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Chris Li
07-21-2002, 07:46 AM
gThere is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.h

OK, without starting any religious wars, the above is a pretty good one line summation of Islam.

What would be your one line summation of Aikido and why? What I have in mind is a one line summation that grasps the central core or purpose of the art - I have a pretty good idea what I would say, but I'm curious as to what other people think...

Best,

Chris

DaveO
07-21-2002, 07:58 AM
One line? OK, how about:

"OW! My arm!!"

:D

Dave

Liz Baron
07-21-2002, 08:31 AM
If Aikido is the way of love, I could borrow a line from the new Rush album and say "There is never love without pain..."

:D

Liz

alex
07-21-2002, 08:37 AM
aikido is a graceful art but can deliver powerful attacks! that is why it is as good as any other,karat,kung fu etc...

people think it to be rubbish cos it has no punches or kicks they are very wrong as it can be more effective then karate and any other offensive art

mike lee
07-21-2002, 08:38 AM
Twisted arms and twisted legs,

after practice, let's go tap some kegs

:ai:

mike lee
07-21-2002, 09:10 AM
There is no god but Kami, and O'Sensei is his prophet. :D

P.S. All unbelievers, GET OUT OF MY DOJO!

erikmenzel
07-21-2002, 10:00 AM
Twisted arms and twisted legs,
Aikidoka are pretty twisted anyway :D :D :D

Deb Fisher
07-21-2002, 12:20 PM
grab my wrist

Kat.C
07-21-2002, 12:57 PM
Redirect, relocate, dislocate.

(The latter is optional)

shihonage
07-21-2002, 02:36 PM
Great for parties !

ChristianBoddum
07-21-2002, 02:49 PM
oops I did it again !

PeterR
07-21-2002, 06:59 PM
Mushin Mugamae

Chris Li
07-21-2002, 07:09 PM
Mushin Mugamae
Thanks Peter :).

This is exactly the kind of thing that I was looking for. As the Islamic profession of faith is the core upon which Islam is built, I'm trying to find out what the essential core is that people are building their Aikido around. That is, what is the central concept that drives your training? It doesn't have to be a set phrase, or even anything anybody has said before, just a basic concept that summarizes the core of your training.

For me, I would say something like "Aikido is the way of misogi through Budo", which is actually pretty close to "mushin mugamae", if you think about it...

Best,

Chris

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-23-2002, 09:43 AM
...I'm trying to find out what the essential core is that people are building their Aikido around. That is, what is the central concept that drives your training? It doesn't have to be a set phrase, or even anything anybody has said before, just a basic concept that summarizes the core of your training.
"Masagatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi"

During the time I spent studying with Seiseki Abe Sensei, we spent quite a lot of time on the origination of this phrase. He mentioned how O-Sensei drew from specific passages within the Kojiki to create this dynamic life-principle to rest at the core of his art. There is quite a bit of depth to each individual part of the expression, but it is the triangular relationship between them from which Aikido gets it strength. Many have tried to "translate" the words. However, this does not reveal anything about the intention (kotodama) of the words, nor how one should internalize the concept as a whole.
For me, I would say something like "Aikido is the way of misogi through Budo", which is actually pretty close to "mushin mugamae", if you think about it...
Hmmm, interesting thought. However, I would like to refine your statement based upon my direct experience of Misogi. How does, Aikido is the way of Budo through Misogi strike you?

Nacho_mx
07-23-2002, 10:18 AM
All you need is love...

Rinja Hents
07-23-2002, 10:28 AM
Harmony

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 04:55 PM
"Masagatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi"

During the time I spent studying with Seiseki Abe Sensei, we spent quite a lot of time on the origination of this phrase. He mentioned how O-Sensei drew from specific passages within the Kojiki to create this dynamic life-principle to rest at the core of his art.
This phrase was (as you say) drawn directly out of the Kojiki - John Stevens calls it the Aikido "slogan" :) . It's actually not so different than what I had in mind, but I prefer to leave emphasis on the "budo" element, since that's how M. Ueshiba presented his approach.

Still, if I had to pick a one-liner based on actual quotes from M. Ueshiba (or in this case, from phrases that he used often) that would probably be the one.

Hmmm, interesting thought. However, I would like to refine your statement based upon my direct experience of Misogi. How does, Aikido is the way of Budo through Misogi strike you?
I wouldn't, because it implies that you are doing misogi practice in order to further your budo - I believe that M. Ueshiba had the order the other way around.

Best,

Chris

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-24-2002, 09:15 AM
This phrase was (as you say) drawn directly out of the Kojiki - John Stevens calls it the Aikido "slogan" :) . It's actually not so different than what I had in mind, but I prefer to leave emphasis on the "budo" element, since that's how M. Ueshiba presented his approach.
...John Stevens... Funny that you mention him here as I almost put a caveat in my original post pointing to the shallow understanding of the phrase that he has published to date. Well, suffice it to say that Mr. Stevens may have his take on the meaning of the phrase, but it is clearly a definition of words based upon a cultural/religious understanding only. My Talks with Abe Sensei seem to reveal a definition much more grounded in reality, and requiring a daily practice of misogi to reveal the inner meaning.

I, as have many others of late, would venture to say that Mr. Stevens has done the world as much harm as good when it comes to shedding light on the mysteries of O-Sensei's Aikido. One could go as far as saying that he is but a scholar in Aikido Clothing. I have over the years met many whose aikido was in their head, and their head in some mystical cloud somewhere... O-Sensei was not in is head, and I might go far as saying that one may search a long time and never find aikido in their head or in a cloud...
I wouldn't, because it implies that you are doing misogi practice in order to further your budo - I believe that M. Ueshiba had the order the other way around.
I am glad to see that you understand the distinction that I was trying to make. I wonder what you might think, or how you might alter your training if O-Sensei were still to be alive, and you were to meet him, if he happened to make that same distinction to you? In fact, would not the entire aikido community have to spin itself on its axis and re-orient itself along that line of thinking, incorporating Misogi into their daily training as a way of discovering the real essence of Budo? Perhaps this might be what seems missing in so many of the "modern" lineages of aikido (and other "DO").

Perhaps we should move this over to its own thread...

Duarh
07-24-2002, 11:11 AM
Oneliners...about both I'm not sure whether I thought of them or read them somewhere

Give the devil your little finger and take the whole devil

There are no mistakes - only opportunities for more pain

Chris Li
07-24-2002, 05:12 PM
...John Stevens... Funny that you mention him here as I almost put a caveat in my original post pointing to the shallow understanding of the phrase that he has published to date. Well, suffice it to say that Mr. Stevens may have his take on the meaning of the phrase, but it is clearly a definition of words based upon a cultural/religious understanding only. My Talks with Abe Sensei seem to reveal a definition much more grounded in reality, and requiring a daily practice of misogi to reveal the inner meaning.

I, as have many others of late, would venture to say that Mr. Stevens has done the world as much harm as good when it comes to shedding light on the mysteries of O-Sensei's Aikido. One could go as far as saying that he is but a scholar in Aikido Clothing. I have over the years met many whose aikido was in their head, and their head in some mystical cloud somewhere... O-Sensei was not in is head, and I might go far as saying that one may search a long time and never find aikido in their head or in a cloud...
Have you trained with him? I have, and I had no complaints about his Aikido. I've talked with him, and read a lot of the sources that he uses, in the original Japanese, and he knows his stuff. It's the nature of the material that the presentation of it is quite difficult, even in the original language, but I think that he gets a bum rap a lot of the time. Certainly he gets a lot of criticism from people who haven't (and are incapable of) reading the original sources.

Best,

Chris

sanskara
07-25-2002, 04:06 AM
Have you trained with him? I have, and I had no complaints about his Aikido. I've talked with him, and read a lot of the sources that he uses, in the original Japanese, and he knows his stuff. It's the nature of the material that the presentation of it is quite difficult, even in the original language, but I think that he gets a bum rap a lot of the time. Certainly he gets a lot of criticism from people who haven't (and are incapable of) reading the original sources.

Best,

Chris
Chris,

It's not his sources or the material, per say, that people take issue with. It's his commentary and presentation (a difficult task to undertake or not.) He'll initially represent the material pretty much as I've seen it elsewhere, say, in Aikido Journal articles or in translated Shioda snippets.

Unfortunately, then he'll slip in a phrase like, "Surely, Morhihei was invicible or the strongest martial artist in the region," or some other unsubstantiated claim. And, of course, there are no footnotes to be found in his literature--something serious scholars always place after an unbelievable or likely to be challenged statement.

He's obviously too close to the material to give an objective presentation, and makes no attempt to hide bias, or to even consider that others may come along and question his conclusions.

So your relationship with him notwithstanding, there is just cause for people taking issue with his publications.

And you, Chris, are the first to criticize any unsubstantiated claim made by anyone in Aikido forums you frequent, so you of all people should be equally hesitant to put the seal of approval on Stevens' work. For some reason you're not, though. I'm guessing it's because you have a personal relationship with him and not because you've thoroughly read the Japanese sources. I know others who have studied the sources and very much dislike Stevens' slant on the material.

I believe Kisshomaru Ueshiba himself showed some concern, albeit mostly in private, about the nature of the claims presented in Stevens' work--something to think about. As I believe you also trained with him, and he of all people should have known his Father's life story.

JJF
07-25-2002, 06:44 AM
My best attempt of a 'one-liner' describing Aikido is in my signature below.

Chris Li
07-25-2002, 07:06 AM
Unfortunately, then he'll slip in a phrase like, "Surely, Morhihei was invicible or the strongest martial artist in the region," or some other unsubstantiated claim. And, of course, there are no footnotes to be found in his literature--something serious scholars always place after an unbelievable or likely to be challenged statement.
That's true, but it's also true that the bulk of what he's put out is not for serious scholarship - it's for popular consumption.
He's obviously too close to the material to give an objective presentation, and makes no attempt to hide bias, or to even consider that others may come along and question his conclusions.
I don't think that there's anything wrong with bias - just so long as you don't attempt to represent yourself as being unbiased. Speaking as a professional translator, there are (roughly speaking) two types of translation, literal and interpretive. Literal translation is technically the most accurate - a direct translation, if you will. Interpretive translation is less technically accurate because it is filtered through the viewpoint of the translator, but it may actually be more faithful to the meaning of the original in many cases. Literal translation is usually the best for technical documents, factual material and so forth, but fails miserably when translating (for example) fiction or poetry. I've read the sources he refers to, and there's really no way to translate M. Ueshiba literally and preserve anything like the flavor he has or the impression that he made in Japanese and on Japanese people. IMO, John Stevens does as good a job at what he does as Stan Pranin does in his own areas - and the two areas are really quite seperate.
So your relationship with him notwithstanding, there is just cause for people taking issue with his publications.
We don't really have a *relationship*, I've met him, spoken with him, and trained with him, but I'm not sure that whether or not he'd remember my name or not if we met tomorrow.
And you, Chris, are the first to criticize any unsubstantiated claim made by anyone in Aikido forums you frequent, so you of all people should be equally hesitant to put the seal of approval on Stevens' work. For some reason you're not, though. I'm guessing it's because you have a personal relationship with him and not because you've thoroughly read the Japanese sources. I know others who have studied the sources and very much dislike Stevens' slant on the material.
See the above.
I believe Kisshomaru Ueshiba himself showed some concern, albeit mostly in private, about the nature of the claims presented in Stevens' work--something to think about. As I believe you also trained with him, and he of all people should have known his Father's life story.
K. Ueshiba's presentation and approach is quite different, although I like it a great deal. I think that too much has been made out of the so-called "denunciation" of Stevens by Kisshomaru - if you examine the complaints that were made you'd see that most of them were quite minor. FWIW, K. Ueshiba also made some complaints about factual errors in Gozo Shioda's "Aikido Jinsei". Didn't do a bit to discredit Gozo Shioda in my eyes :) .

Best,

Chris

mike lee
07-25-2002, 07:11 AM
I'm trying to find out what the essential core is that people are building their Aikido around. That is, what is the central concept that drives your training?

If you want to get the right answer, you have to ask the right question -- while not hoping for an "expected" response.

"The essential core that people are building their Aikido around" is :ai: (haromony) with :ki: (energy). Most white belts know this. ;)

Chris Li
07-25-2002, 07:45 AM
If you want to get the right answer, you have to ask the right question -- while not hoping for an "expected" response.

"The essential core is that people are building their Aikido around" is :ai: (haromony) with :ki: (energy). Most white belts know this.
Well perhaps you are, but that doesn't mean that everybody is :) . People seem to have a number of different opinions on this point, which was why I was asking...

I wasn't expecting Peter's response (for example), since I tend to think mostly from an Aikikai viewpoint, but I don't disagree with it.

I have to note, however, that "aiki" is not really two words, it's a single word, and not one originated by M. Ueshiba.

Interestingly, in the beginning of "Take Musu Aiki" (which is really the most extensive work on the subject of Aikido in the founder's own words) M. Ueshiba attempts to define "Aikido", but he doesn't use :ai: (haromony) with :ki: (energy) as one of the examples :) . FWIW, he does give four definitions of what he believes that Aikido is. There's an accompanying passage for each point, but I'm not going to translate all that! Disclaimer - these are quick rough translations:

1) Aikido is the path of the eternal principles of the universe.

2) Aikido is the truth bestowed from heaven in the workings of Take Musu Aiki.

3) Aikido is the great way of harmony and entrance into the service to the path governing the universe.

4) Aikido is the mystery of Kotodama, the great way of universal Misogi.

Best,

Chris

mike lee
07-25-2002, 08:20 AM
This is exactly the kind of thing that I was looking for.

From my experience, more practice and less intellectualizing leads to greater understanding when skill is involved.

I would equate it to a physicyst who spends years trying to learn how to ride a bicycle through the use of theories and mathmatical formulas, while outside his window young children who are just learning how to add and subtract, quickly learn to ride with just a little practice and determination.

Even top racers like Lance Armstrong don't need a Ph.D. in physics to win the Tour de France.

Chris Li
07-25-2002, 05:05 PM
From my experience, more practice and less intellectualizing leads to greater understanding when skill is involved.

I would equate it to a physicyst who spends years trying to learn how to ride a bicycle through the use of theories and mathmatical formulas, while outside his window young children who are just learning how to add and subtract, quickly learn to ride with just a little practice and determination.

Even top racers like Lance Armstrong don't need a Ph.D. in physics to win the Tour de France.
"Bunbu ichi" - "military matters and literary matters are one". Fairly well known Japanese maxim, and one adhered to by many well known figures - where would we be if Morihei Ueshiba had forgone study with Deguchi in favor of training with Takeda? I wouldn't advocate skimping on practice in favor of intellectualizing, but in the same vein I wouldn't advocate skimping on intellectualizing in favor of practice either.

Lance Armstrong may not need a Ph.D. in physics to ride a bike fast, but if he ever wants to do more than that he'll have to put in some study time in addition to his physical training.

And before it comes up, if that's what you're trying to imply, I do actually train a fair amount - haven't had a single rest day in the last 3 months...

It's not the training that's so tough - it's those 20K runs in the Tokyo summers that are the hardest :).

Best,

Chris

mike lee
07-27-2002, 12:02 PM
Sitting next to pine

As mid-summer moon rises

Cicada keep time

Paula Lydon
08-08-2002, 12:16 AM
I surrender to the moment, to the YES! of my life no matter its form.:ai: :ki:

George S. Ledyard
08-08-2002, 01:34 AM
From my experience, more practice and less intellectualizing leads to greater understanding when skill is involved.

I would equate it to a physicyst who spends years trying to learn how to ride a bicycle through the use of theories and mathmatical formulas, while outside his window young children who are just learning how to add and subtract, quickly learn to ride with just a little practice and determination.

Even top racers like Lance Armstrong don't need a Ph.D. in physics to win the Tour de France.
Actually these days there is no one performing in athletics at the world class level who doesn't have an entire staff of experts supporting their training with the scientific expertise needed to optimize performance. Lance may not have a Phd but he almost certainly has folks who do working with him.

Joshua Livingston
08-08-2002, 04:53 AM
gThere is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.h

OK, without starting any religious wars, the above is a pretty good one line summation of Islam.

What would be your one line summation of Aikido and why? What I have in mind is a one line summation that grasps the central core or purpose of the art - I have a pretty good idea what I would say, but I'm curious as to what other people think...

Best,

Chris
(Through Aiki) Blend to create harmony.

(could be added)

First within one's self and then everything else as you become the universe.

mike lee
08-08-2002, 10:47 AM
Actually these days there is no one performing in athletics at the world class level who doesn't have an entire staff of experts supporting their training with the scientific expertise needed to optimize performance. Lance may not have a Phd but he almost certainly has folks who do working with him.

Great input George! Perhaps I'll hire an army of experts to support my aikido training. But since I'm not independently wealthy, I'll need a sponsor. Armstrong already has the US Postal Service -- perhaps the FBI or the CIA will sponsor me. If not, maybe I could entice some companies like Nike, Coke, or McDonald's. Of course then I'll have to wear their logos on my gi. Could end up looking like one of those Brazilian jujitsu guys! But hey, then I'd have a shot at being world class!

One-liner conclusion: Modern aikidoist need corporate sponsorship to progress in their art.