View Full Version : Heart of the matter
11-30-2002, 09:36 AM
~~Good morning all! Hope everyone had a good holiday and gave up some thanks. Here's my question:
Reading over some past and recent threads, I was struck by how much we discuss/debate how many ways there are to practice, i.e., muscular slamming track, light as a feather, should you weightlift, 'jellyfish' Aikido, should you grapple or not, when to wear a hakama...it seems endless. So...does anyone KNOW or have a good idea about what O Sensie taught at the heart of his style? I train with the idea that techniques are there to teach principles, principles there to teach fundamental truths about the workings of Creation. Hmmm, guess that doesn't sound too martial, but I do train to be abruptly functional if need be not just cosmic fluff.
Anyway, does anyone KNOW? Are we all just groping through the dark labyrinth following a gossimer intermitten thread..?
11-30-2002, 08:15 PM
I'm sorry, I don't know what 0'Sensei would have done or said about your question, but sometimes I have to ask myself if I'm groping thru "the dark labyrinth following a gossamer intermitten thread" (God, I love posts where I have to get my dictionary out!)
I studied Aikido primarily for its functionality. But what really kept me coming back was all that other philosophy and spiritual stuff. What Aikido(or most other MAs too!) can be.
Being close to Thankgiving I can only relate this: In John Stevens bookAikido The Way of Harmonyunder the direction of Shiata Rinjiro (Shambala, Boston & London 1985), the thing goes like this: (paraphrased and brief)
O'Sensei explained Shiho-nage in terms of shiho-giri (sword swinging in 4 directions. It's principles:gratitude,purification,realization)
Shiho-giri is presented as synonymous with shiho-hai (4 direction respect) "Rei" respect originates with gratitude of all the things responsible for our existence. "4" symbolizes the '4 Gratitudes':to the Universal (our spirit);parents (our bodies); nature (our sustenance); fellow beings (daily necessities).
In the glossary it is told about Shihi-hai that this term originally applied to a Shinto rite the Emperor used to express his gratitude to the deities in the 4 directions.
I seems to me that among the many ways to practice Aikido (or living for that matter) two make a big difference: training (living) with gratitude, and training with a sense that "somebody owes me something." I think O'Sensei would have encouraged the former.
To me, the gratitude, misogi, purification are really one thing.
I don't know if this responds to yer post exactly, but I thought something was missing from my Thanksgiving holiday... so, thanks for posting that!
12-01-2002, 02:37 AM
Last month of the year
Swirling wind sweeps leaves off street
Cold dojo awaits
12-02-2002, 06:49 AM
It is not the "Cosmic Fluff" that makes the practice, but the practice that entails you to examine the "Cosmic Fluff."
So...does anyone KNOW or have a good idea about what O Sensie taught at the heart of his style?
I'd say that the folks, now dwindling in number, who studied directly with the founder could probably relay to you what they believed the founder wished to convey.
As for my own thoughts, I take a look at these uchideshi who studied under the founder and see a great diversity in the training methods that they present, their manner in doing techniques, and their underlying philosophical view regarding aikido. All of thse can range from the "preserve the old" to "forge the new."
My own take on aikido is that in order for its principles to work for me, I can't just try to become a carbon-copy of my teacher, his teacher, or his teacher's teacher (and so on). I sure as heck don't want to be a carbon copy of the founder, that's for sure. In other words, I have to find what works for me.
Having seen a number of the founder's uchideshi, it seems to me as though each of them created an "aikido" that worked for them. Whether this be the "preserve the old" or "forge the new," unless they had found something that they felt was important enough, I doubt they would have studied it, embodied it, and transmitted it in the "100%" manner that they did.
Why do you ask, Paula? You seem to ask a lot of questions here but rarely do you let us know a lot about your own thoughts...
12-02-2002, 12:34 PM
"Don't mimic me!"
12-02-2002, 10:53 PM
~~As I stated in my question: I believe techniques are there to learn principles, principles there to learn truths. Whether O Sensei believed that or not I don't know, only that it's my present path. I didn't ask the question looking for a way to become more like this man Ueshiba--couldn't if I wanted to--and I understand that arts always splinter. It just strikes me that it's such a young art to have experienced so much splintering.
I go to different seminars and see such diversity and yet...in the movements there's this subtle thread of universality in most that I can almost grasp in mind and body and I try to focus on that. Is that explained somewhere? On the other hand I see people arguing over which way the arm should rotate for this technique and I want to ask: Is this what you focus on while training? O Sensei spoke of the budo of love quite a bit. While training, whould he have liked us all to focus mainly on that? I don't see much of that.
So I asked a question...thanks for the responses :)
12-10-2002, 09:33 AM
~~I go to different seminars and see such diversity and yet...in the movements there's this subtle thread of universality in most that I can almost grasp in mind and body and I try to focus on that. Is that explained somewhere? On the other hand I see people arguing over which way the arm should rotate for this technique and I want to ask: Is this what you focus on while training? O Sensei spoke of the budo of love quite a bit. While training, would he have liked us all to focus mainly on that? I don't see much of that.
So I asked a question...thanks for the responses :)
Interesting question. I have just returned from Japan, Osaka Specifically. I was spending time with my mentor, Seiseki Abe Sensei. Having spent 10 days of each month living in Abe Sensei's home for the last 16 years of his life, I would guess O-Sensei might have shed some light on these things in the late night hours, after the training was done.
Among other things, one of the reasons for my trip was to ask a myriad of questions, the answers to which, when known, will turn the aikido world on its head. That is a story for another time. However, one of the (two-part) questions I asked is as follows:
A. "What did O-Sensei say was the purpose of aikido?"
B. "If we have wandered from this path, what do we do to regain the center?"
If you feel that Abe Sensei's answer to this question may speak to your original question, please e-mail via my contact info on my profile.
12-10-2002, 10:02 AM
Aikido should evolve differently with every person with time. I think that is what Sieger-san was talking about. Aikido molds to a person.
Techniques will be different from person to person, but the underlying principle is still the same, which is Aiki.
People arguing about the physical aspects of Aikido are still stuck with technicalities. Aikido, to me, is no longer about techniques anymore, it is about Aiki.
12-10-2002, 01:16 PM
I think its pertinent that the techniques we do are "jutsu". The Art we practice is a "Do". And each person (on the path) tends to leave their own footsteps.
Wow. Time to lock my esoteric side up for a while. :)
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