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kironin
03-12-2009, 02:55 PM
As long as I have known enough detail to make a decent judgement, I have always admired Tempu Nakamura Sensei and the example of his life set much more than Morihei Ueshiba Sensei.

of course given my organization, the only rose-tinted view of O sensei I was exposed to was through reading tales in books that Pranin has pretty much blown away.

whatever his foibles as a human being or the gulf in culture and another time, that's different than my appreciation of aikido in all forms coming out of his actions and those issei.

Buck
03-12-2009, 07:39 PM
It isn't not what am saying at all. Why should we not educate ourselves well in Japanese culture and the way they think? Why shouldn't we question what we are told and test it for truth. Should we live in ignorance about something we are passionate about. Why is it important to believe in the myths and our own assumptions for the truth, for the facts. Doesn't that lead us down the wrong path? If you are going to walk the path of Aikido you might as well do it right.

I will never believe that O'Sensei was super human no matter how many students it brings in, and who propagates that, be they Japanese or not.

What do you fear by looking at Aikido and O'Sensei in the right direction, in the proper light, or O'Sensei as he truly was- warts and all?

I weight the truth over anything else, no matter how beneficial mis-information it is to whom ever.

:)

George, I may have sounded somewhat in insensitive. Any good discussion broadens the mind, and heated debates are useful, but here I see no purpose for that. This discussion is to explore and look at really how O'Sensei was thinking, instead of making assumptions, or myths. For that awkwardness of mine and stuff, I apologize. Please understand if I sounded heated, I was in an hurry jotting down thoughts before work. That too I have an apologize for.

I was speaking in a broad sense and not specifically to you what you said, "many Japanese teachers [think] that foreigners can't really understand Aikido" . I don't feel O'Sensei felt that way either, otherwise Aikido would have stayed in Japan and never been an international organization, but even more than that, that statement doesn't fit with the philosophy or mission of O'Sensei in the loosest terms.

Education is something everyone can do. Everyone can seek the truth, we all can see how Japan and the Japanese think and function. We are able to grasp intellectual survey and figure stuff out about Japanese spirituality, religion, behavior, thinking society etc. without being Japanese. A good business must do it if they are are to be successful in business with Japan- allot of the time. Or those who work and live in Japan who are not Japanese.

You can understand and function in a culture and its society either through fact or myth. Some don't even want to understand, they just plug in what they want to see and how they see it.
:)

Buck
03-12-2009, 07:50 PM
I've tried to answer the question originally posed by Mr. Burgess, i.e. "Who sez O'Sensei was wise?" several times and I feel that the question has broadened now. Mr. Burgess talks a lot about questioning the myths of aikido, and I think it would be useful now if he talked about the myths he feel need questioning, the ones he has questioned and rejected so that we can move this discussion forward or finally put a lid on it.

I am sorry that the discussion has broaden. George brought in the element of myth- it is part of the topic- and the discussion swung that way.

I will go back and re-read your posts, cause I don't remember you answers.

VERY IMPORTANT THING TO READ CONCERNING MY DISCUSSION ON MYTH
I am not questioning Japanese myths. I am trying to identify Japanse myths and how they were used and the effects by O'Sensei as a Japanese, in a Japanese way at the period of time inwhich he lived that have a role in Aikido,. Instead of pointing to and using the ones other people made up out of the lack of knowledge and understanding about Japanese, O'Sensei (as a Japanese) and all that stuff.

Buck
03-12-2009, 08:17 PM
Originally, at the start of this discussion. I was trying to identify the all the Japanese architecture, templates, models, plans and stuff (myth, budo included) that O'Sensei used to build the house of Aikido and his spirituality. It seems O'Sensei used a standard Japanese formula.

Any of us studying Aikido and wanting to know more beyond technique you come across gaps, and gray areas in your studies. You also come across mis-information. What is an such an Aikidoka to do? In my mind you go to the source. There is allot of information on Japan and O'Sensei at our finger tips. So why not go for it and get the right information. Part of going for it is questioning.

Mark Peckett
03-13-2009, 05:29 AM
Got it - I think. Seems to me that we've got to separate a few things out:

First of all, the myths about O'Sensei. I'm prepared to take as read things that people who were actually there saw and reported. Of course it's possible that what they saw isn't actually what happened and you might argue that we should take a completely inpartial view and expect, like journalists, that each story about O'Sensei be independently verified. Since this isn't likely to happen, then I think you pays your money and you takes your choice. Some of O'Sensei's direct students were mistaken, or for whatever reason, they are lying, or they are indeed telling the truth.

As far as O'Sensei using myths, I believe that what he was trying to talk about was beyond concept - exactly the same thing that Buddhism attempts to directly perceive, that many religions through contemplation or meditation try to attain - and the language which we normally use is not adequate to explain it. Although this might be a slightly imperfect analogy, the same way that aspects of quantum physics can be explained in mathematical language, but are harder to explain in everyday language.

Therefore when O'Sensei explained things in terms of myth, we must use that myth to help us to try and see what he was trying to say or lead us to.

Peter Goldsbury
03-13-2009, 08:06 AM
Hello Jen,

Many thanks for the response. I have made a few comments, from which you will see whether or not I have understood you fully.

Hello Peter,
Thanks for the fine post. I agree with your viewpoint (which is not quoted in this post, but is available up there a post or two :rolleyes: ; follow the eyes.) that it is educational and functional to know the references and ,perhaps, the context of what one's teacher is teaching. I hope I got that right.
PAG. I mentioned Hiroshi Tada and Sadateru Arikawa. Tada Sensei speaks good Italian, I believe, but not English and when he comes to Hiroshima, he speaks in Japanese with lengthy explanations (with a white board). His seminar lasts two days with five hours training each day. He gives detailed explanations of the breathing exercises (from Tempu Nakamura), his footwork exercises, metsuke / eye contact, zanshin, etc etc. Similarly with Arikawa Sensei, who placed far more emphasis on rigidly correct taisakabaki.

In earlier posts you mentioned Motomichi Anno (Yes, I know you are one of the Shingu folks :D ). I presume that when he visited you in CA, Linda Holliday translated from Japanese. It has been my experience that translations into English for Hombu / IAF organized seminars has ranged from the barely satisfactory to the truly execrable. The translators--usually barely paid Hombu volunteers, do their very best, but they are not professionals and they sometimes have to strike a balance between being honest and being deferential to senior rank and 'shihan-dom'. In addition, the IHTBF doctrine (the finer points of aikido techniques are self-explanatory if one trains / observes correctly) tends to rule out making a large budget for translating.

The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.)

So, as someone who has a foot in both cultures, I ask you: do you get the whole of what Anno Sensei tells you? The omote and the ura? (If you say Yes, I shall be very suspicious :) . If this needs further explanation, please feel free to send me a PM.)

I should add, by the way, that we held the demonstration at the IAF Congress last year in the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Have you been there? We used the site of the old shrine in Oyunohara, with its huge torii. The shrine has an atmosphere which is really 'electric', just like the shrine at Izumo, which I visit quite often. The demonstration was organized with the help of Hikitsuchi Sensei's Kumano Juku, so I was able to meet some of the Japanese members of the Shingu Folk group.

I would like to comment on the quoted part of your post, ...I believe some American students who have trained in Japan and are now Sensei, have also come away with a way of being 'Japanese' that is aside from my own take on morals. They look like they're on the same page as you, publicly they may say they're on the same page as you, but behind closed doors, 'it's none of your business conversations' regarding policy and power are not on the same page. I believe this is an area of mis-use of cultural training and abuse of power when it comes to Americans who don't know they're having the cultural/moral wool pulled over their eyes. I don't know that it is always intentional, but I suspect it is terribly convenient.
PAG. I think it is terribly easy in aikido to be at least twice as Roman as the Pope, if not more. This tendency afflicts some who have lived in Japan, but not long enough to discern and appreciate the ura. And the ura is always there: you can never ignore it. In the Holy See that is the Aikikai Hombu, Terry Dobson was a Presbyterian, not particularly knowing or particularly perceptive (in a political sense), but a Presbyterian all the same. So he was eased out, with Kisshomaru's blessing.

But he had done his time in Japan and, from all I have read by and about Terry Dobson, I am still unsure to what extent he used his stay in the Hombu as a deshi as 'political capital' for his aikido activities after he returned to the US. Terry probably had more cause to use his stay in such a way than those who have lived in the Hombu for a year or two and then return home as someone 'specially trained by the Doshu' etc etc, when all they did was to attend classes fairly regularly. (I use the Hombu as an example, but this thinking can affect anyone who has spent some time in Japan specifically to train at some dojo or other.)

As for morals, well, if we confine ourselves to training, I think there is a difference between,

(1) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I can treat it how I like--all in the cause of training," and,

(2) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I have a duty to return it to you in a better state than it was before--all in the cause of training."

There is a large grey area here, but I suspect that many members here would think that we should train in Pattern (2). However, there are a number of people who believe that it is important to train according to Pattern (1). Why? Because they went through this experience themselves in Japan.

Then there is morality off the mat, which you alluded to in your post, but which I do not have the space to pursue here.

I realize I'm drifting off thread, but the thread was already a bit adrift. And I realize this may not be exactly what you were saying, but I would appreciate your comment.
Would you be so kind?

Thank You,
Jen Smith
PAG. Not at all. Was this what you were expecting?

Best wishes,

PAG

Buck
03-13-2009, 09:14 AM
Matt,

I think you do have it.

The issue that I have with myth is the myths that are created around Aikido, because it doesn't lead to the truth. Myths that are created or those myths already in existence that are used by others in place of the truth. The truth includes what myths are used by O'Sensei, what architecture for communication he uses, how he communicates using layers of meanings and codes, and what is he getting at, where it is copied from, originated etc., including all the warts. Plus, questioning O'Sensei and everyone one else who takes about Aikido, even me. That way new myths are not created.

There are some books that have been around awhile that created more myths about Aikido then there is about Santa Clause. Some people questioned those myths and made what they found public. Allot of people didn't like it. They where enjoying the myths of O'Sensei and Aikido and stuff. It angered them to have someone question those myths they dearly loved. threatening the existence of what they believed, told to them by their Sensei(s), Japanese and not, who crafted the myth so well.

That isn't Aikido, that is someone else's stuff. That is fine if you know that. But, what isn't fine is if you think that is O'Sensei's stuff and it isn't.

C. David Henderson
03-13-2009, 10:31 AM
So Buck,

Separating the myth-using man from the man as-myth, was O'Sensei wise?

Regards,

David

Erick Mead
03-13-2009, 11:00 AM
The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.) Seals??!!!??? Cows???!!?? Udder posers.

It's the penguins, man. It's all about the penguins:

http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/aaark.htm

:D

jennifer paige smith
03-13-2009, 12:15 PM
Hello Jen, Many thanks for the response

Hello Peter, and you are very welcome. Thank you.

In earlier posts you mentioned Motomichi Anno (Yes, I know you are one of the Shingu folks :D ). I presume that when he visited you in CA, Linda Holliday translated from Japanese.

Yes, it is true. Indeed I mentioned myself as one of the "Shingu Folks". I 'spose I would like to modify that comment, at this point, by saying, I have trained quite extensively within the Shingu lineage, as well as others. I had the opportunity to be a close student of Anno Sensei's ,during his extended stays, sponsored by the dojo to which I then belonged. During those stays I was( forgive my "not so humbly at the moment") his favorite uke. He would often use and choose me extensively for demonstrations. He also taught some of my children's classes and I was fortunate to share many meals and car rides with him. During those stays it was Linda Holiday who mainly translated, although I did have the additional benefit of hearing translations from native Japanese speakers, such as Yoshi Shibata,the head of the UCSC Aikido program. The translations were indeed different.

The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.)

Sounds really amusing. I'd buy it.

I think this a great place to spring from in terms of my experience with 'hearing' Anno Sensei. Funny enough, native people from this area(Cen Cal) are a bit different, like the English. We are not like the typical 'new age-y transplants' that seem to be springing up right and left. 'Non-native exotics, if you will. Native people here have a deep sense of satire and tend to take things in spirit and humor above literalism that is often forced down our throats. We have a belief system of our own, and that does involve hearing the essence, for want of a better phrase, of communiation. For example, when some people say, " Hmm,that's interesting." what they are really saying is, "Shut-up, I'm uncomfortable and I am afraid to say so." So, I get the humor/ cartoon aspect of your comments. Well said, if I may .

Back to Anno Sensei:
For me personally, and I'm absolutely sure this is not the case for many other people who were present at the time, the translations seemed to interfere in the spirit of the message that Anno Sensei was transmitting. I felt what he was saying in both my body and my heart, and when I acted upon that inner ear and made the adjustments I felt he was asking for, he was soundly supportive. When I checked in later with people who were following his words, they matched very closely what I had dicerened. More in the heart and the movement than the literal. That was my independent process. I know many others did not have this experience. Admittedly, I'm unusual.

and[/B] the ura? (If you say Yes, I shall be very suspicious :) .
Sounds loaded;)
But, here's my honest response. I never particularly relied on translations to 'hear' what Anno Sensei was 'telling me'. Since I was engaged physically with him, I relied on my body to absorb the teachings, both the hidden and the manifest. By doing it this way, which again is my native approach, I was able to allow him' in ' to the greatest of my capacity. His instructions to me, which were also sometimes communicated in writing, I endeavour to understand. Frankly, after years of form, I rely strongly on poetics and physical experience. But people often experience what I'm saying as ura, even in english.:)

I have many calligraphy that Anno Sensei has graciously awarded me. I meditate on their meaning even to this day. Some of the conceptual adjustments he instructed of me became both excruciating and perilous; I am still working them out. I believe this is relative to the interior aspect of the teachings and my openness to receive them. I suspect the Ura is involved in that. And I've got the scars to show it. But, in general, I guess I'm suspicious, too.

Anyhow, that's my stab at answering your great question.

I should add, by the way, that we held the demonstration at the IAF Congress last year in the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Have you been there? We used the site of the old shrine in Oyunohara, with its huge torii. The shrine has an atmosphere which is really 'electric', just like the shrine at Izumo, which I visit quite often. The demonstration was organized with the help of Hikitsuchi Sensei's Kumano Juku, so I was able to meet some of the Japanese members of the Shingu Folk group.

How wonderful for you! I have not yet had the experience of such a visit. I would like to see it and see the Shrine of O-Sensei that already exists in Tanabe. You are very fortunate!

ura[/I]. And the ura is always there: you can never ignore it. In the Holy See that is the Aikikai Hombu, Terry Dobson was a Presbyterian, not particularly knowing or particularly perceptive (in a political sense), but a Presbyterian all the same. So he was eased out, with Kisshomaru's blessing.

But he had done his time in Japan and, from all I have read by and about Terry Dobson, I am still unsure to what extent he used his stay in the Hombu as a deshi as 'political capital' for his aikido activities after he returned to the US. Terry probably had more cause to use his stay in such a way than those who have lived in the Hombu for a year or two and then return home as someone 'specially trained by the Doshu' etc etc, when all they did was to attend classes fairly regularly. (I use the Hombu as an example, but this thinking can affect anyone who has spent some time in Japan specifically to train at some dojo or other.)

As for morals, well, if we confine ourselves to training, I think there is a difference between,

(1) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I can treat it how I like--all in the cause of training," and,

(2) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I have a duty to return it to you in a better state than it was before--all in the cause of training."

There is a large grey area here, but I suspect that many members here would think that we should train in Pattern (2). However, there are a number of people who believe that it is important to train according to Pattern (1). Why? Because they went through this experience themselves in Japan.

Then there is morality off the mat, which you alluded to in your post, but which I do not have the space to pursue here.

Good thoughts. I believe morality off the mat is important to evaluate as more and more dojo sell themselves on 'off the mat aikido"rather then rigorous, structured waza.

If organizational morals are not lined up with principled, movement of practice, it's just another way to 'get over on people.' as we say in the vernacular. But that is a big topic and I'd love to continue it in a different thread or context. I hope you will engage. I like your outside the box way of dissecting these situations. There's something to be said for being independent.

Was this what you were expecting?

Exceeded my expectations; thank you kindly, sir.

Buck
03-13-2009, 12:41 PM
So Buck,

Separating the myth-using man from the man as-myth, was O'Sensei wise?

Regards,

David

Hi David,

Once we do the separation, dig through all the layers of misconceptions and throw them to the side, it is then we can say if O'Sensei was wise. To respect O'Sensei, I think you have to in order to walk that path correctly as possible the laid out. Now the issue I see in that, is that the path was designed and constructed from Japanese materials. Once the path was finished it was to be applied to the rest of the world. That is where things get more tangled, confusing, etc. for those of us who where no Japanese. The Japanese (others well versed in the Japanese) themselves I think find him difficult base on the wide spectrum of opinion etc., but less then the rest of us because they are more familiar with the Japanese stuff O'Sensei used build Aikido.

It is a Beacon not hard to understand that O'Sensei wanted a world of harmony/concord. But, is that coming from origins in the west or from Japan. I think because the Japanese have this thing about a social ideal, a community with an unanimous moral solidarity. Harmony or concord becomes the most important thing in a community. O'Sensei took that and stressed that to be an important message, goal, a part of Aikido.

Here is another way of what I mean by misconceptions. What if someone by intellectual default thought O'Sensei's poems are reflecting the Beat generation author's writings. What if they looked at O'Sensei's message as the message of the Beatniks. Or if a western sensei who was asked by question by an student, the sensei had no true information on about O'Sensei and tells the student that O'Sensei message or path is just like the Beat generation stuff. Both seen the same big picture for the world and method of change. What an awful mistreatment and offense to both and a huge use of misinformation.

Misinformation obscures the truth so much and is accepted without question. Like if a student, becomes a sensei, perpetuates the misinformation to his students. Then it is seen as fact. On that where do the students end up? Not on the path constructed by O'Sensei. They become lost- and that is a good way of saying it.

Yea, it is important to establish what myths O'Sensei used. And to evaporate any myths that surround him and those he didn't use. Even though he may have liked the idea he was made out to be a myth- a big ego builder- I think it is a flaw of his, if it is true. But, I think he wanted people to walk upon that path (a path that is old wine in a new bottle) and learn from it as he intended.

:)

Erick Mead
03-13-2009, 12:43 PM
PAG. I think it is terribly easy in aikido to be at least twice as Roman as the Pope, if not more. WAIT! Wait. On Sunday the Pope was German. I keep missing stuff.

And Aikido! The Pope does Aikido!! Who knew?!?!?!

You've been holding out on us Peter.

"Peter?" (Hey, hold on a sec. ... ) ;)

C. David Henderson
03-13-2009, 01:44 PM
Hi Buck,

Sounds like the answer you'd propose to my question, then, is "maybe."

I think ultimately when we settle on a "story" of O'Sensei's life -- however documented, cross-referenced, and annotated we require it to be in order to avoid false, poorly founded, or misunderstood material-- and then ask the question I asked, and try to answer it, i.e.,at that very point when we ask about the meaning of a person's life, we are engaged in kind of "myth-making," in the first sense Peter used it rather than the second.

In that sense, the use of even an "accurate" story defines its nature as much as its content.

We can use facts that are biographically accurate and accurately understood to create a text.

When we look at that text and ask big questions about someone's life or character, then we're probably looking to that figure as a source of meaning about our own lives, much in the same way people always have told inspirational stories around their hearth-stones.

FWIW I personally feel my understanding of Aikido has benefited a great deal from the time I've taken to read about Ueshiba as a historical person. But I think that reflects my own peculiarities as an individual and the pathways I feel comfortable going down (for better and for worse). I'm not so convinced that it's necessary for other people to understand things that way in the context of their lives and practice.

My guess about the question I asked remains, "yes," BTW.

Regards,

David

CitoMaramba
03-13-2009, 02:19 PM
WAIT! Wait. On Sunday the Pope was German. I keep missing stuff.


And from 1978-2005 the Pope was Polish..

Buck
03-13-2009, 02:34 PM
Dave,

Wow, I mean, yea, you can't force a horse to drink. That kind of stuff about people you said, are for me, the things for the philosophers to wrestle. I just want to share information I have come across and stuff. Like show the horse where the water is.

C. David Henderson
03-13-2009, 03:28 PM
OK.

Is the answer "maybe?"

Buck
03-13-2009, 05:30 PM
Sorry Dave,

The answer to your question is....(drum roll) ......it depends upon the person, as you said. But, first they have to question. Something I think should be as common as bowing into the dojo. :)

FWIW-
Getting informed on the essentials of Japanese culture, philosophy, and stuff isn't that difficult. Once that is done then we will have a better understanding of O'Sensei and Aikido, the path we choose to walk.

Now for those wondering if I think O'Sensei is wise? Yea, in the knowledge of the Japanese things he used to build Aikido. :)

C. David Henderson
03-13-2009, 10:46 PM
Thanks.

Mark Peckett
03-14-2009, 07:20 AM
I think we now have to be careful about any myths that Mr. Burgess is now perpetrating, question his reasons for everything he says, the roots and culture from which he draws his opinions, in order that we can analyse the filter through which he makes his a priori judgements.

Buck
03-14-2009, 10:11 AM
I think we now have to be careful about any myths that Mr. Burgess is now perpetrating, question his reasons for everything he says, the roots and culture from which he draws his opinions, in order that we can analyse the filter through which he makes his a priori judgements.

I'm really sadden and disappointed by your response. :( Gee, I not good at the old child's game of King Of The Hill here on the internet, am not good at all. In America, and being an American, we don't have a King. :(

Matt, if we are not allowed the freedom to question, then what is the use? Do I believe the sky is falling? Should I believe O'Sensei had supernatural mystic powers? Should I believe O'Sensei wore flowers in his hair? All based on someone telling me so? Should I understand how others interpret it for me, or how I think it should be or want it to be- to reflect myself? Of course not, Matt. But if you would like to believe what you are told about O'Sensei without question, interpret Aikido as you think it should be, well I can't stop you.

I know now it really makes you uncomfortable what I am talking about. Like the discussing the Japanese things that are use to build Aikido, and making sure they are the right things. Like the Japanese language and it's purpose, and all its layers. Like Shinto from start to finish, what it means and how it functions in Japan. The political and social times that surrounded O'Sensei. All these things that where a part of O'Sensei as a Japanese. And all the those things that had a bearing on O'Sensei and Aikido.

I put the ways of science (as poorly as am at it) over the ways of folklore and tall tales. I don't want to see O'Sensei in a ridiculous and unrealistic mystical fantasy. O'Sensei isn't Harry Potter. And I don't want to be fooling myself and think I understand the path of Aikido and O'Senei when in reality I don't. I don't want to be thinking foolishness or buying snake oil. I don't need myth to inspire me. What truly is inspiring is the the truth. O'Sensei's actual life, his craftsmenship, his drive and inspiration. All those types of real things. Then I get a deeper appreciation and understanding, and I am not hung up a fiction life that has no nutritional value. I don't want the junk-food, I want substance that is nourishing to my proper understanding and growth in Aikido. Should I be attacked for that?

I want to understand the essentials of Japanese thought and culture so I have more of an accurate picture of the message of O'Sensei and Aikido.

Matt, maybe your the type to just accept what you hear and are told, and get uncomfortable when that is questioned. I don't judge you for that. I want to be able to know if personally if the information I am told about Aikido, is or isn't leading me on a wild goose chase. Similarly, it is like my training. I want to keep learning and growing in what I study, question and testing to find the real stuff. I don't want to think pyrite is gold. I don't want to waste my time or energy investing in falsies of any kind.

If you want to trash me for that some more, I can't stop you. But what I can do is offer you is knowledge.

mathewjgano
03-14-2009, 10:36 AM
I'm really sadden and disappointed by your response. :( Gee, I not good at the old child's game of King Of The Hill here on the internet, am not good at all. In America, and being an American, we don't have a King. :(

Matt, if we are not allowed the freedom to question, then what is the use?

I know you mean "Mark" here, but I'm surprised your response isn't "yes! question what I'm saying and look to the contexts to understand my meaning." Without knowing the purpose to Mark's statement, to me he basically seems to be agreeing with your approach, though probably not certain aspects that might be attached to it. How is that different from what you're saying about the stories/messages about/from O Sensei?

Mark Peckett
03-14-2009, 10:47 AM
First off, Phil, my name's Mark, not Matt.
Secondly, I'm not trashing you ... I'm trying to point out that as soon as you start questioning other people's myths, you start generating myths of your own. Science is a myth; it's an approximate understanding of reality which is constantly changing; an Science teacher I used to work with said "the trouble with Science is that you can always disprove it, whereas you can't disprove the existence of God." Of course, she was being ironic - as was I in my all too brief posting. But she knew enough to realise that Science also doesn't have all the answers - otherwise we'd all still be insisting the sun revolved round the earth, and doctors would be treating our humours.
Your questioning itself is being filtered through a priori judgments which are a creation of your own culture; so even your questions have not appeared mysteriously from nowhere, but are the product of everything you have seen, heard and experienced within your own culture.
Ultimately, everything could be interpreted as mythical as we are not seeing directly, which I believe is something O'Sensei was trying to lead people towards, but rather filtering what we see through all our past experiences and language.
So please don't take my ironical response to your stated position as an attack on you personally, rather as a broadening of the enquiry into the nature of the enquiry itself - rather in the nature of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
Speaking for myself, nothing you have said makes me uncomfortable. Given my age and life experiences I'm not prepared to swallow any load of mysticism without question, but I would say that there comes a time when you must choose to say "This makes sense to me. I choose to accept it as an explanation of reality to defines the world as I see it."
Of course, something else may come along, as with Science a Copernicus might appear who says "Actually, the earth revolves around the sun" who will make me want to change my interpretation of reality, but you have to stand somewhere at some point.
As a sidebar, Copernicus himself is of course a myth, because it wasn't he who realised that the earth revolved round the sun, but 13th century Islamic scholars whose books Copernicus studied.
You are right to question myths, Phil, but it's also important to recognise that sometimes myths are what we have to use in order to define ourselves and understand the world we live in. As you point out, you live in America, and your politicians are past masters at drawing on the myths of your country in order to convince the electorate of their suitability, just in the same way as politicians in my country when they want to demonstrate their gravitas invoke Winston Churchill by imitating his particular, peculiar style of speech.
If you're going to question everything, then one of the things you have to question is yourself.

I

Buck
03-14-2009, 01:05 PM
Good stuff, Mark (Sorry Matt all the "M" names are look the same, I need to stop posting ...opps). In a nutshell Mark. 1. Yes, science isn't perfect and it creates myths. But those myths are challenged. Those myths are expected to be challenged. 2. It isn't about me. It is about approach to Aikido and O'Sensei. If I create myths I expect them to be challenged. But, I am not intending to create a myth through my search for the truth. No more then mapping the correct route to a destination. No more then playing a sports or a card game and wanting to know exactly how the game is played properly ( no house rules, etc.) of the game are. No more than that. Myth interferes with that. Myth was a primitive means of explanation that by extension has other powerful functions and means. Myth in the abstract (and as in science) is again the result of trying to explain what is not fully understood. Science doesn't stop questioning, right? Myth is accepted at its face.

Again, I just don't accept what I am told as the truth. I want to understand, I want to go farther, I want to dig, I want to discuss, I want to think!

I don't really want to get into a discussion on myth that drifts outside of the discussion topic that it is important to question, and see what the real stuff was that O'Sensei used to build Aikido. To include myth would be identify what Japanese myths O'Sensei used either intentionally or not. And among other related things. I am not really interested in discussing the importance or unimportance of myth and people's hyper-sensitivity regarding myth.

Can we now put this validation of myth stuff to rest. :) Because it would be more interesting to discuss how myth plays a role in Aikido, or how Shinto played a role in O'Sensei's vision and in Aikido.

Mark Peckett
03-15-2009, 08:26 AM
The point I'm trying to make is that although discussion of myth, particularly as it affects Aikido, is important, we must also remember all the myths that we bring to the subject ourselves, because those filter what we see. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and in cases such as Nelson Mandela, the myth can be changed to turn the terrorist into a freedom fighter. So by all means look at the myths of Aikido, but beware of the spectacles we are "analysing" them through.

mathewjgano
03-15-2009, 11:11 AM
I don't really want to get into a discussion on myth that drifts outside of the discussion topic that it is important to question, and see what the real stuff was that O'Sensei used to build Aikido.
I'm not sure what you mean by "real stuff." Would you be willing to elaborate? It sounds like you're suggesting we parse myths into fact or fiction and I'm not sure how possible that is. It doesn't seem too far off from saying you want to take a koan and find the "real" answer.
it would be more interesting to discuss how myth plays a role in Aikido, or how Shinto played a role in O'Sensei's vision and in Aikido.
For me myth is brain candy (Kids in the Hall refrence: it's not made from Monkeys!). I sit and think about the various stories I've heard and I process possible reasons for this and that. They're like all hypotheticals to me: fodder for my mind's "what if" function.
As Shinto relates to O Sensei's vision the only thing that comes to mind is that divinity is manifest through the material world and that a positive attitude and whole-system consideration is the ultimate goal. Taking that in conjunction with some remarks I heard translated as "put yourself in order; then your house; then your neighborhood; then your country; etc." to me means meta-cognitive efforts are the first step toward wisdom.
Take care,
Matt

Buck
03-15-2009, 10:33 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by "real stuff." Would you be willing to elaborate? It sounds like you're suggesting we parse myths into fact or fiction and I'm not sure how possible that is. It doesn't seem too far off from saying you want to take a koan and find the "real" answer.

For me myth is brain candy (Kids in the Hall refrence: it's not made from Monkeys!). I sit and think about the various stories I've heard and I process possible reasons for this and that. They're like all hypotheticals to me: fodder for my mind's "what if" function.
As Shinto relates to O Sensei's vision the only thing that comes to mind is that divinity is manifest through the material world and that a positive attitude and whole-system consideration is the ultimate goal. Taking that in conjunction with some remarks I heard translated as "put yourself in order; then your house; then your neighborhood; then your country; etc." to me means meta-cognitive efforts are the first step toward wisdom.
Take care,
Matt

Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe.

Instead of guessing or stopping at a point of how Shinto relates to O'Sensei it best to see how Shinto really relates- and influences. Just like how pistons relate to a car's engine that relates to the drive train and so on.

Thinking about how we are thinking is the start to wisdom, yes I agree. For me that leads to seeing O'Sensei truly, accurately, factual etc, by a scientific means, warts and all. Not through some cosmetic or any other type of myth that filters or distorts. In that way I am confident it will lead to a better understand of what O'Sensei is saying.

Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. I am not afraid that I will discover something that will disappoint me, or not fit in to my own personal perspective of O'Sensei, that will show me he isn't all what he is cracked up to be. I want to blow away the myths like sand and see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from. And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.

:)

mathewjgano
03-15-2009, 11:26 PM
Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe.
Parsing isn't mixing things together, it's analyzing them into constituent categories...I think.

I want to...see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom.:)

Good luck! I'm not sure one person can know the depth of another person's wisdom, particularly a historical figure. I do agree that understanding the context helps understand the person better than simply looking at the stories/messages alone.

Mark Peckett
03-16-2009, 05:03 AM
Agreed historical context will help, but ultimately you are going to view O'Sesnei through your own cultural filters. The O'Sensei that Gozo Shioda recalled will share certain points of reference with Terry Dobson's, but there will also be places where they probably wouldn't recognise them as the same person.
There are, I'm sure, people in America who would argue about whether or not George W. Bush was a good president and be unable to see the other point of view because of their cultural filters.
Ironically, I believe that O'Sensei's teachings were about trying to find the unity beyond duality.
However, good luck on trying to find the real O'Sensei - there have been two thousand years of relgious wars trying to find the real Jesus.

RonRagusa
03-16-2009, 07:05 AM
Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. I am not afraid that I will discover something that will disappoint me, or not fit in to my own personal perspective of O'Sensei, that will show me he isn't all what he is cracked up to be. I want to blow away the myths like sand and see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from.

Unless you have access to, and the ability to read and understand O Sensei's original writings, all that you can learn about him will necessarily be garnered via the second hand knowledge of others and therefore colored by their biases.

And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.:)

From the context of this discussion I assume that by pure you mean not influenced by myths that have grown up around O Sensei. It seems to me that you are trying to distill the essence of O Sensei's Aikido in order to better understand your own practice. This is a laudable goal and I wish you well on your quest. Perhaps the path to understanding O Sensei is the practice of Aikido itself.

FWIW

Ron

Erick Mead
03-16-2009, 10:12 AM
Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe. Facts. We regularly get twelve people in a room to decide the question on well-vetted evidence -- We are often left still wondering at the end of that effort what the facts ultimately are. There are too many cases that seem tried to that conclusion not on the preponderance of the evidence, but the preponderance of the perjury. Facts have to be decided -- for a purpose, like most of human knowledge, their truth value can be slippery out of context.

The fact is that we are required to act, and to know that we should act, and to do both at the right time BEFORE we have appreciated all the potentially relevant facts in any chronological sequence. We are not after the facts as such, but something larger -- the pattern the facts fit into -- which let's you feel how the next fact, which you don't yet know, must fit the pattern. It is not linearly predictive but it is -- applicable. Myth is this type of factual knowledge -- intuitive but universal patterns, writ large.

Thinking about how we are thinking is the start to wisdom, yes I agree. What if it is not the thinking kind of wisdom? No amount of thinking will drive your body under a falling sword -- or toward an oncoming knife thrust -- or allow you to dominate with conflicting -- but that's where the aiki lives ...

Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. ... I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from. And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.You won't get one -- you won't be able to -- and it never will be. And it is still worthwhile. :)

C. David Henderson
03-16-2009, 10:59 AM
The notion that "facts" exist without "parsing" seems to imply we can have access to knowledge about the world without mediation through language, symbols, or mathematics. Alternatively, that our "factual" language has concrete referents ("data") that we can hold up and examine independent of the way we have represented those facts in language and mathematics.

Leave aside digressions into the philosophy of science: When the subject matter or our examination (a) concerns an historical figure, and (b) poses the question of whether that person was "wise," I'd agree with Mark.

I also would suggest that choosing to engage with the question posed in this thread sheds light on the examiner at least as much as the subject of the examination.

From a number of accounts, for example, it appears O'Sensei considered himself an avatar of divine forces at work in the world.

Was that wise, or foolish?

O'Sensei's evolution of the philosophy of Aikido emphasized budo as love.

Was that wise or foolish?

Say we conclude the first was foolish (as we don't believe in that kind of thing), but the second was wise (as we value peace, love, and understanding, especially if we get to toss people about in the name of those values).

Was O'Sensei then wise; foolish; both?

And how much does our answer reflect the nuances of the historical record; how much our own beliefs, especially in weighing the record?

In "mythological" terms, this thread thus is as much about the skeptic and free-thinker -- our archetype of the scholar and scientist -- as about Ueshiba.

Turned outward, the skeptic deconstructs received notions looking for the unparsed truth, which, having been arrived at through reason, is in the skeptic's lights both more genuine and more reliable.

Wise, foolish, both?

Turned inward, the fee thinker sees her own perspective woven through the results of all her inquiries, and looks to unravel this weave.

Wise, foolish, both?

Gotta parse.

Erick Mead
03-16-2009, 11:33 AM
From a number of accounts, for example, it appears O'Sensei considered himself an avatar of divine forces at work in the world. ... O'Sensei's evolution of the philosophy of Aikido emphasized budo as love. ... Say we conclude the first was foolish (as we don't believe in that kind of thing), but the second was wise (as we value peace, love, and understanding, especially if we get to toss people about in the name of those values).

Was O'Sensei then wise; foolish; both? That dichotomy is not adequate. He was in the classification of The Holy Fool -- willing to be or appear foolish to seek sacred wisdom. To romanticize him ignores his true foolishness; to analyze him ignores his sacred orientation. We must do both, and then neither...

C. David Henderson
03-16-2009, 12:25 PM
That dichotomy is not adequate. He was in the classification of The Holy Fool -- willing to be or appear foolish to seek sacred wisdom. To romanticize him ignores his true foolishness; to analyze him ignores his sacred orientation. We must do both, and then neither...

Point taken; however, I would say the dichotomy is "adequate," but that an operation remains to be performed -- reconciling thesis and antithesis, which you do, and do quite well by my lights, through invoking the archetype of the "holy fool."

A contradiction is a terrible thing to waste....

Buck
03-16-2009, 08:08 PM
Parsing isn't mixing things together, it's analyzing them into constituent categories...I think.

Good luck! I'm not sure one person can know the depth of another person's wisdom, particularly a historical figure. I do agree that understanding the context helps understand the person better than simply looking at the stories/messages alone.

Thank you for bring that to light. About parsing, what I meant is I agree with you on what you said about suggesting the parsing of myth and fact. Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true. That stuff.


But....Now with Dave's post its got me rethinking things. But over all, for me to understand O'Sensei's views I have to look at myth and fact as materials that went into a composition.
:)

Erick Mead
03-16-2009, 08:26 PM
... Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true. ... over all, for me to understand O'Sensei's views I have to look at myth and fact as materials that went into a composition.
:)Myth has been defined as true stories about things that may never have happened ... ;)

Buck
03-16-2009, 08:32 PM
Facts. We regularly get twelve people in a room to decide the question on well-vetted evidence -- We are often left still wondering at the end of that effort what the facts ultimately are. There are too many cases that seem tried to that conclusion not on the preponderance of the evidence, but the preponderance of the perjury. Facts have to be decided -- for a purpose, like most of human knowledge, their truth value can be slippery out of context.

The fact is that we are required to act, and to know that we should act, and to do both at the right time BEFORE we have appreciated all the potentially relevant facts in any chronological sequence. We are not after the facts as such, but something larger -- the pattern the facts fit into -- which let's you feel how the next fact, which you don't yet know, must fit the pattern. It is not linearly predictive but it is -- applicable. Myth is this type of factual knowledge -- intuitive but universal patterns, writ large.

What if it is not the thinking kind of wisdom? No amount of thinking will drive your body under a falling sword -- or toward an oncoming knife thrust -- or allow you to dominate with conflicting -- but that's where the aiki lives ...

You won't get one -- you won't be able to -- and it never will be. And it is still worthwhile. :)

OK, Erick, good points.

Just for the chit chat, it is like this, simple in a way. Fact, O'Sensei was Japanese. He composed a martial art from various sources. He didn't create it from a divine muse. What are those sources? For one, he used Japanese myth. And not Greek or Roman. He believed in Japanese myth the way Japanese do. Not as the English do. He took from Omoto and Shinto, and Japanese Budo culture. Not from Christianity, Catholicism, or Medieval Knights in shining armor. His society was in a change, it was not the same change as say the social changes in the USA at the same time. O'Sensei thought of himself as a (Shinto) god, not the type of God or gods in the west. O'Sensei had a temper, like the Japanese men of his time. He was Jesus Christ, or Zeus.

If I understand Shinto, the Japanese, Japanese Budo, I have a better understanding of O'Sensei. That way I am not making stuff up in place of that, or adding stuff that is outside of that. Like Tarten Hakamas and Pleather gis. :)

mathewjgano
03-16-2009, 09:39 PM
Thank you for bring that to light. About parsing, what I meant is I agree with you on what you said about suggesting the parsing of myth and fact. Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true.

Oops...sorry, my mistake:)

Erick Mead
03-16-2009, 09:40 PM
O'Sensei was Japanese. He composed a martial art from various sources. He didn't create it from a divine muse. On the latter point, Ueshiba says he did. On three distinct occasions, actually. :)
And those aren't mutually exclusive. Michelangelo learned stone cutting from various sources -- and also had that divine muse.
What are those sources? For one, he used Japanese myth. And not Greek or Roman. He believed in Japanese myth the way Japanese do. Not as the English do. He took from Omoto and Shinto, and Japanese Budo culture. Not from Christianity, Catholicism, or Medieval Knights in shining armor. ... O'Sensei thought of himself as a (Shinto) god, not the type of God or gods in the west. O'Sensei had a temper, like the Japanese men of his time. He was Jesus Christ, or Zeus. Actually, kami are not "gods" in the pagan Greek sense. Kami is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive of the meaning of "god" in Greek. More like saints and angels where personified, and more like genus loci or elemental spirits (naiads, dryads, other nymphs) where they are not. There is a special category of kami you would do well to study -- the Zoka Sanshin, Shinto's creator trinity -- but they do not fit the Greek "god" category either -- well, the pagan one, anyway.

Jesus is ..well, just Jesus. And Zeus, well, ...anyway. ... Ueshiba was neither and did not identify himself with either. He distinguished AND related his task to Jesus, in that his work was also based on love, but as an art, not a religion (his own words). In fact, Ueshiba specifically identified his mission with that of the return of St. Michael the Archangel... in the passage from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12..

Buck
03-16-2009, 10:12 PM
On the latter point, Ueshiba says he did. On three distinct occasions, actually. :)
And those aren't mutually exclusive. Michelangelo learned stone cutting from various sources -- and also had that divine muse.
Actually, kami are not "gods" in the pagan Greek sense. Kami is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive of the meaning of "god" in Greek. More like saints and angels where personified, and more like genus loci or elemental spirits (naiads, dryads, other nymphs) where they are not. There is a special category of kami you would do well to study -- the Zoka Sanshin, Shinto's creator trinity -- but they do not fit the Greek "god" category either -- well, the pagan one, anyway.

Jesus is ..well, just Jesus. And Zeus, well, ...anyway. ... Ueshiba was neither and did not identify himself with either. He distinguished AND related his task to Jesus, in that his work was also based on love, but as an art, not a religion (his own words). In fact, Ueshiba specifically identified his mission with that of the return of St. Michael the Archangel... in the passage from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12..

Exactly what I am saying. Except for the love and Jesus, that is the mixing. The meaning of love O'Sensei style is that of Jesus's, is one type of external myths that shouldn't surround O'Sensei. Like you you can't turn lead into gold. That is what we need to question is O'Sensei isn't Jesus, and any such myths. It is where the facts play a huge role in being clear. :)

Buck
03-16-2009, 10:20 PM
It would be more responsible to look at love as being mercy within the context of O'Sensei's times. O'Sensei may have not really understood the western word of love. Sure it has layers of meanings like the Japanese language, but we don't treat it the same. I am surprised some people didn't take the word love to mean the physical type and really make mess of things.

Point being there are double meaning and layers to words and the way the poems of O'Sensei are constructed since he composed in Japanese, which as influenced very deeply by Shintoism. add to that, it is all in the model of Budo. Nothing else. Sake may look like volka but it isn't. I really don't want to think sake is volka. I need to be clear between the two, or I will look really foolish saying that sake is volka to those who know better.

Buck
03-16-2009, 10:44 PM
Unless you have access to, and the ability to read and understand O Sensei's original writings, all that you can learn about him will necessarily be garnered via the second hand knowledge of others and therefore colored by their biases.

From the context of this discussion I assume that by pure you mean not influenced by myths that have grown up around O Sensei. It seems to me that you are trying to distill the essence of O Sensei's Aikido in order to better understand your own practice. This is a laudable goal and I wish you well on your quest. Perhaps the path to understanding O Sensei is the practice of Aikido itself.

FWIW

Ron

Ron,

I think again it is worth saying that I don't want to mistake sake of vodka. I don't want to go around believing sake and vodka are same. I sure don't want to think O'Sensei intended Hakamas, for an example, to be in tartan patterns or look like kilts. Or made in checker or polka-dots fabrics.

C. David Henderson
03-17-2009, 10:19 AM
Hi Buck,

Take another look at one of Erick's points, if you would. The thesis that Ueshiba created Aikido by combining elements of other martial arts and the idea that Aikido was revealed to O'Sensei in one or several spiritual and/or divine epiphanies aren't mutually exclusive, especially in the case of O'Sensei himself.

In fact, that "mode" of discovery is consistent in a lot of ways with the "old (Japanese) wine in a new bottle" theory as well as your interest in understanding the creation of Aikido as well as possible from a perspective like that we imagine O'Sensei had.

Do we know that these moments of revelation really occurred (as opposed to being a culturally expected form used to validate something that was in fact incrementally and rationally designed over a period of years)?

No. We either choose to believe the sources suggesting they did, or we find reason to doubt that account.

Why, though do we doubt? Because the sources are suspect, or because we don't believe in that sort of thing?

Here a question for which I have no answer: If we choose, a priori, to see the "divine muse" explanation as the myth and "from existing martial arts" theory as the fact, what do possibilities do we miss about the nature of the creative process?

There's a story I heard in college about the guy who figured out the molecular shape of a benzene ring after dreaming of a snake swallowing its tail; his muse at work?

Regards,

David

Erick Mead
03-17-2009, 11:08 AM
The meaning of love O'Sensei style is that of Jesus's, is one type of external myths that shouldn't surround O'Sensei. Like you you can't turn lead into gold. :D Isaac Newton was also a devoted alchemist (really, you can't make this stuff up), so the "mixing" is not and was never so clear-cut. You are making non-contextual judgments that are not proper to the circumstance of the person you are trying to analyze.

You can argue with the Founder all you will, but he himself drew these and all sorts of other connections from his work and understanding to that of the West. And there happen to be good reasons within the history of his own traditions for him to have done that, which reasons informed some of the syncretic influence of Oomoto, which he followed. For slapdash list of some of the more useful areas to look into, I recently posted in another thread, see here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=226555&postcount=15

RonRagusa
03-17-2009, 11:34 AM
I think again it is worth saying that I don't want to mistake sake of vodka. I don't want to go around believing sake and vodka are same.

The only way to truely tell the difference is to taste them yourself.

I sure don't want to think O'Sensei intended Hakamas, for an example, to be in tartan patterns or look like kilts. Or made in checker or polka-dots fabrics.

Kilts? Naw, too short. As to the rest... hmmm, tartan patterns, polka dots, checked fabric... Perhaps O Sensei would have bust a gut at the sight, sounds very cool to me.;)

Ron

Buck
03-17-2009, 07:14 PM
The only way to truely tell the difference is to taste them yourself.

Ron

That's right and when you do, you will never mix 'em up again. And that's the truth!

Buck
03-17-2009, 07:37 PM
Hi Buck,

[A]Take another look at one of Erick's points, if you would. The thesis that Ueshiba created Aikido by combining elements of other martial arts and the idea that Aikido was revealed to O'Sensei in one or several spiritual and/or divine epiphanies aren't mutually exclusive, especially in the case of O'Sensei himself.

[B]Here a question for which I have no answer: If we choose, a priori, to see the "divine muse" explanation as the myth and "from existing martial arts" theory as the fact, what do possibilities do we miss about the nature of the creative process?

There's a story I heard in college about the guy who figured out the molecular shape of a benzene ring after dreaming of a snake swallowing its tail; his muse at work?

Regards,

David

Thanks, Dave. I appreciate your participation and keen eye. Here are my responses in bytes.

[A] Some posts back I already discussed that by means of another Japanese religion.

[B] The point of the use of muse. To simply show that muses (Greek) are not Shinto(Japanese) deities. And I was showing they shouldn't be confused, mixed together. O'Sensei's inspiration wasn't a Greek muse, otherwise he would have said it. And this connects to what I said in A.

:)

Buck
03-17-2009, 08:00 PM
We have a choice to follow what we are told blindly in some form of faith what we are told. We can interpret Aikido and O'Sensei anyway we want, and justify it they way we want, and who will tell us differently. Or we can ask questions to get the truth- correct answers- and really understand what we are doing.

JO
03-17-2009, 09:29 PM
Buck, I wonder if you should try to spend less energy worrying about doing the "True" aikido, and more trying to make aikido your own. The best aikidoka I have trained with are not those that are the most like their teachers, they are the one's whose aikido has become a powerful expression of themselves. I don't view aikido as some abstract thing you study in a history book, it is an internal and very personal form of training that permeates who you are.

Buck
03-17-2009, 09:34 PM
Almost everybody in aikido has a worldview that is very different than O-sensei's.


And isn't that the problem?

Erick Mead
03-17-2009, 09:46 PM
Buck, I wonder if you should try to spend less energy worrying about doing the "True" aikido, and more trying to make aikido your own. He can't have it. It's mine. All mine ... :D

Wait, hold on -- what the heck are YOU doing?!?!;)

Buck
03-17-2009, 09:52 PM
Buck, I wonder if you should try to spend less energy worrying about doing the "True" aikido, and more trying to make aikido your own.

As the 300th reply on this thread, that would be all wrong wouldn't it? No on second thought, your right I should have Aikido my way, why not. Let me think here, how would that be hmmmm.........OH I got! It will be..... (drum roll pls)......just the way....... O'Sensei did it, in the original way! Yea....like that. But I do like the idea of turning Aikido into a hip-hop art. :)

Buck
03-27-2009, 01:21 AM
Yes, I was a bit of a devil there.

What I find interesting is all the different versions of how people interpret O'Sensei. A man who was fiercely dedicated to Japan and his race. A man with an odd mixture of convictions, that modeled himself, his life and his art from a variety of Japanese sources and stuff that where so different from each other. Stuff that included mixing a personal spiritual experience, that is marked by common indications of leaders who need credibility and purpose for their goals. Warrior samurai culture, codes, and preservation of that. Superstition and myth created and catered uniquely to the Japanese mind in the form of Shinto. Japanese culture that moved toward change, but honors highly and holds it up all that stuff it wanted to change in some strange preservation. A man with that believed strongly in Japanese culture and ways. Who modeled himself as a warrior of peace. Who had a message that he wanted to spread that wasn't unique or new to the world outside Japan. A man who was naive to the stuff and the world beyond the closed doors of Japan. Educated by wealth and by a new obscure religion. This an many other things similar to so many others in the world.

I am surprised that we haven't, in the west, parallelled O'Sensei to the likes of western men like Marcus Aurelius "the wise," and his meditations. Or that of the Stoics and how they see things.

It is often that people twist the beliefs of others into something the original belief wasn't, and follow that. Often when we turn a person into a hero, all we see is the embellishments of fanatics or worshippers who are not interest in truth, and not how that person was actually like. In the US take living heros of our past like, Custard, Annie Oakley, Jim Bowie, Daniel Boone, etc. All tall tales that embellished what they were really like.

I guess not seeing a person for who they really are is less important than making stuff up as a means to serve the agenda's of others is what makes it more interesting to follow then what a person is really and truly like. O'Sensei I think created enough elaboration and myth around himself. That seems like a Japanese thing to do when pursuing something as he did. Then it was more elaboration and myth was heaped on after his death. And what he was about was even more skewed by others then by him.

I guess in Japan the wrapping is more important then the gift and re-gifting is common. I think O'sensei's intent was lost, maybe because the rest of the world was already ahead of him and Japan. Something he wasn't aware of too much. Maybe his view and message would have been different if he had more of a global education in religion and philosophy.

Mark Peckett
03-27-2009, 04:12 PM
Marcus Aurelius - I think your president Bill Clinton named his "Meditations" as one of his favourite books; so full of wisdom, isn't it?
And then we overlook that Marcus Aurelius once lit the Appian Way with the bodies of 600 burning crucified Christians.
I guess it's easy to buy into a myth, isn't it?
Oh, and I'd guess that Buck thought this thread had gone too quiet so he thought he ought to say something controversial!

Erick Mead
03-27-2009, 05:09 PM
... And then we overlook that Marcus Aurelius once lit the Appian Way with the bodies of 600 burning crucified Christians.
I guess it's easy to buy into a myth, isn't it?How'd that work out for him? :)

Voitokas
03-27-2009, 05:31 PM
Not that Marcus Aurelius wasn't a baddie, as rulers often are, or a persecutor of Christians - but are you thinking of Nero burning Christians for nighttime illumination, or maybe the 6000 slaves crucified along the Appian Way during Spartacus' rebellion? I guess it *is* easy to buy into a myth... :D

Buck
03-27-2009, 09:32 PM
Marcus Aurelius - I think your president Bill Clinton named his "Meditations" as one of his favourite books; so full of wisdom, isn't it?
And then we overlook that Marcus Aurelius once lit the Appian Way with the bodies of 600 burning crucified Christians.
I guess it's easy to buy into a myth, isn't it?
Oh, and I'd guess that Buck thought this thread had gone too quiet so he thought he ought to say something controversial!

As hind-sight being 20-20, I would take Bill over the last guy, what was his name, any day. :)

And the point is made, with your opinion on MA (Marcus Aurelius). It is all about perspective it all relates to what I posted. We only look at O'Sensei as if he what he said is without flaw, perfect and that it will fit exactly in our lives and to every situation. We don't see him a person missing how he really was. We don't critically look at him. How fair is that.

I don't care if the thread got quiet. I think I owned it to everyone to explain things and not give a smarty pants answer.

Buck
03-27-2009, 09:35 PM
How'd that work out for him? :)

Witty. :)

mathewjgano
03-28-2009, 02:45 PM
As hind-sight being 20-20, I would take Bill over the last guy, what was his name, any day. :)
Heheheh...for me it was hard to say what his name would be on any given day, I kept coming up with new ways to refer to him.

We only look at O'Sensei as if he what he said is without flaw, perfect and that it will fit exactly in our lives and to every situation...We don't critically look at him. How fair is that.
evileyes Hey now...what's this "we" stuff?:D Speaking as a guy who's tried to apply "Aikido" to darn near everything in my life, I actually don't think I've had a very unrealistic view of the man...considering I've never met him. Remember, some of us start out with highly developed skeptical personalities when we encountered this stuff.

I don't care if the thread got quiet. I think I owned it to everyone to explain things and not give a smarty pants answer.
I think you probably don't owe anyone here anything, but I do appreciate how much effort you've put in to explaining your position.
...and I like smarty pants answers...even if they usually make me feel less clever by comparison.
Take care,
Matt

Mark Peckett
03-29-2009, 01:50 AM
Jeremy, thanks for putting me straight on my errors back there. Proof positive you should do your research before firing off a post. Also thanks for setting Marcus Aurelius in the context of his culture, clearly a violent and casually cruel one; although I understand that he was a more merciful emperor than most, he acted with "an undoubted ruthlessness, particularly "when it came to the defence of his own dynastic interests" (Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor by Frank McLynn).

However, if we take what he wrote out of that context, does it still resonate down the centuries and have something to teach us? I guess it does - rather like O'Sensei.

If we accept, as I have posited before that these were indeed just men, then we can cut them a little bit of slack. "When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you usually will." Another American president - Abraham Lincoln. Wish I'd thought of using that quote first, but that honour belongs to Pollyanna's father, who went on to find 800 glad texts in the Bible.

As far as smarty pants answers go, I know some posters like to make long posts that other posters can reply in even longer posts, quoting and refuting point by point, whereas I prefer to keep mine short and pithy. I hope this has gone some way to redressing the balance.

Voitokas
03-29-2009, 02:00 PM
I agree, Mark - I often think that people's words and works serve us better taken outside of the context of their creators' personal lives. I would rather read someone's essays before a biography, for instance. We're all human and fallible, even the wisest of us - Gandhi, Lincoln, O Sensei, anyone - and maybe that makes their wisdom even more valuable for us, because when we interpret it through our own experience, it seems more relevant somehow for having been thought of by people as flawed as ourselves.

I kind of like the smarty-pants answers; they keep it light...

Buck
03-30-2009, 10:09 PM
Heheheh...for me it was hard to say what his name would be on any given day, I kept coming up with new ways to refer to him.

Oh yea...that's so true! The one I keep refering to rthyms with the occupation of trucker.

evileyes Hey now...what's this "we" stuff?:D Speaking as a guy who's tried to apply "Aikido" to darn near everything in my life, I actually don't think I've had a very unrealistic view of the man...considering I've never met him. Remember, some of us start out with highly developed skeptical personalities when we encountered this stuff.

I think you probably don't owe anyone here anything, but I do appreciate how much effort you've put in to explaining your position.
...and I like smarty pants answers...even if they usually make me feel less clever by comparison.
Take care,
Matt



Thanks Matt. I appreciate it. :)

Buck
03-30-2009, 10:21 PM
I have this thought, why is it Karate writings (contemporaries to Aikido writings, for example) are clear and understandable where here is no debate or broad range of interpretation, unlike Aikido?

It's when you lose critical thinking, and that desire to be skeptical in place of drinking the kool-aid no matter how strong it is made, or who makes it. And it isn't so much of understanding O'Sensei as your BFF, or supreme being guide, or the imbecilely wise- all knowing sage. Instead it is understanding in an educated way and realistic way the the foreground and background story on O'Sensei. Ya, got to understand the man, the Japanese man in the context of his life, and times, and his world. Like not assuming what he meant by "Love" because what O'Sensei seems to be speaking to our defination of love, or what others tell us via their own perspective and filters of what they interpret "Love" to be. Rather seeing what was happening in O'Sensei's life, what views and perspectives that he had that may have influence him. What was the big picture that the word "Love." I know the word used, and meant by O'Sensei didn't mean sexual abuse or harassment. Though some did. That is a danger, and enough of a danger to stop, look, and think.

Buck
03-30-2009, 10:34 PM
I was reading the Groupthink thread, and can be said that O'Sensei in terms of Aikido didn't do groupthink. But, maybe ( I will discuss it there on the Groupthink thread) we don't realize that O'Sensei was into group think, as a Japanese, as his involvement in the Omoto religion.

Only seeing a man's good half or only his bad half is only seeing half a man.

Buck
03-31-2009, 07:14 AM
the imbecilely wise- all knowing sage.

Wow, I really did an opps... I meant the impeccably wise... and not imbecilely.

While I have my own attention on this, I will take the opportunity to say there is this thread called, Interpretation; In the beginning (O Sensei) .http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15909 that really supports the reason why we must question. That is no reflection up the person who started the thread, it worth pointing out how he came to think what he did, and how easy it is to do it.

Mark Peckett
03-31-2009, 07:38 AM
Since this clearly a thread about understanding what other people mean and what we mean, perhaps it would be helpful, Buck, if you defined your own terms.
What do you mean by "Love"?

Buck
03-31-2009, 08:11 AM
Since this clearly a thread about understanding what other people mean and what we mean, perhaps it would be helpful, Buck, if you defined your own terms.
What do you mean by "Love"?

Matt,

Good question, I already have. I will say it again just for you, with one leg in my smarty shorts :) But, in "shorts" form, it isn't by the western definition. But, more by the Japanese definition, that relates more to our western understanding of mercy. I direct you to this kind of stuff to make a formation, Japanese culture and thinking, language, history, politics, Shinto, Omoto, and the Hagakure (and several other stuff written like that).

Something I haven't admitted and have touched ever so slightly on, is that based on how O'Sensei addressed his philosophy to the west, there is room to say he mean love in a western way. But suspect that he might have been trying to find a hook for westerners. Based on the times and his contact with westerners he may have allowed the idea of love as westerners see it to apply to Aikido. And or translation between the two languages may have played a role in what western believe about the word love.

Also, you have to consider the role his assigned uchideshi to the states treated and interpreted the word love as. Not all Aikidoka agree on how to treat it. Some styles are more liberal, and others conservative and even differences are among each.

All of which cause more confusion and lack of harmony in understand what O'Sensei meant. But what we can do is start at the point of origin, look at Japan at that time, understand better the Japanese politics, understand Japanese culture and its history, etc. That why we can see what might have inspired O'Sensei to design Aikido as he did. Rather then guess or project on to O'Sensei ourselves based on what we perceive as shared common elements like personified cultural or personal commonalities.

Pointing to Karate again, or even Judo, the philosophy etc. is very clear and far less abstract and confusing than what O'Sensei created for Aikido.

I am not saying I have a defination, rather where to look for that (drum roll please) ....finger on the desk drum roll.... defination.

Mark Peckett
03-31-2009, 08:18 AM
I should add that the reason I ask is that Mitsugi Saotome, who trained with O'Sensei and, obviously, is a native Japanese speaker, in "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" - a book written from discussions with Saotome Sensei and from his dictation in English - quotes O'Sensei talking about love, and that love pretty much matches up with my personal view of unselfish love for all mankind.

Buck
03-31-2009, 08:31 AM
I should add that the reason I ask is that Mitsugi Saotome, who trained with O'Sensei and, obviously, is a native Japanese speaker, in "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" - a book written from discussions with Saotome Sensei and from his dictation in English - quotes O'Sensei talking about love, and that love pretty much matches up with my personal view of unselfish love for all mankind.

And that does have to do with what I just said, about uchideshi and what follows from there. I am not arguing Saotome sensei is right or wrong, I am saying, look at what others like Saotome sensei said about love is there a solid uniform consistancy?

Stanley Pranin said something like he believed that Aikido today is not O'Sensei's Aikido, but rather that of O'Sensei's uchideshi. I am not 100% on that, I am going off of memory. For the record, I drink...allot....of....beer.

All in all, I am saying there is no consistency or solid consensus on what love is mean by, in the Aikido world. Therefore, we need to go back and look at different sources and thingys, as I said, to find such an answer. Ya, know do the research and stuff.

The other thing too is we have to understand how the Japanese language works where multiple means apply.

Mark Peckett
03-31-2009, 08:45 AM
The Karate of today isn't Gichin Funakoshi's Karate either. And I guess that the Christianity of today isn't that Jesus either - or we wouldn't be communicating through expensive hardware like this; after all, isn't it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven?
All things change, which is the essence of Buddhism - we don't even have an immortal soul, but, if you like, a wave of karmic propensities or choices made in the previous life. Quantum physics acknowledges the act of observing changes the nature of the experiment observed.
I wish you well in your attempt to clearly define aikido, and to establish what O'Sensei did or didn't say - I can't imagine it will be an easy task.

Buck
03-31-2009, 11:21 AM
.
I wish you well in your attempt to clearly define aikido, and to establish what O'Sensei did or didn't say - I can't imagine it will be an easy task.

Fudge, I did it again, calling Mark, Matt. Sorry guys. :eek:

I will go by last names in the future. :)

Ron Tisdale
03-31-2009, 11:52 AM
And the karate of Funakoshi probably wasn't the karate of Okinawa or his contemporaries who stayed secluded and only later became better known by people once they started to look behind Funokoshi. Aikido ... Same same. Shotokan is actually a mainstream Japanese art, as opposed to an Okinawan one. It underwent changes quite similar to aikido in it's transition from Daito ryu. No surprises there really.

Best,
Ron
The Karate of today isn't Gichin Funakoshi's Karate either. And I guess that the Christianity of today isn't that Jesus either - or we wouldn't be communicating through expensive hardware like this; after all, isn't it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven?
All things change, which is the essence of Buddhism - we don't even have an immortal soul, but, if you like, a wave of karmic propensities or choices made in the previous life. Quantum physics acknowledges the act of observing changes the nature of the experiment observed.
I wish you well in your attempt to clearly define aikido, and to establish what O'Sensei did or didn't say - I can't imagine it will be an easy task.

Buck
03-31-2009, 07:00 PM
FWIW, when I mentioned Karate, I once again assumed readers as well versed martial artists, who would know that I was speaking about stuff like Shotokan's Kuns and training precepts, and other writings. That's all and nothing else besides they are written so much clear- like I said- than the Aikido stuff. :)

Buck
03-31-2009, 07:08 PM
Peckett,

It isn't not clearly defining Aikido that am getting at, rather clearly seeing. Seeing without obstructions, filters, prejudices, etc.

C. David Henderson
03-31-2009, 07:50 PM
Dear Buck

What you see depends on where you stand, my friend.

When I am honest, critical, self-critical, and self-aware, I take a stand; I create filters.

I separate myself from my experience and from other people.

I often, in fact, find myself attracted to the lonely vigor, which I know in the same breath can and often does alienate me.

Then. in the midst of my practice, thought, doubt, and aspiration to understand evaporate -- dew in the strong light of action. There is action, reaction. There is truth.

And I ask, considering those moments of understanding that exist in acting, does it matter how well I have thought through my position?

Does it matter, for example, whether I have cut through the mist of myth surrounding O'Sensei?

Is the proof in the pudding?

Regards,

cdh

Buck
04-01-2009, 11:57 PM
Dave,

I appreciate where you are going, and my concern would be the same if we where both held to the common discussion. I would reject the common discussion advoiding that it employs the easy turn gambit. Such a device results in only squelching critical thought and intellectual exploration. Therefore, I hope you understand I am beyond that level of discussion to avoid that turn that will only distract from the discussion.

It is up to each of us to determine personally what fits us, is it the original (O'Sensei's composition) or the alternatives (composition and interpretation of uchideshi), Alternatives have no assessed judgment, but rather the point of understanding the alternatives are interpretation composites based on original. Alternative benefit does accrue, that isn't argued. But rather, the understanding of the alternative are separate from the original, and don't equate to or replacement for the original. Alternatives reflect from the original by their own admission to interpretation, constitution, progeny doctrine, conventions and stuff. They are not replacements or substitutes for the original, but rather deviations from alternative. Thereby, indicating an important demarcation between the original and alternatives. It is that understanding that the original requires the proper treatment, not equating to the alternatives or the fabrications, which require their own individual treatment. It is the original that is the measure of proper perspective and scale of Aikido. For me, what fits is the original.

Filters etc. interfere with the proper perspective and scale of Aikido. Filters etc., distort the elements cast by the original and result in inaccuracies, and those types of things. Allowing for distortion and being subject to varied range of interpretation as well. I can't see why anyone one would not want to experience an original vs. says a copy of the original. Originals are always more highly valued.

Ron Tisdale
04-02-2009, 10:59 AM
FWIW, when I mentioned Karate, I once again **assumed** readers as well versed martial artists, who would know that I was speaking about stuff like Shotokan's Kuns and training precepts, and other writings. That's all and nothing else besides they are written so much clear- like I said- than the Aikido stuff. :)

Hmmm....I consider myself a *fairly* well versed matial artist:grr: , not to mention having actually *trained* in shotokan at one time. But hey, that was a pretty knock down dojo in Africa...I don't think I heard a kun once the whole time I trained there (saw a lot of stars though).

If that is what you meant, then why not state it clearly? Oh dear...I believe we're back where you and I started. So Sorry...

Best,
Ron :eek:

C. David Henderson
04-02-2009, 01:33 PM
I appreciate where you are going, and my concern would be the same if we where both held to the common discussion. I would reject the common discussion advoiding that it employs the easy turn gambit. Such a device results in only squelching critical thought and intellectual exploration. Therefore, I hope you understand I am beyond that level of discussion to avoid that turn that will only distract from the discussion.

Sorry, but I didn't track this. What "common discussion?" Am I part of the common discussion? It's okay if I am (and maybe I'd prefer to be), but I don't really know what you mean.

What does "easy turn gambit" mean? Does this mean my post looked like thread drift? A rhetorical trick? Sorry if it did -- that wasn't my intent.

How does recognizing the shadow side of intellectualizing "squelch" thought (as opposed to recognizing its' limits)?

How have you gotten "beyond [this] level of discussion?" In this thread? If I am reploughing the furrows, sorry.

With whom are you now having a discussion from which this "turn ... will only distract?"

It is up to each of us to determine personally what fits us, is it the original (O'Sensei's composition) or the alternatives (composition and interpretation of uchideshi)

OK.

Alternatives have no assessed judgment, but rather the point of understanding the alternatives are interpretation composites based on original.

Again, sorry, I didn't track this. What do you mean "no assessed judgment?" What do you see as gained by understanding these "composites," either in terms of your practice or in terms of understanding the "original?"

Filters etc. interfere with the proper perspective and scale of Aikido.

To me, any intellectual construct you have about Aikido is per se a filter. Filtering your practice through your (re)construction of the "original" seems no different.

Can you articulate what you are looking for in arriving at the understanding you seek in terms of your practice?

Regards,

cdh

Buck
04-02-2009, 11:01 PM
Sorry, but I didn't track this. What "common discussion?" Am I part of the common discussion? It's okay if I am (and maybe I'd prefer to be), but I don't really know what you mean.

What does "easy turn gambit" mean? Does this mean my post looked like thread drift? A rhetorical trick? Sorry if it did -- that wasn't my intent.

How does recognizing the shadow side of intellectualizing "squelch" thought (as opposed to recognizing its' limits)?

How have you gotten "beyond [this] level of discussion?" In this thread? If I am reploughing the furrows, sorry.

With whom are you now having a discussion from which this "turn ... will only distract?"

OK.

Again, sorry, I didn't track this. What do you mean "no assessed judgment?" What do you see as gained by understanding these "composites," either in terms of your practice or in terms of understanding the "original?"

To me, any intellectual construct you have about Aikido is per se a filter. Filtering your practice through your (re)construction of the "original" seems no different.

Can you articulate what you are looking for in arriving at the understanding you seek in terms of your practice?

Regards,

cdh

Dave, my friend, sorry.

Let me get to the things you didn't track. Which had nothing to do with you. Let me purport .

1. Common discussion. The common discussion I was referring to is those familiar common arguments. I was referring to the ritual argument dance that happens allot, but with you we could expedite the discussion and stuff, and go right to the heart of things.

2. Easy turn gambit and intellectual squelching. The first has double meanings or layers of meanings. It first refers to a stratagem of many who argue with those familiar common arguments, includes but not limited to those thingies. In this case, "turn" refers to divert, to fashion, to shape the arguments into a drift. And no it had nothing to do with you. Rather those would pull the thread off track because they lacked anything intellectual to add. Thus, intellectually squelching the discussions, and spinning the discussion deeper in a rut they created.

3. No assessed judgement. No value judgement made on the value of the Alternatives or their directions. Thus, no related value or gain upon the alternatives in comparisons to the original. Of course, unto themselves there is gain and value. I am basically canceling the alternatives out the of discussion as they are a result of the original. It is the original and not the alternatives that I am interested in.

It is not a matter of a construct or reconstruct of the original. That would apply more to the alternatives. The original is as it is. It is the observation of that, without filters etc. Seeing it as it is, and not what we want or need it to see it as.

Buck
04-02-2009, 11:11 PM
Can you articulate what you are looking for in arriving at the understanding you seek in terms of your practice?

Regards,

cdh[/I]

The question is do I want to? :)

What that post was to lead up to was this. Take "Budo Training in Aikido." The poem section relates to the Techniques sections. The Poem section written in the tradition of Japanese martial code, as noted as a common practice by Gozo Shioda in his book, and is decoded as via the techniques in the Techniques sections. This supports that understanding of the role and influence of Shinto etc. played in the composition of Aikido. Then this of course helps us to understand the complexity of O'Sensei's work which can be deciphered. Whereas, in comparison to, Shotokan which is much less complex by comparison. Being complex often refers to being cryptic and in this case it does. But it doesn't mean it can't be deciphered with some thought. By looking at the models from which O'Sensei used can help in understanding what he was meaning.

Buck
04-02-2009, 11:26 PM
Dave,

It isn't "With whom are you now having a discussion from which this 'turn ... will only distract?' " It is who will chime in and will be ignored for their easy turn gambit in common discussion. And that is now evident a handful of posts back.

C. David Henderson
04-03-2009, 10:15 AM
Okay Buck,

First, thanks for responding.

Second, while I appreciate your kind words, they point to what is probably a difference in our personalities, in that I'm uncomfortable drawing lines when trying to communicate. (Guess I have those pragmatic communicative assumptions that Peter writes about in his current column well -inculcated.)

Not saying you're wrong, and I respect your honest expression of opinion here. And, in any event, to paraphrase the Latin saying, in some such matters there can be no reasoned dispute.

This saying likely does not hold true as to the concept of clearly-seeing without filters, e.g., clearly-seeing O'Sensei's Budo through reading, research and analysis. But I do understand you hold to this view strongly, and must now, having had a go at reasoned disputation, agree to disagree.

I have also, FWIW, come to my own conclusion in considering this debate: If I were committed to understanding the "original," I think I would need to not only practice over my lifetime in the way O'Sensei would have wanted (which I don't think I clearly know), but also understand, share, and practice his religion (which I think I clearly could not do).

To see from inside the mist surrounding the man whatever one sees from there, rather than translating the poetry into prose.

So, I conclude, I'm bound to be a composite man.:cool:

Regards,

cdh

Mark Peckett
04-03-2009, 12:12 PM
Because apparently I wasn't a well-versed martial artist, I had a look at the kun of Shotokan karate - both the dojo and niju kun - and I have to agree with Mr. Burgess: they are simpler than O'Sensei's writings. But I would suggest that this is because they are attempting to serve a different purpose; and once again, agreeing with Mr. Burgess, a very Japanese one - to develop a particular type of character who would be suited to a certain type of society.

Having said that: "Move according to your opponent" and "Spiritual development is paramount; technical skills are merely a means to an end" seem to resonate with some of O'Sensei's doka. Again this would seem to support Mr. Burgess's theory of the arts viewed within a certain society.

Of course, Karate came from Okinawa, and before that from China (Kara-te only later was translated as Empty Hand; initially the translation of Kara was China - again illustrating Mr. Burgess's point that you can never actually know if what you are reading is correct or not), so it's difficult to know which precepts or teachings you should be going back to.

I think this illustrates my point that all things change (I think Mr. Burgess made this point somewhere else in another thread about "What is a Martial Art?") If Aikido teaches us anything, it is that we should respond to change.

Oh and by the way, Mr. Burgess, congratulations on your attempt to bring Japanese culture into this thread, referring to me by my second name only. Of course, if you were being polite, you'd've put -san at the end. But maybe you were simply being humorous at your own expense.

Buck
04-03-2009, 04:43 PM
Dave,

I hear ya. I am in the belief that reasonable discussions include points of differences etc. that promote more inquire and thought to the subject. We both understand each other, and on this subject differ in opinion without the need to lower ourselves to nasty ( that has not nor I think will ever happened between us), therefore, this creates and stimulates a better discussion. I would feel uncomfortable if someone like yourself didn't see things the same way as I. I am glad you respond and challenge my thoughts, as you do, that has to happen. I don't claim to be infallible in by views. You and someothers do make re-think, it is appreciated. After all, all it is, is opinions.

The issue I have is with the peanut gallery discussion, those who can't contribute to the discussion and throw mud as a result, among other things primates in Zoos do. The reason being is not because it is annoying or something, but because it doesn't contribute to a reasonable discussion. It is empty comments often tied into emotional reactions. There is nothing wrong with being passionate it is when we lose our emotional and intellectual kuzushi that failure is evident.

As a result of the latter, It would be better if our discussions where private, but that only benefits us, and not those others genuinely interested in the topic.

I look forward to reading your stuff, and you replies, and ideas.

Now the thing with Peter's Column, I do agree. The issue that I have is in retarding the amount of that, that has an influence on my views. I am trying not to have that element function strongly in what I say. That, I think, is what I have some control over and how it plays in the discussion.

I do find it very interesting about O'Sensei married the elements of traditional Japanese martial art thought and Shinto's infrastructure in his book. Where the way the poems are written so cryptic and the deciphering tool is the wazas. It to me, is clear as day as for example in poem #38 of his book.

When you instruct
Emphasize the strike and thrust
For all the secret teachings
are to be found in simple basics

If you look at O'Sensei's Aikido as a composite and look at what he referenced to build Aikido, WOW. He is not throwing anything out from the past but building on it in relation to the new future of things. i think this can be applied to other areas and thought concerning O'Sensei. Does this make him wise? Does it make him holy? Or a genius to be worshiped No. It makes him far more complex, and appreciate the difficult of his mission. Some I feel can be considered looking at him clearer in his original constitution and not that of what others painted him to be.

Buck
04-03-2009, 04:50 PM
Oh and by the way, Mr. Burgess, congratulations on your attempt to bring Japanese culture into this thread, referring to me by my second name only. Of course, if you were being polite, you'd've put -san at the end. But maybe you were simply being humorous at your own expense.

:confused: Dude, I am using last names so that I won't get you and Matt mixed up, as I did before see post #320 . :confused: . If we are going by last names, I pefer sama over san. :D

Mark Peckett
04-04-2009, 05:44 AM
Okay - so to continue as a primate slinging mud (although interesting, did anyone see that piece in the news about the chimp in a Swedish zoo who apparently planned his stone attacks the night before by piling up stones, thereby demonstrating that he could plan for future events; this challenges our view on the intelligence of primates. The scientists' response? Castrate the poor dude!)

Anyway to continue, I understand that Burgess-sama (unusual choice of honorific for oneself as it tends to be used when addressing people of a higher rank; however, if you intended to use it for me, then I am honoured) is taking the position outlined in Plato's Republic, whereby we are sitting in a cave with our backs to the light and seeing shadows projected on a wall. And he is recommending the Platonic solution - which is to turn to the entrance to the cave and see the substance rather than the shadow. This in itself I regard as a wise enterprise: attempting to see O'Sensei clearly rather than the shadows projected by the interpreters of his word.

Where I differ, and clearly I am not explaining this well, is that a priori judgements always get in the way and it is not possible to perceive the heart of aikido through the intellect alone. D.T. Suzuki, the renowned interpreter of Zen Buddhism to the West said:

"The teaching and practice of Morihei Ueshiba is at one with that of Mahayana Buddhism, and also the way of Zen ... Ueshiba's experience is definitely what is referred to in the Far East as satori."

Satori itself could be regarded as seeing the universe as it truly is, rather than perceiving it through intellectual filters. It is the experience of Gautama Buddha. It is Enlightenment. It is my belief, rightly or wrongly, but nevertheless firmly held, that O'Sensei's desire was that through practice of aikido we would also experience either Satori or Kensho, brief flashes of Enlightenment.

I guess Burgess-sama and I are at a stage where we are not prepared to move from certain positions we hold as we regard them as sacred and fundamental to our being.

I trust all continues to go well with his intellectual search for The Truth and I feel sure that he will accord the same to me as I continue to follow my path.

C. David Henderson
04-04-2009, 04:34 PM
Dear Mark,

Thank you, my friend, for the quote from Suzuki Sama, which I'd not encountered previously. It raises a question for me, relevant to this thread -- does satori make one wise?

I rather think not.

Satori may give one a thirst, a receptivity, and (as receptivity's shadow) an obsession for wisdom.

I rather think that O'Sensei's revelations provided direction for his life, and what wisdom he attained thereafter was hard-won, as it is for us all, if nonetheless defined by memories of a certain golden light....

But, then, as I read this, it has the taste and look of incipient myth.

There I go again.

Regards,

cdh

Peter Goldsbury
04-04-2009, 09:02 PM
Dear Mark,

Thank you, my friend, for the quote from Suzuki Sama, which I'd not encountered previously. It raises a question for me, relevant to this thread -- does satori make one wise?

I rather think not.

cdh

D T Suzuki also needs to be seen in a certain context. A new book on Buddhism, written by a scholar named Bernard Faure, offers the context. Unmasking Buddhism. published 2009 by Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-8064-1.

PAG

Mark Peckett
04-05-2009, 03:44 AM
Chogyam Trungpa doesn't come out as a shiny Buddhist either! But his books contain wisdom.

C. David Henderson
04-05-2009, 09:13 AM
Well,

"Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity,"

suggests the quote attributed to Suzuki Shunryū Roshi (who incidentally also insisted, when confused with D.T. Suzuki that the latter was the "big" Suzuki, and he the "little")....

Ron Tisdale
04-06-2009, 01:40 PM
Just a note on the whole "sama" thingy...I've been told that lately it's the address that a shop keeper might use as they try to sell you something. In everyday speach, in other words, it may came across as rather smarmy...

Just my peanut (or whatever) from the gallery (or cheap seats) or what ever you prefer. :D
B,
R

PS the last person who suggested I was a monkey got hit over the head with a chair...I wouldn't recommend calling me that in person...:eek: :D Of course, that was in elementary school...I would never do such a thing now.

Buck
04-06-2009, 11:45 PM
O'Tisdale Sensei.....ummm.....monkey see, monkey doo doo?

Keith Larman
04-07-2009, 10:22 AM
O'Tisdale Sensei.....ummm.....monkey see, monkey doo doo?

http://www.emoticonzone.com/msn-emotions/animated/shakehead.gif (http://www.emoticonzone.com)

Josh Reyer
04-07-2009, 11:49 AM
Just a note on the whole "sama" thingy...I've been told that lately it's the address that a shop keeper might use as they try to sell you something. In everyday speach, in other words, it may came across as rather smarmy...
It's used as a form of address in addresses and written documents. It is generally not used in everyday speech, except as a joke, or little old ryokan okami-san addressing customers as "okyaku-sama".

Ron Tisdale
04-07-2009, 12:17 PM
Thanks Josh.

Hey Keith, don't sweat the small stuff...I don't! ;)

Best,
Ron

C. David Henderson
04-07-2009, 01:56 PM
Dear Ron,

I respect that you can let comments like that roll off you without engaging.

However, I think they are inconsistent with the following view, which rather disappoints me, since the author is the same person as the one whose gib you graciously are ignoring:


The issue I have is with the peanut gallery discussion, those who can't contribute to the discussion and throw mud as a result, among other things primates in Zoos do. The reason being is not because it is annoying or something, but because it doesn't contribute to a reasonable discussion.



Maybe the dig at you subjectively was intended as a joke, but, I didn't dig it.

Regards,

cdh

Buck
04-07-2009, 07:30 PM
Now that Ron feels a part of the discussion, and no where did I ever state his name or refer to him in any way, or quote him, respond to him etc*. Cause, I usually politely ignore him just because of what is happening to the thread now when he posts. So now that is cleared up. And this time, I was just playing, taking a break from the thread. No insult was intended. *Refer to post #326 :)

Now that intermission is over let's return back to the discussion.

Buck
04-07-2009, 07:58 PM
I really find that the root is O'Sensei of Aikido, but is our perspectives accurate of him. Are we interpreting him correctly. It scares people to have their beliefs questioned and their foundations shaken. But, it is essential in my view to see O'Sensei as he was and what he did in as he did it. Not have it filtered, or adjusted, or that kind of stuff.

I want to refer back to decoding O'Sensei, where his poems being so abstract, but can be decoded from the techniques he published. You have the coupling of the abstract with the tangible makin it universally complete. That is me talking. :)

I think that secret is over looked in plain sight. :)

Keith Larman
04-07-2009, 10:42 PM
Thanks Josh.

Hey Keith, don't sweat the small stuff...I don't! ;)

Best,
Ron

Well, sometimes the small stuff is bad even in small doses. :disgust:

Buck
04-07-2009, 11:01 PM
I want to make it clear, my comment to Ron was in jest as self -effacing (me being the butt of the joke) as it was. Let me break it down for the readers. First "Monkey see, monkey doo doo." Refers to me, if anyone knows the term Monkey see, monkey do understands that means to copy. It commonly refers to toddlers where one copies another in getting in trouble. Doo doo refers to being in trouble, i.e. your in deep doo doo, (not feces) a phrase use by children.

So, I am being that toddler who is copying someone who I shouldn't, thus I am in deep doo doo. That was a tongue-n-cheek thing, as it relates to what I was playing on the humorous side of san, sama, and O' as Josh Reyer pointed out and what was started between me and Mark. Also monkey refers to those who disrupt a thread as I said before, thus my posting to Ron, I become a monkey disrupting the thread.

Therefore, I was joking calling Ron O' as it was the next highest level of honorific title playing off what me and Mark were joking about in concern to san and sama ( as Josh pointed out). I was saying I am in deep doo doo (per what Josh pointed out about sama) by refering to Ron as O', as I was disrupting and distracting from the thread, and in no way was insulting Ron. I was insulting my self.

I guess it was taken wrong, and offended people. For that, I blame myself, I could have worded it better, and I wasn't careful enough. comedy isn't easy. It was childish to go down that road, I know better and am above that. I humbly apologize to all the readers if I have offended them, and to Jun. I hope my humble apology is accepted.

In all sincerely,

Lets pls get back to the topic of the thread. :)

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2009, 08:56 AM
Well, sometimes the small stuff is bad even in small doses. :disgust:

:D Even small, convoluted doses! ;)

Apology accepted, moving on now, gotta go configure some routers (bleh).

Best,
Ron

Buck
04-08-2009, 04:20 PM
Now, more importantly, once we see a connection with O'Sensei using a Shinto and Omote to code the secrets of technique, something I referred to as being complexed over that of other martial arts kuns, we start to understand a truth. A truth likely over looked if we didn't question.

If we settle and sit comfortably assuming what we are told to be the truth about Aikido that has been filtered down etc. or fabricate assumptions of the meaning behind words like, "love" and not take into account the gap in language and culture, then we are missing a huge part of Aikido. So what I am saying is, we need to look at the spiritual side as being blended into the technical side, fabricated without having seamless, and both elements dependent on each other. This seems to hold true based on the way many things in Japan are done, especially budo. It is a great way to hide things as well, e.g., the act breathing with body movement. All of which can be symbolize with Ying and Yang/ Izu and Mizu.

It is this poem I look at for proof of that:

Come to appreciate the perfect balance of "Izu and Mizu:" the 'Cross of Aiki'
Then through the voice of the positive advance courageously.

Now let's parallel the poem to technique 93. Kokyu, (Ryote (Both Hands)) in the book, "Budo Training in Aikido." As you can see there is a parallel between the poem and the technique. The poem it self can be applied to many techniques. Therefore, as this is true, so is the relation to O'Sensei's spiritual message, which both technique and spiritual can't be separated nor over-looked.

Now here are some spiritual quotes we all know that relate now to my point and points in several of my posts:

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead. The Art of Peace is a celebration of the bonding of heaven, earth, and humankind. It is all that is true, good, and beautiful.

Consider the ebb and flow of the tide. When waves come to strike the shore, they crest and fall, creating a sound. your breath should follow the same pattern, absorbing the entire universe in your belly with each inhalation. Know that we all have access to four treasures: the energy of the sun and moon, the breath of heaven, the breath of earth, and the ebb and flow of the tide.

As we can see how things work as a "family" under one roof, and not separated into divisions. Where spiritual lends to how technique is done and it's secrets and visa versa. All based on a commonly used Japanese model use by O'Sensei- which I discussed before this.

Therefore, by looking at Aikido in this manner, we see a truth. Or at least we should. And we understand that Aikido isn't built on a western model, or ideas of that we want to shape it into, to reflect to fit our personal beliefs, or agendas. And by doing so is not looking at the original, and instead is creating myths, and distorations of what Aikido is and it's complexity.

Buck
04-16-2009, 07:23 PM
In the same book look at technique 52., as implied before, read the directives and look at the illustrations. Then compare it to this passage, "Come to appreciate the perfect balance of "Izu and Mizu:" the 'Cross of Aiki' Then through the voice of the positive advance courageously."

You should be able to see that the poem is part of the directives, that the first part of the book, the poems, relates to the techniques.

Buck
04-16-2009, 07:48 PM
Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead. The Art of Peace is a celebration of the bonding of heaven, earth, and humankind. It is all that is true, good, and beautiful.

I believe this a Steven's translation- which I think if it is, does more harm than good. But never the less, the first thing stated is "Life is growth." I want to focus on that. Since I don't read Japanese, I am betting very heavily on that "Life growth" is the translation of the Japanese of the Japanese Post WWII philosophy of Kaizen. Betting heavily again the concept of Kaizen is an old wine in a new bottle thing- it is probably a budo concept based from a buddhist concept by another name. If this is true here again is O'Sensei pulling on other Japanese stuff to build Aikido. It was not his own wisdom but rather in time with the changes going at that time in Japan. Also, Kaizen is an element and an approach in the physical training. Showing that O'Sensei had no duality when it came to the physical and the spiritual as stated in the quote above.

This is what Iam saying by practicing Aikido as O'Sensei intended, and when I refer to the word "original" in my later posts.