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aiki-jujutsuka
03-25-2013, 03:26 PM
So I've been watching the Nishio Aikido dvd series, I bought and downloaded on aikidojournal.com. I have been greatly inspired by his approach to maintaining the martial integrity of Aikido, and many of his variations to training that are designed to emphasize the place of atemi in Aikido, appear like a bridge into Aikido for me from my Aiki-Jujutsu experience. His commitment to teaching the Ken and Jo techniques that have influenced the empty hand techniques is also very praise worthy, and the Samurai heritage of the art is very compelling to me. However, the very reason for the dvd series is a defence of Aikido as a martial art or budo.

As a student of aiki and jujutsu (I say that deliberately as I am trying to walk the twin path of Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu) I want to know how we define "martial"? If Aikido is questioned by the martial arts community as whether it can be considered a martial art, then what do we mean by "martial"? Is there a universal definition for martial? When we speak of "martial art" does Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Kick-boxing, Iaido, Kendo, Kung Fu etc. understand the same thing? I mean I know the arts are different - some are grappling arts, others striking, yet others weapons based but are there underlying principles that unite all of them underneath the umbrella of martial art and if so then where does the question come from regarding Aikido's place within this umbrella?

From what I've read about O'Sensei's understanding of the true nature of budo, it differed radically from the traditional concept but nevertheless he was a serious martial artist (having trained in multiple disciplines) who was well respected amongst his peers (I've heard Jigoro Kano had very complimentary things to say about Aikido). Why then do so many modern students of Aikido not share the same respect O'Sensei earnt?

Cliff Judge
03-25-2013, 03:43 PM
To what extent do you require your uke to cooperate with your technique for it to work? That's pretty much an equivalent question to "is your technique martial."

odudog
03-25-2013, 06:37 PM
In the old days, people fought to the death or until someone was seriously crippled. This is what Takeda did and people knew it. People knew that Osensei learned from Takeda so that ferocity was transferred. Osensei hurt a lot of highly trained martial artists.

We don't do that anymore, at least not publicly. So that respect is not given by the modern smash artists. They have the attitude that if I don't see it, then it's not true. I talked to bjj/mma instructor and he reiterated this same statement. He said that kotegaeshi doesn't work for he isn't going to leave his jab out there for his wrist to be grabbed.. A lot of what we do is so subtle or internal that the smash artist just can't see it so the won't give the respect due.

Dan Richards
03-25-2013, 10:30 PM
Ewen, Nishio didn't think very highly of the Samurai, said they were shit. Nor did he think very highly of most of what's passed off as aikido. Even in the videos he finally made, he goes on multiple times saying that "99% of aikido is ineffective."

In almost all cases, what Nishio gets into, is that the very first movement - the opening - is absolutely vital, and the beginning and the end of the story. He shows how a lot of aikido disregards that first step, and then just proceeds to prance around and deliver the finishing techniques - nikyo, kote gaeshi, shihonage, etc.

If you watch Nishio, he makes a big use of of what he's called something along the lines of the "dead zone." And one of them is uses is 10 degrees off the line of attack. Play around with it yourself. Step off the line 10 degrees and see that uke can not touch you from there. Then try 20, 30 - you'll see quite clearly that you'll get plowed - because if nage is in that position, uke can do all sorts of things, and nage is quite limited. And by then, it's all too late.

10 degrees off the line also does something else; with the first entering step - and the corresponding tai sabaki that manifests from it - your reach magically gets about 9" longer than what it was when uke committed to the attack. That atemi, whether actually delivered as a physical force, is still applied as an energetic force. Uke's center is taken, they are unbalanced, and they kind strike you and kick you and make use of any kind of weapon they may have.

Another interesting thing about Nishio's openings, is that any of them - when applied correctly - are effective against any attack. Think about that. Any opening is effective against any attack.

The important thing that's missed in a lot of aikido - and personally, I think it was because aikido steps became infection with karate steps and range - is that aikido's initial movement is a half step. Not a whole step. You can see even shihan in aikido taking whole steps to 30-45 degrees off the line. That's not martially effective aikido.

Now, if you were a karateka and you were faster and stronger and you wanted to deliver a crushing blow - that would send uke away from you - then, by all means - take a whole step to 30-45 degrees, and knock out uke. But there again, a crushing blow and sending uke away from nage is the antithesis of aikido. Effective aikido invites uke into nage's space. Nage does not disrupt uke's breathing.

Play with it yourself. Take one of the initial openings from the Nishio video. Don't even be concerning with whatever finishing technique he's doing. Just the initial movement. Play with it. Most of them involve a half step 10 degrees off line - whether that half step is forward or lateral. After you've worked with one, just one, have uke try various attacks. Start with hand grabs, then tsukis, then kicks, then weapons. Just do the same movement. Don't even change sides. You'll find that even doing the same opening movement to the same side, uke will not be able to do anything, regardless if they kick left, punch right, haymaker, bottle to the head, kick to the groin.

We've tested this over and over, not only with other aikidoka, but with uke from various arts. We even get kids in on it - getting attacked by adults with bokkens. As long as that first initial movement is done correctly and at the right time - the show stops there.

Hope that helps some. Interested to hear about your explorations. Cheers...

aiki-jujutsuka
03-26-2013, 11:05 AM
Ewen, Nishio didn't think very highly of the Samurai, said they were shit. Nor did he think very highly of most of what's passed off as aikido. Even in the videos he finally made, he goes on multiple times saying that "99% of aikido is ineffective."



But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective?

The dead zone is something that I've heard of before, getting off the centre line. I will be sure to try and practice moving 10 degrees off line after Easter.

I think Nishio Aikido is going to be very important to my own development as I try to internalize the methods, principles and techniques.

Cliff Judge
03-26-2013, 11:51 AM
But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective?

I feel like the reason you don't have the answer to these questions has to do with the fact that you believe there is a difference between "Aikido" and "aiki-jujutsu".

Demetrio Cereijo
03-26-2013, 11:55 AM
But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective? .

What has rank to do with effectiveness?

aiki-jujutsuka
03-26-2013, 12:06 PM
What has rank to do with effectiveness?

I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.

aiki-jujutsuka
03-26-2013, 12:27 PM
I feel like the reason you don't have the answer to these questions has to do with the fact that you believe there is a difference between "Aikido" and "aiki-jujutsu".

What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?

phitruong
03-26-2013, 12:34 PM
What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?

wondering if you have read this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15096

grondahl
03-26-2013, 12:43 PM
I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.

Maybe he just found the ideals and teachings of Ueshiba to be more important than waza? Maybe the paradox of non-violence and martial integrity was as faschinating to him as it is to so many others?

aiki-jujutsuka
03-26-2013, 12:51 PM
wondering if you have read this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15096

wow, a very detailed analysis and comparison - 82% correlation between Aikido and Daito-Ryu that is very a impressive statistic! Thank you.:)

Cliff Judge
03-26-2013, 01:13 PM
What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?

What is the purpose of any of these techniques? What is the purpose of any of these martial arts?

Dan Richards
03-26-2013, 01:28 PM
I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.

Oh, he thought Ueshiba's aikido was effective. What he saw that he didn't feel to be valid as a martial art was the way most people were training aikido. You have to understand that Ueshiba was, among other things, highly skilled with weapons. And Nishio was one of the very few students who actually became skilled in the use of weapons, and also incorporated them intimately in his aikido development. He didn't actually have to give up aikido, he was allowed to develop his own discoveries, Nishio Aikido. So he did start his own ryu.

Nishio was critical of aikido teachers and practices that don't employ atemi and weapons. You'd be hard pressed to find a direct student of Ueshiba who continuously harps on the principles of aikido and budo to the degree that Nishio does.

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/05/15/shoji-nishio-aikidos-innovative-genius-by-stanley-pranin/

philipsmith
03-27-2013, 06:52 AM
I think one of the things we have to bear in mind is the context here.

Aikido training is ineffective martially 90-99% of the time but that prepares the trainee/student for the 1% of martial effectiveness.

This is not unique - think of the rounds of sparring a boxer requires before a competitive bout.

The problem arises when we forget the 1%.

jonreading
03-27-2013, 01:24 PM
In Western context, martial is a reference to combat education systems organized and disseminated for the purpose of combat training. In the classical sense, hand-to-hand combat would be a martial art just as tactics and strategy (board games) and communications (literacy). From this:
1. Most "martial arts" in the classical sense have ceased evolution in combat effectiveness. They derive the legitimacy of the "martial" claim from an historical perspective, not a current application.
2. "Martial arts" were originally disseminated using a militaristic education paradigm. The current [mainstream] dissemination style is inconsistent with the militaristic style.

Aikido is a martial art. For those doing aikido, it is an effective and powerful system on which to base modern combat technique. The fact that:
A. "Aikido" has marginalized "aiki do" and removed much of the effectiveness of the foundation of aikido.
B. "Aikido" has marginalized the instruction of an effective combat system (kicking, punching, etc.)
C. "Aikido" has emphasized the philosophical foundation of training as a market niche

O'Sensei, and some of his deshi, possessed a strong foundation in aiki, on which they laid a strong fighting system. "Aikido" right now is struggling to express aiki, and we have no fighting system in place once we do express aiki. You're left with a lot of talk and pointing to a picture of a guy that could do it - you can only get so much ethos that way...

Cliff Judge
03-27-2013, 01:42 PM
"Aikido" right now is struggling to express aiki,

I am surprised that it even qualifies as a struggle. Last time I checked, martial arts lack arms, legs, and entire bodies, which I think would be prerequisites for expressing aiki.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2013, 06:16 AM
What is the purpose of any of these techniques? What is the purpose of any of these martial arts?

Better yet...what is your personal reason for training. That drives what u do, or should more than anything else. Two people can be side by side in same dojo and be doing entirely two different things with respect to martial quality.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2013, 06:18 AM
Great post Jon...sums it up for me.

Bernd Lehnen
03-28-2013, 08:26 AM
Great post Jon...sums it up for me.

Concise.

Cliff Judge
03-28-2013, 09:15 AM
Better yet...what is your personal reason for training. That drives what u do, or should more than anything else. Two people can be side by side in same dojo and be doing entirely two different things with respect to martial quality.

Yes. I tend to not think that either of these two hypothetical people have grounds to criticize the art because of what the other one is doing.

OwlMatt
03-28-2013, 10:40 AM
A "martial art" that actually functions as effective preparation for real combat is an extremely rare thing. So any definition of "martial" for which combat effectiveness is an essential criterion must be discarded, or else we need to come up with a new name for 99% of martial arts.

With all that in mind, my definition of a "martial art" is one (a) whose techniques are descended from an origin in physical conflict, and (b) which is ideally practiced with the dangers of physical conflict in mind.

Rob Watson
03-28-2013, 01:42 PM
All this time I thought it was a marital art .... my wife is gonna kill me.

When you do it right you don't die ... when you do it wrong you die. Works for both marital and martial arts.

Dan Rubin
03-28-2013, 03:55 PM
I want to know how we define "martial"...

...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?

Mert Gambito
03-28-2013, 04:13 PM
...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?
And, is "art" even the most appropriate word to use, i.e. as the choice for representing -do or -jutsu? (Personally, I'm OK with it.)

OwlMatt
03-28-2013, 04:16 PM
...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?

Because that is a different conversation entirely.

aiki-jujutsuka
03-28-2013, 06:29 PM
...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?

Nishio Sensei didn't create his own ryu of Aikido because he was dissatisfied with Aikido as an art form but as budo. Aikido's critics do not question it as an art form, they question it's combat/martial effectiveness. This is why I wanted to know whether there is a universal understanding/definition of what martial is, because it is important to the debate within the martial arts community. I've read people criticise Aikido for the techniques requiring too much compliancy to work, I've read criticisms for its apparent lack of atemi, I've read criticisms for its lack of competition and therefore the techniques being "untested". I have never read of anyone who criticises Aikido as an art form, for it not being sophisticated enough or not aesthetic or not philosophically satisfying etc.

For me Aikido is the epitomy of a martial art. It's techniques come from well established jutsu arts and their adaptation has resulted in a very pure, even beautiful use of blending and harmonization with your opponent's energy that is both martial and humanitarian. To watch Aikido being demonstrated is a wonderful experience, to see the waza being executed masterfully and their resulting effect in protecting uke and nage is truly art in motion.

Tore Eriksson
03-29-2013, 02:17 AM
Nishio Sensei didn't create his own ryu of Aikido because he was dissatisfied with Aikido as an art form but as budo.

Off topic, but as far as I know Nishio-sensei never created his own ryu even if some people seem to try to create one now. I suppose you could call his Toho Iai "Nishio-ryu Iaido", but in that case who is the current soke?

Cliff Judge
03-29-2013, 09:53 AM
Nishio Sensei didn't create his own ryu of Aikido because he was dissatisfied with Aikido as an art form but as budo. Aikido's critics do not question it as an art form, they question it's combat/martial effectiveness. This is why I wanted to know whether there is a universal understanding/definition of what martial is, because it is important to the debate within the martial arts community. I've read people criticise Aikido for the techniques requiring too much compliancy to work, I've read criticisms for its apparent lack of atemi, I've read criticisms for its lack of competition and therefore the techniques being "untested". I have never read of anyone who criticises Aikido as an art form, for it not being sophisticated enough or not aesthetic or not philosophically satisfying etc.

For me Aikido is the epitomy of a martial art. It's techniques come from well established jutsu arts and their adaptation has resulted in a very pure, even beautiful use of blending and harmonization with your opponent's energy that is both martial and humanitarian. To watch Aikido being demonstrated is a wonderful experience, to see the waza being executed masterfully and their resulting effect in protecting uke and nage is truly art in motion.

The compliance issue is the only thing that really matters here; that's why I maintain that a good test for "martial" is whether you can make it work on someone who doesn't want it to work. There is a catch-22 here in that Aikido looks and feels much better when uke just goes with it completely. When you test each other things get more abrupt and rougher and sometimes techniques become unrecognizable.

I don't care much about atemi personally; I come from a dojo where we focus on it as much as possible without actually breaking out the pads and gloves, and my feeling is that if you want to actually be able to use atemi effectively, you need to break out the pads and gloves, which is going to be time taken from more important areas of training.

I believe competitive training is a martial cul-de-sac.

The "debate among the martial arts community" is for suckers. Any kind of martial arts training requires that you invest time, effort, and pure faith in what you are doing; obviously people outside of Aikido will be looking at it from significantly different cognitive frameworks. The fact that aikidoka are so critical of their own art is something I used to read as a great strength for people willing to stay in the art, before various folks decided we needed to change it to be more of a Kodokai Tai Chi.

Off topic, but as far as I know Nishio-sensei never created his own ryu even if some people seem to try to create one now. I suppose you could call his Toho Iai "Nishio-ryu Iaido", but in that case who is the current soke?

FWIW a "ryu" does not require a soke.

phitruong
03-29-2013, 10:28 AM
When you do it right you don't die ... when you do it wrong you die. Works for both marital and martial arts.

only one of them that you wish you would die instead. :)

aiki-jujutsuka
03-29-2013, 10:35 AM
The compliance issue is the only thing that really matters here; that's why I maintain that a good test for "martial" is whether you can make it work on someone who doesn't want it to work. There is a catch-22 here in that Aikido looks and feels much better when uke just goes with it completely. When you test each other things get more abrupt and rougher and sometimes techniques become unrecognizable.

I don't care much about atemi personally; I come from a dojo where we focus on it as much as possible without actually breaking out the pads and gloves, and my feeling is that if you want to actually be able to use atemi effectively, you need to break out the pads and gloves, which is going to be time taken from more important areas of training.

I believe competitive training is a martial cul-de-sac.

The "debate among the martial arts community" is for suckers. Any kind of martial arts training requires that you invest time, effort, and pure faith in what you are doing; obviously people outside of Aikido will be looking at it from significantly different cognitive frameworks. The fact that aikidoka are so critical of their own art is something I used to read as a great strength for people willing to stay in the art, before various folks decided we needed to change it to be more of a Kodokai Tai Chi.

FWIW a "ryu" does not require a soke.

I agree with you. What you said about people outside of Aikido looking at it from a different cognitive framework is what I was driving at in my original post. Take Karate for example, many styles of Karate toughen their fists through hand strengthening exercises such as punching wooden beams with rope wound around it or slapping rocks. Now if this was the criteria for what constitutes martial, then this would suit Karateka. Aikido does not pursue such exercises and would therefore by default fail this test.

There are many people who criticise Aikido because they are using a totally different framework of reference for what is martial. I don't think this is fair. Aikido develops the body and mind in a very different way to many martial arts, especially combat sports. This does not make it less "martial" only that it emphasises different aspects of what it means to be a martial art.

Mert Gambito
03-29-2013, 01:13 PM
a good test for "martial" is whether you can make it work on someone who doesn't want it to work.
✓.

graham christian
03-29-2013, 01:59 PM
Nishio Sensei didn't create his own ryu of Aikido because he was dissatisfied with Aikido as an art form but as budo. Aikido's critics do not question it as an art form, they question it's combat/martial effectiveness. This is why I wanted to know whether there is a universal understanding/definition of what martial is, because it is important to the debate within the martial arts community. I've read people criticise Aikido for the techniques requiring too much compliancy to work, I've read criticisms for its apparent lack of atemi, I've read criticisms for its lack of competition and therefore the techniques being "untested". I have never read of anyone who criticises Aikido as an art form, for it not being sophisticated enough or not aesthetic or not philosophically satisfying etc.

For me Aikido is the epitomy of a martial art. It's techniques come from well established jutsu arts and their adaptation has resulted in a very pure, even beautiful use of blending and harmonization with your opponent's energy that is both martial and humanitarian. To watch Aikido being demonstrated is a wonderful experience, to see the waza being executed masterfully and their resulting effect in protecting uke and nage is truly art in motion.

I like this post. Personally the only place I have ever seen criticism of Aikido has been on forums but not in real life. So I have been a bit bemused when ever reading how 'others' see Aikido. In fact I see more criticism from within than from without.

As far as effectiveness goes in the minds of public or other arts for that matter I think Mr. Seagal took care of that one.

The one thing I find strange overall is the idea put forward that people 'hang their arms out there' and this in my opinion is down pure and simply to a lack of understanding of a fundamental principle of Aikido which is that it deals with motion and energy. Thus there is no fight. No against. No referee.

I never use the word 'mindset' either as I feel that leads to strange ideas too but if I did I would only say there are a set of minds within the framework of budo.

Martial to me implies facing danger or potential death, originally the latter, thus great discipline needed. Also I would add he of a martial disposition would 'come alive' from the viewpoint of one versus the many, ten versus a hundred etc. Progress from there and you get one harmonizing with and bringing harmony to the many. Small steps long journey but only achievable if you know where you are going. With enough skills, no different to any other realm of life, one may reach the condition of artist.

Peace.G.

Bernd Lehnen
03-29-2013, 02:35 PM
I like this post. Personally the only place I have ever seen criticism of Aikido has been on forums but not in real life. So I have been a bit bemused when ever reading how 'others' see Aikido. In fact I see more criticism from within than from without.

As far as effectiveness goes in the minds of public or other arts for that matter I think Mr. Seagal took care of that one.

The one thing I find strange overall is the idea put forward that people 'hang their arms out there' and this in my opinion is down pure and simply to a lack of understanding of a fundamental principle of Aikido which is that it deals with motion and energy. Thus there is no fight. No against. No referee.

I never use the word 'mindset' either as I feel that leads to strange ideas too but if I did I would only say there are a set of minds within the framework of budo.

Martial to me implies facing danger or potential death, originally the latter, thus great discipline needed. Also I would add he of a martial disposition would 'come alive' from the viewpoint of one versus the many, ten versus a hundred etc. Progress from there and you get one harmonizing with and bringing harmony to the many. Small steps long journey but only achievable if you know where you are going. With enough skills, no different to any other realm of life, one may reach the condition of artist.

Peace.G.

In the context of aikido, why would we only look at "martial" and not equally at "art"?

"The function of fighting techniques is to effectively cause injury or incapacitation to another person so as to end a fight. The purpose of a martial art however can be to improve the individual's capacity when necessary to efficiently and humanely defend themselves by fighting techniques and, when possible, potentially make use of such violent force superfluous. It's the Martial that provides the how, but it's the Art that decides the why. For techniques alone do not hold values, Arts do. It is here where meaning is found for practice to go beyond utility for potential self-defense situations."

You may read the full article " The Challenge of defining a martial art" here:

http://www.thearma.org/essays/Defining-A-Martial-Art.html

graham christian
03-29-2013, 03:51 PM
In the context of aikido, why would we only look at "martial" and not equally at "art"?

"The function of fighting techniques is to effectively cause injury or incapacitation to another person so as to end a fight. The purpose of a martial art however can be to improve the individual's capacity when necessary to efficiently and humanely defend themselves by fighting techniques and, when possible, potentially make use of such violent force superfluous. It's the Martial that provides the how, but it's the Art that decides the why. For techniques alone do not hold values, Arts do. It is here where meaning is found for practice to go beyond utility for potential self-defense situations."

You may read the full article " The Challenge of defining a martial art" here:

http://www.thearma.org/essays/Defining-A-Martial-Art.html

I myself look equally at art. Firstly though I do not see Aikido as fighting so the above doesn't apply. I do not see Aikido as self defence either as I see it as a 'selfless' pursuit. To handle the attacker without thought of self and therefor no self defence. The martial is indeed the how. Art does not imply purpose to me and therefor has nothing to do with the why. Why is only and always be solely to do with your purpose. The purpose of the art of aikido in my opinion is harmony. To reach a competency level of 'artist' is another matter.

Peace.G.

Cliff Judge
03-29-2013, 04:19 PM
I myself look equally at art. Firstly though I do not see Aikido as fighting so the above doesn't apply. I do not see Aikido as self defence either as I see it as a 'selfless' pursuit. To handle the attacker without thought of self and therefor no self defence. The martial is indeed the how. Art does not imply purpose to me and therefor has nothing to do with the why. Why is only and always be solely to do with your purpose. The purpose of the art of aikido in my opinion is harmony. To reach a competency level of 'artist' is another matter.

Peace.G.

You see it as selfless - why does it also have to have a purpose?

graham christian
03-29-2013, 04:23 PM
You see it as selfless - why does it also have to have a purpose?

Without purpose there is no action.

Peace.G.

graham christian
03-29-2013, 08:19 PM
My purpose is to improve the attackers well being.

Peace.G.

Lorien Lowe
03-30-2013, 01:36 AM
I am not even remotely interested in 'improving an attacker's well-being.' I would prefer to not permanently damage him too much in the process of bringing the situation under my control, but if there's a choice between my health and his, it was made when he chose to attack me.

To take a similar situation, a patient who is out of their own control in the ER: in that case, I feel responsible for the patient's well-being and the goal is to improve their physical and mental health, ideally to the point that they're not a danger to themselves or others. Still, though, there's a situation where we can put two people on each limb and another one or two for the torso, so there's not a lot of danger for staff involved baring a really unusual situation. Most of these folks don't strike out so much as they just try to escape.

I suppose the overlap would be an attacker who was clearly mentally deranged (ie, hallucinating); I'd feel worse about hurting them than I would feel about hurting random Joe Schmuck trying to take out his frustration for his miserable life in my blood, the same way he would vandalize a public bathroom or uproot a sapling tree in a park. Still, though, his well-being would come second to mine. I don't have some deep-seated sense that putting other lives before one's own life is intrinsically a morally superior position.

graham christian
03-30-2013, 04:43 AM
I am not even remotely interested in 'improving an attacker's well-being.' I would prefer to not permanently damage him too much in the process of bringing the situation under my control, but if there's a choice between my health and his, it was made when he chose to attack me.

To take a similar situation, a patient who is out of their own control in the ER: in that case, I feel responsible for the patient's well-being and the goal is to improve their physical and mental health, ideally to the point that they're not a danger to themselves or others. Still, though, there's a situation where we can put two people on each limb and another one or two for the torso, so there's not a lot of danger for staff involved baring a really unusual situation. Most of these folks don't strike out so much as they just try to escape.

I suppose the overlap would be an attacker who was clearly mentally deranged (ie, hallucinating); I'd feel worse about hurting them than I would feel about hurting random Joe Schmuck trying to take out his frustration for his miserable life in my blood, the same way he would vandalize a public bathroom or uproot a sapling tree in a park. Still, though, his well-being would come second to mine. I don't have some deep-seated sense that putting other lives before one's own life is intrinsically a morally superior position.

So If I read the above correctly then you are interested in improving the attackers well being. So that clears that up.

To say their well being comes second to yours is a separate issue. If you see my view as some morally superior position then I would say you are missing the point.

Firstly the point is to do with martial and I say that is a martial attitude.

Secondly I am saying it is the Aikido view in essence and in alignment with the words of O'Sensei and the Aikido 'path' as a spiritual discipline.

Thirdly and more importantly to me personally throughout my experience in Aikido it is the one most common reason unfortunately that many do not fully grasp or understand what O'Sensei was actually talking about and thus hinder their own Ki development.

Fourthly I will say that unless selfless application is applied with the purpose as described and thus the true Goal in my opinion then those without such will never gain the true fruits of the wonderful art.

Peace.G.

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2013, 10:43 AM
A "martial art" that actually functions as effective preparation for real combat is an extremely rare thing. So any definition of "martial" for which combat effectiveness is an essential criterion must be discarded, or else we need to come up with a new name for 99% of martial arts.

With all that in mind, my definition of a "martial art" is one (a) whose techniques are descended from an origin in physical conflict, and (b) which is ideally practiced with the dangers of physical conflict in mind.

Having practiced Martial Arts for years and then eventually integrating them into what I do in the Military, and being trained in CQB and Combatives, I have found it to be a multi-faceted thing with about as many opinions and perspectives as there are people.

What prepares people for "real combat"? hard to say and my opinions changes frequently. There are techniques, tactics, and proceedures (TTPs) which will vary depending upon conditions, experiences, and technology etc. There are foundational skills that don't seem to change such as being in good shape, the ability to move efficiently, and the ability to think clearly in the fog of war.

So, does parkour training qualify as a martial art? These days I think someone well versed and in good shape in parkour would do very well in combat or in hand to hand given some basic training in the TTPs required of H2H.

So, I think the realm of what constitutes a martial art can be quite large, and of course, Aikido CAN fit well within that realm as long as it is trained with the proper focus and perspective. As I stated, I believe that two guys can be side by side and get entirely two different things out of training.

So, is there a need to be able to execute a Shionage in combat today? most likely not, however, a good understanding of the mechanics of Shionage can be very helpful in understanding things martially.

Marc Abrams
03-30-2013, 10:50 AM
Having practiced Martial Arts for years and then eventually integrating them into what I do in the Military, and being trained in CQB and Combatives, I have found it to be a multi-faceted thing with about as many opinions and perspectives as there are people.

What prepares people for "real combat"? hard to say and my opinions changes frequently. There are techniques, tactics, and proceedures (TTPs) which will vary depending upon conditions, experiences, and technology etc. There are foundational skills that don't seem to change such as being in good shape, the ability to move efficiently, and the ability to think clearly in the fog of war.

So, does parkour training qualify as a martial art? These days I think someone well versed and in good shape in parkour would do very well in combat or in hand to hand given some basic training in the TTPs required of H2H.

So, I think the realm of what constitutes a martial art can be quite large, and of course, Aikido CAN fit well within that realm as long as it is trained with the proper focus and perspective. As I stated, I believe that two guys can be side by side and get entirely two different things out of training.

So, is there a need to be able to execute a Shionage in combat today? most likely not, however, a good understanding of the mechanics of Shionage can be very helpful in understanding things martially.

Kevin:

Thank you for that bracing dose of reality! I can see your smile from across the pond, reading comments about the concept of "martial" from those quite removed from the reality of martial.

Marc Abrams

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2013, 11:05 AM
attackers and their well being.

At some point I think as a budoka, we have to make a decision about right and wrong. Hopefully we have taken the time to survey ourselves and our beliefs and weighed them against others and made a moral decision about right and wrong.

In doing so, we accept that we, at some level, have become judge and jury over the actions we decide to take in the employment of our martial skills or faculties.

That is, we have to make a choice about the actions we take against another's.

In doing so, in most cases, we have placed our values at a higher priority than another's. That is, we have determined that we must stop whatever "harm" the other person is doing to us or another. In a sense, we have placed our moral judgement on a higher ground than his.

I think we have an obligation to cause as less harm as possible when taking action. In fact, the law, both under most military and civilian laws requires us to use minimal force.

if we perceive that we cannot stop harm without causing harm, then it is quite possible that we will severely injure or kill the other person. It is unfortunate, but if there is no other alternative, and you have concluded that your actions are just, then you must accept responsibility and act. Are there consequences in doing so? Absolutely, but if there are no other alternatives, then it is what it is I think. I don't think we have the luxury of choosing to do something else, if we did, then we would (or should).

I think that is why it is important to train in budo and to really understand yourself and the situations in which you will choose to use force. The Book of Five Rings addresses this quite well I think and should be read by all budoka.

On improving your attackers well being.

I think there is some irony there and a slippery slope. It assumes we have the ability to do that. it assumes that there are alternatives and choices that may or may not exist. It assumes that we have the time and/or space to alter his world view or changes his paradigm.

Of course, if you have the time or space to do this you should and certainly harm is not an option.

However, I don't think this has a great deal to do with things martially. Of course, we hope with improvement of our own skills and abilities that we will be able to deal with people in a much more skillful manner, that through our budo training that we can increase that gap in time/space to show our opponents another way. However, that is one side of the equation and to get there....the irony is that we must understand and be able to effectively STOP HARM and to show him that to attack is futile.

That is the irony of the budoka. In order to STOP HARM we must be able to CAUSE HARM. thus, it is important to study intently the martial nature of violence.

I am not really sure how you "improve your attackers well being" through a martial art that is designed to cause harm. I think that the best you can do is to create space/time in order to find other options. I think at best, it is a zero sum gain and at best we can STOP HARM only, what that means on improving his well being??? not sure.

Would be interested to hear how you improve his well being through a martial option.

aiki-jujutsuka
03-30-2013, 11:37 AM
Great posts Kevin, thank you for your voice of experience in regards to military compatibility and application. What you said regarding Budo and our moral obligation to cause the least amount of harm as possible, but also accepting that sometimes to stop harm we must use harm after making a value judgement that our actions are just in such circumstances, is very wise.

Ellis Amdur
03-30-2013, 12:48 PM
Donn Draeger used to speak to groups of "martial artists" and ask "How many here do a martial art?" Everyone would raise their hand. Then, he'd ask. "How many do judo?" And to the hand-raisers, he'd say, "That's not a martial art. That's a sport." Then, "How many do karate?" To the hand-raisers, he'd say, "That is a folk practice of peasants, arguably for the purpose of self-defense in civilian life. That is not a martial art." How many do t'ai chi, bagua, xingyi, or Shaolin." To the hand-raisers, he'd say, "Most all Chinese martial arts were practiced by the merchant and well-to-do classes of China, with lots of time of their hands. Hobbies for rich boys, in other words. Xingyi may have been derived from a martial art, that of the spear. But almost all of your kungfu is civilian sportive fighting, self-cultivation and the like." And, "How many do aikido?" To the hand-raisers, he'd say, "That's certainly not a martial art. There are movements derived from old combatives, but none of it is suitable for war, and it is open to anyone. By definition, only the warrior class can do a martial art."

Which, by the way, explains Ueshiba's extended family breaking into near hysterical laughter when he, a farmer's son, announced that he was moving from Tanabe to become a full-time "martial arts" instructor.

Martial - derived from Mars, the god of war. If it isn't about war, it isn't, strictly speaking, martial.

While we are quibbling semantics, in fact, Mars was the god of offensive war. Mars was originally a god of the border between cultivated and wild lands. For the Romans, Pax Romana could only be established when the wild was tamed and cultivated (this, by the way, has been the excuse for genocide forever. See: Kiernan, Ben, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur, Yale University Pres, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007). At any rate, the Romans merged this trivial "god of the margins" with the Greek Ares, and hence Mars became the Roman god of extending the borders into the wilds.

Donn did not have much of a sense of humor regarding his pet theories (newly made shibboleths). So pointing this out to him, I suggested that he needed to fine-tune things further, because Minerva (the Roman Athena) was, in fact, the protector of cities, the goddess of defensive warfare. I pointed out that Maniwa Nen-ryu defined itself as purely defensive, a protector of their own land and that even their combative theories were based almost solely on go-no-sen, eliciting attacks which they then crushed. I therefore suggested that he should examine martial schools a little more closely and perhaps divide them in primarily Martial as opposed to primarily Minervic. He was not amused (which amused me more).

BTW - the Japanese use to use the term Mashuraru Atsu to describe competitive kick boxing and MMA, particularly that fought in an arena with ring girls, and paychecks at the end.

And Wushu, the Chinese term for bujutsu (actually, the other way around) means, to Chinese, the show-forms with the dramatic choreography - not real - ummmm - what do you call it - stuff.

Mert Gambito
03-30-2013, 02:06 PM
Ellis --- Did Donn consider koryu bujutsu, which were originally "martial" by his or any other definition, to be martial today, given that they largely fail the "only the warrior class" and for-use-in-(modern)-war tests?

So, is there a need to be able to execute a Shionage in combat today? most likely not, however, a good understanding of the mechanics of Shionage can be very helpful in understanding things martially.
I suppose we could think of doing the aikido version of Shiho Nage, and actually a lot of aikido techniques, as aiding execution of the techniques of the Daito-ryu family tree of arts in the same manner that learning to kick high improves the ability to execute more natural, lower kicks. The older version of Shiho Nage does not require the same degree of tenkan or arm movement that is used in aikido, but if an uke or bad guy gets froggy, what's shown below is often what the interaction "devolves" into, and is quite a happy place -- for the nage.

http://store.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/themes/shopperpress/thumbs/katsuyuki-kondo-shihonage.jpg

accepting that sometimes to stop harm we must use harm after making a value judgement that our actions are just in such circumstances, is very wise.
Yes, it's sensible. Morihei Ueshiba reportedly said, "In Aikido, however, we try to completely avoid killing, even the most evil person." That doesn't mean that severely injuring or killing in a given circumstance was ruled out.

aiki-jujutsuka
03-30-2013, 02:24 PM
Martial - derived from Mars, the god of war. If it isn't about war, it isn't, strictly speaking, martial.

While we are quibbling semantics, in fact, Mars was the god of offensive war. Mars was originally a god of the border between cultivated and wild lands. For the Romans, Pax Romana could only be established when the wild was tamed and cultivated (this, by the way, has been the excuse for genocide forever. See: Kiernan, Ben, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur, Yale University Pres, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007). At any rate, the Romans merged this trivial "god of the margins" with the Greek Ares, and hence Mars became the Roman god of extending the borders into the wilds.

Donn did not have much of a sense of humor regarding his pet theories (newly made shibboleths). So pointing this out to him, I suggested that he needed to fine-tune things further, because Minerva (the Roman Athena) was, in fact, the protector of cities, the goddess of defensive warfare. I pointed out that Maniwa Nen-ryu defined itself as purely defensive, a protector of their own land and that even their combative theories were based almost solely on go-no-sen, eliciting attacks which they then crushed. I therefore suggested that he should examine martial schools a little more closely and perhaps divide them in primarily Martial as opposed to primarily Minervic. He was not amused (which amused me more).



While I accept that the term martial is derived from Mars the god of (offensive) war and therefore if the art is not strictly speaking to be applied in war then it's not martial; however in the context of Japan this makes all "martial arts" technically anachronistic due to the fact that the Samurai class no longer exists. I acknowledge that what I do is very detached from what the Samurai did in Feudal Japan because I am not a soldier and I do not do martial arts professionally for use in the field of combat. However, gendai arts in Japan are designed to preserve the Samurai heritage and even though they are open to the public they are a way of keeping ancient martial techniques alive. Art forms that have been developed over centuries deserve to be preserved for posterity. We may be speaking of semantics here but meanings of words do change over time. Language is organic.

I actually like the idea of dividing martial arts into martial and minervic forms; I would be prepared to accept that Aikido falls into the latter; it is an art form after all that is primarily defensive in both its techniques and philosophy. In many ways its very helpful, especially in the case of Aikido in which O'Sensei's vision of the true meaning of Budo was a radical departure from the traditional understanding of the term.

Ellis Amdur
03-30-2013, 05:21 PM
Mert - Donn very definitely considered koryu bujutsu to be martial, because, he believed, they were two things: a legacy of the warrior class, and that they were arts of war. In his view, that they were anachronistic didn't change what they were for --and hence, when one trained those activities, one was still training on how to kill another combatant with a weapon.

Here's the problem with his thesis though.
1. The vast majority of extant koryu were NOT - definitely NOT - warfare arts. They were developed in the Edo period, and primarily focused on dueling, if you will. Not that dueling was an every day incident, but it happened often enough that a "martial artist" needed to be prepared - at least if you hung out a shingle. The problem was, however, that the way one might use weaponry and footwork on a battlefield may not have worked in a duel. For a modern simile, take the best warfighter from any Special Forces military unit, and put him in a boxing ring and fight with boxing rules against a pro. He wouldn't last a round on his feet. If he was informed that from this day forward, the only combat he would see was in a boxing ring, he would surely start to train for it. So the idea that the koryu were preserved unchanged, is very definitely not so.
2. Even in the Warring States period, the koryu were not basic military training. Rather, martial arts practice and technique were used to hone an elite warrior class. Similarly, BJJ-type training is surely not the most important skill for the modern warfighter. But it gives a safe way to test competitive instincts, spiritual endurance and in no way does it conflict with the rest of training. Remember that by the 1590's, the deciding factor in warfare in Japan was the firearm.
3. Research shows, that by the mid-Edo period, possibly the majority of enrollees in many ryu were NOT bushi. It became a means of social climbing.

So, there is a certain level that I absolutely agree with Donn. But he was too black-and-white in the way he framed things, and therefore, did not do justice to history. Honestly, we had a discussion in which I said, "The train has left the station. Why quibble about a word that is now vernacular. Why not call bujutsu and other true combatives, "warfare arts," for example. But he stuck to his guns . . . .

Anyway, back to martial virtue -- just to use aikido as an example, this being Aikiweb, anyone who claims that aikijo, for example, is an effective combative use of a short staff is ignorant of how to use a staff in combat. That's just a fact. There are a number of essential components to make an effective combative usage of any object and if neglected or left out, you do not have an effective martial system - - -for the purpose of combat.

Look (not directed at you Mert, but for anyone outraged at my last statement), you can kill someone dead as a doornail with an Olympic target bow. But if you mustered up on your horse in a Mongol troop, they with short laminated horn bows with a pull of 160 pounds, they would laugh themselves right off their horses. Everything has a perfect purpose for the purpose it is created.

Ellis Amdur

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2013, 05:37 PM
All very good post for sure!

Nothing really to add. except Ellis' post made me think of this....

I train in many different ways and teach differently too depending on the context of our focus. Sport Jiu Jitsu is trained differently than the way I would train guys for CQB to deal with grappling fights.

For example, I don't teach arm bars from the mount and guard for CQB as the context of training is different.

Does that mean the sport Jiu Jitsu is not applicable to combat or "martial practice"? not at all, there is much in sport jiu jitsu that can inform training for CQB or combat. You simply have to understand the difference.

It would be the same for civilian self defense or say a "women's self defense class" you would have to adapt what you teach to fit the context.

The problem is, IMO, it is not that easy to simply adapt what you teach all the time. I have seen some abominations of what people interpret out of martial arts (bunkai) that they believe will work in reality.

I think a lot gets lost in translation when those that are not experienced in such things or who have not been exposed/taught correctly (transmission). I am not saying that there is a only a privileged few that hold the secrets, but I think it is much smaller than we'd like to believe.

I think there is much wisdom in what Ellis is talking about above.

Ellis Amdur
03-30-2013, 05:39 PM
Eben - You wrote:

However, gendai arts in Japan are designed to preserve the Samurai heritage and even though they are open to the public they are a way of keeping ancient martial techniques alive. Art forms that have been developed over centuries deserve to be preserved for posterity. We may be speaking of semantics here but meanings of words do change over time. Language is organic.

I actually like the idea of dividing martial arts into martial and minervic forms; I would be prepared to accept that Aikido falls into the latter; it is an art form after all that is primarily defensive in both its techniques and philosophy. In many ways its very helpful, especially in the case of Aikido in which O'Sensei's vision of the true meaning of Budo was a radical departure from the traditional understanding of the term.

A couple of thoughts. That gendai arts, in one sense, were designed to preserve the samurai heritage, but this is not necessarily a good thing. These arts mostly developed in the Taisho and early Showa period, to create a new Japanese - that every Japanese was a samurai, and therefore, should willingly sacrifice their lives at the behest of the emperor and the ruling fascist gov't. That women should train with bamboo spears to face down American soldiers when they landed. That no Japanese, just like no feudal samurai, should ever question the order of a superior, no matter how heinous or vile. We use terms awfully loosely. It's worth questioning what it means to "preserve a samurai heritage in gendai budo."

Obviously, I love Japanese martial traditions, but there is far too much romanticising in this area. On the other hand, Nishio sensei, whom I studied with, never said, Dan Richards, that "samurai were shit." He would never say that and it's offensive to put such words in his mouth. He was a cultured man, and a manifestation of his art was in his cleanliness, which extended to the way he talked. Neither his waza or his mouth were ever foul.

Finally, Eben - this whole Minervic thing? I simply said that to mess with Donn's head. I was a much younger guy, and he was a mentor for awhile. But young guys have to puncture the pomposity of their elders. I actually meant, tongue in cheek, defending against a siege, shield rather than sword. But I wasn't serious. I did it just to tick him off. EVen there, I didn't mean aikido.

Aikido was not meant to be defensive. Ueshiba Kisshomaru said a couple of interesting things in a talk I once heard:
1. When asked about people being injured in aikido, he said, essentially, "After all, it is a martial art. (that word again - I think he used the term budo). If you can't handle it, maybe you should study calligraphy or flower arranging.
2. When asked when his father became a pacifist, he started laughing and said that his father was never a pacifist or not a pacifist. He was "beyond the whole dichotomy." Then he told a story of being a little boy and some bigger foreign kids from some embassy were picking on him and his father, in a dress kimono came running out and slipped in the mud on the street and fell in a mud puddle, the foreign boys running away.

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2013, 05:40 PM
Great posts Kevin, thank you for your voice of experience in regards to military compatibility and application. What you said regarding Budo and our moral obligation to cause the least amount of harm as possible, but also accepting that sometimes to stop harm we must use harm after making a value judgement that our actions are just in such circumstances, is very wise.

Thanks. I think we over look this aspect of budo too much. I don't like the revisionist rhetoric that refuses to accept responsibility for the seriousness of what budo is about. We simply cannot ignore the violent aspect of what we do. We must embrace it, learn to understand it, and stand in humble awe of the power that we can weld. It is a great responsibility to accept the calling of budo IMO.

graham christian
03-30-2013, 06:51 PM
Martial in it's definitions are all to do with war and more modernly can even be applied to anything to do with army and navy. That doesn't mean that is the correct or even apt use of the word when addressing a martial art. If it was then the skill of loading cannons would be a martial art. So following that line of reasoning I say only brings about false assumptions and theories and 'expertise'.

Those who speak about such matters as war are talking about combat and can take that as far back as they like beyond romans even to cave man tribes. Nothing to do with martial arts in my opinion. Thats all to do with combat and fighting techniques used by military. I don't recall any of those military folk from those people called romans with their god of war being martial artists.

So no, all the reasoning to do with god of war by those I might add who don't believe in greek or roman gods to me is well off the mark. Anything they say to do with martial combat techniques is well on the mark. So we have one thing being mixed with another. Thus I can't help calling it myself pure fantasy.

Kevin gives great reasoned explanations on the martial combat area of life and I bet if I asked him I wouldn't be surprised if he found lots of so called martial arts people entering the army only to be blown out of their fantasy and hit by reality of the horrors of war let alone the reality of warring combat.

So as far as I am concerned as long as anyone follows a way of thinking that equates martial arts with war and such will never even understand what martial arts is about.

If you look in a dictionary for martial arts you will probably find a definition to do with oriental fighting techniques. Why do you think that is? There were oriental armies and empires just like the west so it wasn't referring to that. It was something they considered different to that.

As usual I think the majority get things backwards. Martial arts were disciplines done in temples or other spiritual practices. That's where they were born. Military folk noticed these folk had qualities they wished their soldiers had and thus 'borrowed' from them. Of course, not being of the same purpose of mind they could never quite get what martial arts were but only that they wanted the skills. Not much has changed and now people would even believe they are militaristic in nature. Oh dear. Shame I say. No matter how many times O'Sensei would say how it's not to do with fighting still they hunt for somewhere where he must have said it was or could be...frantically scraping the bottom of the barrel for justification.

No matter how many times other grand masters of various arts have said similar still folk try to hang on to this false assumption of the purpose being militaristic or for killing. Thus I generally conclude most don't want to know and prefer the fantasy.

The purpose is, was and will always be self development. That's prime purpose. When you actually know this and I mean know then you may be able to see all around how the real experts have been telling you that all along. Suddenly you will hear the boxing trainers, the martial arts trainers, the voices who keep telling you it's about giving youngsters self discipline, self confidence, self pride, empowerment, and skill as a secondary thing. It's about becoming a better person in yourself and towards others.

Military martial borrow from martial arts. Military martial borrow from source. The wise military I would say actually learn from source.

Peace.G.

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2013, 07:58 PM
Graham I believe you to be 180 degrees off. Martial arts were born out of the need to fight. All cultures and civilizations have developed martial practices in order to protect, defend, and to further their societal goals. Some are more codified than others. Thus, all martial arts by nature and heritage are rooted in the basic need to fight.

As far as the spiritual aspects etc. Well any sustainable society that has produced warriors understands the need to for balance and moderation. Much of what is done in martial arts is good for you mentally as well as physically. The spiritual linkage...well, I think that is quite a different subject and alot of imprinting is done along with way to link the physical and spiritual dimensions. However, the need for martial arts is in no way born out of the need for spiritual development but simply to fight. I think this is abundantly clear.

Of course, people can realize spiritual benefits as they attempt to reconcile the violence they feel through the practice of martial arts. I can tell you it has been a good outlet for me. but so is racketball, and parkour as well. Pretty much anything that engages the mind and body is good for us.

As far as things such as shaolin done in temples. I am not a historian, but believe that the monks practiced what they practiced to defend themselves. I am sure they realized early on that being in good shape benefited their spiritually as well.

Modern Japanese history, IMO, took the opportunity to revise and re-market their goods and practices as "spritiual practices" around WWII for what I think are fairly obvious reasons. There are scholars here on Aikiweb that can discuss this better than I.

the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.

Ellis Amdur
03-30-2013, 08:08 PM
Graham - once again, you post what you'd like things to be, not as they are or ever were.

1. In Japan, firearms were definitely considered martial arts. By the end of the Edo period, there were several hundred 古式砲術 (Koshiki Hojutsu) schools. They included cannons. The ryu were mostly abandoned when they found that the Western systems of gunnery were better. LINK (http://nihon-no-katchu.proboards.com/thread/78/schools)

Your assertions are ahistorical. It is simply not true - pure fantasy - although widely disseminated fantasy that martial arts were done in temples and then "borrowed" by warriors. The militant Buddhist temples of Japan were havens of thugs, who slaughtered celebrants of other shrines and sohei of other temples. The military arts of the Shaolin temple were, in fact, consolidated to fight Wakou (Japanese coastal raiders who were the Eastern equivalent of Vikings).

If you ask any practitioner of an authentic classical ryu what the purpose of using the sword is, he or she would assert that it was for learning how to kill. Group solidarity and moral training were contributory to that end, in large part so one could effectively do it in cooperation with others.

There is no doubt that modern martial arts are often focused primarily around self-development. Tae Kwon Do classes for learning disabled kids. Aikido for the blind, the halt, the lame, the hale and the hearty.

And you know what? I think that's more praiseworthy than learning how to kill. I think its good that good people have a place to practice good things.

Except to be safe in many parts of the world, one has to know about killing too. Which is why, I think, Nidai Doshu ended his story with his father running out of the house with a bokken in his hand. The only thing he didn't say - and I always loved Doshu for his very dry and quiet humor, is if, his father, before he fell in the mud in his Sunday best, intended to thrash the foreign bullies, or to thrash his own son for being such a wimp.
Ellis Amdur

graham christian
03-30-2013, 09:03 PM
Graham I believe you to be 180 degrees off. Martial arts were born out of the need to fight. All cultures and civilizations have developed martial practices in order to protect, defend, and to further their societal goals. Some are more codified than others. Thus, all martial arts by nature and heritage are rooted in the basic need to fight.

As far as the spiritual aspects etc. Well any sustainable society that has produced warriors understands the need to for balance and moderation. Much of what is done in martial arts is good for you mentally as well as physically. The spiritual linkage...well, I think that is quite a different subject and alot of imprinting is done along with way to link the physical and spiritual dimensions. However, the need for martial arts is in no way born out of the need for spiritual development but simply to fight. I think this is abundantly clear.

Of course, people can realize spiritual benefits as they attempt to reconcile the violence they feel through the practice of martial arts. I can tell you it has been a good outlet for me. but so is racketball, and parkour as well. Pretty much anything that engages the mind and body is good for us.

As far as things such as shaolin done in temples. I am not a historian, but believe that the monks practiced what they practiced to defend themselves. I am sure they realized early on that being in good shape benefited their spiritually as well.

Modern Japanese history, IMO, took the opportunity to revise and re-market their goods and practices as "spritiual practices" around WWII for what I think are fairly obvious reasons. There are scholars here on Aikiweb that can discuss this better than I.

the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.

Kevin, you only validate what I say. You yourself said you integrated what you learned in martial arts into what you do in military. Thus you already have not only borrowed from but also split them up into two separate things.

Revision and marketing after ww2 is just more over intellectualizing as far as I am concerned. Plain avoidance in my opinion. He said to Hikitsuchi that he personally had changed everything due to his realization, nothing to do with politics.
As far as shaolin goes and such things you do say you'll leave it to historians and that also validates what I say for it is the non-understanding and blatent disregard of such things which leads to all these false assumptions.

Quite simply if people want to know what Ueshiba meant by calling his art for example a shin no budo and other spiritual concepts then they had better study from a spiritual viewpoint. That's simple logic. If they want to understand budo is love then they had better go learn about love first and visit those buddhist texts for example which explain it. Same for mushin, senshin etc.

You cannot or rather should not look at these things from a military mind for spiritual matters of which O'Sensei insisted was Aikido means you would have to study such just as I would have to study militarism if I wanted to talk about the art of war.

Your reasoning from where your coming from I find quite sound and thus reasonable actually but alas only from where you are coming from.

The monks of japan were better fighters than the samurai and probably due to being in a completely militaristic world were probably more dangerous than the shaolin monks. Albeit they more often than not only had rivalries with other sects but eventually were borrowed by the elite and also eventually feared too much by them and thus banned.

Warring and fighting is fear based whilst martial arts are not. Yet another difference of which there are many.

Anyway I know we will have to agree to differ but as always I enjoyed the flow.

Peace.G.

graham christian
03-30-2013, 09:24 PM
Graham - once again, you post what you'd like things to be, not as they are or ever were.

1. In Japan, firearms were definitely considered martial arts. By the end of the Edo period, there were several hundred 古式砲術 (Koshiki Hojutsu) schools. They included cannons. The ryu were mostly abandoned when they found that the Western systems of gunnery were better. LINK (http://nihon-no-katchu.proboards.com/thread/78/schools)

Your assertions are ahistorical. It is simply not true - pure fantasy - although widely disseminated fantasy that martial arts were done in temples and then "borrowed" by warriors. The militant Buddhist temples of Japan were havens of thugs, who slaughtered celebrants of other shrines and sohei of other temples. The military arts of the Shaolin temple were, in fact, consolidated to fight Wakou (Japanese coastal raiders who were the Eastern equivalent of Vikings).

If you ask any practitioner of an authentic classical ryu what the purpose of using the sword is, he or she would assert that it was for learning how to kill. Group solidarity and moral training were contributory to that end, in large part so one could effectively do it in cooperation with others.

There is no doubt that modern martial arts are often focused primarily around self-development. Tae Kwon Do classes for learning disabled kids. Aikido for the blind, the halt, the lame, the hale and the hearty.

And you know what? I think that's more praiseworthy than learning how to kill. I think its good that good people have a place to practice good things.

Except to be safe in many parts of the world, one has to know about killing too. Which is why, I think, Nidai Doshu ended his story with his father running out of the house with a bokken in his hand. The only thing he didn't say - and I always loved Doshu for his very dry and quiet humor, is if, his father, before he fell in the mud in his Sunday best, intended to thrash the foreign bullies, or to thrash his own son for being such a wimp.
Ellis Amdur

Ellis, I fail to see your point.

1) Firearms? Tell that to the world. A cannon loader is a martial artist. Mmmmm. Don't think so.

2) Sohei havens for thugs? Wow! That is quite an extraordinary assertion I will just have to leave without any further comment.

3) I never mentioned warriors.

4) Military martial arts of shaolin? Another statement I find totally unrepresentative of time sequence. Maybe you should study Buddhism and indeed Bodhidharma before making such assumptions.

5) Sword? Yes I'll ask real top ones like Ueshiba or the guy who originally founded shinto ryu. They tend to be quite enlightened at the end of their journeys and tell you the real purpose. Quite opposite to what you propose.

6) Modern martial arts go back to the roots and understand better the true purpose of martial arts their problem is the opposite to those who hang on to warlike views. Their problem is they want to be and do it like art without realizing the discipline involved which comes through facing and handling that which you call martial not by becoming it.

Peace.G.

RonRagusa
03-30-2013, 10:43 PM
No matter how many times O'Sensei would say how it's not to do with fighting still they hunt for somewhere where he must have said it was or could be...frantically scraping the bottom of the barrel for justification.

The problem with using Ueshiba as a source is that one can find quotes attributed to him that express diametrically opposing viewpoints. The Art of Peace is full of references to opponents and enemies and contains advice as to how to approach them from a martial combat reference point. It also contains quotes that illustrate how training in Aikido will lead to enlightenment if one's practice is devoted and sincere and how it's not about fighting and competing.

I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron

Aikibu
03-31-2013, 12:10 AM
I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron

This and what Kevin said are spot on. Personally I was lucky to discover Shoji Nishio's Aikido 20+ years ago after looking at allot of gentle folks in fancy hakama's dancing with each other. Aikido without it's "Martial Aspect" for me personally is a worthless waste of time.

William Hazen

Janet Rosen
03-31-2013, 01:05 AM
the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.

Yep.

As Ellis Amdur notes, some folks (like me) are doing aikido with some infirmities and sharing what we can do with others who have infirmities, and I believe that is a good thing - but I have never led such a class for a single evening without being mindful of embodying to the best of my abilities, and sharing the key points as best I understand them, about the martial applications or principles our training is based on and pointing out some practical application of what we are doing.

When a student asks me a pointed question about why, from a practical defensive perspective, something is done this way rather than that way, if I can't demo it on the spot, we play with it for a while until it makes sense.

Otherwise, WTF are we doing while we work on posture, connection, kata, etc?!

graham christian
03-31-2013, 01:46 AM
The problem with using Ueshiba as a source is that one can find quotes attributed to him that express diametrically opposing viewpoints. The Art of Peace is full of references to opponents and enemies and contains advice as to how to approach them from a martial combat reference point. It also contains quotes that illustrate how training in Aikido will lead to enlightenment if one's practice is devoted and sincere and how it's not about fighting and competing.

I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron

Hi Ron. I understand what you say but in no way agree with the analogy. No two sides of the same coin but two different coins.

I can't find virtually any diametrically opposed view of O'Sensei. I don't as a habit use other peoples quotes to say what I mean and only do so here sometimes because I'm persistently asked for reference. In fact everyone to me is not some all important label so basically we are all dudes dressed up in some kind of image but the image is pretty irrelevant.

Talking of which there was a dude who lived just before Musashi who was for that era the best swordsman in Japan of which I mentioned earlier but the funny thing is he reached a master enlightened stage and once again said similar to O'Sensei. The sword of no sword was one of his statements along with ones virtually saying budo is love. I do tend to listen to the more enlightened ones. Guilty.

However mostly by experience and lets say 90+ percent is where my views come from.

If you studied Bodhidharma for instance you would or may recognize what led to his starting 'way' of martial arts. Nothing to do with the purpose of fighting and of course being an enlightened monk nothing at all to do with war or self defence. To sincerely ask the question of why? one would first have to accept that otherwise there is not much chance of finding out.

I see there are many 'ways' put foreward for example expressing how one develops special, usually put as internal, methods needed to do the unmovable tests and power tests in Aikido. Spiritual ways are much easier and I for example could take virtually anyone and within one lessen have them immovable even if sitting on a chair being pushed by a weight lifter. Simple spiritual self empowering principles. Yet often times on here I have expressed simple principles lets say of Tohei for example saying the understanding of just even one of them can lead easily to being able to do those 'super tricks' only to be informed by some if not many that they too did that for years but alas couldn't do those super tricks. I can only assume therefor, well I best not say.

The martial then of which I talk has nothing to do with the general concensus martial and to me there is no paradox for the martial of which I speak handles the general concensus martial quite perfectly.

For so many hundreds of years the true budo had been lost and abused by those of warlike intentions. Such is what I say and has been said before.

So I'll sum it up in my own personal way and give you a nice modern proverb by yours truly for those fishing for truth:

Searching for that fish in a bucket of earth you will only find food for the fish.

Peace.G.

Lorien Lowe
03-31-2013, 03:14 AM
Did Shoji Nishio Sensei ever teach at Shingu? I am left simultaneously wishing that I could have taken a seminar wiht him , and thinking that what I see on the youtube videos looks startlingly familiar.

Mert Gambito
03-31-2013, 03:16 AM
Some really neat information and historical images here, http://pinterest.com/samuraiantiques/samurai-firearms-tanegashima-matchlocks-and-taihou/, including:

http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/550x/d8/7c/0a/d87c0a566152145f83576ddb1fe0a642.jpg

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2013, 04:44 AM
Thanks for the pic Mert. I love those! It is good to see Hazen chime in as well. As Ranger Hazen will tell you, there are a broad range of skills that fall under the context of "martial arts". Most of them would not be considered by the civilian population nor to be honest are they considered "martial" by a military persepective, but they are necessary enablers martially. Things such as the ability to move through woods, swamps and jungles at night. To be able to hide covertly, to be able to shoot accurately under varying conditions....understanding how to read terrain etc. Just like archery, sword, pike, and horsemanship are all basic martial skills.

The point is, that without those skills, you have no need really for the empty handed skills that we commonly associate with martial arts.

We have, however, chosen to focus on a subset of skills designed to deal with particular scenarios that we feel may be relevant to us given an erosion of technology in the moment of battle or a degree of surprise on the street. These things in our imagination we feel warrant spending time with to empower us in some way.

So, from a psychological perspective we can benefit from training this stuff. We get in shape, we feel empowered, we self realize, hang out with others with a common interest, and naturally we grow. Of course this leads to improvement mentally and spiritually.

Even the military will be the first to tell you, as Ellis pointed out above....we don't train Combatives or Martial Arts because it will give us an technological edge on our opponent, we train it because at a base level it produces and encourages a warrior ethos. One that mandates that you have the willingness to close with and defeat your enemy when necessary under adverse conditions.

As I've stated several times. I believe that it is possible to have two individuals side-by-side in the dojo with the exact same instructor, doing the exact same things, and with the wrong intent and focus being doing entirely two different things. One can be performing a martial art and the other can be doing an interpretive dance.

Are their benefits to both? sure. They guy doing interpretive dance will gain health benefits, he will self realize in the manner he chooses to follow, he may become a happier person overall...but he is not doing a martial art, and I believe that under the pressure of combat and real conflict he will most likely fail due to the dissonance that he experiences that he has not prepared himself for.

The problem arises is that this dissonance and failure to face it honestly in training leads to greater harm in the aftermath of "battle". It is why Mushasi felt strongly about training the way he did in the Book of Five Rings and I concur.

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2013, 04:48 AM
Yep.

As Ellis Amdur notes, some folks (like me) are doing aikido with some infirmities and sharing what we can do with others who have infirmities, and I believe that is a good thing - but I have never led such a class for a single evening without being mindful of embodying to the best of my abilities, and sharing the key points as best I understand them, about the martial applications or principles our training is based on and pointing out some practical application of what we are doing.

When a student asks me a pointed question about why, from a practical defensive perspective, something is done this way rather than that way, if I can't demo it on the spot, we play with it for a while until it makes sense.

Otherwise, WTF are we doing while we work on posture, connection, kata, etc?!

Hey Janet,

and I think it is a wonderful thing. The point is to have the proper intent when training. I think understanding your limitations and exploring them, especially as we grow older and change is important.

I essentially run a "second start" program for old warriors. Many (most) of our students in my organization are former "operators" that have been there done that. They are over 40 and struggling, mentally and physically with the changes life brings them (myself included). By training in combative sport we are able to reconcile this process, explore our warriorhood, maintain relevance, and learn to grow old gracefully.

I think martial arts provides us a wonderful avenue to explore and reconcile this aspects!

Janet Rosen
03-31-2013, 05:02 AM
Hey Janet,

and I think it is a wonderful thing. The point is to have the proper intent when training. I think understanding your limitations and exploring them, especially as we grow older and change is important.

I essentially run a "second start" program for old warriors. Many (most) of our students in my organization are former "operators" that have been there done that. They are over 40 and struggling, mentally and physically with the changes life brings them (myself included). By training in combative sport we are able to reconcile this process, explore our warriorhood, maintain relevance, and learn to grow old gracefully.

I think martial arts provides us a wonderful avenue to explore and reconcile this aspects!

Kevin, never thought we were disagreeing! I hope to someday meet and train with you.

Bernd Lehnen
03-31-2013, 08:42 AM
So, from a psychological perspective we can benefit from training this stuff. We get in shape, we feel empowered, we self realize, hang out with others with a common interest, and naturally we grow. Of course this leads to improvement mentally and spiritually.

Even the military will be the first to tell you, as Ellis pointed out above....we don't train Combatives or Martial Arts because it will give us an technological edge on our opponent, we train it because at a base level it produces and encourages a warrior ethos. One that mandates that you have the willingness to close with and defeat your enemy when necessary under adverse conditions.

As I've stated several times. I believe that it is possible to have two individuals side-by-side in the dojo with the exact same instructor, doing the exact same things, and with the wrong intent and focus being doing entirely two different things. One can be performing a martial art and the other can be doing an interpretive dance.

And although a warrior, doing his duty, may have to take life, sometimes more often than he wants, this , to my mind at least, isn't his primary goal and doesn't make him a killer per se.

And whenever and if opportunity arise, he might do what he can, so that "winning over reign over winning".

And here's where I hope even Graham would agree.

graham christian
03-31-2013, 02:40 PM
And although a warrior, doing his duty, may have to take life, sometimes more often than he wants, this , to my mind at least, isn't his primary goal and doesn't make him a killer per se.

And whenever and if opportunity arise, he might do what he can, so that "winning over reign over winning".

And here's where I hope even Graham would agree.

I agree it isn't a warriors primary goal in war and that there are many warriors in life outside of war. Taking a life however does make you a killer full stop. Once again cold hard reality, no fantasy, no rose tinted view afforded by many who 'play' at being martial.

I can just see a marine commander or elite forces commander of some description now saying the same thing, giving the same reality to those being trained. Cold, hard reality......training to kill. Training to be a killer. Training to be put in positions where it has to be done for real.He would soon get rid of anyone not willing to be one.

So we can fantasize all we like and use that word martial as if we are that kind of warrior but reality says we are not unless in such a scene or regiment if you like.

All madness is war. Being at war with a neighbour is also madness in action. Some unfortunately are continually at war with themselves. So they too could be considered martial under such definitions. Laws based on morals were created to handle such madness but have you ever considered why? It's because the we ain't as sane or wise as we consider ourselves to be. As a race we are still pretty dumb. Unenlightened. Even martial;)

Peace.G.

Bernd Lehnen
03-31-2013, 04:43 PM
I agree it isn't a warriors primary goal in war and that there are many warriors in life outside of war. Taking a life however does make you a killer full stop. Once again cold hard reality, no fantasy, no rose tinted view afforded by many who 'play' at being martial.

I can just see a marine commander or elite forces commander of some description now saying the same thing, giving the same reality to those being trained. Cold, hard reality......training to kill. Training to be a killer. Training to be put in positions where it has to be done for real.He would soon get rid of anyone not willing to be one.

So we can fantasize all we like and use that word martial as if we are that kind of warrior but reality says we are not unless in such a scene or regiment if you like.

All madness is war. Being at war with a neighbour is also madness in action. Some unfortunately are continually at war with themselves. So they too could be considered martial under such definitions. Laws based on morals were created to handle such madness but have you ever considered why? It's because the we ain't as sane or wise as we consider ourselves to be. As a race we are still pretty dumb. Unenlightened. Even martial;)

Peace.G.

Graham,
By your definition, we were all killers, even you, simply because we have to eat, don't you see?

How can we define "peace" without "martial"? How can we live in peace without those, providing us this luxury?

graham christian
03-31-2013, 05:27 PM
Graham,
By your definition, we were all killers, even you, simply because we have to eat, don't you see?

How can we define "peace" without "martial"? How can we live in peace without those, providing us this luxury?

A tree lives in peace doesn't it? Many people live in peace. A zen master lives in and at peace. So there are many ways and many different examples.

The only people I know of being experts of the matter throughout history were ones who attained attained it as a real state of being. They are the experts and so I say not only is it possible but also obvious for those willing to look.

Peace is not a result of war. It's natural, it's a realm and thus is potentially there for all. War destroys peace, simple.

The answer to your question as with all truth is spiritual for that is the perception needed to see it.

Once looking at truth a person can then recognize the true meaning of something but until then can only intellectualize.

If you take my explanation from the last post then you will see that I said madness is war and thus definitions of martial to do with such take on a new meaning. Martial would be the discipline of not allowing any such mad views or acting from any such mad thoughts. So it becomes the the way of pure thought and harmony.

It becomes the way of 'despite my firmly held beliefs and conclusions and ways of thinking, despite what is widely held as true or normal, despite my not being able to see it, there is a way. Thus a path towards learning it. No excuses, no justifying yeah but what if, no but sometimes you have to blah blah blah. Basically....no madness. The discipline of masakatsu and agatsu.

Peace connects heaven and earth.

Those who can't see this are not at peace yet strive for it.

Peace has no violence or fight in it.

Yet those who crave it through their own internal lack of it think they can gain it through violence and fight.

No, you gain it by the discipline of living it and the facing up to your own thoughts and actions and those of others which tempt you to leave the path.

Peace is positive cause and thus actually all powerful.

The spirit of joy comes from it and love is it's heart. Aikido can be thus an expression of such.

There, I've said my peace;)

Peace.G.

Cliff Judge
04-01-2013, 09:12 AM
My purpose is to improve the attackers well being.

Peace.G.

Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.

graham christian
04-01-2013, 10:39 AM
Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.

Nice one Cliff, if only that were true. Reminds me of many Buddhists I used to meet who were all 'into' it and saying you must get rid of all desires. They ended up calling me the 'laughing one' cos that's what their misunderstandings made me do. I would simply ask if getting rid of them was their desire.

It's one of the basic truths of life Cliff and that is purpose. You can only not have one by denial and then you will suffer for truth will always be there.

Many folk come to a point in life where they start wondering what it's all about and what their purpose here on earth actually is. The turning point of most peoples lives.

There again I could agree with you and that would also mean best not have any intention either. Oh dear, where would IP be then? Then of course we could have better not have any decisions either and we could rename Aikido as the Art of Oblivion.:cool:

Nah, best to follow truth and realize true purpose cannot be countered, only joined.

Peace.G.

Erick Mead
04-01-2013, 11:13 AM
The point is to have the proper intent when training. I was taught by the Marines who trained me that martial meant killing people and breaking things to accomplish one's goals.

I comprehend Aikido to act martially toward the goal of peace.

Aikido as a martial art should to enable one to kill people and break things -- and if it does not -- it is no longer a martial art.

Aikido as a martial art distinguishes itself when it enters violent encounter with the same action and spirit of killing people and breaking things -- so as to NOT kill people and NOT break things -- with the goal being peace.

The goals of peace cannot be pursued apart from the ways of war. In Aikido training, martial intent lies in seeking to cut one another in a true, committed line --- and if the lines are always true -- then each hones the other without harm to either-- like the blades of scissors.

jonreading
04-01-2013, 01:33 PM
I am going to make a couple tangental comments... I promise it all leads somewhere.

My grandfather was a greatest generation Marine who spend much of the war in the Pacific theater. I remember asking him one time what he learned in the Marines that saved his life. "How to dig a fox hole."

Second, I think when people like Ellis take the time to post responses we should listen. After all, he is not only a published author but a historian on Japanese arts. I think if he has sufficient evidence to say musketeering was a martial art, it was. I bring this up only to note that we see our voices of experience post less often, usually because their comments are not only dismissed, but often disrespectfully so. Graham, I think you should consider that most people probably believe Ellis' speculations more than your facts. I know you do your own thing and do not care what other people think, but I would ask that you be more considerate of what other people are saying, even if you choose not to believe it.

In an effort to steer discussion, I am re-iterating that [I think] we should avoid conflating "martial", "fighting" and "warfare". Further, [I think] we should avoid assigning emotive attributes to the terms.

Again, I think [Western] language use of "martial" placed a stress of the method of dissemination as much as the content disseminated. In more modern context, we use the term as a catch-all phrase for anything to do with fighting systems. This is [in my opinion] incorrect. However, I think that battle of semantics was lost long ago. However, we still can resist the negative connotations...

Next, I think martial arts are absent of any emotive connotation. We [Aikido] like to assign attributes. Violence bad, peace good. Neither violence nor peace are emotive things, so they cannot have emotions. Peace is the absence of agitation; it is not a perpetual state.

I think Kevin has brought up some great comments regarding martial arts, given his perspective. I think Aikido wrestles with this issue because we are risking the loss of ethos if we admit what we are really doing. When I speak with higher ups in sister arts, or good sport fighters, I never feel my ethos is in jeopardy; these people are often respectful, thoughtful and knowledgeable enough to realize we are all just doing our thing. Again, I think we run into problems when we seize ethos from another, then project it as our own. The minute we admit what we are doing is not necessarily "martial"... Bam, start handing out the ribbons and bongo drums (no offense to those of you who train with ribbons and bongo drums... Phi - I'm looking at you, man.)

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2013, 02:02 PM
I was taught by the Marines who trained me that martial meant killing people and breaking things to accomplish one's goals.

I comprehend Aikido to act martially toward the goal of peace.

Aikido as a martial art should to enable one to kill people and break things -- and if it does not -- it is no longer a martial art.

Aikido as a martial art distinguishes itself when it enters violent encounter with the same action and spirit of killing people and breaking things -- so as to NOT kill people and NOT break things -- with the goal being peace.

The goals of peace cannot be pursued apart from the ways of war. In Aikido training, martial intent lies in seeking to cut one another in a true, committed line --- and if the lines are always true -- then each hones the other without harm to either-- like the blades of scissors.

Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well.

With respect to your Marine's comments. I personally think that is a very limited response, today if you talked to Marines that have been involved in our current situations/wars you might find a different perspective. I think the ability needs to be there for sure. Willingness, absolutely. but intent. Well I think intent is about minimal force and about walking tall and carrying a big stick so to speak. So, I think the view point that it is all about killing to be a very limited view point that does not capture the full scope martially.

WIth respect to your perspective on AIkido being about different from martial. I would capitalize on or refer Jon Reading's last post and say, no martially aikido is no different than other martial solutions. It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible. My current job in Africa is about this very thing. I visit many places working to promote peace, rarely carry a gun, and most of what I do is about promoting peaceful objectives, rule of law, subordination of military to civilian authority and ethics. I think this type of thing is very much within the realm of martial arts.

I think to only address the violent side of the equation to be a very limited, narrow view point. Just as much as I believe those that want to ignore or dismiss the violent side of the art to be a very liimted and narrow view point as well. It is about the midpoint or balance. You can't have peace without addressing the violent side of things and vice versa. It is unfortunate, but our world has not progressed to the point of ignoring and addressing things with the potential to cause harm.

So yes, I agree with you on your perspective. and we are saying essentially the same thing of course!

I think maybe where we differ would be on the fact that aikido has a predetermined solution set. From the shihan I have spoken/trained with, I sense that they would have no qualms with doing harm if it was necessary. I don't believe that there is a more ethical solution set that Aikido has over any other budo practice or even our military. in all cases, I believe there is an ethic to do as little harm as necessary.

Where I think Aikido differs, of course, is in its physical methods of training aiki...however, of course, this becomes a sore point of contention for many as it starts the whole IS/IT war. I am not one who subcribes to the spiritual/moral uniqueness of aikido though, so I think this is where maybe I have differences with many here that wish to establish this perspective.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2013, 02:20 PM
Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.

Well said Cliff. Of course, we can't avoid having a purpose, which for most of us at a minimum I think would be self preservation. I think, though that what you are referring to is a pre-determined endstate or outcome that says how the situation will be resolved. I think that is a purpose with too high of a goal.

Maybe an Agenda would be a better word? that is, having a vested interest in the situation and how it will play out.

I don't know....but I grasp what you are conveying and agree.

jonreading
04-01-2013, 02:50 PM
Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well.
It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible. My current job in Africa is about this very thing. I visit many places working to promote peace, rarely carry a gun, and most of what I do is about promoting peaceful objectives, rule of law, subordination of military to civilian authority and ethics. I think this type of thing is very much within the realm of martial arts.

Where's my like button? This is such a great point. I think many conversations pigeon-hole military efforts to war-mongering we sometimes forget these things.

J

Erick Mead
04-01-2013, 02:59 PM
Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well. Indeed. And you as well.

With respect to your Marine's comments. I personally think that is a very limited response, today if you talked to Marines that have been involved in our current situations/wars you might find a different perspective. I think the ability needs to be there for sure. Willingness, absolutely. but intent. Well I think intent is about minimal force and about walking tall and carrying a big stick so to speak. So, I think the view point that it is all about killing to be a very limited view point that does not capture the full scope martially. ... WIth respect to your perspective on AIkido being about different from martial. I would capitalize on or refer Jon Reading's last post and say, no martially aikido is no different than other martial solutions. It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible.So yes, I agree with you on your perspective. and we are saying essentially the same thing of course!
I think we are actually saying the same thing in different terms. Sun Tzu said that supreme skill in war is to win without fighting.

To achieve an objective that -- if opposed -- would require killing people and breaking things is a martial objective, and must pursued by martial means. Similarly, and with greater skill, the martial objective may be achieved by minimal injury or damage, though the same means. And in the ultimate degree of skill, the martial objective may be achieved by such means without any injury or damage whatsoever.

But there is a world of difference approaching the scenario of doing no harm from a martial focus and doing so from a perspective of just trying to avoid injury and damage.

Intent is indeed the key - but at a place where the two are not divided.

My grandfather said that a gentleman always smiles at his enemies -- as much to show his manners as for the baring of his teeth.

The intent, the will or mind behind an act is everything -- even when the action appears to be much the same.

I think maybe where we differ would be on the fact that aikido has a predetermined solution set. ... I am not one who subcribes to the spiritual/moral uniqueness of aikido though, so I think this is where maybe I have differences with many here that wish to establish this perspective. I see Aikido as having a very powerful resonance with Christian teaching, perhaps explaining its uniqueness from my perspective (and this connection is not at all unsupported from the Founder's views, FWIW). Given that we are in the Easter season, perhaps this bears some expansion on how Western ideals (which is in this context to say "Christian") and specifically Aikido ideals of what is "martial" coincide.

Christ taught the entering of all conflict with a heart of loving protection -- He did not teach His disciples to enter conflict without the sword (He was explicit on that part) -- though He expected them not to "live by the sword". Nor yet did He teach by martial example in a particularly gentle manner (a few money changers would point to some bruises on that score).

AFAIK, Aikido is the only practical martial art that teaches methods and the spirit of entering into violence expressly with the spirit of loving protection -- even toward someone who just took a swing at you. Other arts teach a placidity of mind, or of calculation, or an energy drawn of retribution. Ethics are important but secondary to their martial training -- factors to be considered in its applciation. But there is nothing else quite like Aikido in trying to train for these loving qualities in the course of violent encounter, and as the driving factor behind both entering it and concluding it.

Of course, it may fail in places in achieving usefully martial effectiveness, or in consistently transmitting the spirit of loving protection. But its ideals are more or less out there to be had on both points and achieved in greater or lesser degree by many on both scores.

ryback
04-01-2013, 04:00 PM
How do we define martial...an interesting question.
Nowadays, the access to any information has become easier due to the internet, but could it be that it has become too easy? For every question there is a number of people stating their opinions until you are lost in a sea of information that you can't sort out, but that is not the worst.
The worst is, that some of these people are believed to be leading authorities in the field, so their answer is considered more valid. Some of them are dead and their opinions and books are considered a legacy. Some of them are living and are writting books and also in forums. Some of them have already posted in this thread and some of them haven't.
I know a lot of people who take those so-called leading autorities for granted no matter what they say. I have lots of books, I am familiar with theirs too and having cross checked them with other sourses have found some of them to be an ocean of mistakes hiding behind their ranks and their wide variety of different martial arts training. In their urge to be "heretic" in order to sell more of their...goship books they are dangerously misleading the begginers or people that consider taking up martial arts and have not yet developed the ability to filter out the "rubbish" information.
Learning a martial art has nothing to do with being wide, but with fathoming deelpy in one art's principles.
It might seem that i've gotten off-topic but i haven't. We can define martial as anything related with the military, the war, firearms, guns, tanks, you name it. But how we define "martial arts"...well that's another story. So this being a martial arts forum i believe the thread itself is a little off-topic.
I agree with Graham when he said that martial arts weren't born by the need to fight. We can fight without learning the martial arts, can we not? Martial arts were born by the need to have a better chance of surviving in a battlefield or any other violent situation without having to use violence. That is something that can be accomplished only by studying the martial arts.
Of course modern weapons and learning how to press a button to blow up ten buildings are martial, but have nothing to do with martial arts. In the times where martial arts' roots are, the fighting skill and the spiritual awarness were one and the same and the one could spring by polishing the other. That is why, when those times were long gone, martial arts easily developed into self discovery and self defense systems. It is very hard for me to imagine somebody pressing a missile launch button in 200 years from now in order to achieve spiritual awareness and self defence skills.
Is Aikido a martial art? Of course it is. It is a complete training system that if one is to study it correctly, it can forge the person into a disciplined effective martial artist, but not a soldier. A martial artist is a person that has a better chance than an untrained person to survive in a hostile environment, a fight, an attack, an accident e.t.c. wherever that situation finds him. A soldier on the other hand is deliberately going to fight because it is his job. A martial artist is trained to be calm and peaceful even during a fighting situation. Documentaries show that the soldiers motivation is fanaticism and blind rage against his enemies, but you don't need martial arts for that. Anybody can get effectively out of control, the point is what does one choose.
There are a lot of people claiming that Aikido is not a martial art because it is open for anyone to learn, one person was already mentioned above. This is completely wrong! Aikido is a very difficult art to learn, so it's not open to anybody, only to people that are willing to study real hard. There are lots of people training but only a few realy know how to make aikido work. You don't need secret techiques. The techniques' secret is lots of years of dead serious study, but it remains well hidden behind everybody's hunt for ranks. So you see, the fact that somebody is concidered a leading authority on the field doesn't mean that his opinion cannot be dead wrong!
There are also people who think that aikido does not qualify as a martial art because it is not a Koryu and they think that they are doing a traditional authentic Bujutsu. But they would have to explain then who is their Shogun and if they are willing to comit sepukku for their master. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet people who are practicing on fake synthetic tatamis, and mix in their mind the new age trends of marijuana smoking with their martial arts training are conciderd valid when they have the nerve to refer to O' sensei or any other master badly, in order to be the ones who broke the "myth" even though older, closer to the sourse material and other teachers prove that they are the ones who are historicaly inacurate.
Such inacuracy is the misleading that Aikido doesn't work and it is not a martial art, but a spiritual path. Being an effective martial art is what makes it a spiritual path. If one's technique does not work, he has no tools to build his spiritual awarness.It doesn't have to be a stylised violence in order to be effective. You don't have to get out of control in order to make it work, quite the opposite it's all about being in control, being in harmony, hence its difficulty but also the key to its effectiveness.
So, how do we define "martial", or how do we define "martial arts"...As Kwai Chang Caine would put it: It's not about knowing the answer. It's about understanding the question.

graham christian
04-01-2013, 05:02 PM
Jon, nice post may I say first. Even what you say about my response to Mr.Ellis.

I don't believe I should be more considerate although if you used a different word I would probably fully agree. For instance diplomatic. Yes I no doubt should be more diplomatic in some of my responses.

I do consider and take into account what people say and where they are coming from but as in life when someone concludes something which I believe is incorrect Out comes the sword. As you will notice only with each point and my counter point.

I have trained with and taught people from various fields of expertise and always open to learning new things and that includes those who know a lot about history. But put a historian being an expert in martial technique in my class and I have no doubt they will learn some truths they hadn't realized.

So there you are and I know you have already taken into account how I am and pointed it out so well done for that.

So yes I could be more diplomatic but it works both ways. Saying the monasteries were havens for thugs who slaughter people was hardly diplomatic and neither was telling me I am being ahistorical and a fantasist brought it into personal which again is hardly diplomatic. So over all it's just communication and differences of opinion as should be expected on a forum.

Peace.G.

graham christian
04-01-2013, 05:48 PM
Thanks Yannis, I like that post very much.

When I started martial arts I had read many books on the subject and was enthralled by the stories of Musashi and zen masters and Bruce Lee and 'The Cat' and various masters and their philosophies and histories of this and that. Ghengis Khan, Templar Knights, Old English Kings etc. etc.

I was going to be a samurai, I was going to be a zen Master, I was going to be a Bruce Lee, I was going to be a warrior. Then I came across Aikido. Prior to that all I had read by the experts was true. After that I found why I was attracted to Aikido. Suddenly I found myself doing one where you had to face yourself. Woah....a whole new ball game. Suddenly Martial took on a whole new meaning. So there I was studying something that was based around weapons which had very little actually to do with weapons. Yet to learn it you had to do it as I had previously believed but from a totally different viewpoint.

That alone was like a mini enlightenment and quite astounding to me at the time. It meant all those considered experts were wrong....wow...and so was I.

So even now, so many years later, when I read certain things all it does is remind me of how I used to see it.

It's all good. I have no complaints about others views. I believe being focused and sincere is top quality and fun but being serious is death. ;)

Needing to be a bit more diplomatic with my views may well be the case, maybe I'm too martial with them.:)

Peace.G.

Bernd Lehnen
04-01-2013, 06:09 PM
Jon and Kevin and Ellis,
Thank you for sharing your vast expertise. I'm very tempted to simply shut up in awe. The only horse I've got left in this race is that I'm willing to learn or, if you like, my burning curiosity concerning these matters.
So, may I dare to ask you wether I'm completely wrong, when I think that the system of the principles and techniques of Aikido contains a very practical method to teach about strategy?

If so, to my mind and in contrast to very cherished common belief, though in its execution looking beautiful and, if you like peaceful - I'd prefer the term graceful - the art of aikido in spirit and intent is all offensive and martial. Think of Clausewitz. This wouldn't exclude peaceful results as an objective.

If Aikido were about tactics, it might make sense to complain about the techniques in their purest form, and doubts could arise about their applicability in tactical situations or martial H2H. But if were about teaching strategy, those complaints very likely would show misinterpretation of its formal execution and incomprehension of its essence.

Best
Bernd

Ellis Amdur
04-01-2013, 06:38 PM
Bernd - As you probably know, I do think that there is/was, within aikido, a very real system of accessing principles of movement, power and control of oneself or another. I am not sure that there is really a system of "strategy" unique to aikido, particularly when it comes to people en masse. One can look at Sun Tzu and assert, that's aikido principles applied to war, but in fact, it would, in that case, be more accurate to assert regarding aikido, "that's Sun Tzu, applied to the individual"

Yannis, it seems to you were referencing me in some fashion. Most of the allusions you made, however, regarding scholars, authorities, koryu practitioners, writers of books, etc. are not positions I hold, so if you are referring to me, you are not referring to me.

Best
Ellis Amdur

phitruong
04-02-2013, 07:35 AM
The minute we admit what we are doing is not necessarily "martial"... Bam, start handing out the ribbons and bongo drums (no offense to those of you who train with ribbons and bongo drums... Phi - I'm looking at you, man.)

sheesh! i was going to stay out of this conflict, but then you made fun of bongo drums. that means war!

this whole martial thing is kinda interesting. back in the dark age, before Al Gore invented the internet, before the bell bottom pants and bongo drums, in asia, mostly chinese and related courts of lord and emperor, you have folks that lined up both side. on the one side, you got all these folks looked like dead trees who were good with words and numbers, so they ran the country/domain in all its administrative aspects. their idea of funs included comparing their balls pickled in a jar. these dead trees referred to as the administrative lords or modern day geeks. on the other side, a bunch of mean and nasty and ugly looking bunch, who were ready to party on moment notice, who would kick ass and not even bother with name (these guys knew how to party back then), who armed to teeth, mostly armed with teeth. these party goers refered to the martial lords or the modern day of jocks.

so folks back then were conditioned to understand that the emperor is god (actually representing god who owned all the women, which opposites of jesus, who didn't even have a date), and folks can be elevated to either the administrative or the martial positions. back then they also believed in examination to determine the best person for certain position. if you can write well and good with numbers, i.e. playing with your toy abacus and talking in code like omg, lol, and so on, then you can land an administrative position. on the other hand, if you are a brute who can drink gallons of wine and beat the living day lights out of folks, then you can land in a martial position. then you have this really special position where if you read/write well and can party like 1999 and beat the living day light out of nerds, jocks, women, children, old folks, dogs, cats, sheeps (maybe the sheeps), then you are a special breed which is a very highly regarded as the warrior sage, the guy of guys, the budo man, the top of the heap. and your post would be the lord of night soil operatives. :)

so are we define martial as the characteristics of the lord of night soil operatives? it's a very important position which governs every aspect of our lives. it required men/women/dogs/cats/occasional sheeps of strong will and characters. it required enlightment and conflict resolution. it required strong and tough body. but most of all, it required the friggin gas mask, rubber boots and gloves. :D

Ellis Amdur
04-02-2013, 08:42 AM
Phi - you have stumbled on an interesting historical incident.

if you can write well and good with numbers, i.e. playing with your toy abacus and talking in code like omg, lol, and so on, then you can land an administrative position.

In 1638, after intolerable depredations by the daimyo and their samurai minions, the farmers of several small realms in Kyushu revolted, bolstered by a few 100 ronin who were living as farmers. The revolt spread and eventually, around 38,000 men, women and children, poorly armed in everything but courage, sequestered themselves in the castle at Shimabara. The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers. The peasants held off several well-armed armies of samurai, who attacked in vastly superior numbers.

The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).


The Christians were eventually defeated - an entire nation was against them - and all but one person - if I recall correctly, a young woman - of the 38,000 were slaughtered, the last large-scale armed conflict in Japan before modern times. There were thousands of small-scale peasant revolts throughout the Edo period, mostly put down by guns - the samurai could no longer match the peasants hand-to-hand, even though it was hoe and pick against swords, so they'd simply go to the castle armory and bring out the muskets. The surviving Christians of Japan became "hidden," maintaining rituals in secret, and were only found as such in the 1920's.

Ellis Amdur

Cliff Judge
04-02-2013, 09:13 AM
The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).



I really loved how in the movie "Twilight Samurai" the lead character's job was to keep count of the beans.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-02-2013, 09:25 AM
The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers.

Also the dutch cannons were not powerful enough to cause serious damage and they often overshot the castle walls causing their cannon balls to land amid the besiegers, There was a combination of inefectiveness, friendly fire and rebels taunting the samurai what ended the dutch assistance.

Cady Goldfield
04-02-2013, 11:44 AM
Fascinating historical stuffs!

Although, the mention of the peasants taunting the samurai from the castle walls brought back vivid images of an iconic scene from "Monty Python's Holy Grail."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V7zbWNznbs

Robert Cowham
04-02-2013, 02:35 PM
A very interesting discussion!

I remember reading an account of Terry Dobson's demonstration to the UN forces in New York: he worked with a high ranking Aikido teacher to put on a demo. Terry showed things including ukemi with a babe in arms - aikido as more than just pure technique. The UN were interested but wanted more information. Terry was enthused. A followup was arranged, but the high ranking Aikido teacher cut Terry out - did the demo on his own and got carried away with his own image, breaking an uke's arm in the demo. The response from a UN general was "we know how to break people's arms" - basically they lost interest - they thought there was something more than just physical technique, but then didn't see it.

Can't remember the exact source - but hope Ellis can chime in with chapter and verse!

The question of "what is Budo?" came up in a recent workshop I have done. Answers included "knowing what you would defend with your life if necessary".

There are various aspects of martial - including the "3 swords": of the ordinary soldier, of the general and of the emperor:

http://www.universal-tao-eproducts.com/taoism-resources/ChuangTzu30UTEP.html

What are we studying to learn? What should be included in the study of Budo? Should it include strategy and tactics? What about politics?

What is the point of studying kenjutsu - with a shinken (live blade)? It has little practical reality as I would certainly be arrested if wandering around London with a sword on my hip! And yet, in my experience, practicing with a shinken brings a depth to one's focus, perception of risk, challenge to tanden, sharpness and accuracy of movement.

Can we bring the same aspects to studying Aikido (in my case focussing on taijutsu)? I believe we can.

When are we most likely to encounter aggression and/or violence? Physical or non-physical? I encounter non-physical attacks multiple times a day! (I work and I have kids who push boundaries!)

Personally, I recall in my life a single basic instance of physical aggression - a bouncer tried to grab me, I deflected his grab in automatic mode and just controlled his hands, he moved, and nothing happened. I saw his eyes widen and from that moment on he didn't attempt anything physical - all the aggression became verbal - manager called, peaceful resolution etc.

I haven't realistically trained for an attack by a trained knife fighter - have little illusion about my ability to defend such an attack, inspite of thousands of kote gaishi's etc. And yet I have some confidence in my abilities against the most likely attacks (i.e. not from trained people). I believe the most important aspects are mental, and these are increased by some confidence in one's physical capabilities. The vast majority of attacks are non-physical anyway. Those that threaten physicality are most of the time detectable in advance and avoidable.

Sorry for any thread drift...

lars beyer
04-02-2013, 03:24 PM
Phi - you have stumbled on an interesting historical incident.

In 1638, after intolerable depredations by the daimyo and their samurai minions, the farmers of several small realms in Kyushu revolted, bolstered by a few 100 ronin who were living as farmers. The revolt spread and eventually, around 38,000 men, women and children, poorly armed in everything but courage, sequestered themselves in the castle at Shimabara. The Shogunate was so shocked that they requested the Dutch shell the castle from the sea, but after a single bombardment, they called it off, afraid that the world would know they needed foreign help to put down a revolt by a mob of mostly Christian farmers. The peasants held off several well-armed armies of samurai, who attacked in vastly superior numbers.

The point of my note here is that the peasants, taunting the samurai from the castle walls, called them abacus counters. (yes, bean counters).


The Christians were eventually defeated - an entire nation was against them - and all but one person - if I recall correctly, a young woman - of the 38,000 were slaughtered, the last large-scale armed conflict in Japan before modern times. There were thousands of small-scale peasant revolts throughout the Edo period, mostly put down by guns - the samurai could no longer match the peasants hand-to-hand, even though it was hoe and pick against swords, so they'd simply go to the castle armory and bring out the muskets. The surviving Christians of Japan became "hidden," maintaining rituals in secret, and were only found as such in the 1920's.

Ellis Amdur

Hello
This is maybe not relevant to the discussion, but anyway, as far as I´m informed, O´sensei had a keen interrest in the (close) relationship between farming and budo at least he was known to talk about it back in the Iwama years and he was quite involved in farming to sustain life for his family and himself as well as his uchideshis as far as I know.
I dont know much about it thoug so maybe someone with more direct knowledge on the subject can step in and explain.

Best regards
Lars

Fred Little
04-02-2013, 03:57 PM
A very interesting discussion!

I remember reading an account of Terry Dobson's demonstration to the UN forces in New York: he worked with a high ranking Aikido teacher to put on a demo. Terry showed things including ukemi with a babe in arms - aikido as more than just pure technique. The UN were interested but wanted more information. Terry was enthused. A followup was arranged, but the high ranking Aikido teacher cut Terry out - did the demo on his own and got carried away with his own image, breaking an uke's arm in the demo. The response from a UN general was "we know how to break people's arms" - basically they lost interest - they thought there was something more than just physical technique, but then didn't see it.

Can't remember the exact source - but hope Ellis can chime in with chapter and verse!

The question of "what is Budo?" came up in a recent workshop I have done. Answers included "knowing what you would defend with your life if necessary".

There are various aspects of martial - including the "3 swords": of the ordinary soldier, of the general and of the emperor:

http://www.universal-tao-eproducts.com/taoism-resources/ChuangTzu30UTEP.html

What are we studying to learn? What should be included in the study of Budo? Should it include strategy and tactics? What about politics?

What is the point of studying kenjutsu - with a shinken (live blade)? It has little practical reality as I would certainly be arrested if wandering around London with a sword on my hip! And yet, in my experience, practicing with a shinken brings a depth to one's focus, perception of risk, challenge to tanden, sharpness and accuracy of movement.

Can we bring the same aspects to studying Aikido (in my case focussing on taijutsu)? I believe we can.

When are we most likely to encounter aggression and/or violence? Physical or non-physical? I encounter non-physical attacks multiple times a day! (I work and I have kids who push boundaries!)

Personally, I recall in my life a single basic instance of physical aggression - a bouncer tried to grab me, I deflected his grab in automatic mode and just controlled his hands, he moved, and nothing happened. I saw his eyes widen and from that moment on he didn't attempt anything physical - all the aggression became verbal - manager called, peaceful resolution etc.

I haven't realistically trained for an attack by a trained knife fighter - have little illusion about my ability to defend such an attack, inspite of thousands of kote gaishi's etc. And yet I have some confidence in my abilities against the most likely attacks (i.e. not from trained people). I believe the most important aspects are mental, and these are increased by some confidence in one's physical capabilities. The vast majority of attacks are non-physical anyway. Those that threaten physicality are most of the time detectable in advance and avoidable.

Sorry for any thread drift...

Hi Robert,

At the time, Terry WAS a high-ranking aikido teacher. The other individual was Terry's sempai. My source is not Ellis, but another individual who was close-by on both occasions. My understanding is that while no arms were broken in the second demo, the UN personnel did walk out, making the remark you cite.

The rest I'll leave to others.

Best,

FL

Keith Larman
04-02-2013, 04:30 PM
One can look at Sun Tzu and assert, that's aikido principles applied to war, but in fact, it would, in that case, be more accurate to assert regarding aikido, "that's Sun Tzu, applied to the individual"

That just needed to be repeated.

Reading many of the posts here made me think of Teddy Roosevelt. I remember his wonderful expression -- "Tread softly but carry a big stick". Seems to me that many really like the notion of the tread softly part but likely wouldn't even know how to hold the stick let alone carry it or use it. Once you know how to use that big stick you can choose whether to use it, how to use it, and so on. But until then the stick isn't really there...

"Mongo just pawn in game of life."

Carry on.

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2013, 04:30 PM
Jon and Kevin and Ellis,
Thank you for sharing your vast expertise. I'm very tempted to simply shut up in awe. The only horse I've got left in this race is that I'm willing to learn or, if you like, my burning curiosity concerning these matters.
So, may I dare to ask you wether I'm completely wrong, when I think that the system of the principles and techniques of Aikido contains a very practical method to teach about strategy?

If so, to my mind and in contrast to very cherished common belief, though in its execution looking beautiful and, if you like peaceful - I'd prefer the term graceful - the art of aikido in spirit and intent is all offensive and martial. Think of Clausewitz. This wouldn't exclude peaceful results as an objective.

If Aikido were about tactics, it might make sense to complain about the techniques in their purest form, and doubts could arise about their applicability in tactical situations or martial H2H. But if were about teaching strategy, those complaints very likely would show misinterpretation of its formal execution and incomprehension of its essence.

Best
Bernd

Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

Maybe "don't ask anything that is foreign to it's nature".

War is diplomacy by other means....

Maybe the Trinity? Keeping separate and balanced the "army" and the "government" and People.

I think maybe this is appropriate. IMO budoka should only be concerned with the study of war and the means to effectively use violence. Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.

Cliff covered this I think above somewhat concerning "purpose". I think that budoka should be concerned with war, but not necessarily the "purpose" or the "politics" of action. I think that the budoka should be some what distance from it. Understand it, and maybe ready to enforce, but not be concerned with a influencing the situation.

I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.

yes, again, we should understand these things, and yes be would be prepared to act if necessary towards a desired endstate, but we cannot dabble in the affairs. If this makes sense. Hard to express this concept...maybe it does not translate correctly.

I think that like the trinity, the legs of the triangle are in constant tension, and the budoka must be ever mindful of keeping it in balance. Dabble to much in one area and you will have issues.

Robert Cowham
04-02-2013, 05:18 PM
At the time, Terry WAS a high-ranking aikido teacher. The other individual was Terry's sempai. My source is not Ellis, but another individual who was close-by on both occasions. My understanding is that while no arms were broken in the second demo, the UN personnel did walk out, making the remark you cite.

Hi Fred

Thanks for the clarification. No disrespect to Terry intended.

Regards
Robert

Marc Abrams
04-02-2013, 05:19 PM
I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.



I like the expression "If you have to think about it, it is too late." The luxury to concern one's self with the well being of an attacker is best enjoyed on a couch as a keyboard warrior. Outside of that setting, I would not recommend it. It's a shame that you cannot invite some select people into the combative's training pits to experience a little fun and a healthy dose of reality.....

Hope all is well Kevin.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Bernd Lehnen
04-02-2013, 05:48 PM
Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

Maybe "don't ask anything that is foreign to it's nature".

War is diplomacy by other means....

Maybe the Trinity? Keeping separate and balanced the "army" and the "government" and People.

I think maybe this is appropriate. IMO budoka should only be concerned with the study of war and the means to effectively use violence. Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.

Cliff covered this I think above somewhat concerning "purpose". I think that budoka should be concerned with war, but not necessarily the "purpose" or the "politics" of action. I think that the budoka should be some what distance from it. Understand it, and maybe ready to enforce, but not be concerned with a influencing the situation.

I think a big difference between Graham and I would be this. I don't concern myself with the things he would such as "improving the enemy" or trying to influence things with a particular outcome be it religiously, philosophically, or politically. I think this is dangerous ground for the budoka.

yes, again, we should understand these things, and yes be would be prepared to act if necessary towards a desired endstate, but we cannot dabble in the affairs. If this makes sense. Hard to express this concept...maybe it does not translate correctly.

I think that like the trinity, the legs of the triangle are in constant tension, and the budoka must be ever mindful of keeping it in balance. Dabble to much in one area and you will have issues.

Thank you Kevin,
Very honest, hard to express and it does make sense.

Yours respectfully
Bernd

Erick Mead
04-02-2013, 05:56 PM
Bernd, as a Military Strategist as a profession, I am I guess supposed to be a Clausewitz scholar. Hadn't really considered how Clausewitz applies with the study of budo.

War is diplomacy by other means....
Clausewitz talks alot about limited and unlimited war. I think maybe the Budoka would be concerned with understanding the instruments of war and how to appropriately and judiciously apply them.
or as it is said "politics by other means" ... which really means that diplomacy and politics are in some sense an illusion covering the more basic essence of conflicts.

In light of the mention of Clausewitz, I cannot recommend highly enough Rene Girard' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Girard)s latest work on mimetic theory and violence, which is focussed on Clausewitz and the inherent vulnerability to escalations ending int total war, which Clausewitz foresaw: "Battling to the End (http://www.amazon.com/Battling-End-Conversations-Beno%C3%AEt-Chantre/dp/0870138774/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364940605&sr=1-1&keywords=girard+clausewitz)"

An article with some summary of its points by the author is found here (http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/07/apocalypse-now) -- and dwelling on the apocalyptic themes -- of man's own making -- which (to my reading) is very much in keeping with O Sensei's own thinking about the purpose of Aikido in helping people prevent the dynamic that leads to total mutual annihilation.

What happens when we reach the extremes that Clausewitz glimpses before hiding them behind his strategic considerations? He does not tell us. This is the question we have to ask today. Clausewitz had a stunning intuition about history's suddenly accelerated course, but he immediately disguised it and tried to give his book the tone of a technical, scholarly treatise. We therefore have to complete Clausewitz by taking up the route he interrupted and following it to the end.
...
... he wrote in his first chapter: "War is an act of violence, which in its application knows no bounds; as one dictates the law to the other, there arises a sort of reciprocal action, which, in the conception, must lead to an extreme." Without realizing it, Clausewitz discovered not only the apocalyptic formula but also that it is bound up with mimetic rivalry. Where can this truth be understood in a world that continues to close its eyes to the incalculable consequences of mimetic rivalry? Not only was Clausewitz right, in opposition to Hegel and all modern wisdom, but what he was right about has terrible implications for humanity. This warmonger alone saw certain things.

To my mind, a grasp of Girard's observations about the deep mimetic nature of human psychology, and its irreducibly and recurrently violent core, are something that anyone who is serious about the problems of violence ought to be exposed to. A further reference source is here (http://www.imitatio.org/).

When O Sensei -- who was not a Christian -- spoke explicitly in terms of the Logos and St. Michael -- he was not just indulging the Japanese penchant for even-handed syncretism in religion -- he was making an profound point about the nature of violence -- which he in his practical way applied to address much the same concerns that Girard discovered in the structures of human social conflict laid out in dramatic works and that Clausewitz did in studying actual wars.

"In the same spirit as the teachings of the Bible on the return of Michael (see Daniel, 12), all the three worlds will completely admire this Great Saint [Ame no Ukihashi] and follow his words with joy. We must endeavor to perform our assigned missions to lead others in welcoming such a wise, Great Saint."
Takemusu Aiki lectures (https://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=638), Morihei Ueshiba (Tr. Sonoko Tanaka)

For those who do not recall, Michael in Daniel 12 is related as the protector of the Chosen -- and who will serve defend them -- but only in the final battle. In other words, the spirit of Michael is analogized or identified with Ame no Ukihashi (the mission of Aikido), and which will serve to save them [us] -- from the final imitative escalation to mutual destruction, to which we are otherwise very likely to succumb.

graham christian
04-02-2013, 09:42 PM
If budo is love then love is martial. To fully grasp this one would then understand why O'Sensei described his budo as unique and fundamentally different from the budo of the past.

When you finally realize love protects and realize thus it's true power you will see budo.

Peace.G.

Kevin Leavitt
04-03-2013, 03:23 AM
Thanks Erick, I am not familar with Gerard. I will read up on it.

Graham I don't think you can assign a value/concept such as love to budo. It would be like saying the philosophy is love. Philosophy is philosophy and certainly the concept of love is a part of philosophy. Budo is budo and certainly love is a part of budo.

I think the concept of love is a slippery one indeed. I think the problem is much more complex than simply budo is love.

to go back to the Clausewitz framework, which I am now seeing as not a bad one for this model. ...

there are several things that need to be consired. First, are people rational actors or irrational ones?

Clausewitz posed this question as an important one when he pondered the concept of unlimited or total war versus limited war. If people were not ultimately rational actors at some level then there would be no constraints. Rationality may involve the concept of love, but there are many reasons why people will constrain themselves or limit themselves from unlimited means.

IMO, budo is really concerned with understanding the rationality of people and exploring the concept of unlimited and limted means of violence. We attempt to gain skill in order to apply tools that can be used in an unlimited means appropriately to impose a limited agenda with rational actors.

It really boils down to this. There are things we are willing to do and things we are unwilling to do. However, the means to do them exisit no matter how tight we close our eyes and wish the means to go away.

What Cliff several post ago was illuding to was if you have an agenda that takes options off the table then you have constrained yourself artificially and might not have the right tools at your disposal to appropriately engage. So the irony IMO is that you may actually lose that which your were trying to preserve!

I think the budo states at the mid point and there is a difference between peace as love. Peace defined as the absence of, or cessation of violence. I don't think love has much utility in this concept, other than we may LOVE peace as we highly regard it. I think the budoka should look at it objectively as possible and have all means at his disposal for promoting peace. Compassionate acts of kindess and love as well as the ability to enforce peace using unlimited means of war in a limited/rational way.

I think the budoka says "all options are on the table".

Again, though it comes down to understanding what you are willing/able to do verses what you are unwilling/unable to do. THIS is our study of ourselves. reaching an understanding of this about ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with an afinity toward certain ideals, lifestyles, choices or actions. We should "be the change we want to see in the world". however, we should also clearly understand what we are williing and able to do if we must. A budoka has or should not take options off the table. If you do, then it is not martial and you are not practicing a martial art, but some bastardization of it and while maybe not wrong...it is NOT budo and NOT martial.

For example, I am a devote vegetarian bordering on a Vegan most days. I am not willing to eat meat or kill animals. I do this out of love and compassion. However I am still able and capable of eating meat and killiing animals. I also understand and recognize that there are conditions in which I will do this if necessary. Thus, I while I practice vegetarianism, I have not taken the option of killing or eating meat off the table completely.

The Budoka has a unique role in society I think. As a promoter of peace he/she sits at the crossroads and enately understands his/her role in this process.

The slippery slope with love is that much violence and zealotry and irrational passion has been spurred by the concept of "TOTAL LOVE". that is, I love something so much that I am willing and able to do X for it. or converse, I love something so much that I am unwilling or unable to do X for it. Both IMO lead to bad endings.

Ghandi was not a fool. In fact, I would argue that he was very astute and understood his position at the crossroads. He didn't avoid violence, he skillfully worked second and third order effects and artfully employed Clausewitz's trinity in a most skillfull manner. He understood that he was at the midpoint and skillfully balanced the means of power. What gave him that power was the understanding by all that he could summon the power of the people to take action...whatever that action may be. I think if you had a conversation with Ghandi, while he was passionately a non-violentist, he would most likely, and rationally conclude that unllimited and violent means have there place and was an option on the table. He found nonviolent means to be more effective.

graham christian
04-03-2013, 05:24 AM
Kevin,
this clausewitz fella seems like an intelligent guy and the one thing I like was that he remembered to keep in the equation the basic reasonableness of folk rather than just the usual macro view where people are just numbers.

But still, True Budo is love and there's no getting away from it. That is the type of Budo Aikido is about given from source repeatedly. Slippery slope? more of an uphill battle to come to terms with it and fully understand it. Anyway all slopes gets slippery at some point so nothing to fear there.

Read your view on extreme and extremeties of love and found them, well let's say far from the mark. The concept of extreme love is rather amusing. Complete or 100% love would be pure, universal, whereas zealotism is a hate thing, a mind thing, a crazy thing as with all crazy things based on fear not love.

So I also like the part about ruling nothing out, all options on the table. Yet you rule out love by saying it takes away options. Love does quite the opposite so here we have an example of what I said originally, peoples failure to understand Budo is love is the problem.

Love actually is all inclusive, that's one quality of it. That should tell you something quite different to limiting options.

Love is part and parcel of reason so that should tell yo something too.

Peace is another powerful thing not understood. The nearest you come to it above was saying it's an absence of something else. Well that just tells you we are aware of it when there is no war but nothing about it.

Anyway I look at war and could just as easily say war is just an absence of peace. A temporary madness that happens from time to time.

There is no war in the budo of love. Mmmmm, sounds like something worth understanding.

Peace.G.

Erick Mead
04-03-2013, 11:49 AM
Thanks Erick, I am not familar with Gerard. I will read up on it. It is eye-opening, IMO on the subject of the source of conflicts, recurring social crises and their resolution. An excellent interview of Girard introduces the scope of his thinking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNkSBy5wWDk

... to go back to the Clausewitz framework, which I am now seeing as not a bad one for this model.
...
Clausewitz posed this question as an important one when he pondered the concept of unlimited or total war versus limited war. If people were not ultimately rational actors at some level then there would be no constraints. Rationality may involve the concept of love, but there are many reasons why people will constrain themselves or limit themselves from unlimited means.

IMO, budo is really concerned with understanding the rationality of people and exploring the concept of unlimited and limted means of violence. We attempt to gain skill in order to apply tools that can be used in an unlimited means appropriately to impose a limited agenda with rational actors.

It really boils down to this. There are things we are willing to do and things we are unwilling to do. However, the means to do them exisit no matter how tight we close our eyes and wish the means to go away. If Girard is correct, we are not entirely in control of what we desire or why, and our desires -- and thus our conflicts -- are powerfully - and mostly unconsciously-- mediated by both models and rivals that we imitate from a deep part of our minds. Neurology has since proposed a mechanism for Girard's observational analysis in what are called "mirror neurons" that have a deep role in our learning and empathic modelling of the desires and emotional states of others.

Rationality is a thin reed to rely on in this context.

Again, though it comes down to understanding what you are willing/able to do verses what you are unwilling/unable to do. THIS is our study of ourselves. reaching an understanding of this about ourselves. It is that understanding that the study of budo is geared to -- to understand myself when I enter into violence -- and by understanding gain command of myself -- not always rationally -- but to assure that it is -- I -- that commands my engagement -- and not something else that I am unaware of of or become hostage to.

And if I can command myself -- then -- as an explicitly military application -- I can better command others by the same mechanism that I have learned to override in gaining command of myself.

Mary Eastland
04-03-2013, 12:48 PM
Yep.

As Ellis Amdur notes, some folks (like me) are doing aikido with some infirmities and sharing what we can do with others who have infirmities, and I believe that is a good thing - but I have never led such a class for a single evening without being mindful of embodying to the best of my abilities, and sharing the key points as best I understand them, about the martial applications or principles our training is based on and pointing out some practical application of what we are doing.

When a student asks me a pointed question about why, from a practical defensive perspective, something is done this way rather than that way, if I can't demo it on the spot, we play with it for a while until it makes sense.

Otherwise, WTF are we doing while we work on posture, connection, kata, etc?!

Ah, there is the question, why are we doing this anyway....I am sure there are as many answers as there are practitioners.

Aikido as a self-defense is so much more than who wins the fight. It is about becoming the best person one can become and then bringing that best out into the world to help transform the world inch by inch...circumstance by circumstance.

The irony of being able to really defend oneself is that by going to the dark place and facing it, one may never need go back there.

jonreading
04-03-2013, 02:31 PM
Great posts...

I tend to agree with Kevin is regard to the ability to access a number of resources in resolving problems. We tend to accommodate solutions that do not apply or are not feasible more often than we should. A million dollars would solve many of my problems; however, it may not address the cause of why I needed a million dollars. In other words, we treat symptoms, not causes. Again, for me, martial arts [used to be] a collection of tools used to provide more ability in solving problems, specifically in combat. I used the comment from my grandfather to illustrate how an seemingly non-martial technology was more useful in his opinion then say, his 12-cut hand-to-hand knife sequence.

Love is not a resource, it is an emotion. You do not use a "love" to fix a flat tire, or pay a bill, or punch a guys lights out. You can perform an action with love; or, more appropriately, compassion or empathy. I will pay a restaurant bill with love in my heart after enjoying a romantic dinner with my wife. I will fix a flat tire with love in my heart that my family was uninjured in the accident. I will punch a guys lights out with love in my heart if that saves him from injuring himself or someone else. I don't want to hijack the thread to talk about "love is budo", but I think is has its relevancy...

I think Kevin's description of his practice of vegetarianism is a good one. I think when we consistently marginalize those aspects of budo we do not like, what we are left with is not only what we believe (right or wrong), but in fact the only way we can express [what we believe to be] budo. In another thread I made a comment about aikido's difficulty in expressing aiki. Given the ranging and non-definitive opinions of aiki, how could we possibly express with any consistency aiki?

Love is what will cause a mother to override her personal safety to save a child. Fear is what will allow a body to endure more effort than it should. Courage is what will provoke us to act when we otherwise would not. These are great emotions to understand and use to assist our action, but actions "solve" the problem.

Erick Mead
04-03-2013, 02:56 PM
I will punch a guys lights out with love in my heart if that saves him from injuring himself or someone else.

This. :cool:

graham christian
04-03-2013, 03:17 PM
Great posts...

I tend to agree with Kevin is regard to the ability to access a number of resources in resolving problems. We tend to accommodate solutions that do not apply or are not feasible more often than we should. A million dollars would solve many of my problems; however, it may not address the cause of why I needed a million dollars. In other words, we treat symptoms, not causes. Again, for me, martial arts [used to be] a collection of tools used to provide more ability in solving problems, specifically in combat. I used the comment from my grandfather to illustrate how an seemingly non-martial technology was more useful in his opinion then say, his 12-cut hand-to-hand knife sequence.

Love is not a resource, it is an emotion. You do not use a "love" to fix a flat tire, or pay a bill, or punch a guys lights out. You can perform an action with love; or, more appropriately, compassion or empathy. I will pay a restaurant bill with love in my heart after enjoying a romantic dinner with my wife. I will fix a flat tire with love in my heart that my family was uninjured in the accident. I will punch a guys lights out with love in my heart if that saves him from injuring himself or someone else. I don't want to hijack the thread to talk about "love is budo", but I think is has its relevancy...

I think Kevin's description of his practice of vegetarianism is a good one. I think when we consistently marginalize those aspects of budo we do not like, what we are left with is not only what we believe (right or wrong), but in fact the only way we can express [what we believe to be] budo. In another thread I made a comment about aikido's difficulty in expressing aiki. Given the ranging and non-definitive opinions of aiki, how could we possibly express with any consistency aiki?

Love is what will cause a mother to override her personal safety to save a child. Fear is what will allow a body to endure more effort than it should. Courage is what will provoke us to act when we otherwise would not. These are great emotions to understand and use to assist our action, but actions "solve" the problem.

Ah, Jon, I'm glad you wrote this post.

I could go on and explain why Budo is love but like first and foremost your looking at how it assists in action but is not actually the action. In fact if you changed your perspective slightly you may see it is indeed a resource and all the other 'lesser' emotions are resources which people call upon in order to do, act.

However I won't go further into that here.

What I would ask you to do though is read my thread called responsibility in learning. I divide things into three equal parts there. Love is the student, here would be the open mind, the stable awareness, the all embracing awareness of the whole. In that thread spirit is the teacher, the disciplined action, the doer. Soul is the overseer, the all receiving aspect.

So you see from my view it's not a matter of not that but only this or even just this so forget about or have that as minor. It's a matter of all three.

O'Sensei talked much of budo is love along with explaining oneness and universal (heart) and in fact would take it further and virtually say that is the ultimate eventually. However he also called it non-resistance in action (spirit) and ultimate harmony (soul). So although this is my explanation I hope it clears up a few misapprehensions on my view of budo is love.

It takes great heart to be a warrior, it takes great soul to be a warrior, and it takes great spirit too.

Each is actually active. Thinking of only one then we miss out on two.

You can now if you like say I say there are three spirits of Aikido.

Peace.G.

Marc Abrams
04-03-2013, 03:33 PM
It takes great heart to be a warrior, it takes great soul to be a warrior, and it takes great spirit too.

Peace.G.

Ghenghis Khan was a great warrior. I do not think that many people would talk about his great heart and soul. There is an unfortunate tendency to romanticize the idea of a warrior. This same tendency to distort is also seen in "translating" O'Sensei's words to fit within some kind of romanticized, "new age" framework. Graham likes to talk at length about what O'Sensei said and meant, without being about to cite the actual Japanese and the translations that he is relying on. He might not consider such facts to be important, but many of us do. If you want to express some idiosyncratic meanings of terms and interpretations of what other people said, then you should note it as such, rather than trying to "prove" the "correctness" of those positions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Marc Abrams

graham christian
04-03-2013, 04:37 PM
Ghenghis Khan was a great warrior. I do not think that many people would talk about his great heart and soul. There is an unfortunate tendency to romanticize the idea of a warrior. This same tendency to distort is also seen in "translating" O'Sensei's words to fit within some kind of romanticized, "new age" framework. Graham likes to talk at length about what O'Sensei said and meant, without being about to cite the actual Japanese and the translations that he is relying on. He might not consider such facts to be important, but many of us do. If you want to express some idiosyncratic meanings of terms and interpretations of what other people said, then you should note it as such, rather than trying to "prove" the "correctness" of those positions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Marc Abrams

Well excuse me. I'm quite clear they are my interpretations. Most others are too. I'm quite clear that others are intelligent too and quite capable of coming to their own conclusions as to whether they think what I say is good, crackers or in between.

If you think Ghenghis Khan had no heart and soul or little and that I have him in the class of great then that's your business. I'm sure there is whole part of the world which would beg to differ. However that's neither an example of mine or relevant to what I call warrior either, literally speaking.

I've told you before I don't try to prove anything.

Peace.G.

Cady Goldfield
04-03-2013, 04:41 PM
Getting right down to the most primal purpose of war, it's about:
1. territory
2. wimmins
3. resources for keeping wimmins and the progeny you get 'em pregnant with. (This is a subset of "territory.")

War and things martial are a male institution. However, war is both In/Yin and Yo/Yang:
1. In/Yin: Defending your territory/wimmins/resources against invaders who want your territory/wimmins/resources.
2. Yo/Yang: Invading someone else's territory in order to take said territory, their wimmins and resources. This can be done by overt force and taking, or by "diplomatic negotiating" when one is in the superior position and offers "diplomatic" solutions. Nevertheless, it is conquest.

This has not changed since the dawn of human settlement.

We can plaster on layers of nuance and sophistication, but it after all the fancy wrappings are peeled off, it still comes down to the above.

So, in defining "martial" as regards the "martial arts," in civilized societies, we are either just playing a game of symbolic militarism, or we are training for "self-defense," which goes back to the intial purpos of things martial (see In/Yin aspects, above).

We can apply rationale and romanticism or nobility to all of this, of course, including the "spiritual" angle of training to a level of expertise that give us the power to be generous and merciful to others -- withholding the sword from a posiition of power, rather than relinquishing the sword out of weakness.

graham christian
04-03-2013, 07:09 PM
Getting right down to the most primal purpose of war, it's about:
1. territory
2. wimmins
3. resources for keeping wimmins and the progeny you get 'em pregnant with. (This is a subset of "territory.")

War and things martial are a male institution. However, war is both In/Yin and Yo/Yang:
1. In/Yin: Defending your territory/wimmins/resources against invaders who want your territory/wimmins/resources.
2. Yo/Yang: Invading someone else's territory in order to take said territory, their wimmins and resources. This can be done by overt force and taking, or by "diplomatic negotiating" when one is in the superior position and offers "diplomatic" solutions. Nevertheless, it is conquest.

This has not changed since the dawn of human settlement.

We can plaster on layers of nuance and sophistication, but it after all the fancy wrappings are peeled off, it still comes down to the above.

So, in defining "martial" as regards the "martial arts," in civilized societies, we are either just playing a game of symbolic militarism, or we are training for "self-defense," which goes back to the intial purpos of things martial (see In/Yin aspects, above).

We can apply rationale and romanticism or nobility to all of this, of course, including the "spiritual" angle of training to a level of expertise that give us the power to be generous and merciful to others -- withholding the sword from a posiition of power, rather than relinquishing the sword out of weakness.

So those at war with me obviously don't want my territory so they must want my wimmin.:cool:

Now I understand:confused:

Peace.G.

Cady Goldfield
04-03-2013, 07:31 PM
So those at war with me obviously don't want my territory so they must want my wimmin.:cool:

Now I understand:confused:

Peace.G.

Unless someone is hurling poop, spears or missiles at your home or person, no one is at war with you, Graham. But if anyone is after your wimmin, perhaps we should be asking, "how do we define marital?"

graham christian
04-03-2013, 08:00 PM
Unless someone is hurling poop, spears or missiles at your home or person, no one is at war with you, Graham. But if anyone is after your wimmin, perhaps we should be asking, "how do we define marital?"

:) Makes sense, after all, budo is love;)

I'll tell you a secret, you know why folk have their ways of how a martial art should be and why they believe things should be as they see it? Answer: Because they luv it! Budo is luvvin it;)

Peace.G.

phitruong
04-04-2013, 07:44 AM
:) Makes sense, after all, budo is love;)

I'll tell you a secret, you know why folk have their ways of how a martial art should be and why they believe things should be as they see it? Answer: Because they luv it! Budo is luvvin it;)

Peace.G.

does that means doing budo is making love? however, isn't budo means stopping the trust, and wouldn't that interfere with love making? then one needs to ask about how to making love while wearing those funny skirts? and since the majority of budo folks are men, wouldn't that make us go both ways? :)

Cliff Judge
04-04-2013, 10:37 AM
What's our definition of love, though?

I've been interested in Marishiten lately. Marishiten - who as an uneducated English speaker I will refer to as she though i think there are issues with that - was a deity very important to bushi from the 10th century up into the Edo period.

We don't seem to have received much about Marishiten in the spirituality of Aikido but i believe understanding a bit about her and why she was worshipped is of paramount important in any discussion about what budo actually is.

Anyway - what her devotees sought from her was all about perception. You wanted your enemies to be blinded and unable to see you, while you wanted for yourself, the ability to not be tricked by illusion, and to see clearly what was actually happening.

I think there is a link between that and the concept of bu, and probably of "love" as well. It certainly speaks to the concern that professional warriors have of their jobs not only on the battlefield, where obviously there are issues such as the fog of war, the need to not fall into traps while making your own traps work, etc. There are the issues raised when one leader sits down with an opposing leader, and they try to come to terms, with various internal factions trying to push things one way or another. How do you see through the emotions and baggage and make a deal? There is also the issue of which side to join when battle lines are drawn, and when to decide to pull your guys out and switch sides. Its not just about making correct decisions in battle, its about making correct decisions before and after battle, and decisions about battle.

Two men who have fought against each other and have probably killed many of each other's close friends and family, sitting down and hammering out a peace agreement. Acting in accord with allies and enemies. That's a form of love, right? It is certainly stopping spears.

So an art that allows one to prevent violence from developing, or perhaps even starting in the first place, that would be a fine martial art. I would think warriors who answered only to other warriors would find such an art quite worthy of study.

Cady Goldfield
04-04-2013, 11:43 AM
I'd offer that "love" as Ueshiba meant it, may be a bit different than how Westerners interpret it. More along the lines of harmony, accord and balance than of warm affection or anything related to that emotion.

Erick Mead
04-04-2013, 02:43 PM
But if anyone is after your wimmin, perhaps we should be asking, "how do we define marital?"

Ahem.

It may do no real good to point out that the difference between the words -- "martial" and "marital" -- is the letter transposition written : (t)i[t].

Purely linguistically speaking, of course ...

:D

phitruong
04-04-2013, 03:55 PM
Ahem.

It may do no real good to point out that the difference between the words -- "martial" and "marital" -- is the letter transposition written : (t)i[t].

Purely linguistically speaking, of course ...

:D

it's the same really. have you seen the movie "War of the Roses"?

graham christian
04-04-2013, 06:34 PM
What's our definition of love, though?

I've been interested in Marishiten lately. Marishiten - who as an uneducated English speaker I will refer to as she though i think there are issues with that - was a deity very important to bushi from the 10th century up into the Edo period.

We don't seem to have received much about Marishiten in the spirituality of Aikido but i believe understanding a bit about her and why she was worshipped is of paramount important in any discussion about what budo actually is.

Anyway - what her devotees sought from her was all about perception. You wanted your enemies to be blinded and unable to see you, while you wanted for yourself, the ability to not be tricked by illusion, and to see clearly what was actually happening.

I think there is a link between that and the concept of bu, and probably of "love" as well. It certainly speaks to the concern that professional warriors have of their jobs not only on the battlefield, where obviously there are issues such as the fog of war, the need to not fall into traps while making your own traps work, etc. There are the issues raised when one leader sits down with an opposing leader, and they try to come to terms, with various internal factions trying to push things one way or another. How do you see through the emotions and baggage and make a deal? There is also the issue of which side to join when battle lines are drawn, and when to decide to pull your guys out and switch sides. Its not just about making correct decisions in battle, its about making correct decisions before and after battle, and decisions about battle.

Two men who have fought against each other and have probably killed many of each other's close friends and family, sitting down and hammering out a peace agreement. Acting in accord with allies and enemies. That's a form of love, right? It is certainly stopping spears.

So an art that allows one to prevent violence from developing, or perhaps even starting in the first place, that would be a fine martial art. I would think warriors who answered only to other warriors would find such an art quite worthy of study.

Cliff,
this is very much on the lines of what I refer to. Until studying and seeing what love actually does for real one cannot then understand how or even why such martial masters or spiritual masters said what they said.

For instance I categorically say that without love then spiritually, or perception wise if you like, you are blind. You cannot see properly or through. Now it's a matter of seeing how all the qualities of love work and what they do. Yes they comfort, yes they support, yes they allow you to see clearly, yes they are all embrasive and yes on a few other qualities. The question is what do they support naturally.

Being an advocate of this and saying how real it is I will share how we approach Aikido or another as an 'opponent' in Aikido from this view.

When people say they are developing feeling what are they saying? They are saying they are developing perception. They are now learning to operate from a different position, a different part of themself. Heart. Love. Without even knowing it they are beginning to use qualities of love and thus their percption and awareness gets more all embracing, more seeing through to what they would never have noticed before etc. etc. So people can deny it all they want but I just smile for I know they are now working more with love, their Aikido is improving, they're adding all kinds special ancient methological reasons to it, but basically they are hitting upon part of what Ueshiba or others from the past were talking about.

I often explain to folk new to the reality that due to their own considerations about what love actually is and the lack of it generally genuinely expressed in life this is why when they fall in love it's so shocking and overwhelming. Then I also ask what they think a whirlwind romance is. A sudden abundance of what they're not used to, swept away in the spiral, and then when landing back on the ground wondering what all that was about.

When it comes to things like sen sen no sen or even beyond that if that's what Ueshiba said then once again it's to do with that clear see through perception which comes from love. The effect on the person receiving such is both amazing when you do it and amazing when listening to them as to what happened for them.

This of course applies to the example given of sitting down discussing with enemies a way forward as you rightly point out.

I'll finish by saying this aspect can thus ultimately lead to tranquility in action. In such the true tranquility in action would be a very powerful and inescapable thing.

Peace.G.

Lorien Lowe
04-05-2013, 04:02 AM
Getting right down to the most primal purpose of war, it's about:
1. territory
2. wimmins
3. resources for keeping wimmins and the progeny you get 'em pregnant with. (This is a subset of "territory.")

War and things martial are a male institution. However, war is both In/Yin and Yo/Yang:
1. In/Yin: Defending your territory/wimmins/resources against invaders who want your territory/wimmins/resources.
2. Yo/Yang: Invading someone else's territory in order to take said territory, their wimmins and resources. This can be done by overt force and taking, or by "diplomatic negotiating" when one is in the superior position and offers "diplomatic" solutions. Nevertheless, it is conquest.

This has not changed since the dawn of human settlement.

We can plaster on layers of nuance and sophistication, but it after all the fancy wrappings are peeled off, it still comes down to the above.

So, in defining "martial" as regards the "martial arts," in civilized societies, we are either just playing a game of symbolic militarism, or we are training for "self-defense," which goes back to the intial purpos of things martial (see In/Yin aspects, above).

We can apply rationale and romanticism or nobility to all of this, of course, including the "spiritual" angle of training to a level of expertise that give us the power to be generous and merciful to others -- withholding the sword from a posiition of power, rather than relinquishing the sword out of weakness.
One is forced to wonder what the poster thinks of female budoka, given this definition. Are we all stupid, or are we just gay? :confused:

Bernd Lehnen
04-05-2013, 07:33 AM
I'd offer that "love" as Ueshiba meant it, may be a bit different than how Westerners interpret it. More along the lines of harmony, accord and balance than of warm affection or anything related to that emotion.

Well said, Cady.

Here, what with absolutes.

Liberté, egalité and fraternité, a trinity, if not adequately defined and confined, as absolutes per se, one of them would surely be excluded by the other two of them put together.

Loving protection for all things, what a wonderful idea, but still in reality where does it exist? All over the known universe extinction of whole planetary systems and here on earth extinction of whole species is what we observe. We may call this creation in process.

Couldn't it be, that we poor human creatures by our natural gift, the ability to think and reflect, simply do need to give and find order in our ways to describe and reflect this chaotic reality, so as to not get lost in despair? Isn't it in reality we who create the physical order and laws we believe to have objectively found, because it' s our way to see things, and create beliefs and religions to draw hope out of the otherwise impossible?

Perhaps, all we can do is strive for some harmony, accord and balance?:)

Bernd Lehnen
04-05-2013, 08:21 AM
Of course, " planetary" in this context is incorrect, better think of whole solar systems, even galaxies.
Best
Bernd

Cady Goldfield
04-05-2013, 10:11 AM
One is forced to wonder what the poster thinks of female budoka, given this definition. Are we all stupid, or are we just gay? :confused:

The poster is a female budoka, and also a naturalist and an observer of evolutionary ecology. :)
We are animals, and we are wired for certain behaviors just as are all other creatures. Our self-consciousness and intellect allow us to create rationales and layers of nuanced behaviors that, if peeled away, come down to the same basic drives as all of life on Earth.

Females fight for resources and territory, and mates, but with a subtle difference in motives and an overt difference in method and technology. Intelligence has nothing to do with any of these drives or approaches, however, and women certainly have the intellect and capabiligy to strategize large-scale warfare. But hormonally we don't tend to have the levels of testosterone that make us (as a group) aggressors that would be the perpetrators of invasive warfare.

As for being budoka, again the difference is largely in motives. Self-defense, and the defense of children and the helpless, are more normally the extent of the martial aspect for women. In budo, there are abstract aspects that are attractive to women, that are not directly combative. Very few, if any, women train to be mercenaries who are going to go into violent fields of work. Some women like to spar and do MMA, but they are a small minority, and there are a number of factors, both simple and complex, tied into this choice of pursuit.

graham christian
04-05-2013, 12:00 PM
Well said, Cady.

Here, what with absolutes.

Liberté, egalité and fraternité, a trinity, if not adequately defined and confined, as absolutes per se, one of them would surely be excluded by the other two of them put together.

Loving protection for all things, what a wonderful idea, but still in reality where does it exist? All over the known universe extinction of whole planetary systems and here on earth extinction of whole species is what we observe. We may call this creation in process.

Couldn't it be, that we poor human creatures by our natural gift, the ability to think and reflect, simply do need to give and find order in our ways to describe and reflect this chaotic reality, so as to not get lost in despair? Isn't it in reality we who create the physical order and laws we believe to have objectively found, because it' s our way to see things, and create beliefs and religions to draw hope out of the otherwise impossible?

Perhaps, all we can do is strive for some harmony, accord and balance?:)

Bernd, maybe you could take a second look. The whole universe has an order, a balance, a harmonious alignment. All these 'chaos' viewpoints as far as I can see it are of themselves chaotic.

In all life organisms we find even in the word itself (organic, organism, organised, organisation) that life organizes. In your own body millions of cells working in harmony, organs, tissues, etc. all with different functions yet as a whole working in support of each other. Thus when all are doing their function correctly there are in fact helping and supporting all the others and thus a a version of the spitit of loving protection for all things.

The galaxies and universes and how they act can also be seen in the smallest of things and there you see once again a natural order and continuous motion.

As I said earlier about military borrowing from the martial arts so it is with nature. Martial experts borrow from the fine observations of the principles involved in nature and yet on the other hand so to military.

Just take organisms and what life does. It organizes. People organize into groups of friends etc. Then some general or leader somewhere notices organization beats the multitude who are not very organized and thus armies are born.

Spirit of loving protection exists on the one side for all in it's army and on the other side for all in it's army. Unfortunately not from one army to the other army. Thus they have still more to learn.

Peace.G.

john2054
04-06-2013, 01:34 PM
sheesh! i was going to stay out of this conflict, but then you made fun of bongo drums. that means war!

this whole martial thing is kinda interesting. back in the dark age, before Al Gore invented the internet, before the bell bottom pants and bongo drums, in asia, mostly chinese and related courts of lord and emperor, you have folks that lined up both side. on the one side, you got all these folks looked like dead trees who were good with words and numbers, so they ran the country/domain in all its administrative aspects. their idea of funs included comparing their balls pickled in a jar. these dead trees referred to as the administrative lords or modern day geeks. on the other side, a bunch of mean and nasty and ugly looking bunch, who were ready to party on moment notice, who would kick ass and not even bother with name (these guys knew how to party back then), who armed to teeth, mostly armed with teeth. these party goers refered to the martial lords or the modern day of jocks.

so folks back then were conditioned to understand that the emperor is god (actually representing god who owned all the women, which opposites of jesus, who didn't even have a date), and folks can be elevated to either the administrative or the martial positions. back then they also believed in examination to determine the best person for certain position. if you can write well and good with numbers, i.e. playing with your toy abacus and talking in code like omg, lol, and so on, then you can land an administrative position. on the other hand, if you are a brute who can drink gallons of wine and beat the living day lights out of folks, then you can land in a martial position. then you have this really special position where if you read/write well and can party like 1999 and beat the living day light out of nerds, jocks, women, children, old folks, dogs, cats, sheeps (maybe the sheeps), then you are a special breed which is a very highly regarded as the warrior sage, the guy of guys, the budo man, the top of the heap. and your post would be the lord of night soil operatives. :)

so are we define martial as the characteristics of the lord of night soil operatives? it's a very important position which governs every aspect of our lives. it required men/women/dogs/cats/occasional sheeps of strong will and characters. it required enlightment and conflict resolution. it required strong and tough body. but most of all, it required the friggin gas mask, rubber boots and gloves. :D

Good points Phil. I think one of the key issues these so called 'aiki' or 'budo' experts on this site is missing is that it's all just a game. And you (read they) are losing! But why is that you may ask? Well let me tell you why. Because once upon a time, as you rightfully recognised in this post, things were done a little shall we say, differently. 'Senseis' in the dojo were not bowed to on credit of their merit, but of their rank.

What I think we have to remember here is that 'the martial' arts, is a political category. This is in face of, and despite the great 'political' ignorance of many of these so called masters, who wouldn't for the life of them know how to demonstrate on a free nelson mandela or dont attack iraq demonstration, much less register to vote. But that is where things have now begun to change. With the election of America's first black president, and his reelection we can see this political realm beginning to take hold in the everyday man and womans perspective and respective field of visions in everyday life.

I don't know what it's like in your guys (and gals) cities of the world, but certainly here in derby uk the political stratosphere is reasserting the power of democracy. I can also see this equality as slowly beginning to influence my local aikido dojo, of which i have trained with for about four months now.

But I have been an active aikeyboard warrior for much longer than that. And hell the amount of sites i have been banned from for challenging the status quo there really is quite prodigious. Basically google martial arts forum, and what you will see is where i have been banned from. Ranging from martial edge, bullshido,net to martialartstalk.net and the rest. However that latter one has reinstated my membership for reasons of which i am not at liberty to discuss here.

So if we are talking about my odd of withstanding a prolonged membership on this site, i would say that the odds are stacked pretty high against me. I seem to have the habit of pissing of mods with inappropriate remarks, ranging from swearing at other members, to pming mods with the f word in acts of rage, to commenting on my own historical deviance (read criminal read against women etc etc) and so you see this is the result. I have even been banned from a couple of local dojos read karate and judo, and prohibitted from a couple more read kickboxing and jiujitsu. But be this as it may, i am a political fighter, all be it on my own terms.

And also some of the ten headed green breathed monsters i have cared to face in hospital are ten nay twenty times the beast that most of the posters on this thread have even cared to dream about in their worst nightmares. A bold assertion I know, but what's more I can back it up.

So the big question is, am i jeopardizing my own stay here by holding my head high, or will the senior ranks of this place take one whiff in my direction and plead for me to get back in line? We will see!

hughrbeyer
04-07-2013, 09:14 AM
... The whole universe has an order, a balance, a harmonious alignment. All these 'chaos' viewpoints as far as I can see it are of themselves chaotic.

In all life organisms we find even in the word itself (organic, organism, organised, organisation) that life organizes. In your own body millions of cells working in harmony, organs, tissues, etc. all with different functions yet as a whole working in support of each other. Thus when all are doing their function correctly there are in fact helping and supporting all the others and thus a a version of the spitit of loving protection for all things.

This whole approach only works if you accept that the wolf pack pulling down the moose calf is operating within the harmony of the universe. The orca stealing a seal from an ice floe is operating in harmony. The tsunami wiping out a village is operating in harmony.

Humans are humans because we have the ability to choose other options. The drunk who wanders out into traffic gets himself killed according to the universe's law of natural consequences--but a compassionate observer might pull him back before the universe's law can operate.

I think this is very much where Aikido plays. If you stop a mugger by breaking his neck, well okay--natural consequences, though you may find the legalities involved somewhat more complex. But AIkido aspires to neutralize the attack without harming the attacker and even if that goal is more theoretical than real it affects how Aikido is thought about and practiced. Aikido teaches how to stand in the place of decision, where to harm or not to harm lies in your own hands.

graham christian
04-07-2013, 10:23 AM
This whole approach only works if you accept that the wolf pack pulling down the moose calf is operating within the harmony of the universe. The orca stealing a seal from an ice floe is operating in harmony. The tsunami wiping out a village is operating in harmony.

Humans are humans because we have the ability to choose other options. The drunk who wanders out into traffic gets himself killed according to the universe's law of natural consequences--but a compassionate observer might pull him back before the universe's law can operate.

I think this is very much where Aikido plays. If you stop a mugger by breaking his neck, well okay--natural consequences, though you may find the legalities involved somewhat more complex. But AIkido aspires to neutralize the attack without harming the attacker and even if that goal is more theoretical than real it affects how Aikido is thought about and practiced. Aikido teaches how to stand in the place of decision, where to harm or not to harm lies in your own hands.

Well, not quite how I see it but interesting view. universal laws thus lead to natural consequences but when you bring people and animals into the equation you really have to understand another part of the universe and universal law to understand natural consequences and that would be the laws of karma.

As humans it is up to us to understand and harmonize with the planetary nature. Most fatalities in disaster areas could have been prevented and would have if wisdom was the modus operandi but hey, human don't quite equate with wisdom......yet.

I like your words 'stand in the place of decision'. Luv it.

Peace.G.

john2054
04-07-2013, 11:47 AM
Hi everyone. I purposely wrote that last post in the attempt of getting a rise off one or two of you. It seemed like I failed in that intention! What I will say is that I went to my club today and got beaten up a bit. We did Ikkyo Nikkyo Sankyo shunkyo gyokyo tenshinage goshinage gyacuzi iriminage and etc etc. In fact if the truth be told i cant remember what we did and i think i made up some of those moves, but you get the point. Hell surely it's not about WHAT we did but HOW we did it! In consequence of this, and not withstanding the other comments i or others have made both before and after now, I would like to say that we did some good moves and ours is a good club. We train in the old fashioned techniques old statford used to teach before he passed away, and they don't like giving belts away. Be this as it may, I have pleaded, bribed and cajouled my sensei into giving me a grading, and today he finally relented and said he would give me and C* one (a jiusitsu blackbelt who has been training at our club for a few months), a grading in a month or two. All I have to worry about now is learning the syllabus, which i think is a large undertaking seeing as there are lots of japanese names and my memory isn't very good. Well I generally know how to do the moves if I am shown them, but if I was asked to demonstrate one without prompting i think that i would struggle. Be this as it may, i have read the two articles on kyu grading on thie site, and they both seem to give the impression that the gradings are done at the discretions of the dan grades, and that in fact seeing as it is very much their club, that it is down to their discretion who gets to wear a coloured belt and who stays monocrome. I have trained from sept to dec and feb to now (early april) so i think i have put in the requisite forty hours typically asked for the first belt. Whether my aiki is good enough or not of course remains to be seen. True my lungs are pretty crap, and i have a tendency to bend over after a projection, which i keep on being told about. Never mind. At least i walk in the full knowledge that if any thug does confront me, that i have both the intention and ability to put him (or her) on his (or her) ass, and then finish or walk away depending on my disposition at the time.

This is, after all, surely what Budo is all about ;-)