrote:
A phrase often repeated throughout the text is,"Aikido is both a martial art and a religious faith," which is what the Founder stressed. ... The meaning is not that Aikido is another religion like the great religions of the world or the strange cults that often spring up from them. It is a religious faith. It is not a dogma or a set of beliefs or a form of worship. It is an all-encompassing belief in the victory of love and a harmony that unites our hearts with the loving heart of the universe. Call it god, or karma, or whatever, but it is living and continually challenges us to face up to the evil in the world and to do our best to help the good win. Now see, I am a very traditional Catholic with strong background in East Asian thought. I have no problem with a bit of that. Nor does the Church, other than a side comment on the fullness of the revelation of truth. What is the confusion?

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 01:34 PM
Why be so negative on what he's saying, Erick? I am not negative, I am just reflecting the negativity in his own statements and observing a concern.
Why not go look for yourself. A man of your prestige and ability should have no trouble in flitting up to Massachusetts, Japan, etc. I am too busy trying to overcome all of that. The flitting part, too. One day, I hope to be stupid enough to be a sage .. :cool:

MM
12-15-2006, 02:06 PM
Catching air.

Now THERE is a succinct image, in every sense, of what ki and kokyu are ALL about!


Erick,
That phrase can mean many things in the world of aikido. The feeling of being uke where tori executes a technique and you feel nothing, the feeling of being tori where you execute a technique and it's like an ethereal feel, being uke for "air time" where you get a roller coaster like rush, etc, etc.

Which did you interpret it as?


Now you have also summarized the problem. What Dan, Mike, Rob and others in their circle are talking about, by your own admission is not additive within aikido, it is substituting for something else that aikido training provides. Your own language sets apart what they are showing you as something heavier, duller, less vibrant than ki and kokyu as you have experinced aikido . And yet you all seek after it.


I made a post many posts ago about putting things into what you read online. Nowhere did I say what I felt as the "replacement" was heavier, duller, or less vibrant. Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. Let me paste my words:


I remember a time when I loved that rush. I still do, to a point. But, after experiencing a little internal "stuff" from Dan, I can actually see where that would go away. Not the fun or vibrant part, but rather something else would replace the fun and vibrant part.


To detail that a bit more. The fun or vibrant part does not go away. Let me repeat that -- the fun or vibrant part does not go away. The replacement aspect doesn't make the fun and vibrant part go away. It -- as in the "catching air" is replaced by the internal stuff. The fun or vibrant part does not go away. I can't stress that enough.

What goes away, is the aspect of "catching air" in that I wouldn't nearly take as many "breakfalls" once I learned the internal skills. And if you think that's wrong, then explain why most shihan don't take breakfalls anymore. For some reason, they too, have gone away from taking them. For me, I found a reason and can understand it.

And, IMO, what Rob, Dan, Mike, etc are talking about is what *should* be in Aikido. I would imagine that in some places, it *is* in Aikido (for example Ikeda sensei). I'd guess that those places are very rare. And the training to get there is very long. Again, IMO.


That is, in my mind, a real danger in blurring what aikido is and is not. Your own words express a sense of real loss in the effort you all are undertaking to gain somethng else -- for the purpose, I might add, of also reliving the rush of a new experience in what they are teaching.


Well, I posted a few posts ago about whatever you are putting into words on a screen comes 100%, entirely, every time, without fail from your own self. So, let me put this as clearly as I can, Erick. I have *no* sense of loss. I'm not reliving the "rush" of a new experience. You don't understand but you won't admit that.


In maturing into any art, or skill, or relationship, or faith even, the "rush" is an ephemeral thing that is often lost early on.


SNIP content


already, is the proper response in budo, as it is in love, as in faith, as in craft and all other meaningful human effort.

Sorry, Erick. If you were trying to be wise, I didn't get it. Either it doesn't apply or I'm too thick headed to understand -- or something in between. Whichever, it was lost on me.

Mark

MM
12-15-2006, 02:17 PM
I am not negative, I am just reflecting the negativity in his own statements and observing a concern.


This is the last I'll say on this because it's getting too off topic.

Everything, 100%, all, every, without fail, no exception, each and every time, etc, etc, that one reads of words on a screen and then applies any emotion (and that includes positivity and negativity) to them -- said emotion is generated from oneself and not from the poster of the words. That is a truth, a fact, a law, whatever. There is only a self translation (not primarily felt) of on-screen pixel content into logic and/or emotion which in turn brings about self logic and/or emotion. If there is reflectivity, then it is brought about by reflecting upon the former self translation, which is really only self reflecting self. Kind of funny, really.

Mark

DH
12-15-2006, 02:47 PM
Eric
I'd only echo the comments you are getting here and in that other thread from Mike. Get out and feel this stuff. I pretty much think your wrong (all do respect) on two counts:
1. That it has nothing to do with aikido
2, That you even know what it is we're talking about to say it is not relevant in the first place.

I can tell you I've not met the man, (*note* hundreds of people) who has not felt this and didn't say it was anything but extremenly useful.
As for AIkido? What I said to Mark and Rob and two other Aikido guys now training here is "Do whatever you want. I'll stop you and I won't do a single thing to hurt you nor will I do a technique."
"All your efforts will just be meangingless."

Where does that leave us? Hmm.....Lets think.... Stop an attack without causng harm. Hmmm.....where have I heard that?

It is the very essence of the spirit of Aikido.....and boundless in expression.

And as we have stated over and over its in a lot of places- in whole or in part. I am playing with a group of CMA'ers twice next week. Just exploring and having fun.
I told them to bring slide rules, chaulk boards, measuring devices, and laser pointers. Otherwise they'de be hopelessly lost to get it and explain it. :rolleyes:

Cheers
Dan

billybob
12-15-2006, 03:11 PM
It may well be I'm too small to swim in this pond. However, I can not be at odds with Dan Harden anymore. Whatever he Says on this forum does not mean as much as his offer to share what he has learned. This seems very sincere to me, and that is enough.

FWIW - just being involved in this discussion has helped me face my pain and myself. I can't seem to be motivated without an emotional element. This discussion, this fight has helped me. Thanks.

David

Ron Tisdale
12-15-2006, 04:04 PM
Erick, you misunderstood what I said. It was obviously perfectly clear to others, so I'm not going to argue with you about it. I do however, feel just a bit sorry for you. It's a shame that someone so intelligent is so stuck on what they believe that they won't reach outside to try something before they dismiss it. It's a shame that this forces you to denigrate my words with your interpretation.

But no worries...we'll all survive it.

If I have mis-interpreted what you said, please forgive.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 06:12 PM
Everything, 100%, all, every, without fail, no exception, each and every time, etc, etc, that one reads of words on a screen and then applies any emotion (and that includes positivity and negativity) to them -- said emotion is generated from oneself and not from the poster of the words. Homer, Li Bo, Issa, Dickinson, Poe and few million other poets around the world would disagree. Or maybe the "wine-dark sea" just means a vat of merlot. And how in the world do any of them get translated for heaven's sake?

Ob-topic -- O Sensei defines the boundary of Aikido for me. And how could he not?

When I ask why things he said straightforwardly, such as, "No resistance" are not problematic in terms of aikido for your enterpirse in training to channel ground reaction to oppose forces, I get no square answer, or get backlhanded insults intimating that I am an idiot, a stubborn sulking mudhen, or with dark intimations of my personal unworthiness from unidentified "people who know me." Nobody is running for public office here, so let's try to keep the discourse to at least a third grade emotional level.

When I ask that someone of the non-aikidoka or ex-aikidoka advocating this proposal of missing "skils" in Aikido to speak on objective terms -- there are no answers, and no rebuttals in-kind on the objective proposals I put forward (David Knowlton excluded).

When I comment on the conflicted tone of language I read here, then the form, tone and emotive content of the language does not mean anything. Sorry, but it does. Unless, of course, Mike means to say that I am very much on the right track when he says I don't know what I talking about. People communicate far more than the denotative meaning of their words. Mike communicates far more than most in that regard. I'd love to play poker with him. :D

O Sensei used this poetic mode almost to a fault, even when he was lecturing. There is no way to enter meaningfully into his conceptions expressed in that way without addressing the emotional and cultural signals (i.e- non-rational content) of the imagery and figures that he uses. Rationality is an exceedingly fine tool, but has limits as with everything else. By your token he has nothing to tell me in what he said or wrote that I do not tell myself, and that is just plain wrong. Much of what he said can be applied rationally when put into the scientific context he did not himself have, but which he specifically advocated attempting.

Meaning is meaning, however it is expressed, and words have both shape and color in their use. If you doubt this, try a few choice colorful expressions the next time a cop pulls you over, and see if he agrees that he is "merely reflecting his own anger back at himself", as he braces you against the vehicle.

Maybe I misread Ron's intent, maybe Mark's also, but you need to read what you wrote, the words you chose and think about what it says to an reader in terms of this topic and aikido.

Meaning is not a mirror funhouse. Words are not divorced from actions, they are merely actions by other means and have consequences like any action. When there is conflict in the shape or color of language (which I put my finger on in this case), conflict between language and action, or conflict betwen actions, internal or external, openings and vulnerabilities are created, whether you see them, or not.

The immediacy and strength of the emotional reaction only tends to prove my point. Welcome to Cross-Examination 101.

I really enjoy practice, I enjoy what my training has brought me and it expands in front of me every day, and I try to share that modicum of insight I gain as it comes to me, prepared to be chastened all the way. If I did not take you guys seriously, I would not bother here.

Whether I should take you seriously as a boon or as a bane to the practice of aikido is the part I am TRYING to get you to articulate in ways that this forum will allow.

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 06:30 PM
I'd only echo the comments you are getting here and in that other thread from Mike. Get out and feel this stuff.
I pretty much think your wrong (all do respect) on two counts:
1. That it has nothing to do with aikido
2, That you even know what it is we're talking about to say it is not relevant in the first place. Why should I assume that what you say has value over what I know, any more than you should take what I say in preference to what you know? Ths is the eternal trap of subjective knowledge. Evaluating these things is aprt of what this forum is about. Objective mechanics is the plainest, most neutral common ground on these issues in a forum such as this.

"Do whatever you want. I'll stop you and I won't do a single thing to hurt you nor will I do a technique."
"All your efforts will just be meangingless."
Where does that leave us? Hmm.....Lets think.... Stop an attack without causng harm. Hmmm.....where have I heard that?
It is the very essence of the spirit of Aikido.....and boundless in expression. No. I have already said the issue of resistance is problematic. That pradigm described above does not bring harmony, in the sense of katsu hayabi, which destroys all thought of further attack, but merely raises frustration to the attacker. That is the tone of these discussions continually, toying and baiting. Which is the road to escalation and the opposite of what Aikido is about.

You will say it is merely a training exercise, but that is the point -- you do what you train to do.

Persuade me different. That's what this place is for.

L. Camejo
12-15-2006, 08:47 PM
I remember reading a statement by Ueshiba M. where he indicated that anything that is forced is not Aikido. If one interprets this to mean that anywhere there is resistance there is not Aikido then Aikido simply cannot exist in the physical world.

For me to stand there must be resistance within my own musculoskeletal structure. If there were no resistance within my own muscles to maintain an erect posture then I would collapse and remain at rest in a way that balances the pull of gravity with the upward impetus of my body. However for blood to flow back up to my heart and circulate there would need to be capillary action that would resist the pull of gravity that would cause my blood to pool in the lower regions of my anatomy.

How exactly am I to now redirect the energies of conflict towards a peaceful resolution if I can't even stand up?

Personally I think the concept of having absolutely no resistance in Aikido is a gross misinterpretation of Ueshiba M.'s teachings by those who attempt to over analyze.

Reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump when he gathered a following of seekers when he started running across the USA. When asked by the media why he was running he said "I just felt like running." Sometimes when we try to prove too much we in fact prove nothing.

Gambatte.

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 10:09 PM
I remember reading a statement by Ueshiba M. where he indicated that anything that is forced is not Aikido.
We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker.

http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html If one interprets this to mean that anywhere there is resistance there is not Aikido then Aikido simply cannot exist in the physical world. His actual statement cannot be interpreted that way. It is therefore a straw argument.
Personally I think the concept of having absolutely no resistance in Aikido is a gross misinterpretation of Ueshiba M.'s teachings by those who attempt to over analyze. Yes. Misinterpretation. "We do not oppose the attacker."

L. Camejo
12-15-2006, 11:43 PM
Whatever Erick.

This is not the same thing that you were saying regarding internal resistance on another thread.

In Aikido we do not resist the attacker I totally agree.

Hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Gambatte.

Erick Mead
12-16-2006, 12:22 AM
This is not the same thing that you were saying regarding internal resistance on another thread. I used the same exact quote. to make the same point. Aiki has lots of force, just no resistance. All force used should be blended perpendicular to the attacking force. Then there is
1) No resistance (perpendicular component does not diminsh the energy of the attack),
2) No (counter)attack (striking block)
3) Connection, and
4) Control

billybob
12-16-2006, 01:37 PM
I started a thread in the open forums regarding models of human structure - that way that topic can be argued, and this more philosophical thread can go on unhindered.

To that end: Erick Mead said: I'll start with O Sensei as an indisputable foundation and work outward contingently on any reasoned disputes that arise from that point.

Erick, this statement is quite disputable - anything you read that OSensei wrote is thrice removed from reality:

He experienced what he experienced - then

1. he had to think about it
2. he had to write what he thought about
3. what he had thought about and written about had to be translated into English

I think I offended Ledyard Sensei with a line of thought, but I'll continue in the spirit of inquiry - (my wife warns me I pick fights both because I like to fight, and because I have trouble with authority. she is correct).

Sensei Ledyard, I apologize if my tone was insulting. I am a student in earnest of the truth. I honor your service to aikido and to we students who follow after you.

To continue:
If 'OSensei' is the boundary of your aikido then I think you dishonor his legacy. To proceed I must hold my lamp before me - to light my way. If I hold my lamp behind me - I will cast a shadow over my path. To truly embrace OSensei's legacy - we must let go of him as a person.

Can we not pick a few basic tenets of his, and proceed from there? I have a personal commitment to nonviolence. It has cost me, but I consider OSensei's training a continuation of the basic training in this idea I received from my Sensei in judo. Every tenkan I do is a life I spare. Every irimi I do and do not kill - I spare a life, and save myself from prison - a decision I made in the real world at least once.

This is what his legacy means to me - not embodied in he, but alive in me, and carrying on the great man's ideas in my (woefully inadequate) training, and my life.

david

ChrisMoses
12-16-2006, 01:59 PM
Erick, this statement is quite disputable - anything you read that OSensei wrote is thrice removed from reality:

He experienced what he experienced - then

1. he had to think about it
2. he had to write what he thought about
3. what he had thought about and written about had to be translated into English



Another problem with it is verifying that he actually said it! I've heard from more than one source that many of the doka (for example) were written by Kishomaru as "things OSensei might have said."

Another reason I prefer to look at his deeds over 'his' words.

Erick Mead
12-16-2006, 02:19 PM
I'll start with O Sensei as an indisputable foundation and work outward contingently on any reasoned disputes that arise from that point. Erick, this statement is quite disputable - anything you read that OSensei wrote is thrice removed from reality:

He experienced what he experienced - then

1. he had to think about it
2. he had to write what he thought about
3. what he had thought about and written about had to be translated into English Noise. All communication has noise. That does not mean there is no signal. Creative uses of noise can even clarify a signal.
If 'OSensei' is the boundary of your aikido then I think you dishonor his legacy. Who said the boundary is static? Dynamic boundaries are among the most critical and dangerously useful that exist - like the boundary of oil and water, the membranes of your cells, the surface of water in air the boundary layer of air over a lifting wing.

It wasn't static while he was alive, why should it be now that he is dead? That does not mean that the boundary has no meaning or is purely arbitrary. It is real -- and just as critical. His priniciples are coherent, from within his interpretive structure. Working to bring them out in our idiom is the harder part. If Japanese or Chinese poetry can be translated, so can he ...
Can we not pick a few basic tenets of his, and proceed from there? I have a personal commitment to nonviolence. "Too many notes, Mozart. Cut a few and it will be perfect." said the Emperor.

"Which few did you have in mind, Majesty" said Mozart.

billybob
12-16-2006, 02:29 PM
No progress fallacy brother. You must do better!

dave

L. Camejo
12-16-2006, 09:03 PM
David and Christian hit on the point I was making.

I truly believe that Ueshiba M. knew exactly what he meant when he spoke about and manifested Aikido in a physical form. I am also pretty sure that many of his Deshi (at least those who formulated their own methods to deal with his Aiki paradigm) may not have understood absolutely everything that he said and did but found their own ways of dealing with this in their own evolution.

It is a great idea to take the words and deeds of Ueshiba M. as a template for one's evolution in Aikido and the definition of those boundaries. However imho if highly skilled exponents of Japanese Budo who were his direct students training for years (and who had the benefit of Japanese as their native tongue) had to "forge" what they learned from Ueshiba M. in their own spirits and manifest their own Aiki based on his teachings (often resulting in their best approximation of his teaching) then it is unbelievable that an individual who is divorced from the context of Ueshiba M.'s reality in time, space, language and other areas can speak categorically about anything to do with his Aikido.

There are however certain "commonly held" tenets that define Ueshiba M.'s Aikido that one can use as a guide. But I think in the end one must stand on the shoulders of one's teachers, including Ueshiba M. and attempt to become more, even explore concepts that he was unwilling or unable to. In this way one becomes a true asset to his legacy imho. I think many of his Deshi did this and there is no reason why someone who practices today cannot do this. But like David said, it is important to let go of his image a bit to see clearly with our own eyes. It comes down to whether we want to emulate the messenger or his message.

Of course I am a Shodo-heathen so take everything above with a grain of salt.:)
LC:ai::ki:

Peter Goldsbury
12-16-2006, 10:18 PM
"Perhaps the real question is, "Where do you set the boundaries of your aikido?" What is inside and outside your field of study?" - Ted Ehara

Stolen from the thread - "Why are you Here?" asked by D. Hooker Sensei.
David

One question here is: Why set boundaries, anyway? Terms like 'field of study' seem to imply that the setting of boundaries here is a conscious activity, like something one undertakes at college.

Another line of thinking, seen in the second post in this thread, is that the 'boundaries' are unconscious, like a certain conception of frames, and become conscious only when they are questioned in Internet discussion forums. I think this over-emphasizes the role of such discussion forums in one's own training.

Another way of setting boundaries could be defining what one is doing, which, again, is a difficult activity and one that is not always necessary.

I do not think that training is influenced so much by the thoughts that might be going on in our own heads and when it is so influenced, and we need to talk about what we think we are doing, we resort largely to metaphor. Hence the sometimes fruitful discussions in Internet discussion forums.

Erick Mead
12-16-2006, 11:54 PM
It is a great idea to take the words and deeds of Ueshiba M. as a template for one's evolution in Aikido and the definition of those boundaries. However imho if highly skilled exponents of Japanese Budo who were his direct students training for years (and who had the benefit of Japanese as their native tongue) had to "forge" what they learned from Ueshiba M. in their own spirits and manifest their own Aiki based on his teachings (often resulting in their best approximation of his teaching) then it is unbelievable that an individual who is divorced from the context of Ueshiba M.'s reality in time, space, language and other areas can speak categorically about anything to do with his Aikido. I guess the British University Classical departments just need to turn in their shingles as a lost cause, then. One can get inside the system of his thought and relate it to the system of his movement. He thought they were of a piece. I prefer to believe him instead of sort of dimissing him to a quiet corner of the party like an embarassing dotard uncle.

No one, living or dead, is condemned to remain a prisoner of his own time. We can free ourselves to some degree from our own circumstances. We can liberate a man's ideas from one time and keep them alive in another.

We 21st century Westerners have a singular advantage over his uchi-deshi in mid-century Japan. We can ask rude and impertinent questions about his thought and practice. I love the questions, of any kind. But in framing possible answers we look to compare the best examples of the physical practice that the uchi-deshi handed down. We must also be scrupulous to answer conceptual questions from his own words. It is too easy for one or two stacked inferences to depart far from the limits of what was actually said.
But like David said, it is important to let go of his image a bit to see clearly with our own eyes. It comes down to whether we want to emulate the messenger or his message.
In an art that is, quite literally, "embodied" that may be very hard, and perhaps a misplaced distinction.

Erick Mead
12-17-2006, 12:02 AM
If 'OSensei' is the boundary of your aikido then I think you dishonor his legacy. Who said the boundary is static? Dynamic boundaries are among the most critical and dangerously useful that exist - like the boundary of oil and water, the membranes of your cells, the surface of water in air the boundary layer of air over a lifting wing. No progress fallacy brother. You must do better!"Honor" and "legacy" are not logical arguments. They belong, not to the logos division of rhetoric, but to ethos and pathos. :p

billybob
12-17-2006, 10:58 AM
I have to thank Larry Camejo for 'getting' what I said, if only so I'm not stoned to death behind the dojo sometime soon. I thank Erick for stimulating my mind, and especially those of rank and prestige - for putting up with my 'in your face' type of training here. I hope it shows what fine people my Senseis and Shihan are, for putting up with me regularly.

Erick, I'll just say regarding the 'dynamic boundary' concept - I find it odd that you choose to describe someone (however influential and enormous in stature in life) whom has passed from this life, as 'dynamic'.

(My gyrocopter instructor said you helicopter guys are 'sexier', and the girls know it. I only have to do four things with four limbs, not five things. The dynamic boundary, if I'm understanding the reference, is a little less dynamic without the engine coupled to the wings.)

dave

Erick Mead
12-17-2006, 07:37 PM
Erick, I'll just say regarding the 'dynamic boundary' concept - I find it odd that you choose to describe someone (however influential and enormous in stature in life) whom has passed from this life, as 'dynamic'. Since he still has all of us running around trying to pin him down, I'd say he's doing pretty good for a dead man -- dynamically speaking....

L. Camejo
12-18-2006, 05:52 AM
Since he still has all of us running around trying to pin him down, I'd say he's doing pretty good for a dead man -- dynamically speaking....Well I wouldn't say all of us.;) Of course for those still "running around trying to pin him down" it may only mean that the Uke in this case has much better waza than the Tori/Nage.

Train harder, train smarter.
Gambatte.