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nikonl
09-30-2001, 03:56 AM
Why is philosophy so important in Aikido? Can one be very good in aikido techniques without its philosophies? (just some thoughts) :)

ranZ
09-30-2001, 04:37 AM
I think people with more experience can answer better than me, but i read this funny story at aikidofaq.com

i'll just post it here


On Mon, 24 Feb 1997 11:11:44 -0600 Crazy said:

> One advise I'll give you is to forget the philosophy and the >mumbo-jumbo stuff.

Hmmm....well, Saotome Sensei was talking about Summer Camp this weekend. As with the last year or two, he's doing a weapons intensive. Anticipating a certain amount of grumbling (Only weapons? A whole week? Oh, Maaaaan!) He said, "I know, some people don't like that much weapons training. Everybody likes to have a steak, but nobody wants a potato." So later, in the dressing room, a question occurred to me and I muttered out loud: "If taijutsu is the steak, and weapons work is the potato, then what's the broccoli?"

My old friend Neil turned around and said: "You mean the green stuff that's good for you but nobody ever wants to eat? That's got to be the philosophy."

Thanks Neil!


quoted from http://www.aikidofaq.com/stories/index.html

Kami
09-30-2001, 05:18 AM
Originally posted by ranZ
I think people with more experience can answer better than me, but i read this funny story at aikidofaq.com


KAMI : In other words, RanZ, if you just practice techniques, you'll be a wonderful "technician" but you won't be a "complete aikidoka". For that you have to study all aspects of Aikido, not just the ones you like.
As one of my teachers said, "If you do only one thing, you'll be like a cripple, you won't be doing INTEGRAL Budo".
And answering Leslie's question :
"Can I be good at Aikido without the philosophy?"
I don't think so. You'll be good at Aikido's TECHNIQUES and quite clumsy at all other aspects. All in all, it depends on what is your objective and how far you wish to go.
Best ;)

tedehara
09-30-2001, 06:32 AM
Originally posted by nikon
Why is philosophy so important in Aikido? Can one be very good in aikido techniques without its philosophies? (just some thoughts) :)

YES you can become very good in techniques without studying aikido's philosophy. However you will not be able to discover techniques on your own and find it hard to teach the techniques you know to others, because you haven't looked at the reason of those techniques as you practiced them.

You can practice aikido techniques whenever you're in the dojo. You can practice aikido philosophy anytime, anywhere. Because of this, you can make aikido part of your life, instead of leaving it in your dojo.

ScottMirabile
09-30-2001, 11:39 AM
I started practicing Aikido because I got my hands on a book called Aikido and the Harmony of Nature by Mitsugi Saotome. I am almost done with the book (I get side tracked really easily). Because I have read about much of the underlying ideologies, Aikido has taken on a significantly philosophical side. I feel that any Aikidoka who practice Aikido as just another martial art are not true Aikidoka in total sense of the word. So I would say that no, one could not be "good" at Aikido without the philosophical understanding, for it is that understanding which truly makes it the way of love and peace.

Andy
09-30-2001, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by tedehara
YES you can become very good in techniques without studying aikido's philosophy. However you will not be able to discover techniques on your own and find it hard to teach the techniques you know to others, because you haven't looked at the reason of those techniques as you practiced them.
Why wouldn't you be able to find new techniques without the philosophy of aikido?

As long as people understand the underlying principle (which doesn't need to be philosophical but can be just purely mechanical), people will be able to find new techniques, teach the techniques, and so on.

nikonl
09-30-2001, 12:02 PM
hmm...so ted and andy are contradicting...looking forward to more replies...hehe :)

And Thanx to those that replied!

Sid
09-30-2001, 04:51 PM
If I may pose a question of my own, why would one want to NOT learn the philosophy?

Sid

ranZ
10-01-2001, 01:07 AM
Originally posted by Kami


KAMI : In other words, RanZ, if you just practice techniques, you'll be a wonderful "technician" but you won't be a "complete aikidoka". For that you have to study all aspects of Aikido, not just the ones you like.

no Kami, what i meant was, maybe someone who have mastered aikido a lot deeper and longer than i can explain better. that's all. I noticed a lot of experts are in this forum.

Originally posted by Sid
If I may pose a question of my own, why would one want to NOT learn the philosophy?

Because, Sid, it's the broccoli! :D

A few years back i studied in a dojo that doesn't really teach the philosophy. So the students don't really know or want to know the philosophy stuff. Now i'm learning from a sensei who teaches mostly philosophy, and acually i find it very much exciting.
Want or not want imho it depends a lot on the sensei.

Datamike
10-01-2001, 01:20 AM
I find this to be a very intresting question. I would go with most people and say that you can learn Aikido without philosophy. I actually know a person like that.

But the more intresting question is: what does your technique look like without the philosophy?

Aikido techniques are not just movements you can learn. Without philosophy, your techniques will become hard and blunt. You will find that you use more strenght and violence, which actually is what aikidoka's mostly try to avoid. By studing Aikido's philosophy, along with your techniques, you will find that the way of thinking affects your techniques.

I've seen it a million times in the Dojo with beginners. When they start out, they use their strenght. I know I did so too. But after a few years I found out that I can actually do the technique also without it, by using other variables along the way. That's when important details come in. It is then when you realize how important you movement is: your distance, foot work, balance, direction, etc.

It is those things that make Aikido so affective and you need to understand its philosophy to learn them. You say that they don't come to you over night but when they do, you will be amazed of its beauty.

I hope I did talk some sense there. It's diffecult to put your thoughts into words :)

Kelly Cook
10-01-2001, 03:07 AM
As far as why someone would not like to include the philosophy, may I pose a supposed answer?

I have trained under an instructor that did not use traditional Aikido philosophy. He actually integrated Christian teachings into our lessons, but that's a different subject. Anyway, I do not agree with many eastern philosophies, ie good and evil are equal, balancing forces. Because you contain a concept of good and evil, you have proven that good is more powerful (C.S. Lewis, 'Mere Christianity'), but once again, that's a different subject. So, it was necessary for me to find an instructor (forgive me if I do not address him as sensei, he wouldn't appreciate that) that agreed with those things I've found to be true. As for whether you can obtain the level of ability without the philosophy as you could with it, I don't know, but I'll be proud if I'm ever half the Martial Artist my instructor is.

IPT,
Kelly

tedehara
10-01-2001, 03:20 AM
Originally posted by Andy

Why wouldn't you be able to find new techniques without the philosophy of aikido?

As long as people understand the underlying principle (which doesn't need to be philosophical but can be just purely mechanical), people will be able to find new techniques, teach the techniques, and so on.

The point Andy makes is a very valid one. There are some who believe that aikido can be learned solely through rote practice over the years.

If someone learns solely though repetitive practice, much of what they learn is done unconsciously. However when you teach or analyze techniques, that is done consciously. You have to explain the technique to others or to yourself for analysis.

There are some things, like maintaining your center, which could be argued are both philosophical and/or mechanical. If these are what you're calling the mechanical underlying principle, then I might disagree/agree with the use of the term mechanical. :)

ian
10-01-2001, 07:13 AM
I think the philosophy within Aikido is an insidious aspect of it. To do aikido (rather than jujitsu) you ahve to take of both yourself and your partner during training, and aim to blend with your partner. I think the these physical aspects of aikido training have an influence on your philosophy in a REAL utlitarian way.

This is a bit like the way breathing (a physical act) can help concentration (a mental act). So careful, responsive aikido can lead to the same mental approach to others.

I say 'utilitarian' as so many times we can have ideals of what we should do, and when push comes to shove we ourselves do something entirely different. However, hate it as I might, whenever I've had to use Aikido in real situations I have always been relatively protective of my opponent (just a habit I suppose) - no matter how much I seem to despise my attacker at the time.

For me aikido does and should bind the philosophy in its physical expression. I think waffling on about philosophy for hours on end will have much less effect than just training to be considerate of others.

Ian

akiy
10-01-2001, 10:38 AM
Hi Ted,

I'm curious here. Do you think there's any difference between the philosophy of aikido and the principles of aikido?

-- Jun

Aikilove
10-02-2001, 04:55 AM
Originally posted by akiy
Do you think there's any difference between the philosophy of aikido and the principles of aikido?

And a follow up question - If there is a difference, then doesn't/shouldn't the philosophy follow from the principles? and likewise doesn't/shouldn't the principles follow from the techniques?

tedehara
10-02-2001, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by akiy
Hi Ted,

I'm curious here. Do you think there's any difference between the philosophy of aikido and the principles of aikido?

-- Jun

I've had some trouble with this thread because we're talking about some undefined thing called aikido philosophy. I'm going to give some extremely subjective and probably arbitrary answers to define both aikido philosophy and principles of aikido.

Because of my own personal background, I think of principles as a group of statements that defines the viewpoint of a certain style of aikido. The Ki Society has its own basic principles (http://unofficial.ki-society.org/Four.html) which are similiar to Kokikai Aikido's four basic principles (http://www.kokikai.org/pages/principles.html) which are different to the principles of Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei (Aikikai), as defined in the book Center: The Power of Aikido (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/158394012X/qid%3D).

My completely arbitrary definition of aikido philosophy is what I say it is, or what you say it is, or what anyone else says it is. I may not consider Christian teaching part of aikido philosophy, but for Kelly, it is a major part of her aikido experience and philosophy. I may practice kototama and you don't, so you wouldn't consider it a part of your aikido philosophy. I may come up with some bizzare ideas by extrapolating aiki sword movements. Others won't consider these wacko thoughts, so it doesn't become part of their aikido philosophy, but remains part of mine.

Sooo, my short answer is "Yes!". There is a difference between philosopy and principles.

For Aikilov, I agree in that the philosophy should follow the principles, which comes from the personal aikido experience, not necessarily the techniques one does.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is all purely subjective stuff that comes from the individual experience in aikido. Your mileage may vary.

akiy
10-02-2001, 01:03 PM
Originally posted by tedehara
Sooo, my short answer is "Yes!". There is a difference between philosopy and principles.
Thanks, Ted! Good reply.

For me, at least, the philosophy is what goes on in "the mind" and the principles is what gets manifested through "the body."

Of course, we know how tricky it is to dilineate the two after a while...

-- Jun

BC
10-02-2001, 02:18 PM
I think that, um, ah...Oh, never mind...
:rolleyes:
(from the guy who loves broccoli, but HATES brussel sprouts)

nikonl
10-03-2001, 02:10 AM
i love brocolli. No wonder i love the philosopy...hehe :)

Erik
10-03-2001, 04:48 PM
Shift to alternate reality:

A young Michael Jordan is walking down the street and he meets a man. Let's call him OD. Michael becomes fascinated with OD and follows his every word. This man forms the basis of Michael's spiritual belief system.

Michael then becomes the world mega-star that he is.

One day, after a game of 21, which he won 21 to 0, he feels depressed. While drinking from a water fountain a golden beam of light comes down from the heavens and he is enlightened.

His enlightenment leads to the creation of an art known as Shoedo (The Way Of The Shoe) and Michael becomes known as O'Coach. Because of his reputation, students flock to his classes where they hear inspiring words like:

Blend with the
Court of Heaven and Earth.
Stand in the jump circle.
In your heart take up the stance
Of "The Way of the Fallaway Jumper".

A person who
In any situation
Perceives the truth with resignation
Would never need to don his shoe in haste.

If you wish to weaken
The enemy's spirit
Move first, fly in and dunk!

Pour your spirit and heart
Into daily technical training
To approach the many through a single principle
This is "The way of the shoe"

Nobody has any idea what he's talking about. Yet, he has 6 rings, he must know the secrets of the universe, life and all other things. On his court, even at an advanced age, he dismisses opponents with ease. Students dedicate themselves to the practice.

Years later.

Shoedo has become a major happening. It's practiced throughout the world. People discuss it on the internet at shoeweb.com. What's the better basketball art? Shoedo or Shaqfu? Can a shoedo stylist hang on the courts of Harlem? Should there be ranks in shoedo? Where have those shoes been? Shoedo does work. Can I lose weight doing shoedo? What is proper court etiquette?

and

Can you do technical shoedo without the philosophy?

And then some nut posts about a guy named Morihei....

[Censored]
10-03-2001, 05:15 PM
...shouldn't the philosophy follow from the principles? and likewise doesn't/shouldn't the principles follow from the techniques?

That is EXACTLY RIGHT.

Many people (inside and outside of Aikido) invent a philosophy which makes them feel comfortable. Contrary evidence is simply disregarded.

No strength!
No force!
No position!
No resistance!
No violence!

These people tend to fall into two categories: failures and hypocrites. Or, in other words, those who will put their illusions to the test and those who will not.

This is why we need vigorous practice. Otherwise, there are too many errors in the transmission, and we quickly drift off course.

guest1234
10-03-2001, 05:29 PM
Well, I happen to love veggies :eek:, but must be reminded/threatened frequently by friends to eat any form of meat :p...and as a result became severely anemic...

moral of the story: each of us likes different foods, and can tolerate wide variation in how much of each our bodies need, but every body needs at least a little of each. What is good for one is not necessarily 'right' for all.

mj
10-03-2001, 06:50 PM
Hehe...
CA, as a one time Chef/Nutritionalist (as you put it)...
The best things for us are often those which taste the most sour. :)
Failure is the key to progress, on an individual level.
Wow, now I feel very ???
Help!

Mike Collins
10-04-2001, 07:58 PM
Me, I'm into Spreeewelljustu sneakersilatfu. It is the most deadly offshoot of shoedo.

All them other guys got doo doo on their shoedo.

The philosophy is in the techniques, the techniques exemplify the philosophy, the philosophy can best be understood by understanding the techniques, the techniques can best be performed with the philosophy in mind, and regular training is a good thing.

Or NOT

ScottMirabile
10-04-2001, 10:07 PM
Jakob B asked the following...

"shouldn't the philosophy follow from the principles? and likewise doesn't/shouldn't the principles follow from the techniques?"

Jakob, you're just a bit backwards here. See there is a relationship between philosophy, principles and techniques but they cause each other in that order. Philosophy brings about the existence of ideas that are applicable to the real world. These applicable ideas/principles then give rise to a multitude of physical movements, the techniques. if you wish to learn more about this, please read the words of one of the original students, Mitsugi Saotome in his book Aikido and the Harmony of Language.

Erik
10-04-2001, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by Mikey
Me, I'm into Spreeewelljustu sneakersilatfu. It is the most deadly offshoot of shoedo.


I'd forgotten about Professor Sprewell (I've always loved martial artists that call themselves professor) who added bats and pit bulls to the shoedo syllabus.

[Censored]
10-05-2001, 06:10 PM
Jakob, you're just a bit backwards here. See there is a relationship between philosophy, principles and techniques but they cause each other in that order. Philosophy brings about the existence of ideas that are applicable to the real world. These applicable ideas/principles then give rise to a multitude of physical movements, the techniques.

No.

When you derive philosophy from application of technique, your philosophy can be refined through practice, bringing you ever closer to harmony with nature. This method requires only perseverance.

If you attempt to go in the other direction, your "techniques" will only succeed in specific emotional states. 1 person in 100 will be lucky enough to understand martial arts through this method.

If you wish to learn more about this, attack your classmates, and observe their reactions. No theories. The proof is right in front of you.

Mike Collins
10-05-2001, 06:38 PM
Pit Bulls were actually never added to "Classical" shoedo. They were used as an adjunct to the more eclectic style of hightopwaza. Though "Professor S" as his most dedicated disciples called him made hightopwaza seem to be just a seamless part of "Classical" shoedo.

Erik, we gotta train together one day.

Aikilove
10-06-2001, 09:34 AM
ScottMirabile, I have to go with Cris in this one. As I see it, I would have a hard time believing O-sensei would have created Aikido with philosophy alone (from Onisaburi Deguchi sp.) without his background in the martial arts. He extracted his martial art in a way for us to train in order to understand, not the opposite. And the result became a number of highly refined techniques, that litterally contains nothing but principles. He saw this and found it a satisfying way to understand the philosophy.
But he also said - This old man still has to train!
So he left a legasy to us to exsplore and refine ourselves. And so we do and find after a lot of hard work that the old man indeed gave us something special only we can understand.