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graham christian
02-26-2011, 05:39 PM
Hi. I am about to offer a simplified view of Aikido based on the premise that it is a martial art of Harmony. It is also based on the premise that through a way based on martial jutsu Aikido uses those same techniques with subtle alterations to effect a harmonious outcome.

Level one) The first level is a level of learning how to be in harmony with yourself. Through learning how to accept and respect the opponent no matter what that opponents intention or action. This means learning how not to react and thus keep a clear mind.

The principles in Aikido are there to help with this goal. Keeping center, ma-ai, koshi, relaxed weight underside, hara, one point, Ki extended, zanshin, center line, connection, non-resistance, blending etc. etc. are the DISCIPLINES which need to be employed to this end.

Thus I am saying it's not the first thing to do in Aikido but it is the first level or goal to aim for. As you can see it would take years to be able to maintain all of those disciplines in the face of any opponent.

Level Two) The second level or goal is that of maintaining the above IN MOTION. That is from moving attacks both from one and from many. To do so whilst keeping in and adhering to the discipline of the principles.

So all the time you will be calm, relaxed, clear mind and not only in harmony with self but also in harmony with the opposing motion. Thus all the principles of harmonious motion are learned and you then have all those disciplines to adhere to. Principles of the circle, off line, eight directions, entering, leading, meeting, etc.etc.

Martial for me is thus replaced by the word discipline. Every time something goes wrong or you get stuck or even damage occurs it is down to the fact that one or more of the principles were not adhered to and thus discipline to that degree was missing. So far from being an inferior martial art it is indeed a very disciplined one with many principles to learn and follow.

Along with the types of principles mentioned then there are the techniques themselves which when understood are found to follow those same principles.

Level Three) The highest level and thus the highest goal in Aikido is contained in level three. Having learned to maintain harmony with yourself and harmony with the attacker or opponent it's now time to learn how to achieve the goal of Aikido.

This is the level of bringing about a state of harmony in your opponent. A level where by employing the learned principles your attacker becomes no longer an attacker and feels good and centered and may I say restored and wondering why he ever wanted to attack in the first place.

Thus you would be having fun and to you there would be no enemies only lost souls or students if you will asking for your help.

From this viewpoint therefore the aim is not to harm, not to resist, not to stop, not to outwit, not to defeat, not to succumb, not to give up, but to be and share and bring about harmony.

Just because it's hard, just because it seems almost impossible, doesn't mean you cannot achieve it for it is far removed from competiton and fighting and is in truth potentially the art of no fighting, the all powerful discipline of harmony.

This is my view. No doubt there will be many against and many who think I am just whatever......

However, it's a view I share with many and I thought I'd put in in a new worded concept for the record.

Have fun. Regards.G.

PhillyKiAikido
02-26-2011, 07:54 PM
Thanks for this quality post!

graham christian
02-26-2011, 08:02 PM
Thanks for this quality post!

Thank you very much.

Gary David
02-26-2011, 10:25 PM
From this viewpoint therefore the aim is not to harm, not to resist, not to stop, not to outwit, not to defeat, not to succumb, not to give up, but to be and share and bring about harmony.

Just because it's hard, just because it seems almost impossible, doesn't mean you cannot achieve it for it is far removed from competiton and fighting and is in truth potentially the art of no fighting, the all powerful discipline of harmony.

This is my view. No doubt there will be many against and many who think I am just whatever......

However, it's a view I share with many and I thought I'd put in in a new worded concept for the record.

Have fun. Regards.G.

Graham
Admirable goals and possibly obtainable.....what do you do if you face the individual who is as skilled as you and has no intention of harmony, whose purpose is handling you......or the crazed individual who can't be harmonized? Some of the tools you would need in these situations might require that you resist, that you not give up, until the attacker is outwitted, defeated and stopped, succumbing to your efforts, and may suffer some harm in you saving yourself or those around you. There are those out there you will never be able to harmonize with, who are so far to the dark side they can never come back, folks I hope I never run in to knowing that they are out there...something to consider as you polish yourself........ Keep up your efforts to perfect yourself.
Gary

guest1234567
02-27-2011, 01:01 AM
Thank you very much for your great post Graham...

Aikirk
02-27-2011, 02:04 AM
Thanks Graham, I really liked this outlook on things. Though basically it's nothing new, I think you put it in a way, which makes this rather complex issue a bit easier to comprehend.

@Gary
I think when you reached the third level, taking the measure necessary is no problem. On the third level, you will have to be able to end the "confrontation" in a lethal matter at anytime, to be able to control him this way. But on the third level you will also be able to harmonize with everyone. If not you would only be on the second or first level.

But remember that the more you think of this mythical creature of pure darkness, the more likely it is that he will come after you. So beware that you don't let your mind create him.

Gary David
02-27-2011, 12:47 PM
@Gary
I think when you reached the third level, taking the measure necessary is no problem. On the third level, you will have to be able to end the "confrontation" in a lethal matter at anytime, to be able to control him this way. But on the third level you will also be able to harmonize with everyone. If not you would only be on the second or first level.

But remember that the more you think of this mythical creature of pure darkness, the more likely it is that he will come after you. So beware that you don't let your mind create him.

Simon I appreciate your concern for my welfare, please don't worry. I understand all of that as does my wife. We are both very aware, protect ourselves, our home and those around as we can.

I am not talking to the mythical aspects of evil, just those that are. I am talking to the tools needed to handle these people, or any situation, at level 1, 2 or 3. Long ago a good friend said that the basis for any progression through what is described here as levels 1, 2, & 3 was developing very good jujitsu skills to support this. Saotome Sensei said (translated) at a workshop here in California back in 1983, stopping us during practice with the tanto, that knives could be used for cutting vegetables or people and in order for you to make the right decision you needed to have the skills at both and the abilities at both. This is what I am talking about. I am not saying not to work on what some would call the aiki aspects, developing personal and interpersonal skills, harmonizing skills, but the base technical skills have to be there and have to be maintained. You can't go from level 2 to level 3 without taking your base skills there also. You have to figure out how you transition these base skill along with your harmonizing skill.

Some of that is what many are trying to do with all the recent effort with internal power, leaning and using. I am sure you have trained with someone who would not give you the throw, you may well run into someone who also has a skill set better developed than yours that you can't handle with level one technical skills. Equal time, solo practice, partner practice, group practice, workshops, seminars, seeking the correct teachers for you...has to be invested in both sides....

Just go straight
Gary

Aikido-Sensei
02-27-2011, 02:19 PM
Thank you for sharing this...

graham christian
02-27-2011, 03:00 PM
Graham
Admirable goals and possibly obtainable.....what do you do if you face the individual who is as skilled as you and has no intention of harmony, whose purpose is handling you......or the crazed individual who can't be harmonized? Some of the tools you would need in these situations might require that you resist, that you not give up, until the attacker is outwitted, defeated and stopped, succumbing to your efforts, and may suffer some harm in you saving yourself or those around you. There are those out there you will never be able to harmonize with, who are so far to the dark side they can never come back, folks I hope I never run in to knowing that they are out there...something to consider as you polish yourself........ Keep up your efforts to perfect yourself.
Gary

Hi Gary.
First may I say thank you to Carina and Simon for their acknowledgements,

Thank you also. The scenarios you mention may occur but the goal for me is to be able to keep in the principles and handle accordingly. Of course during training you go through, hopefully, similar representations as par for the course. ie: You train with people of equal skill and get them to be as mean and aggressive and willing to hurt you as you can in order to see and measure your own progress. This is all part of training.

Indeed true confidence comes only when you have done so effectively. So no one I train with is under any false illusion but our measure is how well did we do at keeping to the principles without having to revert to resistance etc.

There are drunks, crazed drugged people, people you say one could never harmonize with but I don't use that as an excuse to revert back to force and fight but more as a challenge to face up to without fear.

Of course I consider these things as does everyone who does this art for we all have minds don't we and the mind will always give you such scenarios. When life brings you face to face with the reality of such a charachter you find out the results of your training. It's not something to fear or be paranoid about in my opinion. There is no reason I can see to give up on these goals I have stated. I have been in situations where I have done as you have said but afterwards I acknowledged myself as it was the best I could do but always know I could do even better, even more relaxed, even more non-resistive, even more harmonious.

Apart from that I balance it off with similar situaions I handle where through the application of the same principles against an equally hostile person harmony was restored with ease and not even a hint of fight or flight or indeed physical control.

I will indeed keep polishing and no doubt learn more and more.

Regards.G.

Gary David
02-27-2011, 03:22 PM
Graham
I am not suggesting that you give up your goals, your belief in them or your passion for them....just take your tools to the same level. Felix the Cat had a tool bag that was filled with everything he needed, tools fitting every situation and circumstance....I think it serves us all to approach our journey this way.
Gary

graham christian
02-27-2011, 03:44 PM
Graham
I am not suggesting that you give up your goals, your belief in them or your passion for them....just take your tools to the same level. Felix the Cat had a tool bag that was filled with everything he needed, tools fitting every situation and circumstance....I think it serves us all to approach our journey this way.
Gary

Thank you, I fully agree. In fact I find the more calm, centered, in present time, humble and compassionate you are the sharper and stronger your tools become.

Regards,G.

Adam Huss
05-06-2011, 02:11 PM
In the spirit of this post, it may be of interest to do a search of "shu, ha, ri." I think its been covered on this website before.

Alberto_Italiano
05-06-2011, 02:49 PM
From this viewpoint therefore the aim is not to harm, not to resist, not to stop, not to outwit, not to defeat, not to succumb, not to give up, but to be and share

Oh YES!
That's precisely where Aikido differs, that's exactly the most characteristic feature of Aikido to me, and that's why it fascinated me though I was coming from the exact opposite background.

Mock at me all you want - I have placed my best sankyo today. The difference was this: no force at all, just the movement.

I feel so little and incompetent with Aikido (well ok, I figure an Aikido that works in a real situation) and bad habits are so hard to break.
If you can flow, you don't give clues out. If you don't give clues, it's not that you will exploit surprise - it's not trivial and merely tactical like that. It is that a technique does not release clues, if it's well done.

Now, if I only could do that, and remember that also when uke uses blunt force to break my locks!

C. David Henderson
05-06-2011, 02:56 PM
Nice OP, Graham; clearly expressed and interesting ideas.

Cordially,

graham christian
05-06-2011, 04:58 PM
In the spirit of this post, it may be of interest to do a search of "shu, ha, ri." I think its been covered on this website before.

Hi Adam.
I looked up shuhari and yes thank you I liked it.

Alberto and David; Thanks for the acknowledgement.

Regards.G.

Abasan
05-07-2011, 06:43 AM
Hi Graham, you may like to read what I wrote about it here... http://aikihut.blogspot.com/2010/04/4-stages-of-aikido.html

Lee Crockett
05-07-2011, 07:43 AM
Graham,

There ARE NOT 3 levels of Aikido. Aikido is Aikido, Unification with the Universal.

What you are referring to are levels of training, and there are not 3 levels, there are 4.

They are Kotai, Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai.

graham christian
05-07-2011, 09:29 AM
Graham,

There ARE NOT 3 levels of Aikido. Aikido is Aikido, Unification with the Universal.

What you are referring to are levels of training, and there are not 3 levels, there are 4.

They are Kotai, Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai.

Lee.
I am not referring to anything. I am offering.

They are not levels of training. I offer them as levels of responsibility or you could say potential.

Like your quote though.

Regards.G.

graham christian
05-07-2011, 09:30 AM
Hi Graham, you may like to read what I wrote about it here... http://aikihut.blogspot.com/2010/04/4-stages-of-aikido.html

Hi Ahmad.
Loved it. Nicely put.

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-07-2011, 01:54 PM
Lee.
I am not referring to anything. I am offering.

Very well said Graham - the fact is, at times our communications may be misunderstood as being based upon "academic" premises - thence the idea (or reply, like apparently in this case) that the "Academy" never stated those things.

However, checking also the nice link you proposed in your latest post, and browsing that site, I found right on top of it this blog entry:
http://aikihut.blogspot.com/2011/04/comfort-zone.html

Since I have a boxing background, and I am a bad aikidoka too and yet very fascinated by aikido, I found that post interesting: for the first time I've see written something that offers (just like you!) an enquiry on Aikido bringing in boxing concepts no longer seen as incompatible but as an opportunity to grow.

Let's quote this passage:

«With boxers, fights can occur every two months or so (...) For a boxer that continues to build himself up like this cumulatively and gradually, his strength will grow from fight to fight»

Now, actually boxers fight every day: you cross jabs and hooks, all of them meant to hit you squarely and not fictionally, everyday in a boxing gym. That's sparring, and the only difference from a competition is that it's gonna last just a few rounds. But you DO fight. Daily.

The strength the post is referring to is not physical: it actually means competence: being fight aware and fight savvy, as a form of "strength".
Only fighting builds it.

Sadly, in Aikido there are normally no competitions, and ukes are often very far from being realistic.
Yet let me say this: nothing, absolutely nothing, improves your effectiveness like fighting as your training routine. I am not saying street fights - but fighting like boxers do. A partner who really attacks you.

In a boxing gym a bleeding nose or a bleeing teeth gum is ordinary administration. Bruised eyes or an occasional black eye too.

Now, I am not suggesting that in Aikido people should hit themselves in the face - boxers, in fact, can do that only after having passed medical tests, to be repeated (at least here where I am, and as far as 20 years ago) every 2 years. I know we can't make medical tests on 60 years old aikidokas to that purpose...

However, it would be possible sparring with determined ukes who face you throwing blows, with open hands say, at your upper chest level, and who do NOT stop awaiting a technique - btw whoever is scared of the possibility of getting a couple of involuntary smacks on his face, should not go to a Martial dojo in the first place!

But I often wondered if in aikido most aikidokas are aware of this - the IMMENSE, IMMENSE, IMMENSE, IMMENSE benefit that to your fighting abilities is provided by regularly tranining, daily or thirce a week, with partners and settings where you have to _fight_.

Unless one doesn't try this setting, one will never appreciate how speedily and how steadily one's fighting abilities (this is inclusive of aikido fighting abilities) will improve.

At first you will be a mess, and THAT is what discourages: you will not look good, and nearly all of your techniques will AT FIRST miserably fail.

But after each single fighting training, the next time you will be better. You will be more aware of a new possibility. You will be aware of a new weak spot. You will be aware of the connections between the way an incoming attack looks and how it may end up exploiting this or that weak spot of yours, how it may produce this or that specific difficulty that you have already experienced in previous fights and against which you will grow more and more guarded. Over time, you may start guessing your attacker's next moves given the very first ones he did, and this simply because you have been already in many sparring fights - how it may benefit your defensive capabilities is beyond description.

To ma a Martial Art is Martial and Art both when it can deal with this. And to deal with this, there is nothing like fighting regularly.

I do not advocate competitions - but in the gap that divedes competition from demonstration has been developed a seemingly and entirely fictional aikido that betrays too clearly how unsuitable (I won't say utterly unusable) it would be if challenged by the fast paced frantic and relentless setting of a real fight.

if there is one contribution that the parallelism that that blog _offers_ between boxing and aikido, it could possibily be this: between hitting faces and mere demonstrations there is plenty of room for a middleway approach - and the sooner aikidokas realize that only fighting improves fighting abilities, the sonner we may see an aikido that works beyond doubts and we will finally stop seeing guys with martial Art backgrounds (i am NOT referring to boxing here) raise an eyebrow when they see our too often too gracious demonstrations "for illustration purposes," that smack too much with the sensation of being "for illustration purposes" forever.

It may not be a popular position, yet, I quote again that blog:

«Its easy to say, a belt ranking or a generalised 'improve everything' but are we really getting better? Or are we just going to the dojo, doing the same thing again and again without a thought to its development. Are our uke's testing us for weaknesses each time?

I wondered at one time not long ago, whether a technique could later become a skill. I guess it could, if we only develop it to become one. Irrespective if there's a partner to help us or not, we need to train like we are fighting the greatest threat of our lives.»

graham christian
05-07-2011, 02:46 PM
Very well said Graham - the fact is, at times our communications may be misunderstood as being based upon "academic" premises - thence the idea (or reply, like apparently in this case) that the "Academy" never stated those things.

However, checking also the nice link you proposed in your latest post, and browsing that site, I found right on top of it this blog entry:
http://aikihut.blogspot.com/2011/04/comfort-zone.html

Since I have a boxing background, and I am a bad aikidoka too and yet very fascinated by aikido, I found that post interesting: for the first time I've see written something that offers (just like you!) an enquiry on Aikido bringing in boxing concepts no longer seen as incompatible but as an opportunity to grow.

Let's quote this passage:

«With boxers, fights can occur every two months or so (...) For a boxer that continues to build himself up like this cumulatively and gradually, his strength will grow from fight to fight»

Now, actually boxers fight every day: you cross jabs and hooks, all of them meant to hit you squarely and not fictionally, everyday in a boxing gym. That's sparring, and the only difference from a competition is that it's gonna last just a few rounds. But you DO fight. Daily.

The strength the post is referring to is not physical: it actually means competence: being fight aware and fight savvy, as a form of "strength".
Only fighting builds it.

Sadly, in Aikido there are normally no competitions, and ukes are often very far from being realistic.
Yet let me say this: nothing, absolutely nothing, improves your effectiveness like fighting as your training routine. I am not saying street fights - but fighting like boxers do. A partner who really attacks you.

In a boxing gym a bleeding nose or a bleeing teeth gum is ordinary administration. Bruised eyes or an occasional black eye too.

Now, I am not suggesting that in Aikido people should hit themselves in the face - boxers, in fact, can do that only after having passed medical tests, to be repeated (at least here where I am, and as far as 20 years ago) every 2 years. I know we can't make medical tests on 60 years old aikidokas to that purpose...

However, it would be possible sparring with determined ukes who face you throwing blows, with open hands say, at your upper chest level, and who do NOT stop awaiting a technique - btw whoever is scared of the possibility of getting a couple of involuntary smacks on his face, should not go to a Martial dojo in the first place!

But I often wondered if in aikido most aikidokas are aware of this - the IMMENSE, IMMENSE, IMMENSE, IMMENSE benefit that to your fighting abilities is provided by regularly tranining, daily or thirce a week, with partners and settings where you have to _fight_.

Unless one doesn't try this setting, one will never appreciate how speedily and how steadily one's fighting abilities (this is inclusive of aikido fighting abilities) will improve.

At first you will be a mess, and THAT is what discourages: you will not look good, and nearly all of your techniques will AT FIRST miserably fail.

But after each single fighting training, the next time you will be better. You will be more aware of a new possibility. You will be aware of a new weak spot. You will be aware of the connections between the way an incoming attack looks and how it may end up exploiting this or that weak spot of yours, how it may produce this or that specific difficulty that you have already experienced in previous fights and against which you will grow more and more guarded. Over time, you may start guessing your attacker's next moves given the very first ones he did, and this simply because you have been already in many sparring fights - how it may benefit your defensive capabilities is beyond description.

To ma a Martial Art is Martial and Art both when it can deal with this. And to deal with this, there is nothing like fighting regularly.

I do not advocate competitions - but in the gap that divedes competition from demonstration has been developed a seemingly and entirely fictional aikido that betrays too clearly how unsuitable (I won't say utterly unusable) it would be if challenged by the fast paced frantic and relentless setting of a real fight.

if there is one contribution that the parallelism that that blog _offers_ between boxing and aikido, it could possibily be this: between hitting faces and mere demonstrations there is plenty of room for a middleway approach - and the sooner aikidokas realize that only fighting improves fighting abilities, the sonner we may see an aikido that works beyond doubts and we will finally stop seeing guys with martial Art backgrounds (i am NOT referring to boxing here) raise an eyebrow when they see our too often too gracious demonstrations "for illustration purposes," that smack too much with the sensation of being "for illustration purposes" forever.

It may not be a popular position, yet, I quote again that blog:

«Its easy to say, a belt ranking or a generalised 'improve everything' but are we really getting better? Or are we just going to the dojo, doing the same thing again and again without a thought to its development. Are our uke's testing us for weaknesses each time?

I wondered at one time not long ago, whether a technique could later become a skill. I guess it could, if we only develop it to become one. Irrespective if there's a partner to help us or not, we need to train like we are fighting the greatest threat of our lives.»

Alberto.
I read the link and your post. Very well put. This indeed is a matter of responsibility.

Although I follow the path of 'no fighting' the same rules apply to do with improving all the time.

My very first Aikido lesson led me to my first goal, I had to learn how to do that unbendable arm. That has been my attitude all along, always looking for that next aspect of Aikido I had to get good at. This had nothing to do with belts or exams or tests or even what anyone else said but merely my next challenge.

As I've stated before on this forum the thing that led me to Aikido was the challenge of how to harmonize with the opponent. That concept blew my mind.

Along the way it's been targets followed by the next targets, searching out the people I had difficulty with and finding out why and thus improving what needed to be improved until they were no longer a barrier as in truth they weren't actually a barrier but merely a signpost to my next lesson. This I call study and practice rather than rote procedure.

To know thoroughly the principles one by one and how they apply and when they apply. To be able to apply them. Then to be able to apply them more often than not. Then to be able to apply them comfortably with minimal effort. Then to be able to apply them on no matter who. This is more my type of structure and indeed path.

Yet I havn't even mentioned teaching. That itself is an art. A whole new set of targets of improvements. In fact I remember only a few years ago suddenly realizing I could teach anyone. That was a massive one for me, it suddenly didn't matter who came through my door be they a beginner or a 10th dan for I knew I could help them. Now I know of no grade that has that as a qualifier. Thus it's all to do with self developement and progression along your chosen path.

I liked the boxing analogy also as my sparring partner so to speak for the last thirty years was a boxer.

Thanks for your response. G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-07-2011, 04:10 PM
Yet I havn't even mentioned teaching. That itself is an art. A whole new set of targets of improvements. In fact I remember only a few years ago suddenly realizing I could teach anyone. That was a massive one for me, it suddenly didn't matter who came through my door be they a beginner or a 10th dan for I knew I could help them.

Exactly. Precisely.
There is actually only one sensei, and none of us is that!

If a person can receive all points of view considering them exactly as you proposed namely as an "offer" and not like an academic discussion or as an attempt to pose as a sensei, then you can become very rich.

Basically, every opponent, for the mere fact s/he is opposing you, is a teacher too.
It is our intelligence, let me say even our humanity, what must be able to see beyond the belts in order to see the human being and his/her potential to be a teacher, or a trove of opportunities, to improve our fighting skills (and this not because we want to fight - nobody would train years in order to cope with an unlikely street assoult: we have guns for that... - but because fighting is highly educational and molds one's character).

I often found failing a techinique against a 6th kyu infinitely more instructive than many words by a teacher. The 6th kyu has teached something! And it's not condesecension: it's the fact the potential any human being harbours, transcends belts.

Lee Crockett
05-07-2011, 05:49 PM
Graham and Alberto

Are you aware of the 4 levels of training, Kotai, Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai? Are you aware of the 9 elements?

graham christian
05-07-2011, 06:29 PM
Graham and Alberto

Are you aware of the 4 levels of training, Kotai, Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai? Are you aware of the 9 elements?

Should I be? Maybe you can enlighten me. I look foreward to it, really.

Regards.G.

Lee Crockett
05-07-2011, 06:52 PM
If you are not aware, then i would recommend a little further reading.

Keith Larman
05-07-2011, 08:14 PM
This all reminds me of all the "types of people" quotes.

"There are two types of people, those who think there are two types of people and those who don't."

or one of my favorites..

"There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary and those who don't."

Of course there is also "There are three types of people, those who know math and those who don't."

Then... "There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who have a way with words and those who have not way."

Okay, I jest, but the point is that there are all sorts of lineages out there with various deshi who came up with their own ideas about how things are. Each one is profound within its own context. And even if your own lineage's philosophy seems obviously right, correct, and unassailable to you it might not fit some other lineage. Bottom line is that it seems to me many would benefit greatly from dropping the pseudo-intellectual/philosophical bantering and just train some more. And also I'd suggest that some may need to get out more and see what other folk are doing.

Just a note from the cheap seats. Back to the deep thoughts.

Sure glad the secrets of Aikido are so simple.

graham christian
05-07-2011, 08:27 PM
Sounds like one of those clint eastwood movies. 'There are two kinds of people in this world my friend, those with horses and.......

Glad you came in I was getting dizzy.

Regards.G.

lbb
05-07-2011, 08:55 PM
And let's not forget the Colonel's eleven herbs and spices...

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 05:57 AM
When are people going to understand that Aikido is NOT physical training?

To find the path to Aikido, surely its a good idea to understand more than just how to apply a technique, which as i have said is not Aikido?

There are other aspects that one should appreciate rather than just mat time.

Mark Freeman
05-08-2011, 06:34 AM
When are people going to understand that Aikido is NOT physical training?

To find the path to Aikido, surely its a good idea to understand more than just how to apply a technique, which as i have said is not Aikido?

There are other aspects that one should appreciate rather than just mat time.

Voltaire -
- To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it

Is anyone here arguing for the fact that aikido is just 'physical training'?

It seems to me that most aikidoka understand that aikido practice (for that is what it is a practice / way) is a mind/body/spirit endeavour.

How well they do is a combination of their own teacher's understanding and their own commitment to find and discard everything that stands in their own way of realising the 'enlightenment' you speak of.

For me, I search for the non resistance / non contention that I believe is central to achieving the sort of aikido that my own teacher displays. This is not confined to the physical, it is mental and spiritual. It is a path, a practice, it is aikido. Aikido is not an end goal that only (in your opinion) very few men have achieved, and the rest of us are doing something other than.

You seem so certain in your proclamations Lee, you must know so much more / (or less), than the rest of us.

We should be looking for better ways to practice, better ways to teach, better ways to understand how to make the journey useful, rather than saying dead men from the past had it, you don't

regards,

Mark

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 06:40 AM
Mark,

My knowledge and understanding comes through people such as Tamura, Arikawa and Pierre Chassang so im confident that what i have been told is corrrect.

If you believe practice is Aikido then i suggest you do a little further investigation rather that just believing that mat time is Aikido.

Mark Freeman
05-08-2011, 07:09 AM
Mark,

My knowledge and understanding comes through people such as Tamura, Arikawa and Pierre Chassang so im confident that what i have been told is corrrect.

If you believe practice is Aikido then i suggest you do a little further investigation rather that just believing that mat time is Aikido.

Lee,

please don't misquote me, I did not say nor do I believe that mat time is aikido. I do however, believe it is a practice of the principles both on and off of the mat.

Have Tamura, Arikawa and Pierre Chassang all achieved enlightenment and therefore able to say they have aikido? How do you know that what you have been told is correct? How do you know that I need to investigate more? How do you know that an enlightend person is enlightened? If someone tells you they have achieved enlightenment, what makes it 'true' that if you do what they did, you will get the same result?

We can all cite our lineage here, it doesn't really mean much on a personal level, my own link to O Sensei is through Ken Williams' training with Abbe, Noro, Nakozono and Tohei and others. But what does that prove? It just means that I have some good grounding to inform my own journey.

Why do you feel you have a handle on the real deal and so many others, still need to wise up?

Maybe you should release your grip on certainty, you seem to be pretty focussed on having the right knowledge. Maybe you should ask more questions rather than inform others as to their shortcomings.

regards

Mark

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 07:16 AM
Mark,

You said "It is a path, a practice, it is aikido", that is mat time, and you believe that is Aikido, so no i did not misquote.

I have asked the right questions, its why i know what i know, and it is not a question of lineage.

If you truly believe that what you are doing is Aikido, then long may you continue to be deceived.

As i have said, Aikido IS NOT techniques.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 07:19 AM
Mark,

Do you know that Kotai, Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai is or what the 9 elements are?

The amount of Aikidoka in the UK who dont demonstrates a breakdown in the transmission of training from Japan.

niall
05-08-2011, 07:32 AM
A competition about lineages and who knows what isn't helpful for anyone. Most of us are going in the same direction. Lee I'm sure a lot of people don't know what those concepts are so it would be nice if you could explain them briefly. Thanks.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 07:49 AM
Nial,

I am not trying to compare lineages, but trying to demonstrate a simple point. I have also raised the question "Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido".

The fact that the majority of Aikidoka do not know the 4 levels of training or the 9 elements shows there has been a breakdown in the training methods since O'Senseis time.

I know people graded 5th and 6th Dan by the Hombu who do not recognise these terms.

Aikido is about Unification with the Universal, but we within the Aikido World cant even unify a training method or terminology.

This happened in O'Senseis time, its why he stopped teaching at the Hombu becuase someone changed his techniques.

That is why it is only really through Iwama that O'Senseis Aikido is trying to be preserved. Kotai training, hard solid grabs, is not followed at most dojos in the world because it is really really hard. Blending is supposed to be achieved with strong phsical contact, not blending while moving, this is cheating as momentum takes over from technique.

If Aikidoka do not have an open mind, then there will never be unification in the Aikido world. Look at all the reactions to the issues i have raised because it outside their realm of understanding. Wheres the harmony there?.

niall
05-08-2011, 07:58 AM
Lee I am always suspicious when anyone says there is only one way. Including me. An inclusive view of aikido respects all approaches.

niall
05-08-2011, 07:59 AM
Graham this is from the Tengugeijutsuron in Zen and the Ways by Trevor Leggett. Your interesting post reminded me of it.

Ri has no form, and its functioning is manifested through some instrument, without which it is not to be seen. The inspiration of the absolute appears through changes of yin and yang; the divine ri of the human heart appears through the four virtues. Though swordsmanship is techniques of combat, ultimately there is no perfection of technique without the inspiration of the heart-nature. But it is difficult for young warriors to attain it.

So traditionally the instruction has been in the nature of formal practice (kata), going through all the techniques of thrust and cut, attack and counter, lightly and without forcing them. In this way sinews and bones become well-knit, and the use of hands and feet is mastered, and how to use them in responding to changes.

While technique is immature the heart is tense, and one cannot move as one should. So the practice of the techniques is by 'feeling' (ki). The heart rides on ki to employ one of the techniques; ki, then, being the energy, is not to be restricted, but vigorous and untrammelled. When ri-inspiration is contained in the technique, the latter conforms to the nature of the instrument used. As technique matures, the ki becomes harmonious in it, and the inner ri-inspiration spontaneously manifests. When without any doubts one penetrates into the heart, technique and inspiration are one, ki controls itself, the spirit is composed, and the potentialities unlimited.

This was the ancient method of training in the arts, and it is the essence of that training. If technique is not mature, ki is not harmonious, it does not conform to the particular formal technique. Then heart and technique remain two separate things and there is no freedom of action.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 08:00 AM
Nial,

It was Arikawa who said there is only one Aikido, not me. I just quoted him.

There are many types of training but only one Aikido.

Mark Freeman
05-08-2011, 08:04 AM
Mark,

You said "It is a path, a practice, it is aikido", that is mat time, and you believe that is Aikido, so no i did not misquote.

you don't seem to read beyond what you want to see, to justify your own position do you?

I have asked the right questions, its why i know what i know, and it is not a question of lineage.

then why quote your own?


If you truly believe that what you are doing is Aikido, then long may you continue to be deceived.

Thank you for being so patronising Lee, I will re-evaluate my own experience and 20 years of practice in a brand new light now that you have shown me the error of my ways.:rolleyes:

As i have said, Aikido IS NOT techniques.

Good for you, I happen to agree with that.

regards,

Mark

niall
05-08-2011, 08:07 AM
That is why it is only really through Iwama that O'Senseis Aikido is trying to be preserved.

Lee I don't agree with you. You are entitled to your opinion. You also mentioned having an open mind.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 08:07 AM
Mark,

Are you aware of the 4 levels of training and the 9 elements?

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 08:09 AM
Niall,

It is not my opinion, it is historical fact that O'Sensei stopped teaching at Hombu because his techniques had been changed. This is well documented.

niall
05-08-2011, 08:16 AM
That is why it is only really through Iwama that O'Senseis Aikido is trying to be preserved.

That is an opinion. Not a fact. Most of the hundreds of thousands of aikidoka from different styles wouldn't agree with it. They would all have their own opinions. Lee good luck in your training.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 08:29 AM
Niall,

Only those who are training strong physical Kotai can claim to be completing training as O'Sensei intended.

Most places dont do that.

Mark Freeman
05-08-2011, 08:48 AM
Mark,

Are you aware of the 4 levels of training and the 9 elements?

yes and no, what difference will it make to the quality of my practice?


That is why it is only really through Iwama that O'Senseis Aikido is trying to be preserved. Kotai training, hard solid grabs, is not followed at most dojos in the world because it is really really hard. Blending is supposed to be achieved with strong phsical contact, not blending while moving, this is cheating as momentum takes over from technique.

Why quote this as aikido? you have said aikido is not technique, then you give an opinion about the 'right' way to do technique, odd.

Personally I find hard solid grabs are overrated, literally too easy to break someones balance when they do. It is much harder to shift someone who holds with relaxation, co-ordination and serious intent. But then what do I know?

To consider dynamic movement as 'cheating' is to reveal a lack of understanding of what constitutes an encounter.

If Aikidoka do not have an open mind, then there will never be unification in the Aikido world. Look at all the reactions to the issues i have raised because it outside their realm of understanding. Wheres the harmony there?.

Who is looking to create unification in the Aikido world? Aikido is practiced in many ways and has been passed down through many teachers, O Sensei was good but not a god, he got what he got from others, he adapted and added. This will continue, as it should.

I'm done with this, good luck with your quest to let everyone know how little they know. And open up your own mind to the possibility that you may not have all the truth.

regards

Mark

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 08:54 AM
Mark,

Your comments prove how little you know with 20 years experience by dismissing the ways of the founder.

You will never find O'Senseis Aikido.

Mark Freeman
05-08-2011, 09:07 AM
Mark,

Your comments prove how little you know with 20 years experience by dismissing the ways of the founder.

You will never find O'Senseis Aikido.

Once again thank you for your patronising position, it must be quite a heady experience being so high on your own sense of rightness.

You are starting to sound like a fundamentalist, get a grip Lee,

I am happy to be someone who searches and asks questions of my teachers and myself, I am happy to know that I don't know it all, if that is deluded, then so be it, I'll remain deluded but still searching,

regards

Mark
I really am done.. good luck with your quest

Demetrio Cereijo
05-08-2011, 09:10 AM
That is an opinion. Not a fact. Most of the hundreds of thousands of aikidoka from different styles wouldn't agree with it.

Lots of iwamaers included, especially the non brainwashed ones.

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 09:13 AM
Mark,

It is you who are patronising, in fact down right insulting.

It is YOU who have dismissed the teachings of the founder, not i. It is i who have tried to pursue the path of the founder and present a discussion here, which you at every turn have just dismissed.

You are not even attempting to do O'Senseis Aikido. These are your words, so how can i be patronising?

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 10:16 AM
Mark, Graham and other users,

It has not been my intent to cause offence with my posts.

I want to follow the way of the founder and find Aikido, and this is what i have been discussing.

What is generally being practiced today are the teachings of the first Doshu. It is well documented that he stated he changed the teachings of his father.

If this is the case, how can we call what we do Aikido if what O'Sensei taught has changed?

To me this is the biggest issue in the Aikido World today.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-08-2011, 11:02 AM
Mark, Graham and other users,

It has not been my intent to cause offence with my posts.
No problem.

I want to follow the way of the founder and find Aikido, and this is what i have been discussing
That's fine.

What is generally being practiced today are the teachings of the first Doshu. It is well documented that he stated he changed the teachings of his father.
He inherited the art. Changing it, whatever his motivations and purposes were, was his prerrogative. Deal with it.

If this is the case, how can we call what we do Aikido if what O'Sensei taught has changed?
Considering the name of Aikido was intended as a generic name for various styles, some of them non derived from Ueshiba-ha Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, I don't see the problem.

To me this is the biggest issue in the Aikido World today.
However, the biggest issue for me is the crazyness of its practitioners.

Cheers

graham christian
05-08-2011, 11:20 AM
Mark, Graham and other users,

It has not been my intent to cause offence with my posts.

I want to follow the way of the founder and find Aikido, and this is what i have been discussing.

What is generally being practiced today are the teachings of the first Doshu. It is well documented that he stated he changed the teachings of his father.

If this is the case, how can we call what we do Aikido if what O'Sensei taught has changed?

To me this is the biggest issue in the Aikido World today.

Lee.
I doubt you have offended anyone here except in your own mind. I personally am not offended only amused.

I don't see you as someone to sit down and discuss things with unfortunately but rather see you as someone on a podium lecturing.

When it comes to lecturing or speaking about the Aikido of the founder I prefer someone like Stanley Pranin who presents in a more interesting balanced manner.

So forgive me if I choose to be part of your Audience and sit in silence watching your performance.

Good luck.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-08-2011, 11:20 AM
Hey what a nice surprise to see this thread evolved so long overnight :-)

Well, be indulgent with my English, I'm no native speaker.

I personally find myself more comfortable with Graham's and Mark's outlook - however there is a level where some degree of synthesis, perhaps, may be attained.

Lee says he is certain that his perspective is the right one because so (quoting) "has been told".

The fact is: what we are told is immaterial, because what matters is not what we have been told, but what we make of it. Christ can tell us the most beautiful parable, and yet we may understand it not.

So, I guess, this may somewhat apply to Lee's positions too - he is saying things that don't make much sense to some of us (at least, not when stated in that fashion): however, also in this case what he is telling can find its value by what we make of it.

As (quoting myself, lol) I suggested, even a 6th kyu can be a teacher - every opponent that poses a challenge to you, is a teacher too - in disguide, like David in the Psalms: "in hiding".

This means that this notorious "one Aikido" is not something that any real person embodies, but the overall sum of the human potential all of us have and may exhibit.
When a 6th kyu does something stupid, and yet the fact he does it implies I find applying my technique very difficult - in that INSTANT that 6th kyu is THE SENSEI. The - there is but ONE sensei.
It's not the 6th kyu, that's the spiritual Sensei that in disguise arrived, and is teaching you. I have never read of any god, no matter what religion, expressing itself in clear words like humans do, or appear without being enshrouded by a cover-up (be it a cloud or whatever, which includes persons - in the Bible some passer-bys are considered as messengers, as Angels, for the time being).

We speculate about enlightenment - but an enlightened person is a rare find: I doubt we can find one out of ten millions.

If we are speaking of illumination in the Buddhist sense, that level of self-awareness after which everything becomes clear also without any study because the ultimate root whence everything sprouts has been attained and firmly grasped, is a phenomenon that has been reported in Buddhist literature as being so impressive and so shocking an experience, that whoever had it will never be the same again, will never think the same way again, and there is no way s/he can doubt of it. It's like an explosion in your mind, like a sudden realaignment (apparently) of your whole neural networks in one instant - something you can hardly mistake or avoid noticing. It's like a blast.

has Lee had this experience? My impression is: no he didn't.
However, so didn't I.

yet I reclaim my right to pursue my own path to that "one Aikido", and the right of everyone else to follow their own customized and personal path.
Paths may lead you in the wrong way: you accept the risk.
Paths may see you never arrive at the final destination: you accept the risk.

Because if enlightement could be something that would be accrued or earned by merely following a set of instructions, a digest of precepts, we would all be enlightened by merely following them - and at a very cheap price and, consequently, with very trivial merit.

Instead, ti's not like that. It's not a rational thing that you can infallibly reach following a catechism.

You are in a sea of uncertainty, where the only thing that matters is your personal commitment - as if it were a fight to the last blood.

At that point, it is not going to be this or that instruction what may yield one day illumination. The cumulative experience, practice, meditation, fighting, one day may generate enough pressure that one morning (as we read in COUNTLESS ZEN stories) you reach the Critical Mass and pow! one trivial sentence, and you experience that devastating experience that is illumination.

For Zen Buddhism, everything can be conducive to illumination - from archery to serving tea.

You won't get illuminated one day by reciting mantras, or by following this or that set of Commandments.

You will be illuminated one day, as you casually bend down to tie your shoe.

graham christian
05-08-2011, 11:23 AM
Graham this is from the Tengugeijutsuron in Zen and the Ways by Trevor Leggett. Your interesting post reminded me of it.

Niall.
Thanks very much. I had never read this. I love it.

Regards.G.

Chris Li
05-08-2011, 11:35 AM
Nial,

It was Arikawa who said there is only one Aikido, not me. I just quoted him.

There are many types of training but only one Aikido.

Lee, Niall's been nice about it, but do you really want to quote Arikawa to him?

Best,

Chris

graham christian
05-08-2011, 11:38 AM
Alberto.
That's quite a post. I not only agree with what you say there but commend you on your presentation. Lovely style of writing. Great ending.

Thanks.G.

Keith Larman
05-08-2011, 11:50 AM
Lee, Niall's been nice about it, but do you really want to quote Arikawa to him?

Best,

Chris

Yeah, that was quite, um, interesting... Gave me a chuckle. Context, context, context...

Lee Crockett
05-08-2011, 12:20 PM
Keith,

I have no idea about Niall or his training.

From you statement i could infer that Niall is a student of Arikawas. If so, then surely Niall should be able to offer more on this subject than i.

The comment Arikawa was made was in a discussion with Pierre Chassang.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-08-2011, 02:28 PM
Niall.
Thanks very much. I had never read this. I love it.

Regards.G.

Be aware that Chozan was not exactly fond of Zen Buddhism, and mostly an armchair strategist than skilled budo practitioner. So, if you don't mind, take Chozan advice about proper budo instruction with a grain of salt.

Cheers.

graham christian
05-08-2011, 03:47 PM
Be aware that Chozan was not exactly fond of Zen Buddhism, and mostly an armchair strategist than skilled budo practitioner. So, if you don't mind, take Chozan advice about proper budo instruction with a grain of salt.

Cheers.

Demetrio.
Thanks for the advice for I am not aware of the ins and outs of Chozan.
However, whatever his awareness or reality of budo was this passage definitely resonates with me. I think Niall has a handle on my view of Aikido,(not saying that he agrees with it or otherwise) and thus it was very perceptive of him to see what I might like.

I too practice in learning said aspects relating to the sword, jo, etc. I think that passage is a good explanation.

Regards.G.

Tony Wagstaffe
05-08-2011, 04:22 PM
I'm the only one allowed to lecture here, so lets get that clear right now!! :D
Me thinks as I've always done since starting martial arts back in 1967 with judo bla bla bla etc etc, that there seems to be a lot of writing, pontificating and whining with very little doing where actual practice is concerned, its where its really at..... repetition till exhaustion, rest and then do a lot more, hundred if not thousands of times till it becomes almost instinctive, That is the real practice, sweat, pain, a little blood now and again, it is expected if you really want to be "earth shakers" especially the youngsters meaning anyone who doesn't have excuses....

People ask me if there is strength in aikido, I say yes there is, enough to lift 25lbs, and the ability to use it with subtlety, that is where the training comes in. Lee I haven't got a clue what you are on about so excuse my igorance....
All I know is practice, practice, practice that gets you there, it's the only way. I get the impression you read too many books instead of worrying about what it is you actually do.... What are you trying to do? Become an 'O' Sensei clone?
I know I don't, even though I greatly admire what he did and passed onto us via his deshi and so forth. I personally believe it was the prewar deshi that really got the goods, Tohei just cottoned on and made use of it, maybe he was just a bit more clever than the rest... Happy days!!

Anyways guys I'm off for a month..... happy arguing.....:rolleyes: :D

Ceeeeeriste!! I thought I was opinionated, Lee.... you have outdone me ......good luck!!

Hellis
05-08-2011, 04:37 PM
I'm the only one allowed to lecture here, so lets get that clear right now!! :D
Me thinks as I've always done since starting martial arts back in 1967 with judo bla bla bla etc etc, that there seems to be a lot of writing, pontificating and whining with very little doing where actual practice is concerned, its where its really at..... repetition till exhaustion, rest and then do a lot more, hundred if not thousands of times till it becomes almost instinctive, That is the real practice, sweat, pain, a little blood now and again, it is expected if you really want to be "earth shakers" especially the youngsters meaning anyone who doesn't have excuses....

People ask me if there is strength in aikido, I say yes there is, enough to lift 25lbs, and the ability to use it with subtlety, that is where the training comes in. Lee I haven't got a clue what you are on about so excuse my igorance....
All I know is practice, practice, practice that gets you there, it's the only way. I get the impression you read too many books instead of worrying about what it is you actually do.... What are you trying to do? Become an 'O' Sensei clone?
I know I don't, even though I greatly admire what he did and passed onto us via his deshi and so forth. I personally believe it was the prewar deshi that really got the goods, Tohei just cottoned on and made use of it, maybe he was just a bit more clever than the rest... Happy days!!

Anyways guys I'm off for a month..... happy arguing.....:rolleyes: :D

Ceeeeeriste!! I thought I was opinionated, Lee.... you have outdone me ......good luck!!

Tony

Thanks for those words of wisdom.
Bring me back a stick of rock.

Henry Ellis
Aikido in MMA
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

Diana Frese
05-08-2011, 04:53 PM
Tony, you're going on vacation? Henry's (please excuse the informality) request doesn't seem a clear clue as to where?
(a stick of rock?)
Chuck has just agreed we should practice every day, so thanks for keeping track of us until we got to this point. We'll do our best while you're away, and hope you approve of our training ....

Alberto_Italiano
05-08-2011, 04:56 PM
repetition till exhaustion, rest and then do a lot more, hundred if not thousands of times till it becomes almost instinctive, That is the real practice, sweat, pain, a little blood now and again

All I know is practice, practice, practice that gets you there

Yes!

And though I certainly would neve advocate that whatever practice works for the purpose, yet I'd like to add (leaving to Attilio to correct me, no problem!) that it doesn't even matter what style or what practice.
As long as it's a lot of it, it may build up the right pressure. Even jogging having Aikido in mind might improve your aikido!

I'm not going to be good at Aikido ever, maybe. But I like it and I am devoting myself to it my way. When I can go jogging and do katas in pitch dark at 4am in a park (we have no major criminality here lol - I would hate having to pass from katas to a real fight, in order to find a knive into my belly :-) )) in total solitude, I don't feel that I am getting better at Aikido - but I feel I am engaged to my path to it, whatever its outcome.

St Augustine wrote "love, and then do whatever you want".
We could say: "Practice a lot, nearly in whatever way you want".

Hellis
05-09-2011, 02:40 AM
Tony, you're going on vacation? Henry's (please excuse the informality) request doesn't seem a clear clue as to where?
(a stick of rock?)
Chuck has just agreed we should practice every day, so thanks for keeping track of us until we got to this point. We'll do our best while you're away, and hope you approve of our training ....

Diana

Tony did say earlier ( somewhere ) that he was going to Japan for one month.

During the wartime 40s / 50s when a child went to the coast, which was not often - It was always called the ``seaside `` that child would bring a stick of rock back for his friends - a stick of rock is a baton of candy with the name of the resort running all the way through - all colours and flavours - hard and sweet .So, some of us olduns will still say to someone going to wonderful places around the world, places which were impossible to us as kids " Don't forget my stick of rock " .. a bit of social history :)
They still make rock at all our seaside resorts to this day.
Henry Ellis
Aikido Articles
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 04:19 AM
Demetrio,

If the first Doshu changed O'Seseis teachings, then we are not really doing O'Senseis Aikido are we?

My entire point. What is being practiced today is not what O'Sensei called Aikido. He even stated that.

So its not a case of "deal with it" its a case of recognising that what is being practiced today, is not what O'Sensei intended.

lbb
05-09-2011, 06:45 AM
If the first Doshu changed O'Seseis teachings, then we are not really doing O'Senseis Aikido are we?

No, and there is no way to get "back" to "what O'Sensei[sic] intended"...so maybe it's time to stop carrying on about it and get on with our lives.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-09-2011, 07:10 AM
Demetrio,

If the first Doshu changed O'Seseis teachings, then we are not really doing O'Senseis Aikido are we?
No, we are not doing O Sensei Aikido, but that's because we are not him, not because the changes his son made.

Only Ueshiba Morihei was doing O Sensei's Aikido.

My entire point. What is being practiced today is not what O'Sensei called Aikido. He even stated that
No one was practising O Sensei's Aikido even when he was alive.

So its not a case of "deal with it" its a case of recognising that what is being practiced today, is not what O'Sensei intended.
That's a different thing. Do you know what really O Sensei intended or do you think you know what O Sensei intended?

Do you really want to do O Sensei's Aikido? For real? If yor answer is "yes" your only option is channeling and became possessed by his kami. There are tools for that: the ones he used to channel and be possessed by the kami themselves.

Carsten Möllering
05-09-2011, 07:16 AM
... it is historical fact that O'Sensei stopped teaching at Hombu ...When was that?

What are the "9 Elements" in your usage of words?

Is it of concern that the concept of kotai, jutai, ekitai and kitai does also exist in judo?
What about aikidoka who know this terms or this concept but don't use it when teaching?

Do you study the three elements, four souls and eight Powers?

Does it matter that "aikido" is a term of Hirai Minoru which had to be adopted by O sensei when being integrated into the Dai nihon butokukai? (Which he first didn't want to accept as far as I know.)

Does it matter that Ueshibas concepts of harmoy with the univers (and other concepts) stem from shinto? Do you study the Kojiki and the Nihongi?
And do you read the texts of Ueshiba?

To me this is the biggest issue in the Aikido World today.Why is that so?

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 08:38 AM
Demetrio, Carsten and others,

Im not going to respond to the points individually.

The simple fact of the matter is that we are not following O'Senseis teachings.

If you are happy doing what you are doing then fine, but it is not what O'Sensei left us. So you should not be calling it Aikido.

"That which people who practice the martial arts call Aiki is fundamentally different to what i call Aiki" - O'Sensei

Demetrio Cereijo
05-09-2011, 08:46 AM
"That which people who practice the martial arts call Aiki is fundamentally different to what i call Aiki" - O'Sensei

Citation please.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-09-2011, 08:46 AM
Demetrio, Carsten and others,

Im not going to respond to the points individually.

The simple fact of the matter is that we are not following O'Senseis teachings.

If you are happy doing what you are doing then fine, but it is not what O'Sensei left us. So you should not be calling it Aikido.

"That which people who practice the martial arts call Aiki is fundamentally different to what i call Aiki" - O'Sensei

Lee,

So you have given ample evidence that you don't know what you are talking about, except you strictly believe whatever your seniors tell you; you don't care to do the reading to fill your gaps or challenge your views; you don't know who you are talking to and you don't care to find out who you are talking to; and now you finally say you don't want to discuss at all.

Are you just here to make announcements of the Truth???

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 09:18 AM
So where have i given evidence i dont know what i am talking about? In fact, people have agreed with what i said by saying "deal with it"

My source, a book by Pierre Chassang who was a student of Abe, Nakazono, Noro and Tamura. Though i have also read and heard it elsewhere.

If people believe they know more than me, then where are people offering alternatives? They arent, its people just DISMISSING what i say without a valid argument to support their position.

I am happy to DISCUSS, but when what i believe challenges peoples beliefs they have held for 20 or 30 years, they get dismissive and defensive.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-09-2011, 09:55 AM
So where have i given evidence i dont know what i am talking about? In fact, people have agreed with what i said by saying "deal with it"

My source, a book by Pierre Chassang who was a student of Abe, Nakazono, Noro and Tamura. Though i have also read and heard it elsewhere.

If people believe they know more than me, then where are people offering alternatives? They arent, its people just DISMISSING what i say without a valid argument to support their position.

I am happy to DISCUSS, but when what i believe challenges peoples beliefs they have held for 20 or 30 years, they get dismissive and defensive.

Look, believe what you want to believe, I am sorry for having made it personal and I apologize. Sincerely.

Still, people may be 'dismissing' your theories because they (the theories) are narrow-minded and dated and there is so much more out there that it is difficult to even start correcting.

And because you ignore it when they do give alternatives. Many have.

Here are my "alternatives": you asked for, just to make up for it, off the top of my head:
(1) Read the stuff I suggested to you before - I think I did? Ellis Amdur, Peter Goldsbury? It's sort of commonplace for many people here. Plus some on the religious systems O'Sensei practised. There is a fun chapter or two in Carmen Blacker's "Catalpa Bow" as well.
(2) Go and practise with lot's of people outside of your own lineage and listen carefully to what they have to say.
(3) Stop thinking one book by whoever plus hearsay will give you all the answers. Look for outside confirmation or dismissal of what your teachers say. Consider it.
(4) Find out who Arikawa Sensei's most senior Western student is.
(5) Consider the Saito Sensei quotes Chris Lee offered in another thread you participated in.
(6) Read some of the thousands of posts about the "real" body skills (aiki, IP/IS, whatever) of Ueshiba Morihei here. Pay attention to the ones by Dan Harden and Mike Sigman. Ignore the fighting. If you dont buy it, at least it will give you a much bigger picture.
(7) Stop thinking anybody can get O'Sensei's enlightenment. It cannot be done.

There are more.

BTW, that way you may just start to appreciate the contexts and questions you are dealing with - I am not telling you I have answers.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-09-2011, 09:56 AM
So where have i given evidence i dont know what i am talking about? In fact, people have agreed with what i said by saying "deal with it"
Pay attention: Doshu changes have nothing to do with "we're not doing O Sensei's Aikido" nor with "what is being practiced today is not what O Sensei called Aikido".

We are not doing O sensei's Aikido because only O Sensei did O Sensei's Aikido.

My source, a book by Pierre Chassang who was a student of Abe, Nakazono, Noro and Tamura. Though i have also read and heard it elsewhere.
I bet is misquoted.

If people believe they know more than me, then where are people offering alternatives? They arent, its people just DISMISSING what i say without a valid argument to support their position.
I've offered you the alternative: spirit posession (a bit of kotodama practise should help). Just do it.

Cliff Judge
05-09-2011, 10:03 AM
I am happy to DISCUSS,

You are not. You have been vehement in your refusal to accept new ideas or grant that anyone other than yourself may be correct. You have, furthermore, been doing a poor job arguing; you had one gentleman backing you up on "static wrist grabs only for ten years" but he's since stepped away from the keyboard...probably off somewhere training or something like that...:)

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 11:06 AM
Nicholas,

If the quotation by O'Sensei is correct, and i have no doubt it is, training today is differnet to O'Senseis teachings.

There also another thread on this forum about Abe and Tomiki commenting on this with regard to training at the Hombu.

mathewjgano
05-09-2011, 11:13 AM
...St Augustine wrote "love, and then do whatever you want".
We could say: "Practice a lot, nearly in whatever way you want".

Amen to that! I think an important componant to this kind of thinking is the idea of mindfulness. To my mind, love and sincerity are very closely related, and I tend to think as long as we have our "first step" firmly rooted in that, everything else follows fairly naturally.
I think it when it comes to repetition, it's very easy to shut off the attention, and that's problematic...1000 bad habits done are harder to reverse, but when we really work on doing everything with the utmost sincerity, those 1000 repetitions aren't pure repetition. That is to say, they appear that way externally, but internally it's a 1000 different things because each one is a unique effort.

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 11:13 AM
Cliff,

Have you heard the term Budo Sportif? This is how Arikawa referred to todays Aikido.

There may not be people on here agreeing with me, but that doesnt mean i am wrong. What makes you think you are right?

Lee Crockett
05-09-2011, 11:28 AM
Demetrio,

If you want to dismiss Arikawa stating there is only one Aikido, that is up to you, but i wouldnt dismiss Arikawa.

Your comments have become very personal, i too could do that, but i havent. Your insinutation that ive misquoted is one step too far, so on that note ill not say any more and leave it for you all to think that you are doing "Aikido".
.

Chris Li
05-09-2011, 11:58 AM
Nicholas,

If the quotation by O'Sensei is correct, and i have no doubt it is, training today is differnet to O'Senseis teachings.

There also another thread on this forum about Abe and Tomiki commenting on this with regard to training at the Hombu.

Actually, he was talking about the term "Aiki" as it was used historically as opposed to how he was using it, he wasn't comparing modern Aikido practice to older Aikido practice. It becomes clear if you read it in context.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
05-09-2011, 12:04 PM
Have you heard the term Budo Sportif? This is how Arikawa referred to todays Aikido.

Why don't you provide a quote, cite where you got it from (i.e. title of the book please), and then comment on the quotation, what you think it means, etc.


What makes you think you are right?

I don't.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-09-2011, 12:09 PM
Demetrio,

If you want to dismiss Arikawa stating there is only one Aikido, that is up to you, but i wouldnt dismiss Arikawa.
Where have I dismissed Arikawa Sensei's statements? I haven't seen any of them here.

Your comments have become very personal, i too could do that, but i havent.
The passive-aggresiveness is strong with you.

Your insinutation that ive misquoted is one step too far
Prove me wrong. Prove "That which people who practice the martial arts call Aiki is fundamentally different to what i call Aiki" is an O Sensei statement.

so on that note ill not say any more and leave it for you all to think that you are doing "Aikido"
At least we're not doing "your" Aikido.
.

C. David Henderson
05-09-2011, 01:31 PM
I perceive a fundamental disconnect in this thread, Lee -- you have stated some positions, but for whatever reason haven't gone beyond a declaration to some sort of exposition; which a number of people respectfully requested. From my perspective, your responses often treat attempts to discuss as disagreement and disagreement as attack.

You really missed the boat re. Mr. Matthews, BTW, and showed a curious lack of curiosity when this first was pointed out to you. If you are interested in Arikawa's perspective, and find it speaks to you, seems to me you managed to discourage a conversation with exactly the wrong person.

Meanwhile, we were discussing the IDEA of three levels of aikido. How does this IDEA relate to your IDEAS? Not in pedigree or authorship -- but in substance.

mathewjgano
05-09-2011, 03:19 PM
Well I just read most of the thread. As usual I made the mistake of trying to hit the ground running, but not knowing which way the road was coming from.
Graham, great OP! It really meshes well with my understanding, limited though I know it is. I think it's a great approach and I plan on referencing it personally as I continue with my own training.
Graham, would you say it's more or less true that I can view the first level as pertaining largely with personal integration, the second level as interpersonal integration (physical), and the third level as being an even greater degree of interpersonal integration (metaphysical)? and that this isn't so much a linear bunch of stepping stones as much as a tendancy for one to lead toward the other? Given some situation, for example, I might have poor level 1 and 2, but might still happen to see a way toward achieving level 3? ...Like if someone were to almost hit me for "eye-balling" him, but I'm able to let him know that not only was I not look at him, but at the other guy about to attack him from behind, and, giving ample warning, was able to save his life. In that case I might be physically meak and "scatter-brained" in confrontation, never mind the ability to apply myself with much effect on another mind/body, but still able to turn a potential enemy into a life-long friend.
Is all of that in keeping with your meaning?

Lee, I admire your passion and focus on what you're learning, but I have to wonder what you hope to accomplish with your delivery. You might well understand the one true Aikido better than most (or many), but I think you might want to consider looking into how to make your message received better...and if you're not interested in getting folks who disagree to accept your understanding on those things you have a greater understaning of, why put it out there to begin with? ...This is a rhetorical question. Any issues you have with it, please feel free to PM me. I apologize if I am mischaracterizing anything.
Sincerely,
Matthew

mathewjgano
05-09-2011, 03:57 PM
...A very quick apology to Graham, Jun, and others who would like to see the thread remain on-topic:
I should have made that last bit a PM. I'm not sure why I suggested a reply should be via PM but missed the fact that my own remarks should be too.
Sorry again,
Matt

graham christian
05-09-2011, 05:14 PM
...A very quick apology to Graham, Jun, and others who would like to see the thread remain on-topic:
I should have made that last bit a PM. I'm not sure why I suggested a reply should be via PM but missed the fact that my own remarks should be too.
Sorry again,
Matt

Hi Matthew.
No problem. Regarding the previous post I liked your take on it, nice in life analogy. It's not given as an exact 'must be' but rather for people to muse. My precise meaning I'll try to sum up but I emphasize it's just my view.

To stop myself going on too long I'll give a simple or even simplistic sum up of my idea.

3 levels of responsibility.

1) Responsible for being at one, spirit mind and body in self, alert yet totally at ease.

2)Responsible for maintaining that whilst in danger. In Aikido whilst handling an attacking opponent and through that ability thus handling the opponent without harm.

3)Responsible for transcending even that and actually restoring the opponent to level 1.

A long path.

Regards.G.

mathewjgano
05-09-2011, 06:15 PM
Hi Matthew.
No problem. Regarding the previous post I liked your take on it, nice in life analogy. It's not given as an exact 'must be' but rather for people to muse. My precise meaning I'll try to sum up but I emphasize it's just my view.

To stop myself going on too long I'll give a simple or even simplistic sum up of my idea.

3 levels of responsibility.

1) Responsible for being at one, spirit mind and body in self, alert yet totally at ease.

2)Responsible for maintaining that whilst in danger. In Aikido whilst handling an attacking opponent and through that ability thus handling the opponent without harm.

3)Responsible for transcending even that and actually restoring the opponent to level 1.

A long path.

Regards.G.

Hi Graham,
Thank you, sir! I think I see your meaning a little better. One of things that drew me to Aikido is what I perceived to be the ideal of healing; of taking a bad situation and not only negating harm, but even improving things for all involved.
I don't have a lot of experience to draw from so I tend to cue in on a small handful. This probably isn't a great example, but:
I "lived" in SFO for 3 days while waiting for a flight to Kansai and on the second night I had an encounter with a homeless guy who I've become fairly convinced was planning on jumping me. I bought him lunch earlier in the day and spent some time chatting with him. At around 2am as I was adding to my 20 minute nap from the night before, he woke me up and asked me if I would keep him company while he waited for a bus for which he had a ticket. I was so sleep deprived I didn't think clearly, and soon found myself walking down a long deserted hallway of the very empty airport. I took precautions: I made sure my hand closest to him was free and I lagged behind, fading somewhat into his rear corner in case he attacked me suddenly. As we waited for his "bus," chatting, he suddenly looked at me accusingly, saying I looked like an undercover cop. I adopted my most sincere, look-him-in-the-eye demeanor and explained, "hey man, I don't know what to say. I'm just a guy waiting to go to Japan to see his girlfriend." Now I should be clear that I tracked this guy before he first "casually" sat next to me earlier in the day, tried to strike up a conversation and then hit me up for money. I didn't trust him, but I did care about him, which is why I fed him. I was very clear about what I could and could not do for him from the start. I believe it was a mixture of my sincere kindness, my willingness to treat the guy with respect, and my simple and direct nature which ultimately kept him from attacking me later that night. I might have just been lucky too, but he seemed to forget about his bus story and offered to show me the "good places to sleep." We went there and I waited for him to fall asleep before I exited stage-anywhere-but-here.
Now I have a kid and another on the way, so I will not take such a risk again; period. I'm also a bit less forgiving toward pan-handlers since I've been to Cambodia and other places where I saw a deeper reality of need. I also wouldn't ever recommend anyone to allow themselves to be put into a situation like that. Flirting with danger is asking for trouble, but I'd like to think I made him understand the situation a bit more clearly and to reconsider his intent; to find some place a little closer to being centered than he was before.
Hard to say of course
Take care,
Matt

Carsten Möllering
05-10-2011, 02:16 AM
Im not going to respond to the points individually.I didn't expect you would. That's how I chose my questions. ;)

Why is just Arikawa sensei so important to you?
Why don't you "use" words of other students of Ueshiba?

If you are happy doing what you are doing then fine, but it is not what O'Sensei left us. So you should not be calling it Aikido.Well, I'm doing, learning and teaching aikido. ;) For sure.
I'm sorry if you can't bring this together with your thinking.

The simple fact of the matter is that we are not following O'Senseis teachings.Well, the shihan I follow, talks about what O sensei told him or taught him.
When he transfers O senseis words and what he experienced with him to us, to me this is kind of following his teachings.
But following his teachings is not copying him.

There is a proverb in German:
If your ar pointing at someone with your index finger, there are three fingers poiting at yourself.

Dazzler
05-10-2011, 05:42 AM
Why don't you provide a quote, cite where you got it from (i.e. title of the book please), and then comment on the quotation, what you think it means, etc.

I don't.

Hi Cliff

For the record - The book title is "Ai Ki Do - The way forward" by Pierre Chassang. I don't believe it has been published - just distributed among students of PC ( I believe PC may be the longest practicing Aikidoka in Europe...if not, hes certainly close).

The quote comes from a discussion in Paris 1993 between PC & Arikawa (who PC held in highest esteem) on the subject of European Aikido having lost its way somewhat.

PC used the term 'Modern Aikido' to distinguish between the Aikido being practiced at the time and that taught by O'Sensei.

Arikawa strong response "Chassang, there is only one Aikido, one only; there cannot be two. Aikido is unique,,,Modern Aikido! It makes no sense"

My comment on this quotation is that the situation is exactly the same observation as that in the various threads here on "Aiki-do v Aikido(TM)" and IS/IT.

So basically an argument that true Aikido is imbued with power from the hara and that training that focusses on the forms only is somehow lacking and a shallower copy.

If I could comment in general on this thread - Lee's mistake ...which I made myself when I first came to Aikiweb although not with same impact ...is to underestimate the numbers of people who are aware of 'IS' (as a convenient term) within Aikido and actively working to include this spice in their Aikido.

This is somewhat compounded by a failure to recognise the necessary etiquette in this virtual dojo ...and perhaps forgetting that that is all it is. Real exchange takes place on the tatami.

Much of what Lee says I agree with...and I believe so do many others but they just don't realise due to differences in terminology used and Lee's rather unharmonious forum style.

Thats all I want to say - I've no wish to become further embroiled in this thread or 'the other one' until things become a bit more civilised.

Regards

Daren

Demetrio Cereijo
05-10-2011, 06:35 AM
Hi Daren,

For the record - The book title is "Ai Ki Do - The way forward" by Pierre Chassang. I don't believe it has been published - just distributed among students of PC ( I believe PC may be the longest practicing Aikidoka in Europe...if not, hes certainly close).

The quote comes from a discussion in Paris 1993 between PC & Arikawa (who PC held in highest esteem) on the subject of European Aikido having lost its way somewhat.

PC used the term 'Modern Aikido' to distinguish between the Aikido being practiced at the time and that taught by O'Sensei.

Arikawa strong response "Chassang, there is only one Aikido, one only; there cannot be two. Aikido is unique,,,Modern Aikido! It makes no sense"

Thanks for the info.

Much of what Lee says I agree with...and I believe so do many others but they just don't realise due to differences in terminology used and Lee's rather unharmonious forum style.

I would not say Lee opinions are absolutely wrong but, IMO, he needs to do a bit more of homework before lecturing people about "the real Aikido".

Thats all I want to say - I've no wish to become further embroiled in this thread or 'the other one' until things become a bit more civilised.

I think people has been very civilised considering Lee's talibanesque approach.

Regards.

Ed.

I'm wondering if Chassang Sensei book could be availabe to people who are not his students.

graham christian
05-10-2011, 06:58 AM
Hi Graham,
Thank you, sir! I think I see your meaning a little better. One of things that drew me to Aikido is what I perceived to be the ideal of healing; of taking a bad situation and not only negating harm, but even improving things for all involved.
I don't have a lot of experience to draw from so I tend to cue in on a small handful. This probably isn't a great example, but:
I "lived" in SFO for 3 days while waiting for a flight to Kansai and on the second night I had an encounter with a homeless guy who I've become fairly convinced was planning on jumping me. I bought him lunch earlier in the day and spent some time chatting with him. At around 2am as I was adding to my 20 minute nap from the night before, he woke me up and asked me if I would keep him company while he waited for a bus for which he had a ticket. I was so sleep deprived I didn't think clearly, and soon found myself walking down a long deserted hallway of the very empty airport. I took precautions: I made sure my hand closest to him was free and I lagged behind, fading somewhat into his rear corner in case he attacked me suddenly. As we waited for his "bus," chatting, he suddenly looked at me accusingly, saying I looked like an undercover cop. I adopted my most sincere, look-him-in-the-eye demeanor and explained, "hey man, I don't know what to say. I'm just a guy waiting to go to Japan to see his girlfriend." Now I should be clear that I tracked this guy before he first "casually" sat next to me earlier in the day, tried to strike up a conversation and then hit me up for money. I didn't trust him, but I did care about him, which is why I fed him. I was very clear about what I could and could not do for him from the start. I believe it was a mixture of my sincere kindness, my willingness to treat the guy with respect, and my simple and direct nature which ultimately kept him from attacking me later that night. I might have just been lucky too, but he seemed to forget about his bus story and offered to show me the "good places to sleep." We went there and I waited for him to fall asleep before I exited stage-anywhere-but-here.
Now I have a kid and another on the way, so I will not take such a risk again; period. I'm also a bit less forgiving toward pan-handlers since I've been to Cambodia and other places where I saw a deeper reality of need. I also wouldn't ever recommend anyone to allow themselves to be put into a situation like that. Flirting with danger is asking for trouble, but I'd like to think I made him understand the situation a bit more clearly and to reconsider his intent; to find some place a little closer to being centered than he was before.
Hard to say of course
Take care,
Matt

Hi Matthew.
Nice story. That's what I call Aikido. Taking what you learn on the mat and trying to apply it in life and thus learning more. That to me is true internal power.

My way, my approach to Aikido is precisely that. Over the years I have tried to convert the principles given by O'Sensei and other Shihan into simple more communicatable terms to students so that they can more easily test them in their lives and thus see there is more to Aikido than meets the eye.

Thus they find that when they are in any situation the goal is the same, if the other party or parties leave in a better condition and you do too then that is also Aikido.

As an example I relate 'acceptance' to being centered. Now in Aikido when someone is stuck and getting into a wrestling match or being taken off balance I point out they have lost their center and then show them how they can let the opponents force go to their center and extend Ki, or return their own energy from center. The key I tell them is acceptance. Accept the opponents Ki or even negative energy to center and give back your own.

Thus they get more and more aware of center and adjusting to positions where they can better do this etc.

The point is then when in life and someone winds you up and you get angry or similar then you have lost your center and that is down to your own lack of acceptance.

Recently a girl told me as I was walking down the road locally that my friend was having trouble in her pub across the road. I went to see her and she pointed out a fella who was being aggressive and swearing and had even refused to pay for a drink. he was sitting outside at a table, he had thrown his own wallet on the floor he was so pissed off.

On noticing how he had taken everyones center and got them quite scared I thought 'oh dear, looks like I'll have to do something.'

I proceede to go straight in so to speak, I entered his 'circle' with a 'hey, what's going down' and a big smile and sat down at his table. (I had also been informed he had broken up with his girlfriend) He proceeded to tell me in a rant about these f'ing idiots etc.etc. Still I let him 'be' styed with him (ma ai) kept connection gave him acceptance and understanding and carried on. All this time listening without interuption waiting for an opening to get him to look a bit deeper at his problem. Eventually he got on to the subject of his girlfriend and what abitch she was and blahh, blah, blah. Again I wait for the opening at which point I enter with the sword.

I suddenly say to him 'Tom, I know what your saying and I've been there as have many but the bottom line is you have to ACCEPT it.

Out came the rage now aimed at me but I remain centered and know I am communicating to source and merely helping him through his pain, that's all. The storm subsides and he asks me what good that would do. Now we're in my world and I proceed to give examples and again bottom line I tell him is without acceptance you cannot be stable and and 'let go' and calmly view anymore thus you are the true enemy of yourself.

He's finally laughing and apologizing. Job done. Aikido.

Thus when I hear the mantra just get on the mat and train I agree to that HALF of of Aikido, but it is only half, if that.

Regards.G.

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2011, 07:05 AM
Hello Daren,

When I knew Pierre Chassang, way way back in the seventies, we conversed in French and in the lengthy discussions I used to have with Arikawa Sensei when he was alive, we conversed in Japanese. You have given Pierre's quote in English and so I wonder if anything has been lost in the three-way translation.

I have three comments. One is that Arikawa Sensei's response to Pierre is ambiguous. Pierre distinguished between the aikido taught by Morihei Ueshiba and that practised at the time (in France, I suppose, or the aikido practised in Europe generally after the war). Arikawa Sensei's response can be understood at the conceptual level (it is impossible to have two concepts of aikido, regardless of what is actually being practised) or at the practical level (the type of activity done in Europe cannot be called aikido).

The second comment is that Arikawa Sensei was very devoted to Kisshomaru Ueshiba and was a close confidant. Stanley Pranin and I once conducted a six-hour interview in Tokyo and we ranged over the entire history of aikido, including its early relationship with Daito-ryu. Arikawa Sensei did not give permission for it to be published because, he said, it was "too early" and did not want to publish anything that could be construed as criticism of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He taught his regular class at the Hombu and gave seminars here in Hiroshima until he became ill. After practice we used to talk a lot (in private, usually with the resident shihan in Hiroshima) and he was always happy to respond to questions, especially awkward questions.

The third comment is that I know from other sources that defining aikido in a certain way is especially an issue in France, where something like budo sportif is fostered by the French government. There are a number of French aikidoka who want the Aikikai to define much more closely what aikido is and to exclude in a clearer way what does not qualify. This is my own private opinion, but I think the Aikikai is reluctant to do this, since it will be making a general rule to fit a particular case. In any case, the Aikikai has its hands full with defining how aikido is, and is not, essentially Japanese.

Best wishes,

PAG

Dazzler
05-10-2011, 07:10 AM
I'm wondering if Chassang Sensei book could be availabe to people who are not his students.

It should be...its very interesting.

As long as Pierre is alive I wouldn't dare to publish it ...if he wants it published that would be his wish and I respect that absolutely.

If we ever meet I'd be happy for you to read it though, The Aikido world is not that big especially in Europe so its not beyond realms of possibility.

Dazzler
05-10-2011, 07:27 AM
Hello Daren,

When I knew Pierre Chassang, way way back in the seventies, we conversed in French and in the lengthy discussions I used to have with Arikawa Sensei when he was alive, we conversed in Japanese. You have given Pierre's quote in English and so I wonder if anything has been lost in the three-way translation.

I have three comments. One is that Arikawa Sensei's response to Pierre is ambiguous. Pierre distinguished between the aikido taught by Morihei Ueshiba and that practised at the time (in France, I suppose, or the aikido practised in Europe generally after the war). Arikawa Sensei's response can be understood at the conceptual level (it is impossible to have two concepts of aikido, regardless of what is actually being practised) or at the practical level (the type of activity done in Europe cannot be called aikido).

The second comment is that Arikawa Sensei was very devoted to Kisshomaru Ueshiba and was a close confidant. Stanley Pranin and I once conducted a six-hour interview in Tokyo and we ranged over the entire history of aikido, including its early relationship with Daito-ryu. Arikawa Sensei did not give permission for it to be published because, he said, it was "too early" and did not want to publish anything that could be construed as criticism of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He taught his regular class at the Hombu and gave seminars here in Hiroshima until he became ill. After practice we used to talk a lot (in private, usually with the resident shihan in Hiroshima) and he was always happy to respond to questions, especially awkward questions.

The third comment is that I know from other sources that defining aikido in a certain way is especially an issue in France, where something like budo sportif is fostered by the French government. There are a number of French aikidoka who want the Aikikai to define much more closely what aikido is and to exclude in a clearer way what does not qualify. This is my own private opinion, but I think the Aikikai is reluctant to do this, since it will be making a general rule to fit a particular case. In any case, the Aikikai has its hands full with defining how aikido is, and is, not essentially Japanese.

Best wishes,

PAG

Hi Peter

I'd love to have been around on the Aiki scene in the 70's ...sounds a very special time whenever people discuss it.

You may of course be correct, but from my own fairly length exposure to Pierre I'm absolutely confident in what I understood Pierre to mean and in HIS interpretation of Arikawas comments.

I take your 2nd point particularly, from my reading it was 'just a conversation' albeit an important one so perhaps Arikawa was more free with his thoughts than in a formal interview.

Point 3. Yes - I hear clearly.

I guess my personal experience is that none of us should be so judgemental here or elsewhere. Whether we like it or not there is a great degree of commonality across the Aikido of the world...and where there is not...well, some mat time can iron out many truths.

Thank you for your response.

Daren.

ps. As an aside - do you ever return to UK and teach? Michael Narey asked me to extend an invitation to you should you ever come this way. (PM is fine if you want to say no:D )

Cliff Judge
05-10-2011, 08:56 AM
Thank you to Darren and Dr. Goldsbury for your comments.

Graham,

I was thinking last night about how I might define three levels of Aikido, and I settled on these:

1) You are a beginner trying to figure out what is going on. You are focused on obtaining a result that is grossly approximate to what you see the instructor doing to uke at this point: generally throwing or taking down uke.

2) You are familiar with the overall shape of the techniques, and you've gotten plenty of feedback - probably frustrating - from your instructors and seniors about, for example, foot placement, keeping your posture, using your hips not your arms, etc. You begin to become very concerned about being centered, keeping your posture, not using muscles, etc. You seek to become the center of the technique.

3) It has perhaps bothered you at stage 2 that you can be centered, balanced, harmonious etc in yourself and yet not affect your partner's balance at all. So you begin to worry, again, about how to do that. This is the stage where you learn to combine your center with your partner's, to create one body, and break the balance of the one body, while still somehow keeping your own balance.

I think there are more beyond that....Ikeda Sensei says that the unification of both centers into one can take place automatically on contact if you develop the body instincts to set it up properly, and also that the movements that cause the unbalancing can be entirely internal and either extremely subtle or outright unmanifest (I am not sure I can tell the difference).

Your three stages probably map to my second and third, I think. Maybe your third goes beyond my third. I dunno.

graham christian
05-10-2011, 09:15 AM
Cliff.
What can I say? I like it. That's good and in the true spirit of the thread.

I too say that in the end it's a matter of 'Being with' rather than disrupting anything.

Good post.

Regards.G.