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david evans
03-10-2005, 07:03 AM
I am not a samurai.

I live on the east coast of Australia, and am never far from the beach. I surf. I fish. I look at fauna. I earn decent money, and can afford three classes a week.

I do not practice aikido because it brings me closer to "God" (whatever).

Can't people just "do"?

Bridge
03-10-2005, 07:22 AM
What's this about?

Has someone been giving you grief?

George S. Ledyard
03-10-2005, 07:54 AM
I am not a samurai.

I live on the east coast of Australia, and am never far from the beach. I surf. I fish. I look at fauna. I earn decent money, and can afford three classes a week.

I do not practice aikido because it brings me closer to "God" (whatever).

Can't people just "do"?

You can DO what you wish. You can Not DO what wish not to. You want to go with the flow, train your three times a week with no particular pressure for it to be anything, that's cool. You're supporting the dojo and getting some exercise... hanging with some nice folks. Great!

I don't see what the problem is unless you are having issues with the fact that there are a lot of folks who are alot more serious about this than you are. I mean. you are surfing right? You can be a recreational surfer and be quite happy. But if you hang around a group of folks for whom surfing is somethig close to a religion, don't expect them to give you much validation. They are operating on another plane.

I play the guitar. I am pretty good but not professional grade. If I hung with a bunch of professionals I'd probably feel pretty inadequate all the time because I am simply not in their league. But I don't hang with the pros. I just play for myself and I'm happy.

Every activity you do can be done on multiple levels. There are people who have made an art out of activities which I consider almost worthless (video gaming). Heck, I can't even play Halo with my kids. I last about twenty seconds before I am wiped out. And there are adults out there who are SERIOUS about this stuff. I am a joke to them and I think they ought to get real lives...

Do your Aikido the way you wish to do your Aikido. You make a choice about what level of commitment you make. I can assure you that you will only get out of it what you put in. But that's fine. Just don't whine about the fact that there are other folks doing the art at a whole different level than you are, who consider their training to be central to their lives and who are aware of elements within the art which you will simply stay unaware of unless you choose to put more into it.

Do what makes you happy. Don't compare what you do with anyone else. Do Aikido, surf, etc. Just find something you can be passionate about, it improves your life immensely.

bkedelen
03-10-2005, 10:49 AM
That sounds just like a peacetime samurai to me.

mj
03-10-2005, 11:10 AM
. Heck, I can't even play Halo with my kids. I last about twenty seconds before I am wiped out. And there are adults out there who are SERIOUS about this stuff. I am a joke to them and I think they ought to get real lives....
My son keeps threatening, I mean challenging, me to games of Halo 2. I refuse of course. I'm not ready to be hamered by him yet...thought I'd try to squeeze another year or so of patriarchal invinvibility in.

David sounds like you're pretty much here you want to be. :)

Enjoy.

bryce_montgomery
03-10-2005, 11:14 AM
I am not a samurai.

I live on the east coast of Australia, and am never far from the beach. I surf. I fish. I look at fauna. I earn decent money, and can afford three classes a week.

I do not practice aikido because it brings me closer to "God" (whatever).

Can't people just "do"?


Neither am I...

Bryce

Mike Sigman
03-10-2005, 11:31 AM
I do not practice aikido because it brings me closer to "God" (whatever).

Can't people just "do"? Of course they can. That's why it's called Aiki "do". :p

Mike

aikido_dragon
03-10-2005, 12:02 PM
O Sensei himself says that just the physical act of "do"ing Aikido will lead you to Enlightenment.

MitchMZ
03-10-2005, 12:33 PM
My name is Mitch and I'm addicted to video games! But, Aikido, friends, and family come before video games. To me, games are no more than an interactive form of cinema or TV, and many people spend just as much time watching TV. The great thing about hobbies is, first and foremost, they bring people together!

thomas_dixon
03-10-2005, 01:27 PM
After watching something on FitTV about Aikido and hearing someone preach about how it relates (and was practiced by) to samurai, I would like to state that Aikido is not budo, and never was used by any samurai. ever. It was created about 64 years after the samurai were officially disbanded and outlawed. While it was created from Jujutsu which is a budo...it is not jujutsu and therefore isn't a budo.

senshincenter
03-10-2005, 01:47 PM
O Sensei himself says that just the physical act of "do"ing Aikido will lead you to Enlightenment.

I would be very interested in knowing where this quote comes from - thanks in advance.

david

senshincenter
03-10-2005, 01:59 PM
After watching something on FitTV about Aikido and hearing someone preach about how it relates (and was practiced by) to samurai, I would like to state that Aikido is not budo, and never was used by any samurai. ever. It was created about 64 years after the samurai were officially disbanded and outlawed. While it was created from Jujutsu which is a budo...it is not jujutsu and therefore isn't a budo.

I can see the interest one might have in distancing what Osensei did from what the Samurai did, like during the Sengoku period, but we don't have to re-write history and/or (re)manufacture cultural understandings in order to say, "Hey, we should not be warlike with our Aikido."

Thus, I would like to suggest that Aikido was not "created". Rather, it evolved, or is part of an on-going evolution of some trends in Japanese martial arts (now at an international level). When something is created, it makes it seems like it just came out of nothing or no place - and this is by far not the case when it comes to Aikido. When we use words like "creation," I also think we loosely imply that something is going to always be what it was at its birth. And, that too cannot be said about Aikido. If anything, your position, I would suggest, is part of one strain in the tradition that is attempting further mutation and/or evolution (depending upon how things work out a long time from now). Seeing Aikido as not Budo and/or as not related to Budo is definitely a mutation from what it was and still is for many practitioners. Time will tell which mutations wins out.

For now, if Aikido breaks from Budo, we will have to say that it hasn't happened yet in any kind of significant way - that that possibility exists, if it does exist, somewhere well down the road.

tony cameron
03-10-2005, 02:18 PM
hello i'm tony and i am a recovering video game addict...
(appologies for digressing the orig thread:)
ok, i Had to chime in on this one. i wonder how many hours/years of my life have been whiled away in front of various tv screens connected to the hottest video game consol du jour! the funny thing is that i dont have any regrets about it. while other kids were experimenting with drugs etc. i was immersed in my 16 bit fantasy world or playing dungeons & dragons (uh, yes i'm a nerd:) now i take the middle path asit were, moderation in all things i suppose. i am proud to state that i havent touched my x-box in 3 months (except for its function as a dvd player to watch Buddhist Fist over and over), but jade empire is going to be released soon and it will take some hurculean feat of will power not to rush right out and purchase a copy from my video game dealer!
now back to the thread...

Aikido, Qigong, and meditating are very spiritual activities for me and i sincerely believe that O Sensei is an enlightened Saint.

video gaming, sleeping, and eating i just "do."
oh hey, i forgot to add beer-jitsu to the spiritual list:)

best wishes to all,
tony

pezalinski
03-10-2005, 02:49 PM
While it was created from Jujutsu which is a budo...it is not jujutsu and therefore isn't a budo.

I would compare the above fallacy to the following:

"While ice was created from water which is wet, ice is not water, and therefore is not wet."

;)

raul rodrigo
03-10-2005, 05:34 PM
After watching something on FitTV about Aikido and hearing someone preach about how it relates (and was practiced by) to samurai, I would like to state that Aikido is not budo, and never was used by any samurai. ever. It was created about 64 years after the samurai were officially disbanded and outlawed. While it was created from Jujutsu which is a budo...it is not jujutsu and therefore isn't a budo.


I'd like to see you convince TK Chiba Shihan that aikido is not a budo. He and many other shihan say it is.

Greg Jennings
03-10-2005, 06:50 PM
After watching something on FitTV about Aikido and hearing someone preach about how it relates (and was practiced by) to samurai, I would like to state that Aikido is not budo, and never was used by any samurai. ever. It was created about 64 years after the samurai were officially disbanded and outlawed. While it was created from Jujutsu which is a budo...it is not jujutsu and therefore isn't a budo.
Above statement is like saying that a peach is not a fruit because it is not a pear.

Sincerely,

thomas_dixon
03-10-2005, 07:12 PM
I can see the interest one might have in distancing what Osensei did from what the Samurai did, like during the Sengoku period, but we don't have to re-write history and/or (re)manufacture cultural understandings in order to say, "Hey, we should not be warlike with our Aikido."

Thus, I would like to suggest that Aikido was not "created". Rather, it evolved, or is part of an on-going evolution of some trends in Japanese martial arts (now at an international level). When something is created, it makes it seems like it just came out of nothing or no place - and this is by far not the case when it comes to Aikido. When we use words like "creation," I also think we loosely imply that something is going to always be what it was at its birth. And, that too cannot be said about Aikido. If anything, your position, I would suggest, is part of one strain in the tradition that is attempting further mutation and/or evolution (depending upon how things work out a long time from now). Seeing Aikido as not Budo and/or as not related to Budo is definitely a mutation from what it was and still is for many practitioners. Time will tell which mutations wins out.

For now, if Aikido breaks from Budo, we will have to say that it hasn't happened yet in any kind of significant way - that that possibility exists, if it does exist, somewhere well down the road.

I'd like to see you convince TK Chiba Shihan that aikido is not a budo. He and many other shihan say it is.

Logic: Budo's definition is as such:

A code of manner and behavior for the samurai's life including the arts of combat with ethical and philosophical implications

Therefore if Aikido did not exist when the Samurai did, and and isn't meant for use on a battlefield to kill an enemy, it cannot be that definition of Budo.

I would compare the above fallacy to the following:

"While ice was created from water which is wet, ice is not water, and therefore is not wet."

;)

My reply to this fallacy:

"You are not your grandfather, for you did not exist when your grandfather did, and are different in appearance, as well as behavior. You also cannot be your grandfather, because while your grandfather is part of you, so is your grandmother, your mother and your father."


Of course that doesn't mean that Aikido didn't evolve from Budo...nor that it doesn't carry on the traditions of Budo...It just means, that Aikido wasn't used by samurai.

Chris Li
03-10-2005, 07:21 PM
Therefore if Aikido did not exist when the Samurai did, and and isn't meant for use on a battlefield to kill an enemy, it cannot be that definition of Budo.

You're thinking of bushido. Budo is a general Japanese term used to refer to martial arts, not "A code of manner and behavior for the samurai's life including the arts of combat with ethical and philosophical implications", and is commonly used by Japanese speakers to refer to things like Aikido and Judo (both of which came about after the samurai were disbanded). Further, I can direct you to quotes in Japanese by both Morihei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba stating flatly that Aikido is budo.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
03-10-2005, 07:28 PM
And of course Aikido is a form of jujutsu.

syraikidoka
03-10-2005, 07:36 PM
I am a ninja
http://www.realultimatepower.net/

This thread has just gone from serious to humor

raul rodrigo
03-10-2005, 07:44 PM
You're thinking of bushido. Budo is a general Japanese term used to refer to martial arts, not "A code of manner and behavior for the samurai's life including the arts of combat with ethical and philosophical implications", and is commonly used by Japanese speakers to refer to things like Aikido and Judo (both of which came about after the samurai were disbanded). Further, I can direct you to quotes in Japanese by both Morihei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba stating flatly that Aikido is budo.

Best,

Chris

Chris is right. Thomas is mixing up budo and bushido.

thomas_dixon
03-10-2005, 07:48 PM
Chris is right. Thomas is mixing up budo and bushido.

No I'm not. I'm on the Budo/Bujutsu page...Bushido is the code of honor by which the samurai lived, fought and died.

thomas_dixon
03-10-2005, 07:51 PM
I'll settle for calling Aikido.. Gendai Budo...Deal?

Chuck.Gordon
03-10-2005, 07:52 PM
Logic: Budo's definition is as such:


Who defined budo that way? They're wrong. And you can tell 'em I said so.

A good number of very senior aikido folks, very senior folks from other budo, and, IIRC, Usehiba Morihei himself (as well as his descendants) identify aikido as budo.

Aikido is a budo. Maybe your aikido isn't. Oh, and by the way, aikido is also a type of jujutsu. No, really. 'Tis.

Budo...nor that it doesn't carry on the traditions of Budo...It just means, that Aikido wasn't used by samurai.

Neither were most budo. Especially the gendai budo, of which, aikido is one.

Your definitions seem to be skewed ... or maybe you're just trying to overlay a personal perspective on something that's aleady well-established, defined and understood by the budo community at large.

Chuck
Not a samurai, and doesn't play one on TV either.

senshincenter
03-10-2005, 07:56 PM
Where did you get that definition of Budo? I don't care if Tokugawa Ieyasu wrote it himself, it is flat out wrong because it pretends that Budo stopped evolving past the samurai as an economic/social class - when in fact it did. In fact, Budo's evolution was greatly influenced by the diminishing cultural impact of the warrior-class proper. So, please, share the source of your definition.

thanks,
dmv

Chuck.Gordon
03-10-2005, 08:00 PM
No I'm not. I'm on the Budo/Bujutsu page...Bushido is the code of honor by which the samurai lived, fought and died.

The WHAT page? URL?

There was no "Bushido" ... there were various codes through the ages, from place to place and from clan to clan. Nothing monolithic.

Bushido, as it is (sort of) understood today was really pretty much a creation of latter-day samurai (who hated losing their status during Meiji) and wannabe samurai (who haven;t much of a clue what it was like to BE samurai).

Don't even quote Hagakure or Nitobe's 'Bushido' to me either. Both are flawed in many ways and neither describe anything resembling what the warrior class was like for most of Japanese history.

If you want to separate your aikido from the nasty samurai, go ahead, but do so in the knowledge that you are making some very weird decisions based on less that flawless info.

Ueshiba, in fact, spent most of his life trying to BE samurai (even had photos taken of himself with two swords and wearing mon) ... when, in fact, he came from a non-samurai family and spent most of his budo career post-Meiji, meaning the samurai had gone away anyway.

Please, before you dismiss budo so off-handedly, do your research, and that's likely not going to be coming from a cursory glance at a website that may or may not be written by anyone who really has a clue.

Aikido is budo, aikido is jujutsu. Bushido is, largely, a fantasy.

Chuck

Greg Jennings
03-10-2005, 08:03 PM
Thomas,

I really wouldn't be using something I Googled up on the web to lecture to people that have been *lived* Budo, Aikido and other forms, for longer than you've been alive.

Sincerely,

NagaBaba
03-10-2005, 08:23 PM
This thread woke me up, I was so tired. Thanks for good humor.
Me I'm half samurai I have only one sword. My wife is full samurai, she is from noble family, has a mon, has two swords ....I hope one day we can play samurai family in tv.

ps. editing to add: yes, aikido is a budo :)

Sue Hammerich
03-10-2005, 09:20 PM
I am a ninja
I am the walrus...koo koo ko chew...
Actually, to David, the originator- RIGHT ON for being able to surf several times a week :) Awesome; I am envious.
And man, there have been some GREAT quotes here...I especially liked the water/ice one. Keep up the great correspondence, everyone and have a great weekend!

dan guthrie
03-10-2005, 10:18 PM
I am not a samurai.

I live on the east coast of Australia, and am never far from the beach. I surf. I fish. I look at fauna. I earn decent money, and can afford three classes a week.

I do not practice aikido because it brings me closer to "God" (whatever).

Can't people just "do"?

Try looking at this a different way.
You are a samurai.
You are a role model.

Now, what kind are you going to be? This is the only choice you have.

p00kiethebear
03-10-2005, 11:43 PM
Samurai literally means "one who serves" doesn't it?

Feel free to flame me if im terribly off the mark here but this is how i see it.

One who serves, as in one who gives service to others. Our teachers give service to us. Our policemen do (or should.) As children our parents do us service.

I'm not going to go so far as to say these people are samurai but... Well i don't know where i was going with this i'm waaaaay to tired... Anyone want to finish up for me?

Rupert Atkinson
03-10-2005, 11:46 PM
I'm not a Samurai either. And never thought I was. Does anyone actually think they are?

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-10-2005, 11:52 PM
And of course Aikido is a form of jujutsu.

It is?

Nick Simpson
03-11-2005, 06:11 AM
I never understood the fascination with samurai and aikidoka. Pirates are where its at! ARRRR!

James Finley
03-11-2005, 07:00 AM
Me thinks I'd rather be a surfer than a Samurai! James (who learned to surf in Australia and has seriously considered immigrating there more than once--especially after the last election).

dan guthrie
03-11-2005, 08:04 AM
I never understood the fascination with samurai and aikidoka. Pirates are where its at! ARRRR!



:D :D :D

ryujin
03-11-2005, 10:39 AM
I would like to state that Aikido is not budo...

I seem to recall that O'sensei called the art aikibudo before switching to aikido in the early 1940s.

Kevin Leavitt
03-11-2005, 12:34 PM
I don't really care if it is budo or not. What I do daily seems to work and kick the crap out of most everyone I train with and I call it aikido. Not that I go around kicking the crap out of my training partners, but they are 18 to 20 year old infantry soldiers who are full of it. Who I would classify as modern budoka.

If it works use it. Meets my criteria, but don't really care if you think it is or isn't.

David Humm
03-11-2005, 12:55 PM
I'm not a speaker of Japanese however, I've had the word BUDO explained to me by a Japanese national (from my recolection of that longer converstion) BU is made up of an ideogram representing two crossed yari and, the context of this relates to the resolution of conflict (anyone expand on this please) Thus I have always understood the meaning of BUDO to mean the way of conflict resolution through martial ways. (no direct references to bushido or bushi, or class driven specific arts)

I may be wrong but I also understood our art was once called "Aikibudo" (how long or when I don't know)

Dave

Chris Li
03-11-2005, 01:01 PM
I'm not a speaker of Japanese however, I've had the word BUDO explained to me by a Japanese national (from my recolection of that longer converstion) BU is made up of an ideogram representing two crossed yari and, the context of this relates to the resolution of conflict (anyone expand on this please) Thus I have always understood the meaning of BUDO to mean the way of conflict resolution through martial ways. (no direct references to bushido or bushi, or class driven specific arts)

Peter Goldsbury made a good analysis of the kanji for budo at:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/goldsbury1.html

Best,

Chris

raul rodrigo
03-11-2005, 01:38 PM
Thomas should either do a lot more reading or a lot more convincing. If even the founder of the art called it a budo (aikibudo), he's going to need a hell of a lot more ammunition to convince the rest of us otherwise.

Don_Modesto
03-11-2005, 02:01 PM
My wife is full samurai, she is from noble family, has a mon, has two swords....:)

Is she from Jamaica? Everyone in Jamaica seems to have a "mon", mon!

:) back acha!

NagaBaba
03-11-2005, 08:57 PM
Is she from Jamaica? Everyone in Jamaica seems to have a "mon", mon!

:) back acha!
Non, she isn't from Jamaica, but wait, wasn't Donnovan born in Jamaica?

p00kiethebear
03-11-2005, 09:38 PM
Donovan Waite sensei is from England.

George S. Ledyard
03-12-2005, 01:21 AM
I'm not a speaker of Japanese however, I've had the word BUDO explained to me by a Japanese national (from my recolection of that longer converstion) BU is made up of an ideogram representing two crossed yari and, the context of this relates to the resolution of conflict (anyone expand on this please) Thus I have always understood the meaning of BUDO to mean the way of conflict resolution through martial ways. (no direct references to bushido or bushi, or class driven specific arts)

I may be wrong but I also understood our art was once called "Aikibudo" (how long or when I don't know)

Dave
It was Aikibudo from the early thirties (when O-sensei stopped giving out Daito Ryu Certificates) until around 1942 or so when the term Aikido was given to the art. Aikido and the other martial arts are definitely considered to be modern Budo by both the Japanese and most senior foreign practitioners. Every teacher I have trained with considers it to be Budo although O-Sensei had some ideas about redefining what he meant by Budo.

Avery Jenkins
03-12-2005, 11:20 AM
It seems like we are getting some regurged, and somewhat confused, Donn Draeger from Mr. Dixon.


Avery Jenkins(sitting on the sidelines with a grumpy acromioclavicular joint separation)

senshincenter
03-12-2005, 11:29 AM
I also think we should realize that for most folks, history, especially Aikido history, is marked by some sort of eruption of genius and/or innate agency. The identiy of Aikido is so intimately tied for the layman-historian with the myth of the Founder and the cult of genius that for many of us it is almost impossible to practice the art today without having an ever growing and ever false sense of distinction. I am reminded of that one paper by Shibata that suggested folks should opt to use the word "release" over the word "nage." That paper, at its structural level, was filled with the same assumptions that are being upheld here in the "distinction" between "Budo" and "Aikido".

tedehara
03-12-2005, 11:37 AM
It is?"Is It Not? AARRR!!" from The Pirates of Kyushu by Gilbert and Sullivan

Don_Modesto
03-12-2005, 01:46 PM
It is?

IIRC, both Threadgill and Friday have weighed in on this (not that sure about Threadgill), should you want to do the searches.

Hope this helps.

PeterR
03-12-2005, 05:26 PM
IIRC, both Threadgill and Friday have weighed in on this (not that sure about Threadgill), should you want to do the searches.

Not to mention others of far greater distinction.

NagaBaba
03-12-2005, 08:11 PM
IIRC, both Threadgill and Friday have weighed in on this (not that sure about Threadgill), should you want to do the searches.

Hope this helps.
They don't practice aikido.

L. Camejo
03-12-2005, 08:22 PM
I didn't know one needed to practice Aikido to understand Budo history. Silly me.:p
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR
03-14-2005, 06:23 PM
No Larry Szczepan is completely correct on this one. These two gentleman were brought in regarding whether or not Aikido is a form of jujutsu and their knowledge of Aikido is limited by experience.

I've called Toby on what used to be a very narrow and selective view what was jujutsu and aikijujutsu or more to the point why Aikido was not either of these while his art was. He appears to have modified his view somewhat but even so his views are often quite typical of the Koryu Gendai divide - false though that is IMHO.

Just by historical and technical antecedent alone.

Daito-ryu jujutsu became quite recently Daito-ryu aikijujutsu and then even more recently as Ueshiba M. distanced himself from his teacher the various forms leading up to the name Aikido.

Tomiki K. considered both Judo and Aikido derived from and hence forms of Jujutsu. Shishida Shihan, Professor of Budo History at Waseda Daigaku, is of a similar view but then he was Tomiki K.'s student. Toby and Karl have a certain amount of experience (quite a bit actually) but frankly their major draw is that they write in English.

L. Camejo
03-14-2005, 07:17 PM
Makes sense Peter.

I am aware of only some of Toby's writings and have heard about Friday being mentioned a few times, so I know even less of is writings. I know Toby had some "interesting" concepts on what is and is not Aikijujutsu etc. Of course I agree with Tomiki (and hence Shishida's) take on the concept of Aikido's link to Jujutsu as well. Just makes logical sense to me.

Though I still don't see why one needed to practice Aikido in particular in order to understand Budo history.;)
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR
03-14-2005, 07:36 PM
Though I still don't see why one needed to practice Aikido in particular in order to understand Budo history.
Well my point and also I am sure that of the Evil Dr. S. is that understanding of Aikido and its place in Budo is better understood by people who have some experience of Aikido.

Conversely I also believe that an understanding of Aikido's place in Budo is best served by those with at least some experience outside of Aikido.

I have heard as many ripe statements from cloistered Aikidoists as to what Budo is and isn't as I have from people who have observed one or two classes at the local Y and go on to make really off the wall generalizations as to what Aikido can and can not accomplish.

L. Camejo
03-14-2005, 07:44 PM
Well my point and also I am sure that of the Evil Dr. S. is that understanding of Aikido and its place in Budo is better understood by people who have some experience of Aikido.

Well yes and no. It depends on the Aikido and reason for training imho. Not all pursue it as Budo as we know.;)

I have heard as many ripe statements from cloistered Aikidoists as to what Budo is and isn't as I have from people who have observed one or two classes at the local Y and go on to make really off the wall generalizations as to what Aikido can and can not accomplish.

Absolutely true.

LC:ai::ki:

Peter Goldsbury
03-14-2005, 07:53 PM
Though I still don't see why one needed to practice Aikido in particular in order to understand Budo history.;)
LC:ai::ki:

Well, I suppose it depends partly on the level of detail assumed and partly on the explanatory power of the framework one uses.

Were I to attempt a history of katori-shinto ryu, for example, on the model of Karl Friday's "Deity and the Sword", I think it would suffer because I do not practise the art, especialy if a central focus was the detailed discussion of the evolution of techniques. On the other hand, the fact that I do not practise the art would allow more freedom from bias, especially if the history had to deal with the fragmentation of the art from a central source.

Similarly, in a history of aikido, a detailed discussion of how individual disciples adapted, discarded or otherwise modified the techniques they learned directly from the Founder, would probably require some hands-on experience, both for the the writer and reader.

Best regards,

PeterR
03-14-2005, 08:06 PM
On the other hand, the fact that I do not practice the art would allow more freedom from bias, especially if the history had to deal with the fragmentation of the art from a central source.
But not necessarily free from bias.

Using Toby as an example (whose writing has evolved positively in my opinion) there were quite a few assumptions of Aikido when compared to his own art in his earlier writing. The bias I felt has as much to do with misunderstanding as pride in his own art. He has become much more even handed and analytical lately. This probably has to do with his exposure to some of the Aikido people in Colorado including Seiji Tanaka (ex-team captain at Waseada Daigaku under Tomiki K.).

You missed a great party Peter. Jun wimped out a little early and headed back to Helen's hospitality. I paid the price for continuing the next day.

senshincenter
03-14-2005, 08:39 PM
If I may, I think two kinds of bias are most relevant here. First, there is the bias by which several martial traditions carved out a new niche for themselves following Meiji. By this bias they attempted to make a distinction, one grounded in notions of superior/later and inferior/earlier, between them as "do" oriented and the other as "jutsu" oriented - respectively. Some early key figures in Aikido history were proponents of this view – Kisshomaru comes to mind when he tried to say that Aikido’s waza, unlike the waza from the arts that preceded it, used “locks” that functioned within the natural range of motion of an attacker’s joints, etc.

As the decades have rolled by, and we are now in a new century, the second bias has come to us as a reversal of the first - it is almost like what Yoshida did with Honji-suijaku! Today, folks that employ this second bias still make use of a superior/inferior dichotomy but now they have reversed things so that “superior” is connected to what came earlier and “inferior” is connected to what came later.

Folks inside and outside of Aikido make use of either bias – both biases are open to both “types” of practitioners. This is because both biases are about political economy and not about historical accuracy. In other words, they more about truth games, or battles over the right to determine “truth.” For many in the Aikido community, it is important that some kind of rift occurred between what Osensei did and what came before him. Hence, we often see one make use of the first bias – and everything thereafter is forced to fit with this position. For others in Aikido it is important that Osensei represent some sort of connection to what came before him – hence we see the reverse position often spouted then – at the cost of noting Aikido’s uniqueness.

Historically, we would have to realize that there is not jujutsu and then there is Aikido. There is not Jujutsu, there are only jujutsu in the plural sense. In that way, it is philosophically impossible to use history to determine what is accurate and not accurate, without making use of either bias, when one is out to draw such clear lines of demarcation between two things/traditions. Historically, there are many jujutsu, and at one point all of them were in a constant state of evolution. Evolution, or rather constant advancement and/or adaptation, does not mark genesis – it marks continuity. If one can leave the biases aside for a moment, and merely see jujitsu as “empty-handed techniques related to the warrior class of historical Japan,” Aikido has to be understood as a type of jujutsu – no matter how much we want to say it is an evolution of the latter. When we drop the first bias, we can even say the same thing about Judo – which may be even more offensive to some, since Judo is one tradition that really made use of the first bias to gain its cultural foothold in time of radical transition.

NagaBaba
03-14-2005, 10:05 PM
Though I still don't see why one needed to practice Aikido in particular in order to understand Budo history.;)
LC:ai::ki:
I did practice with K.Friday at one of Koryu seminar. I made my opinion, but I'll never allow myself to comment on his art without minimum let's say 20 years of intensive practice.

I still firmly believe that to write/comment about aikido with deep sense one must practice seriously aikido minimum 20 years.

Mads Gabrielsen
03-15-2005, 08:19 AM
Were I to attempt a history of katori-shinto ryu, for example, on the model of Karl Friday's "Deity and the Sword", I think it would suffer because I do not practice the art, especially if a central focus was the detailed discussion of the evolution of techniques.


Sorry to nitpick, but your attempt would suffer severely, as Karl Friday practices Kashima Shin Ryu, not Katori Shinto Ryu, and wrote "Legacies of the sword" not "Deity.." which was written by Otake (Soke of TSKSR) ;) .

I apologize for my anal retentiveness and go back to my usual lurking :p .

Cheers,

Mads