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mathewjgano
06-24-2012, 10:58 PM
"I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others but for correcting your own mind."
I recently read this quote attributed to O Sensei. Is it mistranslated? If so or if not, what was he saying; how do you think it ought be actively applied?

Be excellent to each other (and yourselves),
Matt

Walker
06-24-2012, 11:47 PM
From the biography of Shirata that I translated on Aikido Journal. As Shirata greeted a visitor asking for a lesson at the Kobukan, “A person who wishes to study aikido should start with the spirit. If the spirit is not correct, the path will also be incorrect.” I translated kokoro as spirit in this instance, but you see heart, mind or self would work equally well with varying and valid nuance. Path is of course michi, the way.

Shirata had this kakemono hanging in the dojo to the end of his life: A person who is trying to study aikido must start by studying the spirit. Because if the spirit is not made righteous the path is not righteous either.

He obviously thought it was important like his teacher did. They taught that it wasn't enough to just become proficient physically.

Or as Dan has written here, "Aiki in me before aiki between me and thee."

That is why Dan is arguing on another thread about "spiritual aikido". It's all of a piece. You have to correct it all, correct your mind to correct your body, correct your body to correct your mind, same with spirit, same with the whole being; struggle, purify and produce change. They thought that you can't leave any part out and achieve a viable whole. "Create a new being with daily keiko." Create a new being and the quality of that being will show itself when it interacts with others.

mathewjgano
06-25-2012, 10:29 AM
From the biography of Shirata that I translated on Aikido Journal. As Shirata greeted a visitor asking for a lesson at the Kobukan, “A person who wishes to study aikido should start with the spirit. If the spirit is not correct, the path will also be incorrect.” I translated kokoro as spirit in this instance, but you see heart, mind or self would work equally well with varying and valid nuance. Path is of course michi, the way.

Shirata had this kakemono hanging in the dojo to the end of his life: A person who is trying to study aikido must start by studying the spirit. Because if the spirit is not made righteous the path is not righteous either.

He obviously thought it was important like his teacher did. They taught that it wasn't enough to just become proficient physically.

Or as Dan has written here, "Aiki in me before aiki between me and thee."

That is why Dan is arguing on another thread about "spiritual aikido". It's all of a piece. You have to correct it all, correct your mind to correct your body, correct your body to correct your mind, same with spirit, same with the whole being; struggle, purify and produce change. They thought that you can't leave any part out and achieve a viable whole. "Create a new being with daily keiko." Create a new being and the quality of that being will show itself when it interacts with others.

Thank you! That puts quite a bit into perspective.
Take care!
Matt

Tom Verhoeven
06-26-2012, 11:46 AM
From the biography of Shirata that I translated on Aikido Journal. As Shirata greeted a visitor asking for a lesson at the Kobukan, “A person who wishes to study aikido should start with the spirit. If the spirit is not correct, the path will also be incorrect.” I translated kokoro as spirit in this instance, but you see heart, mind or self would work equally well with varying and valid nuance. Path is of course michi, the way.

Shirata had this kakemono hanging in the dojo to the end of his life: A person who is trying to study aikido must start by studying the spirit. Because if the spirit is not made righteous the path is not righteous either.

He obviously thought it was important like his teacher did. They taught that it wasn't enough to just become proficient physically.

Or as Dan has written here, "Aiki in me before aiki between me and thee."

That is why Dan is arguing on another thread about "spiritual aikido". It's all of a piece. You have to correct it all, correct your mind to correct your body, correct your body to correct your mind, same with spirit, same with the whole being; struggle, purify and produce change. They thought that you can't leave any part out and achieve a viable whole. "Create a new being with daily keiko." Create a new being and the quality of that being will show itself when it interacts with others.

Doug,
That makes sense. It also clears up a lot of my confusion about Dan Harden's statements. His explanations in the other thread helped as well and seem in line with what you are saying here.
You have been most helpful. Thank you.

Tom

MM
06-26-2012, 01:32 PM
From the biography of Shirata that I translated on Aikido Journal. As Shirata greeted a visitor asking for a lesson at the Kobukan, "A person who wishes to study aikido should start with the spirit. If the spirit is not correct, the path will also be incorrect." I translated kokoro as spirit in this instance, but you see heart, mind or self would work equally well with varying and valid nuance. Path is of course michi, the way.


Hi Doug. Hope all is going good for you. Thought I'd use your post as a springboard for my thoughts. :)

If we look at spirit, not as the traditional usage of a person being in good spirits, or having spirit, even generally the spirit of the thing, but if look at spirit as the mind/mental side of a person intertwined with the heart/intent, we can see how that applies to IP/aiki. The mind/mental side must be clear and driving the heart/intent. This can be seen as having kokoro or having the right spirit to study the way of aiki.


Shirata had this kakemono hanging in the dojo to the end of his life: A person who is trying to study aikido must start by studying the spirit. Because if the spirit is not made righteous the path is not righteous either.


This is even more applicable. If we look at having to use intent to rewire/rebuild an aiki body and in doing this, we have to concentrate on what *we* are doing and not on what someone else is doing, then if you concentrate on "doing something to the other person", you aren't going to do the exercises correctly. As Dan has said, you have to concentrate on "being the best you" (paraphrased) which makes you "feel free in the world" (paraphrased). The aiki path is the way of the spirit acting in accord with divine law.

Which fits right in with Ueshiba talking about being one with the Universe, heaven/earth/man, being the Bridge, etc.

mathewjgano
06-29-2012, 11:55 PM
Broadly speaking there are two kinds [of ki]: Tariki and Jiriki. Tariki is 'other power', i.e. impersonal and universal. Jiriki is 'self-power' and the kind that most martial arts deal with. They are not entirely separate and Tohei, for example, emphasised how development of Jiriki led to a greater understanding of Tariki - becoming one with the universe.
I was hoping to get folks' opinions and thoughts in terms of what I've recently read Gillies Sensei describe regarding Tariki and Jiriki. How might developing "proper spirit" fit within the scope of these two ideas?
Thanks in advance.
Take care,
Matt

Allen Beebe
06-30-2012, 02:07 AM
I was hoping to get folks' opinions and thoughts in terms of what I've recently read Gillies Sensei describe regarding Tariki and Jiriki. How might developing "proper spirit" fit within the scope of these two ideas?
Thanks in advance.
Take care,
Matt

I am familiar with the tariki and jiriki as Buddhist terms.  Tariki is usually translated as "other power," and jiriki as "self power." The general idea is that some schools of Buddhism advocate seeking enlightenment via self discipline.  Whereas some other schools of Buddhism advocate seeking enlightenment via the "saving grace" of a Buddha.  The jiriki schools tend towards meditation, insight, and proper (expedient) action practices.  The tariki schools tend to rely (due to the seemingly limitless limitations of humans) on "grace" or power beyond themselves.  The esoteric tradition, of which Ueshiba strongly was influenced as evidenced by his explications (Takemusu Aiki being a prominent example),reconciles both of these views. Paradoxically, Jiriki (self power) is required to avail one's "self" of tariki (other power).  Tariki (other power) is required for one's "self" to have jiriki.  

Trying to come up with a quick analogy: Say I fall out of an airborne airplane.  I can try through self power to try to get back to the plane but, with nothing to rely upon but my "self," my "self" efforts will be doomed to failure.  However, from the plane descends a rope attached to a winch. The rope is there for me to grab and it WILL pull me back to salvation (Tariki).  Nevertheless, I MUST grab the rope for salvation to become manifest (jiriki). Self-power is required to let go of the limited power of the "self" (my flailing about in free fall singing 'My Way'). Other power is the ever present opportunity of (the reaching out of) salvation (thusness) due to its Omni presence.

The rope is compassion. Wisdom is knowing things as they are (as opposed to what I WILL them to be). With both in communion proper action is manifested.

In esoteric Buddhism this is called "entering into, and being entered into."

According to Ueshiba, how is this "proper action" manifested (evidenced) here in the manifest world?* 

Love

*Of course he would be the first to point out that this wasn't his original idea.  

DH
06-30-2012, 08:02 AM
Thanks Allen
Dan

mathewjgano
06-30-2012, 10:06 AM
Very cool, thank you, Allen!

Allen Beebe
06-30-2012, 10:41 AM
Thanks to all of you!

When reading Masa Katsu A Katsu Katsu Haya Bi, individuals often struggle with the "Katsu Haya Bi" portion. Another esoteric Buddhist term related to Masa Katsu, A Katsu, Katsu Hayabi is the term "kaji." The term is often translated as "blessing." Again there is the union of tariki and jiriki (Power offered and power accepted/welcomed/sought).  One analogy used with kaji is the reflection of light by water.  The light (tariki) shines on the water, the water reflects (accepts/welcomes/seeks) the light.  The light penetrates the water.  The union of the two is evidenced by the water shining with the brilliant reflection of the light simultaneously received and reflected to all others.  

The light is always present.  The only requirement is that the water "turn towards" the light, in all humility, nakedly, holding nothing back, covering nothing up.  (Sagawa's quote, "You can always do less." comes to mind.)

As soon as the water "turns towards" the light in this Way, union takes place as evidenced by the light being reflected in, and by, the water.  

This is "Victory Fast Sun." (Katsu Hayabi)

In the esoteric Buddhism with which Ueshiba was familiar, the Dharmakaya (realm of the Way), is referred to as Dainichi (Great Sun).

According to Ueshiba, Aikido (which is the workings if Takemusu Aiki) abides within Masa Katsu, A Katsu, Katsu Haya Bi.  It is the Way of God, the Spirit of True Joy (Bliss), manifested as Love.

David Orange
06-30-2012, 11:09 AM
I am familiar with the tariki and jiriki as Buddhist terms.  Tariki is usually translated as "other power," and jiriki as "self power." The general idea is that some schools of Buddhism advocate seeking enlightenment via self discipline.  Whereas some other schools of Buddhism advocate seeking enlightenment via the "saving grace" of a Buddha.  The jiriki schools tend towards meditation, insight, and proper (expedient) action practices.  The tariki schools tend to rely (due to the seemingly limitless limitations of humans) on "grace" or power beyond themselves.  The esoteric tradition, of which Ueshiba strongly was influenced as evidenced by his explications (Takemusu Aiki being a prominent example),reconciles both of these views. Paradoxically, Jiriki (self power) is required to avail one's "self" of tariki (other power).  Tariki (other power) is required for one's "self" to have jiriki.  

Trying to come up with a quick analogy: Say I fall out of an airborne airplane.  I can try through self power to try to get back to the plane but, with nothing to rely upon but my "self," my "self" efforts will be doomed to failure.  However, from the plane descends a rope attached to a winch. The rope is there for me to grab and it WILL pull me back to salvation (Tariki).  Nevertheless, I MUST grab the rope for salvation to become manifest (jiriki). Self-power is required to let go of the limited power of the "self" (my flailing about in free fall singing 'My Way'). Other power is the ever present opportunity of (the reaching out of) salvation (thusness) due to its Omni presence.
 

Wow. This is an aspect of Buddhism I've never encountered. And a great explanation of it.

I think this is the kind of thing Jun created aikiweb for.

Reading this was really a worthy use of my time.

Thanks.

David

Alister Gillies
07-01-2012, 09:47 AM
This is an interesting topic, but I think I need to add something so that my position is clear:

1) Jiriki and Tarki are Buddhist terms that stem from the same underpinning cosmology that informs ancient and more modern ideas about Ki - unification of opposites (heaven earth man)
2) That cosmology informs Japanese Shinto, Buddhist philosophy and practice, and many of the arts - including the martial arts
3) That same cosmology gave rise to the cultivation of Jiriki for martial as well as spiritual purposes - the distinction that we draw is a modern day one
4) There is no necessary correlation between mind body coordination (unification of opposites) and spiritual development. Spiritual progress is not guaranteed and having a spiritual predisposition does not, by the same token, guarantee martial efficacy
5) Training can work wonders for anyone prepared to put in the time and effort

In the quote that came from me I was talking about Ki in terms of power, personal and impersonal - individual Ki and universal Ki (heaven earth man) as equivalent to Tariki and Jiriki (not the same as). Taoism is full of cosmological correspondence, but it all hinges on the 'great root' or 'pole', yin and yang.

All I am saying really is that Ki has a micro/macro aspect, and when talking about Ki it is impossible to avoid yin and yang if you want to discuss it in any meaningful way - the unity of opposites. Ki in itself does not mean very much without reference to yin and yang.

As a concept Ki is Taoist in origin, and borrowed subsequently by the Japanese. Through time what was an essentially Chinese cosmological concept became integrated through the merger of Taoism and Buddhism, resulting in Zen Buddhism (Ch'an) in Japan. As an ideology Zen was adopted by the Samurai elite , who found martial applications for the cultivation of Jiriki and paired it down (secularised) for military purposes. Later, in more peaceful times, this process was reversed and Jiriki was reinvested with a more spiritual significance, but only after various factions (secular and sectarian) had stopped slaughtering each other (See for example The Life Giving Sword, by Yagyu Munenori).

An interesting question is which came first: the dissemination and cultivation of Jiriki by monastic orders for personal liberation, or its cultivation for martial purposes? I am more inclined towards the former, but it is also true that martial skills were developed by monastic orders for their own protection and preservation of land and property: "the one can be used for the many."

Another interesting question, and one that I don't know the answer to - but maybe somebody here does - is: At what point, did Jiriki become Ki? In Munenori's work he (or the translator) used the term Ki, but, as the translator points out in his notes, it had a multi-faceted meaning and care needs to be taken when interpreting or ascribing meaning.

It would be interesting to find out when the term Ki came into common usage in the Budo world, apart from Morihei Ueshiba's use of the term and Tohei's Sensei's re-branding of Aikido. Did Sokaku Takeda make much use of the term? I don't know, but I would be surprised if he did. But this does not have much to do directly with Mathew's post.

Religious and spiritual perspectives, interesting though they may be, tend to complicate and confuse most issues. Practice on the other hand, is designed to keep things simple. I think that for me, this is the message of Masakatsu Agatsu.

While there have been various attempts by some at different times in history to elevate Ki to a more spiritual level, my own feeling is that this is a form of self-conscious spirituality - a form of vanity. I've been guilty of it myself, but we learn through our mistakes as we grow up.

After all, common sense tells us, there are many Chinese - good communists and atheists all - whose ability to use Chi is exemplary. One does not have to be self-consciously spiritual to use Ki, just have a body and a mind that is susceptible to training.

mathewjgano
07-01-2012, 10:24 AM
Very interesting! Thank you for expanding on and clarifying your understanding of these concepts, Sensei Gillies! I'd also like to clarify my sense of "spirit" falls within the scope of the "manifest world," if I'm describing that correctly. As an agnostic I tend to look to phenomenological relationships for describing what I can of it.

Allen Beebe
07-01-2012, 12:21 PM
LOL!  Just for context, my posts were (I thought at the time) in response to Mathew's curiosity about two terms I was familiar with from Buddhism.  I've never heard those two terms related to a "Ki" conceptuality. And I didn't read the quote of Mr. Gillies, so the thought to relate those terms to Ki never occurred to me.  

For those interested in learning more about Jiriki and Tariki, in the context of Buddhism, there is plenty of scholarly material available in a multitude of languages on that topic. 

Mr. Gillies is obviously as capable of explication, elaboration, and providing support for his ideas as the many other members of this forum.  

I'll leave you to it!

:)
Allen

David Orange
07-01-2012, 01:02 PM
4) There is no necessary correlation between mind body coordination (unification of opposites) and spiritual development. Spiritual progress is not guaranteed and having a spiritual predisposition does not, by the same token, guarantee martial efficacy...

While there have been various attempts by some at different times in history to elevate Ki to a more spiritual level, my own feeling is that this is a form of self-conscious spirituality - a form of vanity. I've been guilty of it myself, but we learn through our mistakes as we grow up.

After all, common sense tells us, there are many Chinese - good communists and atheists all - whose ability to use Chi is exemplary. One does not have to be self-consciously spiritual to use Ki, just have a body and a mind that is susceptible to training.

Interesting points. I'm not sure the whole post really clarified it for me.

To say there is no necessary correlation between mind/body coordination and spiritual development, I can agree that it might not necessarily bring results, but I think it is an important part of the budo ethic of spiritual forging. Budo affects the mind and spirit by work on the body--very difficult and long work exactly as specified. Of course, this was the method employed leading up to WWII....so it might not produce spiritual improvement. Changes, yes....but maybe not improvement, if it is misdirected as it was leading up to WWII. Even many Zen masters in that era could have well been described as ardent Nazis. They were great admirers of Hitler.

And it's clear that a spiritual disposition does not guarantee martial efficacy, but it also does not guarantee spiritual development, either. Again, a little error makes a wide deviation over time.

And I like your pointing out that ki in itself is not "spirit" as we in the West think of spirit in "spirituality."

To me, the spirituality resides in kokoro--the source from which ki and our whole being issues.

About a year ago, I had an experience of sitting in seiza during a violent thunderstorm. I was already in serious inner turmoil, myself, and I suddenly realized that the outer environment, with pure blackness ripped by violent, blinding white, was an exact match for my inner being. I wasn't bothered by it, though, because, physically, I wasn't doing anything. If I had gotten up and acted on the basis of those turbulent feelings, I might have made some bad mistake. But as long as I didn't do anything....it was perfectly fine to have that inner electric storm. And sitting there unmoving, I saw both the inner and outer storms subside. I don't fight the outer weather. Why would I fight the inner weather? I "fight" it by not taking action. Otherwise, it can do no harm.

Then, last night, I was sitting in the same place, in the same way, but the air was calm and it felt like being in Hawaii--perfect temperature. And the air was filled with the resonance of thousands of bugs and birds singing in the carpet of forest that covered the rolling mountain top. And my inner and outer environments, again were in perfect coordination even though my external condition was far from satisfactory. My inner condition was matched with the gentle pulsations of nature.

And at that moment, I turned to contemplation of kokoro.

I understand kokoro as the "gateway" or "door" from non-existence to human life.

On one side is nothingness. On the other (this) side, is "being." From the door of nothingness to being, our life flows like a stream, directly to the other door--that of death. So nothingness, being, life and death are our nature and we move like beams of light from kokoro to death. The process is like a flash of light but it is so miraculous that we experience the great array of human passion and suffering for decades and decades before the flash leaves nothing.

Last night, I thought about this in the waves of bird and bug songs as my legs lost all circulation. I went to kokoro to see the source of my ki. It was like coming to the inflow of a swimming pool, ki pouring into this world as my ki. And I realized that, since this is a gateway between being and nothingness, there was nothing to stop me from going to the other side of the membrane, into nothingness. And, as if I were "scooting back" on a mat, my consciousness followed the outflow of my ki back into the ocean of ki from which it came. And it was like just looking into this world through a window, in the form of a body with eyes and ears that sat there amid all the other thousands of sitting and singing and listening things, all issuing from nothingness through kokoro...

In this infinitely long and short existence of human life, we are faced with some fundamental questions of how to conduct ourselves in the myriad myriad permutations of "situation" that arise. We find some general patterns, perhaps. We have laws and we have customs, money, government. We have some ways of measuring and directing our personal behavior, attempting to divine the best path through some conglomeration of all of the above and social landmarks of law, religion, philosophy, ethics, some mixture of which we generally "receive" as "our" beliefs and opinions of right and wrong. So it is very difficult to retain the bold, free and naive outflow of a living ki-being emerging directly from kokoro, like water from a spring, in daily life. And so it is very difficult to act directly from kokoro. In particular, violence has plenty of time to erupt between individual creatures in this excruciatingly long and blindingly short moment of human life. Much of the depth of the human experience is the tragedy of loss of companions to needless violence, along with greed and envy and so on. Much of the miracle of life is lost in revenge and litigation and we have become aware of both legal and moral justifications for violence as well as its prohibition, and provisions for using violent action, including killing, to stop violence. At every level, the question of life and death is primal and all measures rise relative.

The asian approach generally comes more directly from kokoro, oriented to nothingness-being-life-death. Even in Japan, it leans toward the taoist "not-doing," though you can see from the martial arts that impress us so, this "not-doing" may be more than it appears. It is a powerful influence even in budo, where we are given to study the specific methods of killing, with an ethic by which action is justified or forbidden. By the bu-jutsu ethic, killing is almost required if it is justified. Budo retains the killing method but requires the sparing of life where possible, along with causing the least amount of harm possible. However, it weakens the purpose of budo training to forget that the prime question is life and death. The method is to live, even if it means killing the attacker. The techniques must be deadly, first of all. It weakens the purpose of budo training to think of martial arts as fighting arts. They are killing arts, winning arts, controlling arts. O Sensei said that aikido kills the opponent with a single blow. We tend to have a distant and idealized view of the samurai and their quaint sword fighting, but their only concern was to cleave the other man (or woman, as the case may be...which was intended as a sort of in-joke reference to mentioning both genders...but which, unfortunately, has made me think of Nanking.)

Well, obviously, the Japanese method lost contact with kokoro somewhere in there. So even those who believe themselves directed by kokoro can be very badly mistaken. Sadly, for some, it is only at death that they recognize their error and only death will stop them from committing atrocities and tragedies for others. The purpose of budo is to prepare oneself to face such a person and stop their violence completely, whether that means catching them in ikkyo and making them say uncle or using the same ikkyo for fatal results. Having this ability is the prime draw for many to train in budo, but, acquiring the skills, they then find themselves saddled with tremendous responsibility and concerns. Some people come to budo through attraction to the ideas. But the only key to those ideas is that their orientation is founded on killing ability, and trying to view it in any other way weakens the very purpose of pondering the ideas.

I say all that to stress that among all the philosophies and religions, budo is a study of life and death through more than symbolic training to kill other people. It is not to be done by "fighting" but by instant application, so that the battle is over before it can commence (katsu haya hi). It is the spirit of Musashi, who ambushed an eleven year old boy being guarded by retainers. And even Musashi came to personify the budo ethic of sparing life as he gave up the steel sword at some point and used only wood, including, in one story, a piece of wood that he was carving into a statue of Fudo, with which he knocked out his opponent but spared his life. He was beaten only once, by a man whose life he had once spared. And the jo man spared Musashi's life. So budo really is a fine attitude in life, but the key to understanding it is death.

"Having said that," as I hate to hear anyone say, the reason for studying killing and death is to preserve life for the innocent, or at least the minding-their-own-business. And the Zen culture of budo, if not the very teachings of budo itself, reminds us emphatically that the important treasure of all is the miracle of life, itself. The budo method is constant preparation, purposeful employment of the body, mind and spirit with no false standard of values and orientation: not for "the company," nor for "the job," nor for "the art," nor for "the religion," but for the deep, personal and unique life that flows forth from kokoro, from nothingness, headlong to death. Death is the standard by which our use of life will be understood as worthy or wasted.

Last night, in "scooting back" through that portal and seeing out into life from the non-existent perspective before kokoro, I saw where a body was sitting in seiza in beautiful moonlight with positively pleasant weather, surrounded by a pulsing ocean of beings, emerged from kokoro to call out and vibrate the night, to be vibrated by the night. And there was no border between the inner and outer worlds of that person who sat there, nor any boundary between that person and the non-existence. Our root as beings does not begin at kokoro. Our root in being comes through kokoro. Our root of being is rooted in non-being.

And that is how I have come to understand kokoro.

However, one very important thing remains: looking out through kokoro, from non-being into life, seeing that unbounded person sitting in perfect weather and moonlight, never even separated from the universe around him, I could clearly see that death is the ultimate point of this outflowing life and the necessity of going there without avoidance because that is where life goes. The only way to live life fully is to live it straight toward death. Otherwise, we lose our lives in misdirected scrambles for wealth and status far past the point of necessity. We lose our lives in political and social and habitual pursuits that have nothing, really to do with our lives. They are a good example of how "mental" gets blamed for a lot of bad behavior and gets segregated from our thinking on "spiritual" things. But the error is perhaps spiritual fear to intellectually face the truth that we all hurtle straight down a track to the end of life. And this robs us of the freedom to really squeeze life to the last drop and live every minute as if it were your last.

FWIW

David

mathewjgano
07-01-2012, 02:25 PM
LOL!  Just for context, my posts were (I thought at the time) in response to Mathew's curiosity about two terms I was familiar with from Buddhism.  I've never heard those two terms related to a "Ki" conceptuality. And I didn't read the quote of Mr. Gillies, so the thought to relate those terms to Ki never occurred to me.  

For those interested in learning more about Jiriki and Tariki, in the context of Buddhism, there is plenty of scholarly material available in a multitude of languages on that topic. 

Mr. Gillies is obviously as capable of explication, elaboration, and providing support for his ideas as the many other members of this forum.  

I'll leave you to it!

:)
Allen

The quote was in relation to ki, but I was curious about applying jiriki and tariki generally to the idea of "proper spirit" in whatever contexts different people might hold for it. I have little to no understanding of these terms so I'm wide open to any contexts people would like to frame them with. Any further insights you'd have would be very much appreciated!
Take care,
Matt

Rob Watson
07-12-2012, 11:32 AM
Nevertheless, I MUST grab the rope for salvation to become manifest (jiriki). Self-power is required to let go of the limited power of the "self" (my flailing about in free fall singing 'My Way'). Other power is the ever present opportunity of (the reaching out of) salvation (thusness) due to its Omni presence.

"God helps those that help themselves" Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government. Some times listed as Hezekiah 6:1 (this is an inside joke - no book of Hezekiah). Possibly even such is found in Aesop ...
Jer 17:5 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD."

Prov 28:26 (NIV) He who trusts in himself is a fool...

All religions the same? Not really ...

graham christian
07-12-2012, 04:20 PM
"God helps those that help themselves" Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government. Some times listed as Hezekiah 6:1 (this is an inside joke - no book of Hezekiah). Possibly even such is found in Aesop ...
Jer 17:5 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD."

Prov 28:26 (NIV) He who trusts in himself is a fool...

All religions the same? Not really ...

In essence they are I would say. What you write above sounds like masakatsu agatsu.

Peace.G

graham christian
07-16-2012, 07:53 PM
Hi Matthew.
I'm just going to give you my maybe unique but I would hope not view on the concept of masagatsu agatsu. True victory over self.

It's based on illusion. The illusion of an enemy, the illusion of an opponent etc. We hold these beliefs and thus destroy ourselves and are thus caught up in the illusion.

I have said before that there is no against in Aikido.

When a person understands the depth of that comment then I believe they will understand masakatsu agatsu, theirself and aikido.

Peace.G.

mathewjgano
07-18-2012, 01:27 PM
Hi Matthew.
I'm just going to give you my maybe unique but I would hope not view on the concept of masagatsu agatsu. True victory over self.

It's based on illusion. The illusion of an enemy, the illusion of an opponent etc. We hold these beliefs and thus destroy ourselves and are thus caught up in the illusion.

I have said before that there is no against in Aikido.

When a person understands the depth of that comment then I believe they will understand masakatsu agatsu, theirself and aikido.

Peace.G.
Hi Graham,
Thanks for the reply!
I'm a fan of the idea that the processes of perception are illusory. So when we perceive the world around us it is almost, if not entirely so, necessarily an illusion. The question I have then has to do with the things those illusions cause. When we view victory in terms of control/dominance over another, we lose focus on the quality of our own operations. When I focus on self-improvement/"victory," I focus more on the quality of how I'm operating; what's happening to me and how I adjust accordingly (learn/adapt)...which seems to work better, at any rate.
I first encountered this kind of thinking in sports. When I was more concerned with stopping the other guy in soccer, for example, I found myself more likely to trip them or pull on them. When I was more concerned with playing my best, I actually played better because after a period of time I was conditioned better and tended to not need cheap tricks to "compete" so much.
So I wonder if it would be perhaps correct to say that understanding Masakatsu Agatsu doesn't so much teach us how to understand Aikido so much as how to understand the proper mindset needed to learn Aikido...perhaps the slogan can be said to encapsulate the mind aspect of the Body-Mind dichotomy...or perhaps of the Mind-Body-Spirit...er...trichotomy...? :D
I don't know...and ignorance is bliss. :D
Take care!

graham christian
07-18-2012, 02:56 PM
Hi Graham,
Thanks for the reply!
I'm a fan of the idea that the processes of perception are illusory. So when we perceive the world around us it is almost, if not entirely so, necessarily an illusion. The question I have then has to do with the things those illusions cause. When we view victory in terms of control/dominance over another, we lose focus on the quality of our own operations. When I focus on self-improvement/"victory," I focus more on the quality of how I'm operating; what's happening to me and how I adjust accordingly (learn/adapt)...which seems to work better, at any rate.
I first encountered this kind of thinking in sports. When I was more concerned with stopping the other guy in soccer, for example, I found myself more likely to trip them or pull on them. When I was more concerned with playing my best, I actually played better because after a period of time I was conditioned better and tended to not need cheap tricks to "compete" so much.
So I wonder if it would be perhaps correct to say that understanding Masakatsu Agatsu doesn't so much teach us how to understand Aikido so much as how to understand the proper mindset needed to learn Aikido...perhaps the slogan can be said to encapsulate the mind aspect of the Body-Mind dichotomy...or perhaps of the Mind-Body-Spirit...er...trichotomy...? :D
I don't know...and ignorance is bliss. :D
Take care!

I like it, yes. That's the direction I would say.

I would say and do say to every student I ever meet and teach or show or explain to that Masakatsu Agatsu is the only mindset that will lead to understanding Aikido. So I would say it itself should be used as a mindset or maybe you could say as the guiding principle to any relevant mindset if that's a better way of putting it.

Therefor it's never anyone elses fault.

With the statement of no against in Aikido may I give you something I say about this as well in order to change illusory perspective:

Let's find something you are against and in this world and life we go into believing we are against many things. It's quite funny when I hear people say such things as they are against anything really. For instance a man has a few bad experiences with women and then is against women or against relationships or......well you get the picture. You could be against politics or yellow people or spiders or bad weather whatever. So what have you just done?

You have set yourself up, in opposition to, that whole world of women, spiders, yellow people, bad weather, politicians. One versus millions. Thus you destroy yourself. Thus you have already lost.

Food for thought.

Peace.G.

Mike Hamer
08-17-2012, 02:37 AM
I have the kanji for Masakatsu Agatsu tattooed on my arm.....that's how much I love the saying! :)

Mark Greenwood
08-17-2012, 02:05 PM
Hi Matthew.
I'm just going to give you my maybe unique but I would hope not view on the concept of masagatsu agatsu. True victory over self.

It's based on illusion. The illusion of an enemy, the illusion of an opponent etc. We hold these beliefs and thus destroy ourselves and are thus caught up in the illusion.

I have said before that there is no against in Aikido.

When a person understands the depth of that comment then I believe they will understand masakatsu agatsu, theirself and aikido.

Peace.G.

I also understand Masakatsu Agatsu to mean 'the true victory is self victory' and also agree with your illusion analogy. Also like Mikel i have this tattooed on my arm, such i believe is the importance of these words to my training in life.

lbb
08-20-2012, 09:39 AM
It seems like the flipside of the old saying about someone being their own worst enemy. The true victory is victory over self, because you can mess yourself up worse than anyone else can.

mathewjgano
08-20-2012, 10:57 PM
It seems like the flipside of the old saying about someone being their own worst enemy. The true victory is victory over self, because you can mess yourself up worse than anyone else can.

Ain't dat da t'oof!
I really liked that. Thank you, Mary!

MM
08-30-2012, 09:15 AM
Repost from another thread. Thought it belonged here, too.

Actually that is what Mary Heiny sensei has said many times. It is not just my personal view. She herself said to our dojo on her last visit, "Aikido is not a fighting art". And this she got directly from O'Sensei.

I am not saying that it is wrong to come out of the conflict on top. I am saying that having the mindset that "my goal must be to beat my enemy" is not in the spirit of aikido, as I understand it.

Which creates a dilemna. If aikido is not about victory over the enemy, then why did Ueshiba state that it was ... sort of. :D

Masa Katsu A Katsu Katsu Haya Bi

Generally translated as True Victory is victory over self which happens instantly. So, Ueshiba is saying that there is an enemy, just that it's you and that there must be a victory over yourself. Right?

If we look at it that way, then you do have an enemy. So, what's the difference between you as an enemy and someone else? There still needs to be a victory over self, right? Just that the "self" might be someone else.

===

Or just possibly, we could look at it this way which negates having any enemy at all. Wouldn't that be more congruent with Ueshiba's vision?

Masa Katsu A Katsu Katsu Haya Bi

The True and Correct Victory is found by ovecoming Self with the connecting of two things.

See here for latter part of translation:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...7&postcount=23
Musubi can mean connecting of two things.

In Ueshiba's other works, those "two things" are contradictory forces. In/yo.

Mark

graham christian
08-31-2012, 07:08 PM
Contradictory forces? Surely you mean complimentary.

I don't think masakatsu agatsu happens instantly either. Just like the buddhist eightfold path.

I would say that until you achieve it or when you achieve it you will actually see that there is no enemy.

From there you can see and reach the others' self whether they are enlightened or not ie: despite what they consider their self or indeed consider you to be.

Being true self and reminding other of their true self is win, win and thus a state of continuous winning.

Thus enters the spirit of joy.

My addition.

Peace.G.

Tom Verhoeven
09-01-2012, 10:07 AM
It all depends on what is considered the true self. In the West the self is a rational spirit. While in most eastern philosophy rationality is only considered a function of the true self. Western thinking is all too often too much involved with winning and conquering - the Roman approach to life. At times this makes it for westerners more difficult to understand disciplines like Yoga, Zen, Aikido, etc
The basic idea in Shinto and Aikido is that we already have an original, true self. But as we go through our daily lives things happen to us that prevent us to see our true self. We collect "dust". And as time goes by we mistake the dust for the true self. By performing misogi (and Aikido is misogi) we overcome this made-up self and find our real true self and we find it fully in tact.

Thinking about the meaning of Masakatsu Agatsu, to me it is also important not to over-emphasize the martial aspect (winning, fighting, testing, contests, war) as this feeds the Ara Mitama - which O Sensei considered as not the correct way to go as this holds back the development of the other mitama and prevents musubi..
Tom

graham christian
09-01-2012, 10:38 AM
I agree Tom. Non resistance, love, kindness, hara, kokyu etc. are all natural to true self hence the path back to.

Peace.G.

MM
09-01-2012, 11:53 AM
Masa Katsu A Katsu Katsu Haya Bi

I think for Ueshiba, this was a very important concept. If we look at IP/aiki training, we find that we have to let go of strength, let go of preconceived notions, let go of techniques, let go of wanting to impose our will upon another, let go of blending/harmony as it is seen in Modern Aikido. Ueshiba was proud of his physical strength and muscles until he met Takeda. I would think that Ueshiba had a very hard road to travel in his IP/aiki training to let go of all that. His victory was of the Self.

Ueshiba become stronger, not physically but in the way of aiki. To do that he found he had to focus completely on himself for the true/correct/right way to get better in aiki. IMO, he found that aiki training was the Correct Victory in overcoming his old Self.

The training itself comprised of a core set of principles, one of them being contradictory forces. But, the training was all focused on Self and in building an aiki body.

For us, we would say, the correct training is focusing on being the best you can be by using contradictory forces and spirals. If you train this way, you will develop capturing center on contact and your uke will automatically move where you move. Because of this, techniques will just happen spontaneously.

For Ueshiba, he talked in spiritual terms, so he said things like the stuff listed below because it held dual (or more) meanings. The Japanese love to find phrases with multiple meanings.

The True and Correct Victory is found by overcoming Self with the connecting of two things.
I am standing on the bridge.
I am the Universe.
Take musu aiki.
I am aiki.

Tom Verhoeven
09-01-2012, 04:20 PM
In and Yo are, at least here on AikiWeb, more and more seen as contradictory forces. I suspect that it is in effect the influence of Western thinking. Most texts that I know of speak of In and Yo as forces that join together (musubi) to create something new; a child, a new technique, a new art, Or experience something afresh, like a new day, a homecooked meal with fresh vegetables, the taste of this years first wine.
Experiencing something as new through misogi involves letting go of preconceived ideas, techniques, form, imposing your will onto someone or something else. That is basic Aikido-philosophy. You cannot force the ink to become a calligraphy or the clay to become a teacup.

However, it is not meant as a strategy. It is not that you leave behind physical strength (a raging Ara Mitama) in order to get a "inner strength". That will just as much feed your Ara Mitama, only now with a smarter way of using its powers.

O Sensei pointed out that we should move away from strengthening the Ara Mitama all together.

His spiritual words have no doubt several layers of meaning. Some of his explanations are indeed about the genuine way of keiko in Aiki no michi. But if we start to think that his sayings are just about hidden messages to improve our martial art in the sense of becoming stronger or faster or gaining an inner strength, then we risk loosing a lot of his original thoughts and goals.

I do not think his aim was with Aikido to create the strongest or best martial artists in comparison to other martial artists. I think that he pointed a way that would help us to become the best budoka we our selves could be. The obstacles that we find on that path are most of the time obstacles that we create. Hence the reason that we have to overcome our selves.

By no longer aiming for the development of Ara Mitama, O Sensei created a Budo for peace - and I love that seemingly contradiction!

Tom

Chris Li
09-01-2012, 04:36 PM
In and Yo are, at least here on AikiWeb, more and more seen as contradictory forces. I suspect that it is in effect the influence of Western thinking. Most texts that I know of speak of In and Yo as forces that join together (musubi) to create something new; a child, a new technique, a new art, Or experience something afresh, like a new day, a homecooked meal with fresh vegetables, the taste of this years first wine.

Of course they join together - the basic Yin/Yang theory of the unification of opposites goes way back across the ocean to China, but I'd note the what you're unifying are, in fact, opposites. I don't think that Marc is really trying to say anything different.

I will note, however, that the theory has them joining together - but not becoming the same thing.

Best,

Chris

MM
09-01-2012, 05:53 PM
Of course they join together - the basic Yin/Yang theory of the unification of opposites goes way back across the ocean to China, but I'd note the what you're unifying are, in fact, opposites. I don't think that Marc is really trying to say anything different.

I will note, however, that the theory has them joining together - but not becoming the same thing.

Best,

Chris

Hi Chris,

IMO, It's a paradox, relative to how you want to view it. Yes, it's a union of two contradictory forces in that both forces are going at the same time and it's a theory from way back. But, I think that's as far as the union view holds up. There has to be a line between both contradictory forces. They can't "join". I think it's that fine line between the two that Ueshiba means when he says he's standing on the bridge. Working theory, at least. :)

As with my opinion on "Masa Katsu A Katsu Katsu Haya Bi", I personally think I'm going out on a limb. From what I know now, it sounds right. But, I'm sadly lacking in interpretation skills, the terminology Ueshiba uses, and a good bit of Japanese culture from that period. Maybe I'll give Allen a call and bend his ear as I think it's one of his favorite phrases. :D

Mark

graham christian
09-01-2012, 06:55 PM
There are no opposites. Thus there are no contradictory forces. Thinking there are is what leads to such dilemmas and confusion.

The 'opposites' referred to is down to translation and mistranslation at that.

The 'opposites' are complimentary and thus not opposing or against or contradictory.

Only the 'dusty' mind sees it as such.

Peace.G.

Chris Li
09-01-2012, 07:05 PM
The 'opposites' referred to is down to translation and mistranslation at that.


OK, cite the orginal text that has been mistranslated and explain why.

Best,

Chris

MM
09-01-2012, 07:05 PM
There are no opposites. Thus there are no contradictory forces. Thinking there are is what leads to such dilemmas and confusion.

The 'opposites' referred to is down to translation and mistranslation at that.

The 'opposites' are complimentary and thus not opposing or against or contradictory.


I'm open to being proven wrong. Can you post the Japanese and your translation that supports your position? Or point to the Japanese and the translation that supports your position? We've all read and seen Peter Goldsbury, Josh Reyer, Allen Beebe, Doug Walker and Chris Li's (Sorry if I forgot a name) posts and translations. I'm going from them and openly stating that I'm going out on a limb tying those translations to known, old martial sayings.

If you can point to the Japanese and the translations that state your theory, I'm sure we would all like to see it. Especially if it can point to something specific.



Only the 'dusty' mind sees it as such.

Peace.G.

I would ask that you please refrain from passive-tyep insults on my intellectual abilities, especially since I believe you've done it previously in your other thread on Ueshiba's aikido.

Thank you,
Mark

graham christian
09-01-2012, 07:57 PM
I'm open to being proven wrong. Can you post the Japanese and your translation that supports your position? Or point to the Japanese and the translation that supports your position? We've all read and seen Peter Goldsbury, Josh Reyer, Allen Beebe, Doug Walker and Chris Li's (Sorry if I forgot a name) posts and translations. I'm going from them and openly stating that I'm going out on a limb tying those translations to known, old martial sayings.

If you can point to the Japanese and the translations that state your theory, I'm sure we would all like to see it. Especially if it can point to something specific.

I would ask that you please refrain from passive-tyep insults on my intellectual abilities, especially since I believe you've done it previously in your other thread on Ueshiba's aikido.

Thank you,
Mark

Ha, ha. I laugh because you take it as passive insult as you have done before and as have others. I do not speak as personal attack but from a viewpoint applying to us all.

When I say mistranslate I also do not refer to words being changed from one language to another but rather to the translation of their meaning ie: how a person then translates it into a meaning they see as true.

However, in this particular case there is one word which is usually dropped and that is the word complementary. In the translations and basics of yin and yang it is pointed out that they represent complementary opposites. This is nowhere near the concept of opposites and needs understanding in itself.

A man and a woman may be given as an example and usually is along with many others but if you start there you will find they are not opposite or contradictory but in truth are complementary.

Only the 'dusty' mind, the mind built from too much karma, the unenlightened mind, the negative mind through fear and mistrust and all kind of beliefs and emotions starts seeing the other as opposite and opposing and contradictory.

Expansion does not oppose contraction, centrifugal does not oppose centripetal and they are not opposite for they are one.

Peace.G.

Tom Verhoeven
09-01-2012, 08:19 PM
Actually, I was not so much interested in the semantics of opposing forces or contradictory forces. The idea of two paired entities that form each others opposites and/or partner has been known for a long time in cultures like that of China, India and ancient Greece. But there is in general a difference in looking at those two entities - in Western thinking we see it more as good versus bad, us versus them, human versus nature, man versus woman and only one can be a winner.
Several of the eastern ways of thinking are more about cooperation, coming together, joining of these entities or forces or elements or etc.This last way of looking at it is also more conform modern Biology then the Western way of thinking. And seems to fit more with Aikido and other budo.
But the In-Yo point I made was just an aside. I was reacting on Mark Murray's post nr 26. And especially the quote of Mary Heiny with Mark Murray's response on it I found interesting.. I feel Mary Heiny is right when she comments on O Sensei's quote; "Aikido is not a fighting art". I think O Sensei's thinking goes beyond that. That is why I mentioned the importance of the mitama, musubi and misogi in understanding masakatsu a katsu katsu hayabi.
Tom .

Chris Li
09-01-2012, 10:23 PM
Actually, I was not so much interested in the semantics of opposing forces or contradictory forces. The idea of two paired entities that form each others opposites and/or partner has been known for a long time in cultures like that of China, India and ancient Greece. But there is in general a difference in looking at those two entities - in Western thinking we see it more as good versus bad, us versus them, human versus nature, man versus woman and only one can be a winner.
Several of the eastern ways of thinking are more about cooperation, coming together, joining of these entities or forces or elements or etc.This last way of looking at it is also more conform modern Biology then the Western way of thinking. And seems to fit more with Aikido and other budo.
But the In-Yo point I made was just an aside. I was reacting on Mark Murray's post nr 26. And especially the quote of Mary Heiny with Mark Murray's response on it I found interesting.. I feel Mary Heiny is right when she comments on O Sensei's quote; "Aikido is not a fighting art". I think O Sensei's thinking goes beyond that. That is why I mentioned the importance of the mitama, musubi and misogi in understanding masakatsu a katsu katsu hayabi.
Tom .

I'll leave the meat of Mark's comments on Mary to Mark, but wasn't his in-yo point exactly that - the connection of two (let's say "different") forces?

Where has he mentioned anything about one force winning?

Best,

Chris

Tom Verhoeven
09-02-2012, 06:34 AM
What's your point?
Tom

MM
09-02-2012, 09:31 AM
In and Yo are, at least here on AikiWeb, more and more seen as contradictory forces. I suspect that it is in effect the influence of Western thinking. Most texts that I know of speak of In and Yo as forces that join together (musubi) to create something new; a child, a new technique, a new art, Or experience something afresh, like a new day, a homecooked meal with fresh vegetables, the taste of this years first wine.

Experiencing something as new through misogi involves letting go of preconceived ideas, techniques, form, imposing your will onto someone or something else. That is basic Aikido-philosophy. You cannot force the ink to become a calligraphy or the clay to become a teacup.


If you're looking at it through pure spirituality, I have only theories and opinions. But, looking at it through pure spirituality is, IMO, not the correct thing to do. For a wild example, if I wanted to study black bears and wanted to understand them better, would I just limit myself to studying them during the daytime hours only? I am missing half of their daily activities.

And most people underestimate what aiki is, does, and can do in *all* areas. I think to view Ueshiba's spirituality, you have to understand how aiki influenced it. The opposite is also true. How did his spirituality influence his aiki? We know he talked in spiritual terms to describe classic martial theories. We know he chanted/prayed quite often. Of the two, aiki is by far the easier (in comparison) piece to research, learn, and train. The spiritual can only be found in transcribed lectures, articles, interviews, etc, so that area is always going to be extremely difficult to research.


However, it is not meant as a strategy. It is not that you leave behind physical strength (a raging Ara Mitama) in order to get a "inner strength". That will just as much feed your Ara Mitama, only now with a smarter way of using its powers.

O Sensei pointed out that we should move away from strengthening the Ara Mitama all together.


IMO, yes, it is exactly the point of letting go of the physical muscle strength in order to achieve aiki, which is budo strength. But, people look at the power and strength aspect and do not realize the completely spiritual aspect of aiki. As someone noted, aiki training was changing how they viewed the world. They felt like they were walking freer in the world because of the aiki training. I can attest to that. And I feel that it's the tip of the iceberg. You transform one strength into another, but it is a good transformation.


His spiritual words have no doubt several layers of meaning. Some of his explanations are indeed about the genuine way of keiko in Aiki no michi. But if we start to think that his sayings are just about hidden messages to improve our martial art in the sense of becoming stronger or faster or gaining an inner strength, then we risk loosing a lot of his original thoughts and goals.


Why did Ueshiba talk over and over again about classic martial theories? Why did Ueshiba state vehemently that he was not religious, but a man of budo? That Kisshomaru strongly denied his father was a pacifist. Why did Ueshiba say that aiki would make any religion better?


I was reacting on Mark Murray's post nr 26. And especially the quote of Mary Heiny with Mark Murray's response on it I found interesting.. I feel Mary Heiny is right when she comments on O Sensei's quote; "Aikido is not a fighting art".

Tom

I think she was right, too. In fact, I think very highly of her and agree with what she says, does, and trains. But, there are many different meanings to that phrase and many different ways to live it. I noted two different ways of looking at it, but that doesn't mean that's all there is. Or that I'm right.

Chris Li
09-02-2012, 11:27 AM
What's your point?
Tom


Actually, I was not so much interested in the semantics of opposing forces or contradictory forces. The idea of two paired entities that form each others opposites and/or partner has been known for a long time in cultures like that of China, India and ancient Greece. But there is in general a difference in looking at those two entities - in Western thinking we see it more as good versus bad, us versus them, human versus nature, man versus woman and only one can be a winner.

That you and Mark were both referring to the opposing/contradictory forces in the same way, not as one versus the other.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
09-02-2012, 05:06 PM
How can it be said or even vaguely believed that Ueshiba was not a religious man?

How can it be thought that a man of budo cannot be also a religious man?

I think part of the path to understanding Ueshiba and his way of Aikido and masakatsu and agatsu is by first learning well sen no sen and sensen no sen.

Thereafter glimpsing and coming to terms with beyond even that and masakatsu and agatsu.

My thoughts.

Peace.G.

Tom Verhoeven
09-02-2012, 05:24 PM
If you're looking at it through pure spirituality, I have only theories and opinions. But, looking at it through pure spirituality is, IMO, not the correct thing to do. For a wild example, if I wanted to study black bears and wanted to understand them better, would I just limit myself to studying them during the daytime hours only? I am missing half of their daily activities.

And most people underestimate what aiki is, does, and can do in *all* areas. I think to view Ueshiba's spirituality, you have to understand how aiki influenced it. The opposite is also true. How did his spirituality influence his aiki? We know he talked in spiritual terms to describe classic martial theories. We know he chanted/prayed quite often. Of the two, aiki is by far the easier (in comparison) piece to research, learn, and train. The spiritual can only be found in transcribed lectures, articles, interviews, etc, so that area is always going to be extremely difficult to research.

IMO, yes, it is exactly the point of letting go of the physical muscle strength in order to achieve aiki, which is budo strength. But, people look at the power and strength aspect and do not realize the completely spiritual aspect of aiki. As someone noted, aiki training was changing how they viewed the world. They felt like they were walking freer in the world because of the aiki training. I can attest to that. And I feel that it's the tip of the iceberg. You transform one strength into another, but it is a good transformation.

Why did Ueshiba talk over and over again about classic martial theories? Why did Ueshiba state vehemently that he was not religious, but a man of budo? That Kisshomaru strongly denied his father was a pacifist. Why did Ueshiba say that aiki would make any religion better?

I think she was right, too. In fact, I think very highly of her and agree with what she says, does, and trains. But, there are many different meanings to that phrase and many different ways to live it. I noted two different ways of looking at it, but that doesn't mean that's all there is. Or that I'm right.

I was not really talking about spirituality or religion, but rather about a philosophical point. But I will try to go into some of the points that you made on this subject.

I do not follow the analogy of the black bear? It seems contradictory to Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto teaching where spirituality completes one's understanding of reality, But you are saying that it is in fact the opposite?

Personally I do not underestimate O Sensei's Aiki - to me it is an ongoing source of inspiration and has been for almost four decades. Over the years I have experienced Aiki in several martial arts, but just as much in nature and in the teachings of Shinto,Taoism and Buddhism.
It is common knowledge that O Sensei did not separate Kan nagara no michi from Aiki no michi. To him it was one michi, not two. In fact, the expression masakatsu akatsu katsu hayabi is not a Budo term, but is derived from his experience in kan nagare no michi.
So why is it so important to you to emphasize that, as you say, he was not religious?

I am sure that everyone at some point in his life has a spiritual or religious experience. And I would include as such the love for a person, being in awe for the beauty of art or the experience of a succesfull technique and so on.
By definition a spiritual experience is a personal one. But if someone has a spiritual experience, then it is easier to relate to the spiritual experience of someone else. In that sense it is possible to relate directly to O Sensei's spiritual experiences. Magazines, interviews, lectures may not even bring you any closer to that same experience. You need to experience it yourself.

Although I do not vision Aikido as a religion it is a spiritual path that has much in common with several of the Japanese religions and with these spiritual or religious experiences. With that I also consider Aikido an authentic art created by O Sensei. And then of course we also need to understand Aikido as a Budo.

But the function of Budo has changed; where before it was important for a warrior to create a strong ara mitama in order to survive a fight or war, O Sensei pointed out that we no longer should concentrate on the ara mitama,
If I am reading you right you seem to be pointing in the direction that that is a function of Aiki itself? In which case I think I would agree with you.

Tom