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Brian Sutton
02-25-2015, 01:48 PM
Not my sensei's Aikido, Japanese arts came from China, not my fathers Oldsmobile, who invented the pyramid, who discovered the wheel, the chef isn't Italian. Does any of those statements/questions matter? One of the things noticed early on about Aikido, is it's attachment to history and origin. How relevant is history and origin in understanding and practicing an art. What does it mean to thrive, and does that involve change, adaption, growth?
With regards to Aikido , how relevant is origin?Thoughts?

lbb
02-25-2015, 02:00 PM
The word "relevant" only has meaning with reference to an object. "Relevant" to what? Nothing is ever "relevant" except in reference to something else. So, what's your question? How relevant is origin in relation to/in terms of...?

Brian Sutton
02-25-2015, 02:59 PM
Bottom line, "with regards to" is another way to say in reference to. Also, "in the understanding and practice of an art" could also mean in reference to. Reference also is defined as practicality and social applicability and the word is considered a noun.
Aiki web is starting to look like a dead end.

kewms
02-25-2015, 03:33 PM
How relevant is aikido's origin to your own practice? I think that's really the only question that matters.

Consider a person in Africa who uses English to communicate with a person in China. Both of these people learned English as a second language. How much does it matter to them that English evolved from Anglo-Saxon, spoken by Germanic tribes thousands of years ago and thousands of miles away?

Non-Japanese students of aikido are in a similar position.

Katherine

Chris Li
02-25-2015, 03:44 PM
Not my sensei's Aikido, Japanese arts came from China, not my fathers Oldsmobile, who invented the pyramid, who discovered the wheel, the chef isn't Italian. Does any of those statements/questions matter? One of the things noticed early on about Aikido, is it's attachment to history and origin. How relevant is history and origin in understanding and practicing an art. What does it mean to thrive, and does that involve change, adaption, growth?
With regards to Aikido , how relevant is origin?Thoughts?

If one wants to understand what O-Sensei said and wrote then it's extremely relevant, because it's the context in which he speaks, and without that context he's virtually impossible to understand.

As far as I'm concerned, what the Founder of the art said ought to be of interest to anybody studying the art, but I'm aware that not everybody agrees.

Best,

Chris

Brian Sutton
02-25-2015, 04:23 PM
[QUOTE=Brian Sutton;342564]Bottom line, "with regards to" is another way to say in reference to. Also, "in the understanding and practice of an art" could also mean in reference to. Relevance also is defined as practicality and social applicability and the word is considered a noun.
Aiki web is starting to look like a dead end..

Brian Sutton
02-25-2015, 04:26 PM
Yo

Tim Ruijs
02-26-2015, 05:31 AM
I really do not understand the question. The mere question suggests lack of knowledge of the Japanese culture/context in which Aikido was developed.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art. In Japan relation is everything. When you study Aikido, it is very important (for others) to know who your teacher is; where you belong. It cannot be without. It gives direction, context. You really cannot study with multiple teachers...

Carsten Möllering
02-26-2015, 07:06 AM
With regards to Aikido , how relevant is origin?Thoughts?I think I don't get the point of your question right:

I don't see how it would be possible to practice aikidō - or any other budō - without a strong connection to the origin via one's lineage and via one's understanding of the teachings.

Maybe it would help me to better understand what you are asking for, if you could paraphrase your question:

SeiserL
02-26-2015, 07:32 AM
If by "origin" you mean "lineage", its important to me.
If by "relevance" your mean "important", (being personally contextualized) its important to me.
I like knowing the what I am studying has some history and has survived over time, so its more the mental, emotional, and possible social application. Getting my head around why I am doing something actually helps get my mind out of the way (gives permission) to doing it.
In direct physical application of training and technique, not do much.

lbb
02-26-2015, 08:31 AM
Bottom line, "with regards to" is another way to say in reference to. Also, "in the understanding and practice of an art" could also mean in reference to. Reference also is defined as practicality and social applicability and the word is considered a noun.
Aiki web is starting to look like a dead end.

Hi Brian,

I really wasn't trying to pick nits; I think it's an important distinction for a philosophical discussion like this, and I think that's supported by the other comments. It's not picking at nits to explore possible deeper meanings, to look into the various ways that "understanding and practicing an art" subdivides. Are the origins of a cake's ingredients relevant to how good it is? Depends what you mean by "good". How tasty it is? How healthy it is? How much you enjoy it? The more I think about it, the more I realize that any answer depends on who you are as well as on the origins of the cake -- maybe more so. If the cake is made from expensive ingredients that require a refined palate to appreciate, it might not appeal to you any more than a cake made from cheaper ingredients -- or might taste downright weird. If the cake is made from wheat flour and you've got celiac disease, it's quite unhealthy. If the cake is made from chocolate harvested by slave labor, and you care about that, it's probably not very enjoyable.

So, origins and history of aikido vs. understanding and practicing an art. Here I have to "on the one hand, on the other hand" you. On the one hand, I'm a fan of history, and I think that knowing about the historical context can give insight or add to one's understanding. On the other hand, it isn't the thing itself. The core of the understanding has to come from the practice. Origin, lineage...on the one hand, these things matter; on the other hand, they don't by themselves legitimize one's practice. "I studied with so-and-so" means that you had the opportunity to learn what that teacher is teaching -- it doesn't mean that you necessarily did so. I think that a good lineage (using the term rather loosely) is a necessary but not sufficient condition for excellence in one's own practice -- meaning that your teacher must have picked up the right set of clues from somewhere, and be showing them in his/her teaching. What you do with them, that's another matter. The inheritance of a good lineage is often squandered, and I'm sure there are cases of martial artists without the benefit of a good lineage who nevertheless had the discerning eye to "know it when they see it" and develop excellence in their own practice.

And, of course, the more modest your own aspirations, the less any of it is relevant. You may be perfectly happy with a whoopie pie from the corner store. There's no "should" about what you should want.

kewms
02-26-2015, 11:00 AM
The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

Your lineage, your understanding of aikido's history and evolution, are all fingers pointing at aikido.

Katherine

Brian Sutton
02-26-2015, 11:46 AM
First off this is probably about 9 threads rapped in one. Sorry ,that's just my ADD mind(it has it's advantages) but communication is not always one of them. My sensei(an American) tests up to first kyu, but all Dan ranks are either performed by the Shihan at a seminar or I take trip to Japan. I love to study other cultures and welcome diversity in all areas of my life.
But to assume that to be competent , authentic, or the uppermost authority in a particular art form, one has to be native to that particular culture, speaks to an assumption that is false. Imo, an art is a living thing, we(human beings) all have the same basic capacities . Culture, origin and lineage should be present as an enrichment and understanding, but not an absolute defining factor in practicing or developing an art that has a future for us all to share. I feel that we often miss the forest through the trees. Just my minion opinion..

lbb
02-26-2015, 12:18 PM
But to assume that to be competent , authentic, or the uppermost authority in a particular art form, one has to be native to that particular culture, speaks to an assumption that is false.

Where do you find this assumption? Is it real, or is it a projection of your own mind?

Dan testing isn't a small thing. To my understanding, it's not really a done thing that you test your own students for a dan ranking. But to conflate that with ethnicity, I'd say, is nowadays more a matter of perception than reality.

Brian Sutton
02-26-2015, 01:20 PM
Where do you find this assumption? Is it real, or is it a projection of your own mind?

Dan testing isn't a small thing. To my understanding, it's not really a done thing that you test your own students for a dan ranking. But to conflate that with ethnicity, I'd say, is nowadays more a matter of perception than reality.I find those assumptions all over the place. In various hobbies arts and fields. One dog barks at the moon, a hundred dogs bark at the barking. It's a human condition to seek and follow a leader, but to your previous point, their are no should's. If one seeks acceptance and validation outside ones self, that's a choice, or is it. I guess it only becomes a choice when their is awareness on the part of the individual.Typically when one is observing an assumption, one is , at that instant anyway, not making or projecting it. Awareness, kind of has a way of ridding the assumption from ones mind. However the lack of awareness is quite another story.

Carsten Möllering
02-26-2015, 01:46 PM
The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.
Your lineage, your understanding of aikido's history and evolution, are all fingers pointing at aikido.
:)
Lineage - at least what I understand it to be - is not a signpost. It is the the vehicle, that can take you to the moon.
In that vehicle you will find moonstones, meet other travellers who have been there. They will tell you about their experiences they have made on their trip. They will tell you first hand, what it feels like to walk on the moon. And how you will survive up there. Because they have been there. They know it, because they did it.

I like more the concept of ryū 流 or 流れる nagareru: A stream or to flow. Which is to pass on, to transmit.

Lineage does not mean to be able to name a succesions of certain teachers. But it means - at least to me - to become a part of and to have share of a certain stream of experience and knowledge.

May others point to the moon - what I understand as lineage will take you up there ...

Cliff Judge
02-26-2015, 02:32 PM
You can't do Aikido by yourself, you need partners.

For training among partners to work, everybody needs to be on close to the same page.

And being on the same page about where everybody is going, and doing right now, isn't really good enough, because Aikido is difficult and there are no guarantees, and it is different for everybody.

So you need to know where it comes from, and it helps to be on the same page with regards to that.

lbb
02-27-2015, 08:50 AM
Carsten, well said. That makes sense to me.

Reciting the names of the space shuttle crews is not the same as taking a space shuttle flight, working to design and build and support the shuttle, etc.

Walter Martindale
02-27-2015, 11:41 AM
Where do you find this assumption? Is it real, or is it a projection of your own mind?

Dan testing isn't a small thing. To my understanding, it's not really a done thing that you test your own students for a dan ranking. But to conflate that with ethnicity, I'd say, is nowadays more a matter of perception than reality.

I think it's not normal to test your own students for a Dan rank, but it's happened in the case of a shihan who knew the candidate and his abilities, and the candidate not having the ability to attend seminars in a timely manner for the test - in this case (mine) the shihan (Kawahara) authorised the dojo sensei (S. Erickson) to administer the test. It was observed by another (Izumi) who gave the test the good-housekeeping seal of approval. It was also longer by far than any other shodan test I'd seen, probably in the interests of thoroughness and that the test was delegated to the dojo sensei.

Regarding the assumption. Shortly after my first arrival in Japan to train for judo, I was told by a Japanese friend that I could never be truly good at judo because I wasn't Japanese and couldn't possibly fathom the spirit of the way. I always thought I never turned out to be truly good at judo because I didn't start it til I was 18, was terribly myopic (still am) and had slightly slower than average stimulus/response rates as tested with the technology of the 1970s.

Brian Sutton
02-27-2015, 03:21 PM
Is golf an American sport?

dps
02-27-2015, 08:28 PM
I can be spiritual without attending church or practicing any of the rituals of a denomination.
I can play music without knowing the composer of the music.
I can play baseball without knowing who invented it or the people who have played it before me.
I can follow a recipe without knowing anything about the origin of the recipe.
I can practice Aikido without knowing who O'sensei is or Japanese language and culture.

dps

kewms
02-27-2015, 11:10 PM
Yet some of the world's greatest art adorns churches and mosques and temples. Some of the world's greatest music was intended for religious occasions.
And knowing the composer of a piece of music helps me find other music that I might enjoy.
And the history of baseball tells me just how rare and special that perfect game was and how fortunate I was to see it.
And the origin of a recipe helps me understand how to modify it and what to pair it with, as well as where to look if I enjoy that set of flavor combinations.
A little understanding of Japanese language and culture helps me understand why some things in aikido are the way they are, and why it makes the assumptions it does about what situations are important.

Knowledge is rarely a bad thing. It may not be necessary, but it certainly enriches any practice.

Katherine

Brian Sutton
02-27-2015, 11:25 PM
Yet some of the world's greatest art adorns churches and mosques and temples. Some of the world's greatest music was intended for religious occasions.
And knowing the composer of a piece of music helps me find other music that I might enjoy.
And the history of baseball tells me just how rare and special that perfect game was and how fortunate I was to see it.
And the origin of a recipe helps me understand how to modify it and what to pair it with, as well as where to look if I enjoy that set of flavor combinations.
A little understanding of Japanese language and culture helps me understand why some things in aikido are the way they are, and why it makes the assumptions it does about what situations are important.

Knowledge is rarely a bad thing. It may not be necessary, but it certainly enriches any practice.

KatherineKnowledge enriches any practice. I agree 100%.

dps
02-28-2015, 01:26 AM
Knowledge is rarely a bad thing. It may not be necessary, but it certainly enriches any practice.

Katherine

No, at times it is a distraction from enjoying the beauty of the experience.

When I stop to smell the roses I enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the rose, not think " is this a
William Lobb, a Zephirine Drouhin, or a Bailey Red.

The enjoyment does not need any knowledge of the rose.
dps

Carsten Möllering
02-28-2015, 04:33 AM
Every morning after having read a pragraph of the Dao de jing and also of a certain Tibetan Buddhist teacher, I am standig with a cup of coffee (please don't tell my teachers ... ), looking out of the big window, regarding our garden, watching the clouds pass by and observing the nature changing all the way ... .
I deeply "enjoy" this moment. Having no thoughts (that's actually posible) , just being there, being in the moment, being part of the flow of life - just the blink of an eye apart from waking up, ... ;-)

In this moment there is no knowing at all, no thinking at all. Only being, experiencing life, only living this very moment, and the next very moment ... and so on.

So David: Yes! This very important to have. And it kind of is the "aim" of everything we - at least I - do. Same with keiko, I think: During keiko we should experience this same "just living", experiencing, enjoying this very moment - which is life.

I'm no gardener. I enjoy watching the plants grow and devellop. Have two trees in my little garden, also bamboo - and one rose.
I had to learn how to support my garden, the plants living there and making it a "good" place full of life. I had to learn to take care of them. Whether at all and when to prune them. I had to learn to find them a place they like. And how to move them, when I realised that I had given them a place where they could not live very well. Wind, sun, water, earth. I am lucky to have people to ask. People who know about caring for plants, gardening. People who know what their grandmother told them. ...
To be enjoy a rose, you simply have to have one. And that indeed needs knowledge.

Same with my spiritual practice. To be able to just look out of the window, to be able to just enjoy I had to learn how to not be distracted, how to be able to deall with emotions, thoughts, "ego", ...
Most people actually have to learn to enjoy. Although being a spiritual teacher myself, I have to learn. Because I am, I have to learn how to live spritiuality. And I am lucky to have people who share their experiences and their knwoledge.

Same with keiko, I think: To be able to practice, we have to learn a lot. We have to know a lot. To my experience this learning, this need of knowledge starts when you are able to reproduce the outward movements, form, kata. After you have accomplished that to a certain degree, the journey actually starts.
When you try to step on the floating bridge of heaven and to to build the cross of yin and yang, kan and li. To be able to enjoy this, you have to be able, to do it. And therefore to understand what that means and how to learn it ...

So I think it's not enjoying or knowing. But both are mutually depending - like in and yo ... .
At least this is what I feel and what I have experienced over the years.

MRoh
02-28-2015, 07:14 AM
The enjoyment does not need any knowledge of the rose.
dps

And the rose does not need any knowledge of your enjoyment...

kewms
02-28-2015, 10:54 AM
No, at times it is a distraction from enjoying the beauty of the experience.

When I stop to smell the roses I enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the rose, not think " is this a
William Lobb, a Zephirine Drouhin, or a Bailey Red.

The enjoyment does not need any knowledge of the rose.
dps

Yet the most knowledgeable gardeners seem to have the healthiest, most beautiful gardens. And seem to spend every minute that they can enjoying and/or tending them. I wonder why that is?

Maybe the way to look at it is that the enjoyment of the gardener is different from the enjoyment of the person walking by on the sidewalk. Both are valid, but they are not the same.

Katherine

Keith Larman
02-28-2015, 03:50 PM
No, at times it is a distraction from enjoying the beauty of the experience.

When I stop to smell the roses I enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the rose, not think " is this a
William Lobb, a Zephirine Drouhin, or a Bailey Red.

The enjoyment does not need any knowledge of the rose.
dps

But sometimes a deeper, more nuanced enjoyment is possible only if one knows and is able to appreciate what the hell they're looking at.

I can't count the number of times I've had people ask me why a nearly priceless antique Japanese sword is any better than a Chinese made knockoff for cutting stuff up. For them, the difference is irrelevant. And for their needs and purposes it is also probably a distinction without a difference. But for those who know the difference there is a lifetime of appreciation and joy to be found in the antique. The lack of a (apparent) functional difference does not imply there are no differences. Nor does the fact things can be appreciated on different levels mean that all levels are equal in value.

Forest for the trees...

In other words, it all just depends. And adopting a "know nothing" approach is no better than insisting that everyone must "know everything" to begin to enjoy something.

But spend a little time learning something about antique Japanese swords and, lo and behold, one learns to see what was before obscured. And suddenly one can't help but see the difference. And the appreciation changes profoundly.

Then again the world is full of folk who like to believe that a position of ignorance is somehow a more pure point of view. There may be some merit to that position in some very limited cases, but more often than not it is ultimately an excuse to avoid the work (and discomfort) of dealing with a world of vast subtlety.

It's not like having knowledge somehow prevents you from simply enjoying the rose... But not having the knowledge leaves you ill equipped to "see" that you may be looking at a variety that is somehow different and/or unique.

Just rambling on...

dps
03-01-2015, 10:20 AM
Yet the most knowledgeable gardeners seem to have the healthiest, most beautiful gardens. And seem to spend every minute that they can enjoying and/or tending them. I wonder why that is?

Maybe the way to look at it is that the enjoyment of the gardener is different from the enjoyment of the person walking by on the sidewalk. Both are valid, but they are not the same.

Katherine

Since both are valid and one is not knowledgeable, then the knowledge is not

relevant

dps
03-01-2015, 10:42 AM
"just rambling on..."

Rambling Rose?

If left, rambling roses can become a tangled mess of branches with very few flowers."

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=169

dps

lbb
03-01-2015, 03:32 PM
Since both are valid and one is not knowledgeable, then the knowledge is not relevant

"Valid"? Non sequitur.

"Relevant"? Relevant to what? To the enjoyment? It is in one case, it isn't in another. More to the point, these two things labeled "enjoyment" are not the same. That's the point here.

mathewjgano
03-01-2015, 04:25 PM
The enjoyment does not need any knowledge of the rose.
dps

I'm probably splitting hairs a bit, but I disagree here. To enjoy it requires knowledge about it. The more we know about it, the more we can potentially enjoy about it. That isn't to say that worrying about the names or other aspects can't get in the way of enjoying the thing itself, I would agree. Although, it can also add to the enjoyment, too, if you like to try and remember how things are classified or whatever other aspects you might take enjoyment from in the experience.
In aikido I enjoy the history, the terminology, even the arguments over correctness (to varying degrees :D ), and consider them to be part of my practice. They all have their utility and they all have their required discipline, and they all have their own kind of beauty. So the question to my mind is of what one wants to know. If history or nomenclature aren't part of it, then so be it.
Any number of things can detract from a sense of fulfillment/enjoyment, but I view each piece of understanding as adding to it, generally speaking.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSZNsIFID28

dps
03-01-2015, 06:16 PM
But knowing origin and history of Aikido doesn't make your Ikkyo better.

dps

mathewjgano
03-01-2015, 06:26 PM
It can.

kewms
03-01-2015, 07:08 PM
But knowing origin and history of Aikido doesn't make your Ikkyo better.

Maybe it doesn't make *your* ikkyo better...

Katherine

dps
03-01-2015, 07:50 PM
It can.

How?
dps

Chris Li
03-01-2015, 09:13 PM
How?
dps

Morihei Ueshiba described his technical method, the basic theory behind everything that he did, repetitively and in detail. Without knowledge of the history and origin of Aikido in order to place what he said in context he was, unfortunately, almost impossible to understand.

There are a couple of issues here. One is that this is a primary factor in the argument that there was a problem in the transmission of Aikido.

Many people have argued that there was a problem in transmission.

Minoru Mochizuki said it.

Tadashi Abe said it.

Michio Hikitsuchi said it.

Stan Pranin presented a detailed argument (http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/is-o-sensei-really-the-father-of-modern-aikido/) saying just that, providing reams of background supporting evidence.

Not everybody agrees, of course, but it's difficult, at this point, to dismiss the argument out of hand.

A second issue is whether or not knowledge of theory is of any practical use in actual day to day training.

This is a common argument in music, where folks often debate the value of studying music theory (for example, here is one discussion (http://www.danjacobwallace.com/2010/01/music-theory-it-wont-kill-your-music/), a second one (http://got-djent.com/article/editorial-why-learn-music-theory), and a third one (http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/why-i-should-have-paid-more-attention-in-music-theory-class/)). Again, not everybody agrees, but it's certainly difficult to dismiss the argument that learning music theory is of some value out of hand.

"You must know the fundamental principles well. There is an exponential difference in effectiveness between doing something when you know what is happening and doing something when you don't know anything." (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-hiroshi-tada-yachimata-part-4/)

- Hiroshi Tada, Aikikai 9th Dan

Best,

Chris

Brian Sutton
03-01-2015, 10:57 PM
Their seems to be some debate but also genuine interest in this thread I started. May I recommend a book titled ;The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz. Not an Aikido book, but then again, as we see from the above posts, this concept can be applied to anything.

dps
03-01-2015, 11:14 PM
Thank You Chris.

dps

mathewjgano
03-01-2015, 11:37 PM
As another example, knowing the history can help improve some people's ikkyo simply by articulating the whos and whens of training, adding to an awareness of the options for experiencing different perspectives on it. The transmission of whatever it exactly was O Sensei did might be difficult for all I know, but at the very least we can glean some idea from the different schools of practice which spun off the arc of his own training.
History can be described as a description of past behaviors and things; as Chris said, to whatever extent we can glean the history of O Sensei's study, through the historical compilation of the various axioms and images and the people who have gone before us to offer their subsequent interpretations, we can apply it to our own practice. Reading the most detailed and accurate history possible will not, of course, give anyone any direct skills at ikkyo or any other movement. They can only be applied to the strategy of shaping one's training...which must take place with people who are sincerely refining their understanding, too.
Not knowing your history doesn't mean you can't have a better ikkyo; it's not required for the physical practice, but it can help inform the overall process.

dps
03-02-2015, 12:26 AM
Not my sensei's Aikido, Japanese arts came from China, not my fathers Oldsmobile, who invented the pyramid, who discovered the wheel, the chef isn't Italian. Does any of those statements/questions matter? One of the things noticed early on about Aikido, is it's attachment to history and origin. How relevant is history and origin in understanding and practicing an art. What does it mean to thrive, and does that involve change, adaption, growth?
With regards to Aikido , how relevant is origin?Thoughts?

The OP's question is about origin and history.
I agree that knowledge of theory is important to your practice.
Stan's article is about origin of Aikido.
He says;
"I can't say necessarily that these comments will help practitioners in their training or bring them closer to their goals, but I do sincerely hope that by shining the light of truth on an important subject, those committed to aikido will have a deeper understanding on which to base their judgments."

dps

Carsten Möllering
03-02-2015, 04:52 AM
Stan's article is about origin of Aikido. ...
He says:What does all of this mean?
...
It means further that O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was not seriously involved in the instruction or administration of aikido in the postwar years.
Aren't the statements or discoveries that are presented in this article actually a very good example for how new insights about historical facts may have an impact on our actual practice?

Demetrio Cereijo
03-02-2015, 07:55 AM
May I recommend a book titled ;The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz. Not an Aikido book, but then again, as we see from the above posts, this concept can be applied to anything.

Wondering how the platitudes of this fake native american shaman, new age guru, Castaneda 2.0 can help anyone's aikido.

dps
03-02-2015, 08:50 AM
Aren't the statements or discoveries that are presented in this article actually a very good example for how new insights about historical facts may have an impact on our actual practice?

How will knowing historical facts about the origins of Aikido make me change the way I do ikkyo?

dps

NagaBaba
03-02-2015, 09:14 AM
How will knowing historical facts about the origins of Aikido make me change the way I do ikkyo?

dps
Well, knowing the fact that O sensei strived all his life to become a shaman, kind of intermediary being between gods and human race, a god’s messenger, you will never pretend that ikkyo is a self-defense technique. You understand that ikkyo is a simple tool to achieve his goal. So the way you practice is directly influenced by such knowledge.

Cliff Judge
03-02-2015, 10:12 AM
Well, knowing the fact that O sensei strived all his life to become a shaman, kind of intermediary being between gods and human race, a god's messenger, you will never pretend that ikkyo is a self-defense technique. You understand that ikkyo is a simple tool to achieve his goal. So the way you practice is directly influenced by such knowledge.

The conclusion that you "will never pretend to that ikkyo is a self-defense technique" in this instance relies upon you not attaining an understanding of what it meant for Osensei striving all his life to become an intermediary between gods and people. In fact, choosing to never understand.

That's the same problem as a lot of people seem to have here. Ignorance is never good, and when it is ignorance by choice, its the worst. Understanding Osensei's context helps you understand your context, and if you don't care of want that, you are simply not practicing Aikido.

lbb
03-02-2015, 10:29 AM
I understand the argument that knowing about the origin of a technique, and specifically the intention of its creator, is important to understanding the technique, its significance, its applications, etc. It's like the Buddhist story of "why typing up a cat is helpful to meditation practice". At the same time, I wonder if it's always necessary. Intention leads to form which results in function; if we observe the form, with time we can understand the function, and maybe we can infer the intention. You don't have to be one of the monks who was present when the abbot tied up the cat, to look at a present practice and say, "Hmmmyeah, I can guess where this came from, and I don't think y'all are right about what it's for."

Understanding origin is great, but maybe not the only way to understanding aikido. More to the point, I wonder if it's truly even possible. O-Sensei is dead, People disagree about what he meant. That's not to say it's not worth trying to understand about origin and intent...but to rely on it exclusively may be a vain effort.

Erick Mead
03-02-2015, 10:33 AM
Morihei Ueshiba described his technical method, the basic theory behind everything that he did, repetitively and in detail. Without knowledge of the history and origin of Aikido in order to place what he said in context he was, unfortunately, almost impossible to understand. Too right. It may not require a degree in East Asian studies and command of mythological image -- but it does help. That there is richness in the sources, there is no doubt... but the richness is beside the point if it is inaccessible in such a form. The efforts to translate into western teaching have not dealt with the difficulties and peculiarities of the idiom in which he put the information -- which is and was largely inaccesible in its native situation. There has been resistance to analyze and observe and to place these things in purely Western terms from the ground up.... but IMO that is the only way to fully access and develop the knowledge of the operations of the art.

A second issue is whether or not knowledge of theory is of any practical use in actual day to day training.

This is a common argument in music, where folks often debate the value of studying music theory (for example, here is one discussion (http://www.danjacobwallace.com/2010/01/music-theory-it-wont-kill-your-music/), a second one (http://got-djent.com/article/editorial-why-learn-music-theory), and a third one (http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/why-i-should-have-paid-more-attention-in-music-theory-class/)). Again, not everybody agrees, but it's certainly difficult to dismiss the argument that learning music theory is of some value out of hand. I am a musician -- and I can barely read music -- it isn't really necessary other than in gross relative terms of following the melodic and/or harmonic lines, once you hear reference key to track. To sing and play don't really need any theory whatsoever -- I need an ear, and facility with the bodily actions that created the sound. Theory is really immaterial to good performance.

In the arts of aiki, to take the broader view, theory aids compositional skill, but that kind of skill is also is necessary to begin to describe that theory -- which does not now really exist in accessible form. To your credit, your writing evidences something toward that in attempting the difficult interpretation of the sources to the modern ear. But I contend that a theoretical grasp will not ever be framed in the idiom of the sources. The very concept of theory itself is a wholly Western concept -- and theory necessarily must take Western forms and idioms to operate correctly.

As I have noted in discussions here recently on the nature of budo, Japanese budo -- like Chinese music -- rests on a Confucian foundation. Music -- like armed conflict -- was an extremely important aspect of Confucian thought -- but not in the systemic way of western music theory. Confucian thought (even the later, more syncretic Neo-Confucian forms that informed Japanese budo) does not have a really theoretical basis for music or anything else as we understand it. Confucian understanding of how we know what we know, and how we learn it, frames itself in moral, psychological and ritual terms. Confucianism -- like budo -- understands that a person becomes what his rituals and habits make of him, together with his mental preparation and attitudes in concert with performing them -- IOW -- his dedication to practice. This is the stuff that leads to virtuoso grasp and exemplary performance -- without question. But it knows nothing of theory, or anything like it.

Even virtuoso players, though, are not necessarily good composers. In fact, there is a good deal that separates them in their approaches to music. There are some few who possess both facilities -- but they are as rare among the composers and virtuosi as those are rare among people generally. And in my estimation, no such person, inside or outside of Aikido circles proper, has yet evidenced substantial skill in a compositional level of theory for the arts of aiki. There are virtuosi players aplenty -- in and outside of aikido -- but no real composers. And the theorists are few and far between -- and they have no common idiom.

Theory is not always indispensable to composition -- but do so repeatably and reliably -- requires good theory. To make people weep, to make them smile, to lift them into a sense of awe, to entice them into mystery, to excite and enrage, to thrill in romance, ... in each of these effects, and many, many others, there are well-understood and catalogued musical theories about how musical sounds affect the human body-mind that are profound, demonstrable and reliable. Without theory, the one-off composition may be beautiful -- a unique flower -- but the cultivation needed for arts of war is not flowers. Budo requires the cultivational approach of agronomy -- simple grains, well-ordered and predictable for planting and harvest. The inspired surprise flower kind of compositional approach will be highly contingent and unpredictable and cannot nourish strong budo.

I contend that a valid theory for aiki exists in purely Western terms and which is consistent with the sources. It is however not taught or discussed by most practitioners in this manner. This idiom in fact seems to provoke almost visceral resistance among those who consider themselves (and validly so) as proficient, even virtuoso performers. I think that resistance is deeply misplaced. It seems to me to be a product of the category error you have identified here -- performance versus theory -- and their respective roles in understanding and in training

"You must know the fundamental principles well. There is an exponential difference in effectiveness between doing something when you know what is happening and doing something when you don't know anything." (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-hiroshi-tada-yachimata-part-4/)
- Hiroshi Tada, Aikikai 9th Dan
Alleluia. Amen.

Carsten Möllering
03-03-2015, 06:24 AM
How will knowing historical facts about the origins of Aikido make me change the way I do ikkyo?To be honest, I'm not sure whether this is just a catchy question or whether you mean it for real?
To me this seems so obvious and this issue was so often debated not only on aikiweb, but in the aikidō community at large.

... if we observe the form, with time we can understand the function, and maybe we can infer the intention.It is my experience by now that this simply does not work. No way. If you are not explicetly taught what to do and how to become able to do "it", you will never ever find "it". You may repeat the forms over and over, for your whole life. You won't get "it".
On the other hand, if a teacher reveals "it" to you, you will produce first results within minutes. Literally.

The certain forms are not the necessary and distinct result of what they contain:
My aikidō and my qi gong look different, one is done with a partner, one without. My nei gong "doesn't look" at all. It's completely still. The daitō ryū of a friend is also done with a partner, but again looks different from aikido. The ko(ryū)budō of another friend is done with a sword, or naginata, or even without any movement at all and all the forms look completely different.
But all these forms contain and use the same content. Which you will never get until you are taught it by someone who knows it.

It's sad to say, but in my world most of the people practice aikidō with a cat tied on their back ...

Understanding origin is great, but maybe not the only way to understanding aikido. More to the point, I wonder if it's truly even possible. O-Sensei is dead, People disagree about what he meant.Are you sure? Isn't it interesting, that there are so many people who agree about what Ueshiba meant? Isn't it interesting that this pertains to those who delved deeply into the origins and into the context of Ueshiba's thinking?

lbb
03-03-2015, 08:20 AM
It is my experience by now that this simply does not work. No way. If you are not explicetly taught what to do and how to become able to do "it", you will never ever find "it". You may repeat the forms over and over, for your whole life. You won't get "it".
On the other hand, if a teacher reveals "it" to you, you will produce first results within minutes. Literally.


Hey, I didn't say it's the most efficient or effective way to learn. But not everyone has a teacher (obviously I'm talking in the general case here, not aikido instruction). And for that matter, people watch videos -- do you believe that you, yourself, can learn nothing from observing a video? Can you only learn "if a teacher reveals 'it' to you", whatever this mysterious "it" is?

(god, I hate secret-handshake crap!)

Are you sure? Isn't it interesting, that there are so many people who agree about what Ueshiba meant? Isn't it interesting that this pertains to those who delved deeply into the origins and into the context of Ueshiba's thinking?

We must be reading a different forum. Are you familiar with the term "credentialism"?

RonRagusa
03-03-2015, 08:32 AM
... if we observe the form, with time we can understand the function, and maybe we can infer the intention.

It is my experience by now that this simply does not work. No way. If you are not explicetly taught what to do and how to become able to do "it", you will never ever find "it". You may repeat the forms over and over, for your whole life. You won't get "it". On the other hand, if a teacher reveals "it" to you, you will produce first results within minutes. Literally.

My direct experience has been otherwise. I was shown the forms, taught the principles that underlie the forms and told to practice with the goal being to embody the principles within the forms. I was never explicitly taught how to manifest the principles via the form; it's something I had to discover for myself. That said, experience based learning isn't for everyone. Some students are unable to rise above the automaton like rote repetition of what they have seen in order to unify the action with the principles.

The problem with your "all or nothing" approach is that it leaves no room for diversity of learning styles. I learn primarily from experiencing the the process and making adjustments on the fly. When you assert that "If you are not explicetly taught what to do and how to become able to do "it", you will never ever find "it"." you are making a generalization based, I suspect, on what you have been told and your individual experience, which you then scale up and apply to the Aikido community as a whole.

Note: Can you please drop the use of "it" and use a proper name for whatever you are referring to?

"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted training that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life." - Morihei Ueshiba

Ron

lbb
03-03-2015, 08:41 AM
Note: Can you please drop the use of "it" and use a proper name for whatever you are referring to?

Yes. Enough with the "you don't have the secret decoder ring" nonsense.

jonreading
03-03-2015, 11:14 AM
I'll bite.

For me, I think we are not talking about a "secret decoder ring"; we are talking about competency and incompetency to transmit a specific education. If someone says they have the goods but either won't show it or can't teach it, I am suspicious. I happen to believe most of the framed dissemination of aiki instruction, be it secret teaching or over-cooperative uke, is suspect. I tend to interpret "won't" as "can't." The only difference is the honesty of those we work with to fess up they don't know. If somebody really has the goods and refuses to transmit that information through a gendai art, she is a jerk.

The origin of aikido is important to me because first and foremost, I think there is something incorrect about the current system and I am choosing to look at the information that preceded the decisions that originated the current system. If I were grading math homework, I would call it, "checking the math." Second, my access to good instruction is limited, so I have chosen to follow in the education of people I respect to understand how they arrived to the conclusions they arrived at and where that directs their attention and their training. I believe this is the spirit of the "make aikido yours," comments. Not that we are doing different things, but that we should be arriving at similar conclusions and that education becomes a resource for you to draw upon in your creative expression.

When we do not arrive at similar conclusions and instead run into a significant conflict that leaves us with the impossibility that we may not be correctly interpreting the training process. And since it cannot be that I am wrong, the only logical conclusion is that someone else is wrong... Except maybe they're not wrong. An education process allows us to retrace our path and find out where we mis-stepped so we can get back on the path, all without anyone telling us we're wrong. Or, we're right and the education gives us a little better insight to explain why we are right. Knowing the path you tread is valuable because it will show you where you've been, where you are and where you will go.

phitruong
03-03-2015, 11:49 AM
Yes. Enough with the "you don't have the secret decoder ring" nonsense.

what? you don't have the secret decoder ring? you know, the thing looks kinda green that plugs into the base of the lamp. when it comes on, it has a very sweet, sexy voice that said "you are an idiot! please deposit $5 into the coin slot for the next prediction which will more likely be "you are still an idiot"" those of us who worked with "it" have the decoder rings; otherwise, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves and we would have to content with the regular aikido. :D

dps
03-03-2015, 02:02 PM
what? you don't have the secret decoder ring? you know, the thing looks kinda green that plugs into the base of the lamp. when it comes on, it has a very sweet, sexy voice that said "you are an idiot! please deposit $5 into the coin slot for the next prediction which will more likely be "you are still an idiot"" those of us who worked with "it" have the decoder rings; otherwise, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves and we would have to content with the regular aikido. :D

I have the secret decoder app.

dps

Cliff Judge
03-03-2015, 02:56 PM
Note: Can you please drop the use of "it" and use a proper name for whatever you are referring to?


How about "This Stuff" :D :D :D

mathewjgano
03-03-2015, 03:18 PM
If you are not explicetly taught what to do and how to become able to do "it", you will never ever find "it". You may repeat the forms over and over, for your whole life. You won't get "it".
On the other hand, if a teacher reveals "it" to you, you will produce first results within minutes. Literally.

Is it correct then to interpret "it" as an internal approach to doing waza? I sometimes use the phrase "whatever it was O Sensei was doing," but I mean a lot more in addition to "internally" driven movement, since I believe he was doing lots of things, but was generally going after something arguably more important, and far more accessible (reconciliation waza). The whole of the "Big Tent" and all that.

I had another thought about the OP and in an effort to consolidate my basic thoughts:
Things have a habit of changing over time, for better and for worse, depending on the situation. In studying the history/origin (although, which origin? Since each one has its own origin story to continue with backward through time) we can see how things have changed. One piece of learning affects another. Practicing mae otoshi and ikkyo, as one example, lends to finding commonality of essence within the differences of form.

mathewjgano
03-03-2015, 03:38 PM
Practicing mae otoshi and ikkyo, as one example, lends to finding commonality of essence within the differences of form.

...er...whatever the Tomiki Ryu equivalent to ikkyo would be. :o

lbb
03-03-2015, 03:54 PM
How about "This Stuff" :D :D :D

You know...smileys are all well and good,a nd I'm not saying this is true of you, or Carsten, or anyone specifically, but when people insist on speaking in vague terms, it's often an attempt to obfuscate. And when there's an attempt to obfuscate, it's often to hide the fact that you ain't got nothin'. It's particularly effective when you insist that those who don't see what you see are blind or stupid or ignorant, and that only the most discerning and clued in will see "it". It's a common tactic of frauds, and so I think that if you're not a fraud, you really should have every possible motive to avoid conducting yourself in this way. I don't understand why this kind of behavior is still so prevalent here.

kewms
03-03-2015, 04:39 PM
You know...smileys are all well and good,a nd I'm not saying this is true of you, or Carsten, or anyone specifically, but when people insist on speaking in vague terms, it's often an attempt to obfuscate. And when there's an attempt to obfuscate, it's often to hide the fact that you ain't got nothin'. It's particularly effective when you insist that those who don't see what you see are blind or stupid or ignorant, and that only the most discerning and clued in will see "it". It's a common tactic of frauds, and so I think that if you're not a fraud, you really should have every possible motive to avoid conducting yourself in this way. I don't understand why this kind of behavior is still so prevalent here.

I think there have been endless discussions in this very forum about "it," and if nothing else those discussions have shown that internal power, aiki, and related phenomena are not easily summarized in a sentence, or even a paragraph. And so, if one wishes to have a conversation without getting bogged down in endless rehashing of definitions, it is necessary to use some sort of shorthand.

But then, since you've been around at least as long as I have, and have participated in at least some of those discussions, you probably know this as well as I do. So what is *your* purpose in accusing other people of bad faith?

Katherine

Erick Mead
03-03-2015, 04:47 PM
... when people insist on speaking in vague terms, it's often an attempt to obfuscate.
To step away from questions of motive ... this recurring problem has been a plague for ... lo, these past 2,500 years, no less:


"A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.
When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.
When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately.
What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

Analects, Book XIII, Chapter 3, verses 4-7, "The Rectification of Names" (tr. -Legge)

Let us try to call things by their right names, so that affairs be carried to success... and the people know how to move hand and foot...

If we cannot find or agree on the name, then we must start at a more basic level where the names are not in question -- and only then can we work upward to resolve the conflict at the level where the War of Names arises.

lbb
03-03-2015, 05:52 PM
But then, since you've been around at least as long as I have, and have participated in at least some of those discussions, you probably know this as well as I do. So what is *your* purpose in accusing other people of bad faith?

Read for content, Katherine. I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I said that because frauds often use mumbo-jumbo and obfustication as their tools, if you're on the up and up, it's in your best interest to avoid these. And since you've been around that long, Katherine, you know quite well that more than a few people in these discussions have played the "you just don't get it" card, over and over and over again. And I understand Erick's point, that clarity without common ground is difficult. But take it seriously, don't just blow it off.

nikyu62
03-03-2015, 08:29 PM
Their seems to be some debate but also genuine interest in this thread I started. May I recommend a book titled ;The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz. Not an Aikido book, but then again, as we see from the above posts, this concept can be applied to anything.

Ruiz is an entertaining author, but the so called "historical " context he says he got his knowledge from is fraudulent…..he is not a Toltec anything. For more info see the Native American Frauds and Plastic Shamans website.Is the fruit of the poison tree still edible?

Erick Mead
03-03-2015, 09:19 PM
Ruiz is an entertaining author, but the so called "historical " context he says he got his knowledge from is fraudulent…..he is not a Toltec anything. For more info see the Native American Frauds and Plastic Shamans website.Is the fruit of the poison tree still edible?
Yes. They are called "cashews (http://www.wisegeek.org/are-raw-cashews-really-poisonous.htm)" ... :D

kewms
03-03-2015, 10:06 PM
Read for content, Katherine. I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I said that because frauds often use mumbo-jumbo and obfustication as their tools, if you're on the up and up, it's in your best interest to avoid these. And since you've been around that long, Katherine, you know quite well that more than a few people in these discussions have played the "you just don't get it" card, over and over and over again. And I understand Erick's point, that clarity without common ground is difficult. But take it seriously, don't just blow it off.

I don't see obfuscation in service of fraud in this thread, hence my comment.

Katherine

nikyu62
03-04-2015, 02:06 AM
Yes. They are called "cashews (http://www.wisegeek.org/are-raw-cashews-really-poisonous.htm)" ... :D

Then he must be officially nuts:)

Tim Ruijs
03-04-2015, 03:53 AM
Different people have different ideas of what 'it' is. The IHTBF paradigm...
I do not agree. The last few weeks we (me and my students) have done some extensive research in what George Ledyard was saying about connection, kuzushi etc in seminars about "internal power".
Now, mind you, I have never met him (live in the Netherlands) nor any of his students. Still, we managed to find, at least something, of "it" by studying his video and combine that with our own training/knowledge.
My lineage is Nobuyoshu Tamura, Alain Peyrache. Both teach (or taught in case of the late Tamura) in very different ways than George.
You assess the information you receive be it from your teacher (spoken, felt), other students, video, books.
That is why lineage and understanding the Japanese culture (at least to some extent) is important. You really need to understand the context in which the information was created, if you understand that.

BTW thanx George :-)

lbb
03-04-2015, 08:08 AM
I don't see obfuscation in service of fraud in this thread, hence my comment.

Then let me try once again to explain.

Obfuscation, mumbo-jumbo, "you have to buy it to get it", all these are characteristic tools of frauds.

When someone who is not a fraud uses any of these devices, for whatever reason -- or even just gives the appearance of doing so -- they risk coming across as a fraud.

Therefore, if you don't want to be perceived as a fraud, it's your job to strive for clarity and transparency, to avoid mumbo-jumbo, secret handshakes, "only members of the club get it", and other such devices.

Is that sufficiently clear now?

phitruong
03-04-2015, 08:27 AM
Therefore, if you don't want to be perceived as a fraud, it's your job to strive for clarity and transparency, to avoid mumbo-jumbo, secret handshakes, "only members of the club get it", and other such devices.


well, there goes the ki thing which is just some sort of eastern mythical mumbo-jumbo. might as well throw that out, which would leave us just ai and do. which would be just aido, the way of love, or do the ai which is much more straight forward position (pun intended), which would be just fine with most folks, except for those folks who are into all the grey shades. <normally the grinning face should be here>

i tell ya, easterners can really come up with all sort of mumbo-jumbo then make us wear pajamas to practice them. they should have follow us western folks who just went straight into reality shows.

allowedcloud
03-04-2015, 08:49 AM
Then let me try once again to explain.

Obfuscation, mumbo-jumbo, "you have to buy it to get it", all these are characteristic tools of frauds.

When someone who is not a fraud uses any of these devices, for whatever reason -- or even just gives the appearance of doing so -- they risk coming across as a fraud.

Therefore, if you don't want to be perceived as a fraud, it's your job to strive for clarity and transparency, to avoid mumbo-jumbo, secret handshakes, "only members of the club get it", and other such devices.

Is that sufficiently clear now?

They are, of course, talking about IP/Aiki. But you knew that.

I think the reason for the vagueness here is because this thread is in the General forum, where open discussions of IP/Aiki can get you reprimanded or banned. If you have concerns over the merits of such training you might be better off starting a new thread in the Internal Power forum.

kewms
03-04-2015, 10:55 AM
Then let me try once again to explain.

Obfuscation, mumbo-jumbo, "you have to buy it to get it", all these are characteristic tools of frauds.

When someone who is not a fraud uses any of these devices, for whatever reason -- or even just gives the appearance of doing so -- they risk coming across as a fraud.

Therefore, if you don't want to be perceived as a fraud, it's your job to strive for clarity and transparency, to avoid mumbo-jumbo, secret handshakes, "only members of the club get it", and other such devices.

Is that sufficiently clear now?

It was clear the first time. And the second time.

My point was that I really don't feel like having a five page discussion of internal power (again) every time someone wants to say something like "some aspects of aikido need to be explicitly taught and often are not." And so I am perfectly okay with the use of shorthand, especially when, in the context of this forum, it is pretty clear exactly what is meant. That doesn't look like obfuscation to me, it looks like facilitating a conversation about other topics.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
03-04-2015, 11:17 AM
My point was that I really don't feel like having a five page discussion of internal power (again) every time someone wants to say something like "some aspects of aikido need to be explicitly taught and often are not." And so I am perfectly okay with the use of shorthand, especially when, in the context of this forum, it is pretty clear exactly what is meant. That doesn't look like obfuscation to me, it looks like facilitating a conversation about other topics.

Katherine

Thank you. Yes. The topic is lineage. The minor digression did not seem off-topic until the semantics were seized upon and not let go. Sheesh. Let it go. Talk lineage.

Cliff Judge
03-04-2015, 11:52 AM
You know...smileys are all well and good,a nd I'm not saying this is true of you, or Carsten, or anyone specifically, but when people insist on speaking in vague terms, it's often an attempt to obfuscate. And when there's an attempt to obfuscate, it's often to hide the fact that you ain't got nothin'. It's particularly effective when you insist that those who don't see what you see are blind or stupid or ignorant, and that only the most discerning and clued in will see "it". It's a common tactic of frauds, and so I think that if you're not a fraud, you really should have every possible motive to avoid conducting yourself in this way. I don't understand why this kind of behavior is still so prevalent here.

Mary,

I think you should cut these folks some slack. The people using the vague language are describing something they are working on that they haven't really gotten ahold of yet. They are not representing themselves as experts, just as people who are seeking something they have caught only a few glimpses of. So I don't think there is any possible "fraud" dimension here.

This thread was bound to turn out this way - many people have chosen alternate Aikido paths based on a belief that the origin story of Aikido coming from the Aikikai Hombu is false. So to them the relevance of origin is going to key into the thing that makes them most passionate, be it internal power or Iwama style or what have you.

lbb
03-04-2015, 12:31 PM
Fair enough. Y'all are right. Please pardon my digression of the digression.

Brian Sutton
03-04-2015, 01:23 PM
Ruiz is an entertaining author, but the so called "historical " context he says he got his knowledge from is fraudulent…..he is not a Toltec anything. For more info see the Native American Frauds and Plastic Shamans website.Is the fruit of the poison tree still edible?Interesting, kind of brings me full circle to why I started this thread. Does the source of the information validate the information being transmitted. Carlos Castenada was a total fraud, but passed along some useful information. When I'm doing a hike, and I point my index fingers in a certain way , it can get a blast of energy that keeps me keeping on. While thats a trick I learned from Castenada, does it matter where he learned it as long as it works. The key words are "as long as it works". I. don't give a rats patooti if a person was group indoctrinated or self proclaimed, just as long as the information is useful and has utility. We live in a room full of mirrors, and are only anything by our own definitions .
I hate to say it, but after reading these posts, I see more limitations placed by knowledge, than applications. Sorry and good luck.

kewms
03-04-2015, 01:46 PM
I work as a writer, and there are two lessons from writing that seem relevant here.

One is that communication is impossible unless there is some common ground. If people can't or won't agree on basic vocabulary, it is very difficult to talk about anything else. However, agreeing to disagree can also provide common ground: "I don't agree with your definition of Term X, but I understand what you are trying to communicate when using it in that way, so now we can move on to another topic." This is how people of good will can continue to have productive conversations in spite of fundamental disagreements.

The other is that indiscriminately sharing rough drafts is unwise. I write in part to figure out what I think. Sharing a rough draft puts me in the position of trying to defend a viewpoint that I may not actually hold, or that I may not have fully considered. Similarly, most people's aikido is a work in progress. Our understanding of technique evolves over time, and being forced to defend a particular snippet of thought or out of context video clip can lock us into particular understandings long after they have outlived their usefulness.

Similarly, aikido as a whole is evolving, too, for better or for worse. As the last of O Sensei's direct students leave the stage, it is up to us, collectively, to reinvent and rediscover what aikido is and what we want it to be. Origins and lineage are important to that process, but even the koryu styles acknowledge that transmission is never perfect. Every generation has the right and the responsibility to re-examine the foundation and build their own understanding. A process which will inevitably involve missteps, digressions, and "rough drafts" that later turn out to be incomplete or inconsistent.

Katherine

dps
03-05-2015, 01:43 AM
We are sharing rough drafts on Aikiweb. Some of us have drafts more refined (or so we hope) and some of us know what we are talking about (or so we think). Some are looking for ideas to help refine their drafts and some are trying to sway others to their way of thinking?

dps

Carsten Möllering
03-05-2015, 06:59 AM
Wow ... sorry for that ...
Actually using the expression " 'it' " was just meant to prevent the discussion it now pushed. In German we use quotation marks to say something with a twinkle in one's eye. ;) With a grain of salt. Being not too serious. ... I thought it was clear that I am referring to aiki but didn't want to go into detail here because that's not the topic of this thread. And also because defining my undersanding of aiki would need some space.

Katherine describes my intention precisely, when she writes:
"I think there have been endless discussions in this very forum about "it," and if nothing else those discussions have shown that internal power, aiki, and related phenomena are not easily summarized in a sentence, or even a paragraph. And so, if one wishes to have a conversation without getting bogged down in endless rehashing of definitions, it is necessary to use some sort of shorthand."

Here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=342644&postcount=34) you may get a first idea of at least one of the Areas where I am looking for "it" and how I try to get access to the meaning of aiki.

Yes. Enough with the "you don't have the secret decoder ring" nonsense.Well, I think this kind of illustrates the point I tried to make: When you are taught something it completely loses it's magical quality. Even if you can not reproduce it fully, what your are taught is no longer a mystery to you but something you can work with. Something everybody can work with.

For example, when I for the first time in my life saw a shodan grading about twenty years ago, I had no "secret decoder ring": I simply had no idea how this gyu did what he did. And still less how he did what he did. I was completely lost. - By now, I myself prepare students for taking their shodan gradings...
In this case it's simply a question of time and of gathering experiences.

The quote Ron posted contains another example that goes a little bit deeper and shows that experience will not help in every case, but that you have to have some knowledge to get things right:"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted training that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life." - Morihei UeshibaIt is my experience that not everyone realizes that "peace" in Ueshiba's context does not only refer to political or social phenomena.,But first and foremost means Daoist internal practices in which you (at least try to) restore yin and yang from fire and water and build yin over yang, which as hexagramm is read: "peace". Meaning the union of heaven and earth within your body. Or - inother words - "stillness and movement as one". That's how the shihan I follow usually expresses it.
The term "Art of Peace" is so frequently used when talking about aikidō. But you don't hear very often, that this refers to certain internal practices, to concrete Daoist exercises.

This is but one of many aspects of "it". Again: You don't need a decoder ring here. But also true: Only experience and years of practice will not help you. You simply have to have a hint, a pointer. This knowledge is not evident and does not reveal itself just from usual keiko. You will not find that by yourself. You will have to be told. Maybe at first a book will sufficently do. Or an article. At least that is needed. And when you decide to actually practice this art or freedom you need a teacher.

So yes: It is my experience that you "can ... only learn if a teacher reveals 'it' to you, whatever this mysterious 'it' is". It is my understanding, that this is exactly what teachers are for. And being a teacher myself for some years now, I experience this myself "on the other side".

do you believe that you, yourself, can learn nothing from observing a video? I myself use videos. But definitely only videos of teachers with whom I have practiced to a certain degree. So that my body knows the how it feels, what my eyes see.

Still another example: I attended only one seminar of Ikeda Hiroshi sensei. I was lucky he took me as uke several times throughout the day to show the seminar what he wanted us to practice. There was a whole lot of stuff where Ikeda sensei did no visible movement at all - but completely broke my balance. The attendees could only see my reaction. But had no idea of what he was doing. And how. The only could see that I was stable, or was not.
Maybe you have practiced with Ikeda sensei? Than you may know what I am talking about. Only watching that on video will give nothing to work with. Absolutely nothing. You simply can't see what he is doing. You simply have to know it. And in this case there are no books or articles about it. And I think this true for every video to a certain degree.

(god, I hate secret-handshake crap!)To my experience this is an integral component of the transmission of budō. And I think it is exactly this what "ishin denshin" means in the end. And because of that lineage seems so important to me. As does knowledge of the origin, knowledge of what can be learned.
There is a lot of stuff that you - and I - won't find yourself. But that has to be revealed to you.

It's particularly effective when you insist that those who don't see what you see are blind or stupid or ignorant, and that only the most discerning and clued in will see "it". I'm clearly not saying that while everybody is looking at the same thing, only some see "it" and others don't and are therefore "blind or stupid or ignorant".
It is my understanding, that we simply not alltogether have the opportunity to look at the same things. So not everyone has the Chance to learn certain things. Simply because you necessarily need a teacher who knows those things and who is able to show and to teach them.
In my case I practiced about 15 years very intensively with - I still think - very good teachers, until I met some teachers who opened my eyes to a new world. Or a new dimension. It simply didn't exist before. And I had seen quite a bit of the aikidō world.

We must be reading a different forum.When I wrote: "Isn't it interesting, that there are so many people who agree about what Ueshiba meant?" I was not referring to this forum. It is my experience that once you know what to look for you will find more and more teachers who do this stuff. And who trace it back to the origin, to Ueshiba osensei. They agree in the essence of twhat they do and teach. Although they never met nor even know each other.
And in adititon to that I see this same stuff in other, related budō: You have it in TSKSR, KSR, Daitō ryū. Just to name a few.

Are you familiar with the term "credentialism"?Um no. So I would appreciate, if you elaborate a litlle bit ...

Erick Mead
03-05-2015, 08:53 AM
... indiscriminately sharing rough drafts is unwise. I write in part to figure out what I think. Sharing a rough draft puts me in the position of trying to defend a viewpoint that I may not actually hold, or that I may not have fully considered. Similarly, most people's aikido is a work in progress. Our understanding of technique evolves over time, and being forced to defend a particular snippet of thought or out of context video clip can lock us into particular understandings long after they have outlived their usefulness.

Similarly, aikido as a whole is evolving, too, for better or for worse. As the last of O Sensei's direct students leave the stage, it is up to us, collectively, to reinvent and rediscover what aikido is and what we want it to be. Origins and lineage are important to that process, but even the koryu styles acknowledge that transmission is never perfect. Every generation has the right and the responsibility to re-examine the foundation and build their own understanding. A process which will inevitably involve missteps, digressions, and "rough drafts" that later turn out to be incomplete or inconsistent.
But the West is the hallmark of how far circulating rough drafts can advance learning. The Eastern cultures are bound up in ideas of authority that went out with St. Augustine in the West (at the latest). Until relatively recently the notion of mere "authority" as a basis for argument -- outside the law -- held little sway in the West. "Show me," as they say in Missouri.

In Western terms all material knowledge is tentative, subject to correction, development or even total obsolescence based on new facts, new discoveries and new ideas or applications. (I can make an argument that this has proceeded too far in terms of moral principles, but that is another discussion.) Western knowledge is a collection of rough draft, and that is at one and the same time its crowning glory and mark of deep humility at the vastness of a reality we really do not understand except in tiny pieces.

AikiWeb is one of the few places that the Western approach has held true in the exploration of Aikido. It does not really hold true in the strict lineage model of transmission -- and really is alien to that model -- so we should expect a little healthy friction.

kewms
03-05-2015, 10:55 AM
In Western terms all material knowledge is tentative, subject to correction, development or even total obsolescence based on new facts, new discoveries and new ideas or applications. (I can make an argument that this has proceeded too far in terms of moral principles, but that is another discussion.) Western knowledge is a collection of rough draft, and that is at one and the same time its crowning glory and mark of deep humility at the vastness of a reality we really do not understand except in tiny pieces.

Well, in theory western knowledge develops in that way. In practice, we are all human, we all are motivated to be "right." And so it can be very difficult to let go of ideas, especially once we have put them out in public with our names attached.

Katherine

Erick Mead
03-05-2015, 03:38 PM
Well, in theory western knowledge develops in that way. In practice, we are all human, we all are motivated to be "right." And so it can be very difficult to let go of ideas, especially once we have put them out in public with our names attached. Part of the problem isn't just ego-protection, though. We in the West have also allowed ourselves to invert the relationship between truth and evidence -- which is deeply and subversively destructive (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/why-our-children-dont-think-there-are-moral-facts/?emc=eta1&_r=1).

Lots of really important things are true that can't be proved by evidence (e.g. -- Pi has an infinite non-repeating sequence of digits; parallel lines on a euclidean surface never intersect; the Cubs cannot win a third World Series :p). Lots of things that are false, may nevertheless have some evidence arguably in support (e.g. -- parallel lines can NEVER intersect in any case (not true for hyperbolic or spherical surfaces; also the Cubs actually won in 1907 and 1908, which is evidence only of the Devil's perversity ... ;) ).

Truth does not actually depend ultimately on evidence. Evidence can ultimately only test falsity -- not truth. Something not true for which some evidence is offered can be falsified by evidence, and if falsified from evidence -- it cannot possibly be true. Something true for which there is no evidence is no less true. Something deemed true on all available evidence and to a high degree of practical sophistication can nevertheless later be falsified by the appearance of new information or the correction of flawed assumptions (e.g. Newtonian versus quantum mechanics).

This inversion problem between truth and evidence is present in these debates, because many tend to equate personal performance with correct description of physical principles operating in a performance -- and they simply aren't the same things at all, even thought they both relate to the same things, or ought to.

jonreading
03-06-2015, 08:34 AM
The buzz word I learned in school was "social truth." If enough people say it with enough conviction, it is true regardless of the presence/absence of evidence. Tom Brady was responsible for deflating footballs, not because there is evidence of that fact but because enough people at ESPN said so.

Mystery is a social creature - it attracts our interest, engages fantasy and opens a door to imagination. In the movie, The Sixth Sense, Bruse Willis is engaged in working out a mystery with Haley Joel Osment. The mystery is so large it occludes the fact that Bruce Willis is a ghost who can only be seen by Haley Joel Osment. Once this fact is made known, the entire movie changes for the viewer. Re-watching the movie illustrates elements (previously unseen) that tipped off an astute viewer to the oddity of Bruce Willis' character. The movie not only loses the mystery, but it also illustrates things in the movie that were unnoticed in the original viewing. I know several people who re-watched the movie just to see if he was dead the entire time. I also know people who will never watch the movie again.

I feel strongly that aikido is one long telephone game played across generations, languages and cultures. I feel strongly that it is our responsibility to occasionally check how well we are playing that game and also make the necessary corrections when we find something was poorly communicated. Not everyone wants to do that, which is fine. I think its important to scrutinize new information, even if it's to say, "not my cup of tea."

I think when those mis-perceptions surface, we need to be sensitive to the cost that mis-perception played in the training of some number of people, but we do need corrective action. We need to be sensitive to our understanding of aikido so we can change what we are doing when we see something that we previously misunderstood. I do not think it far fetched to consider that maybe our training is not 100% correct.The point of debate is what we want to consider changing, not what we need to change...

Erick Mead
03-06-2015, 12:11 PM
I feel strongly that aikido is one long telephone game played across generations, languages and cultures. I feel strongly that it is our responsibility to occasionally check how well we are playing that game and also make the necessary corrections when we find something was poorly communicated. Not everyone wants to do that, which is fine. I think its important to scrutinize new information, even if it's to say, "not my cup of tea." It needn't be the telephone game -- because there is a common rubric, or template, to keep us all from straying too far -- the human body. Everybody happens to have this ready reference. If we focus on the objective aspects of the human body that this art plays upon, and work on identifying and communicating the principles, signs and sensations of those things (and as importantly, which ARE NOT those things) then we cannot go too far wrong.

I do not think it far fetched to consider that maybe our training is not 100% correct. I think it more accurate to say that 100% of people are wrong in some regard, but some are more or less wrong than others -- and on different points as well. It should commend us all to be a bit more humble and charitable. Every assertion of an area of knowledge -- at the same time betrays the vast fields of ignorance that lie just beside it.

The point of debate is what we want to consider changing, not what we need to change... I think our concepts do need a serious change. They need redraft/translation/remapping from Eastern terms of extended metaphors into Western objective terminology. The operating principles (of whatever conceptual scheme) will always require extrinsic study and training. The body is the intrinsic reference available to everyone without regard to language concept or culture.

That does not mean traditional vocabulary goes away -- it can be valuable shorthand or terms of art -- but it needs an precise index, and in our terms, which is lacking -- but hardly impossible.

Western teaching makes that kind of correspondence between operating principle and the body as clear as language can make it. It is necessary to better discriminate between what we NEED to do, what we THINK we are doing, and what we ACTUALLY do -- and any or all of the three may need correction.