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torres.aikido
12-11-2012, 03:59 PM
Hello,

I am pondering two seperate questions.

One is what type of body type do you believe works best in Aikido. I remember when I was a kid I always though the bigger/heavier people had some sort of advantage but of course many great Aikido masters are very small.

Two is what seems to be the dominant spirutal belief system of the Japanese masters these days?

Thanks,

Tim

Howard Popkin
12-11-2012, 04:09 PM
sushism and beerism :)

Janet Rosen
12-11-2012, 04:55 PM
Disappointed; was looking forward to debunking the assertion implicit in thread title :-)

gregstec
12-11-2012, 05:34 PM
sushism and beerism :)

You know that type of spiritual stuff is just not for one day a week; I keel and pay homage to both often :D

gregstec
12-11-2012, 09:09 PM
You know that type of spiritual stuff is just not for one day a week; I keel and pay homage to both often :D

kneel (if it was not for my typos, I be perfect :) )

Cady Goldfield
12-11-2012, 09:38 PM
Keeling over might be construed or misconstrued as formal bowing or kowtowing, so even though you might be unconscious, you could still look like you're paying homage.

Michael Hackett
12-11-2012, 11:14 PM
Keeling isn't too foreign to beerism. I've known many to keel over after practicing beerism. Most have bypassed kneeling in their devotions entirely.

Carsten Möllering
12-12-2012, 02:32 AM
One is what type of body type do you believe works best in Aikido.
A soft, smooth, connected and permeable body.

Two is what seems to be the dominant spirutal belief system of the Japanese masters these days?
I have practiced with only one Japanese shihan. He is very interested in Taoism as far as I understand. Because Taoist body work is about getting a soft, smooth, connected and permeable body. And Taoist spirituality depends on developing such a body.
He is also doing zazen I think.

Krystal Locke
12-12-2012, 02:50 AM
Well, soft and smooth I've got. Connected, I will assume, since I dont have to pick up parts of me very often. Superglue. Permeable? Very very selectively. All sorts of stuff gain no entrance to my body.

Beer and sushi, their names are on the list.....

Short and fat atheist. Does that fit the expectations about the thread better, Janet? I sure remember some of our way back discussions of spirituality fondly. Your simple proof of why no god, if one existed at all, could be female still resonates and makes me smile.

Carsten Möllering
12-12-2012, 03:51 AM
Don't exactly understand why you ridicule my text?
Don't you understand it?
Don't you like it?
Did I push a button I didn't see?

ryback
12-12-2012, 06:48 AM
Well in my opinion it doesn't have to do with the body type you are born with (tall,short,big,small e.t.c.).It has to do more with the state of one's body ragardless of its type.
One needs to be relaxed,and smooth in order to be able to establish contact with the attacker and keep it,so i certainly agree with Carsten in that one.Usually smaller people have an advantage because they cannot rely on strength in the first place and they can learn correct technique more easily,while bigger people have first to "unlearn" using muscular strength in order for the ellements of correct technique(ki,kokyu,tai sabaki e.t.c) to be able to work.
For the second part of the original poster's question, i don't know really.But i have heard that O'Sensei, even though he belonged in Omoto Kyo himself,he used to say that this has no effect in learning the art of aikido...

phitruong
12-12-2012, 07:26 AM
sushism and beerism :)

where is the pizzaism? body type - no thin crust!

Richard Stevens
12-12-2012, 07:39 AM
Hello,

One is what type of body type do you believe works best in Aikido.

Tim

Fit.

Cady Goldfield
12-12-2012, 08:52 AM
To address the OP,
It seems to me that the idea of an art like Aikido, is that any body type can practice it successfully, and that being large or small doesn't necessarily mean you'll have advantages or disadvantages unless you're considering being competitive with others.

The real issue, IMO, is not what kind of a body type you start with, but what you do to forge and "re-create" the way in which it carries itself and moves. This is where the concept of a connected body comes in. "Connected" here is used in the sense of how everything in your body carries itself and moves as an integrated entity, in a unified process and not in a chain of sequential movements.

Pretty much any body type can learn to do this. Morihei Ueshiba started training and re-forging himself this way, under Sokaku Takeda's teaching, when he was young, muscular and strong, but was still able to create great power when he had a body that was old, skinny, sick and frail, because he had taught his body to move in a very specific way that differed from the conventional mechanics of human-body movement.

gregstec
12-12-2012, 09:20 AM
Keeling isn't too foreign to beerism. I've known many to keel over after practicing beerism. Most have bypassed kneeling in their devotions entirely.

Yes, keel may have been a bit of a fruedian slip on my part since keeling over can come into play as well - also, kneeling has multiple applications with beerism, as when overindulging you can very easily find yourself kneeling over the commode :)

Greg

Krystal Locke
12-12-2012, 12:58 PM
Don't exactly understand why you ridicule my text?
Don't you understand it?
Don't you like it?
Did I push a button I didn't see?

I'm going to assume you're talking to me.

I am not ridiculing your text, I am just taking it in a different direction than the one you expect as an attempt at mild humor. I am doing that because, frankly, no, I do not understand it. The specific words you use are actually pretty vague and/or oddly used. Soft and smooth is equally useful in describing a fat person as a flexible and graceful person. I am fat, so I played on those words. You seem to be using the term connected in a specific way to mean something I know little about, so I took the term literally. Same with permeable.

Janet Rosen
12-12-2012, 01:08 PM
Short and fat atheist. Does that fit the expectations about the thread better, Janet? I sure remember some of our way back discussions of spirituality fondly. Your simple proof of why no god, if one existed at all, could be female still resonates and makes me smile.

:D

Carsten Möllering
12-13-2012, 02:35 AM
I am not ridiculing your text, I am just taking it in a different direction than the one you expect as an attempt at mild humor.
I offered a view of the core of what I practice and teach. I f you don't understand or don't want to or don't need to, feel free to laugh at it.

I used words/terms, which are quite common, precise and meaningfull in my context of practice and teaching. As I said before: If you don't understand, feel free to laugh.

My central statement was that there indeed can be seen a relation between body type and spiritual beliefs.

Christianity often states a kind of duality, the body is like an antagonist of spiriutal matters. So ther is nearly no body work in Christianity.

Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.

In Taoism bodywork is the very first step towards spirituality. Building, developing the body is not only a prerequirement, it is even part of spirituality.
So I talked about a certain shihan who connects his way of bodywork to taoist views.
And once more: If you don't understand or don't like to: Please feel free to laugh at those thoughts.

... so I took the term literally.
I take them literally too. Albeit the outcome is different.
To more and more understand that these terms are actually meant literally, I practice and teach in a certain way. I just work on what you laugh at.

I am fat, so I played on those words.
Implicitly I changed the meaning of "body type" as the OP used it ( i.e. thick, thin, big, small ...) to types of organizing/moving/structuring the body.

Krystal Locke
12-13-2012, 03:18 AM
I offered a view of the core of what I practice and teach. I f you don't understand or don't want to or don't need to, feel free to laugh at it.

I used words/terms, which are quite common, precise and meaningfull in my context of practice and teaching. As I said before: If you don't understand, feel free to laugh.

My central statement was that there indeed can be seen a relation between body type and spiritual beliefs.

Christianity often states a kind of duality, the body is like an antagonist of spiriutal matters. So ther is nearly no body work in Christianity.

Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.

In Taoism bodywork is the very first step towards spirituality. Building, developing the body is not only a prerequirement, it is even part of spirituality.
So I talked about a certain shihan who connects his way of bodywork to taoist views.
And once more: If you don't understand or don't like to: Please feel free to laugh at those thoughts.

I take them literally too. Albeit the outcome is different.
To more and more understand that these terms are actually meant literally, I practice and teach in a certain way. I just work on what you laugh at.

Implicitly I changed the meaning of "body type" as the OP used it ( i.e. thick, thin, big, small ...) to types of organizing/moving/structuring the body.

Still, I am not laughing at your thoughts, training, dictionary, methods, or motivations. I do not know what those are, I dont need to know what those are. My post was a simple play on words.

Carsten Möllering
12-13-2012, 03:47 AM
Ok.
I'm known to lack any sense of humor at all, when it comes to aikidō ...
I am also known to be hypersensitive. Not only when it comes to aikidō ...
Which is not a good combination to communicate with persons who are a little bit more relaxed than I am ...

I hope you are still and will stay connected and permeable in that sense, you mentioned!

NagaBaba
12-13-2012, 08:03 AM
Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.
.

I'm not sure it is a true.
Yoga practice precedes Buddhism, and was included in daily practice of very many Buddhists starting with Buddha himself :)

I'm talking here about a real Yoga practice (that includes very sophisticated spiritual concepts), not todays superficial substitute often found in our towns...

Also your remark about ‘a body as a one root of illusion’ - I disagree completely. It is my imperfect perception of the ‘higher’ reality that makes me believe that body (as part of all world around us) is somehow separate from ‘me’.
Particularly in early Buddhism, body training through Yoga practice was one of essential elements of spiritual development.
As a reference you may use “Indian philosophy” by S. Radhakrishnan who is an excellent reference for that matter.

Keith Larman
12-13-2012, 09:37 AM
Also your remark about ‘a body as a one root of illusion’ - I disagree completely. It is my imperfect perception of the ‘higher’ reality that makes me believe that body (as part of all world around us) is somehow separate from ‘me’.

It is not often that I agree with the bombastic one, but... What Szczepan said. :) The body shouldn't be neglected or seen in a negative light -- Just seen as it is. And like all creatures we need some degree of care, feeding, nurturing, ... How else did that Buddha guy end up with that gut? :P

Keith Larman
12-13-2012, 09:39 AM
Actually I do often agree with the man... But I often laugh and grab popcorn when he posts. Gotta respect someone who is willing to share his completely unfiltered opinions.

Cady Goldfield
12-13-2012, 10:17 AM
Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.

In Taoism bodywork is the very first step towards spirituality. Building, developing the body is not only a prerequirement, it is even part of spirituality.
So I talked about a certain shihan who connects his way of bodywork to taoist views.
And once more: If you don't understand or don't like to: Please feel free to laugh at those thoughts.


The concept of "Tao" is found within Buddhist thought, and even powerfully embraced in aspects of certain sects, particularly Zen/Chan/Sun Buddhism. A number of martial disciplines, both old (the samurai) and contemporary (I Liq Chuan) tap into the cultivation of dispassionate awareness that is a hallmark of both Zen and of Taoism.

lbb
12-13-2012, 11:05 AM
Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.

I think this is a common misconception, fostered by some arguably poor word choices in translation (particularly the word "illusion"). In English, we'd use the word "illusion" for something that doesn't really exist, but the Buddhist use of the word (in translation) might better be expressed as "impermanent" or "mutable". Buddhist thought certainly doesn't see the body as "illusionary" in the sense that it doesn't exist; it does see it as impermanent and changeable, like all things. This does not, however, mean that Buddhist spirituality is about transcendence ("leav[ing] the body behind"). It focuses instead on immanence, which goes hand in hand with the understanding that what is, here, now, will not be in the next instant.

Carsten Möllering
12-14-2012, 09:40 AM
Thank you all for your comments!

I'm definitely not an expert regarding Buddhism. I practiced zen only for about two years. And by now I know, that my teacher was not that advanced himself. And also my religous studies of this were not very intense.
I understand that in your practice buddhism is also about caring about one's body. Thank you: This is indeed new to me.

@ Szczepan:
I am aware of the affinity of yoga and buddhism, both: historical and contentual. But I saw both as autonomous systems. Intertwined in many way but still discret. What I didn't know until now is, that yoga can be integral part oft buddhist spirituality.

@ Cady:
Yes, tao is found in the context of buddhist thought. But is it an original buddhist concept or has it just been integrated into buddhist thought? This to me makes a difference. And has it or how has it been modified by being incorporated?

@ Mary:
I didn't mean "illusion" for something that doesn't exist. But to my understanding buddhism is a lot about that "what exists" creates illusions in our mind and understanding of who we are, how we are and what the world is. And to my understanding buddhist spirituality is a lot about getting rid of those illusions.
So for example in my practice this meant: Don't regard your body, don't regard pain or hunger. Sitting is not about regarding one's body and even not about regarding one's "self".

Cady Goldfield
12-14-2012, 10:50 AM
@ Cady:
Yes, tao is found in the context of buddhist thought. But is it an original buddhist concept or has it just been integrated into buddhist thought? This to me makes a difference. And has it or how has it been modified by being incorporated?


Carsten,
My 2-cents' worth, as I am not an expert on this topic, by any means... From what I've read in various historical writings, the concept of Tao and Taoism as a philosophy were already well established in China by the time Buddhist monks brought Buddhism there from India. Because Taoism was not a religion, and a number of its concepts were compatible with many aspects of Buddhist thought, the two easily meshed and resulted in Buddhist sects with varying degrees of Taoist thought integrated into them. Probably, Buddhism already had a number of like- or very similar concepts when it met Taoism, which is why the two were able to "hit it off."

That said, there were a lot of misunderstandings between the two systems due to the Babel of languages and dialects into which tracts of Taoism and Buddhism were translated and taught. So, a lot of the same words and terminology have completely different meanings to Taoism and to Buddhism. Large-scale confusion ensued. Gee, where have we heard that before? :D

But, one thread that seems to run through both before they met is the concept of separating emotion and cognitive thought from action, and of separating "self" from "being." In Taoism, it is becoming "One with the Tao"... a part of Nature and the universe not tied up in contemplating itself (and overcontemplating the world around it) and thus cluttering the Way. One must just "be." In Zen Buddhism and similar sects, this is similar to, if not the same as, the concept of "mu shin" (No Mind) - conditioning oneself to act correctly (see thread on "Old O Sensei video") without having to use conscious, verbal mental instruction that slows the process of initiation- to-execution of an action.

As relates to martial arts, this promotes, among other things, the ability to act in combat without pre-judging the situation, and to make in-the-moment decisions without mental clutter slowing down one's responses. It makes sense that some samurai-class folks would take on the practice of Zen to acquire pragmatic skills, if that's the only place such training could be accessed.

lbb
12-14-2012, 11:59 AM
@ Mary:
I didn't mean "illusion" for something that doesn't exist. But to my understanding buddhism is a lot about that "what exists" creates illusions in our mind and understanding of who we are, how we are and what the world is. And to my understanding buddhist spirituality is a lot about getting rid of those illusions.
So for example in my practice this meant: Don't regard your body, don't regard pain or hunger. Sitting is not about regarding one's body and even not about regarding one's "self".

Sure. Nor is it about regarding anything else. Again, we have filters: Buddhism says "Don't regard your body", and Western thought inspired by Christian morality says, "Aha, Buddhism is about denial of the body and the body's desires!" But of course it isn't.

Fred Little
12-14-2012, 02:29 PM
Buddhism nearly neglects the body, seeing it as one root of illusion. So buddhist spirituality tries to leave the body behind and there are certain ways to vanquish or bear down the body.

In Taoism bodywork is the very first step towards spirituality. Building, developing the body is not only a prerequirement, it is even part of spirituality.


Carsten,

While there is a basis for these shorthand characterizations, one of the factors that makes (at least some strains of) Japanese Buddhism unique is the fusion of Taoist and Buddhist influences that developed in T'ang-era China and was transmitted to Japan. This can be seen quite clear in the Shingon doctrine of "Sokushin Jobutsu" or "the attainment of Budhha-hood in this very body."

In this formulation, the body is regarded simultaneously the root of illusion AND the root of enlightenment. This is relevant to the larger discussion precisely because the Shingon and Tendai traditions were the ground out of which most extant sects of Japanese Buddhism arose. Doctrines vary from sect to sect, but it is quite possible that a Japanese instructor might proceed from a basis that is a blend of Taoist and Buddhist traditions.

Plus, also, what NagaBaba said....

Best,

FL

Fred Little
12-14-2012, 02:52 PM
Because Taoism was not a religion

This is a widely held, but incorrect view of Taoism. Both Taoism and Confucianism were and are religions, notwithstanding a century or so Western "scholarship" which was eager to present them as non-religious in character for a variety of reasons, most of them having to do with the close alignment between early East Asian scholarship and European diplomatic activities and objectives from the early 19th well into the 20th century, the focus of early scholar-diplomats on text-based "Great Books" studies which largely excluded much consideration of folk religious practice (although Aston's work on Shinto is a notable exception to that tendency), and finally what was then a conceptually limited notion of what constitutes "religion" in most Western scholarship.

The turn in the field of Asian religious studies is actually decades-old, but between the restrictions of copyright law, the large quantity of venerable popular works as well as newer popular works also based on older scholarship now in the public domain, and a number of other factors, the old misimpression has continued to linger longer than it ought.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Cady Goldfield
12-14-2012, 03:02 PM
Thanks, Fred, that is helpful. I had read a number of sources that matter-of-factly framed Taoism originally as a philosophy that later became a religion; likewise, similar tracts stated that Buddhism was first a philosophy in the hands of Siddhartha, but acquired a lot of deities and cosmic beings, along with layers of ritual complexity, as it was interpreted by the disciples, and then by disciples of disciples, and then adopted by various cultures that included their earlier belief systems. Do you know whether this is accurate or not, as well? Any suggested reading?

This is a widely held, but incorrect view of Taoism. Both Taoism and Confucianism were and are religions, notwithstanding a century or so Western "scholarship" which was eager to present them as non-religious in character for a variety of reasons, most of them having to do with the close alignment between early East Asian scholarship and European diplomatic activities and objectives from the early 19th well into the 20th century, the focus of early scholar-diplomats on text-based "Great Books" studies which largely excluded much consideration of folk religious practice (although Aston's work on Shinto is a notable exception to that tendency), and finally what was then a conceptually limited notion of what constitutes "religion" in most Western scholarship.

The turn in the field of Asian religious studies is actually decades-old, but between the restrictions of copyright law, the large quantity of venerable popular works as well as newer popular works also based on older scholarship now in the public domain, and a number of other factors, the old misimpression has continued to linger longer than it ought.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Fred Little
12-14-2012, 03:44 PM
Thanks, Fred, that is helpful. I had read a number of sources that matter-of-factly framed Taoism originally as a philosophy that later became a religion; likewise, similar tracts stated that Buddhism was first a philosophy in the hands of Siddhartha, but acquired a lot of deities and cosmic beings, along with layers of ritual complexity, as it was adopted by various cultures that included their earlier belief systems. Do you know whether this is accurate or not, as well? Any suggested reading?

I'll look at the shelf tonight. It's certainly the case that Buddhism was originally aniconographic and the development of an extensive iconography of deities, cosmic beings, and associated ritual practices (which was really a sort of adoption and re-valuative transformation of those entities and practices and their roles within the context of Buddhist thought). One of the longest strands of this kind that one can tease out is the Homa (or Goma) Fire rites, which are found throughout East Asian Buddhism and which can be traced all the way back to pre-Buddhist Vedic practices which were restricted to the Brahmanic class in India. One essential work that covers much of this is Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, edited by Richard Payne.

It's true that there were many "religious" ideas that the Gautama Buddha deemed irrelevant as "questions not tending to provide answers that relieve suffering." To follow on NagaBaba's notes above, there is pretty firm evidence that the Gautama Buddha studied a number of yoga systems (all of which he found lacking in one way or another). Does this mean they were necessary parts of his development to be emulated or dead ends which he exited? Buddhists disagree. Do deities exist? Buddhists disagree.

What Buddhists agree on is that deities, like everything else, have no inherent existence. Most Buddhists engage in a variety of ritual practices, some involving "deities," some not, some simple, some terrifyingly complex, to study the nature of existence and their response to it as sentient beings. So what makes a religion? The theory or the practice? The drapes or the windows?

What I would argue is that one has to be very selective about criteria to get an absolutely unequivocal answer to the question: Is Buddhism a religion? Which is a good place to mention Nagarjuna's tetralemma.....

The "non-religious" Buddhism of the 20th Century is, in many respects, a sort of curious variant which arose out of the work of Col. Henry Olcott and a bunch of jackleg Theosophists, the Fifth Buddhist Council (held in Burma in 1871, ostensibly sponsored by King Mindon, but actually underwritten by the British, who were trying to drive a wedge between the Buddhist communities of East Asian on the one hand, and Southeast and South Asia on the other. In the same period, British diplomat-scholars also tagged Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism as "Lamaism" and denied that it was Buddhist in anything but the most degenerate possible sense.), the subsequent revaluation and re-introduction of all of the above to American popular culture by the Beats, and then a reimportation of the variant to the East.

Fascinating stuff, but not the place to go if you're looking for clean-cut distinctions.

Best,

Fred

Cady Goldfield
12-14-2012, 09:33 PM
Thank you for that expansion. It may be fair to say that, given the subjectivity of the human mind, and the variability of human experience and conditions, no religious or philosophic concept remains in its original vehicle as established by its founder. The core message stays constant, but it gets dressed under layers of other people's and cultures' traditions and political agendas.

Even more interesting to me, was digging a little into some info on the Homa/Goma fire ritual, which made it from those pre-Buddhist Vedic, Brahmin practices you cited, all the way into Japanese esoteric Buddhism. It becomes apparent that while some individuals might take the ritual literally as an act of purification that actually drives out evil or invites in "positive energy," or as totally symbolic gestures that serve to remind the practitioner to make good things happen and to prevent and avoid the non-productive and deleterious through his own will and actions. And, the ritual itself seems to serve as a form of meditative catharsis, too. It's up to the practitioner to interpret for him/herself how to intepret it. Perhaps this is also true of other rituals and in determining whether deities and cosmic entities truly exist or are likewise symbols for deeper concepts of Buddhist thought.

RE: 20th-century Buddhism, it is fascinating that a bunch of self-important, self-made scholars ("jackleg Theosophists" is a great take-away; I am going to find some way to use that it somehow, somewhere, someday...) named themselves the arbitors of what constitutes "legitimate" Buddhism. The Dalai Lama of the Galug-pa likely didn't give a rodent's hindside what their conclusions were, I'll wager.

Now, to look into Nagarjuna's tetralemma. As if having a dilemma weren't enough.

amoeba
12-17-2012, 09:44 AM
I have often felt that a lot of techniques are easier for shorter poeople - being tall and lean makes it more difficult. Especially for stuff like koshi nage. Or kata dori men uchi techniques. They rely have to use their knees a lot... Also, a "compact" build (not fat, more like sporty/muscular) seems to help. But then I also know lots of good, tall aikidoka...

Fred Little
12-20-2012, 08:11 AM
Cady,

The best introduction to the Japanese Buddhism (in all of its perplexing diversity) that I could find on my shelves is:

http://www.amazon.com/Religions-Japan-Practice-George-Tanabe/dp/0691057893/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1356012591&sr=8-9&keywords=tanabe+buddhism

Hope this helps. Have a great holiday season!

Best,

Fred

Cady Goldfield
12-20-2012, 06:32 PM
Fred, thank you.
And, happy holidays.

Cady

dps
12-21-2012, 09:36 AM
A live body is best suited for Aikido practice

dps

dps
12-21-2012, 09:48 AM
What is a window? The empty space that the window frame surrounds.
What is a religion? The empty space that the religious frame surrounds.

dps

phitruong
12-21-2012, 12:27 PM
What is a window? The empty space that the window frame surrounds.
What is a religion? The empty space that the religious frame surrounds.

dps

sooo .....What is a blond? :D

dps
12-21-2012, 01:26 PM
sooo .....What is a blond? :D

Angry at you. :)