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ian
08-13-2002, 07:21 AM
Coleen on a previous thread about realism and competition was talking about the will to win etc. I've talked to some senior sensei's and discussed the idea that the Japanese defeat and the a-bomb during WWII was a turning point in aikido. It went from a killing art, to an art of peace.

Was this because Ueshiba realised that being the best martial artist, strongest person or most spirited nation is not enough to gain victory in our modern era? Is this because terms such as 'victory' in fighting are superficial (thinking about the devestation in every country after WWII)? For me aikido does stop me thinking of 'the fight' and more about 'the problem'. Possibly humans develop the figure of 'an enemy', rather than trying to actually solve the problem (whether or not that requires violence)?

Ian

Chris Li
08-13-2002, 07:30 AM
Coleen on a previous thread about realism and competition was talking about the will to win etc. I've talked to some senior sensei's and discussed the idea that the Japanese defeat and the a-bomb during WWII was a turning point in aikido. It went from a killing art, to an art of peace.

Was this because Ueshiba realised that being the best martial artist, strongest person or most spirited nation is not enough to gain victory in our modern era? Is this because terms such as 'victory' in fighting are superficial (thinking about the devestation in every country after WWII)? For me aikido does stop me thinking of 'the fight' and more about 'the problem'. Possibly humans develop the figure of 'an enemy', rather than trying to actually solve the problem (whether or not that requires violence)?

Ian
Jun mentioned this recently in another thread, but M. Ueshiba's "revelation" of Budo as an art of peace occurred in 1925. K. Ueshiba also cited this date as the birth of Aikido in several instances. That's not to say that the war was not a huge event for Aikido and M. Ueshiba (and everyone in Japan), but I think that the basic structure of the Aikido philosophy was already long in place by that time.

Best,

Chris

Don_Modesto
08-13-2002, 07:02 PM
M. Ueshiba's "revelation" of Budo as an art of peace occurred in 1925....I think that the basic structure of the Aikido philosophy was already long in place by that time.
Mr. Li,

I take this occasion to post you a question I've been meaning to since you said online somewhere that you don't believe aikido technique "embodies" ethics.

In a vacuum, I'd agree. But when I see Daito Ryu demos throttling, stomping, breaking backs, etc., I can allow for this "embodiment". I'd enjoy your (and Peter Goldsbury's--he concurred) comments on this. Thanks in advance.

Kevin Leavitt
08-13-2002, 08:49 PM
I think having an A-bomb dropped on you would have some sort of influence on your philosophy. It would serve to show the udder futility and senslessness of war as a means to permanently resolve conflict and have peace.

I have trained in the killing arts my whole adult life. I have prepared myself as a warrior to go to war and I am prepared to do what I have to do if called to do it. It is something that I have thought about a great deal.

Doing this has done an odd thing to me. That and witnessing several good friends killed in the Pentagon last year.

I have definitely though that there must be a better way to do things if humanity is going to survive! (I don't have the answers though!).

I personally have transformed myself into a peaceful warrior. I am prepared to fight, but I also feel I have an obligation to try and make the world a better place by trying to educate people.

Living in the DC area I see people get road rage, I see them not stop for people in crosswalks, mow little old ladies over in the stores because they are so self involved and busy with lift.

As Aikidoka warriors, we have a mission to help people see that they can gain more by smiling, being polite, and compassionate.

(Walk softly and carry a big stick!)

I think that O'Sensei must have had that revelation much before WWII. However, I am sure the war had a dramatic impact on Japan and helped other people gravitate to him to learn the wonderful art called aikido!

Chris Li
08-13-2002, 09:18 PM
Mr. Li,

I take this occasion to post you a question I've been meaning to since you said online somewhere that you don't believe aikido technique "embodies" ethics.

In a vacuum, I'd agree. But when I see Daito Ryu demos throttling, stomping, breaking backs, etc., I can allow for this "embodiment". I'd enjoy your (and Peter Goldsbury's--he concurred) comments on this. Thanks in advance.
Hi Don,

I don't know if you remember me, but I'm pretty sure that we ran into each other at hombu maybe eleven or twelve years ago - didn't we have lunch in Shinjuku?

Anyway, I'm not sure exactly which comment you're referring to, but I guess that you mean that I don't believe that there is an ethic built-in to the techniques themselves, which is something that is often alleged. Here's one line of reasoning:

1) In 1936 M. Ueshiba was teaching Daito-ryu. It was close enough to what Sokaku Takeda was doing that Takeda didn't have to re-teach anything when he took over the Asahi Shinbun dojo that year.

2) The "Budo" technical manual was published in 1938, but it must have taken some time to publish, meaning that it was probably begun less then a year after Ueshiba was teaching pure Daito-ryu at the Asahi Shinbun.

3) According to M. Saito, what Ueshiba was doing at Iwama in the 1960's most closely resembled what is represented in that technical manual, with only minor technical changes.

Breaking backs? I've never heard of a death in Daito-ryu practice, but there have been several in Japan in regular Aikido practice. There is an ethic in Aikido, IMO, but it exists in the practitioners, not the techniques themselves.

Best,

Chris

Don_Modesto
08-14-2002, 03:46 PM
A-I don't know if you remember me, but I'm pretty sure that we ran into each other at hombu maybe eleven or twelve years ago - didn't we have lunch in Shinjuku?

B-1) In 1936 M. Ueshiba was teaching Daito-ryu. It was close enough to what Sokaku Takeda was doing that Takeda didn't have to re-teach anything when he took over the Asahi Shinbun dojo that year.

C-Breaking backs? I've never heard of a death in Daito-ryu practice.

D-There is an ethic in Aikido, IMO, but it exists in the practitioners, not the techniques themselves.
________________________________________

A-I'm blushing that I don't remember. Sorry. Like most people, though, I'm better with faces than names. Email more details at djmodesto@yahoo.com. Will you be in Las Vegas next year?

B-There's overlap and similarities, to be sure, but there are differences, too (in the mean, anyway, different teachers emphasize different things.) I fancy that when you do chokes in an aikido class, it's more an exception than the rule (I'm told that Chiba did a great class on chokes at the summer camp), while common in DR. I can't recall an aikido class where we stepped on UKE to pin him/her as is done in DR. It seems that DR goes against the joints more than aikido, too, cf IKKYO pin with IPPON DORI pin.

C-Nor I. I refer to a technique I saw on the 50th Anniversary of Sokaku Takeda Demo where UKE was hoisted onto NAGE's shoulders and dropped onto his upraised knee, which would have the effect of breaking the back, I should imagine. I was speaking of what potential the techniques hold for hurt, not the rigor of practice.

D-I would agree here, in the real world. But it strikes me that Osensei made the attempt to infuse aikido with ethics in motion. In practice, however, I find the dojo teacher far more influential than the art, per se in the conception and training and humanity of aikido.

Thanks for your response. I usually learn something from and always enjoy your posts.

Chris Li
08-14-2002, 06:25 PM
B-There's overlap and similarities, to be sure, but there are differences, too (in the mean, anyway, different teachers emphasize different things.) I fancy that when you do chokes in an aikido class, it's more an exception than the rule (I'm told that Chiba did a great class on chokes at the summer camp), while common in DR. I can't recall an aikido class where we stepped on UKE to pin him/her as is done in DR. It seems that DR goes against the joints more than aikido, too, cf IKKYO pin with IPPON DORI pin.
Just like in Aikido, there are a range of different styles and approaches in Daito-ryu, from very soft to very hard. There is a great deal of overlap, but of course there are differences. Conversely, I could say much the same about different styles of teaching within the Aikikai itself. I think what I'm saying is that, although there are small differences, I don't really see the major revolutionary revision that is often referred to. In other words the differences seem to me to be ones of variation and emphasis rather than of type.

I've also seen Arikawa (at hombu) do the ikkyo pin directly against the joint...
C-Nor I. I refer to a technique I saw on the 50th Anniversary of Sokaku Takeda Demo where UKE was hoisted onto NAGE's shoulders and dropped onto his upraised knee, which would have the effect of breaking the back, I should imagine. I was speaking of what potential the techniques hold for hurt, not the rigor of practice.
I've seen that technique performed in Aikido, but usually without the knee. My thinking here is that the knee is not fundamental to the technique - it's something that you can leave in or take out and still leave the technique the same. I would also say that dropping someone off of your shoulders who didn't know how to fall is pretty close the same danger level as dropping them on your knee, making it a variation rather than a fundamental revision. Personally, I don't think that I'd drop anybody on my knee anyway, but I'm just a little skinny guy :) .

Best,

Chris

Bruce Baker
08-14-2002, 08:09 PM
As a child of the "duck and cover" age, or growing up with the fear of having some giant explosion that could instantly turn you and everything into ashes, we had a saying for almost hitting an object or making a point ...

".... it only counts in horseshoes, handgrenades, and atom bombs. Those are the three things that "being close" counts."

I don't doubt that O'Sensei had a revelation in rethinking the societies mentality for war, but how long or how much does it take to convince the general population?

Five years, ten years, twenty years, more?

Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to turn the dogs of war into the doves of peace, something like realizing mutual distruction from nuclear weapons?

So long as there are those who would take by force either the freedoms we posess or the materials that it takes for us to exist, our working livelyhoods, there will be a need to learn how to be stronger, more skilled in protecting ourselves, and a need to keep our minds clear to see these detestable people.

Hopefully, as we train in Aikido to sharpen our physical skills, we will continue to sharpen our mental skills, also.

If anyone can come to the enlightenment of peace from the lessons of war, we sure can.

Now, if there was a way to teach our younger generations the lessons we have learned, maybe we would have something worthy to pass on with our Aikido to following generations?

Chris Li
08-14-2002, 09:53 PM
B-There's overlap and similarities, to be sure, but there are differences, too (in the mean, anyway, different teachers emphasize different things.) I fancy that when you do chokes in an aikido class, it's more an exception than the rule (I'm told that Chiba did a great class on chokes at the summer camp), while common in DR.
As another note, I don't personally see anything inherently "unAikidolike" in a choke - I can think of any number of situations where choking out the opponent would be more ethical (in the Aikido sense of protection from harm) than an irimi-nage throw or joint lock that is likely to cause more (and longer lasting) physical damage.

Best,

Chris