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Phil Ingram
01-02-2010, 10:57 PM
For my first Post I wanted to share my thoughts on Aikido.
As a beginner to the art I have found a lot of misinterpretation of people who say the art as not practical has a martial art.
And to be honest I used to be one of them, I could not understand how you could defend yourself with aikido even in my first lesson I was very rigid and strong I did not understand the concept of fluidity
Then my sensei told me just to go with the flow advised me of what was being taught and why we practice this way it made total sense to me, anyone can stand there and be strong and you will not move him
But in a real situation when someone tries to shove you for example if he hits your shoulder you will move right but what if you where not there to take the push the attacker would be overbalanced and you could take him on his fall point, or you could flow with his energy to take him down and pin him, once I understood this concept I understood a little piece of what was being taught to me and left me hungry for more.
To those people that say Aikido is not effective I would say try a few lessons get in to the grove of the art then come back and let us know what you think
If you don’t like it well that’s fair enough but I would tend to think you will enjoy it so much you would take it up, as a fledgling Aikidoka I feel it is down to us to help spread the name of aikido and to answer any questions the best way we can, most people from other arts only see 1 concept to aikido and there is so much more to the art.

In closing I like to think of Aikidoka as swimmers our sea is the constant flow and change of energy that flows around us.

Melchizedek
01-03-2010, 05:15 AM
For my first Post I wanted to share my thoughts on Aikido.
As a beginner to the art I have found a lot of misinterpretation of people who say the art as not practical has a martial art.
And to be honest I used to be one of them, I could not understand how you could defend yourself with aikido even in my first lesson I was very rigid and strong I did not understand the concept of fluidity
Then my sensei told me just to go with the flow advised me of what was being taught and why we practice this way it made total sense to me, anyone can stand there and be strong and you will not move him
But in a real situation when someone tries to shove you for example if he hits your shoulder you will move right but what if you where not there to take the push the attacker would be overbalanced and you could take him on his fall point, or you could flow with his energy to take him down and pin him, once I understood this concept I understood a little piece of what was being taught to me and left me hungry for more.
To those people that say Aikido is not effective I would say try a few lessons get in to the grove of the art then come back and let us know what you think
If you don’t like it well that’s fair enough but I would tend to think you will enjoy it so much you would take it up, as a fledgling Aikidoka I feel it is down to us to help spread the name of aikido and to answer any questions the best way we can, most people from other arts only see 1 concept to aikido and there is so much more to the art.

In closing I like to think of Aikidoka as swimmers our sea is the constant flow and change of energy that flows around us.

Well said 5/5

I hate people that comments w/o knowledge to an Art *tsk*

Shadowfax
01-03-2010, 07:02 AM
I think Aikido is just one of those things that can't really be explained. It needs to be experienced to be believed.

gdandscompserv
01-03-2010, 09:53 AM
I think Aikido is just one of those things that can't really be explained. It needs to be experienced to be believed.
Like life itself.:cool:

aikishihan
01-03-2010, 11:12 AM
My thoughts on Aikido.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Let us practice together, so that I can show you.

Let us train together, so that we can show each other.

In oneness,

lbb
01-03-2010, 11:15 AM
42.

mathewjgano
01-03-2010, 12:15 PM
42.

Oh that's your answer for everything!;)


Hi Phil,
I had a similar experience when I first saw Aikido practice. Some of it looked fake. It wasn't until I started training for a while that I understood a little more about what was happening.
In closing I like to think of Aikidoka as swimmers our sea is the constant flow and change of energy that flows around us.
I like that. Thank you for posting it!
Gambatte!
Matt

Walter Martindale
01-03-2010, 04:35 PM
42.

But what's the question?
Did Arthur's scrabble game with the human find it, or did the mice ever find their solution?
W

lbb
01-03-2010, 05:29 PM
But what's the question?

I don't know. Figure that out and we'll start looking for the answer again. :D

C. David Henderson
01-04-2010, 11:06 AM
Oh no; forgot my towel.

NagaBaba
01-04-2010, 01:12 PM
For my first Post I wanted to share my thoughts on Aikido.
As a beginner to the art I have found a lot of misinterpretation of people who say the art as not practical has a martial art.
.
Hi Phil,

As a beginner, you have no idea what you are talking about.For the moment you can only say : 'Yes, sensei!'. All your intellectual concepts are wrong. I strongly suggest go back to the dojo and train harder. 3 times a day. 20 years. Then come back here and tell us your thoughts on Aikido.

Don't take offence when you read it. :D Aikido taught me to be honest.

thisisnotreal
01-04-2010, 01:43 PM
Hi Phil,

As a beginner, you have no idea what you are talking about.For the moment you can only say : 'Yes, sensei!'. All your intellectual concepts are wrong. I strongly suggest go back to the dojo and train harder. 3 times a day. 20 years. Then come back here and tell us your thoughts on Aikido.

Don't take offence when you read it. :D Aikido taught me to be honest.

Whoah.

Hi Szczepan,
I am very curious, may i ask 'What are your thoughts on Aikido'? Is there anything specific that you could suggest to Phil given your experience? At what point do you suggest to start trusting your own 'intellectual concepts' and stop suspending your disbelief?
Do you not think a 20 year investment just to find out if its something you want to know or do is a lot to ask for? (My 2 cents)

I'm not sure. ... I may be misreading this. Just trying to be honest.
Take care,
Josh

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 06:41 PM
I'm a novice. I love Aikido. I have taken some "hard", "external" martial arts. Yes, I too have experienced disbelief...O'Sensei was under 5' tall and a buck 20. Does Aikido require faith to believe? How would O' Sensei fare in the octagon? Does Ki really exist?

Those are silly questions because an accomplished Aikidoka that has applied his or her self has already won the fight before it begins.
The harmony of the universe with oneself, void of ego and unnatural thoughts and acceptance and love. Couple that with the hard work and teachings of Aikido and let the opponent's aggression defeat himself.

There's always someone more stronger, quicker, more technical, etc. etc..
Arnold Schwartenegger's (sp) testicles are just as tender as the next guy's, and his limbs only move and obey the same physical laws of nature as well. (Thanks Arnie).

Conquer fear and you've conquered death. (Gladiator movie rip-off I know, but it's true).

I suggest one read O'Sensei's teachings and look inside yourself along with your Sensei's teachings for answers and not squabble for concrete answers amongst the novices and the spiritual neophytes; (like myself at this point in time).

Can someone direct me to a website or literature that explains the different "styles" of Aikido? I would just like to educate myself more on the subject...

NagaBaba
01-04-2010, 07:33 PM
Can someone direct me to a website or literature that explains the different "styles" of Aikido? I would just like to educate myself more on the subject...
Magic words in Google: "different styles of Aikido" - so simple :eek:

http://www.google.ca/#hl=fr&source=hp&q=%22different+styles+of+Aikido%22&btnG=Recherche+Google&meta=&aq=f&oq=%22different+styles+of+Aikido%22&fp=61c0699226f8b465

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 08:15 PM
Thank-you. I was hoping for a particular, reveiwed site or book but I guess the whole world wide web will do nicely.

You're arrogant and facetious, sir.


Don't take offence when you read it. :D Aikido taught me to be honest.

NagaBaba
01-04-2010, 08:29 PM
Whoah.

Hi Szczepan,
I am very curious, may i ask 'What are your thoughts on Aikido'? Is there anything specific that you could suggest to Phil given your experience? At what point do you suggest to start trusting your own 'intellectual concepts' and stop suspending your disbelief?
Do you not think a 20 year investment just to find out if its something you want to know or do is a lot to ask for? (My 2 cents)

I'm not sure. ... I may be misreading this. Just trying to be honest.
Take care,
Josh
Hi Josh,
More you practice, less you have to say about aikido.If I may paraphrase Arikawa sensei:" don't let intellect stand between you and aikido".
Last few years I'm doing more and more heavy gardening, trying to reconnect with Mother Earth as suggested by Chiba sensei...

NagaBaba
01-04-2010, 08:34 PM
Thank-you. I was hoping for a particular, reveiwed site or book but I guess the whole world wide web will do nicely.

You're arrogant and facetious, sir.
You are new to this forum, so I hope Jun will forgive you personal attacks. Here we are discussing TOPICS and not the character of forum members. :D

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 08:42 PM
Not a personal attack sir...a factual observation....

"Magic words?"; choking happy face icon?, "so simple"....c'mon now don't play Mr. Innocent. You are what you are; I'm not judging you...
Yes, I agree....... topics....

lbb
01-04-2010, 09:23 PM
Hey, folks, I think we've got a bit of miscommunication here. There may be a bit of a language barrier, but also, I think that some of you are taking Szczepan's remarks as an attack on your intelligence or knowledge or desire to know. I don't think it's quite like that. In particular, I am guessing that the statement "All your intellectual concepts are wrong" might be rephrased as "You cannot rely on your intellectual knowledge at this point", and still capture the essence of what Szczepan is saying.

If I'm right about that, that's a statement I agree with -- and it is not an attack, nor is it in any way that there's something particularly obtuse about the person he's talking to. It's just a statement of fact that aikido is one of those things that can't be grasped intellectually or conceptually, at least not until you have a lot of data points (meaning a lot of mat time) to hang those concepts on. Eugene, you said "I suggest one read O'Sensei's teachings and look inside yourself along with your Sensei's teachings for answers and not squabble for concrete answers amongst the novices and the spiritual neophytes; (like myself at this point in time)." I agree about the squabbling, but strongly disagree that a beginner's time is well spent in a quest for intellectual, conceptual or theoretical answers. Concrete answers are exactly what is called for -- concrete answers to the most elementary and limited questions, like "What will happen if I move my foot this way while attempting to perform this technique on that person?". Those are the data points. I believe in gathering the data points and not trying to grasp the concepts: I feel that if you have the data points, the concepts fall into place when you're ready to understand them. Don't understand the concepts? Go get more data points -- don't read another book or dredge up some esoteric-sounding language to make it sound like you really do see those beautiful clothes that the Emperor is wearing, and that all the cool people can see. Be true to yourself, be honest about your level of understanding, let the understanding come when you are ready for it, rather than trying to hunt it down and capture it. It'll come.

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 12:21 AM
I agree that we should search for answers concerning techniques. I like your data-point method! You're right of course and so is Mr. Janczuk, concerning mat time and dojo training, then come back and talk about it. But give us beginners a break. I was referring to the deeper, unknown aspects that a beginner such as I really have no concept of: the deep questions of belief in Aikido. Does it really "work" in a fight? As Mr. Ingram stated in the beginning of this thread appearances can be deceiving. It looks soft and wimpy but in training one realizes how a proficient practitioner can tweak a technique to the point of deadliness. Only time in training reveals light bulb moments. Thank-you for the insight.
"It'll come." Good advice. If you have time please define "concepts".
As far as language barriers go.....I reserve my comments and I hereby bury the hatchet. Thanks peacemaker.

lbb
01-05-2010, 07:19 AM
But give us beginners a break. I was referring to the deeper, unknown aspects that a beginner such as I really have no concept of: the deep questions of belief in Aikido.

You just said it yourself: as a beginner, you really have no concept. So...give you a break? What does that even mean? When a beginner in mathematics wants to have a conversation about differential equations -- a subject that he/she lacks the foundational knowledge to understand -- should one "give him/her a break" and have the conversation anyway? Even though it won't be understood and can only lead to confusion? Or is it appropriate instead to direct the beginner towards a beginner's activity, i.e., the acquisition of that foundational knowledge? That, I think, is what Szczepan is trying to do.

(By the way...I don't have any concept either. That's why I'm over here, working on my times tables, rather than trying to chat up the professors about diff eq)

Does it really "work" in a fight?

It depends. What's the "fight"? Who's attacking, why are they attacking, how many are they, what are their skills, are they armed, where is this happening? How do you define "work"? Frame the question, then look for the answer. Better still, frame the question, then ask yourself if it really needs answering. Are you in the habit of fighting on a regular basis?

Only time in training reveals light bulb moments. Thank-you for the insight.
"It'll come." Good advice. If you have time please define "concepts".

Nope. Not gonna do it. I'm just gonna work on my times tables, and I suggest you do the same. The concepts will come to you when you're ready. You do not need to seek them out.

Carsten Möllering
01-05-2010, 07:56 AM
Hi
At what point do you suggest to start trusting your own 'intellectual concepts' and stop suspending your disbelief?

Do you not think a 20 year investment just to find out if its something you want to know or do is a lot to ask for? (My 2 cents)
But what "intellectual concepts" do exist in aikido???
The only concept I know - after 16 years - is practice practice practice.

An isn't an investment of 20 years like nothing? The shihan we learn from, are practicing for over 40 years now ...

In our environment there is nearly no talking about aikido. Just doing it.

There are no intellectual concepts in aikido.

I was hoping for a particular, reveiwed site or book but I guess the whole world wide web will do nicely.After a few years you will precicesly know, why there are no particulark, rewviewed sites or books which inform you about the different """styles""" of aikido.

To go on step further please ask yourself, how you yourself define a "style" of aikido?

Example:

My Aikido could be found in such a book on at least five places.

Is the style I am practicing called Aikido?
Or is it called Aikikai Aikido?
Or is it called Yamaguchi Aikido?
Or is it called Endo Aikido?
Or Tissier Aikido?
Or (not now but in a few years maybe) Rott (my teacher) Aikido?
...
Check out the link Szczepan gave you and you will learn a lot about your question.

aspects that a beginner such as I really have no concept of: the deep questions of belief in Aikido. Does it really "work" in a fight?
This is very simple: If you don't believe it, don't practice.
Look at your teacher, showing technique, i.e. kihon waza in your dojo. He is answering your question everey time he demonstrates a technique. You will never get more I think.

You don't have to believe in aikido but in your teacher. If not, don't follow him.

Carsten

Linda Eskin
01-05-2010, 08:34 AM
I am also a beginner. There is a lot of truth in "practice, practice, practice," but I've also found a lot of value in reading. Someday I'll put together a list, but basically find any books that sound interesting to you, that get decent reviews on Amazon, and read them. Get a lot of points of view. It helps me learn to learn - what to look for, questions to keep in mind - if that makes sense. I really like Carol Shifflett's book "Aikido Exercises" for a broad overview and starting point for reading. I'd also highly recommend George Ledyard's whole "Principles of Aiki" DVD series. And there's a lot more out there.

I find the old "it's like peeling an onion" thing to be true. There are layers upon layers upon layers. There's physics, psychology, physiology, misdirection, body language... The layers continuously reveal themselves. Maybe others discover everything on their own on the mat. Personally, it helps me if someone says "look, notice this aspect when you're practicing."

(To borrow the math anaology, it can be helpful, even when one is practicing times tables - or learning to add 2+2 - to have some idea where it's all headed. So knowing that someday you could use math to figure out how much water it takes to fill your swimming pool, even if you'll have no idea how to actually do that math for a long while, is fun. Just to have some idea what lies ahead. "Just sit down and do your homework" never set very well with me.)

As for whether it really works in a fight. Are you planning on getting into a fight? My thinking would be that if anything it could help me avoid a fight. I'm unlikely to get into barroom brawls, but there are lots of kinds of "fights" and avoiding them is usually a good idea. I don't practice Aikido to become a fighter. I would question the priorities of a student, or an art, that is focused on getting better at fighting (except sport, of course - get in a ring and knock each other silly for fun, whatever).

Happy training.

Amir Krause
01-05-2010, 10:31 AM
Can someone direct me to a website or literature that explains the different "styles" of Aikido? I would just like to educate myself more on the subject...

Thank-you. I was hoping for a particular, reveiwed site or book but I guess the whole world wide web will do nicely.



While I agree with the suggested answer to most of the questions and beginner opinions on the nature of aikido here - you should train another decade or so.

The issue of "flavours" or "styles" is slightly different - it is not practical for most people to train in multiple styles to the level of creating a real opinon about them. And training for lots of years in your dojo, may improve many things, but not your knowledge of the things done in other Dojos. Thus, this is one of the few areas I guess reading is probably the only realistic possibly for most people (there are the few singulars who did train in multiple styles to high level).

There are many threads on Aikiweb about styles, yet I still think the best thread on Aikido styles on the net is the following:
http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17385
note - to read it you might be required you to register to E-budo too.

There are also quite a few good threads here at Aiki-web, such as:
* for starters:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10296

* On organizations (another side of styles):
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13388

* Comparing styles (you can find many more threads about this):
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5404

* Are these styles Aikido? or is evryone outside our box a fraud (some probably are, many are not)
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9508
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13048
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7172

NagaBaba
01-05-2010, 10:37 AM
I am also a beginner. There is a lot of truth in "practice, practice, practice," but I've also found a lot of value in reading. .

I'm not sure if you are familiar with a book 'Zen in the Art of Archery ' by Eugen Herrigel? This is perfect example how somebody who didn't understand Japanese language and culture, made up some artificial, wrong concepts and applied it to the Art.

Then he wrote a book. Then the million people read it and adopted his vision. Nobody ever questioned themselves “Is it true what the author wrote?" Because it is written in the book, it was taken for granted. The result is that until today, the image of Kyudo is completely deformed, and a lot of people practice simply wrong stuff.

Exactly same mechanism can be found in aikido. Western pioneers in aikido with small amount of training and with lack understanding of Japanese culture and history wrote few books full of misunderstanding, misconceptions and simply wrong ideas. Then million people read it until today and some of them, without any actual training come to Aikiweb to lecture us what aikido is, and what we have to do to understand it.

What arrogance! Particularly considering that some members of this forum have 30 years or more daily practice on the tatami….

Reading all these books didn't even teach them one basic thing - what the "Etiquette" is in martial environment. They feel safe insulting others, sitting safely in their bedroom.

No, Linda, as you can see, reading books doesn’t do any good. In contrary, it creates false certitude “I know something about aikido”.

Alec Corper
01-05-2010, 10:45 AM
hello Szczepan,
Glad to see you haven't changed. we met several years ago at the Hombu in a seminar with tada sensei, and then went for a drink with peter goldsbury. You were pretty clear in your thoughts then, maybe a touch abrasive for the gentler souls amongst us but you do walk your talk, and you've trained long enough to speak your mind. Osu

dps
01-05-2010, 11:37 AM
Actually the less reading and video viewing the better. Too much information is not helpful and distracts from your learning.

"Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptiness. Stand in the midst of the Great Void. This is the secret of the Way of a Warrior."

O'Sensei

And now a few more quotes from O'Sensei:

"The Way of a Warrior cannot be encompassed by words or in letters: grasp the essence and move on toward realization! "

"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of Aikido are brought to life."

"In your training do not be in a hurry, for it takes a minimum of ten years to master the basics and advance to the first rung. Never think of yourself as an all-knowing, perfected master; you must continue to train daily with your friends and students and progress together in Aikido."



"Aikido has no form - it is the study of the spirit. "


David

thisisnotreal
01-05-2010, 01:48 PM
Hi Guys,
I was thinking more about the how’s and why’s of workings of waza; and also the hows/&whys of building your strength versus …the more nebulous state-of-mind/consciousness/"way" considerations, which I believe you are alluding to. Josh

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 03:22 PM
Without books and reading (and the internet now) how would one know of Japan let alone martial arts and Aikido?
Here's a book.... Farenheit 451.
As far as the written word goes, as a student of history I learned long ago that one should read many sources and then decide for oneself.

Of course people who espouse their superior knowledge on a subject without credentials and the actions of studying should be corrected . There are those whom seek to subvert and practice anarchy or profitable greed.
Should I defend the fact that I am a beginner when I ask questions?
I'm trusting in faith of the experienced to guide me in my new endeavor. I never once said "I know already" because I read a book.
But I do have life experience.
I appreciate criticism and correction.
From what I understand (from reading those books), the experienced Aikidoka should be exhibiting patience and understanding towards beginners, no?
If one trains/studies any craft for many years, and a comment or question of a neophyte raises their heart-rate and causes contempt and resentment....then are they really a mentor or someone that can be trusted to teach or explain? Especially Aikido which Osensei says is a gift to the world. Love and compassion.
I sincerely apologize if I stepped on anyone's toes.
Thanks for the links Mr. Krause and the explanation of "styles" or the real lack thereof. I have been informed.

I'm trying really hard to reject my hard-wired westernized ego and be the loving character my spirit wants me to be; but it is made difficult when stonewalled and/or treated with slight regard.
I'm not trying to puff myself up or appear intelligent or knowledgeable. My questions and comments may be misconstrued as such. I have been in many fights as youngster; it was survival..and I approach Aikido with that in mind. That's why I asked about the effectiveness of Aikido in a real fight. I'm not an MMA guy or a scrapper. Now that I'm older my spirit is guiding me towards my true purpose and true character. And it has brought me to Aikido and the teachings of Morehei Ueshiba.
I want to beleive so I will have continued faith in people and just clam up. I don't want to contend. Osensei instructed not to.
Thank-you Mr.Skaggs for the reality check from the source.

Aristeia
01-05-2010, 03:52 PM
this thread is kind of weird.
Beginners aren't allowed to have an opinion on their new passion? They should just shut up and train?
Weird.
Sure they'll have alot of misconceptions and a lot of learning to do, but for many people (like myself) talking discussing reading and engaging in dialogue is part of how they learn, how they start to process information. No one is suggesting this as a substitute for training but as and adjunct to it, very useful, and, frankly enjoyable.
So why jump down their throats?

Secondly
"More you practice, less you have to say about aikido"

really? That raises the obvious question, why bother to somewhere like aikiweb in the first place??

Seems odd to me to come to an internet discussion forum on Aikido and berate people for wanting to discuss Aikido.

C. David Henderson
01-05-2010, 03:59 PM
Hi Eugene.

Without books and reading (and the internet now) how would one know of Japan let alone martial arts and Aikido?
Here's a book.... Farenheit 451.
As far as the written word goes, as a student of history I learned long ago that one should read many sources and then decide for oneself.

I think you have a point, but I hope you understand the limitations and implicit trap in relying on book learn'n for this endeavor.

Should I defend the fact that I am a beginner when I ask questions?

No.

I'm trusting in faith of the experienced to guide me in my new endeavor.

Caveat Emptor -- use that life experience of yours.

From what I understand (from reading those books), the experienced Aikidoka should be exhibiting patience and understanding towards beginners, no?

That's a nice ideal, but "should" plus a buck-fifty buys a cup of coffee....

More importantly, while it may seem so to you, I don't think you were treated with impatience or a lack of understanding. Szczepan not only seemed just to be giving you his honest understanding, he also represents a view about your questions that is held to some extent by many people.

There's a difference between being a student "of Aikido" and being an Aikido student. One thing I've seen with a number of folks over the years who rely on "understanding" Aikido is the difficulty in letting go of their concepts on the mat, which interfers significantly with really learning through practice. I still am working on this part of my "multiplication tables."

If one trains/studies any craft for many years, and a comment or question of a neophyte raises their heart-rate and causes contempt and resentment....then are they really a mentor or someone that can be trusted to teach or explain?

Again, I perceived the interaction differently. However, you should be aware that people have a number of reasons for responding to posts aside from some self-concept that they are playing a "mentor."

One also could make the argument that, particularly with a person who wants to do alot of reading and thinking about aikido, and also wants to learn Aikido, the best single peice of advice a "mentor" could give would be to forget your concepts and practice.

I want to beleive so I will have continued faith in people and just clam up.

I appreciate your sincerity, but, with equal sincerity, I wonder why you feel a need for folks you are interacting with on the internet to act in a certain way in order for you to have faith. I think it's enough to practice and develop faith in yourself, whatever path you choose.

Sincerely,

cdh

Charles Hill
01-05-2010, 05:05 PM
re: the reading is bad/good thing,

O'Sensei was a big reader, read a wide variety of books on a wide variety of topics. I am willing to bet he tied it all to Aikido in his own mind.

donplummer
01-05-2010, 05:36 PM
Does it really "work" in a fight?

"My Aikido works, does yours???";)

David Board
01-05-2010, 06:53 PM
You just said it yourself: as a beginner, you really have no concept. So...give you a break? What does that even mean? When a beginner in mathematics wants to have a conversation about differential equations -- a subject that he/she lacks the foundational knowledge to understand -- should one "give him/her a break" and have the conversation anyway? Even though it won't be understood and can only lead to confusion? Or is it appropriate instead to direct the beginner towards a beginner's activity, i.e., the acquisition of that foundational knowledge? That, I think, is what Szczepan is trying to do.

(By the way...I don't have any concept either. That's why I'm over here, working on my times tables, rather than trying to chat up the professors about diff eq)

It depends. What's the "fight"? Who's attacking, why are they attacking, how many are they, what are their skills, are they armed, where is this happening? How do you define "work"? Frame the question, then look for the answer. Better still, frame the question, then ask yourself if it really needs answering. Are you in the habit of fighting on a regular basis?

Nope. Not gonna do it. I'm just gonna work on my times tables, and I suggest you do the same. The concepts will come to you when you're ready. You do not need to seek them out.

I am very very bad at multiplication tables and quite good at differential equations. I am even better at matrix algebra. I do however understand multiplication. My understanding began by learning my multiplications tables but even more came from learning were and how multiplication can be used. I didn't learn this in math class. I learned this in physics and biology. I then brought what I learned back to mathematics and applied that learning there. Your data points can come from many sources the key is to weight them properly.

In elementary school I had one teacher that was very good at teaching multiplication tables. Most in the class would role of those 13s like nobodies business (well except me, I'm still stuck trying to remember what 7*6 is ;) ). But I this did when it came to algebra. What helped in algebra was learning that one way of thinking about multiplication was to think of it as adding groups. But that didn't help me understand differentiation; that came from understanding multiplication as rates. Telling someone to go back and do their times tables will not help them achieve an understanding of differential equations. Relating what they do understand to where they want to go will. Suggesting a book that might help, showing them a "cool puzzle" that illustrates the relation and further their understanding will.

In my job I build models (statistical models) and test them against data. Then I rebuild my model and collect more data. I talk to others that are building similar models and add what they have learned to my understanding of my models and what I want to add to my model or how I might adjust my model. When I begin to build a new model, I read about the subject, talk to experts and because I typically build models about things I'm interested in I add in some personal experience (this can be very limited or it can be extensive depends on the subject). Then I collect data and test the data against the model.

My approach to Aikido is similar. I have experts, my Sensei, the sempai and everybody else that is above me in rank and some folks below me that for whatever reason grasp a technique better than I do. I also have several books. To be honest the books are technical manuals, I use them to help me remember what comes after I move off the line or whether the hand goes to the inside or the outside. Sometimes, however, the description in the books provides me insight because the technique is described in different way than my Sensei uses and for what ever reason they work better for my understanding. In the end though, the lectures and books are tested on the mat. That is when I can feel and see why the hand goes to the inside (sometimes, sometimes it's several weeks latter and somethings just haven't come yet.)

I can learn Aikido solely from training. But books and the experience of the sempai and other students provide me with access to years of mat time and data that I don't have. They provide me with additional information and sometime model constructs that I hadn't thought of. You have to weight them properly and knowing how to weight information can be difficult. In the end, what works on the mat is what works. Regardless of the grand theory of Aikido. Whether that theory came from book learnin' or years of practice.

All that being said, I defer to anyone with more mat time than myself on what is going on in Aikido. I'm not one to say "I read Dynamic Shpere and it says..." or "in Takemusa Aikido it shows the technique this way." If anything I might say "Sensei was showing it this way wasn't he?"

Dang if I didn't get wordy. And please don't take this as a post about Aikido because it isn't. I know too little and have tested my models with too few data points to say anything about Aikido. It is a post about how people learn, myself in particular. And where information can come from. I find the written word as helpful as the spoken word and a description can be better than a demonstration.

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 09:44 PM
I appreciate your sincerity, but, with equal sincerity, I wonder why you feel a need for folks you are interacting with on the internet to act in a certain way in order for you to have faith. I think it's enough to practice and develop faith in yourself, whatever path you choose.

Sincerely,

cdh

(faith = faith in Osensei's vision of Aikido)

You're right of course.

Perhaps I forget at times that people are individuals and everyone has their own little idiosyncracies which should be overlooked. Perhaps it is fear of rejection. Perhaps I misperceive at times. Perhaps it is idealism and this is probably closest to the truth: not everyone has the ideals and virtues of Osensei nor should one expect another in Aikido to practice the same ideals of a spiritual giant like him; but they ought to be an example at least....in their tone if not their content....especially the sempai.
Forget mentor...choose another word......my main point in all this, (and I maintain my stance), is, I repeatThe reason I was drawn to aikido was the spiritual aspects (call them concepts, blueberrys, rainbarrels, whatever) so that's my topic and this is a forum on Aikido; right??
And YES, I do expect folks...Aiki folks to act in a certain way...to an extent at least to maintain a certain "faith" in Osenseis vision. I've been privy to the alternative in other MAs and it's rather ugly to me.

One also could make the argument that, particularly with a person who wants to do alot of reading and thinking about aikido, and also wants to learn Aikido, the best single peice of advice a "mentor" could give would be to forget your concepts and practice.

Why have these forums at all then?

Its funny..... I'm excited and passionate about Aikido and the venerable founder but I'm finding in some cases the apple has fallen far from the tree.......but the universe gives me examples to follow when I least expect them that recharge my batteries.

Faith faith faith. D**n straight I require it! I've read (too much) about the war and the deprivations that occur on earth even now and my own life experiences and I'm not searching for divine answers in Aikido I'm merely believing. (I spelled it right this time).

Thank-you for your insights. I read them with an open heart and mind.

lbb
01-06-2010, 09:18 AM
Perhaps it is idealism and this is probably closest to the truth: not everyone has the ideals and virtues of Osensei nor should one expect another in Aikido to practice the same ideals of a spiritual giant like him; but they ought to be an example at least....in their tone if not their content....especially the sempai.

Right! Now, if you can just establish what "the ideals and virtues of Osensei" were, then we can get right down to enforcing conformity with same among all who practice aikido.

NagaBaba
01-06-2010, 09:56 AM
hello Szczepan,
Glad to see you haven't changed. we met several years ago at the Hombu in a seminar with tada sensei, and then went for a drink with peter goldsbury. You were pretty clear in your thoughts then, maybe a touch abrasive for the gentler souls amongst us but you do walk your talk, and you've trained long enough to speak your mind. Osu
Hi Alec, how's going?
I remember you very well, recently we talked with my wife about that meeting with you and Peter in the context of planning our next trip to Japan :D I hope we will meet again one day to practice and have nice beer waza! Are you in Holland?

Abrasive?
I’d rather say – firm. I’m very polite person, but the training taught me to recognize specific situations when you have to be firm and clearly state what is white and what is black. Of course I don’t have any illusions as to efficiency of my writing. Changing someone is a difficult process and can’t be done with words.

David Board
01-06-2010, 10:03 AM
Right! Now, if you can just establish what "the ideals and virtues of Osensei" were, then we can get right down to enforcing conformity with same among all who practice aikido.

A little more than a month ago, Mary Heiny gave a seminar at the dojo here and at the end of the seminars we had a chance to ask questions of her. One of the questions was about styles and traditions of Aikido (in particular the Kiai) but what was interesting about her reply was that she felt that O'Sensei taught different "styles" in different locations and to different student (<-That almost needs a Capital S). She attributed this to O'Sensei being in tune with the needs and special nature of both the location as well as the student being taught.

I don't know how relevant that observation is or even how factual. However, perhaps it has some bearing on the overall discussion of conformity and styles of Aikido. Now back to those multiplication tables. Where was I...7 times 6 is...dang it stuck again.

NagaBaba
01-06-2010, 10:18 AM
this thread is kind of weird.
Beginners aren't allowed to have an opinion on their new passion? They should just shut up and train?
Weird.
Sure they'll have alot of misconceptions and a lot of learning to do, but for many people (like myself) talking discussing reading and engaging in dialogue is part of how they learn, how they start to process information. No one is suggesting this as a substitute for training but as and adjunct to it, very useful, and, frankly enjoyable.
So why jump down their throats?

Secondly
"More you practice, less you have to say about aikido"

really? That raises the obvious question, why bother to somewhere like aikiweb in the first place??

Seems odd to me to come to an internet discussion forum on Aikido and berate people for wanting to discuss Aikido.

Ideally, yes, no opinions, only empty mind. This way they have no emotional or intellectual filters, and can learn exactly what instructor is teaching. Have you ever seen such situation, when during seminar guest instructor is trying to teach something, but 99% ppl still practice exactly the same way as they do in their own dojo? That happens because they already have their own opinion how the technique should work.

Regarding your second question, I have few friends here and I like to chat with them sometimes. Also there are some very advanced aikidoka whose opinions are important to read.

I’m not against discussing Aikido, but against no-kyu and 5th kyu shihans lecturing everybody what aikido is and how we should practice. They create the informational noise on the forum that suffocates valuable info that comes from experienced folks.

dps
01-06-2010, 11:17 AM
Time for famous Zen story;

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master.
While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

David :)

Carsten Möllering
01-06-2010, 11:19 AM
The reason I was drawn to aikido was the spiritual aspects ...
What are those "spiritual aspects"?
O Sensei was a believer of Oomoto kyo. So are we talking about shinto here?
In our dojo there is no talking about spiritual aspects. We just practice ...

at least to maintain a certain "faith" in O Senseis vision.
What is this vision?
O Sensei thought of Japan bringing peace to the world.
I am not Japanese.

but I'm finding in some cases the apple has fallen far from the tree
I it really an apple, what you find far from ...
... what tree do you consider to be the one of aikido?

I'm not sure, but reading about you thinking about faith, maybe I'd rather invite you into my church.Not into my dojo. I think.

hhhmmm

Carsten

David Board
01-06-2010, 11:42 AM
Ideally, yes, no opinions, only empty mind. This way they have no emotional or intellectual filters, and can learn exactly what instructor is teaching. Have you ever seen such situation, when during seminar guest instructor is trying to teach something, but 99% ppl still practice exactly the same way as they do in their own dojo? That happens because they already have their own opinion how the technique should work.

Regarding your second question, I have few friends here and I like to chat with them sometimes. Also there are some very advanced aikidoka whose opinions are important to read.

I'm not against discussing Aikido, but against no-kyu and 5th kyu shihans lecturing everybody what aikido is and how we should practice. They create the informational noise on the forum that suffocates valuable info that comes from experienced folks.

5th kyu and no Kyu's, hopefully, come to Aikido with an open mind or at least have fewer Aikido habits built up. This is why, they should be able to have some voice, not a lot, but some voice.

I am 5th Kyu and recently went to a seminar and what you described while not common did occur (the Sensei complimented the dojo for it's openness to her instruction). It in fact happened to one of my partners. We were doing a connectivity exercise where I was supposed to resist/push back when he moved his hands towards me and when he felt the pressure he was supposed to stop the forward motion. As instructed when his hands moved forward I resisted/pushed back and he being stronger pushed through my resistance. I asked and he said he was just pushing through and doing the technique properly. He's a black belt so my assumption was that I had misunderstood the exercise and we continued on in that manner until corrected by the Sensei. I got chastised for not resisting until the instructor realized the situation and then corrected the balckbelt. If the blackbelt was open minded and willing to listen either to the instructor or the 5th kyu then more time would have been spent learning from the exercise.

That is not to say that out of babes comes wisdom. I have 3 kids all under the age of 8. Most of the time what they have to say is feed me, I don't want to and now that the boys are a little older really silly fart jokes. My house is filled with noise and I have a full fledged 7 year old Shihan well versed in the ways of Mythbusters. But if I listen, occasionally there is insight. Now, I don't let them lecture me but I am willing to listen when they have something to contribute.

When I first saw this thread and read the original post. I dismissed it. It felt like so many of the blogs and message board posts that are out on the internet. The beginner having a break through and insights wanting to share their experience. I find them a bit self aggrandizing but that is perhaps because I grew up in a Methodist church and we didn't testify! There is nothing wrong with this and perhaps others get more from them than I do. I keep a journal of my insight and learned technique. I keep them to myself (in general) since well they are mine and to be honest I don't have enough data to publish and as of yet have not had any insight that I have not seen expressed else where.

But I still look to see what others have to say. Sometimes there's something there and to chastise them for their efforts seems to defeat the opportunity. I also see no harm in beginners hashing out there ideas and insight among themselves. Tell each other what they are experiencing and learning. It shouldn't detract from getting on the mat. And it shouldn't be taken as great insight. But dialogue can help some people understand better.

C. David Henderson
01-06-2010, 01:03 PM
Why have these forums at all then?



Hi Eugene,

Please keep in mind I started by acknowledging you had a point. It's perfectly okay to be both a "student of Aikido" and an "aikido student," but if you rely on your understanding of Aikido when it is time to learn Aikido, I don't think it works so well.

For example: even "cultivate an empty mind" can simply be another voice in my head that I drag onto the mat with me, that keeps me from seeing, feeling, and doing what really is being shown.

But I think it's still a concept worth discussing.

BTW, to me cultivating an empty mind or beginner's mind is not the same as having an "open mind," in the sense of being open to new ideas.

For example, when I see a technique performed and say, "Oh, Sensei is showing ikkyo," I've labeled the interaction in a way that may allow me to imitate what I thought I just saw. But it often gets in the way of really seeing (and sometimes, vicariously feeling) what was demonstrated.

Or, if I'm taking ukemi from my teacher, and I start to think, "Oh,he's about to perform shiho nage," it may feel like I've figure something out that will help me. If he then actually does shiho nage, however, I'm likely to have anticipated the technique, turning the interaction into a dance; if he changes technique, I'm likely to have that deer-in-the-headlights look as I get hammered.

Either way, my reliance on understanding what is happening is interfering with learning in-my-body.

YMMV

akiy
01-06-2010, 01:09 PM
Hi Szczepan,
I'm not against discussing Aikido, but against no-kyu and 5th kyu shihans lecturing everybody what aikido is and how we should practice. They create the informational noise on the forum that suffocates valuable info that comes from experienced folks.
I sincerely disagree with your notion that people with less experience are not welcome in engaging in or initiating discussion here on AikiWeb.

If you feel that someone else here on AikiWeb has an opinion or experience that contradicts yours, please engage with them on the issues that they bring up rather than directing your discussion towards their person (which, in this case, is their level of experience).

Please direct all other thoughts on this topic to the Feedback (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=10) forum rather than diverting the topic of this thread.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Eugene Leslie
01-07-2010, 01:39 AM
What are those "spiritual aspects"?
O Sensei was a believer of Oomoto kyo. So are we talking about shinto here?
In our dojo there is no talking about spiritual aspects. We just practice ...

What is this vision?
O Sensei thought of Japan bringing peace to the world.
I am not Japanese.

I it really an apple, what you find far from ...
... what tree do you consider to be the one of aikido?

I'm not sure, but reading about you thinking about faith, maybe I'd rather invite you into my church.Not into my dojo. I think.

hhhmmm

Carsten

Right! Now, if you can just establish what "the ideals and virtues of Osensei" were, then we can get right down to enforcing conformity with same among all who practice aikido.

Really guys? If you disagree w/ me or don't like my comments just say as much. Why the sardonic contention?
The words "spiritual", "ideals", "vision" and "virtue" were all my limited vocabulary could conjure.
I wrote a disclaimer sentence in one of these posts stating that I wasn't searching for divine answers in Aikido.
I mean, I've experienced raw aggression in real life. I've taken kung-fu where the sifu hated the sensei of the karate dojo in town and it was reciprocated and as students we were pretty much caught up in it and when the Western Canadian annual tourneys came to town they sometimes became parking lot brawls. (Real nice regional ambassadors, eh?). As much as I liked Bruce Lee and kung-fu it didn't sit right with me. Now I'm older; maybe wiser; and I discovered Morehei Ueshiba and Aikido.
So do you think you can see my point of view when I say those words?

Eugene Leslie
01-07-2010, 02:08 AM
*snip* It's perfectly okay to be both a "student of Aikido" and an "aikido student," but if you rely on your understanding of Aikido when it is time to learn Aikido, I don't think it works so well.

For example: even "cultivate an empty mind" can simply be another voice in my head that I drag onto the mat with me, that keeps me from seeing, feeling, and doing what really is being shown.

I get it! I never thought of it that way before. Thanks.
Mr. Janczuk briefly touched upon this subject as well earlier in the thread.
I like this site...it keeps me on the straight and narrow.

I almost wish I hadn't taken those other MAs in my life because they do interfere, (and book learning Aikido too I now admit).
I envy the youth in class. (Especially the females, because of the inherent lack of testosterone (good as any word) and ego (as opposed to most males), that have brand new cups to fill and natural flexibility).

Linda Eskin
01-07-2010, 02:39 AM
...

What arrogance! Particularly considering that some members of this forum have 30 years or more daily practice on the tatami….

Reading all these books didn't even teach them one basic thing - what the "Etiquette" is in martial environment. They feel safe insulting others, sitting safely in their bedroom.

No, Linda, as you can see, reading books doesn't do any good. In contrary, it creates false certitude "I know something about aikido".

Arrogance? To say that in addition to practicing I also find value in reading?

Some of the books I have benefitted from were written by members of this forum with decades of experience. I would assume they think reading at least their own books might be worthwhile.

Michael Fitzgerald
01-07-2010, 03:01 AM
uh, hey everyone!
I read the first ten or so posts, but thought I'd just jump in. from the OP I get that he basically found that there was a lot more to Aikido in the training than he could see in the watching...well I think that's something everyone can recognise, no? I'm pretty sure you don't need to train for 20 years to see that. (not saying training for 20 years doesn't give a person the opportunity to learn much more than the rank amateur- pls don't get sensitive) having said that, time is no guarantee of wisdom.
so yeah, anyhow, I can see how someone would find that there was much more to an art like Aikido once they started to train.

my personal thoughs on Aikido? well as far as I can go into them now, "there's more than meets the eye, in Aikido" nothing too controversial in that is there..? ;)

Carsten Möllering
01-07-2010, 03:18 AM
Hi
Why the sardonic contention?
Sorry, I truly didn't mean to be sardonic!

I just think by practicing aikido you are looking for something which you wouldn't find in most dojo, I know and train. If you can get it in your dojo, that is fine with me.

The words "spiritual", "ideals", "vision" and "virtue" were all my limited vocabulary could conjure. - I wrote a disclaimer sentence in one of these posts stating that I wasn't searching for divine answers in Aikido. Well yes, but the words "spiritual", "ideals", "vision" and "virtue" tend to lead right this direction. So I was asking whether you have a clear understanding of the apple and the tree?

As I said before:
As far as I get you right, I am not sure whether you would find your vision of aikido in the dojo I know. Although we are very peaceful, I think.
But we practice Aikido as a martial art. Like other martial arts. And we sometimes train with student of Kung fu, Kali, Arnis, Boxing, Karate or Judo. There is no difference in "spirituallity" or "wisdom" between them and us. And there is no difference in effectiveness.

I know teachers of Kung fu, of Karate, of Boxing ... who are as wise, as peaceful, as "spiritual" as teachers of aikido I know.
And I know some hot tempered aikido teachers who, I think, wouldn't fit into your image of aikido. But are respected and well known.

And: The more you progress, the more, I think, you will realize what aikido will do to an attacker who isn't used to take ukemi.
Please check how this fits in your thinking about spirituallity or ideals. Aikido is designed to hurt an attacker very badly. Is that the tree, you meant?

Greetings,
Carsten

I mean, I've experienced raw aggression in real life. I've taken kung-fu where the sifu hated the sensei of the karate dojo in town and it was reciprocated and as students we were pretty much caught up in it and when the Western Canadian annual tourneys came to town they sometimes became parking lot brawls. (Real nice regional ambassadors, eh?). As much as I liked Bruce Lee and kung-fu it didn't sit right with me. Now I'm older; maybe wiser; and I discovered Morehei Ueshiba and Aikido.
So do you think you can see my point of view when I say those words?[/QUOTE]

lbb
01-07-2010, 07:37 AM
Really guys? If you disagree w/ me or don't like my comments just say as much. Why the sardonic contention?

I'll cop to the "sardonic" part, but not the "contention". It's a simple statement of fact that until you define your terms, you cannot expect people to comply with them. You stated as follows:

Perhaps it is idealism and this is probably closest to the truth: not everyone has the ideals and virtues of Osensei nor should one expect another in Aikido to practice the same ideals of a spiritual giant like him; but they ought to be an example at least....in their tone if not their content....especially the sempai.

So, you expect aikido practitioners to "be an example" of "the ideals and virtues of Osensei". But if you've been reading this board, you know that it's a perennial subject of discussion and disagreement about exactly what O-Sensei was all about, nor is there universal agreement about his virtues. How can you expect people to take these "ideals and virtues" as their model, when we don't have consensus on exactly what they are?

The words "spiritual", "ideals", "vision" and "virtue" were all my limited vocabulary could conjure.

Really? Your vocabulary can't come up with the names of any specific virtues or ideals? I don't believe that. It's as if you recommended a restaurant, but when asked what they served, could only say, "Food." That's good to know, but it's not enough information to get me to agree to walk into that restaurant.

So do you think you can see my point of view when I say those words?

I think I understand that you're reaching for some kind of "something more". It's a natural human impulse. My only caution would be to take things as they are, rather than as you would have them be.

lbb
01-07-2010, 07:40 AM
I'm not against discussing Aikido, but against no-kyu and 5th kyu shihans lecturing everybody what aikido is and how we should practice. They create the informational noise on the forum that suffocates valuable info that comes from experienced folks.

I sincerely disagree with your notion that people with less experience are not welcome in engaging in or initiating discussion here on AikiWeb.

Emphasis mine. At the risk of being chided for not taking this to the Feedback forum, I think there's a significant difference in what Szczepan actually said and Jun's interpretation.

Shadowfax
01-07-2010, 08:24 AM
I'll be honest. My impression of those statements matches Jun's.

This forum is often hard on new people. It was rough on me too at first. But lately I've been noticing a lot more frequently lower kyu's getting beat on for trying to share their thoughts.

This poor guy is excited about what he is learning. No doubt as he trains his understanding will get deeper as I have found mine is. Instead of bashing him over the head for saying something you disagree with you might try sharing your own insights without all of the condescension and insults. He might even be more inclined to listen to you that way. Lord knows those I see who act so ridiculously I tend to not bother to look to for information.

I have found great value in reading. Linda and I have read many of the same books. Can reading make my aikido good? No but it can help me have more understanding of what martial arts and budo is about and what aikido is about. Actually I like to read life experiences of martial artists. I avoid the technique books. Those things I learn in the dojo.

Mark Gibbons
01-07-2010, 10:17 AM
.... I'm trusting in faith of the experienced to guide me in my new endeavor. ....

Usually I hope my seniors will deliver appropriate attacks so that I have the opportunity to learn something. You might have received some of those opportunities in this thread. :)

Appropriate defined as "Causing no unintended pain".

Regards,
Mark

Eugene Leslie
01-07-2010, 06:45 PM
*snip* until you define your terms, you cannot expect people to comply with them.

AI KI DO

Carsten Möllering
01-08-2010, 02:27 AM
Hi
AI KI DO
I am not quite sure what do you want to expess by writing this?
Is this a definition of terms or ...?

I will try to ak some questions:

First: The way you arrange the syllables, representing the kanji of aikido, is different from the way I arrange them when writing them in romanji.
I understand our practice or the art of Ueshiba Morihei as Aiki Do.
And again aiki can be understood in different ways.

Next: Do you understand "ai" as "love" or do you understand it the way the original kanji of aikido means?
How can we being westerner/christians ... adapt terms of harmony/blending ... which are based in a shintoistic/buddhistic worldview?

Further on: How do you understand "ki"? It depends on the style of aikido you practice: Do you deal with "ki" the way it is done in Shin shin toitsu do/aikido or do you undertand/practice it in other ways?
What is ki in your eyes?

Finally: What concept of "do" do you have? Do you understand it as "dao". And if so, how can you connect/relate this to your western worldview?

In my eyes ai ki do is not a definition, but a question.

Greetings,
Carsten

oisin bourke
01-08-2010, 03:21 AM
Hi Phil,

As a beginner, you have no idea what you are talking about.For the moment you can only say : 'Yes, sensei!'. All your intellectual concepts are wrong. I strongly suggest go back to the dojo and train harder. 3 times a day. 20 years. Then come back here and tell us your thoughts on Aikido.

Don't take offence when you read it. :D Aikido taught me to be honest.

IMO, this "shut up and train" attitude is responsible for a lot of the ills that plague modern Aikido. You have a fairly sizeable portion of the "senior" generation of Aikidoka with wrecked bodies and mediocre technique despite decades of dedicated study because, in part, they weren't encouraged to ask the right questions.

No offence:)

Eugene Leslie
01-09-2010, 04:40 PM
Hi

I am not quite sure what do you want to expess by writing this?
Is this a definition of terms or ...?

I will try to ak some questions:

First: The way you arrange the syllables, representing the kanji of aikido, is different from the way I arrange them when writing them in romanji.
I understand our practice or the art of Ueshiba Morihei as Aiki Do.
And again aiki can be understood in different ways.

Next: Do you understand "ai" as "love" or do you understand it the way the original kanji of aikido means?
How can we being westerner/christians ... adapt terms of harmony/blending ... which are based in a shintoistic/buddhistic worldview?

Further on: How do you understand "ki"? It depends on the style of aikido you practice: Do you deal with "ki" the way it is done in Shin shin toitsu do/aikido or do you undertand/practice it in other ways?
What is ki in your eyes?

Finally: What concept of "do" do you have? Do you understand it as "dao". And if so, how can you connect/relate this to your western worldview?

In my eyes ai ki do is not a definition, but a question.

Greetings,
Carsten

You seem very knowledgeable and I have read your post with a receptive heart. You bring up good points and they make me delve deeper and question things so I thank-you.
My view is not so deep and profound: I'm not writing a thesis.
I've been frustrated in trying to explain myself when "pressed" about my comment of joining Aikido for spiritual reasons.

I thought by just stating the name of the martial art I've recently become passionate about, I could explain and quell the barrage.

While we're on the subject I'll view this as an opportunity to learn and I will answer your questions best I can in the hopes of creating informative, friendly dialogue.

I know the definition of "kanji" and it's my understanding that not only can one kanji have multiple meanings but that they crossover into different oriental languages as well.

AI Harmony or blending. I think it's a bit presumptuous to peg me as a western christian (though you are correct) in this day and age of globalism and multi-culturalism.
As far as understanding the quiet, reflective, meditative world-view of Shintoism and Buddhism I think after all the warfare of our ancestors: your Teutonic Knight ancestors and my Anglo-Saxon forefathers;) (and I agree there wasn't much harmony); the world is finally realizing a modicum of understanding and peace to where we can understand these principles.

KI Spirit or energy. I won't even approach this one with a ten foot pole because this site isn't large enough for the arguement. Circulating life energy: anywhere from life-force to auras to midiclorians in the blood if you attend the church of Star Wars; but I have taken kung-fu (chi) and I have experienced the benefits of combining "it" with technique, thought and breathing; especially in "heavy" vs. "light" department. I've seen many demonstations of amazing feats so enough to say I believe and maybe if I train long enough and supplement with meditation I'll gain enough wisdom to descibe the definition of KI in my eyes. (Thanks for bringing Shin Shin Toitsu Do to my attention).

DO Path or Way. Not the "religion" of Daoism.

I'm practicing "rejecting" my "western" view and ego so I prefer not to connect or relate the two views of occidental and oriental; just self-discovery without the FEAR of governmental, religious and economic control

The following quote is from the Aikikai Foundation Website and it sums up what i've been trying to comment on from the get-go.

Sincerely; Gene...over and out.

"Since contemporary values stress respect for human life, Aikido is a highly relevant form of the Japanese martial arts. Aikido is popular not just in Japan but throughout the world because people accept and agree with the underlying philosophy of Aikido".

allowedcloud
01-09-2010, 08:02 PM
The original poster will likely never post to Aikiweb again...

mickeygelum
01-09-2010, 09:01 PM
At the risk of being chided for not taking this to the Feedback forum, I think there's a significant difference in what Szczepan actually said and Jun's interpretation.

Ms Malmros and All,

I agree.

Case in point, two weeks ago this site was overrun, in my opinion, by neophytic opinion and assertions, now where are they?

Whether there was administrative intervention, or bowed out on their own really does not matter. I do know that two individuals, combined martial arts training totals 65 plus years, were chastised and punished. I was one of them.

I have no qualms with Aikiweb or its' administration, but at what point do we not stand and tell the truth.

Respect to All,

Mickey

Linda Eskin
01-10-2010, 01:17 PM
This has been a very interesting discussion, with a lot of food for though from many points of view. Thank you to everyone who has posted. I've got a lot from hearing your thoughts, and especially from going over them again this morning.

Here's something relevant I read last night, from "The Secret Teachings of Aikido" by Morihei Ueshiba (O Sensei) - which coincidentally arrived about the time this thread was getting started. I have not started to read the book yet, but in the preface Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba says:

"...
Although the practice of Aikido has become widespread, however, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the philosophy of the art have occurred. It is our responsibility to present the true spirit of Aikido, not just its physical aspects, in order to further, and correctly advance, the cause of Aikido in contemporary society.
...
I will be very happy if those who are engaged in heartfelt Aikido training make this book of the Founder's lessons their daily companion and study his words often. This was also the sincere hope of the Founder and the second Doshu Kisshomaru, who are surely please by the publication of this international edition of The Secret Teachings of Aikido."

Doshu makes no reference to any level of proficiency or number or years' training one should achieve before reading the Founder's words, or for that matter before presenting the true spirit of Aikido. He doesn't specify which ranks he means when he says "It is our responsibility..."

Perhaps the more experienced students among us here could offer guidance on these matters for those of us who have only started on this path recently?

Also, regarding the advice to "train harder," specifically what is meant by that? My initial banal and probably incorrect interpretation would be to train with more force, more aerobically, for more hours. I'm guessing something more (or entirely different) is implied.

Domo.

lbb
01-10-2010, 04:47 PM
Doshu makes no reference to any level of proficiency or number or years' training one should achieve before reading the Founder's words, or for that matter before presenting the true spirit of Aikido. He doesn't specify which ranks he means when he says "It is our responsibility..."

A while back, I told myself that I had had my say on this thread and that I was done with it, that anything else I said would only be repeating myself...but the persistent misunderstanding of the comments about reading, such as the comment quoted here, have gotten me to renege on that promise. The message isn't, "Don't read", and it certainly isn't, "You may only read when you've trained x years and achieved y rank." The message, as I see it, is that when you are a beginner, reading isn't going to help you, and may in fact only serve to confuse or mislead you. Once again, as with my most recent comment, I see a significant and nontrivial difference between these two points. It's necessary to paraphrase in order to address one another's points; however, in doing so, we need to be very careful not to alter the core meaning of each other's statements.

Linda Eskin
01-10-2010, 06:57 PM
Thank you Mary. I value your experience, and really appreciate your jumping back into the conversation.

I told myself the same thing (about being done with this thread), but then came across that preface by Doshu, which led me to revisit the posts. I did not want to leave the impression here that I had been asked to leave, or had bowed out on my own either.

I didn't intend to paraphrase anything you had said. It was someone else who responded to me directly, saying "What arrogance!" for suggesting reading, and went on to add that "No, Linda, as you can see, reading books doesn't do any good."

It was an author whose words led me to begin practicing Aikido, and I feel I've benefitted from the variety of reading I've done. So when another beginner, Eugene, asked "Can someone direct me to a website or literature..." my reply was to suggest to him what worked for me "... find any books that sound interesting to you, that get decent reviews on Amazon, and read them. Get a lot of points of view. It helps me learn to learn - what to look for, questions to keep in mind - if that makes sense."

I can see your point about how for some people, reading could be confusing or misleading, especially (my thoughts only, not intending to tag this onto your words) if one has little life experience, or poor critical thinking skills. Of course the same could be said for reading what people post here, watching videos, or for that matter choosing a dojo and sensei. In every case one has to make some judgment about whether the information is sound, and whether the source is to be trusted.

How we practice Aikido, how we learn about Aikido, and what we gain from that practice and study are all questions that interest me. I'm grateful for your thoughts, and I am keen to hear what others have to say, too.

gdandscompserv
01-10-2010, 07:46 PM
Ms Malmros and All,

I agree.

Case in point, two weeks ago this site was overrun, in my opinion, by neophytic opinion and assertions, now where are they?

Whether there was administrative intervention, or bowed out on their own really does not matter. I do know that two individuals, combined martial arts training totals 65 plus years, were chastised and punished. I was one of them.

I have no qualms with Aikiweb or its' administration, but at what point do we not stand and tell the truth.

Respect to All,

Mickey
Those darn varmits!
http://www.sandmtnshootersclub.com/yosemite.gif
:D

lbb
01-10-2010, 08:01 PM
I can see your point about how for some people, reading could be confusing or misleading, especially (my thoughts only, not intending to tag this onto your words) if one has little life experience, or poor critical thinking skills.

Well...I had a jodo sensei once who said, to a student who was intellectualizing his experience, "Don't think -- do!" I think that was good advice -- yeah, it was a "shut up and train", and it was absolutely appropriate. Furthermore, I think that that's advice that applies very widely -- almost universally. I don't think it's just "some people", but the large majority of people -- as close to "everyone" as makes no difference -- who need a lot of doing to anchor a very little thinking, and that if you don't keep the proportion of doing to thinking waaaaay high, that's where the confusion comes in.

That's why I don't read aikido theory, and I avoid esoteric-sounding metaphors like "extend your ki" in favor of very concrete descriptions of mechanics. Of course the mechanics aren't all there is to it, but aikido is performed by physical bodies, and if we can't understand the mechanics -- if we aren't firmly grounded in the mechanics, by virtue of a great deal of practice -- what hope do we have of using the metaphors in a meaningful way, instead of just parroting them because they sound like the right thing to say? I'm not against books; I love to read. But aikido is a physical practice, not an esoteric practice, and I've only got a few years at it. I might be able to suck up some theory now and not be confused by it, but OTOH I don't need it, at least not at this point -- my practice is continuing to progress without it just fine. That being the case, I guess I'm just disinclined to mess with something that's working.

p.s. Now, of course, would be the time for you (or anyone reading) to point to the example of martial artists of the past who went off and meditated and thought and searched for answers until they had some brilliant revelation that made them All That. One good example that I know about is the legend of Muso Gonnosuke, who founded the Shindo Muso-ryu after meditating on his defeat by Musashi and receiving a vision that led to the creation of the jo and jojutsu. If you just read that part of the story, it sounds like meditating is a shortcut to martial arts prowess...except that leaves out all the years that Muso trained prior to his period of seclusion. In addition, if you believe the legend, Muso's seclusion wasn't all chanting and meditation and other esoteric practices -- he spent plenty of time training as well. So, yes, maybe it's the case that if you meditate real hard, a kami will come and, like Muso, tell you to "know your opponent's solar plexus with the round stick" -- but I have a feeling that throughout history, revelations like these have come to those who had a framework of past experience that allowed them to put the revelation to some useful purpose.

Pardon the ramble...

mickeygelum
01-10-2010, 08:01 PM
Mr. Wood,

That's is truly funny...thanks for the laugh..;)

Train well,

Mickey

Linda Eskin
01-10-2010, 08:15 PM
...That's why I don't read aikido theory, and I avoid esoteric-sounding metaphors like "extend your ki" in favor of very concrete descriptions of mechanics...

Pardon the ramble...

Thank you for the ramble. :) It is much appreciated.

I agree entirely on the issue of not trying to learn how to *do* Aikido from books. That would be like trying learn to sing or dance from a book.

The reading I have found most helpful and interesting has been about martial history and culture, lineages, various people's personal experiences of discovering and practicing Aikido, what it's like to be an uchi deshi, the meanings of items and activities in the dojo environment, and so on.

Thanks again, Mary. (And Ricky, that was hilarious. :p )

C. David Henderson
01-11-2010, 11:48 AM
The message isn't, "Don't read", and it certainly isn't, "You may only read when you've trained x years and achieved y rank." The message, as I see it, is that when you are a beginner, reading isn't going to help you, and may in fact only serve to confuse or mislead you.

There are a couple of aspects of "beginner" that are relevant here, IMO.

The aspect of being a beginner that I think Mary was focused on is spelled out very clearly in her next post.

To me, being a "thinker" on the mat is like relying on physical strength in learning Aikido -- the individual has come to believe that a certain quality they perceive in themselves is an asset in dealing with life situations, and habitually rely on that quality even when it does not serve them well.

It can sound equally paradoxical when a thoughtful or physically strong person begins training in Aikido and hears "don't rely on your understanding," or "don't rely on your strength." I think the apparent paradox stems from the unrealized need to break from old patterns. (Relevant disclosure: I still hear both messages myself).

Just as practice ought to offer a different and more supple kind of "strength" over time, so too ought it offer a different, arguably more supple and immediate, way to "understand." And just as the strong person repeatedly will discover their pre-existing way of using "strength" is a handicap, the intellectualizing person repeatedly will find themselves stuck in a perceptual well and trying to react to a moment that already has, for practical purposes, swept on by.

Another aspect of being a beginner applies to the student "of" aikido as an intellectual subject. We all start learning the corpus of what has been written about Aikido from an arbitrary point, and our partial knowledge may well be different and/or appear more certain than it would from the vantage of having read (or practiced) for a longer time (preferably, I believe with the kind of ratio of practice-to-thought that Mary described).

Compared to many who post here, I consider myself still a beginner on both levels on most issues. As for the value of these forums, one for me lies in a wealth of detailed information provided by those who have spent many years studying and practicing. Another is a greater appreciation for the multiplicity of legitimate meanings Aikido may have either as a practice or as an intellectual subject.

That said, I'm afraid my ratio of practice-to-thought just went askew....

FWIW

cdh

Eugene Leslie
01-16-2010, 12:07 PM
Well...I had a jodo sensei once who said, to a student who was intellectualizing his experience, "Don't think -- do!" I think that was good advice -- yeah, it was a "shut up and train", and it was absolutely appropriate. Furthermore, I think that that's advice that applies very widely -- almost universally. I don't think it's just "some people", but the large majority of people -- as close to "everyone" as makes no difference -- who need a lot of doing to anchor a very little thinking, and that if you don't keep the proportion of doing to thinking waaaaay high, that's where the confusion comes in.

That's why I don't read aikido theory, and I avoid esoteric-sounding metaphors like "extend your ki" in favor of very concrete descriptions of mechanics. Of course the mechanics aren't all there is to it, but aikido is performed by physical bodies, and if we can't understand the mechanics -- if we aren't firmly grounded in the mechanics, by virtue of a great deal of practice -- what hope do we have of using the metaphors in a meaningful way, instead of just parroting them because they sound like the right thing to say? I'm not against books; I love to read. But aikido is a physical practice, not an esoteric practice, and I've only got a few years at it. I might be able to suck up some theory now and not be confused by it, but OTOH I don't need it, at least not at this point -- my practice is continuing to progress without it just fine. That being the case, I guess I'm just disinclined to mess with something that's working.

That was a great post. I've been on this forum for a bit now and it's easily deduced by alot of your posts that you are an opponent to the thought of anything that would make Aikido anything but physical movements. The above quote sums up some good points but I have been around the block on my tricycle, have been in fights and USED to watch MMA, was critically pragmatic....but I know that Aikido does offer an underlying philosophy or (insert word here) that other forms of self-defense do not have. I agree that one should put in the time before seeing a golden fountain in the garden.
You made it clear that the opinions are yours so I really respect that which is why I read your posts with a receptive attitude.
I guess it comes down to why one is studying Aikido...a personal path or choice in the hopes of gaining something...
If it's only about mechanics...get a firearm....they're a wonder of physical mechanics......

lbb
01-16-2010, 02:52 PM
That was a great post. I've been on this forum for a bit now and it's easily deduced by alot of your posts that you are an opponent to the thought of anything that would make Aikido anything but physical movements

"easily deduced", hmm? That brings to mind the saying, "It ain't what you don't know that will get you, it's what you know that just ain't so."

I'm not an "opponent" to any way of thinking. I just think that some are more useful than others for a person in a given situation. Part of it is just the old saying about crawling before you walk and walking before you run. Saying that a six-month-old child would be better off doing some crawling does not make one an opponent of running, but when a six-month-old child tries to run and it ends in tears, no one should be very surprised.

The other part is what David Henderson said above (thanks for that post, by the way, David -- it was really well put). You've heard the expression "empty your cup", and clearly you understand what it means, at least in the same sense that I've always understood it, of setting aside previous knowledge so that new knowledge can take hold -- but I think David is pointing to an even deeper "emptying of the cup", in which you set aside your very way of learning. This is very difficult for adults, who feel the urge to demonstrate competence (even as beginners), or at the very least to try to categorize and systematize what it is they're learning, in ways that have been successful for them in the past. But David's right, just as old facts can get in the way of new ones if you insist on holding on to them and trying to make them relevant to the new information, so can old ways of learning completely prevent the adoption of new ways that are better ways to learn the new stuff. And yes, it is a new way of learning, although I don't think I'm going to convince you of that.

lbb
01-16-2010, 03:10 PM
Actually, you know what? Cancel all that (I just took a good look at you wrote and what I wrote, had a good laugh, and tried to delete it, but I'm beyond the 15 minute limit so I couldn't). I guess I'll just say that I'd love to show you your post in five years or so, and see what you think about it then.

mathewjgano
01-16-2010, 04:25 PM
Well...I had a jodo sensei once who said, to a student who was intellectualizing his experience, "Don't think -- do!" I think that was good advice -- yeah, it was a "shut up and train", and it was absolutely appropriate. Furthermore, I think that that's advice that applies very widely -- almost universally. I don't think it's just "some people", but the large majority of people -- as close to "everyone" as makes no difference -- who need a lot of doing to anchor a very little thinking, and that if you don't keep the proportion of doing to thinking waaaaay high, that's where the confusion comes in.

Well said, Mary! I can attest to what gets the most accomplished in "training" between thinking and doing: definately the doing. The mind organizes input and can help us to re-evaluate older, pre-existing sets of experience. However, without that experience, the mind is essentially blind.
For me the bottom line to learning Aikido has to do with the fact that to physically act well people pretty much always have to practice acting well ("doing things good," as one friend of mine would say). You can use insight to cut to the chase, but you still need to develop the muscle memory so you can perform the action without thinking it through. For a strong mind-body you have to have both mind and body as engaged as possible, and focusing on only one generally takes away from the other.

As it relates to vague phrases like "extend your ki," I come from a somewhat constructivist stance on learning coupled with a strong affinity for immersion tactics so I have no problem when people start telling me to do things I have little understanding of. It's demanding, but that's the beauty of the teaching tactic: it demands greater engagement which in turn promotes greater returns...theoretically. It does often require strong "scaffolding" to keep the student engaged and progressing (it's amazing how many people, when after thinking, "I don't get it," simply stop trying).