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Henrypsim
06-01-2012, 01:59 PM
O-sensei said that we should be one with the Universe and when we are one with the Universe, we can be very powerful. The following is my interpretation of what I think he was trying to say. Perhaps someone or some sensei had interpret it the same way as I did but I thought I will throw it out for comments and discussion anyway.

The universe is ying and yang...sun/moon, fire/water, sunrise/sunset, etc. Everything balances out. Our body and mind are also ying and yang. There are ying/yang muscles, ying/yang rotation, ying/yang force. Then there are love/hate, happiness/sad etc etc.

If we learn how to use ying/yang in Aikido as we should then our Aikido would be closer to what O-sensei wants us to do. Now then, if we can mentally harness the ying/yang power of the universe into ourselves somehow we will be more powerful. I think what O-sensei was telling us to learn from nature and bring Y/Y into ourselves when practicing Aikido, Admire and appreciate nature's Y/Y and be enlightened by what God created and thus uplift ourselves spiritually. If we do that, practicing Aikido will lead you to enlightenment. I believe this is what O-sensei was referring to when he talk about enlightenment from practicing Aikido.

David Orange
06-01-2012, 02:53 PM
Henry,

I agree with what you say, and I will note that it's not at all different from what people have always said about aikido, but which has never gotten us beyond mental imagery.

It's not that we have to "bring yin/yang into" our systems. Yin and yang are already there, as you also say. So we don't have to bring them in from outside us. We have to learn to recognize them within us and cultivate them.

The difference in the current IP/IS discussions is that the big teachers are showing us exactly and physically how to coordinate and use the yin/yang forces within us, then how to balance the forces coming at us from outside.

The difference is that in IP/IS, you really learn to do it--not just visualize it.

I'm sure you realize this already, being in Sangenkai.

But this post presents a good opportunity to underline that important fact: what Dan et al are teaching is how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about. A very important difference.

And the spirituality of aikido is basically that pursuit of cultivating, balancing and coordinating yin and yang to produce aiki.

Thanks.

David

Henrypsim
06-01-2012, 03:06 PM
Henry,

I agree with what you say, and I will note that it's not at all different from what people have always said about aikido, but which has never gotten us beyond mental imagery.

It's not that we have to "bring yin/yang into" our systems. Yin and yang are already there, as you also say. So we don't have to bring them in from outside us. We have to learn to recognize them within us and cultivate them.

The difference in the current IP/IS discussions is that the big teachers are showing us exactly and physically how to coordinate and use the yin/yang forces within us, then how to balance the forces coming at us from outside.

The difference is that in IP/IS, you really learn to do it--not just visualize it.

I'm sure you realize this already, being in Sangenkai.

But this post presents a good opportunity to underline that important fact: what Dan et al are teaching is how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about. A very important difference.

And the spirituality of aikido is basically that pursuit of cultivating, balancing and coordinating yin and yang to produce aiki.

Thanks.

David

Thanks for the clarification and further elaborate the subject. We are on the same thread.

David Orange
06-01-2012, 03:17 PM
Thanks for the clarification and further elaborate the subject. We are on the same thread.

Just little quibbles from me. Chris and Dan can help you get somewhere.

Best to you.

David

chillzATL
06-01-2012, 04:07 PM
But this post presents a good opportunity to underline that important fact: what Dan et al are teaching is how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about. A very important difference.

And the spirituality of aikido is basically that pursuit of cultivating, balancing and coordinating yin and yang to produce aiki.


Hi David, I agree with Henry's post and with you. One thing though, you mention Dan and others teaching how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about and I"m not sure I totally agree. I think they're definitely teaching what O'sensei talked about for a good part of his life, but that is not really what mainstream aikido has talked about or taught, as you know. What mainstream aikido has talked about is more the aikido as performed and discussed by Ueshiba in his later years. To me, that only highlights how the meaning and nature of aiki changed for him in his lifetime. While I fully agree that both in his younger years and his later years he was working to coordinate yin and yang within himself to create aiki, in his later years he quite clearly began expressing that in a very external, turning, avoiding, blending sort of way and at that point the spirituality of aikido changed too. That's what I'm not entirely sure that I agree with the notion that "modern aikido" is not his baby or that he'd be terribly upset to see it as it exists today. Basically, I think that "become one with the universe" had a vastly different meaning for 75yo Ueshiba than it had for 45yo Ueshiba. Thoughts?

David Orange
06-01-2012, 07:06 PM
Hi David, I agree with Henry's post and with you. One thing though, you mention Dan and others teaching how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about and I"m not sure I totally agree.

I mean that mainstream aikido has talked very generally about yin and yang and harmony and balance, but as mental/spiritual concepts rather than as an actual physical method combining mental/spiritual/physical in a single being.

I think they're definitely teaching what O'sensei talked about for a good part of his life, but that is not really what mainstream aikido has talked about or taught, as you know.

I mean that mainstream aikido "talks" about the yin/yang/harmony thing, but they can't connect it to the body. So they teach physical methods that more or less "represent" or "symbolize" those concepts, while Dan et al are actually teaching what Ueshiba really did.

What mainstream aikido has talked about is more the aikido as performed and discussed by Ueshiba in his later years. To me, that only highlights how the meaning and nature of aiki changed for him in his lifetime. While I fully agree that both in his younger years and his later years he was working to coordinate yin and yang within himself to create aiki, in his later years he quite clearly began expressing that in a very external, turning, avoiding, blending sort of way and at that point the spirituality of aikido changed too. That's what I'm not entirely sure that I agree with the notion that "modern aikido" is not his baby or that he'd be terribly upset to see it as it exists today. Basically, I think that "become one with the universe" had a vastly different meaning for 75yo Ueshiba than it had for 45yo Ueshiba. Thoughts?

Although Ueshiba did talk about killing with aikido, I don't think there's any record of his ever having killed anyone with it and his whole life is marked by visions and enlightenment experiences of peace.

I don't think he was that different pre-war and post-war in his own personal life. But I think what seriously changed for him was his whole background milieu: he taught military officers at the Imperial Naval Academy, in service to the Emperor in Japan's drive to rule the world. He may have even been a big supporter of the war, considering his connections to the Black Dragon Society. I would guess that his attitude toward the war was very positive, given his teaching the military. And by 1942 he realized that the war was in fact destroying his nation. When Japan was decisively beaten, it may have changed his basic feeling.

So he came to repent, but I don't see that he changed, himself, very much where aikido technique was concerned. He spent the war and a long time afterward in Iwama, doing the stuff that was identical to the 1930s book, Budo. I think the technical changes in aikido were more related to Tohei and Kisshomaru's remaking of the art "for everyone."

Morihei had always trained an elite budo and I don't think he changed to the kind of practice that was suitable for everyone, but maintained his own practice in his personal way, letting the aikikai handle the mass distribution. And while he may have demonstrated along those softer lines later in his life, I think he retained his own way, effectively, to the end.

Others, with more scholarly power than I may correct me on some of this.

Cheers.

David

Chris Li
06-03-2012, 01:10 PM
Hi David, I agree with Henry's post and with you. One thing though, you mention Dan and others teaching how to actually do what mainstream aikido has always talked about and I"m not sure I totally agree. I think they're definitely teaching what O'sensei talked about for a good part of his life, but that is not really what mainstream aikido has talked about or taught, as you know. What mainstream aikido has talked about is more the aikido as performed and discussed by Ueshiba in his later years. To me, that only highlights how the meaning and nature of aiki changed for him in his lifetime. While I fully agree that both in his younger years and his later years he was working to coordinate yin and yang within himself to create aiki, in his later years he quite clearly began expressing that in a very external, turning, avoiding, blending sort of way and at that point the spirituality of aikido changed too. That's what I'm not entirely sure that I agree with the notion that "modern aikido" is not his baby or that he'd be terribly upset to see it as it exists today. Basically, I think that "become one with the universe" had a vastly different meaning for 75yo Ueshiba than it had for 45yo Ueshiba. Thoughts?

I think that if you look at what Ueshiba said in the 1960's and the 1930's you're looking at essentially the same thing (the nationalist rhetoric did soften a bit). Technically, too, if you compare what he was doing in the 1930's with what Saito saw post-war in Iwama you see something much more similar than it is different.

Dan has his reasons for not speaking to much in public about the spiritual connection - but it's very real, IMO.

Back to the subject - "One with the Universe" seems pretty straightforward, but it really isn't. If you're going to consider it, then I think that it's important and essential to consider what Ueshiba meant by the "universe", what he thought it was, and how or why one would become one with such a thing.

Henry touches on it a little - there are much more detailed descriptions in "Take Musu Aiki"

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer
06-03-2012, 05:29 PM
In agreement with Orenji and Li. I go back to the Asahi News video in '35 and I just don't see much that doesn't look like present-day Aikido. Look at his post-war videos and the technique is refined, but the connection is still very much there--i.e. he's not just evading the attack. Look at one of his favorite techniques--the kokyu nage where he drops to his knees and uke goes over him--it only works because he has the connection established before he drops. "One with the universe" is maybe above my pay grade, but he's at least owning the connection with uke in these techniques.

Where I think the later disconnect happened was with Kisshomaru Doshu, and I don't understand it. Kisshomaru seems to have actively discouraged any teaching of ki connection or aiki. Why?

SeiserL
06-04-2012, 05:52 AM
IMHO, mysticism has always been based on transcending the dichotomy of I/thou.

In couples/family counseling I try to transcend I/you to we.

IMHO, in aikido its enter, connect, and blend as a single unit (we) not as adversaries (I/you).

Universe? Way beyond my pay grade or need to know.

chillzATL
06-04-2012, 08:12 AM
I think that if you look at what Ueshiba said in the 1960's and the 1930's you're looking at essentially the same thing (the nationalist rhetoric did soften a bit). Technically, too, if you compare what he was doing in the 1930's with what Saito saw post-war in Iwama you see something much more similar than it is different.

Dan has his reasons for not speaking to much in public about the spiritual connection - but it's very real, IMO.

Back to the subject - "One with the Universe" seems pretty straightforward, but it really isn't. If you're going to consider it, then I think that it's important and essential to consider what Ueshiba meant by the "universe", what he thought it was, and how or why one would become one with such a thing.

Henry touches on it a little - there are much more detailed descriptions in "Take Musu Aiki"

Best,

Chris

Thanks Chris, I agree that what he was doing under the hood was, essentially, the same thing in both periods of his life, but watching his late life videos it's quite obvious that something had changed and IMO it's beyond just refined technique and ability. For all that we (IS people) make of "that's not my aikido" he seemed to do as much as anyone to strip away the fighting spirit of his art and seemed to have no issues hamming it up for the cameras, practicing with women and children. Would he have done that in 1935? This is the same man who didn't want to do a demo for the prince because it would be fake, but he seemed fairly OK with the level of non-reality that existed in what he and those around him were doing later in his life. Thoughts?

I agree with others that his "universe" is beyond my understanding at the moment, but I will patiently await an article by a certain someone to help improve said understanding :)

chillzATL
06-04-2012, 08:28 AM
In agreement with Orenji and Li. I go back to the Asahi News video in '35 and I just don't see much that doesn't look like present-day Aikido. Look at his post-war videos and the technique is refined, but the connection is still very much there--i.e. he's not just evading the attack. Look at one of his favorite techniques--the kokyu nage where he drops to his knees and uke goes over him--it only works because he has the connection established before he drops. "One with the universe" is maybe above my pay grade, but he's at least owning the connection with uke in these techniques.

Where I think the later disconnect happened was with Kisshomaru Doshu, and I don't understand it. Kisshomaru seems to have actively discouraged any teaching of ki connection or aiki. Why?

Hi Hugh, I agree that under the hood he was still doing basically the same thing, but comparing the 1935 video with much of what came after and there is a certain spirit in that video that is missing in most of the others. IMO it does appear in some of them, but in some it is flat out not there. So yes, while I agree he was working the same connection, the same body usage in both periods, it seems that his reason for doing so, his intended use of them, had undeniably changed. What exactly, I can only speculate, but one of those speculations hooks up nicely with your last thought. Maybe in those later years "a little connection" was good enough for him, his budo and his aikido? So what his son was doing would seem to fit in nicely with that.

chillzATL
06-04-2012, 09:05 AM
I don't think he was that different pre-war and post-war in his own personal life. But I think what seriously changed for him was his whole background milieu: he taught military officers at the Imperial Naval Academy, in service to the Emperor in Japan's drive to rule the world. He may have even been a big supporter of the war, considering his connections to the Black Dragon Society. I would guess that his attitude toward the war was very positive, given his teaching the military. And by 1942 he realized that the war was in fact destroying his nation. When Japan was decisively beaten, it may have changed his basic feeling.

So he came to repent, but I don't see that he changed, himself, very much where aikido technique was concerned. He spent the war and a long time afterward in Iwama, doing the stuff that was identical to the 1930s book, Budo. I think the technical changes in aikido were more related to Tohei and Kisshomaru's remaking of the art "for everyone."


The problem for me with attributing these technical changes to Tohei and Kisshomaru is that there aren't any real changes. I've brought this up many times here and for everyone that says "they were doing something different pre-war", nobody has really produced anything to show exactly what they were doing. All we get is the same re-mention of occasional sumo happening, but beyond that there wasn't much in the way of ANY technical changes made. Ikkyo is ikkyo across the board. Yes, there is a certain spirit that is missing from what was demonstrated in 1935 vs. what was being done after the war, but that same spirit was missing from much of what Ueshiba himself was doing and showing.

David Orange
06-04-2012, 11:50 AM
The problem for me with attributing these technical changes to Tohei and Kisshomaru is that there aren't any real changes. I've brought this up many times here and for everyone that says "they were doing something different pre-war", nobody has really produced anything to show exactly what they were doing. All we get is the same re-mention of occasional sumo happening, but beyond that there wasn't much in the way of ANY technical changes made. Ikkyo is ikkyo across the board. Yes, there is a certain spirit that is missing from what was demonstrated in 1935 vs. what was being done after the war, but that same spirit was missing from much of what Ueshiba himself was doing and showing.

I think what was different was the people he was demonstrating with. Different breed before the war. And maybe what shows up later is a bit of sadness, grief for those killed in the war, more humility for his own part in the serious demotion of his nation...?

David

David Orange
06-04-2012, 11:56 AM
IMHO, mysticism has always been based on transcending the dichotomy of I/thou.

In couples/family counseling I try to transcend I/you to we.

IMHO, in aikido its enter, connect, and blend as a single unit (we) not as adversaries (I/you).

Universe? Way beyond my pay grade or need to know.

Like so many asian things, full of paradox. Best way to get to "we" is work hard on myself....

As for the universe, my template is I Ching, showing Heaven and Earth and the forces that go from Heaven to Earth and those that go from Earth to Heaven.

This basic template, by I Ching philosophy, is repeated in the nation, where Heaven and Earth are the Government and People; and in the family, where Heaven and Earth are Mother and Father, with sons going from Father to Mother and daughters going from Mother to Father. All relations in the universe, then are repeated on all levels.

I think that is the basis of all Chinese philosophy, with Tao Te Ching, and then those ideas get incorporated into martial arts so that the principles permeate the body.

I love I Ching and Tao Te Ching. I find no conflict between those things and my Christian heart. In particular, the Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching brings out the parallels with Christianity. It was only after decades of studying that book that I realized that Wilhelm was some kind of minister.

Anyway, I find these ideas to be very helpful and I try to forget them every day!

Best to you.

David

Chris Li
06-04-2012, 08:17 PM
Thanks Chris, I agree that what he was doing under the hood was, essentially, the same thing in both periods of his life, but watching his late life videos it's quite obvious that something had changed and IMO it's beyond just refined technique and ability. For all that we (IS people) make of "that's not my aikido" he seemed to do as much as anyone to strip away the fighting spirit of his art and seemed to have no issues hamming it up for the cameras, practicing with women and children. Would he have done that in 1935? This is the same man who didn't want to do a demo for the prince because it would be fake, but he seemed fairly OK with the level of non-reality that existed in what he and those around him were doing later in his life. Thoughts?

I agree with others that his "universe" is beyond my understanding at the moment, but I will patiently await an article by a certain someone to help improve said understanding :)

You may be waiting a while :) .

Attitude I can certainly see - people rarely have the same air about them at 80 as they do when they're 50. The question is, was there a technical change?

The problem for me with attributing these technical changes to Tohei and Kisshomaru is that there aren't any real changes. I've brought this up many times here and for everyone that says "they were doing something different pre-war", nobody has really produced anything to show exactly what they were doing. All we get is the same re-mention of occasional sumo happening, but beyond that there wasn't much in the way of ANY technical changes made. Ikkyo is ikkyo across the board. Yes, there is a certain spirit that is missing from what was demonstrated in 1935 vs. what was being done after the war, but that same spirit was missing from much of what Ueshiba himself was doing and showing.

Well...it seems to me that the pre-war students (Shioda, Mochizuki, et al) got a slightly better (but still nowhere near perfect) grasp of what was going on - quite possibly because Ueshiba was active on a day-to-day basis back then.

As to "changes" - some things were certainly changed, outer similarities not withstanding. Overall, though, it might be more accurate to call it "drift" than purposely initiated change in many of the cases. "Drift" being what happens over time with people who have more ability to imitate than they do to understand or transmit the core principle.

Best,

Chris

chillzATL
06-05-2012, 08:23 AM
You may be waiting a while :) .

Attitude I can certainly see - people rarely have the same air about them at 80 as they do when they're 50. The question is, was there a technical change?

Well...it seems to me that the pre-war students (Shioda, Mochizuki, et al) got a slightly better (but still nowhere near perfect) grasp of what was going on - quite possibly because Ueshiba was active on a day-to-day basis back then.

As to "changes" - some things were certainly changed, outer similarities not withstanding. Overall, though, it might be more accurate to call it "drift" than purposely initiated change in many of the cases. "Drift" being what happens over time with people who have more ability to imitate than they do to understand or transmit the core principle.

Best,

Chris

There were no shortage of people who got to feel him and experience him on a more direct and personal level in post-war times. I do think that this interaction was quite a bit different than what the pre-war guys experienced, but considering that he was saying essentially the same things in both periods and we tend to attribute the guys that got it, getting it because they got to feel him more regularly and put in the time to get it themselves, then shouldn't we have a few good post-war examples that were on the level of some of the pre-war guys? Maybe it was that Ueshiba had changed pretty significantly in that time period himself and didn't feel the same either. Some of the pre-war guys basically called post-war aikido a paper tiger, maybe Ueshiba was a paper tiger then too, in comparison to the early years?

David Orange
06-05-2012, 08:59 AM
Some of the pre-war guys basically called post-war aikido a paper tiger, maybe Ueshiba was a paper tiger then too, in comparison to the early years?

I don't think Ueshiba became a paper tiger, but he couldn't be the really powerful dynamo with the post-war guys that he was with the pre-war guys. The post-war guys didn't have the same foundation as the pre-war. It was so much tougher pre-war. Pre-war, after the Meiji reforms, Japanese society went through a period of chaos and emerged into a pretty stable society that was able to beat Russia in war. Their army and navy still had a lot of people with direct experience of the samurai era, with the social values and strategic attitudes that entailed. And people like Sokaku Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Moirhei Ueshiba, with money behind them, could still immerse themselves in severe training with others of similar mind. There's just no way to compare it to the generation that came up fifty or even thirty years later, when most of the samurai era had died of old age and many of those who had experienced their arts had died in the war. And the post-war Japanese were struggling just to survive. Food, shelter and income were absolute demands and very few could sacrifice the time to devote themselves to a cause many saw as having led directly to their national ruin.

Ueshiba couldn't really let his full power play with people who couldn't respond with tremendous power as well. Even though the people at Kobukan weren't always highly experienced when they arrived, they were to the post-war students as an American mountain man would have been to a 1970s long-hair like me. You can take a privileged kid and toughen him up, but you can never lift him to the level of a guy who was already powerful and broadly experienced when he came through the door.

Now, I do believe that some of the toughest men who have ever lived are now roaming the earth in US military gear (or in plain clothes...). I think our elite military men could have held their own with some of the best in history, but those are not typical and our society in general won't provide them. So a great teacher like Ueshiba would have to be a playful spirit before most people could even get near him.

Cheers.

David

chillzATL
06-05-2012, 10:23 AM
I don't think Ueshiba became a paper tiger, but he couldn't be the really powerful dynamo with the post-war guys that he was with the pre-war guys. The post-war guys didn't have the same foundation as the pre-war. It was so much tougher pre-war. Pre-war, after the Meiji reforms, Japanese society went through a period of chaos and emerged into a pretty stable society that was able to beat Russia in war. Their army and navy still had a lot of people with direct experience of the samurai era, with the social values and strategic attitudes that entailed. And people like Sokaku Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Moirhei Ueshiba, with money behind them, could still immerse themselves in severe training with others of similar mind. There's just no way to compare it to the generation that came up fifty or even thirty years later, when most of the samurai era had died of old age and many of those who had experienced their arts had died in the war. And the post-war Japanese were struggling just to survive. Food, shelter and income were absolute demands and very few could sacrifice the time to devote themselves to a cause many saw as having led directly to their national ruin.

Ueshiba couldn't really let his full power play with people who couldn't respond with tremendous power as well. Even though the people at Kobukan weren't always highly experienced when they arrived, they were to the post-war students as an American mountain man would have been to a 1970s long-hair like me. You can take a privileged kid and toughen him up, but you can never lift him to the level of a guy who was already powerful and broadly experienced when he came through the door.

Now, I do believe that some of the toughest men who have ever lived are now roaming the earth in US military gear (or in plain clothes...). I think our elite military men could have held their own with some of the best in history, but those are not typical and our society in general won't provide them. So a great teacher like Ueshiba would have to be a playful spirit before most people could even get near him.

Cheers.

David

David,

I have a hard time accepting that. It's not like everyone in the Kobukan period were battle hardened fighting men, look at Shioda, and there was no shortage of people with strong judo backgrounds showing up post-war. I certainly don't believe that Ueshiba had to hold back or couldn't be as powerful as he wanted too or had been because of those around him. So what else do we have?

If, according to Takeshita, "aiki is about controlling someone to make them do what you want" and we look at Ueshiba pre-war and accept that what he was doing then conforms to what Takeshita said, can we still say the same thing about what Ueshiba was doing post-war? Honestly, I don't think we can. I look at the 1935 video and I see a man that wants you to see that what he's doing is strong, direct and dominant and apart from a few glimpses here and there, I don't see that in his post-war aikido.

In my head this does all relate to this thread. Sorry if I seem to be dragging it off topic.