View Full Version : Can a beginner have the spirit of Aikido
11-28-2004, 12:55 PM
My students and I once had a conversation on the spirit of Aikido and whether a beginner could have the spirit of Aikido at such an early stage.
Only one person said that they could not until the debate enlightened him to the fact that yes they can have the spirit of Aikido but at what level.
I am open to any thoughts on this as it would be good to relay this onto my students who like me feel the spirit of Aikido within us.
11-28-2004, 02:30 PM
Spirit yes, awareness no - in short.
11-28-2004, 02:51 PM
Well, first, we'd have to come to Consensus about what the spirit of aikido IS ... yes?
And whether or not there even is a 'spirit of aikido' ...
11-29-2004, 09:26 AM
I believe it could be the 'Spirt of Aikido' that draws a student to the art...I know I didn't want to do Aikido because everyone else is doing it...
11-29-2004, 12:58 PM
IMHO, since the spirit of aikido has to do with harmonizing of the spirits, which we all already know is the right thing to do, I think we all have the spirit of aikido. The training just polishes the mirror that is already there. The beginner with Shoshin, beginner's mind, may be closer than those of us who now think we know something.
11-29-2004, 01:48 PM
I second that.It is my impression that O'sensei had this view in his later days also,
seeing enlightenment and harmonizing in his fellow man ,thats what I meant by saying -
awareness no ,understanding or insight may be better words.
After training nearly ten years ,I find that I can have a beginners mind again and that is very nice.
Now if I could just get a fresh new body ... ...oh well !
11-29-2004, 06:29 PM
hmm... I think it`s a little easy to tell yourself anything really...a bit like someone who begins meditation and then convinces themselves that they have lost their ego...quite dangerous really and a little self dillusionary...same with saying "I have the spirit of Aikido"...almost a meaningless statement really imho as no two people are truly alike.
You see in the dojo it`s easy to say "yes I`m harmonising with fellow man" etc..but if you were to use it in real life..a kote gaishi, irimi nage etc is really going to cause some pain to your average Joe Bloggs when they hit the dirt...probably the same or more than being punched by your average "unlightened" thug. It`s all a question of degree.
In Africa the greatest hunters eventually became the greatest protectors of animals....O-Sensei had to work through killing and hurting people to achieve a more passive, peaceful outlook in later life. In truth (thankfully) not everyone has that kind of experience, though I`m sure we can all achieve some level of "spirituality". I wonder though whether you really do have to experience both sides of the coin?
11-29-2004, 06:48 PM
I think part of the spirit of Aikido is the staying with it part, and you just have to do your time to get that, so I'd say "no, not completely."
11-29-2004, 11:45 PM
When I first started i had read all the theory and stuff you can find online. Looking back at some of the conclusions I made back then, all I can see is a lot of ignorance. looking at just the past few months, my understanding of aikido has evolved so much, I often wonder what I will understand in the next year, or two, or twenty.
I think all of the experiences on and off the mat that we ever recieve make up what our aikido spirit is.
It would be more accurate to say that a beginer can have "AN aikido spirit", but ultimately it falls short of the ones who have been studying it and trying to understand better for their whole lives.
A beginer's spirit is just that. A beginer's spirit. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just different.
11-30-2004, 11:49 AM
Hey Lynn hows it going. I am still a beginner in Aikido, but I cant believe I have been studying for almost a year already. I GOT SPIRIT! I have been trying to 'recruit' people from work to come train with us man. But, when they ask about Aikido I find myself telling them more about the 'self-perfection' aspects than just learning how to drop someone. You better yourself by studying this awesome art. This is the spirit of Aikido right?
See you in class tomorrow. hehe.
02-04-2005, 10:41 PM
02-05-2005, 06:00 PM
I still don't know if I have an Aikido spirit but I recognized something in Aikido my first day on the mat. I compare it to watching Fred Astaire dance. I've never been a big fan of that style of movement but the first time I saw "The Gay Divorcee" I stopped to watch him dance. Then I sat down and watched him finish. The next time it was on I watched it again and the first time I had a chance to tape it, I did.
When "60 Minutes" asked Michail Barishnikov and Rudolf Nureyev (sp?) who was the greatest dancer in the world they responded - as if to a child - "Fred Astaire." Just because you don't know what it is doesn't mean you can't want it for yourself.
As an acquaintance once said, "covet, covet, covet."
02-05-2005, 06:28 PM
I think a few people that are not even involved in Aikido carry the "spirit of Aikido." I think this state of mind is not necessarily bound to any one martial art, hobby, sport, or person. Just my 2 cents.
02-05-2005, 06:28 PM
i say yes. in an infinate sorta way.
todays doka sums it up good:
Enlightenment or delusion?
Who is to say which person has which?
Like the evening moon they appear and fade.
Not one knows exactly when.
02-10-2005, 02:40 AM
Depends on the beginner. If the beginner does not have an empty cup he cannot have a good attitude for learning, or for harmony. But then the same goes for an 'advanced ' student or a teacher.
With this, for once (I'm usually a real pedant! :D ) I don't think we need a definition of what is the spirit of aikido.
02-12-2005, 04:12 AM
I still don't know if I have an Aikido spirit but I recognized something in Aikido my first day on the mat. I compare it to watching Fred Astaire dance.
My thoughts exactly! :) Having danced for 10 years I was immediatelly fascinated and drawn to Aikido by the pure esthetics of it (that wasn't the only reason to start training but it helped).
As for the spirit of Aikido...hmmm...I suppose everyone has his/her own notion of it. I would like to think everyone is right. In a way.
02-21-2005, 09:00 PM
Umm...I..haven't even begun...so I can't say one way or the other, honestly. But I can say that what attracted me to desire to participate in such a art is that it rung true within me, somehow. I too have been a dancer (11yrs) and I cannot deny that it's visual is what attracted me at first. But later after reading and really thinking about O-Sensei said in his teaching I started to understand, if only alittle, and what I understood I loved. So, I wanted more so, I reseached more and thought even more. Even now I'm trying and weeding out things that won't help. However, I understand that I need a instructor to reach my full potential of understanding and application. Then again..this is just me. Can I say I have the spirit of Akito? I can't be sure (for as much as I try to look honestly at myself can one honestly say they always do without sounding alittle presumptuous?). But I do beleive I have a spirit that can be rather easily molded into one and is willing to be so.
02-22-2005, 07:25 PM
I think yes a person can have the spirit of Aikido without ever knowing what Aikido is. Aikido is a concept that describes nature, which we all have access to. A person might be able to be as "perfect" (for lack of a better word) an aikidoka as possible and never hear the word "aikido" or ever step on the mat.
To give a rather weak testimonial: when I found aikido, I felt I had found something I had already begun work on, but which was simply more established and evolved than my own personal conceptions. In other words, it already fit my concept of reality rather than changing it dramatically.
I need to know what you mean by the spirit of aikido - I'm not sure it means the same to all of us.
Reality is the test of our assumptions; we all live in reality, so if people can see the patterns in reality and are open to seeing what really is, rather than what they hope, wish, fear or expect there to be, then anyone can see these 'truths'. Maybe we would communicate that understanding in a different way, because we look at it in light of aikido, but I presume we all share the same reality. So, basically, if anyone has 'beginners mind' they can potentially realise 'the spirit of aikido', though they may call it 'the art of the universe' or 'the weaving of people's lives' etc...
05-28-2005, 09:23 PM
... O-Sensei had to work through killing and hurting people to achieve a more passive, peaceful outlook in later life. In truth (thankfully) not everyone has that kind of experience, though I`m sure we can all achieve some level of "spirituality". I wonder though whether you really do have to experience both sides of the coin?
I think a beginner that has had to endure "the other side of the coin" can have the spirit of Aikido. Look at Osensei. The first beginner of Aikido.
All - I find myself asking a few questions...
If something has been created by or revealed to an individual is it not possible that another being could reach the same point independent of the other? Or at the very least touch on the spirit of said thing? If we are supposed to aim for beginner's mind would it not be likely that beginners could have the spirit of Aikido?
05-29-2005, 02:26 AM
spirit is one thing...ability is another.
05-29-2005, 03:39 AM
Surely somebody has already said it:
We should always have a beginner spirit.
05-29-2005, 05:40 AM
The spirit of Aikido is already there, always there. First there's two, then not-two. Then one, then not-one.
05-31-2005, 06:14 AM
Surely somebody has already said it:
We should always have a beginner spirit.
I think I have it. I've been practicing Aikido since september 2004 and I still feel like a beginner. :D
05-31-2005, 03:11 PM
Stefan : You wrote" We should always have a beginner spirit" and i agree ,i too think that you really feel that way.
You are ,in my opinion a great Aikidoka,i have never trained for you (I AM by all acounts a beginner),but i have read your book and if there is a place where the spirit of Aiki is present, is right there in those pages.
But ,i want to ask you a question: Almost everybody within Aiki talks the talk of feeling like a beginner,not wanting to win ,looking for the path etc,etc,but many of them act with arrogance,look down on beginners (not my case b th w).
Just look at this webbsite: You can find very good threads,like this one,but the most popular ones and the ones that keep coming back are those that relate to the doubts that many Aikidokas seem to have:
They keep asking ,almost with desperation: " Will Aikido really work?"," Aikido does not work in a real fight",Somebody writes almost with tears of joy " Aikido works!!!" and then follows a story where somebody won over somebody with Ikkio.
And then,after a while comes another ,from another angle perhaps: Crosstrain!,try BJJ,Thai,box,etc (In case ....Aikido does not works).
I mean: If you dont want to win,if you are looking for the ride,the WAY,not the destination,why care so much about these questions?
So ,what do you think?.
05-31-2005, 03:50 PM
Almost everybody within Aiki talks the talk of feeling like a beginner,not wanting to win ,looking for the path etc,etc,but many of them act with arrogance,look down on beginners (not my case b th w).I know that it exists, and it's sad. I hope we're all working on it :)
The most common such behavior I find, is aikido practicioners being convinced that what they are used to, is the right thing, and everything else is simply wrong.
Well, that's not right.
Aikido needs dialogue - if someone sticks to a monologue, then it's not aikido.
I find comfort in the fact that the vast majority of aikido practicioners keep the dialogue going, and make sure to be polite and respectful, no matter what their grade is.
About the self defense thing: maybe all the talk about what works or not, shows a longing for competition? Aikido has none - not formally, anyway ;)
Also, sometimes it may very well stem from living in an environment, where self defense frequently comes in handy.
What I enjoy about aikido as self defense, is that it does in spirit refuse to prepare for battle to the extent that one might be the person initiating it.
Also, I find it very charming that lots of aikido people are very modest about their self defense capacities - contrary to students of some other MA, who often think already after their very first class that they are Bruce Lee.
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