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Mario Tobias
05-16-2011, 12:53 AM
I (with my brothers) started jujitsu when I was in highschool about 30 years ago for practical self-defense purposes (my father forced us into it).

My sensei (whom he said trained in Kodokan) was also a petrol station owner and has had his share of fights with robbers, muggers and drug addicts. We lived in a not so ideal neighborhood back then. He would tell us stories of his encounters and would show us his stab wounds and the numerous bones that he's broken in his jujitsu career. He even showed us a newspaper clipping how he'd beaten robbers to a pulp when they tried to rob his store and tried to stab him. You can tell that he's a no-nonsense guy.

For the years that we've been training with him, he only taught us mainly knife defenses namely shoulder udekimenage, hijigime, arrest techniques like standing nikyo pin as well kicking the bag/boxing. He didn't even teach us jujitsu basics when I think about it. He must have this street-experience he thought of what minimum techniques he'd teach us would be most effective out in the street. Mind you, the shoulder udekimenage is a bone breaker similar to the nikyo pin, not just submission or throws.

Fast forward several decades, life happened. I have come to love the aikido lifestyle (being non-violent) but have now forgotten how to treat someone that would try to harm me "properly". My old teacher would say that when you encounter a drug-crazed person who's running amok, they wouldn't feel pain even if you break their bones and would continue with their aggression unless you make them really submit which is hard to do given that they'll feel no pain. Or if you encounter a mob, they would continue damaging you unless you do semi-permanent damage on them. He said to get away as fast as you can but deal with a person no more than 2-3 seconds if it comes to that.

Hopefully I would not encounter such things but I feel that I have lost touch with reality given that our art is a "non-aggressive" one.

graham christian
05-16-2011, 01:06 AM
Mario.
The mind will always give you challenges. Where will it lead you?

When you can help the most violent monster inside then outside will be a sunny day.

Lose your faith and you lose yourself.

Regards.G.

lbb
05-16-2011, 08:18 AM
Hopefully I would not encounter such things but I feel that I have lost touch with reality given that our art is a "non-aggressive" one.

Do you have a question?

To ask a question of you, if you believe that aikido doesn't represent "reality", why do you want anything to do with it?

Reality is direct experience. It is what's actually happening to you now. It isn't fantasies about hypothetical encounters with stereotypical attackers.

Mary Eastland
05-16-2011, 08:37 AM
Training keeps us open to what is. When I am present to whatever is happening I can make the best decisons in any circumstance.

Michael Hackett
05-16-2011, 02:03 PM
Mario, there is no martial art or any other kind of magic bullet that will protect you from all harm. There are bad and dangerous people out there certainly and you could be called upon to protect yourself or others from harm. Whatever art you study will help, but none is one size fits all, regardless of what various proponents may claim.

Awareness, both cultural and situational, will help you identify hazardous situations so you can avoid them. Regardless of your martial art, you will learn a few techniques that will generally work in most situations and give you the opportunity to escape or summon help. There simply isn't anything out there to prepare you to defend yourself against 27 ninjas armed with machine guns - it doesn't exist.

If you are studying aikido specifically for self-defense, I would recommend that you take a self-defense course instead. Aikido can clearly help you defend yourself, but most instructors are unaware of the legal ramifications of self-defense actions in their jurisdictions and are equally unaware of the prevention skills that can help avoid a physical encounter. If they are, they rarely teach those skills. Honestly if you have to use your aikido (judo/kenjutsu/karate/boxing/BJJ/krav maga/you name it) you've probably already made a number of mistakes.

If you aren't concerned about defending yourself as your original post suggests, then stick with aikido - it's fun, it promotes good health, you will be training with some great people, and you will actually learn something that will help you protect yourself in some circumstances.

Aikibu
05-16-2011, 07:45 PM
What both Mary and Michael said. :)

William Hazen

BJohnston
05-16-2011, 09:23 PM
I agree with the others. Aikido is truly about resolving issues before there's an issue. However there are plenty of techniques, joint locks, and pins that can be quite devastating.

Janet Rosen
05-16-2011, 09:55 PM
If you feel something is missing from your training, there is nothing wrong taking a break to learn knife fighting, take a course in using Mace or firearms, or whatever "floats you boat" in terms of scenarios you are worried about.

Mario Tobias
05-16-2011, 11:09 PM
Do you have a question?

To ask a question of you, if you believe that aikido doesn't represent "reality", why do you want anything to do with it?

Reality is direct experience. It is what's actually happening to you now. It isn't fantasies about hypothetical encounters with stereotypical attackers.

Hi,

Thanks for your response. The reality is there are really bad people out there as what Michael said. I used to live in a 3rd world country, accustomed to those conditions and have had my share of scary encounters.

Once I have tried to be mugged by a gangster. Another instance, a near altercation would have ensued because of a petty issue I didn't start. (You'd be surprised at how little it takes to rile up people and you don't even know what you did wrong). But both instances I have avoided direct physical confrontation. I can't remember how I did it but it involved a lot of dialogue, assertiveness, alertness and body language. (I was pissing in my pants later). My sister and her friend got attacked by a knife wielding man. They both escaped but her friend got slashes on her arms from parrying. There are many more examples but direct or indirect encounters, these are some of the situations you'd wonder what if you had no choice but to confront.

True, the mind will give you challenges. Possibility can definitely turn into reality.

Michael Hackett
05-16-2011, 11:54 PM
Well then, what is it that you would like to accomplish? What is it that you are likely to encounter? Here in California we don't see many knife attacks. They happen, but they are actually pretty rare. Spending a great deal of time training specifically for knife attacks probably isn't too valuable unless you are a prison guard. Most assaults, at least street assaults, are with strikes and kicks here and that's an area that aikido serves pretty well. So does any number of other arts as well. One really important consideration is at least some legal training to make sure you don't go too far and turn into the aggressor and end up in jail.

Aikido may not be the best course of action for you, since we don't know anything about your environment or lifestyle. Give us a little more information and perhaps someone here can give you better advice.

Carsten M÷llering
05-17-2011, 05:43 AM
Training keeps us open to what is. When I am present to whatever is happening I can make the best decisons in any circumstance.

... If you aren't concerned about defending yourself as your original post suggests, then stick with aikido ...

...Aikido is truly about resolving issues before there's an issue. ...

... but I feel that I have lost touch with reality given that our art is a "non-aggressive" one.
So how is aikido a martial art then?
What are the aims of your practice if not becoming confindent of being able to protect yourself?
How do you understand waza if not trying to make them "work"?

I have to admit I don't find the aikido I was taught and I try to teach in these statements. We do a very "soft" aikido. But one aspect clearly is it's use for self-defense.
I don't think aikido waza is "non-aggressive". (And never heard something like that on a tatami.) I think it is the person who is or is not.

Anthony Loeppert
05-17-2011, 07:58 AM
One really important consideration is at least some legal training to make sure you don't go too far and turn into the aggressor and end up in jail.

As we are both in California, I'd be interested in reading a link or two you might have vetted on the subject if you have any bookmarked.

Regards,
Anthony

lbb
05-17-2011, 09:10 AM
Thanks for your response. The reality is there are really bad people out there as what Michael said. I used to live in a 3rd world country, accustomed to those conditions and have had my share of scary encounters.

You can regard aikido as a tool to help you solve specific problems, or you can regard it as a way, a series of practices and attitudes that help guide how you live your life. Neither approach is the right one, although people have religious wars over it. The "tool" people view the "way" people as vague, impractical and deluded; the "way" people view the "tool" people as blinkered, narrow-minded and deluded. I think they're both missing the point. It can be both -- ideally, it is both. But aikido isn't the right tool for every situation, any more than a hammer is the right tool for every job. And aikido isn't the right way for every person at every point in their life.

So, if aikido is not the right tool for the job at hand, don't use it. And if aikido is not the right way for you at this time, don't follow it. There's nothing to agonize over.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-17-2011, 09:24 AM
But aikido isn't the right tool for every situation, any more than a hammer is the right tool for every job. And aikido isn't the right way for every person at every point in their life.

So, if aikido is not the right tool for the job at hand, don't use it. And if aikido is not the right way for you at this time, don't follow it. There's nothing to agonize over.

Seconded.

Michael Hackett
05-17-2011, 10:12 AM
Hi Carsten, I'm not suggesting that aikido is NOT a martial art, nor am I suggesting that it is worthless for self-defense. Aikido is a wonderful vehicle for defending oneself, but it does have holes in it, just as all the other arts do. One of our major problems is how long it takes to develop sufficient skill to become really effective in self-defense. My view is that there are other, quicker ways to learn "street self defense" (whatever the heck that is) if an individual feels he really needs something now to protect himself. If he lives, works, and recreates in some "Mad Max" environment, perhaps aikido isn't the answer for his immediate needs. If he lives in a fairly safe environment as most of us do, then he probably has the time to train in aikido, enjoy his training and all the benefits, and learn to protect himself from most harm.

Last evening we were doing sutemi waza and I was laughing inside about how some people view what we do as some silly dance. I was also thinking how most people, outside the safe dojo setting, would be seriously injured or worse if on the receiving end of a sutemi.

Michael Hackett
05-17-2011, 10:17 AM
Anthony, I don't know of any specific site off the top of my head. I've just worked in the field for many, many years and have seen the ramifications of some of the myths of self-defense first hand. I've also taught a number of classes on some of these issues. I do have a basic handout that I will send you by PM.

OwlMatt
05-17-2011, 11:27 AM
I'll go along with others saying that aikido can be used effectively in self-defense, but perhaps the self-defense you're looking for is not part of the standard routine at your dojo. If you see something missing in what you are learning, there's nothing wrong with looking outside the dojo. If you don't want to make a long-term commitment of time and money to another martial art, you could enroll in a self-defense course.

I, for one, find aikido (at least as it is taught at my dojo) to be less of a workout than I want my martial arts training to be, so I train in taekwondo on the side.

If aikido is important to you, but you feel you are missing something as a martial artist, find a way to supplement your training. It may, in the long run, make your aikido better.

Aikibu
05-17-2011, 03:25 PM
One more thing from me...

"Doubt" is a natural occurrence in any Martial Art or "Way". Everyone at some point has doubts about what they're learning..it's "effectiveness"... and... their real goals with practice... there appears to be only two finite solutions...Grow through it...or... Move on.

How you handle your own "doubt" is the real challenge. Will you move through it and grow stronger as a result? Or worse...Will you become a dilettante... flitting hither and yon from Waza to Waza until your doubts appear again? :)

In the old days...Sensei's interviewed students to see if they had the resolve to learn... give themselves over to the Art and "stick with it". Now days... One of the reasons all the Martial Arts have been diluted in spirit is because most folks bail and do not grow past these various personal challenges.

"William: All a black belt means is that you have the potential to be a good student."- Shoji Nishio Shihan

William Hazen

Mary Eastland
05-17-2011, 07:14 PM
So how is aikido a martial art then?
What are the aims of your practice if not becoming confindent of being able to protect yourself?
How do you understand waza if not trying to make them "work"?

I have to admit I don't find the aikido I was taught and I try to teach in these statements. We do a very "soft" aikido. But one aspect clearly is it's use for self-defense.
I don't think aikido waza is "non-aggressive". (And never heard something like that on a tatami.) I think it is the person who is or is not.

I am not sure how you can assume that I don't train for self- defense in aikido by what I wrote. Being aware of my circumstances at all times helps keeps me safe.
Not sure what is wrong with that.:D (in honor of Tony)
Mary

hughrbeyer
05-17-2011, 10:40 PM
The "tool" people view the "way" people as vague, impractical and deluded; the "way" people view the "tool" people as blinkered, narrow-minded and deluded. I think they're both missing the point. It can be both -- ideally, it is both.

Not just "ideally," I think. The paradox of aikido is that we sincerely try to do violence to each other to study peace. If I'm uke striking shomen, it's my responsibility to try to clock tori--within the limits of their skill level of course, and a beginner will get clocked more gently than a senior student, but clocked nonetheless. The honest attack is my gift to tori because without it, nobody can practice anything.

Same on the other end, of course. As tori, if I'm not in a position where I'm at risk if I do nothing, I don't learn anything. Only by putting myself at risk and learning I can deal with it do I progress on both a martial and spiritual level. And those are not two things, but one.

And, of course, if I'm fooling myself about whether my technique is effective then I'm not schooling myself in reality but in a lie, and I learn nothing.

The martial arts of the samurai, who were by and large not wussies, I believe, all seem to return to the idea that you don't win by striving to win, that you affect others by remaining centered yourself, and therefore martial success depends on personal growth. Aikido's just a field for practicing that.

observer
05-17-2011, 11:49 PM
When I read posts on this forum I wonder how people practicing Aikido so easily and so authoritatively speak on self-defense. I believe that most of them do not even realize that they are studying (!!!) one of the most dangerous martial arts ever developed. Aikido was founded in the twentieth century, and was based on all that had been the best and most effective in other branches of budo throughout history. We must finally realize that for our own safety during training. The art of Aikido serves only one purpose. To kill, and to do it immediately. It has been said throughout time that a picture could be worth a thousand words.

http://www.aikidoworkout.com/clips/aikido1000words.jpg]

Thus, Aikido is not self-defense art, in the general sense of the word. Like Katori Shinto Ryu and Naginata Do do not serve the self-defense. We are studying (again I emphasize it without any confusion) Master Morihei Ueshiba's achievements not to kill, but rather to cultivate one of the elements of Japanese cultural heritage.

Nevertheless, the skills obtained during additional aikido practice (based on intensive techniques' repetitions) may be useful in self-defense. In particular, the ability to avoid attacks. Unfortunately, when it comes to a direct confrontation on the street an aikidoka's training leaves him/her unprepared to deal with the full spectrum of attacks possible during the fight. Especially when he/she is being grabbed. Performing any Aikido technique and finishing it as in the dojo also doesn't help. We are all aware of that and we need to talk about it openly.

Aikibu
05-18-2011, 12:11 AM
When I read posts on this forum I wonder how people practicing Aikido so easily and so authoritatively speak on self-defense. I believe that most of them do not even realize that they are studying (!!!) one of the most dangerous martial arts ever developed. Aikido was founded in the twentieth century, and was based on all that had been the best and most effective in other branches of budo throughout history. We must finally realize that for our own safety during training. The art of Aikido serves only one purpose. To kill, and to do it immediately. It has been said throughout time that a picture could be worth a thousand words.

http://www.aikidoworkout.com/clips/aikido1000words.jpg]

Thus, Aikido is not self-defense art, in the general sense of the word. Like Katori Shinto Ryu and Naginata Do do not serve the self-defense. We are studying (again I emphasize it without any confusion) Master Morihei Ueshiba's achievements not to kill, but rather to cultivate one of the elements of Japanese cultural heritage.

Nevertheless, the skills obtained during additional aikido practice (based on intensive techniques' repetitions) may be useful in self-defense. In particular, the ability to avoid attacks. Unfortunately, when it comes to a direct confrontation on the street an aikidoka's training leaves him/her unprepared to deal with the full spectrum of attacks possible during the fight. Especially when he/she is being grabbed. Performing any Aikido technique and finishing it as in the dojo also doesn't help. We are all aware of that and we need to talk about it openly.

Great Post and Thank You. With all due respect... I have two questions though... Is there any Martial Art which is designed to deal with the "full spectrum of attacks possible"? And if "performing any Aikido technique and finishing it in the dojo does not help" What are we doing in the Dojo? Kabuki?

William Hazen

Carsten M÷llering
05-18-2011, 03:26 AM
I'll try ...
IBeing aware of my circumstances at all times helps keeps me safe.
Not sure what is wrong with that.:D
Really nothing wrong with that!!!
I just wonder: Do you really call "being aware" aikido?
This would be different from what I learned about aikido.

In my job I practice things like nonviolent communication and other methods of awareness and de-escalation (verbal and non-verbal). This helps to keep me (or the people I work with) safe. Yes!
This methods have names in their own rights. Like "NVC/Rosenberg" or "client-centered methods / Rogers" or some different things maybe not so well known. They work with their own assumptions, use their own proceedings and can be learned. And so on.
All this what can be done before a conflict becomes really physicall to me, in my textbook, is not aikido. Being "streetwise" does not mean to do aikido.

In my understandign aikido begins when all this doesn't work. When a conflict get's physical. Then aikido is a method to deal with an opponent or attacker in a certain way.
This means using aiki / the structure of ones body instead of pyhsical strentgh. And having a peacefull mind. Even if using strong waza.
This to me is aikido.

And that's why I'm confused to some extent: Being aware, dealing with a conflict before it becomes physical or being "non-aggressive" (whatever that means) is not, what "is called" aikido in my context.

(I also teach seminars of "self-defence 'light'". There some aikido is done.)

Anthony Loeppert
05-18-2011, 05:22 AM
In my understandign aikido begins when all this doesn't work. When a conflict get's physical. Then aikido is a method to deal with an opponent or attacker in a certain way.
This means using aiki / the structure of ones body instead of pyhsical strentgh. And having a peacefull mind. Even if using strong waza.
This to me is aikido.

And that's why I'm confused to some extent: Being aware, dealing with a conflict before it becomes physical or being "non-aggressive" (whatever that means) is not, what "is called" aikido in my context.

(I also teach seminars of "self-defence 'light'". There some aikido is done.)

This makes sense to me. Even in the simplest analysis, just look at practice: techniques start with some action (time for talk is over) not a short role playing of trying to deescalate which goes bad.

phitruong
05-18-2011, 07:40 AM
Is there any Martial Art which is designed to deal with the "full spectrum of attacks possible"? And if "performing any Aikido technique and finishing it in the dojo does not help" What are we doing in the Dojo? Kabuki?

William Hazen

I believed the martial art that could deal with a "full spectrum of attacks" called thermo-nuclear-weapon-do. of course, the often used martial art that has no defense would be explosive-vest-with-deadman-switch-do.

I am noh actor but i dig Kabuki, well up to a certain point. :)

you know i was looking at the statistics published by the US gov't. according to statistics, the leading causes of death in the US is mostly heart attack, cancer, respiratory related, and a few others. death by violent attack was somewhere around 1/2%, much less than 1 percent. if there is a martial art that could help us dealing with the top 5 leading causes, folks would take them en masse.

Mary Eastland
05-18-2011, 07:44 AM
My interest in aikido is to practice in my daily life. If I am having a conversation I turn, face the person I am speaking to and pay close attention to what they say and then give my response. For me aikido is about "not fighting". If a conflict becomes physical I am ready because I am paying close attention to the situation at hand. Technique is just one manifestation of aikido. Good posture, correct distance, relaxation and positive mind are principles I can practice at any time.

I see no separation of these ideas from the concept of self -defense.
Mary

lbb
05-18-2011, 11:33 AM
When I cook dinner, is that aikido?

When I weed my garden, is that aikido?

When I watch TV, is that aikido?

I do believe that aikido is more than just attacks and defenses, but I don't believe that it encompasses all of life, no matter how much you want it to. Further, I believe that this attitude is disrespectful of life. There are so many things that are worthy in their own right. Aikido has no place in appropriating all that is good in the world.

graham christian
05-18-2011, 12:03 PM
When I cook dinner, is that aikido?

When I weed my garden, is that aikido?

When I watch TV, is that aikido?

I do believe that aikido is more than just attacks and defenses, but I don't believe that it encompasses all of life, no matter how much you want it to. Further, I believe that this attitude is disrespectful of life. There are so many things that are worthy in their own right. Aikido has no place in appropriating all that is good in the world.

Hi Mary.
You post got me thinking. My immediate response was 'Why not?' However you probably know I have that view already.

No, what it got me thinking about was something I observed over the years in the dojo. When observing how people address their training, how they 'perform', how they interact with each other, how they face up to difficulties etc. Then you get a good idea of how they address their own life and thus where they would have difficulties.

The point is that it gives a reflection of how they are in life and so from that angle there is a great connection.

On seeing this connection I found that when a student had a specific fear or angst. in training it also represened something in their life and so getting them through that 'barrier' on the mat always led to them acting differently and better in their life and indeed getting better results.

The more you learn in your chosen discipline then the more you can share with your friends and the more you can help in life. Is this not so?

I think sometimes we can put ourselves down too much and fail to see we are improving life.

Just my 10 cents.

Regards.G.

RonRagusa
05-18-2011, 12:08 PM
I just wonder: Do you really call "being aware" aikido?

Hi Carsten -

Correct distance, being centered, a calm mind, connection, correct posture, progressive relaxation, extension of Ki, and positive mind all affect one's state of awareness and are all inherently Aikido. In that sense "being aware" is Aikido.

In my understandign aikido begins when all this doesn't work. When a conflict get's physical.

Aikido doesn't begin or end in any real sense; Aikido is the cultivation of a particular state of awareness that one can apply to any situation. Should the situation turn physical Aikido technique (or any technique applicable to the situation) can be used where applicable. One's state of awareness is a determining factor in one's ability to negotiate an encounter that may or may not turn physical.

And that's why I'm confused to some extent: Being aware, dealing with a conflict before it becomes physical or being "non-aggressive" (whatever that means) is not, what "is called" aikido in my context.

Contexts vary. That's what makes Aikido so wonderfully diverse; what gives it such a wide range of applicability.

Best,

Ron

Aikibu
05-18-2011, 12:42 PM
When I cook dinner, is that aikido?

When I weed my garden, is that aikido?

When I watch TV, is that aikido?

I do believe that aikido is more than just attacks and defenses, but I don't believe that it encompasses all of life, no matter how much you want it to. Further, I believe that this attitude is disrespectful of life. There are so many things that are worthy in their own right. Aikido has no place in appropriating all that is good in the world.

If you cook dinner with mindfulness Weed your garden with mindfulness watch TV with mindfulness then yes the "way" of Aikido may have have a part to play in your development. Budo is an expression of "awareness" Aikido can be a vehicle to help you cultivate mindfulness... not a way to "appropriate" anything.

Mindfulness is a good way to encompass all life. :)

William Hazen

observer
05-18-2011, 12:51 PM
Correct distance, being centered, a calm mind, connection, correct posture, progressive relaxation, extension of Ki, and positive mind all affect one's state of awareness and are all inherently Aikido.
Really? What about crossing the street?:)

Mark Freeman
05-18-2011, 01:05 PM
Really? What about crossing the street?:)

Especially crossing the street!;)

graham christian
05-18-2011, 01:24 PM
Especially crossing the street!;)

Mark.
A test for you. Does it work on the ultimate battle ground for that would be the true test.

Marriage!

G.

phitruong
05-18-2011, 01:33 PM
Mark.
A test for you. Does it work on the ultimate battle ground for that would be the true test.

Marriage!

G.

that's a whole different art, marital arts. the rule for that art is very confusing, constantly changing by the minutes, and battle usually rage every 20 or so days, follow by sort period of confusion on the man part, then follow with fear and trepidation. men had, in the history of mankind, gone to war rather than dealing with marital art. It's a terrible curse inflicted upon mankind. :D

phitruong
05-18-2011, 01:35 PM
Especially crossing the street!;)

then got run over by a person in a powered wheel chair that has turbo charger. those wheel chair folks are a menace to aikido society. :)

graham christian
05-18-2011, 01:40 PM
that's a whole different art, marital arts. the rule for that art is very confusing, constantly changing by the minutes, and battle usually rage every 20 or so days, follow by sort period of confusion on the man part, then follow with fear and trepidation. men had, in the history of mankind, gone to war rather than dealing with marital art. It's a terrible curse inflicted upon mankind. :D

I think you've hit upon the cause of all wars. It's actually escapism!

G.

lbb
05-18-2011, 02:41 PM
If you cook dinner with mindfulness Weed your garden with mindfulness watch TV with mindfulness then yes the "way" of Aikido may have have a part to play in your development. Budo is an expression of "awareness" Aikido can be a vehicle to help you cultivate mindfulness... not a way to "appropriate" anything.

Mindfulness is a good way to encompass all life. :)

William Hazen

Aikido is not synonymous with mindfulness. Aikido may be the way that an individual pursues mindfulness (although it's a pretty roundabout way), but it is not mindfulness. To claim that aikido = mindfulness is to disparage all the disciplines that directly cultivate mindfulness and that were doing so long before aikido existed. Aikido may be the only source of virtue in your life, but aikido does not have a monopoly on virtue. Let's not forget that.

Mary Eastland
05-18-2011, 02:51 PM
Aikido is my mindfulness practice. I disparage no one. I disrespect no one. These are my practices. Your judgements are your own.
Mary

Aikibu
05-18-2011, 03:26 PM
Aikido is not synonymous with mindfulness. Aikido may be the way that an individual pursues mindfulness (although it's a pretty roundabout way), but it is not mindfulness. To claim that aikido = mindfulness is to disparage all the disciplines that directly cultivate mindfulness and that were doing so long before aikido existed. Aikido may be the only source of virtue in your life, but aikido does not have a monopoly on virtue. Let's not forget that.

Perhaps you can someday explain why the practice of Aikido somehow disparages "all" disciplines that cultivate mindfulness including all other Martial Arts which Bodhidharma specifically founded and developed to cultivate mindfulness through physical (aka Skill Means) expression.

"The Art of Peace functions everywhere on earth, in realms ranging from the vastness of space down to the tiniest plants and animals. The life force is all pervasive and it's strength boundless. The Art of Peace allows us to tap into that tremendous reserve of universal energy." -O' Sensei "The Art of Peace."

William Hazen

lbb
05-18-2011, 08:05 PM
Perhaps you can someday explain why the practice of Aikido somehow disparages "all" disciplines that cultivate mindfulness

I'll explain that someday -- the day after I make that statement. Not having made it, I'm off the hook for explaining it.

Aikibu
05-18-2011, 09:39 PM
I'll explain that someday -- the day after I make that statement. Not having made it, I'm off the hook for explaining it.

Did I misread this Mary?

To claim that aikido = mindfulness is to disparage all the disciplines that directly cultivate mindfulness and that were doing so long before aikido existed.

I may have... what with all my recent semantic difficulties...:) however this seems pretty straightforward as far as being 'on the hook goes."

William Hazen

mathewjgano
05-18-2011, 10:37 PM
When I cook dinner, is that aikido?

When I weed my garden, is that aikido?

When I watch TV, is that aikido?

I do believe that aikido is more than just attacks and defenses, but I don't believe that it encompasses all of life, no matter how much you want it to. Further, I believe that this attitude is disrespectful of life. There are so many things that are worthy in their own right. Aikido has no place in appropriating all that is good in the world.
I'm guessing not for you, but why not for others? Also in what way is it disrespectful to "life?" Can people "do Zen" while gardening? I've seen books that suggest they can. They can do math and dynamic stretching, why not Aikido?
If not, what exactly IS Aikido behavior?

RonRagusa
05-18-2011, 10:54 PM
Really? What about crossing the street?:)

To get to the other side, of course; preferably without being run over by a bus. Awareness helps with that.;)

Ron

observer
05-19-2011, 12:22 AM
To get to the other side, of course; preferably without being run over by a bus. Awareness helps with that.;)
OK. Lets be serious. Budo for me is a process of chasing perfection. Obviously there are real advantages and disadvantages of it. The worst thing is creating an illusion. The best, the self-complacency.

I accept the fact that I may be practicing useless skills, but it is a better use of time than, for example, Internet browsing, watching TV, or drinking beer in a bar. Isn't it?

Carsten M÷llering
05-19-2011, 03:26 AM
Wow!!!

This sounds as if to some of you aikido is the only "tool" to live, to understand, to enjoy or appreciate (in a real deep sense) your daily life???

I'm doing aikido everyday for a real lot of years now. And it is one of the most important things and priority in my life.

But. I can't imagine to meisure everything I do through aikido. Or to use aikido as a "tool" for everything I encounter in live.

True. Awarness is learned during practice. But it is also learned in other situations in our life. Or should be. Or could be. Same with being centered, distance, ... all those other things mentioned.

Yes. We learn them at the dojo. But also in other contexts of our life. And there are lots of methods and tools which can also be used to learn.
I mentioned NVC as one example. This gives specific advise when dealing with a verbal conflict. It works, it helps, it brings situations forward.

Why transporting "aikido" into a context it isn't (in my eyes ) made for? Why not use what is just there?

For me aikido is about "not fighting".Well, but in class we practice and learn to deal with a physical attack? We learn to control an opponent using aiki, which is a physicall and psychological connection to the attacker?
We definitely don't learn to control someone using words, body language or something like that? We don't deal with situations before a conflict becomes physical?
We learn and practice a very distinguished form of physical control of another individual. Ereytime we practice?

Mary, please excuse me for taking one of your sentences as an example but it struck me:
If I am having a conversation I turn, face the person I am speaking to and pay close attention to what they say and then give my response.
Isn't this something we teach our children in the kindergarten (elementary school?), i.e. beginning when they are three years old.
And maybe this is learned in a different way when doing a job, where talking is part of the business. Especially when using words to deal with conflicts, mental illnesses, pastoral counseling etc.
We definetly don't use aikido in both case but "natural" behavior / courtesy. Or a proffesional method just as complex as aikido.

I see two difficulties when looking at aikido in such a wide sense:

Aikido may be thought usefull in contexts where there exist other tools, which do better fit to the given situation.

And aikido may loose it's specific qualitiy of dealing with physical conflicts dangers when applied in contexts it isn't made for.

graham christian
05-19-2011, 05:34 AM
Wow!!!

This sounds as if to some of you aikido is the only "tool" to live, to understand, to enjoy or appreciate (in a real deep sense) your daily life???

I'm doing aikido everyday for a real lot of years now. And it is one of the most important things and priority in my life.

But. I can't imagine to meisure everything I do through aikido. Or to use aikido as a "tool" for everything I encounter in live.

True. Awarness is learned during practice. But it is also learned in other situations in our life. Or should be. Or could be. Same with being centered, distance, ... all those other things mentioned.

Yes. We learn them at the dojo. But also in other contexts of our life. And there are lots of methods and tools which can also be used to learn.
I mentioned NVC as one example. This gives specific advise when dealing with a verbal conflict. It works, it helps, it brings situations forward.

Why transporting "aikido" into a context it isn't (in my eyes ) made for? Why not use what is just there?

Well, but in class we practice and learn to deal with a physical attack? We learn to control an opponent using aiki, which is a physicall and psychological connection to the attacker?
We definitely don't learn to control someone using words, body language or something like that? We don't deal with situations before a conflict becomes physical?
We learn and practice a very distinguished form of physical control of another individual. Ereytime we practice?

Mary, please excuse me for taking one of your sentences as an example but it struck me:

Isn't this something we teach our children in the kindergarten (elementary school?), i.e. beginning when they are three years old.
And maybe this is learned in a different way when doing a job, where talking is part of the business. Especially when using words to deal with conflicts, mental illnesses, pastoral counseling etc.
We definetly don't use aikido in both case but "natural" behavior / courtesy. Or a proffesional method just as complex as aikido.

I see two difficulties when looking at aikido in such a wide sense:

Aikido may be thought usefull in contexts where there exist other tools, which do better fit to the given situation.

And aikido may loose it's specific qualitiy of dealing with physical conflicts dangers when applied in contexts it isn't made for.

Hi Carsten.
I see you are quite surprised by the view of using Aikido in all of life. Well the principles extant in Aikido are principles of life in my opinion and so apply to anything.

A physical conflict or danger is merely a part of life and and actually a result of mental/spiritual conflict.

When it comes to mental illness, pastoral counselling etc. I must say that the principles are excellent for those activities and I may say even essential for good results. Thinking too physically is what blinds us from a lot of what's happening. For instance........

Counselling: Communication is not just words, that is a minor part of communication. Communication is first and foremost a two way flow and thus forms a circle. You com. to me, I acknowledge and then com. back to you. A circle. It contains giving to and receiving from. Just like Aikido. As with Aikido if you lose that connection then you lose that circle and get stuck or go into contention or struggle. In fact if you observe communication in action in life from the view of it being a circle then you will notice the main causes of upsets. It's when the circle is broken, when that principle is discarded. eg:Someone interrupts you when speaking, someone fails to acknowledge you as if your not there, someone answers you before youv'e finished, someone won't let you get a response in. All examples of preventing the circle of communication and this is the basis of upset and annoyance.

In Aikido we practice be willing to receive to center and then give back from center. A circle, a two way flow, communication. The most important part of this is the willingness to receive without resistance at which point the assailants energy has no more adverse effect. The same goes for communication and shows us that LISTENING is the most important part of communication rather than the words spoken and clever ways to use words. All good counsellors know this and also know the importance of keeping center, being there comfortably with the person, letting them complete their communication without interference, ( just like letting a punch complete it's misssion without trying to catch it or block it) So many applications yet do we see them.

A good counsellor can then lead the person to the realization they are looking for which lies somewhere within them. Meeting, staying with, leading, all great Aikido.

Thought I would take up that point to clarify how for some it leads to seeing the same principles they are learning are indeed present in all situations in life itself.

Food for thought?

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 05:38 AM
Perhaps you can someday explain why the practice of Aikido somehow disparages "all" disciplines that cultivate mindfulness including all other Martial Arts which Bodhidharma specifically founded and developed to cultivate mindfulness through physical (aka Skill Means) expression.


And these Martial Arts Bodhidharma specifically founded and developed to cultivate mindfulness through physical expression are?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 05:50 AM
Wow!!!

This sounds as if to some of you aikido is the only "tool" to live, to understand, to enjoy or appreciate (in a real deep sense) your daily life???

I'm doing aikido everyday for a real lot of years now. And it is one of the most important things and priority in my life.

But. I can't imagine to meisure everything I do through aikido. Or to use aikido as a "tool" for everything I encounter in live.

Maybe is all what they have.

Maybe they mix correlation and causation.

graham christian
05-19-2011, 05:55 AM
And these Martial Arts Bodhidharma specifically founded and developed to cultivate mindfulness through physical expression are?

Hi Demetrio.(or DJ?)

I don't know the facts of Bodhidharma but was taught something about him( which may or may not be true)

I was taught that he started what was to become shaolin kung fu and that he started with teaching kempo. Thus I was told that Aikido can trace back in lineage to Kempo and it was indeed that art which was adopted by the sohei monks of Japan.

You're more scholarly than me and so you may correct it as you please.

However, I was also told that Bodhidharma was fed up seeing monks meditating and doing nothing in particular and told them that if they can't face conflct and disturbance and physical discipline then they would never reach enlightenment. Thus the aim to remain calm etc. in the face of conflict and even physical aggression was his test of your spiritual well being.

Be it true or not it's a nice story that stayed with me for it has that certain ring of truth.

What do you think?

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 06:42 AM
Hi Graham,

You're more scholarly than me and so you may correct it as you please.
Only an aficionado (and you can be one too, it is not something outside of the possibilities of any ordinary person). Don't take the following as a correction but as offering an alternative point of view.

If you are interested in a scholar approach I recommend you to read The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts (http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/cart/shopcore/?db_name=uhpress&page=shop/flypage&product_id=5309&category_id=b3e6237d1b1b3b8594488ed1c40d0dfb&PHPSESSID=aa5b3a2d9ac31a9cc8ea30c0c06b89f0) by Meir Shahar.

Also:
Some Chinese accounts describe Bodhidharma as being disturbed by the poor physical shape of the Shaolin monks, after which he instructed them in techniques to maintain their physical condition as well as teaching meditation. He is said to have taught a series of external exercises called the Eighteen Arhat Hands (Shiba Lohan Shou), and an internal practice called the Sinew Metamorphosis Classic.[60] In addition, after his departure from the temple, two manuscripts by Bodhidharma were said to be discovered inside the temple: the Yijin Jing (易筋經 or "Muscle/Tendon Change Classic") and the Xi Sui Jing. Copies and translations of the Yi Jin Jing survive to the modern day, though many modern historians believe it to be of much more recent origin.[58] The Xi Sui Jing has been lost.[31]
While Bodhidharma was born into the warrior caste in India and thus certainly studied and must have been proficient in self-defense, it is unlikely that he contributed to the development of self-defense technique specifically within China. However, the legend of his education of the monks at Shaolin in techniques for physical conditioning would imply (if true) a substantial contribution to Shaolin knowledge that contributed later to their renown for fighting skill. However, both the attribution of Shaolin boxing to Bodhidharma and the authenticity of the Yi Jin Jing itself have been discredited by some historians including Tang Hao, Xu Zhen and Matsuda Ryuchi. This argument is summarized by modern historian Lin Boyuan in his Zhongguo wushu shi as follows:
As for the "Yi Jin Jing" (Muscle Change Classic), a spurious text attributed to Bodhidharma and included in the legend of his transmitting martial arts at the temple, it was written in the Ming dynasty, in 1624, by the Daoist priest Zining of Mt. Tiantai, and falsely attributed to Bodhidharma. Forged prefaces, attributed to the Tang general Li Jing and the Southern Song general Niu Gao were written. They say that, after Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple, he left behind an iron chest; when the monks opened this chest they found the two books "Xi Sui Jing" (Marrow Washing Classic) and "Yi Jin Jing" within. The first book was taken by his disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, "the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to having obtained this manuscript." Based on this, Bodhidharma was claimed to be the ancestor of Shaolin martial arts. This manuscript is full of errors, absurdities and fantastic claims; it cannot be taken as a legitimate source.[58]
The oldest available copy was published in 1827[61] and the composition of the text itself has been dated to 1624.[58] Even then, the association of Bodhidharma with martial arts only becomes widespread as a result of the 1904–1907 serialization of the novel The Travels of Lao Ts'an in Illustrated Fiction Magazine.[62]
(emphasis mine)

This is taken from wikipedia but you can check the source: Lin, Boyuan (1996), Zhōngguˇ wǔsh¨ shǐ 中國武術史, Taipei 臺北: Wǔzhōu chūbǎnshŔ 五洲出版社

I'd say what you've told about Bodhidharma as originator of Shaolin martial arts is useful myth and legend, but historically unaccurate. In this sense, of useful myths and legend in martial arts history, I'd also recommend "Sense in Nonsense: The Role of Folk History in the Martial Arts" by Thomas A. Green in Martial Arts in the Modern World (http://ejmas.com/tin/2004tin/tinart_morgan_0304.html)

I personally don't have any problems whith using myths, legends or fiction to illustrate a point or teach a lesson, as long one is aware of it and makes it clear to the audience. One should do not try to pass legends as historical facts and viceversa if we are after virtue. Get my point?

And you can call me DJ if you want, of course.:D

RonRagusa
05-19-2011, 06:49 AM
OK. Lets be serious. Budo for me is a process of chasing perfection. Obviously there are real advantages and disadvantages of it. The worst thing is creating an illusion. The best, the self-complacency.

I accept the fact that I may be practicing useless skills, but it is a better use of time than, for example, Internet browsing, watching TV, or drinking beer in a bar. Isn't it?

Hi Maciej -

The skills you practice are the tools you have chosen to pursue perfection and that alone makes them far from useless.

Best,

Ron

Mary Eastland
05-19-2011, 07:21 AM
Wow!!!

I see two difficulties when looking at aikido in such a wide sense:

Aikido may be thought usefull in contexts where there exist other tools, which do better fit to the given situation.

And aikido may loose it's specific qualitiy of dealing with physical conflicts dangers when applied in contexts it isn't made for.
Carsten:
I think you are making assumptions about the style of aikido I train in based on the style of aikido you train in. To me it sounds like they are very different.
I see no difficulties.
Enjoy your training.
Mary

abraxis
05-19-2011, 07:23 AM
Reading this thread made me wonder, Am I doing Aikido when I'm being mindful about not crashing my cart into somebody in the aisle at the supermarket? I mean, am I doing Aikido if I'm being mindful or is Aikido just another instance of my commitment to being mindful in my life but in a martial application? We can each decide for ourselves or choose to ignore/redefine the questions as it suits us. I do know that I want to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. Better yet, I want to anticipate the consequences and avoid being in a situation where I can get run over. I don't know much about aikido andI've practiced it very little but I do remember being told it's important to move out of the way. If I am reminded about this while navigating the shoppers and children in the crowded aisles of the supermarket I may not actually be doing aikido as it is generally though of but I am mindful of time, place, and the three dimensional space in which I am moving. Can't do this anymore, sorry, not had coffee yet this morning, I'm just going to leave it as, When I am in the dojo can my supermarket practice help me tenkan better?

lbb
05-19-2011, 08:18 AM
Did I misread this Mary?

I may have... what with all my recent semantic difficulties...:) however this seems pretty straightforward as far as being 'on the hook goes."

To say that aikido = mindfulness is to say that they are one and the same. If this is true, then it is also true that there is no mindfulness apart from aikido. This is demonstrably false.

lbb
05-19-2011, 08:25 AM
Maybe they mix correlation and causation.

Exactly.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 08:34 AM
Carsten:
I think you are making assumptions about the style of aikido I train in based on the style of aikido you train in. To me it sounds like they are very different.
I see no difficulties.
Enjoy your training.
Mary

Hi Mary,

I don't think you are practising very different styes, or the stilystic differences in your aikido are what makes you to have different opinions. I think its more because you are different persons, from different cultures and different backgrounds.

Mary Eastland
05-19-2011, 10:07 AM
Hi Mary,

I don't think you are practising very different styes, or the stilystic differences in your aikido are what makes you to have different opinions. I think its more because you are different persons, from different cultures and different backgrounds.

While the factors you mentioned are certainly revelant,I respectfully disagree. I think people who train in styles that do not practice Ki development have a harder time understanding how aikido principles are applicable to daily life.
Mary

Basia Halliop
05-19-2011, 10:17 AM
There are lots of skills I learned or improved in Aikido that I use in the rest of my life. Mindfulness or being in the moment is one example, the attitude of 'going with the flow' sometimes, being more physically coordinated and having better reflexes are others...

But I would never consider myself as 'doing Aikido' just because I use some skill that is also important or even central to Aikido or that I learned through Aikido...

To me I might just as well say that if I stand on one leg I am riding a bike, because riding a bike is fundamentally all about balance and proprioception, and when I stand on one leg I am balancing and using proprioception.

Diana Frese
05-19-2011, 10:18 AM
I haven't read every post due to pressures connected with my husband's job (but grateful for employment....) but I keep returning to this thread. Demetrio's comment made me want to just jump in, and then Mary clarified something I've been wanting to say....

Some of us feel that the daily life applications are important. I haven't trained much in many years, but hope to train more soon, but in the intervening months and years I find Aikido in many aspects is helpful in life, even in such small physical things as letting someone thru a door at the same time as going thru that door in the opposite direction myself .... so was really amused at the are you an Aikido addict thread ....

At one time, one of my original teachers, Yamada Sensei, was quoted as saying "People need Aikido..." I don't remember the rest of the quote, but the brochure for his dojo New York Aikikai, which I attended began something like this, "In our frenetic lives...."

For many, Aikido principles help to deal with daily life. I think it depends on what we feel we need, and what we are able to take from Aikido, and hopefully others too will benefit from what we have learned, and what we share....

Diana Frese
05-19-2011, 10:27 AM
Thanks for your examples, Basia, I was typing when you posted. This is actually an opportunity to show gratitude to the influence Aikido has had on our lives, if we just say Aikido has helped me....or Aikido has influenced the way I .... I will go back to the previous posts to see who has phrased their experiences that way.

Two of my friends, who haven't trained in years, have told me over the phone from different states how Aikido training in the past helped them avoid more serious damage in falls in daily life than they did end up having.... Neither of them speaks of doing Aikido in those cases, they just said they were really grateful because that background in Aikido, the years of training, helped them even when no longer training.....

(Of course, it's great if we can keep training, or if stopped, re start!)

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 10:46 AM
While the factors you mentioned are certainly revelant,I respectfully disagree. I think people who train in styles that do not practice Ki development have a harder time understanding how aikido principles are applicable to daily life.
Mary
Maybe. But I don't think the style of aikido Carsten practises and teaches is short of ki developement, connection, blending and the like.

For instance: Here (http://www.aikido-in-hildesheim.de/multimedia/index.html) are some video clips of Carsten's aikido club and here (http://www.miron-enterprises.com/berkshirehillsaikido/videos.html) are some videos of your aikido club.

Maybe it's my background in "redneck hillbilly aikido", aka Iwama style but I see more similarites than differences.

Of course, you can understand, interpret, embody or give meaning to these concepts in a way very different from Carsten's but, IMHO, the cause of these differences is mostly derived from you both being different persons (in the sociological/psychological meanings of the word) than from practising different kinds of aikido.

What I would like to know is (not especifically related to this thread or the differences between you and him) to what extent one uses aikido to transform himself, aikido as a transformative tool in words of Ledyard Sensei iirc, instead of transforming aikido in something that validates/reinforces his/her's views of the world, life and how to deal with it. If we are into the last, are we doing aikido?

Cheers

abraxis
05-19-2011, 11:14 AM
.... IMHO, the cause of these differences is mostly derived from you both being different persons (in the sociological/psychological meanings of the word) than from practising different kinds of aikido....Cheers

Yes, I agree, the differences between any two individuals practicing the same style in any given dojo are often greater than the differences between two different styles taught in separate dojo. Best regards...

lbb
05-19-2011, 12:23 PM
What I would like to know is (not especifically related to this thread or the differences between you and him) to what extent one uses aikido to transform himself, aikido as a transformative tool in words of Ledyard Sensei iirc, instead of transforming aikido in something that validates/reinforces his/her's views of the world, life and how to deal with it. If we are into the last, are we doing aikido?

Well, no. If you transform aikido, it isn't aikido any more. That's what the word "transform" means, after all.

With regard to aikido as transformational and life-changing: changes, transformations, growth are all part of life, and there are many agents of these changes. Aikido is only one of these agents, and some of the changes that it brings about in some people are changes that other people make in their lives through other agents, without aikido, or before they came to aikido. Aikido didn't introduce me to the practice of meditation or the concept of mindfulness, it wasn't my first encounter with the concepts of mushin or zanshin. It is for some, and that may be where the whole "aikido is how I live my life" belief comes from.

Aikibu
05-19-2011, 12:31 PM
To say that aikido = mindfulness is to say that they are one and the same. If this is true, then it is also true that there is no mindfulness apart from aikido. This is demonstrably false.

Thanks Mary... I understand...and humbly submit that mindfulness can be cultivated with any activity. Hence Washing Dishes, Driving the Freeway, and Practicing Aikido= All equal mindfulness.

Or none do...Duality can be a pesky little Devil. :)

William Hazen

abraxis
05-19-2011, 01:04 PM
....what are the non-transferable qualities of Aikido?...

Great question, should be a topic for its own thread!

mathewjgano
05-19-2011, 01:08 PM
Great question, should be a topic for its own thread!

:D I was just about to do that in fact! Almost didn't make it in time.

abraxis
05-19-2011, 01:16 PM
:D I was just about to do that in fact! Almost didn't make it in time.

Then just click on the time machine button under Miscellaneous.::confused:

mathewjgano
05-19-2011, 01:30 PM
Then just click on the time machine button under Miscellaneous.::confused:

lol! I was wondering where that button was located!
I meant I almost didn't delete my off-topic post from this thread in time...and which I've probably rendered moot with these subsequent posts.:o

...er...refresh your other jututsu practices, OP, if you're worried about having gotten a little rusty.
Whew! Close one.:cool: :D

graham christian
05-19-2011, 05:18 PM
Demetrio.
Thanks for the directions re: Bodhidharma etc. When I get the time and inclination I'll look into it.

Personally I prefer the history of the Japanese monks like the Sohei. All fascinating stuff.(I prefer carrying the sword blade down much like those, much to the chagrin of many Aikidoka)

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 05:28 PM
Personally I prefer the history of the Japanese monks like the Sohei. All fascinating stuff.(I prefer carrying the sword blade down much like those, much to the chagrin of many Aikidoka)

Regards.G.

Then this one (http://books.google.es/books?id=QvuR-4tC6R8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false) is for you.

Cheers.

graham christian
05-19-2011, 05:33 PM
Then this one (http://books.google.es/books?id=QvuR-4tC6R8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false) is for you.

Cheers.

Ahh. Now your talking. Thanks for that.

G.

Aikibu
05-19-2011, 07:47 PM
And these Martial Arts Bodhidharma specifically founded and developed to cultivate mindfulness through physical expression are?

Googlefu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma

Lots of folks have discredited this view over the years so they're included here for your enjoyment.

No one however has completely refuted it.

William Hazen

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 07:59 PM
Googlefu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma


Fas-ci-na-ting

Aikibu
05-19-2011, 08:08 PM
Hi Graham,

Only an aficionado (and you can be one too, it is not something outside of the possibilities of any ordinary person). Don't take the following as a correction but as offering an alternative point of view.

If you are interested in a scholar approach I recommend you to read The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts (http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/cart/shopcore/?db_name=uhpress&page=shop/flypage&product_id=5309&category_id=b3e6237d1b1b3b8594488ed1c40d0dfb&PHPSESSID=aa5b3a2d9ac31a9cc8ea30c0c06b89f0) by Meir Shahar.

Also:

(emphasis mine)

This is taken from wikipedia but you can check the source: Lin, Boyuan (1996), Zhōngguˇ wǔsh¨ shǐ 中國武術史, Taipei 臺北: Wǔzhōu chūbǎnshŔ 五洲出版社

I'd say what you've told about Bodhidharma as originator of Shaolin martial arts is useful myth and legend, but historically unaccurate. In this sense, of useful myths and legend in martial arts history, I'd also recommend "Sense in Nonsense: The Role of Folk History in the Martial Arts" by Thomas A. Green in Martial Arts in the Modern World (http://ejmas.com/tin/2004tin/tinart_morgan_0304.html)

I personally don't have any problems whith using myths, legends or fiction to illustrate a point or teach a lesson, as long one is aware of it and makes it clear to the audience. One should do not try to pass legends as historical facts and viceversa if we are after virtue. Get my point?

And you can call me DJ if you want, of course.:D

I used the same wiki just for giggles :)...as to your point... having studied the issue for over 30 years (including reading the book you mentioned) it still has not been completely refuted by historical fact though I will agree it may compare with such things as Moses parting the Red Sea, Christ's rising from the Dead and O'Sensei dodging bullets...However, for now... The fact he was present Shaolin is enough and he appears to have introduced a spiritual strain to what has now evolved as Budo and Aikido is enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_arts_timeline

Thus I will continue to hold my opinion as is...

I now humbly yield the mat to you... Master of Google-Fu! :) aka DC

William Hazen

PS. Note what happened at Shaolin in 1928. :)

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2011, 08:27 PM
having studied the issue for over 30 years (including reading the book you mentioned) it still has not been completely refuted by historical fact though I will agree it may compare with such things as Moses parting the Red Sea, Christ's rising from the Dead and O'Sensei dodging bullets.
I'm not going to touch your fallacies and unfortunate comparison even with a ten foot pole.

The fact he was present Shaolin is enough and he appears to have introduced a spiritual strain to what has now evolved as Budo and Aikido is enough.
BS. Pure and unadulterated BS.

Thus I will continue to hold my opinion as is...
Wathever floats your boat.

I now humbly yield the mat to you... Master of Google-Fu! aka DC
IHTBF

Regards.

Aikibu
05-20-2011, 12:41 AM
I'm not going to touch your fallacies and unfortunate comparison even with a ten foot pole.


Ad Hominem

BS. Pure and unadulterated BS.

Ad Hominem

Wathever floats your boat.

Ad Hominem

IHTBF

Ad Hominem

At least you're consistent. :) I respectfully request that you cease responding to any of my posts at least until you get over the emotional responses to our "debates."

For my part I apologize if anything I've posted in jest (ex. My mistake in calling you DJ) was taken as a personal affront by you. I do respect you and I wish to retain that respect... thus I will not respond to any post of yours.

William Hazen

Demetrio Cereijo
05-20-2011, 04:39 AM
For my part I apologize if anything I've posted in jest (ex. My mistake in calling you DJ) was taken as a personal affront by you. I do respect you and I wish to retain that respect... thus I will not respond to any post of yours.

Don't need to apologize for that.

Accept mine for considering this place one where scholarship, intellectual rigour and honesty are well received. This is still an aikido forum, oil and water don't mix. I won't forget that.

Regards,

DJ

lbb
05-20-2011, 07:53 AM
Gentlemen,

If you don't wish to see someone's comments, the best action is to use the Ignore function, not ask them to refrain from speaking.

If you wish to apologize, apologize. If you wish to backhandedly praise yourself and denigrate others, don't call it an apology.

graham christian
05-20-2011, 08:15 AM
To say that aikido = mindfulness is to say that they are one and the same. If this is true, then it is also true that there is no mindfulness apart from aikido. This is demonstrably false.

Hi Mary and William, Re:Mindfulness.

Could it be that mindfulness is a useful part of Aikido and a useful part of life. Far better than mindlessness.

As to EQUALLING. Mmmmm. A lack of understanding maybe? Or maybe a poor choice of words or presentation?

Mindfulness (as Bodhidharma as been entered into the equation) is merely one part of the eightfold path.

On that line of thought then if Aikido is a path to enlightenment then it would 'equal' all eight rather than just the one. There again equal would be the wrong word to use as employ would be better.

For me many principles underlying Aikido, which we try to comprehend are in other things including Yoga and religions and life. Plenty of correlations.

Regards.G

Mario Tobias
05-20-2011, 08:37 AM
Thanks for your posts. They were very insightful.

I only came to realize that martial arts and religion have a lot in common. Pretty trivial to most of you but not for me. Both are change agents that transform an individual. Both have the purpose of reaching an ultimate goal, but there are several paths to reach this goal. As no martial art nor religion has ever been proven to be the best, only by keeping the faith and strict discipline to a chosen path will you (somehow) erase your doubts about what you practice.

lbb
05-20-2011, 09:18 AM
And people go to war over them.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-20-2011, 09:27 AM
If you wish to apologize, apologize. If you wish to backhandedly praise yourself and denigrate others, don't call it an apology.

It was not my purpose denigrating anyone (and much less praising myself) but I understand my post could be interpreted this way. I was simply pointing to what I perceive as an incompatibility between mainstream pop culture and scholarship attempts.

This media is not appropiate for the second. Everything has its place, and harmony should not be broken.

Anyway, please accept my apologies for not accepting Boddhidharma founded and developed martial arts to cultivate mindfulness through physical expression because, as Graham wisely pointed, be it true or not it is a nice story. And this is, at the end, what really matters. Who am I for going around pinching other people's ballons?

I'll behave properly in the future.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-20-2011, 09:46 AM
And people go to war over them.
Unsurprisingly, as organized religions and martial arts are instruments of power.

abraxis
05-20-2011, 10:29 AM
lbb: 'And people go to war over them."

Demetrio Cereijo: "Unsurprisingly, as organized religions and martial arts are instruments of power."
_______________________________________________________

Indeed, individuals and nations are apt to bring with them every tool at their disposal when they go to war. Ever been given a pep talk by the Chaplain while cleaning your M-16? Sorry, that was me as Grampy starting to tell one of my war stories. On the other hand, true warriors I've known are reluctant to tell stories about everything they brought with them but wound up leaving behind in war.

Aikibu
05-20-2011, 11:44 AM
Don't need to apologize for that.

Accept mine for considering this place one where scholarship, intellectual rigour and honesty are well received. This is still an aikido forum, oil and water don't mix. I won't forget that.

Regards,

DJ

Sigh....At least I tried. :)

On ignore....

William Hazen

Aikibu
05-20-2011, 12:10 PM
Hi Mary and William, Re:Mindfulness.

Could it be that mindfulness is a useful part of Aikido and a useful part of life. Far better than mindlessness.

As to EQUALLING. Mmmmm. A lack of understanding maybe? Or maybe a poor choice of words or presentation?

Mindfulness (as Bodhidharma as been entered into the equation) is merely one part of the eightfold path.

On that line of thought then if Aikido is a path to enlightenment then it would 'equal' all eight rather than just the one. There again equal would be the wrong word to use as employ would be better.

For me many principles underlying Aikido, which we try to comprehend are in other things including Yoga and religions and life. Plenty of correlations.

Regards.G

Perhaps...I did not mean to say Aikido=Enlightenment...However IMHO it could be considered Upaya....

So perhaps I used a poor choice of words....

Don't know about it the equal to the rest of the eight fold path....or Buddhism being a religion part.... or any of that stuff...

In the words of a Great Aikido/Zen Sage-

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."- Groucho Marx. :)

William Hazen

lbb
05-20-2011, 01:21 PM
On that line of thought then if Aikido is a path to enlightenment then it would 'equal' all eight rather than just the one. There again equal would be the wrong word to use as employ would be better.


Well, no, it's definitely not "equal". Enlightenment has been described as being fully present and fully aware. If you think about that -- just think about the words and what they mean, taken at face value, and don't try to drape them in any pseudo-mystical faux-Oriental trappings -- I think you'll see why I say that aikido is not a really great tool for the job. It can serve, but if enlightenment is your goal -- enlightenment the real thing, not some groovy feeling you've decided to call "enlightenment" -- I don't think aikido is the best way to get there.

graham christian
05-20-2011, 01:53 PM
Well, no, it's definitely not "equal". Enlightenment has been described as being fully present and fully aware. If you think about that -- just think about the words and what they mean, taken at face value, and don't try to drape them in any pseudo-mystical faux-Oriental trappings -- I think you'll see why I say that aikido is not a really great tool for the job. It can serve, but if enlightenment is your goal -- enlightenment the real thing, not some groovy feeling you've decided to call "enlightenment" -- I don't think aikido is the best way to get there.

Hi Mary.
Done. Have done many times. Others may consider what I say pseudo mystical, so be it. I understand what you are saying and so can see your view. That's fine by me.

However, I have read many of your posts and agree with many, smile at many, learn from many. I recall one post where you were 'feeling connection' and thus demonstrating to yourself when you were and when you were not and thus experiencing the difference. All good.

So back to enlightenment.Being fully present and fully aware.

Maybe, just maybe enlightenment thus reveals the principles O'Sensei was trying to get across in which case Aikido would be a good vehicle to use. That doesn't mean other methods are wrong.
It would mean however that there are many correlations between the various ways.

It would also mean Aikido is useful for whatever you use it for be it relaxing, self defence, healing, fun, whatever. A very useful activity I would say.

Regards.G.

mathewjgano
05-20-2011, 02:02 PM
Enlightenment has been described as being fully present and fully aware...I don't think aikido is the best way to get there.

What about aikido makes it worse than some better method? Or, what would be an example of something better, and what about it makes it better?

My thinking is that whatever it takes to get to "enlightenment," it ultimately has nothing to do with some path, and everything to do with the one walking it. Paths are great ways to get where other people have been, and maybe a person can find enlightenment where someone else may have found it, but I'm inclined to think each of us has our own unique "location" to search for, and that means no path will take us there, though they may take us very close.
That said, I don't see how aikido is any worse than any other "way." It's subject to all the same problems of every other way: interpretations and limitations of the individual.

jester
05-20-2011, 02:23 PM
I feel that I have lost touch with reality given that our art is a "non-aggressive" one.

Mario, I am a firm believer that you fight like you train. I personally don't see Aikido as non-aggressive but there are many non-aggressive people that study it.

Sometimes there is pain involved!! Obviously pain compliance isn't a great training method but it is the foundation of this art and very practical for self defense.

Don't forget what you learned, just add Aikido to what you already know. Your old Sensei gave you sensible advice.

-

Mario Tobias
05-20-2011, 07:55 PM
Thanks Tim,

Finding "enlightenment" for me is searching for a path (your own) on how to live life to the fullest, being the best you can be, and how to prepare for death. Martial arts or religion only serves as guides to help you in your search.

Not following any path would lead to a wasted life.

lbb
05-20-2011, 08:55 PM
What about aikido makes it worse than some better method? Or, what would be an example of something better, and what about it makes it better?

It isn't the best method because there's too much going on. A better method would be any of the simple sitting meditation techniques where distractions are minimized and your focus is on something very simple, such as the breath. Put it this way: you've got a person who's never ridden a bicycle. Do you put them on a time trial bike and send them out in traffic? Well, maybe you do, and maybe they come back covered with road rash and saying, "Oh, so this is riding a bicycle." And so it goes with meditation: people try to "meditate" without really knowing what the point is, get caught up in the distractions and paraphernalia, and go about with their heads full of stuff saying, "Oh, so this is meditating". Well, okay, so there are a lot of different meditation traditions, and under the extremely large umbrella of everything that calls itself "meditation", there are even some widely divergent goals. But we've been talking specifically about meditation to cultivate mindfulness, awareness, "be here now", so we're really not talking about those meditation traditions that seek transcendence or whatever.

So, back to the bicycle analogy. The point of meditation isn't to have some kind of transcendental experience -- rather the opposite. It isn't to bliss out or to solve a thorny problem or to get rid of your stress. It is to learn the skill of mindfulness,of what's happening now, and the purpose of sitting meditation is to practice that skill in a deliberately constrained and simplified environment. It's like learning to ride a bicycle with training wheels, or (the way I learned to ride) by gliding short distances with your feet off the pedals. Or, to use another analogy, it's like five-finger exercises on the piano. That's not all there is to riding a bike or playing the piano -- it is a tool to develop a skill, which you would then use in more challenging situations. But to develop the skill, you start by practicing it in a simple form, in a limited environment, not biting off more than you can chew. Can a person who's never ridden a bike learn to ride by being put on a time trial bike and sent out into the traffic? I'm sure it's happened, in the course of human experience. But the odds are against it, and a time trial bike in traffic is not the best way to learn to ride.

My thinking is that whatever it takes to get to "enlightenment," it ultimately has nothing to do with some path, and everything to do with the one walking it. Paths are great ways to get where other people have been, and maybe a person can find enlightenment where someone else may have found it, but I'm inclined to think each of us has our own unique "location" to search for, and that means no path will take us there, though they may take us very close.

That's like saying that every human body is unique, so why should you bother to study martial arts techniques that were developed by someone else? Why not just develop your own techniques that are best for your body?

The answer, of course, is that our uniqueness doesn't mean that no one else has anything to teach us. It doesn't mean that our time is profitably spent reinventing the wheel. Why would you want to use your inventiveness to solve a problem that's already been solved? Save it for the advanced topics.

Aikibu
05-21-2011, 12:42 AM
I understand where you're coming from Mary and thanks for the great post. However I don't think your bicycle analogy fits very well with what we're discussing... though it does point the way....

If you believe in Aikido as Budo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud%C5%8D

Then IMO it can be used to cultivate mindfulness. I think that was one of O'Sensei's intentions for it (It certainly was Shoji Nishio's :) ).

Zazen, Aikido, Iaido, Chanyou , and Ikebana can all be considered Upaya In Japanese Buddhism; Along with a allot of other practices. I know O'Sensei was not a Buddhist though his writings and the very name he gave his practice "Aikido" seems to suggest that cultivating mindfulness was a method to develop "harmony".

Mind you I am looking at it through the filter/bias of "Groovy" California Soto Zen (Sunryu Suzuki's Lineage) which is my practice. :)

What do you think? :)

William Hazen

mathewjgano
05-21-2011, 12:43 AM
That's like saying that every human body is unique, so why should you bother to study martial arts techniques that were developed by someone else? Why not just develop your own techniques that are best for your body?


I think I see what you're getting at, Mary. To follow the analogy, I agree it's generally best to start with training wheels; to start simply before trying to be in the "middle of here/now" in some chaotic situation.
I do think there is value in moving meditation for achieving that same kind of thing, and that the value can be found in dealing with the complexity. I'm usually pretty good (relative to my own weak experience of course) at being calm and present when I'm sitting and meditating, but it's far more difficult to generate that feeling at work or in meeting new people. Perhaps for others this is less the case, but based on my own example, I was thinking more generally on how to carry that around where ever one goes. I see this as an application issue, which seems like it would be more individualized (not that what works for one person can't work as well for another)...but I'm a long way from being able to do much of anything like this very well...and what I feel I used to be good at has mostly left me, so time will tell I suppose.
Thank you for that great explanation! I enjoyed reading it!
Take care,
Matt

abraxis
05-21-2011, 07:53 AM
Matthew-- I agree, the goal is to carry it with you wherever you go. Eventually, and usually sooner rather than later, one has to leave the temple. When we do leave, or each time we leave, we carry the hope that what was learned in that carefully designed and specially protective environment will serve us well out in the real world.

William-- clear thinking nicely expressed. I like what you've said here and not just because I agree ;) .

Best regards,

Rudy

lbb
05-22-2011, 08:15 AM
Matthew-- I agree, the goal is to carry it with you wherever you go. Eventually, and usually sooner rather than later, one has to leave the temple.

That's true, but it doesn't make sense to talk about leaving the temple if you've never been in the temple in the first place.

I think there's a problem in the West with the popular culture of self-help or self-improvement. People go at it out of a desire to feel better and make their lives better -- nothing wrong with that, but then they confuse the ends with the means. It doesn't take a lot of insight to see that going for whatever makes you feel better right now, might not be the best path to feeling better later. The practices that we're talking about, that have enlightenment or mindfulness or whatever as their goal, are disciplines -- they're not forms of entertainment. That doesn't mean that they're supposed to make you miserable, but that they're done in pursuit of something other than feeling good and having fun right now, and so they may involve some discomfort or boredom.

lbb
05-22-2011, 08:18 AM
Zazen, Aikido, Iaido, Chanyou , and Ikebana can all be considered Upaya In Japanese Buddhism; Along with a allot of other practices.
And a fish, with enough modifications, can ride a bicycle. Some practices make better upaya than others.

abraxis
05-22-2011, 09:03 AM
Hi Mary,

"Magister ludi, parce simplici turbae
aetates, si valent, satis discunt." -- Marcus Valerius Martialis

Cheers!

Rudy

Demetrio Cereijo
05-22-2011, 11:34 AM
And a fish, with enough modifications, can ride a bicycle. Some practices make better upaya than others.
It seems the bycicle is who is riding the fish.

Hi Mary,

"Magister ludi, parce simplici turbae
aetates, si valent, satis discunt." -- Marcus Valerius Martialis

Cheers!

Rudy

What?

Aikibu
05-22-2011, 12:55 PM
And a fish, with enough modifications, can ride a bicycle. Some practices make better upaya than others.

Not sure about that...I have not seen any fish win the Tour Du France. :)

William Hazen

Janet Rosen
05-22-2011, 01:54 PM
Not sure about that...I have not seen any fish win the Tour Du France. :)

William Hazen

Well, sure, now, with all the water pollution they can't pass the anti-doping blood tests :D

lbb
05-22-2011, 01:54 PM
Hi Mary,

"Magister ludi, parce simplici turbae
aetates, si valent, satis discunt." -- Marcus Valerius Martialis

Cheers!

Rudy

Hi Rudy,

Omnis gallia in tres partes divisa est.

Sic transit gloria mundi,

Mary

abraxis
05-22-2011, 05:15 PM
...Rudy, What?

Hi Demetrio,

See Martial's epigrams, where he exhorts teachers not to abuse their students.

Enjoy your practice,

Rudy

abraxis
05-22-2011, 05:35 PM
...Omnis gallia in tres partes divisa est.Sic transit gloria mundi,

Hi Mary,

Not quite sure of the point you wish to make. The one I'm trying to emphasize is:--

"The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught." "Magister Ludi", H.Hesse

Enjoy your practice,

Rudy

abraxis
05-22-2011, 05:48 PM
Well, sure, now, with all the water pollution they can't pass the anti-doping blood tests :D

Hi Janet,

Lots of prescription drugs in the water supply too...seasonale, enovid, prozac, paxil, lithium, valium etc. etc. which may not cause fish to fail their doping tests but could make for some very erratic bike riding in fish otherwise able to compete quite well on the velodrome circuit. :D

Enjoy your practice,

Rudy

lbb
05-22-2011, 06:03 PM
Hi Mary,

Not quite sure of the point you wish to make.

I'll translate. What I said is:

"I don't speak Latin. What you have just said means nothing to me."

The one I'm trying to emphasize is:--

"The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught." "Magister Ludi", H.Hesse

That's all well and good, but I think it's a non sequitur here.

(that is to say, it does not follow. Ipse dixit!)

Demetrio Cereijo
05-22-2011, 06:22 PM
Hi Demetrio,

See Martial's epigrams, where he exhorts teachers not to abuse their students.

Enjoy your practice,

Rudy

The problem, Rudy, is that you misquoted Martial and what you posted makes no sense. Even in Latin.

Regards.

abraxis
05-22-2011, 06:44 PM
...What I said is:
"I don't speak Latin. What you have just said means nothing to me.

Hi Mary and Demetrio,

In replying to the ongoing debate on how to teach mindfulness, train aikidoka, meditate, etc. I quoted Martial (sorry if my memory of the latin or my translation here are in error)

"Magister Ludi , (Master of Games ), spare the simple throng, life, if they are well, teaches enough". - Martial (Epigrams, c.100 A.D.).

That quote was the source of the title for Hesse's great novel which touches on many of the issues being discussed and includes this quote...

"The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. -- "Magister Ludi" (Herman Hesse, c. 1943).

If my opinions in this thread or if the relationship of the quotes to the onging debate are not sufficiently clear then the fault is mine and I accept it fully. My intent was only to let some new light in and not to start a ruckus.

Enjoy your practice,

Rudy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEW0BtFuj5I

Demetrio Cereijo
05-22-2011, 07:12 PM
Hi Mary and Demetrio,

In replying to the ongoing debate on how to teach mindfulness, train aikidoka, meditate, etc. I quoted Martial (sorry if my memory of the latin or my translation here are in error)

"Magister Ludi , (Master of Games ), spare the simple throng, life, if they are well, teaches enough". - Martial (Epigrams, c.100 A.D.).


http://www.archive.org/stream/epigramswithengl02martuoft#page/200/mode/2up

My intent was only to let some new light in not start a ruckus.
I'm sure about it, but Martial epigram is different from the abridged, edited and poorly translated version Hesse perpetrated.

Regards.

PS. Yes, a good version of Marley's "One Love". The deep meaning doesn't change. I could not say the same regarding Hesse's version of Martial you've used.

Regards again.

Mario Tobias
05-23-2011, 03:54 PM
I saw this article today....

Aikido and the Paradox of Violence
http://archive.usafaikidonews.com/2008/2/article_3.shtml