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DavidM
07-08-2002, 10:28 PM
I've been doing research on Aikido, O Sensei, and the meanings behind everything. And when O Sensei mentions harmony, either with thy self, or with the universe....I think we don't REALLY understand what he was talking about.

I notice many Aikidoka saying that "To run away from a fight is the best thing to do" But that's not the harmony O Sensei was talking about IMO.

O Sensei was raised in the days of Honor and Pride. You didn't run from a fight, even if you were gonna lose, because of your honor, and your pride. He also never backed down from a challenge....that don't sound like the "Harmony" we speak about.

When O Sensei mentioned harmony, My Sensei and I believe that O Sensei ment , to harmonize with the movement of the universe, and to harmonize with your attacker, as to not hurt him. That shows true compassion and love. Anyone can kill someone...but to get yourself out of danger and not cause any damage to your attacker....that's TRUE harmony and love.

I guess what I'm really getting at is, why have we interpreted "Harmony" as love and run away...kinda like a Hippie....? Do you really think that O Sensei ment that kind of Harmony? Or he ment for us to run away from an attack, which could put you in a worse situation? he created a self defense MA....not a Hippie Cult

Thanks
David

Kensai
07-09-2002, 02:29 AM
I think what you say is indeed very true. Of course it is better not to get into the fight at all than actually fight. But if needs be, do what you can. From what I have read, O Sensei's theory on non violence at that time what pretty ground breaking. All other Japanese, in fact all martial arts at that time did not have that option of restrant that Aikido has got. I have no doubt in my mind that a good Aikido practioner could hurt someone quite considerably, if he/she had to. I mean look at a "nikkyo" if continued that would be a devistating technique. But thats not why we learn Aikido. In its physical sence, we can down some one with hurting them and walk away, and more to the point so can they. Remember that O Sensei did not just wake up in the morning with the refined gentlemans art of Aikido, with no martial arts basis. It is based on one of the most dangerous martial arts of Daito Ryu.

So to conclued David, Aikido is not the art of running. It is the the wholely unique art of non violence. That gives you the option to take life, but more importantly the option not to.

Train Well

DavidM
07-09-2002, 01:26 PM
heh, I think we all know that Aikido could really hurt someone. I remember the first time having Shiho Nage done to me. I swear it felt like my wrist was broken.

My simple argument was just that I've heard way to many Aikidoka saying that when encountered in ANY fight situation it's best to run away, that's what O Sensei ment by "Harmony". But running away could put you in a worse situation, and I don't think that's what O Sensei ment by "harmony"

Thanks

Brian H
07-09-2002, 02:15 PM
On September 11th, the passengers on Flight 93 did to not meekly submit. They had been forced to the rear of the aircraft by the Hijackers, but when they learned the fate of the other planes, they attacked. Even though each and everyone of them died, nobody on the ground was hurt by that aircraft.

Sometimes you just can not run away. If you run from an agressor, do you share some of the blame for his next attack/victim? If so, then the USE of Aikido (as opposed to sneaker waza) returns the situation to harmony by stopping the immidiate situation (even when you might die) and FUTURE harm and discord.

Harmony, to me, is stopping an evil intention without harm to me or the aggressor. It is an ideal situation, but I can live with a less than ideal situation. If I had a choice between life and death, I would choose life (and therefore would injure or kill if necessary). As a policeman, I have dwelled on the subject quite abit. Life and death conflict is not that abstract of a concept at a police funeral.

And the only choice I don't have is to run away. If you can the police, they are expected to come (quickly - othewise, it is generally a pretty serious scandal)

PeterR
07-09-2002, 06:25 PM
Harmony is one of those funny words which doesn't really translate well from Japanese to English not from the intrinsic meaning but how it is applied.

Its a bit overused but harmony here refers to beating down the nail which sticks up - in other words a more global/societal sense.

In a confrontation look at it as restoring harmony to the situation (eastern sense) rather than harmonizing with your attacker (western sense).

My view is that the meaning of harmony is the cause of far greater trouble than Ki or Aiki.

Don_Modesto
07-10-2002, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by DavidM
O Sensei was raised in the days of Honor and Pride. You didn't run from a fight, even if you were gonna lose, because of your honor, and your pride. He also never backed down from a challenge....that don't sound like the "Harmony" we speak about.

If "harmony" is problematic, so too may be "honor" and "pride" and "back down". Recall the story of the offended farmer throwing clots of manure at Osensei for crossing a rice paddy without permission. Osensei bowed low and apologized. Not the normal conception of "pride".

("The willingness to be lied to, cheated, spat upon, mocked, and laughed at could be the modesty of a god among men." Nietzche.)

Don_Modesto
07-10-2002, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by Kensai
All other Japanese, in fact all martial arts at that time did not have that option of restrant that Aikido has got.


Shioda Gozo relates the story of a match between a judo champion and Osensei. Osensei left him crippled and unable to continue his judo career. OTOH, There's a famous story about a karate master in Okinawa interceding in an assault of an old man by a gang of Portugese sailors. They turned on him and he just let them beat him. When they saw they were having no effect, the retreated. Restraint is more a matter of character than technique.

BC
07-10-2002, 12:08 PM
A few of us have a running joke in our dojo. Sometimes when talking about a particular technique or someone with very powerful technical abilities, we say "Yep, puttin' the "harm" back in harmony!" :p

Choku Tsuki
07-10-2002, 03:15 PM
(from Technical Aikido by Mitsunari Kanai, found on Aikido Online:

Harmony does not mean just getting along with people on the basis of a lowest common denominator, or creating agreement without regard to rules in order to avoid confrontation and maintain an easy going or overly comfortable environment. Harmony, as used in AIKIDO, does not involve compromising, diminishing, or diluting opposing things and their individual essences. Such an approach waters everything down, sacrifices the essence of things, erodes standards of behavior and attitude and thereby diminishes each individual. Rather, AIKIDO's harmony brings different -- even opposing -- elements together and intensifies them in a way that drives everything toward a higher level.

Lisa Tomoleoni
07-10-2002, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by BC
A few of us have a running joke in our dojo. Sometimes when talking about a particular technique or someone with very powerful technical abilities, we say "Yep, puttin' the "harm" back in harmony!" :p

And years ago, someone from that same dojo once told me "Aikido is about making harmony. We can't practice making harmony if there is no conflict to start with".

Lisa

DavidM
07-10-2002, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by Don_Modesto


If "harmony" is problematic, so too may be "honor" and "pride" and "back down". Recall the story of the offended farmer throwing clots of manure at Osensei for crossing a rice paddy without permission. Osensei bowed low and apologized. Not the normal conception of "pride".



If I step on my wifes toe, and she hits me and I apologize, did I lose any pride? If I did a technique wrong and my Sensei corrects me on it, and I apologize did I lose any pride?

David

BC
07-11-2002, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by Lisa Tomoleoni


And years ago, someone from that same dojo once told me "Aikido is about making harmony. We can't practice making harmony if there is no conflict to start with".

Lisa

Lisa:

DId you used to train at the MAC? I have heard your name bandied about occasionally (all good).

Lisa Tomoleoni
07-11-2002, 11:51 PM
Lisa:

DId you used to train at the MAC? I have heard your name bandied about occasionally (all good).
Yes, I did, long long ago.....

Lisa

tedehara
07-12-2002, 10:51 PM
Lisa:

DId you used to train at the MAC? I have heard your name bandied about occasionally (all good). You're being too modest Lisa :blush:

Bob, she was an instructor with Yoshiko Shindo Sensei, 6th Dan, Chief Instructor of Aikido Shindo Dojo (Japan) at the Arlington Aikikai's Summer Camp last June. :cool:

Robert Cowham
07-13-2002, 02:17 PM
I have heard "AI" also translated as "meeting" not just as harmony/love - so it is what happens when people come together. In order to be able to cope you must have a strong sense of centre.