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aikishihan
07-14-2011, 02:46 PM
The word "Aikido" is simply a word. Like the word "Love", or "Hate" or even "Peace" are each but mere words. Like when looking at our atmosphere, we may see "blue" skies, or fiery "red" sunsets, or even the "grey" cloak of sunlight intercepted darkness. Does our description of what we see actually define what it is? Or do we need to explore, digest and understand more of what our minds and emotions may reveal by taking the time necessary to truly evaluate what our senses are apparently revealing to us? Perhaps we will discover what conclusions or judgments we make, by examining the actual lenses we look through, or what filters we construct and employ to better discriminate amongst the sensations and sensory inputs we encounter.

In the seeming cacophony of definitions, descriptions and theories of what "Aikido" is or may have significant meaning to us individually, is it any wonder that we must truly fail whenever we attempt globally to reach any general consensus of what Aikido truly is.

Traditionalists may want to begin with the root definitions of the Japanese characters or kanji, but even then do we find conflicting and agenda driven positions taken by the "experts" and scholars amongst us. How is a "newbie" to make any sense of, or take comfort in having faith in the word or its origin? Does "Ai" really only mean "love" or "harmony"? Does "Ki" only mean "spirit", "mind" or "energy"? Does "Do"only refer to a "path", a "way" or a process? And what of the choices of meanings that are possible with the combinations of those terms?

Then we have the "new age" thinkers and opportunists who revel in the seeming randomness and uncertainty, even amongst the so called high ranking seniors of the art. Who to believe, who to listen to, and who to entrust with the immense responsibility of "getting it right"? Is it even truly necessary to "get it right"? By what concensus? By whose decree? In what time frame?

Certain purists may then come forth and proclaim, "it's in the training itself", so simply "shut up and train", and then the truth will emerge for those willing to pay the price of long years of intense dedication to their selected mentors, and their uniquely singular programs of "correct" interpretation of the Founder's intent and discovery. Let us dispense with meaningless dialogue, misleading videos, and the ultimately useless diversion of reading online treatises and discussions, and support each other's sincere attempts to add their interpretations to the mix, and allow history to decide.

By some accounts, the word "aikido" was given to the Founder to use by a consortium of Budo organizations or such like in 1942. I am unclear as to the exact nature of Budo politics at the time, and will defer to better knowledge than mine. Even so, the Founder himself, if the account is correct, was given a choice as to how best to interpret and to then integrate the word of aikido into his system.

The Founder made it clear that we individually and collectively are free to create our own template of Aikido, based if we wish, on the model that he himself created. This may also mean that we can interpret the meaning of his Aikido, and that of our own creation, in the manner that best suits our purpose, our sense of fairness and respect for the original model, and one that best serves our relationship with our peers and our students over time

For me then, I find it convenient and useful to state that I study the martial art of Aikido, as introduced and taught by Morihei Ueshiba, and represented by Aikikai Foundation, currently headed by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. This is for public consumption, and declared in the interest of general identification for my dojo and my constituents. Personally, however, it is a vastly different matter, as I regard my own values, standards of training, and goals for personal development strictly my own business, and not defined in any way by organizational, philosophical or sociologically determined parameters and identification.

Yes, for me it remains a word, the definition of which is my own to ponder, the application of which is mine to own, even as I freely acknowledge others the right to do the same. Aikido is just a word, like any other, that takes its significance, relevance and impact on the way we use it in our dealings with others. Perhaps in the end, we may hopefully find mutual satisfaction and empathetic agreement on the training mat, where it all started.
Francis Takahashi was born in 1943, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Francis began his Aikido journey in 1953, simultaneously with the introduction of Aikido to Hawaii by Koichi Tohei, a representative sent from Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. This event was sponsored by the Hawaii Nishi System of Health Engineering, with Noriyasu Kagesa as president. Mr. Kagesa was Francisís grandfather, and was a life long supporter of Mr. Tohei, and of Aikido. In 1961, the Founder visited Hawaii to help commemorate the opening of the new dojo in Honolulu. This was the first, and only time Francis had the opportunity to train with the Founder. In 1963, Francis was inducted into the U.S. Army, and was stationed for two years in Chicago, Illinois. He was the second instructor for the fledgling Chicago Aikido Club, succeeding his childhood friend, Chester Sasaki, who had graduated from the University of Illinois, and was entering the Air Force. Francis is currently ranked 7th dan Aikikai, and enjoys a direct affiliation with Aikikai Foundation for the recommending and granting of dan ranks via his organization, Aikikai Associates West Coast. Francis is the current dojo-cho of Aikido Academy in Alhambra, California.

crbateman
07-15-2011, 11:03 PM
Hello Francis Sensei,

Another good topic! Each of us defines our Aikido by the way we train and the way we live. Words alone mean little unless they are supported by deeds.

Thanks again for sharing.

DH
07-17-2011, 04:19 PM
Yes, for me it remains a word,
the definition of which is my own to ponder,
the application of which is mine to own,

Aikido is just a word, like any other, that takes its significance, relevance and impact on the way we use it in our dealings with others.
Against all attempts at revisionism... the word was Aiki...do, The Way of Aiki. It was coined "The Way of Aiki" for a reason; The old mans art was different from the Koryu and Gendai arts being displayed before a very educated crowd.

This new tactic to personalize and redefine it is understandable though. Since the majority of those in aikido have failed in their attempt to understand aiki, why not go back and corupt the meaning of the name itself, as well as the founders practice, in order to forge a new practice that can only be judged on a personal level.
In so doing, they can complete Kisshomaru's attempts to create a new revisionist history divorced from his fathers message and skills, and establish what has been described as a weaker practice that is approachable by the majority.
Perhaps in the end, we may hopefully find mutual satisfaction and empathetic agreement on the training mat, where it all started.
Mutual satisfaction and agreement is currently being sought in two camps; the founders art and the sons invention of modern aikido. They are most certainly not the same.
As time goes on, tthose that choose Ueshiba's Way of aiki will remain untouchable by those who follow the son's model. Ueshiba's model was and is, superior and can be demonstrated as such every time.

I would guess that in time, those who choose to continue on with the son's model will continue to lose students (as they continue to report here) due to a lack of credibility. This is actually happening on two fronts;
1. Outside the art
Their lack of power and fighting ability as judged by a crowd educated in MMA
2. From within the art itself
Their lack of power and ability as judged be an ever growing population getting educated and familiar with the founders true art.

The Founder's Way of Aiki...requires no mutual agreement anyway. Those who follow the son's Aikido™, cannot stand in the face of it. It is undeniable.
Ueshiba's art is better than the son's. I hope that's the type of mutual agreement you can be satisfied with since it is the only agreement I see happening when the two groups meet and touch hands.
Dan

dps
07-17-2011, 09:44 PM
" Yes, for me it remains a word, the definition of which is my own to ponder, the application of which is mine to own, even as I freely acknowledge others the right to do the same. Aikido is just a word, like any other, that takes its significance, relevance and impact on the way we use it in our dealings with others."

The first time I heard the word "Aikido" I was told it is a Japanese martial arts kind of like Judo.

Twenty six years later, after going through many different definitions I now tell people "Aikido" is a Japanese martial art kind of like Judo.

dps

RonRagusa
07-17-2011, 10:59 PM
The Founder made it clear that we individually and collectively are free to create our own template of Aikido, based if we wish, on the model that he himself created. This may also mean that we can interpret the meaning of his Aikido, and that of our own creation, in the manner that best suits our purpose, our sense of fairness and respect for the original model, and one that best serves our relationship with our peers and our students over time.

Hi Francis -

Thank you for once again sharing your views with us. Your statement above is a powerful assertion regarding O Sensei's intent as it relates to the development and dissemination of Aikido over time. I think that had O Sensei not had the foresight to endow Aikido with the ability to flex, grow and change with the times that today Aikido would be relegated to curiosity status practiced by only a very few. Some would argue that perhaps Aikido would have been better off with a less interpretative structure that adhered to the form and training regimen of O Sensei's art at some time prior to the second World War. Maybe so, maybe not.

The beauty of Aikido is that there's room for all to study and gain thereby from their practice. Who is so perfect in their knowledge of O Sensei's intent that they can decide whose practice is worthwhile and whose is not?

Best,

Ron

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 03:09 AM
Dear All,
I reading the the article and reading the various responses to the original blog it strikes me that each person can interpret aikido in a manner that befits them.Its a matter of choice whether one chooses the martial aspect or other areas[health\spiritual route.
Perhaps in view of this factor Aikido should not be classified or described as a Martial art since there may well be very low % of people now practicing that are inclined towards a martial aspect.
I for one am aware that in certain areas Aikido is perceived as being ineffective as a Martial art, practiced by old codgers/weaklings/guru types.This is an image which is held by others.
Was the decision taken to open up Aikido to all and sundry a good thing for the Art?Should it have remained an exclusive art [thus maintaing the original essence of the art and being the province of fewer people ] or as it is today wide spread, with lots of people doing aikido , and the quality aspect perhaps being diluted?
Cheers, Joe.

Tim Ruijs
07-18-2011, 03:50 AM
O Sensei also wanted people to get more independent. (take a moment to consider the era in which Aikido was developed)
To impose rules which define the art would in itself be a system that people must adhere to. Quite contrare to what he wanted to achieve.
In his view it might not be so bad that Aikido evolves away from the martial as long as (more) people share their knowledge and help eachother (to better the world).

RonRagusa
07-18-2011, 06:33 AM
I reading the the article and reading the various responses to the original blog it strikes me that each person can interpret aikido in a manner that befits them.Its a matter of choice whether one chooses the martial aspect or other areas[health\spiritual route.

Hi Joe -

The choices are not mutually exclusive. I'm in the "old codger" group and find that the focus of my practice has, over the years, moved to the way less martial end of the spectrum. I suspect that my experience is not unique. Aikido would be all the poorer were the ability for this training paradigm shift to be bred out of the art.

Best,

Ron

sakumeikan
07-18-2011, 09:14 AM
Hi Joe -

The choices are not mutually exclusive. I'm in the "old codger" group and find that the focus of my practice has, over the years, moved to the way less martial end of the spectrum. I suspect that my experience is not unique. Aikido would be all the poorer were the ability for this training paradigm shift to be bred out of the art.

Best,

Ron
Dear Ron,
Born in 1947 ?-you are a mere stripling, a callow youth.You barely qualify for a bus pass , pension from the state.I bet if push came to shove you can still cut the mustard.Nearly typed in custard!!!
My little quip!! cheers, Joe.

MM
07-18-2011, 10:06 AM
Hi Francis -

Thank you for once again sharing your views with us. Your statement above is a powerful assertion regarding O Sensei's intent as it relates to the development and dissemination of Aikido over time. I think that had O Sensei not had the foresight to endow Aikido with the ability to flex, grow and change with the times that today Aikido would be relegated to curiosity status practiced by only a very few. Some would argue that perhaps Aikido would have been better off with a less interpretative structure that adhered to the form and training regimen of O Sensei's art at some time prior to the second World War. Maybe so, maybe not.


O Sensei's intent for his aikido?

There are way too many instances of Morihei Ueshiba's students stating things like, I didn't know what he was talking about. I won't post them but many of them can be found from Stan Pranin's efforts and work. Others are scattered in books and magazines. I won't post all the back and forth about Tohei and what he thought of Morihei Ueshiba's ideology. Or the time in Hawaii when Ueshiba was mad at Tohei and admonished the students that they could take Tohei because of his impurity. Or a hundred other similar things.

I will mention Peter Goldsbury's excellent post about how the post-war students were probably not shown some of Morihei Ueshiba's personal training. ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=287907#post287907 ).

I will mention the post-war time when the son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, wanted to do a public demonstration and thought his father would go into a rage over the idea. But Morihei Ueshiba let his son do his own thing. Who was it that flexed and changed here? The founder or his son? The son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, took over.

It's also worth noting that it was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who ranked students quickly, sometimes skipping a grade. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who sent Aikido teachers out into the world. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who changed his father's spiritual ideological message so that the new aikido would be more fit for a worldwide audience. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who changed his father's view of techniques and codified them. Morihei Ueshiba required prospective students to have sponsors. Kisshomaru Ueshiba did not.

Quite a bit of all of this (and more) is there in the recorded history from many different sources.


The beauty of Aikido is that there's room for all to study and gain thereby from their practice. Who is so perfect in their knowledge of O Sensei's intent that they can decide whose practice is worthwhile and whose is not?

Best,

Ron

With all those Japanese students not understanding what Morihei Ueshiba was saying to them, with Morihei Ueshiba not actually teaching those students his personal training regimen, with those students not being able to martially replicate his skills, how is it that you know that there's "room for all to study and gain thereby" from Morihei Ueshiba's aikido? Are you so perfect in your knowledge of Morihei Ueshiba and his aikido that you can state that?

On the flip side of things, if we were talking about Kisshomaru's Aikido (what I call "Modern Aikido"), I would agree with you completely.

RonRagusa
07-18-2011, 11:35 AM
O Sensei's intent for his aikido?

Hi Mark -

I was commenting on this quote from Francis' column: "The Founder made it clear that we individually and collectively are free to create our own template of Aikido, based if we wish, on the model that he himself created. This may also mean that we can interpret the meaning of his Aikido, and that of our own creation, in the manner that best suits our purpose, our sense of fairness and respect for the original model, and one that best serves our relationship with our peers and our students over time."

You're free to take issue with the ideas expressed in the quote, but to me it expresses intent pretty clearly.

With all those Japanese students not understanding what Morihei Ueshiba was saying to them, with Morihei Ueshiba not actually teaching those students his personal training regimen, with those students not being able to martially replicate his skills, how is it that you know that there's "room for all to study and gain thereby" from Morihei Ueshiba's aikido? Are you so perfect in your knowledge of Morihei Ueshiba and his aikido that you can state that?

Please do no mistake a statement of opinion, which is an expression of belief, with an assertion of fact which requires documented proof. Again, you're free to disregard my opinion and cultivate your own if that suits you.

Best,

Ron

aikishihan
07-18-2011, 03:18 PM
Many thanks for the candid, often valid, and always thought provoking responses and contributions to what is my singularly personal perspective on the Founder’s immeasurable and inexhaustibly rich gift of his Aikido.

I do believe that if an idea or construct is inherently invalid or based on false premises, it will surely die a natural death through neglect and disinterest. If the opposite holds true, then we may very well witness a plethora of amazingly innovative and freshly inspired attempts to validate, define and build, on an ongoing basis, on the alluring truths contained and found in the original intent and purpose. A true work in progress of humanity’s never ending search for a fundamental reality that would provide enlightenment and joy to those who persevere and persist.

The Founder’s amazing gift indeed was never intended to be a “one of”, a “be all to end all” statement of any universal truth that could or should stand alone and defy any welcome scrutiny, alternative appreciation or as a basis for genius to work with. Rather, the Founder’s discoveries represented a most human attempt, by a fallible and humble man, to dare to share his life’s work with any and all curious and attentive minds in the ongoing exploration and enriching study of Universal Aiki, and not simply “Ueshiba Aiki”, which was only his contribution, intended to inspire and invite more of the same from succeeding generations.

The perspective that many of the Founder’s direct students struggled with understanding, appreciating and incorporating the many lessons from the Founder is not surprising. History is replete with direct students and actual peers of geniuses of the past likewise failing in similar attempts to keep up. It truly is another example of the “numbers game” of life, where a small percentage of eligible candidates or potential ingredients succeed in completing their intended destiny and place in history. Talent, industriousness and proven worth are never in doubt. Too often, it is simply the luck of the draw.

Perhaps it is time for us to have more faith in the capacity of mankind to actually learn from, and where appropriate, improve on the original model, while truly creating valid new constructs and enhanced examples of an original idea that fit any new realities and opportunities for growth and applicability. Really, isn’t this how evolution works? Isn’t this how measurable progress is defined? Isn’t this what the Founder envisioned, even as he himself was a working example of this principle, with the fuel, guidance and inspiration gleaned from his martial, spiritual and intensely personal experiences, validating his dedication towards continual self improvement? Isn’t this the true legacy of the Founder to succeeding generations of students of his example? Methinks it is.

The Founder’s understanding of Aiki was likewise never intended to be defined by words like “Aiki”, “Aiki Do”, or even the word “Aikido”, which was not his choice originally. Even as proper technique results, not from any conscious intent, but as the natural result of applying the appropriate principles of Aiki, and allowing the results of inspired training to do their collective magic, so did the Founder find the appropriate outlet for his ever improving sense of growth and depth of knowledge and understanding of his mission and his vision.

So, do dare to take up the challenge offered by the Founder’s incomparable example, selecting and/or deselecting the models of choice of training and thinking, with the uncompromising desire to accomplish your heartfelt goals, only you need to be conscious of, and to be loyal to.

Make “Aikido” a word that has special meaning to you first of all, and then share it with those you interact with, and care about.

DH
07-18-2011, 04:36 PM
Our own aikido in the sense that he wanted everyone to discover their own path? Well sure. But, I think he wanted us to discover our path with an understanding of the Way of Aiki...you know...the stuff he was always talking about.
I don't think he intended his name to be put on our desires to make our own stuff up as we go along and imagine we understand the way that he was talking about. If you don't understand aiki, then no matter what you think you're doing, you are not doing his aiki-do or even your own aiki-do. Instead, you're just doing your own thing with funny looking clothes on and waiving sticks in the air. Why drag him into it at all?

Shu ha ri implies a process. Why are we discussing aiki and assuming we have approached anything even remotely related to what he was asking of us? We can make up new meanings for words all day, it just sounds like something children would do when they don't understand.
Dan

graham christian
07-18-2011, 06:24 PM
[/QUOTE] The word "Aikido" is simply a word. Like the word "Love", or "Hate" or even "Peace" are each but mere words. Like when looking at our atmosphere, we may see "blue" skies, or fiery "red" sunsets, or even the "grey" cloak of sunlight intercepted darkness. Does our description of what we see actually define what it is? Or do we need to explore, digest and understand more of what our minds and emotions may reveal by taking the time necessary to truly evaluate what our senses are apparently revealing to us? Perhaps we will discover what conclusions or judgments we make, by examining the actual lenses we look through, or what filters we construct and employ to better discriminate amongst the sensations and sensory inputs we encounter.[QUOTE]

Hi Francis.
I like the column but the above paragraph makes it sound like Aikido is just an adjective.

The simplicity I see is that it is a noun representing a concept of a martial art. Due to it's form it is known worldwide as Aikido.

Now, no different to any other martial art be it Karate, kung fu or even writing, a person then developes their own style or methodology of teaching. Thus, as you say comes about the evolution of the art.

Each school should merely state the 'type' the description of their Aikido. It's not complicated really.

All this trying to prove this and that is just 'my blahs better than your blah'

Respect. G.

DH
07-18-2011, 07:18 PM
All this trying to prove this and that is just 'my blahs better than your blah'
Becuase true aiki is better than the imposter being called aiki.
It's not public school. Everyone does not get an "A"
The imposters, those truly working on it to one degree or another, and those that have it... are known at a touch.
Dan

dps
07-18-2011, 08:20 PM
Becuase true aiki is better than the imposter being called aiki.
It's not public school. Everyone does not get an "A"
The imposters, those truly working on it to one degree or another, and those that have it... are known at a touch.
Dan

Where did you learn "the true aiki" that you judge others with.

dps

dps
07-18-2011, 08:21 PM
Becuase true aiki is better than the imposter being called aiki.
It's not public school. Everyone does not get an "A"
The imposters, those truly working on it to one degree or another, and those that have it... are known at a touch.
Dan

Where did you learn "the true aiki" that you judge others with.

dps

Peter Goldsbury
07-18-2011, 08:51 PM
Hello Francis,

What a can of worms you have opened!

I have the same problem as Graham. As you state, it is merely a word, and, like all other words, admits of being defined, with the definition appearing in a dictionary.

The only issue for me would be whether as a noun it is a general name that denotes a class of things, or a proper name that comes with a definite description, such as 'the last heir of the Hapsburg Empire', who died recently.

The problem is the vast mythology that has arisen because it is a compound Japanese word, left untranslated in western languages, that is usually written with Chinese characters. So there are interminable arguments about its constituents and etymology, all of which is of no relevance whatever to its status and use as a word.

To see what I mean, consider three other words, all of which use one of the characters used to write the word 合気道 in Japanese, but in the appropriate order:

合唱団: gasshoudan (together - utter sound - group). This word means chorus or choir. The first two characters carry the main meaning, with the third being one of several possibilities (曲, 隊). But the meaning is clear and does not need any further penetration or speculation. Of course, choirs can sing in different ways, but they are still choirs: they do not need to do the gasshou in a certain way.

Similarly with 軽気球: keikikyuu (light - air - ball). This word means hot-air (helium) balloon. I have occasionally seen these on fresh autumn mornings on my way to work at university.

地下道: chikadou (ground - below - way). This is an underground passage. Again, the first two characters bear the main weight and there are many more possibilities for the third character than with gasshou.

However, I believe that this focus on the first two characters relates to the fact that they are read in the ON or Chinese way and does not affect their use as words in the Japanese language. In other words, a Japanese native speaker can use the words in daily life when going about the normal business of communication without knowing anything the structure or etymology of the words. The native speaker does not need to know what the aiki in aikido actually means, for example, in order to use the world aikido correctly.

So, I do not need to make aikido a word that has a special meaning to me. There is not really any point in doing so, especially here in Japan.

Best wishes,

PAG

DH
07-18-2011, 09:17 PM
Where did you learn "the true aiki" that you judge others with.

dps
The same source as the founder's model of aiki.
You noted in that other thread that aiki is best learned in aikido not from outside the art. I've not found that to be true.
Strangely, many teachers in the art, (now including more and more teachers and shihan like Ikeda ) have found going outside of modern aikido to actually learn aiki was best. Then again, so did Shioda, and Tohei.
Can you explan that?
Dan

dps
07-19-2011, 02:27 AM
The same source as the founder's model of aiki.

Dan

O'Sensei learned Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu from Takeda Sokaku.

Who was your Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu teacher?

dps

sakumeikan
07-19-2011, 03:10 AM
The same source as the founder's model of aiki.
You noted in that other thread that aiki is best learned in aikido not from outside the art. I've not found that to be true.
Strangely, many teachers in the art, (now including more and more teachers and shihan like Ikeda ) have found going outside of modern aikido to actually learn aiki was best. Then again, so did Shioda, and Tohei.
Can you explan that?
Dan
DearMr Harden,
I cannot comment on you statement concerning Shioda Sensei external training outside of Aikido, however in Tohei Senseis case you seem to have made an error chronologically speaking concerning Tohei Senseis external training.Tohei Sensei originally studied Judo,He then spent considerable time studying Zen meditation , Ki develpment [later developing Kiatsu]and misogi practice PRIOR to studying Aikido.Tohei Sensei continued to study these methods of training in a ongoing basis,but to suggest that Tohei Sensei
AFTER training in Aikido sought other methods in this instance is incorrect. Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
07-19-2011, 03:25 AM
O'Sensei learned Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu from Takeda Sokaku.

Who was your Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu teacher?

dps

Dear Dps,
Never mind asking Mr Harden this question , why not simply ask him who did he study Aikido with/where did he train/when did he train/and what is his rank? Like you I would like to know his own background and while I think some of his comments are valid I am not too happy about the statement that anyone not doing 'True Aiki'[Mr Hardens ?] the rest are imposters. A bit insulting to say the least. Cheers, Joe.

Diana Frese
07-19-2011, 04:18 AM
Hi Francis,

Just giving an impression on dropping by Aiki Web after a busy weekend my hubbie rented a truck and we were taking care of all kinds of stuff with it .... I always like reading your columns and thinking about being always connected with Aikido in one way or another, and am grateful for the reassurance.

This morning I noticed it has become a really hot topic, with all kinds of really cool people commenting and adding their thoughts and perspectives. Wow. It will be great studying the various points of view and background of their experience. And of course, studying again your original column.

Yes, we're having a good summer, and thanks for that wish for us and for the prosperous part. We're doing our best, and thanks for your kindness and wisdom.

Sincerely,

Daian and Chuck

graham christian
07-19-2011, 06:51 AM
Becuase true aiki is better than the imposter being called aiki.
It's not public school. Everyone does not get an "A"
The imposters, those truly working on it to one degree or another, and those that have it... are known at a touch.
Dan

Imposters? An interesting concept.

Which martial art consists of techniques called Kotegaishe, Iriminage, Sankyo, Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Shihonage etc.?

Which martial art uses motions called taisabaki, tenkan, irimi, etc?

Need I go on?

Yeah, just one more: Name the martial art done by Saotome, Segal, Saito, Tohei, et al........

What style of Aikido do you do?

Regards.G.

DH
07-19-2011, 08:20 AM
Dear Dps,
Never mind asking Mr Harden this question , why not simply ask him who did he study Aikido with/where did he train/when did he train/and what is his rank? Like you I would like to know his own background and while I think some of his comments are valid I am not too happy about the statement that anyone not doing 'True Aiki'[Mr Hardens ?] the rest are imposters. A bit insulting to say the least
Cheers, Joe.
Joe.
I think my points have been pretty clear.
We have the founders aiki-do
We have modern aikido,
Apparently your argument is that Modern aikido is equal to the old mans aiki? I clearly dissagree. Your replies express waza and ot aiki. Over the years, instead of discussions and displays of what the old man was talking about, we got confusion and waza based nonsense. Even now you reduce yourselves to asking what style do I do. It's sad, but its how you are programmed to think. While claming you are free, when pressed, you retain all the trappings of those stuck in a box..

As for my background and ranks;
I've said it before, when it comes down to it, it's easy to go after me, but why is it that you have nothing to say to ten shihan, and dozens of 5th dans and 4th dans, who now agree and train this way? Or that it is a 100% success rate, written about here.
No teacher has shown up to state otherwise.
Which pretty much sinks the nail in the coffin of any counter argument doesn't it?
Yet I have not seen you, David, Graham, or any detractor commenting on the publicly documented and witnessed accounts of what keeps happening when we stand in rooms with teacher after teacher, shihan after shihan, and manage (without using any technique) to convince them of the superiority of their own arts aiki. And then make friends and work together
Why is that, Joe?
No comment on that?
No thoughts on how weird and odd that is, to keep happening over and over.
I think you do not comment because there is no argument that can be successfully made. You would have to take on too many teachers in your own art, and then have to admit that some thing has gone desperately wrong with the art over the years.
.
As for insulting;
I am sensitive to the fact that it is hard to hear someone tell you that the majority missed it, harder still when it is not from a recognized teacher, I left to pursue aiki. But truth stands on its own legs. I stand alone in rooms all over. You might want to consider, where I've been and what I could say. but don't, While you choose to individualize the argument, I don't. It's bigger than individuals, grander than a single art and it is a bridge that is making friends between arts.
Ueshiba's aiki is what we should be pursuing. His aiki (and he knew this too) is that bridge, not some made up hollow shell that we have made of it. No amount of discussion will make them all equal.
It's the power in his aiki, that reveals the imposters who have no claim to it. Their work cannot stand in the face of it.
I love the quote from one of Doshu's close friends; a Shihan in the art. He told his people "I hve stopped teaching aikido. I have discovered aiki." When he tried to show Doshu, Doshu agreed his power and aiki had changed, but he said "I can't do that, they would kill me, I have to do what my father did."
And so it goes.
Dan

sakumeikan
07-19-2011, 08:21 AM
Imposters? An interesting concept.

Which martial art consists of techniques called Kotegaishe, Iriminage, Sankyo, Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Shihonage etc.?

Which martial art uses motions called taisabaki, tenkan, irimi, etc?

Need I go on?

Yeah, just one more: Name the martial art done by Saotome, Segal, Saito, Tohei, et al........

What style of Aikido do you do?

Regards.G.
Dear Graham,
Could be that Mr H does not practice Aikido.We will have to wait and see if Mr H answers any of the questions I put to him [via my blog to DPS].
Its quite possible of course that Mr H. ki /ip skills were developed in other areas such as Chinese arts , yoga, etc.He may well posses a strong physique since I believe him to be an ex blacksmith.If this is the case I assume he would acquire through his job a fair degree of strength.
A gentleman by the nick name of the Mighty Atom could hold back a light aircraft by his hair and bite silver dollars in half and even at the age of 80 could still break 6inch nails .He was a strong man who went around old time theatres.In many ways he was akin to O Sensei.One may well develop internal power using methods other than Aikido.Graham, read up on the Mighty Atom , he was amazing.
Cheers, Joe

DH
07-19-2011, 08:44 AM
Dear Graham,
Could be that Mr H does not practice Aikido.We will have to wait and see if Mr H answers any of the questions I put to him [via my blog to DPS].
Its quite possible of course that Mr H. ki /ip skills were developed in other areas such as Chinese arts , yoga, etc.He may well posses a strong physique since I believe him to be an ex blacksmith.If this is the case I assume he would acquire through his job a fair degree of strength.
A gentleman by the nick name of the Mighty Atom could hold back a light aircraft by his hair and bite silver dollars in half and even at the age of 80 could still break 6inch nails .He was a strong man who went around old time theatres.In many ways he was akin to O Sensei.One may well develop internal power using methods other than Aikido.Graham, read up on the Mighty Atom , he was amazing.
Cheers, Joe
I've never done Chinese arts, only Japanese.
It is unfortunate that you are unfamiliar with soft power; not running away, evasive tenkan blending, but the soft power that is aiki.
But here again, it is the topic at hand, the ignorance of the aikido community here of its very own heritage...aiki. And the words of the founder that they found incomprehensible,. hence, modern Aikido™
Dan

stan baker
07-19-2011, 09:51 AM
It is unfortunate that I have to personalize a whole field of study to one or a few individuals,It is the lack of geniue inquiry from so many that make it so.

stan

aikishihan
07-19-2011, 11:00 AM
Greetings Peter,

How wonderful to welcome you to this discussion, and to benefit from your depth of knowledge, resources of research and the singularly unique perspective of a foreigner successfully navigating the Japanese ethic and society. Congratulations for persevering so brilliantly for so many decades, and doing yeoman's work so very well on our collective behalf.

A “can of worms” indeed, although that was never my intention. It is simply the private opinion of a simple man from Honolulu, who nonetheless feels comfortable in sharing perspectives and impressions with notables such as yourself. Indeed, how else to capture the attention of the big fish in the Sea of Aikido? As long as it works, I will continue to stir, instigate and cajole my peers and friends to share their own unique and invaluable viewpoints on things Aiki, and Aikido related.

To both Peter and Graham, may I express gratitude to the unavoidably British flavor you bring to the discussion, with your talent of proper English syntax, and love of scholarly opinions backed by extensive research. I am afraid that I do not hold myself accountable to such constraints, owing no Giri or On to anyone but the Founder. He is yet to admonish me for my many failings.

Yes, Aikido is just a word. It is also just a noun. It is whatever, and in whatsoever form a sincere student of Aiki, of Ueshiba Aiki, and of the Founder’s Aikido chooses to use it to assume happy ownership of whatever sense of ease, empowerment and legitimacy needed or desired to possess, in order to engage fully in any discussion or practice. Therein lies the true beauty and value of Aikido’s appeal to so many, especially those who have no knowledge or experience with genuine Japanese culture, but more importantly, to those who feel that the Founder did indeed grant them license to co create, and to create in new directions, the universal message of the original model.

I fully respect the efforts of the late Doshu, and other traditionally minded individuals who want to maintain the illusion that the Founder’s discovery was, and will always remain essentially a Japanese invention, and the sole property of the Ueshiba family and their supporters and apologists. I simply disagree, and feel justified in interpreting the Founder’s intent to have his gift available to anyone who is willing to pay the price of honest research, committed training, and genuine respect for all others who feel the same.

The Silver Bridge that he introduced in Hawaii 50 years ago is alive and well, and should be the focal point of all discussions of cementing good will and compassionate dialogue amongst the international spate of O Sensei’s advocates and representatives over time.

The word revisionism was brought up by a contributor, but I honestly see no widespread or intentional effort to revise the Founder’s vision of his Aikido. Even giving due credit or even discredit to the late Doshu for altering the format and content of training at Aikikai Hombu, the opportunity has always been there for people who think for themselves to opt out for other interpretations. I believe that history has born this fact out, given the emergence of giants such as Shioda, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Tohei, Saito, Nishio and countless other less than household names who successfully avoided the tender trap of the Doshu’s apparent intent to keep things “in house”. Let’s honor the memory of the late Doshu, and acknowledge the great work in popularizing his father’s creation. No harm done to serious students of Universal Aiki, leaving a safe and user friendly system to those who lack the same fire and desire to be more.

It is my opinion that Universal Aiki is so vast and allowing for a truly wide range of interpretation and application, from severe martial integrity, to the most unorthodox of spiritual flight imaginable. Real students know that theirs is the option of any one or combination of these, even trading platforms as they grow individually along their own chosen path of growth in their Aiki. No need to step on someone else’s Aiki to proclaim “Look at me! I know what true Aiki is, and you don’t!” Such childishness only bespeaks insecurity and intolerance.

So Peter, if you do not need to have the word Aikido have any special meaning for yourself, please do not assume that others will not have different designs for the word, and graciously do allow them all to feel justified in doing so. Now there’s a good fellow!

In oneness,

Diana Frese
07-19-2011, 12:36 PM
I was asking myself whether I have anything in particular to contribute to the discussion as myself, and then how to describe this. I came up with the following....

When under various circumstances I found myself not attending regular training, I still considered Aikido very valuable, so since I still had a phone connected to yellow page advertising I had great fun recommending it to others, as fortunately there was a very qualified instructor to whom to pass on the referrals.

Without meaning to go into too much detail, I enjoyed thinking what might result from the recommendations as a sort of nagare, maybe even related to the grand Kannagara (which is a fascinating concept I have barely begun to understand) But my take on it is this, we introduce people to Aikido and through them it flows on into the future. Maybe O Sensei meant it to be this way.

A special delight is when former students who have moved join dojos where they live, even many years later.

I like both interpretations, the historical and the individual. If Aikido has no personal meaning for someone, why would that person study? And if teaching, or recommending, what are we teaching and passing on into the future. There seem to be many ways people view their own responsibility.

graham christian
07-19-2011, 01:59 PM
Hi Francis. A great reply in your last post. I fully agree with that view also.

Now, time for tea old chap.

Respect G.

graham christian
07-19-2011, 02:20 PM
Dear Graham,
Could be that Mr H does not practice Aikido.We will have to wait and see if Mr H answers any of the questions I put to him [via my blog to DPS].
Its quite possible of course that Mr H. ki /ip skills were developed in other areas such as Chinese arts , yoga, etc.He may well posses a strong physique since I believe him to be an ex blacksmith.If this is the case I assume he would acquire through his job a fair degree of strength.
A gentleman by the nick name of the Mighty Atom could hold back a light aircraft by his hair and bite silver dollars in half and even at the age of 80 could still break 6inch nails .He was a strong man who went around old time theatres.In many ways he was akin to O Sensei.One may well develop internal power using methods other than Aikido.Graham, read up on the Mighty Atom , he was amazing.
Cheers, Joe

Hi Joe.
I certainly will read up on the mighty atom as he sounds like quite a dude.

My view on 'Mr H' as you call him are not as he portrays really. I don't think he had extensive practice in chinese arts but rather in daito ryu. I would say he was looking for something and found it. My summary would be that he learned about centre connection, staying connected, building a 'body facia' and thus discovering some 'softness' in application.

This type of internal he translates as aiki.

The fact that others find it helps them in their Aikido is all well and good as far as I'm concerned.

What people including me were trying to work out was what is he? Does he have a style of Aikido? No.

Therefore I conclude he is best categorized as a very able personal trainer who specializes in ip.(A type of ip he calls aiki)

That's about it really

Regards.G.

Lee Salzman
07-19-2011, 03:10 PM
... snippity snip ...

My summary would be that he learned about centre connection, staying connected, building a 'body facia' and thus discovering some 'softness' in application.

This type of internal he translates as aiki.

The fact that others find it helps them in their Aikido is all well and good as far as I'm concerned.

What people including me were trying to work out was what is he? Does he have a style of Aikido? No.

Therefore I conclude he is best categorized as a very able personal trainer who specializes in ip.(A type of ip he calls aiki)

That's about it really


Graham, to depersonalize this a moment, and to segue it into a broader question you make me curious about: what if you by accident walked into a DR practice session, only they did not call it DR, and they were practicing a very specific technical skill set which they would ordinarily specifically term aiki, though no specific techniques to be sure, only this time they did not label it aiki, perhaps did not speak at all during this session, kiai excepted, what would tell you this is not aikido? Without the benefit of preconceptions, imagining you had never heard of DR , how would you know? What would give it away? What would you label what they are doing, without knowing they chose to label it thusly, and why?

HL1978
07-19-2011, 03:55 PM
Which martial art uses motions called taisabaki, tenkan, irimi, etc?


Just to point out here that when read in light of the following aikido journal article, one may construe more than a single japanese martial art (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=686) utilizing those motions or the principles utilized.

DH
07-19-2011, 04:14 PM
That's quite funny Graham
Hopefully sometime before you die you will discover what your founder was doing and talking about and what aiki really is, and that it was not unique to him, but thousands of years old. In the mean time, avoiding those who actually do have it is about the only way you can maintain the illusion that aikido's aiki is unique and everyone's aiki is equal.

In the meantime everyone can have an "A" too, as long as your skill and knowledge of aiki is not tested against those who actually do. Being faced with job requirements that define actual competency, is always tougher then what they told you in school, ...that you're all equal and special .;)
Dan

Cady Goldfield
07-19-2011, 05:41 PM
It is my opinion that Universal Aiki is so vast and allowing for a truly wide range of interpretation and application, from severe martial integrity, to the most unorthodox of spiritual flight imaginable. Real students know that theirs is the option of any one or combination of these, even trading platforms as they grow individually along their own chosen path of growth in their Aiki. No need to step on someone else’s Aiki to proclaim “Look at me! I know what true Aiki is, and you don’t!” Such childishness only bespeaks insecurity and intolerance.

With all due respect, Francis, "aiki" really isn't a vague thing open to anyone's personal intepretation; it's a very specific, discrete physical skill set which most probably originated in China and was evidently taken up and honed by generations of Japanese practitioners who made it their own. Takeda Sokaku was one of them, and the legacy lived on in Ueshiba Morihei and his peers (Sagawa, Horikawa, et al.).

Aiki is the root and source of everything amazing in Ueshiba's aikido. Anyone who has trained the aiki skill set adequately can physically demonstrate it and, what's more, they can show you, clearly, the difference between it (what Morihei knew and had) and the form of aikido disseminated by Kisshomaru and the current Doshu.

It's puzzling that so many people have now been introduced to and are currently training in the aiki that was crucial to the development of Morihei's art, and discovering how very different and powerful it is -- and are reporting this publicly -- and yet they are having their online testimonies ignored or shot down by detractors who will not at least go to see and try for themselves. This, even after the former have reported that it has exponentially increased the power and stability of -their- aikido.

What is the danger or harm in following up on these testimonies and verifying them by experiencing the skill set-in-question for oneself? Doing so would allow people to make an informed comparison. Then, their interpretation of what "Aikido" means and is, will be far deeper and more nuanced, as will their personal choice to practice an aikido with "martial integrity" or "an unorthodox flight of spirituality," or anything thing somewhere in between. Because aiki will inculcate with substance whatever form of expression they choose.

jester
07-19-2011, 06:00 PM
With all due respect, Francis, "aiki" really isn't a vague thing open to anyone's personal intepretation; it's a very specific

In Tomiki Aikido, what is the difference in doing Shomen-Ate, or any of the 17, with Aiki and doing it without Aiki? :confused:

Thanks

-

graham christian
07-19-2011, 07:10 PM
Just to point out here that when read in light of the following aikido journal article, one may construe more than a single japanese martial art (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=686) utilizing those motions or the principles utilized.

Hi Hunter.
Nice article. It was on parts of Aikido. I fully agree with it. Thanks for sharing. I think I've missed your point though.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-19-2011, 07:28 PM
Graham, to depersonalize this a moment, and to segue it into a broader question you make me curious about: what if you by accident walked into a DR practice session, only they did not call it DR, and they were practicing a very specific technical skill set which they would ordinarily specifically term aiki, though no specific techniques to be sure, only this time they did not label it aiki, perhaps did not speak at all during this session, kiai excepted, what would tell you this is not aikido? Without the benefit of preconceptions, imagining you had never heard of DR , how would you know? What would give it away? What would you label what they are doing, without knowing they chose to label it thusly, and why?

Hi Lee.
I don't know what DR means but I get your point.

Firstly I have been shown various things over the years and found them all interesting.

Secondly, if the techniques were not as prescribed in Aikido then obviously I would see it's not Aikido.

I have seen many students of other arts do many things within my own class and immediately recognise them as different and not Aikido and usually enquire about them and even experience them. No problem. One guy swore he was doing Aikido and thus confused one of my students. I asked what he did, had it demonstrated and informed him that was more Aikijutsu than Aikido and that's what he must have been doing.

Later the guy came and apologised and asked me how I knew for he had convinced everyone else he had done Aikido.

Then there's the matter of purpose and respect. If I go to another place and see and experience something like you describe then I will usually recognise and understand and thank them. If it was all new to me no doubt it would be interesting and I would thus learn something.

I would obviously see whether it was similar, the same or different to what I do. If it was the same I would obviously already have a label for it. If it was not then I wouldn't. In both cases however I would ask what they call it.

I leave all my Aikido at the door when in anothers place.

Regards.G.

graham christian
07-19-2011, 07:34 PM
That's quite funny Graham
Hopefully sometime before you die you will discover what your founder was doing and talking about and what aiki really is, and that it was not unique to him, but thousands of years old. In the mean time, avoiding those who actually do have it is about the only way you can maintain the illusion that aikido's aiki is unique and everyone's aiki is equal.

In the meantime everyone can have an "A" too, as long as your skill and knowledge of aiki is not tested against those who actually do. Being faced with job requirements that define actual competency, is always tougher then what they told you in school, ...that you're all equal and special .;)
Dan

All I did was validate you. Is that funny? I have a thorough understanding of my own of what Aiki is thank you and respect others others views on what they say it is to them.

Live long and prosper.

Regards.G.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 03:44 AM
All I did was validate you. Is that funny? I have a thorough understanding of my own of what Aiki is thank you and respect others others views on what they say it is to them.

Live long and prosper.

Regards.G.

Dear Graham,
A very respectful answer to a blog which to my mind was almost if not desultory to you.Mr Harden I feel may well have something to offer to the Aikido community.Modesty , good manners and respect for others would not be on his skills list cv.
Cheers, Joe.

Tim Ruijs
07-20-2011, 04:24 AM
nice way to try and convince that your view is best:confused:

and yet you say you practise Aikido? uhm, ok.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 05:34 AM
Joe.
I think my points have been pretty clear.
We have the founders aiki-do
We have modern aikido,
Apparently your argument is that Modern aikido is equal to the old mans aiki? I clearly dissagree. Your replies express waza and ot aiki. Over the years, instead of discussions and displays of what the old man was talking about, we got confusion and waza based nonsense. Even now you reduce yourselves to asking what style do I do. It's sad, but its how you are programmed to think. While claming you are free, when pressed, you retain all the trappings of those stuck in a box..

As for my background and ranks;
I've said it before, when it comes down to it, it's easy to go after me, but why is it that you have nothing to say to ten shihan, and dozens of 5th dans and 4th dans, who now agree and train this way? Or that it is a 100% success rate, written about here.
No teacher has shown up to state otherwise.
Which pretty much sinks the nail in the coffin of any counter argument doesn't it?
Yet I have not seen you, David, Graham, or any detractor commenting on the publicly documented and witnessed accounts of what keeps happening when we stand in rooms with teacher after teacher, shihan after shihan, and manage (without using any technique) to convince them of the superiority of their own arts aiki. And then make friends and work together
Why is that, Joe?
No comment on that?
No thoughts on how weird and odd that is, to keep happening over and over.
I think you do not comment because there is no argument that can be successfully made. You would have to take on too many teachers in your own art, and then have to admit that some thing has gone desperately wrong with the art over the years.
.
As for insulting;
I am sensitive to the fact that it is hard to hear someone tell you that the majority missed it, harder still when it is not from a recognized teacher, I left to pursue aiki. But truth stands on its own legs. I stand alone in rooms all over. You might want to consider, where I've been and what I could say. but don't, While you choose to individualize the argument, I don't. It's bigger than individuals, grander than a single art and it is a bridge that is making friends between arts.
Ueshiba's aiki is what we should be pursuing. His aiki (and he knew this too) is that bridge, not some made up hollow shell that we have made of it. No amount of discussion will make them all equal.
It's the power in his aiki, that reveals the imposters who have no claim to it. Their work cannot stand in the face of it.
I love the quote from one of Doshu's close friends; a Shihan in the art. He told his people "I hve stopped teaching aikido. I have discovered aiki." When he tried to show Doshu, Doshu agreed his power and aiki had changed, but he said "I can't do that, they would kill me, I have to do what my father did."
And so it goes.
Dan
Dear Mr Harden,
Thank you for your comments. Let me make these points.
1.Have a never indicated whether I thought Modern Aikido was /is better /equal/worse than the Founders Aikido.
2.You must have a persecution complex.You indicate I go after you.If by seeking information or asking questions is going after you ,
well what can i say?
3.You constantly quote that you train loads of 4th /5th dans/shihans yet you do not state their names.Especially the alleged conversation between one of Doshus close friends[Mr X]
and Doshu. Could this be an urban myth???
I do not consider myself someone who is a detractor.I have asked you openly and honestly for your lineage.
I also stated that I think you may well have something of value to
teach.Hardly a message I would write if I were a detractor.
You use carefully constructed blogs which in my mind are less than respectful and are judgemental.You suggested in an earlier blog that I was /am unfamiliar with SOFT POWER.Whether I am or not is not the point.The point is you know nothing about me yet you make such statements.
I will however agree that we as aikidoka should engage in a quest which enables us to fully realise the potential that lies at the heart of O Senseis art.
Cheers, Joe.

DH
07-20-2011, 07:09 AM
A collection of your comments

You must have a persecution complex.You indicate I go after you.If by seeking information or asking questions.....
You constantly quote that you train loads of 4th /5th dans/shihans yet you do not state their names.Especially the alleged conversation between one of Doshus close friends[Mr X]
and Doshu. Could this be an urban myth???.....
good manners and respect for others would not be on his skills list
You use carefully constructed blogs which in my mind are less than respectful and are judgemental..
Hardly a message I would write if I were a detractor
Persecution complex, liar, bad manners and disrespect, judgemental, I can't imagine what you would write were you a detractor.
Let's see:
I talked about Ueshiba and Modern aikido...you guy started writing about me.
I wrote about aiki...you guys started to write about technique
I suggested the topic is larger than individuals...you guys continued writing about me.
I suggested you try to address the hundreds of people who have gone outside of aikido to train IP aiki with various people...and...you suggest I am lying...and ...you continue to write about me.
Were I a narcissist this would be a dream, as I am not, I can only say it's too bad you can't follow talking points.
Aiki and Aikido:
AIki is what Ueshiba was talking about.
He got it from Takeda
He expanded on it throughout his life
His son did not have it
Most modern aikido people don't have it
Many have and are going outside the art to get it
Internal power/Aiki is bigger than aikido. It is old knowledge

Other than that:
Where do I matter much at all?
If my points are so superfluous, then shoot them down. If in reply all you can manage is to steer the topic on to me, then don't bother.
I know that violating the rules and attacking me is common here, but it still doesn't say much about your points...if you have any.
Dan

HL1978
07-20-2011, 07:25 AM
Hi Hunter.
Nice article. It was on parts of Aikido. I fully agree with it. Thanks for sharing. I think I've missed your point though.

Regards.G.

I read what I wrote and as the result of an edit it is a bit nonsensical.

My point is that other arts than aikido utilize the concepts which make those movements work. The article was merely to illustrate that point through Ellis's discussion of other arts and how those movements need to be utilized together rather than on their own,

HL1978
07-20-2011, 07:31 AM
3.You constantly quote that you train loads of 4th /5th dans/shihans yet you do not state their names.

If you look at the seminar announcments, you can probably figure out some of the instructors who are being trained by Dan and you could answer your own question. Perhaps they don't want to be named out of fears of aiki politics? Beats me, but I don't care much about martial politics.

In life in general as well as in martial arts, if you are fairly observant you can figure out all sorts of stuff on your own. Its called mitori keiko in japanese martial arts. You then go out an experiment on your own and see if it works.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 07:36 AM
A collection of your comments

Persecution complex, liar, bad manners and disrespect, judgemental, I can't imagine what you would write were you a detractor.
Let's see:
I talked about Ueshiba and Modern aikido...you guy started writing about me.
I wrote about aiki...you guys started to write about technique
I suggested the topic is larger than individuals...you guys continued writing about me.
I suggested you try to address the hundreds of people who have gone outside of aikido to train IP aiki with various people...and...you suggest I am lying...and ...you continue to write about me.
Were I a narcissist this would be a dream, as I am not, I can only say it's too bad you can't follow talking points.
Aiki and Aikido:
AIki is what Ueshiba was talking about.
He got it from Takeda
He expanded on it throughout his life
His son did not have it
Most modern aikido people don't have it
Many have and are going outside the art to get it
Internal power/Aiki is bigger than aikido. It is old knowledge

Other than that:
Where do I matter much at all?
If my points are so superfluous, then shoot them down. If in reply all you can manage is to steer the topic on to me, then don't bother.
I know that violating the rules and attacking me is common here, but it still doesn't say much about your points...if you have any.
Dan
Dear Dan
All i have ever asked from you is more info on your lineage.
What I call asking for information or authentication of your many statements regarding all these teachers[largely anonymous] I see that as seeking info .You apparently see this as an attack.
You also state that I have called you a liar.If by asking who you teacher etc is lying yes I am a liar. I guess if you get many questions such as I and others have posted you will call us all liars.
I had hoped we could conduct a discussion wherein issues like direction of Aikido, how we can improve the skills[be it on I/P or whatever] , and build a degree of interchange of viewpoints.
Alas I do not think , sad to say , that we are likely to indulge ourselves in constructive dialogue in the future,
Adieu, Joe.

Peter Goldsbury
07-20-2011, 07:53 AM
So Peter, if you do not need to have the word Aikido have any special meaning for yourself, please do not assume that others will not have different designs for the word, and graciously do allow them all to feel justified in doing so. Now thereís a good fellow!
In oneness,

Hello Francis,
I do not think I have made any such assumptions, in either of my two earlier posts. On the contrary, the evidence of different designs for the word and of feeling justified for having such designs is there to begin with, throughout this thread. If people want to give the art of aikido and how they practice it a special meaning, that is fine. They can even give the word a special meaning if they wish. As with the other posters, I have merely stated what I find acceptable in my own case and why I find it acceptable.

Best wishes,

PAG

DH
07-20-2011, 07:54 AM
Joe
Once again, Me, me, me, You are creating scenarios in your own head, and now stating I said things I never said, speaking for me and telling me how I feel (incorrectly I might add) and then drawing conclusions of your own making without recognizing what you have actually said. In the process of which you ignored the things I actually did say and the points I made. And ended up...talking about me ...again...instead of the topic!
What kind of an attempt is that to have a meaningful discussion? It isn't. All it does is erroneously place the burden on me as the nonresponsive participant, when I was the one discussing the topic in the first place! :rolleyes:

Dan

graham christian
07-20-2011, 09:02 AM
I read what I wrote and as the result of an edit it is a bit nonsensical.

My point is that other arts than aikido utilize the concepts which make those movements work. The article was merely to illustrate that point through Ellis's discussion of other arts and how those movements need to be utilized together rather than on their own,

O.K. Granted. In fact I would go further than that. The better you get at thinking in terms of principles rather than techniques then the more you see and recognise in all other martial arts.

Regards.G.

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 09:16 AM
Joe
Once again, Me, me, me, You are creating scenarios in your own head, and now stating I said things I never said, speaking for me and telling me how I feel (incorrectly I might add) and then drawing conclusions of your own making without recognizing what you have actually said. In the process of which you ignored the things I actually did say and the points I made. And ended up...talking about me ...again...instead of the topic!
What kind of an attempt is that to have a meaningful discussion? It isn't. All it does is erroneously place the burden on me as the nonresponsive participant, when I was the one discussing the topic in the first place! :rolleyes:
to
Dan

Dear Mr Harden,
I did indeed make an error in my last blog.May I state categorically I have never implied or called you a liar.
Please accept my sincere apology in this matter.
As far as a meaningful discussion is concerned I welcome this.
Rather than personalise things I would much rather stick to the subject matter.I only responded to you in the manner that I did because I felt you were a tad disrespectful.It may well be that you are simply a plain speaking gent telling people as it is.It may well be I am somewhat sensitive.
So if we dispense with the custard pie throwing [I would welcome that]maybe indeed we could get down to brass tacks and
discuss the subject ie Aikido.
Again I apologise for any earlier blog.
Cheers, Joe

jonreading
07-20-2011, 10:40 AM
Inherently, I am disturbed by our inability to define aikido, even categorically, if not specifically. To quote Einstein “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”. We cannot even define that which we are trying to explain... how deep does that put us in the hole? If I read a karate book, or a kenjitsu book, or a judo book I can and have found very good descriptions of "ki" and aiki". These descriptions are not from aikido people, but from people outside aikido. I do not know why, but aikido people are no longer the resource for learning more about aiki. You'd think the art that practices the way of aiki should be some kind of authority on aiki.

I sound like a broken record...

I think somewhere along the line O'Sensei made a decision to make aikido more academic and less combatively practical. I do not think he made a decision to make his students more academic and less combatively practical. I think to the outer world, aikido is just a word that describes a modern budo - "those people practice the way of aiki". I think the critique in that statement is that many aikido people are not studying aiki. Which is fine, we all gotta start someplace; but after years of training? The implied argument here is "you practice the academic study of aiki, yet you cannot demonstrate or explain it?"

I think we occlude this critique by presenting an over-complicated counter-argument without responding to the initial argument. "It is not that simple. You cannot understand how complex aikido is, therefore you cannot understand what I do." This is a great answer when we're called to the carpet, right? Heaven forbid we show the lay-person what is aikido, their poor brain mind explode.

Shut up and train is a good motto here because most of us do not know what we are doing well enough to explain it to another. And there is nothing wrong with that. Budo is a personal journey, you have a right not to let the guy behind you sneak a peek at your answers. You also have a right to share your answers. Here's the worst part, you have a responsibility for the impact those answers have on those with whom you share.

I think Takahashi Sensei is spot on. O'Sensei's aikido was intended to give its practitioners a liberal perspective of aiki. But I think it was done with the intention those practicing would have a pre-existing working knowledge of ki and kiai and therefore not need the structure of those exercises.

DH
07-20-2011, 11:25 AM
....I think Takahashi Sensei is spot on. O'Sensei's aikido was intended to give its practitioners a liberal perspective of aiki. But I think it was done with the intention those practicing would have a pre-existing working knowledge of ki and kiai and therefore not need the structure of those exercises.

Hello Jon
By and Large I am in agreement with a few points.
As I said earlier
I think he wanted us to discover our path with an understanding of the Way of Aiki...you know...the stuff he was always talking about.
I don't think he intended his name to be put on our desires to make our own stuff up as we go along and imagine we understand the way that he was talking about. If you don't understand aiki, then no matter what you think you're doing, you are not doing his aiki-do or even your own aiki-do.

I think this notion that the Asians had a working knowledge of ki and kiai doesn't fly. It was a skill taught just like anything else and not a skill that everyone knew. Its the reason guys who got it were well known...they stood out.

For those who keep thinking he was a benevolent spiritual figure delighted by each persons invention of their own aiki, they should be called to explain a couple of things:
Why he clothed his vision in a fighting art
Why he showed up at his own dojo now operated by his son and shouted "This is not my aikido."
What do you think he would say about yours?

People can continue to imagine that they're doing his aiki all they like. Fantasies like that will last as long as they avoid those who do have it or are just even trying to get it. I can only imagine Ueshiba stepping into most modern dojos and seeing the disaster that has been pawned off as aiki and what he would say.
Cheers
Dan

DH
07-20-2011, 11:31 AM
To be clear
For those who keep thinking he was a benevolent spiritual figure accepting and gleefully delighted by each persons invention of their own aiki,
Why did he show up at his own dojo now operated by his son and shout "This is not my aikido." and proceed to lecture them on...aiki?
Why?
Were your argument to be sound he would have been thrilled at the corruption...er...development... of his art, right?
Not even close fella's.

What do you think he would say about yours?
Dan

chillzATL
07-20-2011, 11:46 AM
What do you think he would say about yours?
Dan

I think he would be as pleased as he was the day he signed off on any of the books or videos Tohei produced in his name or the day he made him shihan bucho.

With that said, I do believe that aiki is a specific thing and not open for interpretation.

gregstec
07-20-2011, 12:07 PM
Dear Graham,
A very respectful answer to a blog which to my mind was almost if not desultory to you.Mr Harden I feel may well have something to offer to the Aikido community.Modesty , good manners and respect for others would not be on his skills list cv.
Cheers, Joe.

Dear Mr Curran:

I do not wish to distract from Francis' thread, however, I feel compelled to comment on your 'manners and respect to others' statement based on what I have seen from your online behavior. Most people find that talking in the third person about someone when they can hear or read what you are saying about them to another person is extremely disrespectful and in bad taste. You have done that to me when you questioned my lineage and experience concerning Tohei. I answered your questions and you never responded with a thank you or any other type of acknowledgment other than responding directly to another person's comment on my response where you talked about me in the third person. I responded to that with a direct post to you asking if you had any other questions, you never responded or acknowledged that post either - I found all of that disrespectful and an exhibit of bad manners. Now you are doing the same type of third person stuff with Dan's posts.

In some circles, people behave that way to intentionally attack people and show disrespect. If that is not your intention, OK - but now you know how others may be viewing the way you post.

I apologize for stepping off topic, but I felt the issue needed addressed and this was the latest occurrence that provided an opening.

Thank You

Greg Steckel

gregstec
07-20-2011, 12:10 PM
With that said, I do believe that aiki is a specific thing and not open for interpretation.

I am with you on that - however the 'do' part can have all the personal interpretation it wants :)

Greg

dps
07-20-2011, 12:37 PM
Why did he show up at his own dojo now operated by his son and shout "This is not my aikido."
Dan

Maybe they were goofing off, you know,

"the old man ain't here, lets party".

dps:)

Lee Salzman
07-20-2011, 12:41 PM
I am with you on that - however the 'do' part can have all the personal interpretation it wants :)

Greg

So what if, in the spirit of Engrish, you called it "aikiology", the science of aiki, rather than the art of aiki? If a geologist can avoid making an art out of studying rocks, could an aikiologist?

DH
07-20-2011, 12:47 PM
So what if, in the spirit of Engrish, you called it "aikiology", the science of aiki, rather than the art of aiki? If a geologist can avoid making an art out of studying rocks, could an aikiologist?
Not that it matters
Aiki-jutsu (art) as in; Aiki jujutsu or Kenjutsu, Bujutsu
Aiki-do (way) as in; Aikido, kendo, budo
Aiki-ology (science) as in; are you bored on a Wednesday.:D
Cheers
Dan

gregstec
07-20-2011, 12:48 PM
So what if, in the spirit of Engrish, you called it "aikiology", the science of aiki, rather than the art of aiki? If a geologist can avoid making an art out of studying rocks, could an aikiologist?

Geez, Lee, why go and take an already complicated and diversely viewed issue and add another diverse dimension to it :eek:

Greg

DH
07-20-2011, 12:57 PM
Geez, Lee, why go and take an already complicated and diversely viewed issue and add another diverse dimension to it :eek:
Greg
It is rather conclusive; go put your hands on someone.
Something certain people will avoid like the plague as they will be exposed. It's easier to sound off about your individual creation of a new meaning and attract like minded individualists from behind a keyboard, rather than meet someone who will cancel everything you do and take your center everytime you move...with actual aiki, a thing that was established long before their fantasies about ownership of aiki took hold.
I guess if you can't do something, it's safer to reinvent a meaning to fit what you can do. Then no one can challenge or test you and everyone is special and gets an '"A"
Cheers
Dan

graham christian
07-20-2011, 01:17 PM
To be clear
For those who keep thinking he was a benevolent spiritual figure accepting and gleefully delighted by each persons invention of their own aiki,
Why did he show up at his own dojo now operated by his son and shout "This is not my aikido." and proceed to lecture them on...aiki?
Why?
Were your argument to be sound he would have been thrilled at the corruption...er...development... of his art, right?
Not even close fella's.

What do you think he would say about yours?
Dan

I'll be clear. I believe he was a benevolent spiritual figure but that does not make him someone who gleefully delights in people doing other than instructed. So no connection there.

I understand why he was frustrated and said 'that's not my Aikido' so no problem there either.

Any teacher of their own art or style would say the same if they saw students 'reverting' to something and not following the principles taught.

It's so patently obvious in fact I don't see what all the significance is. He had a way that people weren't used to and thus they kept reverting back to what they knew, probably jutsu or whatever depending on their background.

His Aikido was different to what went before and teaching that difference was the hard part.

Regards.G.

gregstec
07-20-2011, 01:19 PM
Then no one can challenge or test you and everyone is special and gets an '"A"
Cheers
Dan

My name and 'A's together were a rare sight on any document during high school - I was too busy doing my own thing to pay attention to all those rules and other school stuff :D However, during my college time, they were routine - and they were earned :)

Greg

DH
07-20-2011, 01:20 PM
I wonder why Takeda was special and people flocked to him.
I wonder why Ueshiba was special and people flocked to him.
How is it their "aiki" was not seen as equal among a culture of highly trained and experienced men. Why was it different from every one elses special and equal aiki?

Today were their skills publicly exposed to an educated audience, how many would be even remotely interested in the "aiki" of some of these new people?
Just say'n
Dan

graham christian
07-20-2011, 01:34 PM
Why did people get attracted to this new Aikido? Well I think most people now only have to remember what attracted them.

Why were thousands if not millions attracted to Bruce Lee and his way? The answer lies in those people once again.

So the answer to that question is once again pretty obvious, it's down to how it was promoted, the concept promoted. Very simple really.

Add to this the words of O'Sensei that were used in those promotions and descriptions and there you have it......Aikido.

After that we have opinion.

Regards.G.

jonreading
07-20-2011, 01:50 PM
Dan, I appreciate the response. Concerning the point you bring up about early aikido students [not] having a pre-existing working knowledge of aiki... I do not know if they had a pre-existing working knowledge of aiki, but many of the early students had previous training in other arts. I advocate this preliminary exposure training may have prepared them to better receive instruction from O'Sensei without a remedial class in ki101. Certainly among those early students where several who excelled in aikido. I say this because I believe that these ki building exercises are a missing component of mainstream aikido curriculum that is now almost required because fewer people enter aikido after significant training in a another art. It makes sense that we need to control ourselves before we start trying to control someone else. I am glad to see some exercises starting to come back into the circles I travel and I want to express my thanks to those who are bringing them back.

Lee Salzman
07-20-2011, 02:08 PM
Why did people get attracted to this new Aikido? Well I think most people now only have to remember what attracted them.

Why were thousands if not millions attracted to Bruce Lee and his way? The answer lies in those people once again.

So the answer to that question is once again pretty obvious, it's down to how it was promoted, the concept promoted. Very simple really.

Add to this the words of O'Sensei that were used in those promotions and descriptions and there you have it......Aikido.

After that we have opinion.

Regards.G.

Would it be that presumptuous of me to assume that a majority of what attracts people to aikido, what initially defined it for us, was O'Sensei? Was he the promoter, or was he really the promotion? If we promote on his back our own interpretations, without first being able to match or exceed his own, what does that make us?

gregstec
07-20-2011, 02:14 PM
Would it be that presumptuous of me to assume that a majority of what attracts people to aikido, what initially defined it for us, was O'Sensei? Was he the promoter, or was he really the promotion? If we promote on his back our own interpretations, without first being able to match or exceed his own, what does that make us?

IMO, he was his son's and Tohei's promotion with both skewing facts to support their own agendas.

Greg

DH
07-20-2011, 02:51 PM
Dan, I appreciate the response. Concerning the point you bring up about early aikido students [not] having a pre-existing working knowledge of aiki... I do not know if they had a pre-existing working knowledge of aiki, but many of the early students had previous training in other arts. I advocate this preliminary exposure training may have prepared them to better receive instruction from O'Sensei without a remedial class in ki101. Certainly among those early students where several who excelled in aikido. I say this because I believe that these ki building exercises are a missing component of mainstream aikido curriculum that is now almost required because fewer people enter aikido after significant training in a another art. It makes sense that we need to control ourselves before we start trying to control someone else. I am glad to see some exercises starting to come back into the circles I travel and I want to express my thanks to those who are bringing them back.
Hi Jon
I think I have a handle on what you are trying to say; that the ki model was in place throughout Asia and a lot of guys got it from various budo. I know this is the current buzz in certain circles. I just think it's an exaggeration of the reality.
The guys who got it stood out (in all cultures), that means by default that they were standing out...from most others who did not get it. Cases were Toheis teacher, Tenryu when he met Ueshiba...all have some ki training, yet Ueshiab stood out.
In China a whole lot of people did ICMA yet only a percentage of those practicing have stood out.

I am not saying Takeda's students (Ueshiba included) were the only giants of aiki in Japan, I am just asking where are the others in their era? This seems pretty hard to hide within a community of budo people. I have yet to receive an intelligent answer to that question. I can see others here and there having some ki or whatever, but no big dogs anywhere to be found. Among all these meditaton, chi gong and chi breathers and ki exponants, the aiki arts stood alone.

We do agree that ki and aiki are old, and predate Ueshiba,
The other posters forwarding the preposterous idea that every modern budo-ka can reinvent a new personalized meaning of aiki is either the height of arrogance, or complete ignorance of the world of Budo that they are supposedly a part of, embarrassing really. I'll leave the "insecure and childish" assessments I read here alone as they seem poorly constructed thoughts -in keeping with the quality of the rebuttals- and not worth consideration.
Cheers
Dan

sakumeikan
07-20-2011, 03:09 PM
Dear Mr Curran:

I do not wish to distract from Francis' thread, however, I feel compelled to comment on your 'manners and respect to others' statement based on what I have seen from your online behavior. Most people find that talking in the third person about someone when they can hear or read what you are saying about them to another person is extremely disrespectful and in bad taste. You have done that to me when you questioned my lineage and experience concerning Tohei. I answered your questions and you never responded with a thank you or any other type of acknowledgment other than responding directly to another person's comment on my response where you talked about me in the third person. I responded to that with a direct post to you asking if you had any other questions, you never responded or acknowledged that post either - I found all of that disrespectful and an exhibit of bad manners. Now you are doing the same type of third person stuff with Dan's posts.

In some circles, people behave that way to intentionally attack people and show disrespect. If that is not your intention, OK - but now you know how others may be viewing the way you post.

I apologize for stepping off topic, but I felt the issue needed addressed and this was the latest occurrence that provided an opening.

Thank You

Greg Steckel

Dear Mr Steckel,
If you care to refresh you memory and look at the blogs where I asked you about your Aikido lineage I believe I asked these questions in a polite respectful manner.I also answered a supplementary blog from a gentleman who shared your lineage where I made it quite clear my position in relation to my request for information concerning your lineage.Again I ask you to check my reply to him. This dialogue took place over a year ago.May I ask the following question of you ?If you were really upset or peeved at my failure to respond in a manner you feel is appropriate why did you not express you feelings sooner?Why wait a year to take me to task? Had you sent me a P.M . I would have immediately remedied my oversight.
So in order to put this issue to bed I will repeat for all our readers the following.1. At no time have I ever sought to disrespect you in any way.2. On the basis that I have neglected to thank you for
not responding to you earlier mail, I send my belated Thank You.
Thank You .
J.Curran

gregstec
07-20-2011, 03:42 PM
Dear Mr Steckel,
If you care to refresh you memory and look at the blogs where I asked you about your Aikido lineage I believe I asked these questions in a polite respectful manner.I also answered a supplementary blog from a gentleman who shared your lineage where I made it quite clear my position in relation to my request for information concerning your lineage.Again I ask you to check my reply to him. This dialogue took place over a year ago.May I ask the following question of you ?If you were really upset or peeved at my failure to respond in a manner you feel is appropriate why did you not express you feelings sooner?Why wait a year to take me to task? Had you sent me a P.M . I would have immediately remedied my oversight.
So in order to put this issue to bed I will repeat for all our readers the following.1. At no time have I ever sought to disrespect you in any way.2. On the basis that I have neglected to thank you for
not responding to you earlier mail, I send my belated Thank You.
Thank You .
J.Curran

Joe,

Thank you for the belated apology. However, just to set the record straight, the post I was referring to was just over a month ago on 6/16/2011 and not over a year ago - here is the link:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=285817#post285817

Also, you have not explained why you talk about people in the third person in front of them - that is considered extremely rude and in poor taste.

Thank you

Greg

Hellis
07-20-2011, 04:40 PM
Hi Joe

You are too insensative.

Henry Ellis
British Aikido
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

gregstec
07-20-2011, 07:35 PM
Joe,

Thank you for the belated apology. However, just to set the record straight, the post I was referring to was just over a month ago on 6/16/2011 and not over a year ago - here is the link:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=285817#post285817

Also, you have not explained why you talk about people in the third person in front of them - that is considered extremely rude and in poor taste.

Thank you

Greg

Just to let folks know - Joe and I have exchanged private emails and have cleared up any misunderstandings and there are no further issues.

Thanks

Greg

graham christian
07-20-2011, 09:24 PM
Would it be that presumptuous of me to assume that a majority of what attracts people to aikido, what initially defined it for us, was O'Sensei? Was he the promoter, or was he really the promotion? If we promote on his back our own interpretations, without first being able to match or exceed his own, what does that make us?

I would say yes it is presumptuous of you.

As I have said there was promotion.1) People asked and were given descriptions of what Aikido is.2) O'Senseis words were usually in that promotion. 3) They saw film of him, others read about him, others met him, and were impressed by what they saw.

So for you personally seeing him himself may have been what defined it for you.

So he was both part promoter and party to it's promotion.

As to should we promote on his back? I would say no. You should always promote on your own back for that is what you are offering isn't it? So you should promote your way of Aikido honestly and then those who want to learn that will come and not be dissatisfied for you are delivering what you promise.

Comparing to what you believe was O'Senseis Aikido you also have the right to do in response to questions asked about such and it's relation to yours. In other words people naturally ask about the founder, the person you thank for the wonderful art.

However, note the major difference. That is not the promotion, it is background information.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
07-20-2011, 09:43 PM
Aikido is a discipline. It's a "way." Which means it's supposed to define us more than we define it. Which suggests that it's our responsibility to be diligent in following this "way"--in researching what the way is, searching out teachers who can help us see where it leads, and being brutally honest with ourselves about whether we are are in fact practicing the way.

But we all know that ultimately, no one else can find the way for us. We have to find it in ourselves. And once we've found it, it won't make sense to anyone else. It's my responsibility to myself to come to my own understanding of O-Sensei's art.

So I can respect those who are trying to understand what O-Sensei was doing--or who claim they have a clue--and if they're credible I'll gladly train with them. I can respect those who claim to have found something effective, independent of Aikido... but that's not the way I'm following right now.

What I can't respect is people who aren't trying at all--who are doing whatever they did when they were nine, or who are taking whatever their sensei or their organization shovels in their direction without trying to understand and own it. Life's too short for that.

graham christian
07-20-2011, 09:50 PM
I like that post Hugh. Nice one.

Regards.G.

Lee Salzman
07-20-2011, 09:56 PM
I would say yes it is presumptuous of you.

Conceded, but I set myself up for that. :o


As I have said there was promotion.1) People asked and were given descriptions of what Aikido is.2) O'Senseis words were usually in that promotion. 3) They saw film of him, others read about him, others met him, and were impressed by what they saw.

So for you personally seeing him himself may have been what defined it for you.

So he was both part promoter and party to it's promotion.


O'Sensei certainly didn't shy away from the attention he got. But, as Greg Steckel (hi, sorry for third person reference :D) brings up, was his son not the more active party in actually driving it to him? And as for his words, due to the efforts of his son, are we not in fact looking at a scrubbed squeaky-clean of Omoto-kyo references version of what he said, and then pumped through a layer of English translation with all the capacity for misunderstanding, rather than what he actually said?


As to should we promote on his back? I would say no. You should always promote on your own back for that is what you are offering isn't it? So you should promote your way of Aikido honestly and then those who want to learn that will come and not be dissatisfied for you are delivering what you promise.

Comparing to what you believe was O'Senseis Aikido you also have the right to do in response to questions asked about such and it's relation to yours. In other words people naturally ask about the founder, the person you thank for the wonderful art.

However, note the major difference. That is not the promotion, it is background information.

Regards.G.

It is background information, but sometimes I think there needs to be more active reality checking on incoming people. How many teachers have the balls and the firm sense of introspection to tell a student, who comes to them because of interest in O'Sensei's character, notions of being as skillful as O'Sensei, that, well, if you study my aikido, you will probably never become anything like O'Sensei, because, well, I have no idea how to be anything like him either. O'Sensei was talked of so reverently without qualification that, by everyone, that I always got the opposite vibe. I never heard that reality check from any of my teachers, but it is what I wish I had heard. Eventually I figured it out myself, but it's a hard comedown from that realization and not easy to come to in the first place.

graham christian
07-20-2011, 10:27 PM
Conceded, but I set myself up for that. :o

O'Sensei certainly didn't shy away from the attention he got. But, as Greg Steckel (hi, sorry for third person reference :D) brings up, was his son not the more active party in actually driving it to him? And as for his words, due to the efforts of his son, are we not in fact looking at a scrubbed squeaky-clean of Omoto-kyo references version of what he said, and then pumped through a layer of English translation with all the capacity for misunderstanding, rather than what he actually said?

It is background information, but sometimes I think there needs to be more active reality checking on incoming people. How many teachers have the balls and the firm sense of introspection to tell a student, who comes to them because of interest in O'Sensei's character, notions of being as skillful as O'Sensei, that, well, if you study my aikido, you will probably never become anything like O'Sensei, because, well, I have no idea how to be anything like him either. O'Sensei was talked of so reverently without qualification that, by everyone, that I always got the opposite vibe. I never heard that reality check from any of my teachers, but it is what I wish I had heard. Eventually I figured it out myself, but it's a hard comedown from that realization and not easy to come to in the first place.

The data given to do with his son promoting is no doubt partly true and to me obvious but the difference I see is that O'Sensei wanted it for he wanted to spread it as he believed the world needed it. So no different to me saying to someone 'yes I know I should put it out there more but it's not really my thing, I just like practicing and teaching whoever comes so if you could do that for me that's great'.

Secondly the data given about political usage of wordings and thus the search to find some changed words or words lost in translation. I question the motives of those doing this for it makes me feel it is them with the hidden agenda and they are just projecting that onto source. Why? Because I can find many times in researching where he said the same things to other people and there is no mistranslation. Therefore I conclude a false picture is painted.

So many things were said by O'Sensei time and time again which would be very hard to understand if he spoke in plain English and yet I find these concepts swept under the carpet as if he didn't say them or as if he was rambling instead of someone saying 'well he did say that on numerous occasions and I don't know what it means'

As to a teacher having the 'balls and firm sense of introspection' as you put it I totally agree. I would say personally it's purely and simply a lack of integrity and honesty. That may sound harsh but there you are. People, or many people aren't used to that but are very used to presenting an image.

Psychologically I would say that many want to be an O'Sensei replacement, some maybe even superior, (maybe that's super ego) but thus is the ego and the competitive mind in action.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-21-2011, 12:05 PM
The Founder made it clear that we individually and collectively are free to create our own template of Aikido, based if we wish, on the model that he himself created.
Did he?

Diana Frese
07-21-2011, 03:37 PM
A little window into another time, if you will, around thirty-six years ago.

A modern twist on ancient wisdom in a book a friend of mine sent me from Long Island. Too bad I can't remember it exactly, but here goes. Where you are, there you are. Your luggage may be elsewhere. Today, I'm not sure what made me attempt to recreate that pearl of new-old wisdom, but here's the setting. I had just come back from Japan a few weeks previously and my Dad was giving me advice. "It's the YMCA, Just teach the exercise. Don't try to tell them the philosophy."

the Y had just gotten a brand new building, and I had followed up on a notice from the paper my mom had sent (my visa was expiring anyway) that there was "hakido" there.

I didn't know if that was a misspelling of Aikido or whether it was Hapkido (about which I wasn't sure just what it was)

The director didn't know either he just said that class "fell through" and where did I just come back from and could I teach it.

I think I remember the former mayor of NYC, Mayor Koch used to walk around saying, "How'm I doing?" At any rate the Y director used to walk around genially asking "How're ya doing?"

It was the perfect environment for a newbie shodan to start out in those days. Soon people from a neighboring dojo came down once a week in support of the class, an occasional yudansha would drop by, and some of us would visit other dojos and seminars, but, as Prof Goldsbury seems to be saying, we didn't really feel we needed to ask ourselves what Aikido was. We were fortunate to learn from many seniors so there was pretty much "philosophy" around. The "splits" seemed to be about teaching methods or organizations, they didn't seem to be about what Aikido was, or wasn't. Some teachers quoted O Sensei, some didn't, we respected them all.

As far as the students were concerned, that first evening at the Y I decided that to respect my dad's advice in a way, I wouldn't tell the students, I would ask them what they were looking for. "To be more centered" seemed to be the predominating answer among the small group of six people registered for what I asked the director to call "Introduction to Aikido" (after all, I was just shodan, but here was an opportunity to open the door, and sure, other Aikido people did join in the efforts and enjoyment some years more than others, some less, but it was well worth while and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.)

What did I answer that first evening? "Well, if the teacher is centered, it is possible the student might not absorb that, and if the teacher is not centered, it's possible that the student will learn to be centered anyway. And I'm not telling you which I am."

Truth be told I had no idea, but the dojo did okay, due to so many people who came by and stayed for a visit or for several years. I'm glad I took that opportunity.

I guess that explains my peculiar point of view. Stuff has a way of happening, and we hope, for the best. People went on to train elsewhere when they moved, even years later they returned to Aikido in their new locations as I have said many times before.

I keep saying this, like a record that keeps skipping to the same place. But from my point of view there is all this stuff out there for people to learn, and people to learn from. I'd give some credit to the students, they very often know what they need and will find a way to find it.

Peter Goldsbury
07-22-2011, 07:06 AM
Hello Diana,

Thirty-six years ago...

That would be around 1975, right? One of the notable people I remember about the old NE Aikikai Dojo in Central Square is Fred Wagstaff. Did you know him? He used to teach occasionally and would always use Steve Carrabino as uke. He also occasionally talked about the street fights he got into in NY. He and Fred Newcomb made an interesting pair: completely chalk and cheese.

One of the things I remember about the NE Aikikai in Central Square is that we never questioned what aikido really was. I mention Fred Wagstaff because he used to organize an annual event in Boston, entitled Warrior Arts of the Orient, which always featured Kanai Sensei (these were the days of his distinctive hairstyle) who always did iaido and aikido. Other arts were demonstrated, but we all assumed that aikido was an art with martial credentials that never needed to be questioned.

I think we simply accepted that aikido was the art we practiced and I think we all strove to do it as well as the top people in the dojo, from Kanai Sensei downwards. Once, when someone mentioned reading books about aikido (the place was usually the dojo common room, or the restaurant below the dojo to which a core group retired after practice), Kanai Sensei commented, in English, "Why you need read books? You have me."

So it was just a word, but, of course, the art had a meaning, an importance, a significance for each individual, but this was not something we talked about: it was simply taken for granted. I remember a dojo party, when I asked Osawa Kisaburo Sensei whether it was easier for Japanese to practice aikido, given the culture etc, but he pondered the question, looked at me with some curiosity (I suspect he was told I was one of those Harvard types), and said No. I don't remember any searching questions about the meaning of aikido, but this was before all the stuff about Aiki as Aiki had been published.

Of course, this was the time of the Great Split, but the reasons for this were beyond us kyu mortals and I myself read K Tohei and K Ueshiba with equal enthusiasm.

Best wishes,

Peter G

Allen Beebe
07-22-2011, 10:30 AM
Hello Diana,

Thirty-six years ago...

That would be around 1975, right? One of the notable people I remember about the old NE Aikikai Dojo in Central Square is Fred Wagstaff. Did you know him? He used to teach occasionally and would always use Steve Carrabino as uke. He also occasionally talked about the street fights he got into in NY. He and Fred Newcomb made an interesting pair: completely chalk and cheese.

One of the things I remember about the NE Aikikai in Central Square is that we never questioned what aikido really was. I mention Fred Wagstaff because he used to organize an annual event in Boston, entitled Warrior Arts of the Orient, which always featured Kanai Sensei (these were the days of his distinctive hairstyle) who always did iaido and aikido. Other arts were demonstrated, but we all assumed that aikido was an art with martial credentials that never needed to be questioned.

I think we simply accepted that aikido was the art we practiced and I think we all strove to do it as well as the top people in the dojo, from Kanai Sensei downwards. Once, when someone mentioned reading books about aikido (the place was usually the dojo common room, or the restaurant below the dojo to which a core group retired after practice), Kanai Sensei commented, in English, "Why you need read books? You have me."

So it was just a word, but, of course, the art had a meaning, an importance, a significance for each individual, but this was not something we talked about: it was simply taken for granted. I remember a dojo party, when I asked Osawa Kisaburo Sensei whether it was easier for Japanese to practice aikido, given the culture etc, but he pondered the question, looked at me with some curiosity (I suspect he was told I was one of those Harvard types), and said No. I don't remember any searching questions about the meaning of aikido, but this was before all the stuff about Aiki as Aiki had been published.

Of course, this was the time of the Great Split, but the reasons for this were beyond us kyu mortals and I myself read K Tohei and K Ueshiba with equal enthusiasm.

Best wishes,

Peter G

Ah the good old days . . . there was one Church and everyone knew who the leader was. There weren't any books back in those days and nobody needed them anyway because we all relied upon our intercessors. Peace and happiness reigned in the land and it was heaven on earth . . . back in the good old days!

:rolleyes: ;) :D

Diana Frese
07-22-2011, 01:10 PM
Thanks, Peter,

Yes, I knew them from the old days, Fred Newcomb from when NYAikikai hosted summer camp in the Catskills, I think it was.
Rodney Grantham from Georgia also attended, if I remember correctly. People were very friendly and genial and so when I was visiting my friend Ginny in Marblehead I also took a class in Andover, after checking by phone with Fred. He had mentioned the name of his company, Scudder Stevens and Clark but I was surprised on actually calling, it sounded like Scudder Stevens and Clack. Then I remembered the accent, even Ginny has a bit of The Accent. Clack spelled C-l-a-r-k....

I remember him telling me the mnemonic Scudder, like Rudder, but that wasn't the problem name as it turned out...

But, I digress...

What I admired the most about the Boston style was the hanmi, and the fact that Kanai Sensei had many tall students, although he himself.... wasn't. I remember being on the balcony at a party one summer camp. Those of us who were up there looked down at the dancers and to my shock Kanai Sensei was dancing out of hanmi.

Hanmi was very important to me, I felt that otherwise my feet would get totally tangled, being a tall person.

Seriously, Yamada Sensei always recommended visiting Cambridge, because Kanai Sensei was rather a shy type. He could be outspoken, though, when he felt a person needed advice, asked or unasked.... but that's a whole bunch of other stories. He didn't talk to me much, but what he did say, those things I never forgot.

I didn't know about Fred Wagstaff and the street efficaciousness.... I saw him train several times and like the others his Aikido form was excellent. Saturdays, before returning to Stamford at the excursion rate on the train, I always took Paul Keelan's class, and that was also very practical oriented. One thing I remember distinctly, he said the first second or so in a street situation is very important. It is the decisive thing. After you throw, you can hit the person or whatever.... I'm pretty sure that's about what he said to us.

I think Fred Wagstaff was a musician, cafe's or something, night club songs, maybe jazz. He played the piano if I remember correctly from an article I read a long time ago. I would have liked to have taken his classes too....

I talk on the phone with Ginny pretty often, and she said recently that Steve Carabino was from Swampscott, her original dojo. Bernie Mulligan, now sixth dan, I believe was very kind to me when Ginny was still training and she brought me along to class. I remember he invited me into the office for an aperitif liqueur after class before Ginny and I went home to her mother's house.

Oh well, I'm off on nostalgia planet it seems. Thanks again for asking if I remember. By the way, it was Francis' student Father Joe Miller who was visiting the Stamford area on business (Norwalk, actually) and practiced at our Y several times. He invited my assistant Lucy and myself along when he visited NEAikikai for an evening class. It was at the Central Square dojo, but by the time I went back and visited it was in Porter Square and they were practicing on the ground floor while the dojo was being built upstairs. Our hair turned gray by the time class was over from the tiny particles of sheet rock dust that found their way down....

Diana Frese
07-22-2011, 01:19 PM
Hi Allen,

Your posts will be well worth studying, so I plan to check them out! I may be telling a lot of old stories about the old days, but there's a lot of fascinating new stuff I'm reading on Aiki Web.

Cady Goldfield
07-22-2011, 02:18 PM
I talk on the phone with Ginny pretty often, and she said recently that Steve Carabino was from Swampscott, her original dojo. Bernie Mulligan, now sixth dan, I believe was very kind to me when Ginny was still training and she brought me along to class. I remember he invited me into the office for an aperitif liqueur after class before Ginny and I went home to her mother's house.

Small world, Diana! I grew up just two miles up the road from Bernie Mulligan's Swampscott dojo, Shodokan on Humphrey Street. It was next door to the old Surf Theater (now a condo development, alas), and when I was a kid waiting in line for the Saturday matinee at the Surf, I would hear the sounds of bodies being thrown on the tatami up in Mr. Mulligan's top-floor training hall, and occasionally caught glimpses of white-suited men walking by the window.

Back then, Mr. Mulligan was teaching judo, mostly. I was fascinated with martial arts, having read a book about judo, and asked my mother if I could take lessons at Shodokan. But we learned that while there was a children's class, it was boys-only. The town of Swampscott (back in the arcane mid-1960s) forbade co-ed contact sports for children and teens. Since I was the only girl interested in judo then, it wasn't feasible to start a separate girl's class. Sigh.

When Mitsunari Kanai came to the U.S. to start his Boston-area Aikikai dojo, Mulligan let him use his mats (IIRC) for aikido classes until Kanai found a place of his own. That's when he started offering aikido in Swampscott -- late 60s, I think, like '68 or '69. Shodokan moved to Salem (on Canal St. for a while, then a big dojo on Franklin St.) and a couple of years ago they moved to Beverly. AFAIK, Mr. Mulligan is still at the helm! I trained briefly at his Franklin St. dojo in the early '90s, and like you remember him as being very kind.

Whenever I catch a whiff of a big ol' see-gar, hough with no-smoking laws making that a rare thing nowadays, I think of Bernie Mulligan. :)

Diana Frese
07-22-2011, 03:06 PM
Wow Cady, thanks for posting! I have such fond memories of visiting there, although I think only twice, with Ginny. I visited the Cambridge dojo as a result of "throwing my back out" at summer camp and deciding to get a rain check by going to the dojo. I had managed to attend the last class of the camp, though, and Kanai Sensei gave that bit of a samurai scowl thing and said, quite concerned "How's your back?!"

Since Ginny was no longer training, I didn't go back to the Swampscott dojo, or Salem, but she kept me up to date. I remember she said that one of the Cambridge yudansha, Frank was his name I think, but I forgot his last name, owned the King's Rook, a bar in Marblehead. I'm sorry you didn't get to practice back when you first wanted to start but glad persistence has paid off for you! I'll have to tell Ginny. Sorry to say, she doesn't have a computer, but she enjoys talking about the old days.

By the way, you just reminded me, he may have been called Bernie when we knew him at camp, and I think he was on the first Japan tour in 1971, but Ginny and the Swampscott people always called him Mr. Mulligan. Being the Boston area, English usages persisted! In New York, however, more Japanese words became a part of our regular vocabulary..... I was just thinking about zories, an English ending on a Japanese word. I still call them that, forgetting that while they are worn around the world (Brazil makes a great pair complete with built in arch support configuration called Reef Sandals) few people know what zori are these days.

Speaking of sandals, did you ever swim at that beautiful crescent shaped beach across the street from the old dojo?

Diana Frese
07-22-2011, 03:09 PM
oops forgot to say didn't throw my back out in class, it was brushing my teeth -- I sneezed while leaning over the sink in the dorm...

Cady Goldfield
07-22-2011, 04:14 PM
Diana,
Frank Regan, who, sad to say, passed away 10 years ago, owned The King's Rook on State St. I didn't know he was an aikido person. The Rook was more of a folksy coffeehouse than a bar, though I think they had a beer and wine license. We used to hang out there as high school kids, play chess or checkers, and basically think Deep Thoughts while nursing a cup of expresso or iced chocolate for several hours on end. Some of us cried when the Rook closed. End of an era.

Swimming @ Fisherman's Beach? It's beautiful, but freezing cold! The water north of Cape Cod is under the dominion of the frigid Labrador Current, rather than the Gulf Stream which veers off the south-side of the Cape and heads to the UK! We always joked that if you needed surgery, just wade into the water off Swampscott or Marblehead and in 10 seconds you'll be numb enough to not need conventional anaesthesia.

Anyway, apologies for digressing!

Diana Frese
07-22-2011, 06:32 PM
I'm the one who's always digressing! I guess I'll send a PM in the future but today or tomorrow I'll call Ginny, she will be so happy you also share memories of Swampscott. Too bad about Frank Regan passing away, but nice to know you enjoyed the King's Rook...:)

niall
08-07-2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks Francis for an interesting column as always. I'm not sure if it makes me one of the traditionalists of your third paragraph but I think the word aikido itself it gives us some hints about how to train.

If there is no harmony in your training you can throw out the ai. So you're left with KIDO.

If you are training without intention or energy or spirit you can throw out the ki. So you're left with DO.

And if you're training selfishly or blindly you can throw out the do. And you're left with... nothing.

Regards,

Niall

aikishihan
08-07-2011, 10:15 PM
Greetings Niall,

I am so amazed at the attempts to hijack my post, that I am at a loss as to how to appropriately respond to those I can respect and admire. Thank you for sanely bringing us back to the original discussion, and for your astute viewpoints.

The third paragraph was intended to portray the plight of “newbies” to the discussion on Aikido, and you certainly are not to be painted with that brush. Your astute and enlightening contributions are gold, and I look forward to your future postings.

I do apologize to those who may misunderstand my intentions, but I won’t change my fundamental position anytime soon. O Sensei’s magnificent Opus was the opening salvo for the campaign to discover all the dimensions of Aiki, not merely those that pertain predominantly to martial intent and legitimacy. It is my belief that the Founder discovered that “Aiki” is a fundamental ingredient in countless ways, and from a myriad of cultures over time. It is about the essential connection between a human being and those principles that resonate with, nourish, and inspire continued growth for that human being. He found it in literature, he found it in calligraphy, he found it in books written by giants from other cultures, he found it in the religions he studied, not only Omoto kyo. He found it in music, etc. etc. etc., like the King of Siam.

For this reason, I maintain that “Aikido” is a word. Perhaps it is a noun, then again, maybe an adjective. Allow it to be whatever you want it to be to express your own understanding of where you are today, and where you want to go from here tomorrow.

I disagree with the notion that the Do of Aikido is a “Way” predetermined to overshadow any other attempts to create an individual way. This is ludicrous on its face, as history consistently proves that nothing has been introduced by man that cannot be made better, more acceptable or more beneficial to those whose flexibility and ingenuity finds the way. Alas for those who feel constrained to fit their egos, self images and basis for self expression within the faulty confines of another person’s inherently fallible definition of the “Way”. Please, haven’t we seen enough of this fallacious kind of thinking? Then again, are we to be so sarcastic, even as the bandito Calvera in the Magnificent Seven opined, “If God did not want them shorn, he would not have made them sheep!” ? O Sensei was wise enough not to lead us down that slippery slope.

Readers, isn’t it time to return to the core Principles of Aiki, and employ more tolerance, more kindness and more respect for one another? Can we not build better and more harmonious relationships, or civil conversations at least, with the totality of the message of Aiki, as I truly believe the Founder meant it to be.

See you on that Silver Bridge!

Kevin Morrison
08-08-2011, 04:50 AM
I had an interesting conversation with two non-practitioners when they saw the kanji for aikido. One of them said it was from the menu of the local chinese restaurant. It was a perfect que for a little joke.
I told them that it was the kanji for take away restaurant. :ai: is a lid on a pot, so the food doesn't spill. :ki: is the steam coming off the rice in the pot, pre-cooked and warm. :do: is a road, you can take the food away with you.

Mary Eastland
08-08-2011, 12:41 PM
Yes, Francis, "see you on the silver bridge"...I really love this. It inspired me to put some people on ignore and to focus on Aikido and what it means to me.
Thank you.
Mary

Diana Frese
08-10-2011, 09:28 AM
Hi Francis,

I'm re reading your great column from the beginning. Here's an apology from the Queen of Digressions and Reminiscenses. The first time I caught myself doing that, I got a blog for those purposes, though I still am tempted on the threads. This time I got tempted again, but switched to PM made two new friends on this wonderful silver bridge, and they were kind enough to reply!

So I owe you yet again. I hope to make an intelligent contribution to the thread soon, this time I was waiting for Mary's post, last night only her name came up at the end of the thread. She always has inspiring things to say. (hubby needs computer now, so Hasta Luego)

Respectfully, Daian

Diana Frese
08-11-2011, 07:13 AM
I'm going to try again to summarize what this column means to me, but this time eliminate the personal experiences and stories, which lead me to digress too much from the topic.

I feel strongly that whatever attracts each person to Aikido is important for that person to preserve, in order to make possible further growth. I came from a modern dance background (before judo) so the movement was very important to me, having felt as a teenager that I had to struggle to keep up with the young ladies in modern dance class. Well, that's one point about what is important about Aikido to me.

The self defense was always an important part at NYAikikai, to some more than others but we all trained together, it was the same curriculum and most appreciated the effectiveness of the training. But I remind myself to just list some of the many aspects of Aikido in order to make my point.

Peter Shapiro (our senpai at Hombu at the time) and Saotome Sensei in Japan, and back in the US two or three programs in New York and two in New Haven by Hikitsuchi Sensei brought out the Shinto background of O Sensei for us, things about which glimpses had been given in the doka quotes in the Aikido classic texts in English.

Koichi Tohei Sensei and Terry Dobson Sensei gave us very valuable hints of the far ranging application of Aikido principles in daily life.

Not wanting to write an essay, essays are very difficult for me, I just wanted to make the point that it is this diversity which is so important to many of us over the course of our lives and growth as human beings, I may add. I hope to continue to develop using these resources, and for this reason I am asking all to heed Francis' request for mutual respect and consideration of each other's needs and views.

Thanks to all, Daian