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niall
11-14-2010, 04:43 AM
I talked about the English naming of aikido in a blog post http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in-the-water-19051/naming-of-aikido-4049/. Finally I went with aikido is the way of truth. Maybe that's too heavy or too far from the physical martial art - so what is it for you?

Recently a Japanese budo teacher gave me his English copy of Budo - Techniques of the Founder, translated by John Stevens and published by Kodansha. I already have it so I will send my copy to the person who gives the best answer. It can be short or long, serious or not, definition or impression or memory or story - anything. If you don't actually do aikido 'Budo is...' is OK too.

Abasan
11-14-2010, 05:15 AM
Aikido I believe is one of many paths to the 'truth'. In fact anything worth learning is a path to the truth, be it mathematics, sciences, martial arts or even poetry.

Personally for me, Aikido is way to train my mind, heart and body. Especially the heart because, whilst the body can make the techniques work in certain conditions, the mind makes it even better and easier to perform, it is the heart that ultimately elevates the practice of Aikido beyond the physical wrestling of control and power.

In the end, out of the thousands of reasons to train, the heart of Aiki decides whether we will ultimately achieve the result.

Mark Uttech
11-14-2010, 05:42 AM
Onegaishimasu, Aikido is ageless harmony.

In gassho,

Mark

Mark Freeman
11-14-2010, 05:49 AM
For me, Aikido is 'effortless struggle'

regards

Mark

SeiserL
11-14-2010, 06:33 AM
A tool and opportunity.
Nothing more.
What I make of it is up to me.

dps
11-14-2010, 07:19 AM
Aikido is bujutsu, ( physical practice of an art or science of war), for self defense. It can be used as one tool in a toolbox of other martial arts.

It can be used in a larger context of budo ( culturally, a Japanese way of life for warriors).

It can be part of a way of living that helps to understand the relationship between ethics, religion, and philosophy.

Batteries not included.

dps

guest1234567
11-14-2010, 07:46 AM
I already put kind of an answer to this in "Real aikido is not just for the dojo" Maybe I can add something.
With aikido I'm not just training my body, but also my mind: I must concentrate, and my heart connecting with uke. I always thought you must treat uke as your best friend he lends you his body to train, if there is no uke you cannot train, if you treat him bad he likely will hide from you when you are looking for someone to train.
Aikido changed my whole life. At work, before aikido I got stressed when I saw how it accumulates and I could not finish because of so much phone calls that prevent my concentration, now I go calm step by step knowing that I always will have enough time to finish everything. In my house beeing relaxed delegating on my children more responsibility, it is also good for them, nobody will do their work when they'll have their own home. I became stronger not only in the physically aspect but in my character, more confident in myself to deal with everything.
In my naiveté I thought all aikidokas got the same of Aikido, but meanwhile I unfortunately knew many aikidokas who were lets say not that good as a human beeing, their aikido does not come from their heart, if they progress adequately? only they will know.
Finally I like to share this, Niall I know you like to compare with music, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html
one of the greatest violinist in the world playing incognito outside a metro station and only a few people stopped to enjoy the beautiful sound. Like Aikido you must also listen to the music with your heart, if people in their hurry would have done it, they would have enjoy one great moment. So listen and do Aikido with your heart, searching the truth and beeing sincere and honest.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-14-2010, 11:26 AM
Aikido is... whatever you want it to be.

Gorgeous George
11-14-2010, 12:30 PM
...the way to join the individual will with the universal will.

In other words: the way of the universe.

Aikibu
11-14-2010, 12:45 PM
FUN!!! :)

William Hazen

Demetrio Cereijo
11-14-2010, 12:54 PM
...the way to join the individual will with the universal will.

In other words: the way of the universe.

Does this (individual will joined to universal will) implies a form of determinism?

Flintstone
11-14-2010, 01:20 PM
Does this (individual will joined to universal will) implies a form of determinism?
Nihilism, I would say.

Keith Larman
11-14-2010, 01:41 PM
Aikido is an art so nebulously defined that it has become the equivalent of a Rorschach test for the belief system of the person studying the art.

Flintstone
11-14-2010, 02:37 PM
Wow, Keith. Just wow. I mean, I agree 100%, but yet there's people insisting in that Aikido is their own interpretation of their Rorschach test.

Ketsan
11-14-2010, 03:47 PM
*draws a large circle* Whatever that is to you.


OR

What the guys at Aikikai hombu say it is. Which probably means most of us aren't studying Aikido and so the question becomes pointless.

Ketsan
11-14-2010, 03:48 PM
Aikido is an art so nebulously defined that it has become the equivalent of a Rorschach test for the belief system of the person studying the art.
:D

lbb
11-14-2010, 05:42 PM
Aikido is the elephant that the blind people are trying to describe.

graham christian
11-14-2010, 07:16 PM
I talked about the English naming of aikido in a blog post http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in-the-water-19051/naming-of-aikido-4049/. Finally I went with aikido is the way of truth. Maybe that's too heavy or too far from the physical martial art - so what is it for you?

Recently a Japanese budo teacher gave me his English copy of Budo - Techniques of the Founder, translated by John Stevens and published by Kodansha. I already have it so I will send my copy to the person who gives the best answer. It can be short or long, serious or not, definition or impression or memory or story - anything. If you don't actually do aikido 'Budo is...' is OK too.

For me Aikido is the way to true self. We are all spirit with a mind and a body and it is only due to our lack of awareness that we sink into believing we are a body with a mind and a spirit.

Harmony is of the spirit. Ki is of the spirit. The way is to practice these principles of the true self in order to realign and rehabillitate and restore your true self.

Believe only in physical and you become just a body.

Believe only in mind and you become a robot, a database, a clever but not intelligent identity.

Take responsibility for spirit and you at last are beginning to take responsibility for yourself and how to get yourself your mind and your body co-ordinated.

Aikido helps in this journey.

Such is my faith. G.

Gorgeous George
11-14-2010, 07:23 PM
Does this (individual will joined to universal will) implies a form of determinism?

Possibly...you'll have to explain your question a little, though, before I can know exactly what you mean, and answer accordingly.

Flintstone
11-15-2010, 02:09 AM
What the guys at Aikikai hombu say it is.
Why so?

Demetrio Cereijo
11-15-2010, 08:33 AM
Possibly...you'll have to explain your question a little, though, before I can know exactly what you mean, and answer accordingly.

If the individidual will has joined the universal will, then the individual has lost his own free will.

Is losing your free will what is aikido about in your definition?

Andrew Macdonald
11-15-2010, 08:54 AM
aikido is

mathewjgano
11-15-2010, 10:58 AM
If the individidual will has joined the universal will, then the individual has lost his own free will.

Is losing your free will what is aikido about in your definition?
I don't think joining with universal will means completely losing individual free will...at least not a whole lot more so than joining anything else that has an effect on behavior. Do cops lose free will when they join the will of law? Did Yoda lose free will in becoming one with the force? If I do something for/with you, have I lost free will?
My will might be affected/changed, but not lost. Perhaps Aikido is learning how to be a part of something bigger than you without losing yourself to it: in joining with Great Nature (universal will?) we consciously move with it instead of unconciously being moved by it. In this sense I see it as increasing the freedom of my will.

Flintstone
11-15-2010, 12:07 PM
I don't think joining with universal will means completely losing individual free will...at least not a whole lot more so than joining anything else that has an effect on behavior. Do cops lose free will when they join the will of law? Did Yoda lose free will in becoming one with the force? If I do something for/with you, have I lost free will?
My will might be affected/changed, but not lost. Perhaps Aikido is learning how to be a part of something bigger than you without losing yourself to it: in joining with Great Nature (universal will?) we consciously move with it instead of unconciously being moved by it. In this sense I see it as increasing the freedom of my will.
Can you obtain that through painting, dancing or playing music? If the answer is yes, does it still keep defining what Aikido is?

Demetrio Cereijo
11-15-2010, 12:24 PM
Matthew,

Then you consider things like the Law, the Force, the Great Nature or the Universe (human mind constructs) having will.

Is the will of these constructs free? If is not and we join our individual free will (of course assumming we have it) to their's, how that can be seen as an increase or our free will?

Ketsan
11-15-2010, 01:43 PM
Why so?

Because they can claim the closest links with O-Sensei. That's not to say that they actually know better than anyone else but in a world where for every ten students of O-Sensei there are at least eleven ideas about Aikido...............

C. David Henderson
11-15-2010, 01:44 PM
[QUOTE][Is the will of these constructs free? If is not and we join our individual free will (of course assumming we have it) to their's, how that can be seen as an increase or our free will?[//QUOTE]
Fuzzy math?

David Board
11-15-2010, 01:59 PM
Aikido is an Aikido is an Aikido is an Aikido.

MM
11-15-2010, 02:26 PM
I am aiki

Flintstone
11-15-2010, 02:59 PM
Because they can claim the closest links with O-Sensei. That's not to say that they actually know better than anyone else but in a world where for every ten students of O-Sensei there are at least eleven ideas about Aikido...............
I don't believe technically wise they are any closer to O Sensei than say Shodokan's Tomiki, Yoshinkan's Shioda, Yoseikan's Mochizuki, Iwama Ryu's Saito, etc, none of then (but Saito, but then...) belonged to the Aikikai. No, Aikido is certainly not what Aikikai wants it to be.

phitruong
11-15-2010, 03:44 PM
..like a box of chocolate. youse never gonna know what you gonna git.... :D

hear on the radio this morning that Canadians preferred butterscotch over chocolate, eh.

mathewjgano
11-15-2010, 04:25 PM
Can you obtain that through painting, dancing or playing music? If the answer is yes, does it still keep defining what Aikido is?

If there is some thing that can be described as the universal will, then I would guess it could be sought through a lot of different sets of behavior, not just Aikido.
I think it probably defined a large part of what :ai: :ki: :do: meant to O Sensei. Different people will define it differently. As to who is the most correct...well, I'm still working on my connection to the speck of universe immediately adjacent to me, so I'm not in much of a position to judge.

Flintstone
11-15-2010, 04:33 PM
If there is some thing that can be described as the universal will, then I would guess it could be sought through a lot of different sets of behavior, not just Aikido.
So then that won't define what Aikido is.

mathewjgano
11-15-2010, 05:07 PM
Then you consider things like the Law, the Force, the Great Nature or the Universe (human mind constructs) having will.
No, just that they are somewhat analogous. Strictly speaking I don't think the law has a will of it's own, but it does reflect a complex collection of wills; the Force is of course very real and awesome; and I'm not sure if the Universe/Great Nature has will/intent. If it does it's a little beyond me at the moment.

Is the will of these constructs free? If is not and we join our individual free will (of course assumming we have it) to their's, how that can be seen as an increase or our free will?
Strictly speaking, I don't think anyone has Free Will. We have our choices in any given situation, based on whatever we happen to comprehend of it and/or to have prepared for it.
If you and someone else join your wills together, does freedom to act in some way increase or decrease? It depends on the nature of the relationship/connection and the context it finds itself in.

So then that won't define what Aikido is.

Not by itself, no. "Aikido" is not equivalant to "universal will." The main thing unique to Aikido I can see would be the historical attributes. It's unique like elements are unique: composed of very similar stuff in different proportions.
...Not that I'm in much of a position to know one way or the other.

Ketsan
11-15-2010, 05:53 PM
I don't believe technically wise they are any closer to O Sensei than say Shodokan's Tomiki, Yoshinkan's Shioda, Yoseikan's Mochizuki, Iwama Ryu's Saito, etc, none of then (but Saito, but then...) belonged to the Aikikai. No, Aikido is certainly not what Aikikai wants it to be.

I don't disagree, I was being ironic. :) I honestly regard any attempt to define Aikido as being meaningless because I don't think there really is such a thing as Aikido outside a grouping of similar looking kata.

And those kata aren't even executed the same way or for the same reasons, different groups do them according to the perculiarites of their group so there isn't a uniform skillset. We can't even agree on the names of the kata or even if they are kata.

So I suppose the only definition that works is "An art the practioner believes was founded by Morihei Ueshiba."

Flintstone
11-15-2010, 06:50 PM
I honestly regard any attempt to define Aikido as being meaningless because I don't think there really is such a thing as Aikido outside a grouping of similar looking kata.
Uhmmm... Are those kata a representation of some general principles? Maybe we can define it like a grouping of similar kata displaying a unique set of principals.

And those kata aren't even executed the same way or for the same reasons, different groups do them according to the perculiarites of their group so there isn't a uniform skillset. We can't even agree on the names of the kata or even if they are kata.
Agreed about kata or not kata, and different ways of performing. But what is (should) be similar is said uniform (internal?) skillset, IMHO.

So I suppose the only definition that works is "An art the practioner believes was founded by Morihei Ueshiba."
That's a good one. Then... did Aikido not exist before O Sensei? I mean, of course, if we define it as that skillset I mentioned before. Didn't those skills predate Ueshiba? Uhmmmm... Aikido, what Aikido? ;)

Ketsan
11-15-2010, 09:35 PM
[QUOTE]Uhmmm... Are those kata a representation of some general principles? Maybe we can define it like a grouping of similar kata displaying a unique set of principals.

Agreed about kata or not kata, and different ways of performing. But what is (should) be similar is said uniform (internal?) skillset, IMHO.

I don't think so. I think, based on my experience, that the similarities are only skin deep. In my dojo there are three different styles of Aikido taught. There's the old stuff taught by Chiba, the new "hombu style" stuff and the body mechnics intense stuff we call "witchcraft." To my thinking none of these have anything in common on a principle level although Chiba's stuff is a good place to start on witchcraft because it provides a useful framework IMHO.

Chiba's is all about hips, timing, posture and positioning.
The hombu style stuff I don't think has any principles, uke does everything and the witchcraft I find difficult to describe.
You can't really IMO learn it with a co-operative uke because you need to constantly test that you're relaxed and that your body is moving as a collective whole with everything connected to your centre. My instructor basically makes 1st kyu (he only teaches the 1st kyus this stuff for some reason) training one giant push test only we get to push too.

So IMO there are no common principles underpinning how we do our kata regardless of style. We don't all have the same skills even within an association. I can't see how that doesn't generalise across all of Aikido we just don't all train in the same way for the same things.

That's a good one. Then... did Aikido not exist before O Sensei? I mean, of course, if we define it as that skillset I mentioned before. Didn't those skills predate Ueshiba? Uhmmmm... Aikido, what Aikido? ;)

Is anyone claiming that O-Sensei invented anything new martially speaking? No, he reorganised what he'd been taught and apparently failed to pass on most of the skills he had in the process. How many Aikidoka have internal skills? Either that was deliberate or he simply wasn't that good a teacher.

Same goes with the philosophy. How many Aikidoka understand his philosophy? How many shihan can claim the enlightenment Ueshiba supposedly had? Of them how many of their students are more spiritually advanced than average people?
I got into a discussion in another thread which referenced how Araki Ryu retrains the student psychologically "and perhaps neurologically." Is there anything like that in Aikido to teach the mindset of love and compassion we're supposed to learn? And if so how come we have the worst politics of any martial art?

Gorgeous George
11-16-2010, 12:39 AM
If the individidual will has joined the universal will, then the individual has lost his own free will.

Is losing your free will what is aikido about in your definition?

Ah: I see what you meant.

It's an equivocation: I didn't mean will in the sense of 'free will': I meant it in the sense that Schopenhauer would use it.

Essentially, there is the Zen belief that we lose our 'Buddha nature' - our natural state of being; a natural state of being that every part of the universe has, but which we lose because we can - and do - deliberate about things.
Hence why some people speak of aikido as 'misogi': a form of purification.

'A fish swimming as a fish, a bird flying as a bird...'

If we do what is natural, we will be in accord (harmony) with the rest of the universe; to do what is unnatural, is to be disconnected from the rest of the universe/nature.

Flintstone
11-16-2010, 05:09 AM
I don't think so. I think, based on my experience, that the similarities are only skin deep. In my dojo there are three different styles of Aikido taught. There's the old stuff taught by Chiba, the new "hombu style" stuff and the body mechnics intense stuff we call "witchcraft." To my thinking none of these have anything in common on a principle level although Chiba's stuff is a good place to start on witchcraft because it provides a useful framework IMHO.
I know what you mean or so I believe. You are describing three different things: Aikido techniques as performed by a true master; Aiki-dance; and the witchcraft that maybe are the true skillset I was referring too.

Chiba's is all about hips, timing, posture and positioning.
Good Jujutsu in its exterior form, but surely full of Aiki inside. I never touched Chiba Sensei but have only good references about him. His videos (while you cannot feel it) seems to display internal strength (whatever that is if I ever felt it).

The hombu style stuff I don't think has any principles, uke does everything (...)
Which, IMHO, is not Aikido. Uke's role should limit to give a good attack, and by "good" I don't mean "commited". If uke is to "keep connection" or has any other role in the communication, then tori is not managing uke, IMO. So that cannot be Aikido as in "Aikido lets you control uke from the instant he decides to attack" (one alternative definition for it).

(...) and the witchcraft I find difficult to describe.
You can't really IMO learn it with a co-operative uke because you need to constantly test that you're relaxed and that your body is moving as a collective whole with everything connected to your centre. My instructor basically makes 1st kyu (he only teaches the 1st kyus this stuff for some reason) training one giant push test only we get to push too.
Looks like internal body mechanics from your description. I believe that is the core skillset of Aiki-Do (the "aiki"), as opposed to Ai-Ki-Do (the "harmony with the Universe" thing).

So IMO there are no common principles underpinning how we do our kata regardless of style. We don't all have the same skills even within an association. I can't see how that doesn't generalise across all of Aikido we just don't all train in the same way for the same things.
It's my known opinion that all those three "styles" are not Aikido. Not all of them. Chiba's is the technical demonstration of Aikido, its outer form (with its internals obviously not readily displayed), Aikikai's is not Aikido at all (IMHO, one more time), and the witchcraft is the core skillset that defines "Aiki", without which we are doing "just" Jujutsu. Great Jujutsu maybe, but the techniques themselves are only that, an outer representation of the core witchcraft.

Is anyone claiming that O-Sensei invented anything new martially speaking? No, he reorganised what he'd been taught and apparently failed to pass on most of the skills he had in the process. How many Aikidoka have internal skills? Either that was deliberate or he simply wasn't that good a teacher.
Right to the point. I agree 100%. Personally I believe he was not that great a teacher. Tohei had to look for the witchcraft somewhere else, I believe Shioda got it from Takumakai, Mochizuki's martial genius got him there too as well as Tomiki. Saito, Chiba et al. stole it from Ueshiba as I see it. Geez! even Ueshiba didn't get it from Takeda (or so knowing people say!) I don't know if Hisa got it from Ueshiba, but let me guess he got it from Takeda. I don't believe Kisshomaru got it at all...

Same goes with the philosophy. How many Aikidoka understand his philosophy? How many shihan can claim the enlightenment Ueshiba supposedly had? Of them how many of their students are more spiritually advanced than average people?
For understanding said philosophy... first we must set it clear that it had nothing to do with the mainstream "zen" philosophy that surrounds most of the Aikido I have seen (at least in my part of the world). His philosophy is well known to be his own mixture of Shinto and Omotokyo. Since I'm not a Shintoist or an Omoto-ist, I don't aim to understand O Sensei's philosophy. I believe most Aikidoka will never understand too, and that's why they substitute it with Zen Buddhism. Not a bad thing to do, just not the real deal.

I got into a discussion in another thread which referenced how Araki Ryu retrains the student psychologically "and perhaps neurologically." Is there anything like that in Aikido to teach the mindset of love and compassion we're supposed to learn? And if so how come we have the worst politics of any martial art?
How do we develop that mindset of love and compassion? I don't know. But certainly first you must be competent and confident in your martial abilities before you aim for the pacifism thing. You cannot struggle to control your opponent without (permanent) damage if you cannot defend yourself in the first place. So maybe that love and compassion should come after many many years of martial practice. Did'n Ueshiba go down this very same exact road too? Love and compassion comes from power. Love and compassion without power will get us killed (in a sense)...

Or that's just my opinion on the matter ;) .

Mark Uttech
11-16-2010, 08:45 AM
Aikido is a Texas Bulls'eye.

niall
11-16-2010, 09:19 AM
I'm trying to stay clear of any bullets in this thread but even though I like this Mark I think it's probably texist :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_sharpshooter_fallacy

C. David Henderson
11-16-2010, 10:39 AM
It is neither what I supposed it to be yesterday nor, in all likelihood, what I might think it is tomorrow, despite the signposts all around.

Walter Martindale
11-16-2010, 10:45 AM
..like a box of chocolate. youse never gonna know what you gonna git.... :D

hear on the radio this morning that Canadians preferred butterscotch over chocolate, eh.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
This Canadian does NOT prefer butterscotch (yuk) over Chocolate (yum).
Walter

George S. Ledyard
11-16-2010, 02:10 PM
[QUOTE=Alejandro Villanueva;268288]
And if so how come we have the worst politics of any martial art?

Believe me, we don't have any worse politics than most other martial arts. However, one could plausibly maintain that we have the largest discrepancy between what we say are doing and what we are, in fact, doing.

What people fail to realize that Aikido was a lifelong "work in progress". Technically, the 1930's folks weren't even doing Aikido. It didn't start being Aikido until 1942 and that was during the war when almost no one was training. O-Sensei really created Aikido in its post war form during his time in Iwama working with Saito Sensei. That's why Saito was always the "source" for info about Aikido Kihon waza. But, it seems that, while the Founder was busy creating the outer form of the art during those years, the exercises the 30's guys did to develop internal power skills somehow drops out. I see no signs that Saito Sensei's Aikido had these exercises as a foundation. The only one of the 30's deshi who stayed with the Aikikai and called what he did Aikido was Shirata. He did internal power exercises as part of every class he taught at his dojo.

So- as we get into the post war period, this knowledge as a systematic teaching tool drops out as O-Sensei focused more and ore on the Spiritual side of the art. I think he was far more concerned with the idea of Aikido movement being the movement of the universe than he was with his students having the kind of integrated internal power he himself had.

One can't conclude that O-Sensei wasn't a good teacher nor is it realistic to say that all the 30's guys who were so amazing had to go elsewhere to get their stuff. I think it is absolutely important to understand that O-Sensei started off teaching Daito Ryu. The aforementioned 30's greats all had Daito Ryu certificates from O-Sensei. Later, he morphed it into Aiki Budo which is where he takes the skills and starts to integrate his spiritual ideas into the training.

It's not that the 30's guys didn't change with the Founder over time... You can see that none of them were doing Daito Ryu by the time there are films of them. They clearly developed their movement over time along with the Founder. The difference was that they had the internal skills as a foundation upon which they placed the larger movement of Aikido. Shirata was one of the earliest of the 30's deshi but one can see videos of him and it's clearly Aikido as we understand it that he's doing. But there is a "content" there that is often lacking in the later generation of post war teachers.

So, I think it is more the question of why didn't O-Sensei think it was important to teach these skills later when he clearly had originally. He was certainly frustrated by the fact that on some level his students "weren't doing his Aikido". But he didn't seem to have taken any direct action to correct that.

Everyone blames it all on poor Kisshomaru but I simply do not believe that. Kisshomaru was very serious and totally committed to trying to transmit the essence of the Founder's Aikido. So do we conclude that the son wasn't talking to his Father about this or that the Founder kept silent about what his son was doing, as if he weren't totally aware of what was happening? I don't believe it. If the Founder had thought that the post war folks at the Aiki were destroying his art he would have read them the riot act. K Ueshiba, Osawa, Arikawa, and company would have changed anything he told them to change. They were totally loyal to the Founder.

Now what I am not sure about was whether the Founder felt that perhaps he hadn't emphasized the right stuff with the folks from Saito on. Certainly they were far more responsive to his Spiritual ideas than the pre-war folks had been as a whole. And I think this reflects his interest and emphasis. But did he perhaps realize that he had neglected something crucial technically when he looked ta the fruits of his efforts at the end. I have no sense of whether he took any personal responsibility for the fact that his students may have had less skill on the technical side than he had wished.

I think that the students at the end of O-Sensei's life reflected the interests and emphasis he placed on his own Aikido at that time and the students fro the early part of his career reflected the same. I don't think it was accidental but I don't think it was fully intentional either. I can see this in what I am doing and we're only talking about 20 or so years. What I did with my students when I first opened my dojo is very different than what I do now. I have an entirely different set of things I am working on myself and I understand what I want to give my students much better. But it is still a work in progress. I have told my students that they are part of a great experiment. If I get it "wrong" I won't have a chance to redo it; they'll be stuck with the Aikido I have passed on and any changes they'll have to workout on their own when I am gone. I have the feeling that O-Sensei may not have been entirely happy with the relative emphasis he placed on the various elements that went into his Aikido in the transmission to his students. But it wasn't as if he could start over again.

chillzATL
11-16-2010, 04:28 PM
[QUOTE=Alex Lawrence;268291]

So, I think it is more the question of why didn't O-Sensei think it was important to teach these skills later when he clearly had originally. He was certainly frustrated by the fact that on some level his students "weren't doing his Aikido". But he didn't seem to have taken any direct action to correct that.



I don't think he showed them these things directly, like saying "here do this". I think he did them, and if they were serious and paid attention they could pick up on them if they wanted, but that's the pre-war guys, when Ueshiba was still developing himself. They had a hard playing model to feel and see and try to emulate every day.

Fast forward to post-war times, more specifically the 50's on.

Ueshiba is already developed. He's not doing the same things to build his power, because he already has his power. His aikido, along with his various breathing practices, meditations, etc, were his maintenance routines. So the post war guys were left with the final product to try and emulate, but none of the steps he went through to actually arrive at that point. So they end up emulating something that will never allow you to get to that point.

Ketsan
11-16-2010, 06:14 PM
[QUOTE=Alex Lawrence;268291]

Believe me, we don't have any worse politics than most other martial arts. However, one could plausibly maintain that we have the largest discrepancy between what we say are doing and what we are, in fact, doing.

What people fail to realize that Aikido was a lifelong "work in progress". Technically, the 1930's folks weren't even doing Aikido. It didn't start being Aikido until 1942 and that was during the war when almost no one was training. O-Sensei really created Aikido in its post war form during his time in Iwama working with Saito Sensei. That's why Saito was always the "source" for info about Aikido Kihon waza. But, it seems that, while the Founder was busy creating the outer form of the art during those years, the exercises the 30's guys did to develop internal power skills somehow drops out. I see no signs that Saito Sensei's Aikido had these exercises as a foundation. The only one of the 30's deshi who stayed with the Aikikai and called what he did Aikido was Shirata. He did internal power exercises as part of every class he taught at his dojo.

So- as we get into the post war period, this knowledge as a systematic teaching tool drops out as O-Sensei focused more and ore on the Spiritual side of the art. I think he was far more concerned with the idea of Aikido movement being the movement of the universe than he was with his students having the kind of integrated internal power he himself had.

One can't conclude that O-Sensei wasn't a good teacher nor is it realistic to say that all the 30's guys who were so amazing had to go elsewhere to get their stuff. I think it is absolutely important to understand that O-Sensei started off teaching Daito Ryu. The aforementioned 30's greats all had Daito Ryu certificates from O-Sensei. Later, he morphed it into Aiki Budo which is where he takes the skills and starts to integrate his spiritual ideas into the training.

It's not that the 30's guys didn't change with the Founder over time... You can see that none of them were doing Daito Ryu by the time there are films of them. They clearly developed their movement over time along with the Founder. The difference was that they had the internal skills as a foundation upon which they placed the larger movement of Aikido. Shirata was one of the earliest of the 30's deshi but one can see videos of him and it's clearly Aikido as we understand it that he's doing. But there is a "content" there that is often lacking in the later generation of post war teachers.

So, I think it is more the question of why didn't O-Sensei think it was important to teach these skills later when he clearly had originally. He was certainly frustrated by the fact that on some level his students "weren't doing his Aikido". But he didn't seem to have taken any direct action to correct that.

Everyone blames it all on poor Kisshomaru but I simply do not believe that. Kisshomaru was very serious and totally committed to trying to transmit the essence of the Founder's Aikido. So do we conclude that the son wasn't talking to his Father about this or that the Founder kept silent about what his son was doing, as if he weren't totally aware of what was happening? I don't believe it. If the Founder had thought that the post war folks at the Aiki were destroying his art he would have read them the riot act. K Ueshiba, Osawa, Arikawa, and company would have changed anything he told them to change. They were totally loyal to the Founder.

Now what I am not sure about was whether the Founder felt that perhaps he hadn't emphasized the right stuff with the folks from Saito on. Certainly they were far more responsive to his Spiritual ideas than the pre-war folks had been as a whole. And I think this reflects his interest and emphasis. But did he perhaps realize that he had neglected something crucial technically when he looked ta the fruits of his efforts at the end. I have no sense of whether he took any personal responsibility for the fact that his students may have had less skill on the technical side than he had wished.

I think that the students at the end of O-Sensei's life reflected the interests and emphasis he placed on his own Aikido at that time and the students fro the early part of his career reflected the same. I don't think it was accidental but I don't think it was fully intentional either. I can see this in what I am doing and we're only talking about 20 or so years. What I did with my students when I first opened my dojo is very different than what I do now. I have an entirely different set of things I am working on myself and I understand what I want to give my students much better. But it is still a work in progress. I have told my students that they are part of a great experiment. If I get it "wrong" I won't have a chance to redo it; they'll be stuck with the Aikido I have passed on and any changes they'll have to workout on their own when I am gone. I have the feeling that O-Sensei may not have been entirely happy with the relative emphasis he placed on the various elements that went into his Aikido in the transmission to his students. But it wasn't as if he could start over again.

Good post

Alex Megann
11-17-2010, 06:49 AM
The hombu style stuff I don't think has any principles, uke does everything...

Hmm... Have you ever taken ukemi from these guys?

I am intrigued - which particular Hombu Shihans are you thinking of?

Alex

C. David Henderson
11-17-2010, 02:18 PM
For understanding said philosophy... first we must set it clear that it had nothing to do with the mainstream "zen" philosophy that surrounds most of the Aikido I have seen (at least in my part of the world). His philosophy is well known to be his own mixture of Shinto and Omotokyo. Since I'm not a Shintoist or an Omoto-ist, I don't aim to understand O Sensei's philosophy. I believe most Aikidoka will never understand too, and that's why they substitute it with Zen Buddhism. Not a bad thing to do, just not the real deal.



FWIW, I believe Chiba Sensei has written about O Sensei's acceptance of his incorporation of zazen as a spritual basis for his aikido.

Just another data point.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-17-2010, 03:19 PM
Ah: I see what you meant.

It's an equivocation: I didn't mean will in the sense of 'free will': I meant it in the sense that Schopenhauer would use it.


Well, Schopernhauer was basically a determinist. Free will for Schopenhauer was an illusion.

Gorgeous George
11-17-2010, 07:52 PM
Well, Schopernhauer was basically a determinist. Free will for Schopenhauer was an illusion.

Perhaps. But he also believed that all beings - human and non-human, free and otherwise - had what he called a will, and he juxtaposed this with representation/phenomena.

Ian Keane
11-17-2010, 10:59 PM
...a little tweeting bird chirping in meadow.

...a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad.

niall
11-21-2010, 10:33 AM
A lot of great suggestions. Not as many as I expected about the martial side of aikido, maybe.

Two more suggestions. One of my friends used to say: Aikido is freedom

And I mentioned in another thread a very cool definition of yoga that an Indian budoka told me and I think it's just as applicable to aikido: Aikido is unity with reality

So I liked a lot of the suggestions almost equally but I finally decided to go with Mark Uttech's

Aikido is ageless harmony

(and I suggested timeless as a possible alternative to ageless - I like both).

Thanks to everyone who participated! :)

guest1234567
11-21-2010, 10:34 AM
Yes very nice:) I think it is the best

Benjamin Mehner
11-21-2010, 11:28 AM
To the OP:

Ai- harmony
Ki- umm, well, ki
Do- way

I would say it is "The Way of Harmonizing Ki", but if you really want to know what it is just grab the wrist of someone with much more experience than I and ask them to show you.

grondahl
11-21-2010, 11:40 AM
You should have checked the profile of the OP ;)

To the OP:

Ai- harmony
Ki- umm, well, ki
Do- way

I would say it is "The Way of Harmonizing Ki", but if you really want to know what it is just grab the wrist of someone with much more experience than I and ask them to show you.

Shadowfax
11-21-2010, 11:53 AM
Mere words cannot fully covey everything that aikido is because aikido is everything. :)

lbb
11-21-2010, 07:03 PM
Mere words cannot fully covey everything that aikido is because aikido is everything. :)

Aikido is a hot dog?
Aikido is a manatee?
Aikido is a locomotive?
Aikido is the color blue?
Aikido is Mozart's "Requiem"?
Aikido is all of these things, each of which existed before aikido was ever thought of?

Gorgeous George
11-21-2010, 07:09 PM
Aikido is a hot dog?
Aikido is a manatee?
Aikido is a locomotive?
Aikido is the color blue?
Aikido is Mozart's "Requiem"?
Aikido is all of these things, each of which existed before aikido was ever thought of?

...did the colour blue exist before 'colour' and 'blue' were ever thought of?

Benjamin Mehner
11-21-2010, 07:50 PM
You should have checked the profile of the OP ;)

I just did and am quite impressed, but I think you misunderstood me.

I didn't mean to suggest that the OP didn't know what the word Aikido literally means I was just trying to answer the question. I also didn't mean to imply that they are unskilled or inexperienced. I meant the proverbial "you" when I said that you should ask someone to show you what Aikido is by grabbing their wrist.

Just another case of things not coming across in a clear fashion over the internet. I'm just beginning my journey in the world of martial arts, and I feel humbled by the presence of so many great practitioners on this forum.

RED
11-21-2010, 10:34 PM
Aikido is a manatee?


What ISN'T a manatee?!!!:blush:

lbb
11-22-2010, 06:37 AM
Koan: an apparently nonsensical or paradoxical question whose contemplation is intended to break down barriers that typical deductive thought does not address.

Pseudo-koan: a deliberately nonsensical question that is intended to appear "zen", but that is in fact simple nonsense and an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of those who are afraid to be the first one to say that the emperor has no clothes.

Hanna B
11-22-2010, 11:56 AM
Aikido is the art that comes from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba.

Most other definitions are IMHO flowery descriptions that are true to some aikido practitioners and not to others. Most of these definitions of aikido lead to the unevitable conclusion that most people who say they practise aikido, actually don't.

MM
11-22-2010, 12:46 PM
Wonder if this is what Ueshiba would have replied. :D :freaky: :hypno:

Aiki is a body that is centrally held amidst infinite contradictory spirals. Aikido, then, is a person who has become aiki such that they become the bridge between microcosm and macrocosm.

A neutral atom has an equal number of protons and electrons. Protons have two up quarks and one down quark. A neutron has one up quark and two down quarks. A neutral atom is centrally held amidst contradictory forces.

The universe is the subatomic taken to a grand scale.

They are the beginning and the end and vice versa. By our very life, we are the bridge between. What happens within us, happens on the level of the atom. And what we do, in some small manner affects the Universe.

With aiki, we become centrally held amidst contradictory spirals in a world both interacting with us and within us. The one interacting becomes the ion. Where we go, they follow. As the Earth revolves, so it takes the moon. As the galaxy travels, it moves amidst the Universe. In that course, the interacting one becomes stable. An ion no more, but part of the centrally held contradictory equilibrium.

As you become the Universe, those interacting become part of a larger body. A body still centrally held, but ever expanding as those energies from interacting people expand. You begin to hold the Universe in your hara as you are the macrocosm while adhering to the microcosm of a neutral atom.

As you/Universe are stable, so then are those who interact with you. There is no crashing of planetary bodies, but a stable rotation around a centrally held body/you/Universe. There are no ions as all is a balanced charge. The energy in one direction equals the energy in the opposite direction.

By the correction of one's mind to becoming the Universe, peace is exhibited. Fear is banished and the Universe is in accord. This is the spiritual overlaying of the physical aiki, where one's body cannot be moved, one's body moves freely under pressure, and all forces are directed appropriately.

By becoming the Universe, one becomes both Heaven and Earth. Dual forces/contradictory forces centrally held amidst you. As you/Universe moves, spontaneous techniques are born in the physical world. Spirituality is shown through physical actions as bu. One need not destroy physically as that would be against the spirituality and introduce conflict or ionization. The spirit becomes pronounced and the physical goes away. Spontaneous techniques are formed but you only have the feeling that you did not really do anything. You have united all that have come into contact with you with no fighting or resistance.

C. David Henderson
11-22-2010, 12:56 PM
Hi Hanna,

Care to elaborate?

I can see why you would say that Aikido "comes from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba," and I'd have to agree that descriptions about what "Aikido is" are often personal and (however expressed) "true to some aikido practitioners and not to others."

Here's what I'm not sure I understand.

Accepting that aikido may be described as the martial art that "comes from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba," at what point can we say that "descriptions that are true to some aikido practitioners and not to others" so depart from those teaching that it no longer "comes from" those teachings, but has "departed" from them so that the result is a different species of budo or quasi- or ersatz- budo?

I am interested in your own view, but at the same time I wonder whether this isn't also an area where any attempt to delineate boundaries will be "true to some aikido practitioners and not to others."

Since O Sensei is no longer alive, who would arbitrate such a dispute?

Shadowfax
11-23-2010, 04:05 PM
Aikido is a hot dog?
Aikido is a manatee?
Aikido is a locomotive?
Aikido is the color blue?
Aikido is Mozart's "Requiem"?
Aikido is all of these things, each of which existed before aikido was ever thought of?

Yes. :)

lbb
11-23-2010, 04:06 PM
Yes. :)

I beg your pardon, but that's nonsense.

Shadowfax
11-23-2010, 04:08 PM
I beg your pardon, but that's nonsense.

Pardon granted I agree.. it is utter nonsense. To you, maybe to everyone else too. To me it makes perfect sense. ;)

lbb
11-23-2010, 08:08 PM
Pardon granted I agree.. it is utter nonsense. To you, maybe to everyone else too. To me it makes perfect sense. ;)

Perhaps you can explain it, then. What you are saying sounds like an assertion that two plus two equals five: however boldly you assert it, there's no evidence supporting it and a lot going against it. How can aikido be everything, including things that existed long before aikido?

Gorgeous George
11-23-2010, 08:56 PM
How can aikido be everything, including things that existed long before aikido?

...because they are part of the universe, and the universe is 'The way of harmony'...?

I can recommend some books on Taoism, Zen, and Buddhism if you'd like to learn about this kind of stuff.
I can even recommend some Western philosophy that touches on these kinds of ideas, if you want?

Shadowfax
11-23-2010, 09:55 PM
Perhaps you can explain it, then. What you are saying sounds like an assertion that two plus two equals five: however boldly you assert it, there's no evidence supporting it and a lot going against it. How can aikido be everything, including things that existed long before aikido?

Can you prove that they are not aikido?

...because they are part of the universe, and the universe is 'The way of harmony'...?


yes exactly so. :)

and I am always looking for good reading materiel. ;)

Gorgeous George
11-24-2010, 12:07 AM
Can you prove that they are not aikido?

yes exactly so. :)

and I am always looking for good reading materiel. ;)

Haha. Well I started reading Dhammapada (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dhammapada-Translation-Buddhist-Classic-Annotations/dp/1590303806/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290578293&sr=8-1) yesterday, and it confirms, for me, the effortless superiority of Eastern 'religion' over Western.

Aside from that: Schopenhauer (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Great-Ideas-Suffering-World/dp/0141018941/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290578315&sr=8-1), who fused the Eastern and Western traditions; I would liken his writing to very good aikido, haha: it leads you, effortlessly - but without the feeling you are being led. He just makes perfect sense (as true aikido does ;) )...

I also love Marcus Aurelius (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meditations-Penguin-Classics-Marcus-Aurelius/dp/0140449337/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290578333&sr=8-1): touching stuff - and a real insight into the way to treat the fluctuations of life.

And Voltaire's Candide (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Candide-Penguin-Popular-Classics-Voltaire/dp/0140623035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290578344&sr=8-1): hilarious, sardonic, and again: it speaks to the truth of life - very 'aiki', hahaha.

:)

Flintstone
11-24-2010, 03:23 AM
And what does kannagara no michi have to do with all of this an zen?

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 04:35 AM
And what does kannagara no michi have to do with all of this an zen?
Religious-philosophical vale tudo FTW!!!

... but you shoulda gree that statements like eastern 'religion' being superior to western are full of win and awesomeness.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 06:51 AM
... but you should agree that statements like eastern 'religion' being superior to western are full of win and awesomeness.

Edit:

Even if you consider, for example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through the translations; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it.

;)

Flintstone
11-24-2010, 06:57 AM
Then you will have to read it again with the aid of an scholar ;)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 07:04 AM
Preferibly one who can read the original in German.

oisin bourke
11-24-2010, 07:49 AM
Aside from that: Schopenhauer (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Great-Ideas-Suffering-World/dp/0141018941/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290578315&sr=8-1), who fused the Eastern and Western traditions; I would liken his writing to very good aikido, haha: it leads you, effortlessly - but without the feeling you are being led. He just makes perfect sense (as true aikido does ;) )...



Did you ever read Schopenhauer's essay on women?:crazy:

Not much Aiki going on there let me tell you!

oisin bourke
11-24-2010, 07:52 AM
Edit:

We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through the translations; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it.


I've never read it, but not a single valuable thought? C'mon...

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 07:59 AM
I've never read it, but not a single valuable thought? C'mon...

Oisin, I was quoting Schopenhauer on Qur’an. Very aiki too.

lbb
11-24-2010, 08:03 AM
...because they are part of the universe, and the universe is 'The way of harmony'...?

I can recommend some books on Taoism, Zen, and Buddhism if you'd like to learn about this kind of stuff.
I can even recommend some Western philosophy that touches on these kinds of ideas, if you want?

I've made some study of Buddhism, thanks. The Buddhist philosophy of non-duality does not mean or imply that any one thing is everything, or can become so by virtue of being "part of the universe".

lbb
11-24-2010, 08:05 AM
Can you prove that they are not aikido?

I don't need to. The burden of proof is on the one who has made the assertion -- that's you.

Shadowfax
11-24-2010, 09:35 AM
I don't need to. The burden of proof is on the one who has made the assertion -- that's you.

But, you see, it really does not matter to me whether or not you believe or agree with me. So I have no need to prove it. There are some things you just have to discover for yourself. It does not bother me that you do not agree. Why does it bother you that I believe that aikido is everything and everything is aikido? :)

Gorgeous George
11-24-2010, 11:25 AM
Did you ever read Schopenhauer's essay on women?:crazy:

Not much Aiki going on there let me tell you!

Hahaha. I know: the term 'sexism' doesn't really have the same connotations as 'racism', unfortunately; so i'd have to call it 'racism against women'.
He was a man of contrasts, to be sure: he argued for such a magnificent way of life - but didn't live such a life himself.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 12:00 PM
He was a man of contrasts, to be sure: he argued for such a magnificent way of life - but didn't live such a life himself.

More talk than walk. Like aikido itself :D

mathewjgano
11-24-2010, 12:21 PM
I've made some study of Buddhism, thanks. The Buddhist philosophy of non-duality does not mean or imply that any one thing is everything, or can become so by virtue of being "part of the universe".

If by practicing Aikido one can join with kannagara ("the restless, infinite movements of nature/the universe") to the point of being able to describe the self as the universe, couldn't we also describe the practice itself as the same? ...Being that the practice is manifest through the person?
I'm not saying it's one way or the other...just enjoying the mental exercise and seeing what I might learn.
Take care,
Matt

lbb
11-24-2010, 12:37 PM
But, you see, it really does not matter to me whether or not you believe or agree with me. So I have no need to prove it. There are some things you just have to discover for yourself.

But, YOU see, this last line is the equivalent of saying that the emperor is wearing a suit of clothes that are "possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid."

It does not bother me that you do not agree. Why does it bother you that I believe that aikido is everything and everything is aikido? :)

It doesn't bother me that you believe it -- really. When I provide a simple logical example for why aikido is not everything and everything is not aikido, and you choose not to address it, that also does not bother me. Given the many aiki-swindlers spouting pseudo-koans and selling invisible clothes, however, I consider it a community service to say, "But he hasn't got anything on!" I have no problem with your believing whatever you want to believe, but I do have a problem with the promotion of the unquestioning acceptance of beliefs that strain credulity and do not pass a simple logical test. Aikido's got too much of that as is.

lbb
11-24-2010, 12:40 PM
If by practicing Aikido one can join with kannagara ("the restless, infinite movements of nature/the universe") to the point of being able to describe the self as the universe, couldn't we also describe the practice itself as the same? ...Being that the practice is manifest through the person?

Witches should be burned.
Wood can be burned.
Therefore, witches are made of wood.
Wood floats.
A duck floats.
Therefore, if a woman weights the same as a duck, she's made of wood...and therefore...

A WITCH!!!!

When you construct a long chain of, "A -> B, B -> C", you've got to be very rigorous at each step of the process. "A can be said to imply B" and "Under some interpretations of B and C, B could be said to imply C" don't cut it.

mathewjgano
11-24-2010, 01:01 PM
Witches should be burned.
Wood can be burned.
Therefore, witches are made of wood.
Wood floats.
A duck floats.
Therefore, if a woman weights the same as a duck, she's made of wood...and therefore...

A WITCH!!!!

When you construct a long chain of, "A -> B, B -> C", you've got to be very rigorous at each step of the process. "A can be said to imply B" and "Under some interpretations of B and C, B could be said to imply C" don't cut it.
Or really small rocks!
I get that, but what specifically would contradict the loose chain I presented? In other words, just because it's a weak chain of thought, that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong, right? What about the "links" themselves?

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 01:12 PM
but I do have a problem with the promotion of the unquestioning acceptance of beliefs that strain credulity and do not pass a simple logical test.

But, but... these are the things that give that warm and fuzzy feelings inside.

Shadowfax
11-24-2010, 01:36 PM
Witches should be burned.
Wood can be burned.
Therefore, witches are made of wood.
Wood floats.
A duck floats.
Therefore, if a woman weights the same as a duck, she's made of wood...and therefore...

A WITCH!!!!

When you construct a long chain of, "A -> B, B -> C", you've got to be very rigorous at each step of the process. "A can be said to imply B" and "Under some interpretations of B and C, B could be said to imply C" don't cut it.

Gee I really would love to see a woman who weighs the same as a duck....your argument really does not hold water.

O'Sensei once said, "I am the universe",. I'm pretty sure he believed that he was. I can even understand exactly what he meant by that and based on the same idea aikido is indeed everything. Tell me, If he were here today would you also tell him that he was not the universe? The difference is you are only judging by things that can be weighed, measured. Perceived by our basic senses.

I in no way think or mean to indicate that only the worthy can perceive it the way I do. But not everyone is capable of perceiving just as some people have a talent for singing or art while others do not. Some who wish can develop such talents and some others will never be able to no matter how they try. It does not make the ones who can't any less valuable than the ones who can.

Anyway I answered the OP's question as I see it. I have nothing more to add to the discussion. :)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 01:51 PM
O'Sensei once said, "I am the universe",

Did he?

C. David Henderson
11-24-2010, 01:58 PM
I've made some study of Buddhism, thanks. The Buddhist philosophy of non-duality does not mean or imply that any one thing is everything, or can become so by virtue of being "part of the universe".

I think this view is consistent with my understanding of Dogen's essay on being-time and existence:

An old buddha said:
For the time being, I stand astride the highest mountain peaks.
For the time being, I move on the deepest depths of the ocean floor.
For the time being, I'm three heads and eight arms.
For the time being, I'm eight or sixteen feet.
For the time being, I'm a staff or whisk.
For the time being, I'm a pillar or lantern.
For the time being, I'm Mr. Chang or Mr. Li.
For the time being, I'm the great earth and heavens above.

"The time being" means time, just as it is, is being, and being is all time.

The sixteen-foot golden buddha-body is time; because it is time,
it has time's glorious golden radiance.

You must learn to see this glorious radiance in the twelve hours of your day.

The three heads and eight arms is time; because it is time, it can be in no way different from the twelve hours of your day.

****
The mind and the word are equally being-time. Their reaching and
not-reaching alike are being-time. Even when the time of their
reaching is not yet over, the time of their not-reaching is come.

Moreover, the mind is the time of the immediately present ultimate Dharma.

The word is the time of the key to higher attainment.

Reaching is the time of the body of total emancipation.

Not-reaching is the time you are "one with this and apart from this."

You should attest and affirm thus;
you should being-time thus.

We should say:

Half-reaching of mind and word is also being-time.
Half not-reaching of mind and word is also being-time.

Written in Kosho Hörin-ji,
at the beginning of winter, the first year of Ninji (1240)

Dogen (1200-1253)
Shobogenzo Uji, (1240)

Translated by N. A. Waddell
The Eastern Buddhist, Vol. XII, No. 1 (May 1979), pp. 114-129

Shadowfax
11-24-2010, 02:19 PM
Did he?

He did. More than once..

“The secret of Aikido lies in uniting ourselves with the Universe. By purifying ourselves and harmonising with the movement of the universe. For those who master the secrets of Aikido, the Universe lies within. Thus may I say, I who am the Universe.”

“When an enemy tries to fight with me, the universe itself, he has to break the harmony of the universe. Hence at the moment he has the mind to fight with me, he is already defeated. There exists no measure of time — fast or slow.”


And he even said that others too can be the universe..

“The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, ‘I am the universe.’ I am never defeated, however fast the enemy may attack. It is not because my technique is faster than that of the enemy. It is not a question of speed. The fight is finished before it is begun.”

There are quite a few other quotes to be found, this is a small sample.

It's interesting to go looking to see what the founder himself had to say on so many subjects. Often what he has said that aikido is, is what many here say aikido isn't. ;)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-24-2010, 02:30 PM
Let me rephrase the question.

Do you know he said that or you believe he said that?

The quotes you provided only prove someone wrote that (in English nonetheless) giving O Sensei as source.

lbb
11-24-2010, 03:10 PM
Gee I really would love to see a woman who weighs the same as a duck....your argument really does not hold water.

That was the point.

Keith Larman
11-24-2010, 03:15 PM
... I have no problem with your believing whatever you want to believe, but I do have a problem with the promotion of the unquestioning acceptance of beliefs that strain credulity and do not pass a simple logical test. Aikido's got too much of that as is.

We really need a "golf clap" emoticon... :D Mostly because I don't want all those people who are one with the universe to start dropping a can of universal sized whoop-ass on me...

Keith Larman
11-24-2010, 03:21 PM
Although I must admit most of those folk who are blissfully at one with the universe tend to find the universe has some pretty rough edges when push comes to shove... I guess those other people who aren't one with the universe make things a bit, um, bumpy... :) Especially when they just hit you in the face instead of holding on and flowing with the beautiful waza...

"No, that's not the right attack. Like this!!!!!"

Keith Larman
11-24-2010, 03:24 PM
And now that we have, what, umpteen pages of responses, I think it's time to quote my original post.

Aikido is an art so nebulously defined that it has become the equivalent of a Rorschach test for the belief system of the person studying the art.

Yes! Nailed it!

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah...

P.S. For those of you in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. When all is said and done those folk are the real meaning of life. Enjoy. And to those of you outside the US... Oh, hell, do the same thing and have a great day too... :)

Tony Wagstaffe
11-24-2010, 03:30 PM
Me seeing me as I really am.......

mathewjgano
11-24-2010, 04:10 PM
Gee I really would love to see a woman who weighs the same as a duck....your argument really does not hold water.
That was just an example of how a string of related ideas can get out of hand very quickly (from Monty Python's, Search for the Holy Grail). I thought it was a good point to make.

O'Sensei once said, "I am the universe",. I'm pretty sure he believed that he was. I can even understand exactly what he meant by that and based on the same idea aikido is indeed everything.
Would you be able and willing to describe it? Personally, i get uncomfortable when people say they know "exactly" what others mean, particularly in topics like this. Not that I think you don't, just that it seems questionable, based on personal experience.

But not everyone is capable of perceiving just as some people have a talent for singing or art while others do not.
While I would word it differently, I think I agree with the idea that different people perceive things differently. Taking the opposite direction (i.e. assuming, for the sake of discussion, that you're not really able to understand it as well as you think) I would also say if it seems to make sense to you and it's useful to you, then that's probably good enough...for the most part. That being said, I still think it's a good thing to question. O Sensei put so much work into this that I think it's unlikely most people could appreciate "exactly" what he meant. Like you I have my hunches about how such phrasing might make sense, and on a functional level I can make it apply to a great many situations, but that doesn't mean it's exactly accurate.
If you could find the words, assuming words can even be applied, I would greatly appreciate it. My purpose here is to understand the thoughts of others so I can refine my own so while I may make this or that assertion, it's only with the aim of getting feedback.
You certainly answered the OP question, and I liked your answer because I think for you it's quite true. But as with many things, the more we talk about it and try to bring it to some objective state, the more difficult it becomes to talk about...and part of me thinks that begs for more discussion...though another part of me thinks it might be a waste of time.
Anyway...rambling done for now.
Take care,
Matthew

p.s. I pretty much agree, Keith! :) But I think that's part of what makes it so useful...and fits with Tony's post, now that I see it.

Russ Q
11-24-2010, 05:58 PM
Have you all heard of a fellow named Amit Goswami? He's a physicist who posits that the primacy of reality is consciousness. ie all reality springs from consciousness. He's an interesting person to listen to...(much available on the web from him so I will try not to get over my head explaining second hand here). Taken with this POV I can understand and even believe what Cherie is saying....it's acceptable without quantifiable explanation. It may not be something I would say to my students but it is a valid POV. Mary, I would guess, has a materialist world view (sub atomic matter makes up atomic matter which makes up......and so on) and our conscious experience is epiphenomenon of the function of our brain. This POV clearly doesn't allow for Cherie's POV. It simply doesn't compute on any level for someone with a materialist POV....

Anyway, what I'm saying is, accepting the statement "I am the universe" depends on the paradigm you operate from.

Food for thought or just too much?

Russ

mathewjgano
11-24-2010, 07:14 PM
Have you all heard of a fellow named Amit Goswami?
...
Food for thought or just too much?

Russ

Very cool food for thought! I have some new reading to do! Thank you Russ!

Shadowfax
11-24-2010, 10:18 PM
Let me rephrase the question.

Do you know he said that or you believe he said that?

The quotes you provided only prove someone wrote that (in English nonetheless) giving O Sensei as source.

Both. I believe he said it. And I believe that those who quoted him on this, more than once, would have no reason to put words in his mouth. I do however believe that it is quite likely they didn't not fully understand what he meant by the statement. Just as some here do not understand what I mean by saying aikido is everything. ;)



Would you be able and willing to describe it? Personally, i get uncomfortable when people say they know "exactly" what others mean, particularly in topics like this. Not that I think you don't, just that it seems questionable, based on personal experience.

While I would word it differently, I think I agree with the idea that different people perceive things differently. Taking the opposite direction (i.e. assuming, for the sake of discussion, that you're not really able to understand it as well as you think) I would also say if it seems to make sense to you and it's useful to you, then that's probably good enough...for the most part. That being said, I still think it's a good thing to question. O Sensei put so much work into this that I think it's unlikely most people could appreciate "exactly" what he meant. Like you I have my hunches about how such phrasing might make sense, and on a functional level I can make it apply to a great many situations, but that doesn't mean it's exactly accurate.
If you could find the words, assuming words can even be applied, I would greatly appreciate it. My purpose here is to understand the thoughts of others so I can refine my own so while I may make this or that assertion, it's only with the aim of getting feedback.
You certainly answered the OP question, and I liked your answer because I think for you it's quite true. But as with many things, the more we talk about it and try to bring it to some objective state, the more difficult it becomes to talk about...and part of me thinks that begs for more discussion...though another part of me thinks it might be a waste of time.
Anyway...rambling done for now.
Take care,
Matthew

.

I wish I could find the words. I have been trying to find them for a while now. If and when I do I will write them down.

There is a reason I said 'I think" I understand. Perhaps the word exactly was misused here but I said what I said and I stand by it. :)

This was not something I was taught to belive in the dojo. It was learned through a great deal of observation, study and meditation on my own. It seems to me every time I turn around and look I am bumping into aikido. I wish I could explain. At the moment though, I think really it cannot be understood unless it is experienced. And who knows perhaps down the road with more time and observation my point of view will change. But I doubt it will. I really think it has much to do with how I personally experience and see the world around me. And that, I think, is rather different from the majority of people.

Taken with this POV I can understand and even believe what Cherie is saying....it's acceptable without quantifiable explanation. It may not be something I would say to my students but it is a valid POV. Mary, I would guess, has a materialist world view (sub atomic matter makes up atomic matter which makes up......and so on) and our conscious experience is epiphenomenon of the function of our brain. This POV clearly doesn't allow for Cherie's POV. It simply doesn't compute on any level for someone with a materialist POV....

Anyway, what I'm saying is, accepting the statement "I am the universe" depends on the paradigm you operate from.

Food for thought or just too much?

Russ

Great thoughts. I do believe you are right on the money here. It puts into words why I really don't feel like my explaining or proving my belief would be useful. :)

mathewjgano
11-24-2010, 10:49 PM
There is a reason I said 'I think" I understand. Perhaps the word exactly was misused here but I said what I said and I stand by it. :)

...It was learned through a great deal of observation, study and meditation on my own. It seems to me every time I turn around and look I am bumping into aikido. I wish I could explain.
Fair enough...and at a cursory glance I think I can relate to a bit of what you're describing..though it's hard for me to tell if it's my mind leading the experience(s) or the other way around sometimes...
At any rate, thanks for the reply.
Take care,
Matthew

Keith Larman
11-24-2010, 11:12 PM
It may not be something I would say to my students but it is a valid POV.

How is it valid? Because a smart fella holds the view? Because he is liked? Because he's popular? Because he gives support to an idea that many people *really* like because it dovetails with what they'd like to believe?

Let me ask...

Would the universe exist without us? If you say no, well, I'm sorry, there's not much more to talk about then. I'm just going to have another martini and make the world a softer, gentler place...

"I refute it thus". Whack. Damn, stubbed my toe on my consciousness. :)

I'm just glad that it isn't only philosophers who sometimes spout these things.

All POV are not equally valid. I knew an extremely bright mathematician when I worked in research. The fella's brain was magical in his ability to grasp complex number theory. Fantastic cryptographer. He was also a hateful racist. He was also fantastically paranoid and eventually ended up medicated and institutionalized. Smart fella, however...

Back to reading Searle. I never gave that man enough credit.

niall
11-25-2010, 09:13 AM
The question was: "What is aikido to you?"

So what's all this telling people they are wrong and demanding that they justify their opinions? These are personal views and noone can say anyone else is wrong. The most anyone can say is that's not how I see aikido or how I do aikido. That's cool. Aikido is broad enough to range from approaches more like krav maga to approaches more like yoga. And that's cool too.

Finally I would like to add something intelligent about Schopenhauer but right now I Kant.

Russ Q
11-25-2010, 09:22 AM
Hi Keith,

This is pretty much THE question isn't it....

Would the universe exist without us? If you say no, well, I'm sorry, there's not much more to talk about then.

I am certainly not in a position to answer you in any other way than to spout what others have said, so again, I would ask you to do a bit of research on Goswami. Whether you agree with him or not you won't be disappointed. He does speak to the "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" question. For me, intuitively, there is a unitive consciousness (not our walking around state of mind) that is tapped into via meditation/non regular states of mind....anyway, I've revealed myself now. Let the arrows fly.

Cheers,

Russ

Hanna B
11-25-2010, 09:36 AM
Hi Hanna,

Care to elaborate?

I can see why you would say that Aikido "comes from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba," and I'd have to agree that descriptions about what "Aikido is" are often personal and (however expressed) "true to some aikido practitioners and not to others."

Here's what I'm not sure I understand.

Accepting that aikido may be described as the martial art that "comes from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba," at what point can we say that "descriptions that are true to some aikido practitioners and not to others" so depart from those teaching that it no longer "comes from" those teachings, but has "departed" from them so that the result is a different species of budo or quasi- or ersatz- budo?

I am interested in your own view, but at the same time I wonder whether this isn't also an area where any attempt to delineate boundaries will be "true to some aikido practitioners and not to others."

Since O Sensei is no longer alive, who would arbitrate such a dispute?

Most of the times, a martial art won't have to throw parts of the practitioners out because they are not doing karate/capoeira/shorinjikempo/aikido. More often, people who want to create their own organisation also give their art a new name. But if we ever have to say "teacher X says she is teaching aikido, but she isn't" that should surely be based on the aikido she does and teaches - not on what her mouth she says about what she is doing.

My reply to the question "what is aikido" is similar (although not identical) to what someone else wrote, along the lines "aikido is whatever the guys at Hombu says it is". However, there are several hombus (Aikikai, Ki no kenkyukai, Yoshinkan) and I think we all agree they all teach aikido. BUT had the head of Yoshinkan decided to call the art something else, or if Tohei sensei had, we would surely have accepted that. (I guess Tohei sensei did, in a way, but correct me if I am wrong: he never said "what I do is not aikido".) All these hombus were created by students of Morihei Ueshiba, or students of students of students of his.

Statements like "aikido is a red flower" or "aikido is peace of mind" or "aikido is the martial art of peace" or whatever are fine, as long as they are meant as descriptions and parables not definitions. Most of the time they are (and I'm sure that was the purpose of this thread, to collect such parables. So perhaps I should shut my mouth and continue the definition thing someplace else.)

Russ Q
11-25-2010, 10:22 AM
Y'know....Aikido is....pretty much suffices....

Aikibu
11-25-2010, 11:36 AM
Well....STILL FUN!!!!! :D

William Hazen

Keith Larman
11-25-2010, 11:39 AM
Y'know....Aikido is....pretty much suffices....

Yes, actually I agree for the most part. And honestly I don't really have problems with varied points of views. The fella you posted about is expressing a viewpoint that has a rich history in philosophy as well, so it's not exactly new. And I"m sure it will continue to be debated and re-introduced in the future.

The problem I have with threads like this is that they expose one thing that I think is a major problem in Aikido -- the inability to actually say what the hell it is. It became a vehicle for so many different points of view. It ends up being so variously defined that eventually it becomes, well, meaningless. It is used so many ways for so many people for so many different purposes that it simply ceases to have any defined meaning of its own. Hence my comments.

On the one hand I think it is perfectly fine for people to do whatever they want, to think whatever they wish, to believe what they choose to believe. No worries there. But as one of my old philosophy profs used to say, while you are entitled to an opinion, you are also entitled to be challenged as to the truth value of what you say. We end up using and miss-using poorly defined words to take on any meaning we wish building these grandiose theories and ideas that ultimately rest on nothing more than sophistry. It all sounds good. It all sounds nice. It would be nice if these things were true. But... when the rubber hits the road are we really making any sense?

Again, hence my comments. It is not to denigrate any particular point of view but to ask why we aren't more rigorous when we do start taking these flights of fancy into the realm of mysticism.

But... That may simply be an expression of my particular world view due to too much philosophy and psychology (incidentally I originally typed Weltanschauung instead of world view which made me laugh as it really made the point of too much philosophical focus in my own education).

So... Please, carry on and ignore the curmudgeon in the corner. I will admit to being mostly in agreement with Hanna above. I think she does also make the same point I was hoping would come out that we tend to confuse the parables with definitions. And while the parables are nifty, cool to think about, and make great quotes, at some point one may want to see if there is anything behind the curtain to support them. If they really make sense. If they really "fit" the world. Or if we're just looking for ways to justify what we want to be the case without any sort of critical eye.

So do carry on. It is Thanksgiving here after all and I promised to show my daughter how to make an AM radio from wire, a tube and miscellaneous parts. Now that's real magic. Voices from the ether...

guest1234567
11-25-2010, 12:30 PM
Finally I would like to add something intelligent about Schopenhauer but right now I Kant.

:) :D :)

lbb
11-26-2010, 05:49 AM
At this point, it's also worth (rather belatedly) pointing out that there's a difference between "Aikido is..." (the title of this thread...no, it was not, "What is aikido to you?") and "My experience of aikido is...". The former is a blind person asserting that he/she knows the nature of the elephant; the latter is a blind person stating what part of the elephant he/she has experienced.

Edit: also, what Keith said.

niall
11-26-2010, 06:19 AM
I talked about the English naming of aikido in a blog post http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in-the-water-19051/naming-of-aikido-4049/. Finally I went with aikido is the way of truth. Maybe that's too heavy or too far from the physical martial art - so what is it for you?

Mary I know very well what I wrote. Your very clever elephant quote which we have now had twice is not about aikido it's about people discussing aikido so it's rather sterile.

There were some really good suggestions and I liked Aikido is and Aikido is fun which were both in my top 3.

Gorgeous George
11-26-2010, 07:10 AM
I would like to add something intelligent about Schopenhauer but right now I Kant.

:)

lbb
11-26-2010, 08:12 AM
Mary I know very well what I wrote. Your very clever elephant quote which we have now had twice is not about aikido it's about people discussing aikido so it's rather sterile.

So who was talking to you anyway? Don't quote yourself and then pretend you're speaking to me.

niall
11-26-2010, 08:37 AM
Sorry Mary. Since it looked like you didn't read or understand the original post I was just clarifying things. I wrote it.

C. David Henderson
11-26-2010, 09:03 AM
Hi Hanna,

Thanks for your reply.

Speaking of metaphors/parables, have you run across Chiba's analogy between Aikido and a Tree? It seems consistent with what I hear you expressing about the relation between offshoots and the main "trunk" of the art (which, not incidently, he represented).

I'd wager a lot of people look at the definition question in ways similar to the way you expressed. Chiba's analogy at least creates a "big canopy," even as it reenforces a certain catholicism, I suppose.

Regards,

MM
11-26-2010, 09:06 AM
O'Sensei once said, "I am the universe",. I'm pretty sure he believed that he was. I can even understand exactly what he meant by that and based on the same idea aikido is indeed everything.


You're stepping into a morass. a quagmire. A mess of a situation. In all seriousness. Even though I post things about the "spiritual" side of Ueshiba Morihei, I have no doubts that I am missing a lot. I side with Peter Goldsbury on this issue. There is soooo much to that time, his life, that religion, his changing, the war, etc that it is very hard to get a solid grip on exactly what Ueshiba Morihei meant when he spoke on his spiritual ideology.

I would strongly suggest taking a step back and looking at this from a view, that perhaps, you do not know exactly what Ueshiba Morihei meant and doing the research to truly understand.

Just as a very small example:

---
Black Belt 1984 Vol 22 No 10. An article by Gaku Homma.

In the dojo, after greeting a few students, he would lecture on the essence of aikido in Omotokyo teachings, which few students could understand completely. After a short, puzzling moment, he would continue by saying, "What I meant was …" or "For example ..." In one class, he called the instructor to the front and placed the teacher's hands on his hip, commanding the man to push him over. "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me," the founder said. The young instructor tried to push him but couldn't.
---

Can you stand there, have someone forcefully push on your hips, and be umoved? If not, then I would, respectfully, suggest that perhaps you do not know what Ueshiba Morihei meant when he talked about the Universe.

Mark

thisisnotreal
11-26-2010, 09:09 AM
many things.

Potentially:
.. Aiki
..a wonderful,fun practice
..genius in the biomechanical solutions to movement and energy conundrums
..a lunatic magnet
...a source of bullshit
..a mirror (or curse) in which you find what you seek

MM
11-26-2010, 09:16 AM
Have you all heard of a fellow named Amit Goswami? He's a physicist who posits that the primacy of reality is consciousness. ie all reality springs from consciousness. He's an interesting person to listen to...(much available on the web from him so I will try not to get over my head explaining second hand here). Taken with this POV I can understand and even believe what Cherie is saying....it's acceptable without quantifiable explanation. It may not be something I would say to my students but it is a valid POV.
Mary, I would guess, has a materialist world view (sub atomic matter makes up atomic matter which makes up......and so on) and our conscious experience is epiphenomenon of the function of our brain. This POV clearly doesn't allow for Cherie's POV. It simply doesn't compute on any level for someone with a materialist POV....

Anyway, what I'm saying is, accepting the statement "I am the universe" depends on the paradigm you operate from.

Food for thought or just too much?

Russ

I disagree. Completely. There is no "depends on the paradigm" at all in regards to Ueshiba Morihei. He meant very specific things when he talked about his spiritual ideology. He didn't wax philosophical. In an interview, he even denied being focused on religion or philosophy. He was strictly budo. However, his vision of budo was interlaced with his spirituality. But it wasn't the "I am the Universe" chanting, mental high, meditative definition. That came later as Modern Aikido flourished throughout the world.

You want to apply "depends on the paradigm" to Modern Aikido? That's fine. It probably will fit in just fine with some adherents.

But, in regards to Ueshiba Morihei or his aikido? No. It will not.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-26-2010, 09:36 AM
Both. I believe he said it. And I believe that those who quoted him on this, more than once, would have no reason to put words in his mouth.

Then not "both".

Nicholas Eschenbruch
11-26-2010, 09:56 AM
You're stepping into a morass. a quagmire. A mess of a situation. In all seriousness. Even though I post things about the "spiritual" side of Ueshiba Morihei, I have no doubts that I am missing a lot. I side with Peter Goldsbury on this issue. There is soooo much to that time, his life, that religion, his changing, the war, etc that it is very hard to get a solid grip on exactly what Ueshiba Morihei meant when he spoke on his spiritual ideology.

I would strongly suggest taking a step back and looking at this from a view, that perhaps, you do not know exactly what Ueshiba Morihei meant and doing the research to truly understand.

Just as a very small example:

(...)

Can you stand there, have someone forcefully push on your hips, and be umoved? If not, then I would, respectfully, suggest that perhaps you do not know what Ueshiba Morihei meant when he talked about the Universe.

Mark

Hi Mark,

of course I totally agree with you and others that a reconstruction of the details of the spiritual world of O Sensei is probably impossible for us.

However, I do not think push tests are a criterion for it in any way either. As much as I respect and admire the IS approach, I would even argue they have little to do with it at all. I do not think making IS a vaguely metaphysical activity helps the approach.

There are, of course, different theoretical positions as to the cultural specificity of experience. If you take a universalist view, however, why not argue that "I am the universe" is actually an experience that everybody can have? Casually speaking, if you sit and face the wall for some time, with all you have, under the guidance of a qualified teacher, you are likely to have the experience. (There are other methods of course.) What you do with the experience, and how you express its context in your own cultural system, is a different matter.

It baffles me how many people in aikido, and especilly here on the forum, seem to find the idea that O-Sensei's physical practice can be replicated or reconstructed (based on the idea of the universality of the body) so much more persuasive than the idea that we can have similar experiences on the base of a universal human mind.

(Of course I would even much prefer to be a non-dualist, as O-Sensei probably was, but a lot of conditioning is in the way there... :D )

Or am I misinterpreting you?

Best wishes!

MM
11-26-2010, 11:02 AM
Hi Mark,

of course I totally agree with you and others that a reconstruction of the details of the spiritual world of O Sensei is probably impossible for us.

However, I do not think push tests are a criterion for it in any way either. As much as I respect and admire the IS approach, I would even argue they have little to do with it at all. I do not think making IS a vaguely metaphysical activity helps the approach.


Hello Nicholas!

Hope you are doing well.

When I look at what Ueshiba actually did, I find that "push tests" were a common theme for him. I created a thread for various bits of info regarding this.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14991

When you also read from various sources that Ueshiba Morihei trimmed the Daito ryu syllabus, you have to look at what he *kept* as something important to him.

As noted from various sources, Ueshiba's "push tests" were fairly common. I don't think it's a far stretch to say that those push tests were integral to Ueshiba's aikido.

And then, we have

In one class, he called the instructor to the front and placed the teacher's hands on his hip, commanding the man to push him over. "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me," the founder said. The young instructor tried to push him but couldn't.

Notice the words attributed directly to Ueshiba. "My body is joined with the universe" and what is happening while this is going on? He is using a "push test".

(Note: We find Tohei replicating "push tests", however, we also must note that Tohei never strayed into the "I am the universe" spirituality as did Ueshiba.)

From there, let's take a step backwards. What are the skills necessary to a successful "push test"? Looking at Ueshiba's peers, Sagawa and Horikawa (Kodo), we can find that they, too, used similar "push tests" throughout their lives. The common theme among them? Takeda. Daito ryu aiki.

The core body skill, aiki, builds a martial body such that these exemplary martial artists could exhibit an "unmovable" body in a demonstration. That is *not* to say that aiki is spiritual. In fact, just looking at Sagawa and Kodo, we find similar skills as Ueshiba. However the former two never approached the level of spirituality as Ueshiba.

We, then, have to look at what Ueshiba states, is recorded as saying, or by second hand recollections. As the example I noted, we have Ueshiba giving us, on a platter, the direct correlation between "joined with the universe" and the aiki body skills.

If anyone wants to discuss "I am the universe" in relation to Modern Aikido, I'll bow out and have no disagreements. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here. The discussion turned to Ueshiba's aikido and spirituality. Ueshiba's aikido is very, very different from Modern Aikido. The two should be discussed separately as they are world's apart.

Back to the topic, Ueshiba's spirituality was so intertwined with his aiki, that I do not believe, in regards to Ueshiba, one can discuss his spirituality without discussing his aiki. Again, that is not to say that aiki (Daito ryu aiki) is spiritual in any way. (I should define that as I am not wanting to detail aiki in a spiritual way. I believe that it is -- just not in the same manner as Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. And that's a whole different thread.)

And so, I personally don't think one can begin to understand Ueshiba's definition/explanation of "I am the universe" or "joined with the universe" without at the very least having a body that is rebuilt by Daito ryu aiki. And even then, having that, leaves out a very hard task of understanding Oomoto kyo, kami, spirituality, and Ueshiba's vision of them all.


There are, of course, different theoretical positions as to the cultural specificity of experience. If you take a universalist view, however, why not argue that "I am the universe" is actually an experience that everybody can have? Casually speaking, if you sit and face the wall for some time, with all you have, under the guidance of a qualified teacher, you are likely to have the experience. (There are other methods of course.) What you do with the experience, and how you express its context in your own cultural system, is a different matter.

It baffles me how many people in aikido, and especilly here on the forum, seem to find the idea that O-Sensei's physical practice can be replicated or reconstructed (based on the idea of the universality of the body) so much more persuasive than the idea that we can have similar experiences on the base of a universal human mind.

(Of course I would even much prefer to be a non-dualist, as O-Sensei probably was, but a lot of conditioning is in the way there... :D )

Or am I misinterpreting you?

Best wishes!

I think that if anyone uses their religious, spiritual, etc lifestyle/views/ideology and combines that with Daito ryu aiki, then they would be well within Ueshiba Morihei's views/vision of aikido. They would not be doing exactly Ueshiba Morihei's personal aikido, but who really could? It would be enough to accomplish the former and be within the boundaries. So, if one had Daito ryu aiki and then had an experience of "I am the universe", one would, by Ueshiba's own words, be doing his view of aikido. Noting again that one would not be doing exactly Ueshiba's personal aikido.

However, without the Daito ryu aiki, one will not be doing Ueshiba's view of aikido, not matter how many, how strong, or how expansive an experience of "I am the universe" one has. As Ueshiba said, "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me".

Of course, there are various places where Modern Aikido training is well within the "I am the universe" experiences but without the Daito ryu aiki, instead opting for the ai(love)ki. But it should be understood that the Japanese love using play on words. Ueshiba did not use the aiki where ai is love as his primary underlying usage. He used the aiki where ai is love as a play on his primary Daito ryu aiki body skill intertwined with his spiritual ideology. Hence, Modern Aikido lacks the martial "secret" of aiki to have that void replaced by the wordplay of spiritual aiki (love energy/harmony).

Does that help explain my views better? I'm horrible at writing/conveying my ideas.

Mark

Russ Q
11-26-2010, 11:52 AM
Hello Mark,

You seem to be in the know enough about what Ueshiba was saying/thinking that you are making very clear black and white statements about what he meant if and when he said "I am the universe". Beyond reading the popular books out there about him I am really not able to comment so I will, at this point, defer to you. However, intuitively, it seems a little cut and dry.

But it wasn't the "I am the Universe" chanting, mental high, meditative definition.

This is not what I meant in my post either (I don't know how you got that.....) The "monistic idealist" world view has been around for some time.....again "Aikido is..." pretty much sums it up as any further elucidation is based on the writer's conditioning and desire....and therefore can easily be picked apart or shot down but others with differing conditioning and desires.

It baffles me how many people in aikido, and especilly here on the forum, seem to find the idea that O-Sensei's physical practice can be replicated or reconstructed (based on the idea of the universality of the body) so much more persuasive than the idea that we can have similar experiences on the base of a universal human mind.

Nicholas, this baffles me too....

Best,

Russ

MM
11-26-2010, 12:24 PM
Hello Mark,

You seem to be in the know enough about what Ueshiba was saying/thinking that you are making very clear black and white statements about what he meant if and when he said "I am the universe".


Hello Russ,

If you'll reread my posts, I make it clear that defining what Ueshiba meant in his spiritual ideology is rather hard. I make no attempts at defining what he meant, spiritually, when he said things like I am the universe.

However, I do make a distinction between what he says, how he says it, and what he is doing as he says it. And he made it pretty clear in one example that when he stated he was joined with the universe, he was using a push test.

And we can all have "I am the universe" experiences. But, to say that our experience gives us the understanding of what Ueshiba meant when he said that is, IMO, wrong. Unless you can replicate what he could do martially (in this example, the push test), then you aren't even 1/2 way to understanding Ueshiba, let alone understanding Ueshiba's singularly unique spiritual ideology.

Which is where Modern Aikido diverges from Ueshiba's aikido. In some Modern Aikido, it's okay to take the "I am the universe" experience and define aikido. Who am I to say whether that's right or wrong? As I said, I'll bow out of those discussions. Modern Aikido is its own entity and there are thousands of people who are happy with how it is defined. In fact, there are enough versions of Modern Aikido out there that it appeals to a wide range of people. Certainly, no one can say that's a bad thing.

Nowhere in my posts did I state that I knew what Ueshiba meant. Even if I had the complement of martial skills that Ueshiba had, I still wouldn't venture down that maze of confusion that is Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. :hypno:

Let better men than me do that. :)

Thanks,
Mark

mathewjgano
11-26-2010, 12:47 PM
How is it valid? Because a smart fella holds the view?
Well, sure, but only insofaras his intelligence directly relates to the material...something which differs from your example of the schizophrenic (I'm guessing) mathematician.

Would the universe exist without us? If you say no, well, I'm sorry, there's not much more to talk about then. I'm just going to have another martini and make the world a softer, gentler place...
I didn't get the sense he was saying the universe hinges upon your or my or any other part of "consciousness," simply that he supposed something determined/chose the order within the randomness. I only listened to a brief bit of it though....and what little science I've known has mostly left the building, so I won't pretend to have more than an ignorant interpretation of a few of the phrases he tossed out.

"I refute it thus". Whack. Damn, stubbed my toe on my consciousness. :)
:D No worries! I already called no refute-sies with a double-stamp-no-take-backs, times infinity...so the Universe is safe...for now.

I'm just glad that it isn't only philosophers who sometimes spout these things.
The human mind is pretty amazing, but, if I may wax poetic, it's a lot like any chunk of matter: the closer we look at it, the more vacuous it seems.

...So how might all this cerebellum stroking of mine fit with the topic...
peripherally, at best, but if Aikido is potentially about communing with the universe, I can see how it might be useful to consider different possiblilities for that.

lbb
11-26-2010, 01:07 PM
It baffles me how many people in aikido, and especilly here on the forum, seem to find the idea that O-Sensei's physical practice can be replicated or reconstructed (based on the idea of the universality of the body) so much more persuasive than the idea that we can have similar experiences on the base of a universal human mind.

Well...when speaking of physical actions, we can make a distinction between an action and our experience of it. To use a simple example, two people lift their right arm over their head. One has a "normal", uninjured shoulder, the other has a sprained shoulder. The action is the same, but their experience of it is very different.

So, maybe when we talk about the physical practice, the criterion we're using is the action: yes, these two people can lift their right arm, they're doing the same thing. But their experience of doing it is very different -- and we don't tend to explore this, maybe because we know we can't really nail it down, or maybe because the physical action is right there as an easy handle that we can grasp. That's the basis on which people believe that they can practice aikido as O Sensei did it: they can perform the same actions.

Yes, people will claim that that that's not the whole package...logged and noted. My own belief, though, is that anything beyond that is not knowable. Two people move their arm the same way, and have a different experience of it, even on the purely physical level -- there is no universality in the experience. How, then, should we believe that there's universality in thought, or in the mental experience? The only way that we know that our mental experiences correspond at all is through external communication, most commonly language. That is exactly when we get into the case of the blind men and the elephant: we do our best to communicate, and what we say may resonate with others. But we may also find ourselves in situations where we're just using terms differently. I ran into this today in a totally different context with the word "relax" -- one person thinking it meant to mellow out and take it easy, and another person using it to mean the ability of certain muscle tissue to relax, more like elasticity I guess. Two people break their leg -- their experience of it is different, and their description of it is a level removed from the experience. That's enough to convince me that there is no "universal mind".

lbb
11-26-2010, 01:10 PM
The human mind is pretty amazing, but, if I may wax poetic, it's a lot like any chunk of matter: the closer we look at it, the more vacuous it seems.

Kinda like how most matter is really empty space? :D

Nicholas Eschenbruch
11-27-2010, 04:03 AM
(...)

In one class, he called the instructor to the front and placed the teacher's hands on his hip, commanding the man to push him over. "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me," the founder said. The young instructor tried to push him but couldn't.

Notice the words attributed directly to Ueshiba. "My body is joined with the universe" and what is happening while this is going on? He is using a "push test".

(...)

The core body skill, aiki, builds a martial body such that these exemplary martial artists could exhibit an "unmovable" body in a demonstration. That is *not* to say that aiki is spiritual. In fact, just looking at Sagawa and Kodo, we find similar skills as Ueshiba. However the former two never approached the level of spirituality as Ueshiba.

We, then, have to look at what Ueshiba states, is recorded as saying, or by second hand recollections. As the example I noted, we have Ueshiba giving us, on a platter, the direct correlation between "joined with the universe" and the aiki body skills.

If anyone wants to discuss "I am the universe" in relation to Modern Aikido, I'll bow out and have no disagreements. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here. The discussion turned to Ueshiba's aikido and spirituality. Ueshiba's aikido is very, very different from Modern Aikido. The two should be discussed separately as they are world's apart.

Back to the topic, Ueshiba's spirituality was so intertwined with his aiki, that I do not believe, in regards to Ueshiba, one can discuss his spirituality without discussing his aiki. Again, that is not to say that aiki (Daito ryu aiki) is spiritual in any way. (I should define that as I am not wanting to detail aiki in a spiritual way. I believe that it is -- just not in the same manner as Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. And that's a whole different thread.)

And so, I personally don't think one can begin to understand Ueshiba's definition/explanation of "I am the universe" or "joined with the universe" without at the very least having a body that is rebuilt by Daito ryu aiki. And even then, having that, leaves out a very hard task of understanding Oomoto kyo, kami, spirituality, and Ueshiba's vision of them all.

I think that if anyone uses their religious, spiritual, etc lifestyle/views/ideology and combines that with Daito ryu aiki, then they would be well within Ueshiba Morihei's views/vision of aikido. They would not be doing exactly Ueshiba Morihei's personal aikido, but who really could? It would be enough to accomplish the former and be within the boundaries. So, if one had Daito ryu aiki and then had an experience of "I am the universe", one would, by Ueshiba's own words, be doing his view of aikido. Noting again that one would not be doing exactly Ueshiba's personal aikido.

However, without the Daito ryu aiki, one will not be doing Ueshiba's view of aikido, not matter how many, how strong, or how expansive an experience of "I am the universe" one has. As Ueshiba said, "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me".

Of course, there are various places where Modern Aikido training is well within the "I am the universe" experiences but without the Daito ryu aiki, instead opting for the ai(love)ki. But it should be understood that the Japanese love using play on words. Ueshiba did not use the aiki where ai is love as his primary underlying usage. He used the aiki where ai is love as a play on his primary Daito ryu aiki body skill intertwined with his spiritual ideology. Hence, Modern Aikido lacks the martial "secret" of aiki to have that void replaced by the wordplay of spiritual aiki (love energy/harmony).

Does that help explain my views better? I'm horrible at writing/conveying my ideas.

Mark

Hi Mark,
thanks for the long reply, that makes it easier for me to see where you are coming from, and actually I really would not disagree with most of the individual points you make.

What I have problems with is the synthesis and the way to it... (and I really mean "problems" - not just using the word as a way of rhethoric). For a number of reasons, having to do with theory of mind, body and culture, with historical method, and general interpretative procedure, I do not think we know enough to prescribe how anybody has to interpret that famous phrase of O Sensei. And probably never will. An informed picture may emerge, and some things will be more likely than others, but the uncertainty will remain huge.

I may have been ruined for this discussion by my academic background, but when it starts I just see problems of historical evidence, cross-cultural hermeneutics and body-mind dualism join together in a happy dance of chaos and confusion... but then you did say it was a quagmire...

In one of your earlier posts, you came across as quite "black and white" on the matter, and I would caution us there. In that last post, you frame it as a matter of (informed) belief, and I am much more comfortable with that.

I would actually not argue my own suggestion with anybody for much the same reasons, but wanted to present a different way of looking at things.

Best for your day & training! I hope to be able to come over to the US again sometimes early next year.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
11-27-2010, 04:15 AM
Well...when speaking of physical actions, we can make a distinction between an action and our experience of it. To use a simple example, two people lift their right arm over their head. One has a "normal", uninjured shoulder, the other has a sprained shoulder. The action is the same, but their experience of it is very different.

So, maybe when we talk about the physical practice, the criterion we're using is the action: yes, these two people can lift their right arm, they're doing the same thing. But their experience of doing it is very different -- and we don't tend to explore this, maybe because we know we can't really nail it down, or maybe because the physical action is right there as an easy handle that we can grasp. That's the basis on which people believe that they can practice aikido as O Sensei did it: they can perform the same actions.

Yes, people will claim that that that's not the whole package...logged and noted. My own belief, though, is that anything beyond that is not knowable. Two people move their arm the same way, and have a different experience of it, even on the purely physical level -- there is no universality in the experience. How, then, should we believe that there's universality in thought, or in the mental experience? The only way that we know that our mental experiences correspond at all is through external communication, most commonly language. That is exactly when we get into the case of the blind men and the elephant: we do our best to communicate, and what we say may resonate with others. But we may also find ourselves in situations where we're just using terms differently. I ran into this today in a totally different context with the word "relax" -- one person thinking it meant to mellow out and take it easy, and another person using it to mean the ability of certain muscle tissue to relax, more like elasticity I guess. Two people break their leg -- their experience of it is different, and their description of it is a level removed from the experience. That's enough to convince me that there is no "universal mind".

Hi Mary,
in terms of reasoning, I actually agree with almost everythign you write. That is why I say I would not argue my point with anybody, it was more about pointing into an alternative direction and cautioning against supposed "certainties" about O-Sensei's experience, and the primacy of the physical in it.

Well then..... except for your last sentence. I do not see how that follows? We cannot rationally know, for sure, but we cannot know the contrary either, can we?

Also, maybe I should clarify that - adressing Mark who studies with Dan - the body skills I was referring to were not so much "techniques", but the internal workings of the body, I did not make that clear enough.

lbb
11-28-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi Mary,
in terms of reasoning, I actually agree with almost everythign you write. That is why I say I would not argue my point with anybody, it was more about pointing into an alternative direction and cautioning against supposed "certainties" about O-Sensei's experience, and the primacy of the physical in it.

Well then..... except for your last sentence. I do not see how that follows? We cannot rationally know, for sure, but we cannot know the contrary either, can we?

Again, that's what I'm getting at: some things are beyond the realm of the knowable, and one of these things is a definitive statement of what "aikido is". All we can do is describe our various experiences of it, which are not static things (they better not be!) -- that, or repeat what we've heard about it at second or third-hand. Our definitions are always less than our understanding, and our understanding is always less than complete.

David Board
11-29-2010, 12:37 PM
Aikido is a finger pointing at the moon.

David Board
11-29-2010, 12:39 PM
Aikido is a finger pointing at the moon.

...go ahead pull my finger.

[Could not resist.]

mathewjgano
11-29-2010, 02:59 PM
...go ahead pull my finger.

[Could not resist.]

Really, who couldn't! :straightf :D