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Matt Banks
03-13-2001, 04:40 AM
Hi there,

I want to talk about spirit, I dont mean ki I mean ''fighting spirit''. The head of british training in the organisation I train with talks about this a great deal. He feels its the most important thing to cultivate during training ( I agree with him).I also got the same impression when hearing about the yoshinkan instructors training. The idea being that ''the mind controls the body, and not the other way around''. This is why our warms ups etc in training are very difficult, as this cultivats our ''fighting spirit'', our bodies may be telling as to stop but if our mind is strong we can continue. A good quote from one of our sensei's is ''you can give up when you are unconsious''. Now dont jump to conclusions it is NOT a macho thing, of course if your gonna cause an injury stop...probably. The idea is that in training you must always push yourself out of your comfort zone. Gozo Shioda stressed this point, explaining how a great deal of aikido is ''hollow''. This is why I think good aikido has an edge over thing else (my personal view).We had many jujutsu people down on seminars etc (nice guys) but I felt out resistace to pain, our hard training, form and spirit shone through. The sensei asked if he could speak at the end and say how impressed he was. Thw way of the warrior is what we our aiming for, well never get there but we are striving for it. In fact thats what the organisation name is about...shudokan ''the school striving for the ultimate''. ''roughly''. All the great martial artists had this '' a samurai fighting spirit'' all the greats. Name one and they all aimed for it. This is why in our syllabus there are things like live knife gradings for shodan etc, this is because there striving for the way of the warrior. I know many dont agree with this Im just attempting to get another view across. You can have the best tecnique in the world but if your mind is not there, when you come into conflict, net neccersarily diffcult you will not prosper. This is the idea of holding fast your centre. The saying often said in meditation ''If I have a consience that is clear, I dare to face an enemy ten thousand strong.'' Im told this means more than the literal meaning.
Has anybody any views on the above subject? Do you feel that the above is cultivated in your training in your aikido? Do you feel that the above is important.

Matt Banks

Steve Speicher
03-13-2001, 09:29 AM
Matt Banks wrote:
Has anybody any views on the above subject? Do you feel that the above is cultivated in your training in your aikido? Do you feel that the above is important.

Well, I don't have much to add because I agree. Aikido is not something to be done as if one were asleep (what I feel Gozo Shioda meant by 'hollow'). I don't necessarily agree with 'fighting spirit' as this implies aggression, by I understand what is meant by it. I think a better way of putting it would be indomitable spirit. Students of Zen at a monastery are hit between the shoulders with a stick if they begin to fall asleep during zazen. Even in meditation, they must maintain a strong mind/spirit. Otherwise the practice becomes 'hollow', and to connect it to martial arts, this is when aikido becomes a choreographed dance rather than a martial training.

As you said though, the martial way is a way, you will never reach some imagined destination or end. It is more a methodology, a path to live your life on. And yes, one that the great martial artists subscribed to.

I recently read a very good book that explains this system of training (and honor, and living) called The Martial Way by Forrest Morgan. He recommends to employ shugyo periodically, and always take a jutsu approach towards training, as the samurai did.

03-13-2001, 10:12 AM
I'd agree as well. I think there should not be a feeling of aggression in the dojo. If there is ever anyone I see tiring whilst doing randori I make sure they go up for another session. Its another reason why 'being tired' is no excuse for missing aikido - in fact I think it is one of the best times for training.

Learning techniques is all very well, but if we don't have the mental ability to control our body when we are frightened/tired/injured we will never be able to use it as effectively as a 'martial art'. Therefore I think pushing yourself, without permanent injury, is the best way to do it.


Nick P.
03-13-2001, 10:25 AM
Not to dispute "The Warrior Spirit", but what do you make of O'Sensei 's become something of a recluse for a number of years, and after that period, until the end of his life, talking about(and doing) more and more techniques that were not designed to hurt, just end the conflict. Remember, earlier in his life, he was one tough hombre!

Though I think I understand what is implied by "Warrior Spirit", many greater than I have argued that a true warrior doesn't train to fight, she trains not to fight.

My point? Some of us may find it hard to seperate Warrior Spirit (determination, focus, commitment) from Warrior Intent (victory over others). After all, aren't there enough warriors in the world? Though, O'Sensei was an accomplished warrior.

As for the ten-thousand strong ennemy; the strongest ennemy is ourselves. Ego, vanity, selfishness. No amount of crushing others will EVER make up for a hollow self, no matter how much spirit they might have.

My two confused cents.

Steve Speicher
03-13-2001, 12:00 PM
Nick, I think you are also in agreement, just misunderstanding what it means to be a warrior.

The main role of a warrior is a protector, not a dominator. But in order to protect, you must have strength (not necessarily muscular strength).

03-13-2001, 12:54 PM
Nick P. wrote:

As for the ten-thousand strong ennemy; the strongest ennemy is ourselves. Ego, vanity, selfishness. No amount of crushing others will EVER make up for a hollow self, no matter how much spirit they might have.

My two confused cents.

Amen !

03-13-2001, 03:00 PM
On the subject of the Warriors Spirit,
I offer my humble feeling on the matter.

The Warrior's spirit:
To never give up the internal desire to better your conditions, and those around you.
To always strive to maintain a beginner's mind.
To remain humble even when there is no need to be.
Practice to abolish perceived limitations, and constantly discover new ones.
Let your actions serve to bellow the fires inside the crux that is the core you.
Seek to know your ethics. Live by them, honor them, even when the whole world
turns against you. Yield not, but focus on communication and understanding.
Everything and everyone is the greatest of teachers.
How precious we all are in this, the very least of our potential.
If you honor them, you as well honor yourself in great blissful magnitude.
These among others, are inherently connected
Encompass these, or your own precepts.
But have them as your own.
Let them forge you and hone your spirit to slice through ignorance and unproductive
tendencies to reveal the threshold in which all brothers and sisters of humanity find
-Thomas Dehn

03-13-2001, 11:10 PM
For those interested in another perspective very close in agreement to this discussion, may I offer the following:

Go Rin No Sho - Miyamoto Musashi

"From one thing know ten thousand things."

IMHO, the definitive work on cultivation of the Warrior Spirit, the Martial Way.

Steve Speicher
03-14-2001, 09:39 AM
Musashi's work is on the top of my 'books to get' list. If anyone has trouble finding it as Go Rin No Sho, it translates to Book of Five Rings.

Another older text I have to get in Sun Tzu's Art of War, or a new translation Art of Strategy, that I've heard good things about.

03-23-2001, 02:19 AM
I have four books in my life that I feel are of the upmost importance.

1. The Holy Bible

2. Living the Martial Way -Forrest Morgan

3. A Book Of Five Rings- Miyamoto Musashi

4. The Art of War - Sun Tsu

I have listed these books in order of importance to my heart. I really believe that anyone who is interested in becoming a warrior instead of a martial artist or a hobbist will benifit by reading Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan. This work prepares a person's mind to understand many misunderstood concepts about what a warrior is and is not. After reading this book, I would then recomend A book of Five Rings. Then finally the art of War.

I listed the readings in that specific way for a number of reasons. Living the Martial Way will open ones mind to the realities of true warriorship as opposed to being a "martial artist" or a hobbiest. Once a person has accepted his or her warriorship, then he or she will better understand the teachings of Miyamoto Musashi and Sun Tsu.

As for spiritual teachings, my personal spiritual goals are probably apparent by my first choice in my book listing. I will not go any further into depth on that subject unless someone wants to contact me via E-mail or what not for further information on my personal beliefs.

Thank you for your attention,