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Ma_ai
02-13-2005, 02:31 AM
I have read lots of threads that talk about almost everything Aikido related and I have read some threads that have made me think..Is Aikido Love?

I saw one where a clip of Aikido was shown in what looked like a club promo (I think, not sure on its original purpose) and it sparked a lot of debate on why, what, who and where and a lot of debate on how poor technique was being done and how bad the standard of Ukemi was. At the time of seeing it, my first thoughts where glad to see Aikido is being taught do we concern ourselves so much with the technical side so much that we forget that at least our beautiful art is being taught. Am I any less a Christian because I dont go to pray in a church or I dont lead a life of celibacy? Or is it just good that I follow the way?
Osensei once said Aikido was love, but were is the love of Aikido? And I am not just talking from a personal perspective but a love of people just doing Aikido.
I have seen people doing unusual Aikido, and I have seen people do Aikido that is alien to me, but inside I am just happy that at least someone is doing Aikido and Osenseis legacy of an art that leads to a better world is being practiced no matter how correct or incorrect. The intent is there and from that flickering light will grow a fire that will spread.
Sorry if I have bored ppl

Ma_ai :ai: :ki: :do: :rolleyes:

altered_carbon
02-13-2005, 04:02 AM
"O'sensei once said Aikido was love"

He said it to you and was he talking in English?

mj
02-13-2005, 04:23 AM
Yes, they were sharing a jaccuzi in the Bahamas at the time.

Talk about 'where is the love?'...you can't even post these days without being jumped on. :(

Qatana
02-13-2005, 08:53 AM
Its in my dojo.

ChristianBoddum
02-13-2005, 11:06 AM
Love is not necessarily a feeling !

malsmith
02-13-2005, 12:23 PM
i think love and respect are intertwined... the more i learn about my teachers and classmates the more i respect them and i do just get this feeling of 'love' for/around them.
but if i dont respect someone at all then i just get angry and then there is no love

Don_Modesto
02-13-2005, 01:09 PM
...threads....I saw one where a clip of Aikido was shown...and it sparked a lot of debate on...how poor technique was being done and how bad the standard of Ukemi was...do we concern ourselves so much with the technical side so much that we forget that at least our beautiful art is being taught.....The intent is there and from that flickering light will grow a fire that will spread.
What's the contradiction between criticism and love?

Aikido is still a martial art and not choreography because we have strong attacks to refine our technique. Failing that, it's dance. Delightful, but hardly to the point. So, too with discourse, no?

The argument could be made that gratitude is an intrinsic value of aikido and, yes, some of our commentators could have been a tad more grateful for the video clip.

But as to critical comment, personally, I find it very unhealthy that the SHIHAN and Osensei himself are not more often the subject of criticism. Many of these icons have questionable attitudes and histories, many come to the table with their cups full, complacent with their titles and sycophants. We have a huge prejudice for argument from authority in aikido.

Huge.

Right now, Osensei and others venerated in the aikido canon--many still living--enjoy the very enviable advantage of having their words and actions judged by their reputation and not the other way around. Backward, that.

Criticism is healthy.

...some of us might need some work on our tone, I admit...

YOROSHIKU

senshincenter
02-13-2005, 04:30 PM
This is brilliant Don: "We have a huge prejudice for argument from authority in aikido."

I also think this is important to note - such an argument can only based in fallacy. Love, on the other hand, must be based in Truth. Truth, cannot be known to us but through reflection - and such reflection will always include elements of critical thought. So while tone, word selection, and courtesy have to of course be applied and appreciated, we just can't risk throwing out critical thinking for the name of Love. For Love comes to us only through such things - strange as that might seem at first glance. Which I think is just Don's point all over again. ;-) Echo, echo, echo...

dmv

stuartjvnorton
02-13-2005, 05:37 PM
If we didn't love Aikido, would we bother to comment one way or the other?
Wouldn't we be somewhere else instead?

stuartjvnorton
02-13-2005, 05:40 PM
Love, on the other hand, must be based in Truth. Truth, cannot be known to us but through reflection - and such reflection will always include elements of critical thought.

Maybe until the blinkers come off, "Aikido is a fantasy"... ?

senshincenter
02-13-2005, 05:42 PM
I hate to say it, but I'm not sure what "blinkers" are - are they like "blinders"?

stuartjvnorton
02-13-2005, 06:09 PM
I hate to say it, but I'm not sure what "blinkers" are - are they like "blinders"?

That's probably what I meant. ;-)
Those things that the horses wear so they can only see straight ahead.
It's hard to believe sometimes that English is my first language...

senshincenter
02-13-2005, 08:05 PM
I feel the same way at times too... lol

But I would say "yes" - until the blinders are off, Aikido is mostly fantasy. I would say it's like this: We come to Aikido to reconcile our habitual ways of being, many of which are housed in delusion. Therefore, it is logical to assume that for a great while, and maybe for a few lifetimes for some of us, Aikido too will be experienced and understood through those same habitual ways of being - Aikido too will be housed in delusion. It would be illogical to assume that a body/mind that is more cultivated in a lack of awareness and/or in habitual ways of being that are housed in delusion would all of a sudden see Aikido clearly, at first glance, just because it is possible for Aikido to be a tool for the cultivation of awareness and wisdom. If Aikido was something that we could first relate to without any of our usual filters of delusion, then their would be no need for training, since training itself implies that we develop from states of ignorance to states of awakening. Training then assumes that we come to it from a state of ignorance. Ignorance then is not the antithesis of training, but rather it is its genesis.

Just thinking aloud.

Don_Modesto
02-13-2005, 08:22 PM
...we just can't risk throwing out critical thinking for the name of Love. For Love comes to us only through such things...

Precisely.

Thank you for the kind words.

Beholder
02-14-2005, 02:34 AM
That's probably what I meant. ;-)
Those things that the horses wear so they can only see straight ahead.
It's hard to believe sometimes that English is my first language...

No, no, don't let these American English speakers intimidate you ;) -- those things are blinkers. Forunately, simple words like "aikido" and "love" have no such ambiguity and everyone is in total agreement as to what they mean, even when they've been translated...

Anyone know of any founders of martial arts who claimed their art "is hate"? Just a small point, but it serves to suggest the (translated) "aikido is love" label doesn't make the art as unique as some people would like to think.

Peter Goldsbury
02-14-2005, 07:49 AM
In this sort of discussion, it is a good idea to start from what the Founder actually said, rather than what he is might have said, had he been English.

I have found no direct statement that 'Aikido is love' in any of the Founder's writings, but there is a whole section entitled CƂ͈Cł = Aiki to wa aiki de aru = Aiki is ai/love-ki on pp. 33-54 of "Aiki Shinzui". To give people some idea of what the Founder actually said about ai/love, and the flavour of his discourses, here is the first chapter of this section.

The section is entitled, ͑Ȃ = Ai wa arasowanai = Ai/love does not dispute/contend/compete.

I have given a very rough literal translation, which others should please feel free to improve upon. Discussion will follow when I have the time. The section quoted is on pp.33-34.

C"̋Ɉӂ́AȂ̎׋C͂炢AȂF'?"'aAȂF'?̂̂ƈ'v邱ƂɂBC"̋Ɉӂ"҂͉F'?̕'?ɂAu͂Ȃ킿F'?vȂ̂łB
Aikidou no gokui wa, onore no jaki wo harai, onore wo uchu no ugoki to chouwa sase, onore wo uchu sonomono to icchi saseru koto ni aru. Aikidou no gokui wo etoku shita mono wa, uchu ga sono fukuchuu ni ari, eware wa sunawachi uchufnano de aru.
The mystery/secret of aikido is purifying the malice/evil of/from oneself, bringing about harmony of oneself with the movement of the universe, and bringing oneself into accord with the universe itself. For those who appreciate the secret of aikido, the universe is in their hara/heart and ethey are the universe.f

ɂ͑ƂA'xƂƂAԂ'݂Ȃ̂łB̎Ԃ'z AAᏟA"?ƂBAᏟA"?Ƃ́AF'?̉i?"̐--"邱ƂłB
Soko ni wa, hayai to ka, osoi to ka to iu, jikan no nagasa ga sonzai shinai no de aru. Kono jikan wo chouetsu shita hayasa wa, masakatsu, agatsu, katsuhayabi to iu. Masakatsu, agatsu, katsuhayabi to wa, uchu no eien no seimei to douka suru koto de aru.
In this situation, being fast, or being slow, length of time has no existence. This speed that surpasses time is: completely winning, self winning, winning in the instant. What we term completely winning, self winning, winning in the instant is to assimilate /adapt to the life of the eternity of the universe.

ł́AɂAȂ̎׋C͂炢AS𐴂āAF'?X--ۂ̊"'a邱Ƃłł낤B
Dewa, ikanishitara, onore no jaki wo harai, kokoro wo kiyoku shite, uchu shinrabansho no katsudou to chouwa suru koto dekiru de arouka.
So, in this way, purifying oneself of evil/malice, making the heart/soul/spirit pure/clear, one can harmonize with the activity of the universe and all creation.

ɂ́A܂F'?̐SAȂ̐SƂ邱ƂBF'?̐SƂ͉H@͏㉺l AÉAF'?݂݂̂ɂ܂ŋyԈ̑ȂuvłB
Sore ni wa, mazu uchu no kokoro wo, onore no kokoro to suru koto da. Uchu no kokoro to wa nanika? Kore wa jouge shihou, ko-ou-kon-rai, uchu no sumizumi ni made oyobu idai eaif de aru.
Moreover, first it is making the heart/soul/spirit of the universe the spirit heart soul of oneself. What do we mean by the heart/soul/spirit of the universe? This is the great eaif (love) that reaches above, below, the four directions, through all the ages, and into every nook and cranny of the universe.
͑ȂBɂ"G͂ȂB̂"GƂÂƑS͂łɉF'?̐Sł͂Ȃ̂łB
Ai wa arasowanai. Ai ni wa teki wa nai. Nanimono ka wo teki to shi, nanimono ka to arasou kokoro wa sudeni uchu no kokoro de wa nai no de aru.
Ai/love does not dispute/contend/compete. With ai/love there is no enemy/competitor. Whenever one makes of someone an enemy/competitor, the spirit of dispute/contention/competition is already devoid of the spirit/heart/soul of the universe.

F'?̐Sƈ'vȂlԂ́AF'?"'ałȂBF'?"'ałȂlԂ́̕A"j̕łĐ^̕ł͂ȂB
Uchu no kokoro to icchi shinai ningen wa, uchu no ugoki to chouwa dekinai. Uchu no ugoki to chouwa dekinai ningen no bu wa, hakai no bu de atte shin/makoto no bu de wa nai.
A human being who does not come into accord with the spirit/heart/soul of the universe cannot be in harmony with the movement of the universe. The bu/fighting of a human being who cannot become in harmony with the movement of the universe is destructive bu/fighting and not genuine bu/fighting.

^̕"ɂ"G͂ȂA^̕"Ƃ͈"łB́AEƂł͂ȂAׂĂ𐶂ĂA"łBƂׂ͂Ă̎--{łAȂ΁AׂĂ͐藧ȂBC"̌Ȃ̂łB
Shin/makoto no budou ni wa teki wa nai, shin/makoto budou to wa ai no ugoki de aru. Sore wa, koroshi arasou koto de wa naku, subete wo ikashi sodateru, sei-sei-ka-iku no ugoki de aru. Ai/love to wa subete no mamori honzon de ari, ai nakuba, subete wa naritatanai. Aiki no michi koso ai no awarena mono de aru.
With the genuine way of bu/fighting there is no enemy.competitor, the genuine way of bu/fighting is the movement of ai/love. This is not a matter of disputing/contending/competing (to the extent of) killing, but keeping alive/maintaining life/and nurturing, it is the movement of living-developing-nurturing everything. Ai/love is the guardian deity of everything, without ai/love nothing can materialize. The way of aiki is really something (the very thing) which makes ai/love manifest.

AZ𑈂ďA肷̂͐^ł͂ȂB
^́̕AAᏟA"?ł邩AȂꍇɂΕs"słBȂ킿AΕs"sƂ́A΂ɉ̂Ƃ̑ʂƂłB‚Ƃ͌Ȃ̐S'?́uSvɑł ‚ƂłBȂɗ^ꂽg--𐬂Ƃ邱ƂłB
Dakara, bugi wo arasotte kattari, kaketari suru no wa shinbu de wa nai. Shin/makoto no bu wa, masakatsu, agatsu. Katsuhayabi de aru kara, ikanaru baai ni mo zettai fuhai de aru. Sunawachi, zettai fuhai to wa, zettai ni nanimono to wa arasowanu koto de aru. Katsu to wa onore no kokoro no naka no earasou-kokorof ni uchi-katsu koto de aru. Onore ni ataerareta shimei wo nashitogeru koto de aru.
Thus, to dispute/compete in martial arts by winning and losing is not genuine bu/fighting. Genuine bu/fighting is true winning, self winning, winning in the instant. So that, no matter what happens, one is completely invincible. In other words, being completely invincible is being completely free of disputing/competing with anybody/anything. Winning is overcoming the disputing/competing spirit inside of oneself. It is the accomplishing of a mission given to oneself.

So there you have it,

Best regsards to all,

Peter Goldsbury
02-14-2005, 07:53 AM
A further note to my last post (Many apologies for the length).

Jun's kanji inputting system seems to have some gaps, thus Japanese speakers and readers might like to use the kana/romaji given to supplenent these gaps.

Best regards,

senshincenter
02-14-2005, 08:06 AM
Horse equipment terminology is not really the topic of the thread. Where I am from, the phrase containing the general idea of not seeing things until after a certain point of transformation uses the word "blinders." Hence the question, "Are 'blinkers' like 'blinders'?"

I'm also not sure where the status of Aikido's uniqueness comes into play - that seems very off topic to me. Perhaps you could explain the relevance a bit more...?

Thanks,
dmv

debigthump
02-14-2005, 09:13 AM
love for martial arts is shown through dedication,,,,,as with all things , if it causes you to love more on a higher scale then thats what it is.
"from the fruit the tree is judged"

akiy
02-14-2005, 09:24 AM
Hi Peter,
Jun's kanji inputting system seems to have some gaps, thus Japanese speakers and readers might like to use the kana/romaji given to supplenent these gaps.
I believe the moji boke that you're seeing in certain places is due to the forum's "word wrapping" feature that inserts spaces in certain places if a "word" is deemed too long. With long Japanese phrases (which are entered without spaces), this "word wrapping" seems to create moji bake due to Japanese's inherent double-byte system (with Shift-JIS, at least). I've tweaked the configuration a bit; hopefully, things will work a bit better for you now, Peter, in inputting Japanese.

PS: It looks like the preview button will show this same mojibake when wordwrapping, so if you see mojibake when you preview your message, one way to get around it is to (artificially) put in some "returns" (newlines) at strategic locations in your Japanese text so the system doesn't think you're typing in a 100+ character long word. Hope that helps!

-- Jun

Beholder
02-14-2005, 11:20 AM
Horse equipment terminology is not really the topic of the thread. Where I am from, the phrase containing the general idea of not seeing things until after a certain point of transformation uses the word "blinders." Hence the question, "Are 'blinkers' like 'blinders'?"


Yes, sorry -- you're quite right, I've led this off-topic, sorry -- blinkers are a synonym for blinders (or the other way around), both turn up as equivalent adjectives, e.g., a "blindered view of aikido". I was just encouraging Stuart to stick with the word which was OK to my British ears. But I will rein in this off-topic diversion, sorry.


I'm also not sure where the status of Aikido's uniqueness comes into play - that seems very off topic to me. Perhaps you could explain the relevance a bit more...?


Right, this brings it back in line with Peter Goldsbury's post -- I infered from the first post that the oft-heard and O-Sensei-attributed "aikido is love" motto suggests that there's something unique about aikido in this way. And I don't think that's the case. Certainly there's an interpretation of aikido that says one should be responsible for the well-being of the attacker, which (excuse me if I'm wrong) is one common way of interpreting the "aikido is love" mantra. But in my own experience I pretty well had this interpretation knocked out of me by Japanese instructors. My point saying "X is love" is pretty vague for any X, aikido included. To be very cynical (excuse me) "X is love" is the kind of thing one would say about anything that actively doesn't hurt someone (our co-operative method of training in aikido is a clear example). Or to put it another way (and what I meant above), is "X is love" is what you'd expect someone to say, since noone is going to claim "X is hate" about anything they're into.

But, as Peter Goldsbury implies, "aikido is love" is a wee bit of an urban myth anyway. Next we'll be hearing that the founder said "aikido is 90% ukemi" <ducks for cover/>

Incidentally I once asked a Japanese shihan where the love was in aikido (after a particularly, uh, "busy" session) and my interpretation of his reply was "in the fellowship of training". i.e., not anywhere in its application. But it's possible that I am projecting my own bias on what I heard then.

Yours
Dave

Don_Modesto
02-14-2005, 03:40 PM
Anyone know of any founders of martial arts who claimed their art "is hate"? Just a small point, but it serves to suggest the (translated) "aikido is love" label doesn't make the art as unique as some people would like to think.

Thank you for this. On a larger scale, but to the same point:

"Wartime rhetoric proved malleable when it came to postwar objectives because it was largely constructive and idealistic to begin with. The Japanese did not march off to war shouting Long Live Militarism and Aggression!' They declared that they were fighting for peace and security, coexistence and co-prosperity, a bright future for their nation and all of Asia."

John Dower, Embracing Defeat, p. 175
(Thank you pag for directing me to this wonderful book and, of course, for your ongoing efforts to enlighten us terminal monolinguals. YOROSHIKU.)

senshincenter
02-14-2005, 04:45 PM
I think we are starting to address multiple points here, or at least there are three big responses running through this thread. I would like to generally break them down. I am trying to do this because I still think the original post holds merit so it should be taken on its own. In addition, if we can see these other topics as separate, we can discuss them without being pressured to continue to address the original post (if so desired). Well, anyways, I'm trying to keep things clear in my head...

First, I think there is the point first raised by Mr. Modesto and myself that while we should grant the appropriate courtesies, etc., we should not negate or suggest that we can do without critical thinking for the sake of finding Love, etc. On this point, I think I am still standing with my original position though like the original poster I am very much against some of the attacking that goes on in these forums.

There seems to be a second point, raised by Mr. Goldsbury, which is focusing on the accuracy of the Osensei translations relevant to the common understanding of Aikido is Love. On this point, I would indeed say that the push for accurate translations is always going to be a significant issue. This is especially true when one is dealing with such context-specific terms like love. However, I am not so sure that Mr. Goldsbury is suggesting that the notion of Aikido is Love, or the common tendency to wish to understand Aikido as the cultivation of Love, is itself inaccurate or flawed and/or something the Founder did not do. I have read his post only as a call for accuracy regarding context. Perhaps Mr. Goldsbury can elaborate his position a bit more if he is suggesting we should understand more than this. (Im sorry to say, my browser is not showing the kanji.)

Personally, on this second point, I would like to suggest the following. While it may be difficult to find a quote where Osensei is saying the exact words Aikido is Love, it is not too difficult to understand that Love holds a central place in the Founders understanding of the universe, God, Creation, the nature of Man, and thus his martial art. This undoubtedly comes from his exposure to Omoto-kyo doctrine where Love also held a central place. This all can be readily heard in the Founders radio interview that he did late in his life now produced on DVD by Aikido Journal. In that interview, interestingly, in the part where he is speaking of the Divine Mission (another Omoto-kyo term that in part pertains to the spreading of Love on Earth), Osensei does refer to Aikido with the phrase (something like), this martial art of Love. Hence, I do not think that the original post should lose any of its merit because some, most, or even all of us have never been personally exposed to such ideas and/or even because we have been led elsewhere by our teachers.

A third point pertains to the uniqueness of Aikido or lack thereof, as raised by Mr. Whiteland. There is much in this position that I agree with. However, I am more inclined to say that Aikido is not unique in the way that most are led to believe. This means that I do hold that there are some unique elements to Aikido and that indeed these unique elements do pertain to Aikidos relation to the concept of Love. Still, I am not sure why uniqueness or commonality (depending on your take) addresses the merit of the original post. Perhaps Mr. Whiteland can bring forth the connection a bit more. For example, is it being suggested that because no arts ever claim to be about hate, a question on how love should be manifested and/or cultivated in Aikido is irrelevant - ? Maybe I am missing something, but for me, that just does not follow even if commonality is granted.

Finally, for what it is worth off the top of my head I seem to remember that Musashi said something like, The Martial Arts is about Victory. My Kenpo teacher always says, Kenpo is about killing period. I have heard other folks talk about the arts being for the benefit of the state, about education, and even the benefit of the self, etc. Though none of these things are about hate, all of these things, in my mind, are quite different from being about a Divine Mission where one can cultivate so much Love on Earth that Earth becomes a Heavenly Paradise.

For what it is worth, since we are talking about it, I have written on the uniqueness of Aikido, as I understand it, here:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/writs/aikipers/theuniquenessofaikido.html

Peter Goldsbury
02-14-2005, 07:09 PM
There seems to be a second point, raised by Mr. Goldsbury, which is focusing on the accuracy of the Osensei translations relevant to the common understanding of "Aikido is Love." On this point, I would indeed say that the push for accurate translations is always going to be a significant issue. This is especially true when one is dealing with such context-specific terms like "love." However, I am not so sure that Mr. Goldsbury is suggesting that the notion of "Aikido is Love," or the common tendency to wish to understand Aikido as the cultivation of Love, is itself inaccurate or flawed and/or something the Founder did not do. I have read his post only as a call for accuracy regarding context. Perhaps Mr. Goldsbury can elaborate his position a bit more if he is suggesting we should understand more than this. (I'm sorry to say, my browser is not showing the kanji.)

Hello David,

I understood the original poster as arguing that O Sensei said that aikido is love; therefore we should not criticize someone's demonstration: it is good to have practice in any case, which is carrying out O Sensei's "legacy" and practising an art that leads to a better world, no matter whether the practice is correct or incorrect.

I disagree with a lot of things here, but what led me to do some research was the original premise, namely, that, O Sensei said that Aikido is Love and therefore, certain things followed.

Discounting those sources that simply give gobbets of the Founder in English, without any context, I went to the two main collections of discourses in Japanese: "Takemusu Aiki" and "Aiki Shinzui". The former is a collection of lectures given to the Byakko Shinko-kai (an offshoot of Omoto-kyo); the latter is a collection of discourse that have appeared in the "Aikido Shimbun", published by the Aikikai Hombu and edited for many years by the late Sadateru Arikawa Shihan. The Hombu has published Issues 1 to 509 on CD, so they are generally available. Both have been edited, but I cannot say to what extent O Sensei's original staements have been altered.

As I stated in the earlier long post, there is a large section in "Aiki Shinzui" with the general title 'Aiki is Aiki', which plays on the homophony of ai = harmonizing with AI = love. To translate AI-KI (love + KI) is difficult in English and even ai-KI (harmony + KI) is usually left as it is.

I translated the first discourse in this series, with the title "Ai wa arasowanai" = love does not dispute/argue/compete. 'Arasoi' (noun) 'arasou' (verb) has a wide range of meanings, covering e.g., disputes, arguments, quarrels, battles, contests for supremacy. This seems rather close to what the original poster suggested.

However, the discourse does not dwell on disputing so much, at least in the beginning, The main thrust here is that aikdo training will enable one to become fully in harmony with the movement/activity of the Universe (uchu) and in this situation there is no dsiputing or winning or losing, because one is in a situation of masakatsu agatsu katsuhayabi. The kokoro of the universe is the great AI: Kore wa jouge shihou, ko-ou-kon-rai, uchu no sumizumi ni made oyobu idai eaif de aru.

The whole discourse is peppered with Ueshiba's favourite phrases and I suspect that the vocabulary is heavily Omoto. AI (love) is at the very centre of the universe permeates it and yes, we all have a mission (clearly divine, but not stated here) to overcome the 'arasou kokoro'.

Does AI mean Christian love? I have not looked at the history of this word in Japanese, but it certainly covers it and has the same ambiguity as the English term (cf. people like De Rougemont and Nygren on eros and agape). Given the eclectic nature of Omoto-kyo, I would not be surprised if O Sensei included Xtian love also.

Nevertheless, O Sensei goes to great pains to emphasize\though not in this discourse\that aikido is shugyou: ascetic training. Thus, it begins and end with 'waza': commonly translated as techniques. Not just any old techniques, but good techniques\techniques which manifest and achieve harmony with the great AI.

A few years ago at the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, the editor of Aikido Shimbun, mentioned earlier in this post, came and sat next to me and gave candid opinions and the demonstrations going on. Everybody came under sharp scrutiny, from 8th dan shihans to 6th kyuu beginners. He himself had stopped demonstrations many years before, because the shugyou aspect was too intense for some people to deal with and he refused to compromise.

Best regards,

User Friendly
02-14-2005, 07:10 PM
Great thread Simon

I take my hat off to you for having the courage to make a stand for what you think.

As a society we tend to have to justify using such a natural word and vindicate the reason.

U F :cool:

Beholder
02-14-2005, 07:28 PM
However, I am more inclined to say that Aikido is not unique in the way that most are led to believe. This means that I do hold that there are some unique elements to Aikido and that indeed these unique elements do pertain to Aikido's relation to the concept of Love.


Your point is well made and the linked article clarifies it; thanks for that. In fact I think you were being more sophisticated than I was, because as you show the founder's stated intention for the art probably was unique, and I wasn't thinking about that. The rub, perhaps, is how relevant that is to the majority of aikido practitioners today; but that's more to do with how aikido through time, dilution, and evolution may have already wandered away from that (and there I go straying off-topic). But you're right, aikido (specifically aikido's stated mission of universal love) as it was intended is unique.


Still, I am not sure why uniqueness or commonality (depending on your take) addresses the merit of the original post.


Ah, because we'd like to think (and I understood that Simon meant, at the start of the thread) that of all arts, aikido with its (unique or not-so-unique) (explicit or implicit) love would generate less sniping, less unconstructive criticism, less nastiness between fellow practitioners than seems to be the case. "Art of harmony" and all that. But alas, it's miserable human nature... at risk of being flamed, I will make the unoriginal comparison with another system based on a stated mission of love, whose founder pretty much said "X is love" (meaning a universal love to bring all people together); see under Church... not the finest example of one happy family there either.

Or to summarise -- to the question "why do loving aikido people bitch about each other all the time?", I bleakly suggest it's because, alas, there's nothing unique about us, so it's to be expected.

Disclaimers:
(a) actually by comparison to other systems we usually are pretty nice to each other
and
(b) obviously I would never dream of criticising somebody else's aikido, oh no, but I have heard rumours that sometimes other people do. ;)

Peter Goldsbury
02-14-2005, 08:18 PM
(Thank you pag for directing me to this wonderful book and, of course, for your ongoing efforts to enlighten us terminal monolinguals. YOROSHIKU.)

Hello Don,

As a background to Dower, you might like to read Shunsuke Tsurumi's "An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan 1931-1945", which analyses the concept of tenkou. Another interesting book, with a preface by Dower, is Eiji Takemae's "The Alied Occupation of Japan".

More directly related to this thread is Douglas R Howland's "Translating the West: Language and Political Reason in Nineteenth-Century Japan". The book deals with the dynamcs of translation: how the Japanese invented terminology for certain key western political concepts. I think a similar dynamic operated with the translation of western religious concepts, though perhaps the process took longer and was the adaptation of western concepts to sonething previously existing, rather than the creation of something entirely new. I am hoping that David V, deals with this question in his doctoral research. It is something I cannot pursue deeply at the monent for lack of time.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
02-14-2005, 08:44 PM
Hi, Peter,

As a background to Dower, you might like to read Shunsuke Tsurumi, Eiji Takemae, Douglas R Howland

They'll be on ILL tomorrow. Much obliged.

senshincenter
02-14-2005, 09:02 PM
Hi Peter,

Thanks for replying I know you are busy.

First, let me say, this is very good stuff in my opinion. I also think it ties in nicely with our other thread the one on Osensei and the phrase, I am the universe. Wouldnt you agree?

Here is what I got then:

The original post is being approached from two angles. One angle I would call the contemplative angle, and the other angle I would call the historical angle. Of course, there is overlap between the two. Both angles, are seeing the Love as discussed in the original post as somehow deficient in its assumed understanding (according to each angle). However, let us say that we may be reading a lot into the original post, and at this point, I think it is wise to disassociate the possible understanding of Love that we are contrasting within this discussion from the original posters understanding of Love. We may be reading the original poster correctly we may not. Either way, it is a good post. It raises many issues.

At this point, I do not feel that original posters understanding of Love is relevant (i.e. what it was or what it may be). Truth be told, regardless of what the original poster might have meant by Love, we do know for a fact that there is indeed a common view of Love in Aikido circles where that term is understood quite differently from how we are suggesting it might better be understood via our two angles. Generally, this common understanding of Love conflicts with the notion of Love as presented in these two angles by being thought of as all accepting, and/or innately present. As such, its means of cultivation and practice also differs. In particular, the common understanding of Love is thought to be available via analogy and metaphor (and other types of language games see the other thread on changing the word nage to the word release), and/or first efforts. Alternately, the other type of Love held in our two angles is considered to be the result of experience and insight that comes via the carrying forth of practices that can rightly be considered ascetic.

In the contemplative angle, the position that Aikido is Love does not warrant that critical thought should be exempt from our practice. In fact, the statement Aikido is Love actually warrants that we maintain a firm grasp on our capacity to reflect critically. This is because of the intimate relationship that must exist between Truth and Love. (That is the heart of this response) For my money, Thomas Merton is the best thinker on this kind of stuff because he is so accessible. I am borrowing his usage of the word contemplative here. However, I imagine that one can go to any religious personality, throughout history, and see the same thing since I cannot here think of any religious person that did not in some way issue a similar position. Even the Christs teaching on tolerance and The Buddhas Middle Way have great room and need for the intellect, critical thinking, and even rejection.

In the historical angle, Osenseis love is understood firmly as a kind of cultivation, perhaps even an achievement, or a realization, or awakening. Whatever the case, it is natural to Man, but he/she has no access to it without ascetic and/or ritual practices, etc. Moreover, its notion of being beyond conflict is not so much one of welcoming all points of view as equal. Rather it is because Love is thought to be omnipotent for lack of a better word. Love is beyond conflict because it is beyond contestation in other words. Being beyond contestation does not mean that one does not contest and thus is in possession of Love. Rather, it suggests, being in possession of Love, one is beyond being contested. (That is the heart of this response.) The cultivation of this Love takes place through Aikido training according to Osensei. In the radio interview he makes it clear the he sees the dojo as the place for his ascetic training (shugyo) it is that place through which he carries out his practices thought to be working toward the Divine Plan. Not by coincidence, we see a lot of critical thought and rejection in Osenseis Aikido. As you said Peter, not just any ol techniques will do.

On a side note: Yes, I would say there is a tie between Osenseis Love and Christian Love. I would suggest that Osenseis love is a derivative of Christian Love particular Christian mystic Love. Omoto-kyo had strong connections with the Christian mystic groups of Europe and the States during that part of the 20th century. All of these groups were into forming a world religious movement. The center of this movement was a universal philosophy and doctrine. At the center of that were two things: A universal deity and Love which was considered His nature. This is why one might get a closer understanding of Osenseis thinking if one reads St. John of the Cross (who was read by those Christian groups Omoto-kyo had contact with) as opposed to reading Kisshomaru (who did his best to retool and/or reformulate Aikido according to the secular-spiritual discourse that modern Japan was adopting for itself following WWII). If I remember correctly, but I may be wrong, Onisaburo considered himself a reincarnation of Jesus which was also a relatively common trend for New Religions and/or other types of millenarian groups that were being put out by the radical social changes that were happening at or around Meiji.

Again, thanks for the reply, very interesting,
david

senshincenter
02-14-2005, 09:08 PM
Dave Whiteland wrote:

"The rub, perhaps, is how relevant that is to the majority of aikido practitioners today; but that's more to do with how aikido through time, dilution, and evolution may have already wandered away from that"

"Ah, because we'd like to think (and I understood that Simon meant, at the start of the thread) that of all arts, aikido with its (unique or not-so-unique) (explicit or implicit) love would generate less sniping, less unconstructive criticism, less nastiness between fellow practitioners than seems to be the case. "Art of harmony" and all that. But alas, it's miserable human nature..."

Very nice points Dave. Thanks for replying.

dmv