View Full Version : In Depth Teaching

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01-13-2002, 02:08 PM
Hi yall!

I would be utterly greatfull if i could get as much info as possible in class even if it concerned jukendo, aikibo or kotodama etc. I understand that we can't incorporate all esoteric ways of teaching o-sensei used but today most of this isn't even reflected over by most. Isn't the width and the great number of sources of inspiration that he had great. I might be one of few who'd appreciate this kind of teaching but still, wouldn't some really in depth info in class be neat sometimes?
Second i think that way to many aikido practitioners have no clue what so ever about it's origin. I mean hey we've got this great little white bearded japanese fellow who turned the principle of loving your neighbour into an ART efter a lot of struggling and pain on his behalf. Shouldn't studying his art give us at least a hint why he created it and how HE taught his principles the relatively short period of time this great old man was at humanity's disposal even if he did use religous metaphores to do so?

Just a thought


01-15-2002, 12:39 AM
from Dueling with O-sensei (http://www.ellisamdur.com/DuelingwithOsensei.htm) pg 28-29

When studying music, one cannot immediately play Bach or Beethoven at a concert level. One must spend years practicing scales and other fundamentals before one can begin to do justice to the music. If you consider the gokui (secret teachings) of almost any classical martial art, you'll see that there are some very cryptic, apparently simple techniques with a lot of spiritual energy invested in them. One has to practice many years doing the equivalent of scales to approach a level where these techniques can be expressed with integrity and grace in an uncontrolled situation.

In aikido, it is as if Ueshiba Morihei were walking in the snow with some branches trailing behind him, erasing his footsteps. All he taught was the gokui. He did not teach the scales which led to that level...

In my style, I would say the scales/fundamentals would be practiced through ki development training. Other styles of aikido also have things that are similar to this training.

There are many things that Ueshiba practiced, which he didn't teach in his dojo. Things like kototama or even weapons weren't regularly scheduled subjects. There were also things like scripture (Kojiki, Nihongi and other works) readings which were completely left out of the dojo curriculum, but was a large part of Ueshiba Morihei's training.

Everyone only has so much time to train. Learning techniques is time-consuming enough. If you want to study Ueshiba Morihei's esoteric training, you usually have to do that on your own. :(

For Ueshiba Morihei, his ki development training was through Japanese traditions (see Ki: A Practical Guide for Westerners (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/087040640X/qid=1012669950/sr=1-22/ref=sr_1_11_22/104-4875761-3613527)). However, today's aikidoist can use their ki development training to understand O Sensei's techniques.

02-08-2002, 10:58 AM
Thanks for your answer ted!

But seriously: how cryptic can anybody be? I know that O-sensei kept a lot of stuff to him self for different reasons. But isn't it sad that what esoteric lectures he DID share should be considered "extra-curricular" information? I find it hard to belive that anyone would dissaprove of merely being handed this stuff as long as long as it didn't interfear with their ordinary classes. Im not saying that we should emphasize this or even discuss it regulary. But if there are theoretical values hidden in the teachings handed down to O-senseis students and they are never taught they will unevitable be lost. :-o

I think the idea of keeping aikido simple and practical to broaden our range of potential participants is good but should this principle be allowed to strip away stuff that according to me is as integral as anything alse in the art? I mean people ramble on about how reigi and other parts of budo has stopped mattering. Sure this could maybe be an issue, but to strip the art of parts of the actual teaching before the general public in the aikido community has been allowed to evaluate it's importance for themselves, even if it might be esoteric. This is to me just plain arrogant.

Your basicly saying: - All this meddling about with shinto mythology and outdated weapons systems etc. that you did in your early days just doesn't matter to us anylonger Morihei, we just want the stripped "fast-food" variant without the background facts. And likewise your saying to the commited student who want's more facts: - We know what mattered and what didn't in Ueshiba's teaching and what's suitable for you to know about it.

All this provided that his close pupils and their followers actually managed to decipher and learn any of this from his more unorthodox techings (or not, in which case i appologize to anyone who might feel wrongfully acused of not sharing this knowledge.)

I mean even if the guy didn't teach everything that HE did to others there's still a lot of folks around with indepth knowledge in the various stuff that WE KNOW he studied by himself.
To people and/sensei sitting on this information
If there's information out there to be handed down for the better of humanity please let people judge for themselves what impact this could have on their aikido.

Kojiki and jukendo for the people!



02-09-2002, 08:45 AM
Originally posted by Matsuo Basho (http://hkuhist2.hku.hk/Nakasendo/basho.htm)

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old;
seek what they sought.

Ghost Fox
02-11-2002, 08:15 AM
I couldn't agree with you more Jasper. Being an occultist, I've done a lot of personal research on the spiritual aspects of aikido. One of the main problems I see is that most people just don't understand the in-depth religious/spiritual aspects of aikido. Even O'Sensei's own son seems to have walked away from the more esoteric aspects of aikido after his father's death. Many of O'Sensei's students seemed to have endured his lectures so that they could learn the technical aspects of the art.

Second, many people believe that teaching such things is imposition on their personal freedoms and beliefs (Long live individuality and screw the system.). I think this is just an excuse for narrow mindedness. I doubt Aikido would have such wide appeal and popularity if it didn't alleviate itself of it's esoteric burden. Christianity itself made many concessions early on in order to gain pagan converts (Then again, look at Christianity now, bad example). I think Ted is right. You have to do your own personal research on these topics.

He is also correct with his quote (P.S. Excellent quote).

Originally posted by tedehara

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of
the men of old; seek what they sought.

What matter is the heart of the teachings. My personal studies take me into Taoism, Wicca, hermetic sciences, and even ninjitsu philosophy. From these I try to gain a fuller understanding of the more in-depth teachings. Happy hunting.

Prophets (A spiritual seer) are usually not fully understood in their own time.

02-11-2002, 11:42 AM
I worry that Aikido would be turned into a religion or even a moral code. Speaking to some of his students, even though Ueshiba was very religious (praying up to 6 times a day) he felt that this was not necessary to learn aikido. He did emphasise strength of spirit, but to follow his religious practices in order to improve your aikido is as worthwhile as watching his faourite TV programs.


Ghost Fox
02-12-2002, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by ian
I worry that Aikido would be turned into a religion or even a moral code. Speaking to some of his students, even though Ueshiba was very religious (praying up to 6 times a day) he felt that this was not necessary to learn aikido. He did emphasise strength of spirit, but to follow his religious practices in order to improve your aikido is as worthwhile as watching his faourite TV programs.

Excellent point ian. It gives me something to consider.

Although I think aikidoka could benifitt from some of the more spiritual (not religous) aspects of Ueshiba's occult practices (eg. kotodama and misogi).

For me it's kind of like studying art history. Studying art history might not improve your artistic ability, but it makes you a more well rounded artist. It also allows you to learn the different directions that art has been, and might even give you some insight and inspiration were you want your art to go.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

02-14-2002, 05:43 AM
Thanks for the e-mail Ted, I hope you don't mind me including part of it in this e-mail:

Ted wrote:
"O Sensei that speaks directly to what
you had posted. In his new book "The Way to Union with Ki", Koichi
Tohei noted that Morihei Ueshiba thought he was the only one who had a
high degree of Mind/Body Coordination and that this was a gift of the

It may sound contradictory that I don't want Aikido to turn into a religion, but it has had a large effect on my spiritual beliefs. However I'm afraid that we will talk about and analyse spiritual aspects of Aikido, because we always seem to want to seperate the body/mind/spirit.

When starting I was not instructed on anything 'esoteric' or spiritual. It was explained in quite a mechanistic way, with only a brief mention of ki. However as I trained I felt that ki was a good way of describing the way aikido movements and our bodies worked to myself. Therefore, 1st comes the experience, then comes a term to articulate the experience. Similarly, I believe until you feel why a spiritual practise is important, doing it is just empty movements/indoctrination.

I also feel that it shouldn't be that we pray or have spiritual practise to attain something, but the practise comes from within because we feel something; and part of that for me is a feeling of reverence for the universe. (and I do know for myself that without this (call it a feeling of universal love if you want) my physical aikido ability suffers because I have the 'me against the enemy' approach, which results in struggle. Not sure whether this is what Ueshiba and Tohei mean.

(Also, I feel that ones spiritual beliefs are often a way of compensating for aspects of our own character that are out of balance. For me, I'm often over-analytical, therefore zen appeals to me and brings my mind back into balance.)


02-14-2002, 04:32 PM
Hi y'all!

I personally consider stuff like using the sanmi-sangen metaphore etc. to be pretty common, sanmi sangen is a shinto concept from the very beginning as i've been told. Teaching the fundamental concepts would be hard without it. I think that this is just another example that shinto cosmology and other seemingly unrelated sources are VERY entwined into the very heart-concepts of Aikido.

It would be nice for people who do not want the burden of religious concepts in their art to be able to ignore this but that's not really an option sadly in this case.
Aikido is not the way of "empty fists" or "chain and sickle". The very name of the art suggests that it concerns the VERY abstract way of channeling some vague force to restore harmony for the sake of all mankind.

(If thats not trippy i dont know what is ;-) )

Im just saying that we allready use so many concepts and metaphores that are religously related that adding information about their origin would not mean anything else but to clarify their purpose.

The antipathy towards the religiously affected parts of aikido sometimes seems to stem from plain fear of compromizing personal beliefs. I can not understand this. We are practising an art based on concepts from foreign religions. We are not practising the religion itself. Narrowminded thinking from people of non-pluralistic creed's should not be the reason to strip the art of anything that isn't PC or offensive to these people by heritage.

I do iwama style aikido and pherhaps thats one reason why i claim all of this this in the first place. Because this applies to the more techniqual side too.
I do not understand people who argue that even aikijo or aikiken should be omitted from the curriculum all together. Obviously they where trained for a purpose in the first place. This motive didn't cease to exist just because we have less time on our hands. And this is basicly what it all boils down to.
People do not want to learn morals, ethics or anything else that doesn't help them develop their "street-efficiency". All this bull about proving the inherent "combat-efficiency" of different MA's is slowly turning aikido like the rest of them from DO's to JUTSU's.

Aikido was founded by a deeply religious man who incorporated LOADS of stuff from eastern concepts and various MA's. This can't be ignored. You CAN teach aikido without relying on them but arn't we "reinventing" a pretty darn good wheel every time in doing so?

Is that what YOU want?

I don't

Peace Jasper