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Mary Eastland
04-27-2005, 07:33 AM
Certainly I believe in basic elements and I don't think a name should be used for an art if the art you practice has different elements.
Let the above quote be the starting point for the following:

What are the basic elements of Aikido?
Are the basic elements of Aikido immutable?
Were the basic elements of Aikido ever codified by O-Sensei or anyone else?
What criteria can be applied to evaluate whether or not your Aikido includes the basic elements?
Feel free to insert your own point(s).

SeiserL
04-27-2005, 08:35 AM
IMHO, and not to be disrespectful, "Aikido" is name brand recognition, and is only "Aikido" if it can be traced back to the founder and organization that holds the copyright (though I am unsure if the name was ever legally copyrighted by U.S. standards), O'Sensei and the Ueshiba family.

IMHO Aikido shares techniques and elements with many different arts. Specific elements would be the emphasis on blending and taking balance.

jester
04-27-2005, 11:26 AM
What are the basic elements of Aikido?
Are the basic elements of Aikido immutable?
Were the basic elements of Aikido ever codified by O-Sensei or anyone else?
What criteria can be applied to evaluate whether or not your Aikido includes the basic elements?
Feel free to insert your own point(s).
[/list]

It should be:

What are the basic elements of your organization?

How and why has Aikido changed in the last 80 years?

How did the basic elements of Aikido taught by O-Sensei change over the years he taught?

Anat Amitay
05-10-2005, 01:18 AM
I liked something that was put up as one of O sensei's sayings:
In these teachings
Listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art

I don't know how relevent it is, but really wanted to write it down
Anat

Dazzler
05-10-2005, 04:50 AM
Let the above quote be the starting point for the following:

What are the basic elements of Aikido?
Are the basic elements of Aikido immutable?
Were the basic elements of Aikido ever codified by O-Sensei or anyone else?
What criteria can be applied to evaluate whether or not your Aikido includes the basic elements?
Feel free to insert your own point(s).


can....worms....open!

We are taught that the basic elements of aikido are

Ai ..the man
Ki ...energy
do....Dao...the principles of yin/yang

Are these principles immutable? yes. aikido is a definition of a process...lets say the man utilises the principles of the Dao to achieve ki.

Was this codified....Hmmm...My sources for this are Tamura Sensei and Pierre Chassang. Pierre has certainly codified it and Tamura mentions much if not all within his books.

Whether O'Sensei said it or not was much discussed previously with Mike Sigman.

For myself I am happy to take the word of the above...for everyone else you are free to accept this or not.

Further to this we are taught that by bringing the negative and positive energies together we can achieve 10,000 forms..so to me this is infinite. All of which can be considered Aikido.

To further clarify whether this is good or bad aikido we apply 9 bases to the form...I've posted this before so to avoid being boring I'll just say kamae , maai , shisei, kokyuho etc.

In our gradings we try and assess the quality by using these bases.

It is very difficult...one mans meat being anothers poison...

To summarise...we work on the basis that the word aikido describes the art...therefore aikido cannot change since it would not meet its description.

However the methods of practice, excercises, development , teaching and so forth are constantly changing and developing as each generation of instructors adds to the knowledge of their predecessors.

Hopefully

FWIW

D

ian
05-10-2005, 09:04 AM
Basic elements of (unarmed) aikido:
1. Sword cutting and controlling the centre line (good posture and centre etc)
2. Taking balance from the start (or using uke's displaced centre) and continuing it into the technique as a single movement.
3. not fighting force with force
4. using force only where uke is completely unable to resist
5. adapting to the situation as it is NOW (and not your expectations of the situation)
6. Understanding that your attacker is no less human than you are

Chuck Clark
05-10-2005, 09:18 AM
Ian,

I like your elements. I would add at the end: 7. "Do as little harm as possible."

siwilson
05-14-2005, 06:19 PM
Ian,

I like your elements. I would add at the end: 7. "Do as little harm as possible."

In the dojo that should be "Do no harm!"

Outside of the dojo there can be times when it should read as:

7. "Do as much harm as possible."

ChrisHein
05-15-2005, 01:30 PM
I think Aiki, is what makes Aikido different then other martial arts. My small definition of Aiki is the ability to move within someone (or some thing) else's rhythm. Other then that Aikido is just some Japanese Jujutsu, and some foreigners (non Japanese) wearing dress's.

-Chris Hein

Mike Sigman
05-15-2005, 02:55 PM
Were the basic elements of Aikido ever codified by O-Sensei or anyone else?


Sure he "codified" them... he just used traditional metaphors (mostly borrowed from the Chinese and Shinto, it appears) to obscure (in the tradtional manner of Asian martial obscuring) what he wanted to keep hidden yet to show that he knew it:

"open your feet to the **six directions, N, S, E, W, Up and Down**"

"Aiki-- the power which harmonizes all things: Never stop polishing [that jewel], You who tread this Path."

"The **Divine Will** (try "mind intent") permeating body and soul is the blade of Aiki: Polish it, make it shine throughout this world of ours!"

"Aiki-- [its mysteries] can never be encompassed by the brush or by the mouth. Do not rely on words to grasp it; attain enlightenment through practice!"

"Takemusu is the harmonization of Creation's **fire and water**; that interaction is the Divine Techniques of GI and MI.

"A great blessing for us: IZU and MIZU (read "yin and yang") forming the Cross [and Path] of Aiki. Press on firmly, guided by MIZU's Exalted Voice!"

"Link yourself to **heaven and earth**; stand in the very cventer with your heart receptive to the resounding mountain echo."

"Sun, earth, and moon harmonized perfectily; on the bridge above the vast sea the mountain echo Path [leads me]."

"Keep **heaven, earth, god, and humankind in perfect harmony**, blended and bound together for all eternity".

"Vibrant **Life** (wrong translation, idiomatically) circulates and vivifies all creation: The jewel-spirit of Aiki, **Heaven's Floating Bridge**."

"Brave and intrepid, the cross and path of harmonyh is an instrument of the gods. Utilize the **Eight Great Powers** to sustain the Divine Plan."

"Kototama (try "vibrations of ki")-- seething throughout the cosmos: In the plains of Heaven, in the dceep sea, one vast mountain echo."

"Entrust yourself to the sacred **life force of heaven and earth**; draw your heart close to the gods, O brave warriors".

"Progress comes to those who train in the **inner and outer factors**. Do not chase after "secret techniques", for everything is right before your eyes".

It is before your eyes, but it is still deliberately hidden; you cannot make up your own definitions of what he was talking about (as many of the New Age seem to have done) because he is talking about very specific things in his deliberately flowery and obscure way.

Acknowledgements to John Stevens for the translations; he might have altered his translations if he had understood the tradition from which many of the references came.

FWIW

JasonFDeLucia
05-15-2005, 07:44 PM
aikido 'the matching of the next reflex to its subsequent move'

Stefan Stenudd
05-17-2005, 04:11 PM
Interesting thread. Isn't it always the basics that are the most elusive?
As a foundation for aikido, I would agree that aiki is pretty much it. The way to join ki with the partner. Or another reading: the way through ki to reach unity.

For the aikido practicioner, though, I believe that the center, tanden, must be the very root. My first Japanese teacher, Ichimura sensei, stressed it all the time: Be in your center, do it from your center, return to your center...
I say the same to my students, so much that I fear they hear it in their sleep.

In any budo, one needs foremost to awaken one's center, and then to let it be the origin of all. Techniques are born from the center. The beginners need to copy such expressions of the center, to awaken it in themselves.
Then takemusu.

Don_Modesto
05-17-2005, 11:19 PM
....John Stevens....he might have altered his translations if he had understood the tradition from which many of the references came.

Wow, quite a comment about a man teaching Japanese Buddhism in a Jpn university.

Say more.

Thanks.

George S. Ledyard
05-18-2005, 06:46 AM
Acknowledgements to John Stevens for the translations; he might have altered his translations if he had understood the tradition from which many of the references came.

I don't know what you are looking for in the way of qualifications but having a Phd in Buddhist studies, living in Japan for decades, being the first foriegner to be a full professor in a Japanese university, and training for many years under one of the giants of early Aikido (Shirata Sensei) ought to give him an edge in this respect, certainly compared to most of us...

George S. Ledyard
05-18-2005, 06:52 AM
aikido 'the matching of the next reflex to its subsequent move'
Jason,
I looked at this and initially I went, yes... but the more I looked at it the less I was sure what you meant. Could you elaborate?
- George

Mike Sigman
05-18-2005, 01:04 PM
I don't know what you are looking for in the way of qualifications but having a Phd in Buddhist studies, living in Japan for decades, being the first foriegner to be a full professor in a Japanese university, and training for many years under one of the giants of early Aikido (Shirata Sensei) ought to give him an edge in this respect, certainly compared to most of us... It may be helpful to think of it like this: A number of native Japanese live in Japan for decades, know Buddhism and its history quite well in a context that a westerner will never "know" because he hasn't lived it or had it as part of his daily life, some even teach at university level and have done Aikido under respected masters for life.... but they don't know or understand the qi skills and traditions unless they have been introduced to them deliberately by someone who really knows them. It's not a disparagement of Stevens that I was making, it was simply an educated and fairly obvious observation based on his annotations of Ueshiba's doka.

To give Stevens his due, he did note that the doka have meaning on several levels. But despite his other credentials, it is almost completely doubtful that Stevens was also well-versed in the Chinese classical sayings about the training of qi, jin, etc., from which O-Sensei borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc. Would you agree that is probable?

It's particularly probable since it takes many years and correct teachers who are willing to share *a small number of things with westerners* before Stevens would have had access to and understood what those references mean. My point being that the credentials you're mentioning have little to do with Stevens' ability to decipher comments about "heaven and earth" in relation to ki, the importance of the "six directions", how the "mind intent" (aka "Divine Will") substantively controls the power such that it is the main power of Aikido, and so on.

In other words, if Stevens had understood these things he would have made the translations and annotations quite a bit different. As I mentioned once before, the literal words of many translations belie the actual idiomatic meaning within the closed martial arts societies...if you don't already know those things you don't know what they refer to; if you already know them, you recognize them (they're always so general that you could never learn how to do anything from them, though).

Traditionally only a very few close disciples are normally shown these things whose descriptions are always couched in flowery and obscure terms. Many people seem to take Ueshiba's doka's as the sort of "incoherent ramblings" discussed by some of the uchideshi during some earlier interviews; the terms and phrases meaning little or nothing is the implication. In actuality, Ueshiba is using so many exact wordings from classical descriptions of qi and jin training that it's impossible to ascribe his selected use of those terms as accidental or coincidental. Additionally, when you read the Abe-Sensei-related Misogi translation via John Warner, it's equally obvious that the Japanese had access to some of the Chinese martial qigongs with Buddhist roots. Being an expert on Buddhism does not make someone an expert on Buddhist martial qigongs... those are not part of the common Buddhist fare, even in India and China.

I'd like to meet Stevens. If he ever comes to the U.S. I'd appreciate it if someone would let me know (I'm also in Europe occasionally, so I'd be interested there, as well). This sort of knowledge is not academic, BTW.... an experienced person would know if Stevens knew how to do these things the moment they shook his hand. As odd as that sounds (at one time I didn't believe it either), it's true. ;)

There's an interesting part of these discussions about "ki", etc., that I've noticed over the years and I'd like to point it out. I'm an amateur in respect to real martial arts as the expert Asians viewed them for many generations. I've done martial arts for more than 4 decades and I have "rank" in assorted arts, but I'm an amateur who really has an interest mainly in how these ki-related things work. The problem with most westerners is that they've never really experienced the *massive* power that some of these people (there's many levels) can generate, so the whole discussion of "ki" and related topics is, to them, a fairy tale or has something to do with "parlor tricks" that are a negligible aside to any particular martial art. So what happens in discussions like this is that we tend to be talking about different things, based on our perceptions *and* on what we can physically do and demonstrate.

In my world, which is not a high-level world but more of a journeyman world, I realize that ki and kokyu expertise usually floats among a select few in many/most martial arts. By bringing attention to the topics (remember, this mind-directed ability is what Ueshiba termed "the blade of Aiki"), I'm firstly trying to stick to a thread of logic that I can look back upon in 10 years and not be embarrassed by "what I didn't know then"; secondly, I'm offering a suggested direction to those few who, like me, are not satisfied with the amount of information available on ki-related matters.

At the same time, I'm well aware that not having access to this sort of information is not at all unusual (nor is it anything to be embarrassed about, IMO), but given the fact that it is mentioned in so many Aikido (and other arts, too) writings and given that it's also demonstrated at various levels, it's curious to me that so many "ranked" people who think of themselves as knowledgeable in Aikido and other arts are not any more focused on this "blade of Aiki". In fact, it seems to me very often that most martial arts (I don't mean to single out Aikido in all these discussions, BTW... this happens everywhere) in which the ki things are involved, there is a mindset of "playing to the peanut gallery" rather than playing to the experts. For instance, I could easily "teach" what I know and display my rankings, but on a practical level I know that I'm an amateur... and I wouldn't impress a real expert in these topics or the involved martial arts. If I wanted to impress someone, I'd want to impress the experts, not my fellow students and neophytes as I see so many trying to do. That's the interesting part of some of these discussions I've noted... and I'm not trying to be offensive or belittling in mentioning it, but I wish all the pecking-order, status seeking, peer-forced viewpoints, etc., weren't such big driving forces in the martial arts. :)

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
05-18-2005, 01:40 PM
Given your more recent post, "Acknowledgements to John Stevens for the translations; they sound very similar to many of the expressions I have heard about jin and chi from the Chinese tradition." -- would seem to put forth the desired intent quite nicely. When I read:Acknowledgements to John Stevens for the translations; he might have altered his translations if he had understood the tradition from which many of the references came.I got a different message entirely.

I'm not looking to impress anyone, expert or otherwise. I'm also not interested in a pecking order in a forum. Back to the topic at hand, I would say that a basic element of aikido is that when you walk into a room you do not intimidate anyone and no one intimidates you...

Rob

Ron Tisdale
05-18-2005, 03:41 PM
But despite his other credentials, it is almost completely doubtful that Stevens was also well-versed in the Chinese classical sayings about the training of qi, jin, etc., from which O-Sensei borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc. Would you agree that is probable?

Hi Mike, welcome back. This comment is somewhat interesting. I'd always heard that many of his comments come almost directly from the kojiki and sources like it. Not reading japanese myself, I really couldn't say...

Peter G., Jun, Don, any thoughts?

Best,
Ron (I hear Peter is rather busy just now...might be a while before he can respond)

Mike Sigman
05-18-2005, 04:15 PM
Hi Mike, welcome back. This comment is somewhat interesting. I'd always heard that many of his comments come almost directly from the kojiki and sources like it. Not reading japanese myself, I really couldn't say... Thanks, Ron. It was a good trip. I saw a good-sized Aikido dojo in Christchurch one day, but it was early in the day and they weren't open.

I don't know what's in the Kojiki, but regardless, "ki" is "qi", etc., and that all comes from the Chinese. As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido. Frankly, it surprised me, as I've commented before. If there was any reasonable doubt, I would have jumped on it and pointed it out. There is no reasonable doubt, though.

Let me reiterate that the vagaries in the various doka are sort of a classical brandishment of knowledge and qi/ki had a near-mystical, near-religious connotation among even some sets of the Chinese at that time, so those "poems" were actually sort of standard fare for the earlier times from which the knowledge probably came. Basically, I have to accept that I was wrong in my evaluations of the scope of ki knowledge in Japan and I have to adjust to the idea that this sort of stuff was pretty prevalent across Asia, despite the attempts to keep it "secret".

I doubt that many people in the current "senior" generations in western Aikido, karate, Taiji, etc., will acquire extensive skills in these methods of body use, but it should be helpful for the up and coming generations (the ones who are serious, that is) to get a foothold in what Ueshiba and others were talking about. It wasn't blarney about some mystical universal force that was important, it was the real body skills they attributed to that "force" that should be the focus of inquiries.

And while I realize that some people who are "ranked" in Aikido and other arts may feel "intimidated" by discussions of something they don't have a handle on... i.e., that's just defensive pride... it's still important to move forward and get as much knowledge and skill as is possible in this area that Ueshiba called the "blade of Aiki". The important point to realize is that the upcoming generations of a number of martial arts will indeed learn how to do these things (it has already started) and it will be obvious in retrospect what "ranked" teachers simply didn't really know how to do these things or who were just posturing with guesses. I.e., work never stops, does it? ;)

Sorry I missed you in Boulder. Mark told me he met you and your teacher.

FWIW

Mike

Alfonso
05-18-2005, 05:58 PM
sorry to intrude..

Ueshiba is using so many exact wordings from classical descriptions of qi and jin training that it's impossible to ascribe his selected use of those terms as accidental or coincidental

As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido.

Is there a known body of work (Chinese?) that consists of the "classics" that you mention?

Mike Sigman
05-18-2005, 06:49 PM
sorry to intrude..
Is there a known body of work (Chinese?) that consists of the "classics" that you mention?

Hmmmmm.... there's not a devoted "classic" per se, but the comments are quite common as classic or traditional phrases. There's a good VHS tape by Zhang Xue Xin performing one of the better (more complete body coverage of aspects) martial qigongs (Hun Yuan Qigong) in which he mentions "mixing heaven and earth", the "qi of heaven" the "qi of earth" and other things... it also gives you a chance to visually see him showing some movements along with the wordings. Knowing the words won't do you any good. Seeing him do the movements won't do you any good. It's what you do with your body and breath that involve these trainings. My point being that reading what O-Sensei actually said is interesting and academically pleasing, but it won't tell you anything. If you had watched O-Sensei doing these things, it wouldn't tell you any more than watching someone knowledgeable doing Fune Kogi Undo. However, it's relatively easy to tell someone how to do Fune Kogi Undo, compared with telling them how to correctly perform some of the qi conditioning. So you see the problem. Knowing these metaphoric phrases and hearing them discussed doesn't do a lot of good. Hope that's an adequate answer.

Mike

rob_liberti
05-18-2005, 09:06 PM
There was a point in history where no Zen masters gave transmission to any students, and yet we have Zen masters today. Are they all frauds? No. Then how could this have happened? Well, I think the point is that the information is available at the level of basic human intuition, and it can be re-discovered independent of who thought of it first. Apparently, the story goes, when the first new master called himself a Zen master, the nay-sayers demanded "by what authority do you make this claim?!" and the new master pounded on the ground with his fist and exclaimed "by this authority!".

Independent discovery of such things has happened in the past and will certainly happen again. Of course the past contributes to the present, but how much so is always a reasonable question on a case by case basis. Of course, I'm open to the idea that some of the ki developing methodology were originally Chinese. I'm equally open to the idea that all of these ideas are manifestations of kodotama. I'm open to the idea that the original study of kodotama didn't have to necessarily be Japanese and that they maybe just preserved that particular understanding better, and that the Chinese just preserved their understanding of how to manifest those ideas better given their culture. I certainly don't know any of it for sure and neither does anyone else. That perspective helps keep me truly open-minded, and avoid mental materialism.

Rob

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Don_Modesto
05-18-2005, 11:26 PM
I'd always heard that many of his comments come almost directly from the kojiki and sources like it. Not reading japanese myself, I really couldn't say...

Peter G., Jun, Don, any thoughts?


Peter is definately the best man for this job, but I'll offer my comments in the meantime in order to try to keep this interesting thread moving forward. CAVEAT EMPTOR.

I don't know what's in the Kojiki, but regardless, "ki" is "qi", etc., and that all comes from the Chinese. As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido. Frankly, it surprised me, as I've commented before. If there was any reasonable doubt, I would have jumped on it and pointed it out. There is no reasonable doubt, though.A little learning is a dangerous thing. It's Greek to me. No man is an island.

I wonder how many Americans know these come from Pope, Shakespeare, and Donne--English poets all. They're just so much a part of the culture that origins are obscured and probably irrelevant.

So to with Chinese influences in Japan. Reading into Shinto history, one will find many qualifications like this regarding "heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions" and the nuances obtaining between Jpn, Ch, and Indian antecedents.

A position made stridently these days in scholarly circles (in explicit rebuttal to Imperial propaganda of the 30's and contemporary wishful thinking of the Jpn right) is that even the Kojiki is not the "essence" of Jp commonly claimed. Indeed, it was already largely influenced by Chinese thinking when promulgated. Embarrassingly, "Tenno", the term we translate as emperor, is a Taoist, i.e., a Chinese term. "Shinto" is also a Chinese word connoting in Jpn "the bad behavior of the gods" (remember a while back PAG calling the term "KANNAGARA" "Shinto with balls"? In the 30's, idealogues prefered this term to "Shinto" to avoid the unpleasant--and inescapable-- admission of Ch. influence on the "purity" of the Jpn.)

It's all well and good to find resemblances, but it is probably going too far to hold that "there is no reasonable doubt" though. I'd wager that the founder had quite enough grist for his mill in the Jpn tradition, consisting as it does of a lot of foreign influences.

I do like Mr. Sigman's demystification of Osensei's sayings, though. I agree that what Osensei said was pretty much canon in mystical practice and not at all out of mainstream esoteric--"for the initiated"--discourse. Most of us and even Osensei's students simply weren't initiated.

Stefan Stenudd
05-19-2005, 04:30 AM
I enjoy Don's perspectives very much.
Being Japanese is no guarantee to have exclusive access to Japanese tradition, or to undeerstand it at all.

Me, I am Swedish, but I am still sure that there are lots of folks in the world who understand the norse myths, or an Ingmar Bergman movie, better than I do.

On the other hand, Swedish sinologist Bernhard Karlgren got so good at the Chinese language, he could teach the Chinese scholars a thing or two about it.

We are aikido students, so we know: Wherever you are, whoever you are, to learn something you must study it.

Another thing: China and Japan are two different countries and cultures, even though they use the same "alphabet". A Japanese understanding of the Chinese classics is not necessarily the same as a Chinese understanding of them.

As an historian of ideas, I have also been taught that there is a context to be considered. For example, the Chinese classics were certainly read differently in the days of their appearance, than in any other era thereafter.
There is no absolute in culture. What a book means, is something that is born in the meeting with its reader. There is seldom a definite right or wrong reading of it.

So, what Chinese classics to go to, for words on :ki: (pinyin spelling qi)? Pretty much anyone of the Confucian classics, I'd say. It's scattered all over, more or less. I Ching (pinyin Yi jing) contains the fundamentals of ancient Chinese cosmology (yin and yang and their dynamics). The most lengthy treatments of :ki: are found in texts on Chinese medicine, where the Yellow Emperor's Classic (Huang Ti Nei Ching) is the nestor.

Me, I favor the perspective of philosophical taoism, such as in Tao Te Ching (pinyin Dao De Jing). :ki: is only mentioned a couple of times in it, but its cosmology is sweet. Other taoist texts elaborated more on the subject of :ki: , especially within the so called religious taoism, the guys who tried to live forever.

Tao Te Ching, with its message of non-interference and calmness in the turmoil of life, has a lot to say to the aikido student - especially in widening the concept of the way, :do:.

Ron Tisdale
05-19-2005, 07:57 AM
What would be interesting now, is to take some of the doka, or some relevent parts of the kojiki, and look at various translations, to see what can be pieced together in terms of using the breath, the mind leading the ki, etc.Ellis Amdur did a contemporary reading of one of Ueshiba Sensei's speaches at aikido journal...I wonder if that text would make a good start.

Don, would you know of a particular text that exists in Japanese and english that might be readily available, and that we might suggest as a good starting place?

Jun, would you happen to have Takemusu Aiki in Japanese?

Ellis, would you be willing to look at that text with the ideas Mike has presented? I know you have a pretty strong background in Chinese arts as well...which I certainly don't have.

The article in question can be found here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=744 Aikido is three peaches.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 08:47 AM
Me, I am Swedish, but I am still sure that there are lots of folks in the world who understand the norse myths, or an Ingmar Bergman movie, better than I do.

On the other hand, Swedish sinologist Bernhard Karlgren got so good at the Chinese language, he could teach the Chinese scholars a thing or two about it. I think we're going off on a tangential discussion when some people essentially say "Westerners can understand anything Japanese (or Chinese) can". I agree. IF someone is available to teach you those things. However, we're not talking about language, Buddhism the religion, etc. We're talking about a narrow field of knowledge that is not readily shown to anyone, especially foreigners. Whether some westerner *could* understand it is beside the point. IF they understand it, they can demonstrate it... it's that simple. They can do the jo trick, release sudden great power, be very strong despite small size, etc. And this is aside from the normal details of Aikido, karate, Taiji, Bagua, Shaolin, etc. Heck, even I can understand how to do these things and I'm not Japanese or Chinese... but I had to spend about 20 years looking, asking questions, practicing, studying, seeking out new teachers, and so on. If the implication from someone is that they don't need to do all these things, I'm not arguing, by the way... I simply say "congratulations" and I look forward to seeing your demonstration sometime. ;)

Insofar as statements like "Bernhard Karlgren got so good at the Chinese language, he could teach the Chinese scholars a thing or two about it", the literalist in me forces me to ask, "did he teach them ALL a thing or two?". Some of them? A few of them? I know several western sinologists who learned the old characters, etc., and claimed that they were better at it than the Chinese, but it turns out in reality that they're better than the average joe, at best, and don't have enough command of the the idiom and culture to grasp many things. The Chinese have well-known experts on the old writings among themselves, I've heard, but the discussion of sinology is not the point of this discussion, IAIK.

The closest to a real genius level sinologist (AND someone who also was qualified to reasearch the old Japanese writings) who ALSO had a command of English idiom that I know of was William C.C. Hu. He also had a good grasp of Asian martial arts, since he practiced (and taught) a number of them. However, some of his translations suffer (I was just re-reading one the other night) because he was unaware of some of the politics and chicanery within various subsets of the arts.... one simply cannot be an expert at everything, can one? We are aikido students, so we know: Wherever you are, whoever you are, to learn something you must study it. True. And you must first find the information. We're talking about the information that Tohei and others had to go and deliberately seek out.... none of them just "knew it" because they were Japanese, Swedish, Chinese, etc. Insofar as someone re-discovering it on their own, I wish them well and a fond adieu. ;) These things are not that simple, even though I thought so at one time, too. Another thing: China and Japan are two different countries and cultures, even though they use the same "alphabet". A Japanese understanding of the Chinese classics is not necessarily the same as a Chinese understanding of them. ??? So? We're talking about a narrow spectrum of information. Think of it as the "secret" Quadratic Equation, for instance.... knowing it has nothing to do with your nationality. However, if you discuss the Quadratic Equation and you use Chinese terminology and references (qi, etc., are from China, not from Bulgaria) and Chinese phrases that are used to obscurely describe the Quadratic Equation, someone can rightfully assume that you got the ideas from a Chinese source, ne c'est pas? As an historian of ideas, I have also been taught that there is a context to be considered. For example, the Chinese classics were certainly read differently in the days of their appearance, than in any other era thereafter.
There is no absolute in culture. What a book means, is something that is born in the meeting with its reader. There is seldom a definite right or wrong reading of it. To me, an admitted literalist in many things, your last sentence tells me that you don't believe there is a certain way to repair an automobile engine or to solve a mathematical equation because there is no such thing as a wrong way to do those things. I disagree. Are you also of the belief that it is impossible to do any Aikido technique incorrectly, because relativism precludes any such thing as "wrong Aikido"? ;)

Insofar as translating the old alphabets and idioms, I'm well aware of the problem and I've mentioned it before. The problem is further compounded, as I've also mentioned before, by the fact that martial idiom further confuses the writings... your Mr. Karlgren would be absolutely helpless, even though he is a "sinologist", in translating Chinese martial literature.

However, the information doesn't just reside in the "classics", something a few of you are attempting to hang your hats on, it also is known by various people. My only mention of classical statements was that the phrases Ueshiba used are well-known, traditional references, albeit obscure ones. I can think of two English-language books, off hand, that contain the same references here and there; I could probably think of a few more if I sat down, perused my library, etc., but I don't like going off on a tangent just because some people are more comfortable discussing an area where they can argue. I.e.,.... I was just contributing some information, not offering to argue. If anyone is more comfortable with their current view of Aikido, I encourage them to simply continue and to ignore anyone who suggests there is more to it. As I noted, though, ultimately to ignore the possibility that some current "experts" don't know some basics (as mentioned and demonstrated by O-Sensei and some uchideshi), is an untenable position. It will only come back to haunt in the future when people look back and say, "Oh.... he obviously didn't know." (I mention that because I have never forgotten hearing a very credible Chinese martial artist say exactly those words about someone while referring to what they used to teach) So, what Chinese classics to go to, for words on :ki: (pinyin spelling qi)? Pretty much anyone of the Confucian classics, I'd say. It's scattered all over, more or less. I Ching (pinyin Yi jing) contains the fundamentals of ancient Chinese cosmology (yin and yang and their dynamics). The most lengthy treatments of :ki: are found in texts on Chinese medicine, where the Yellow Emperor's Classic (Huang Ti Nei Ching) is the nestor. I would suggest that you're missing the point of what I was saying. Me, I favor the perspective of philosophical taoism, such as in Tao Te Ching (pinyin Dao De Jing). :ki: is only mentioned a couple of times in it, but its cosmology is sweet. Other taoist texts elaborated more on the subject of :ki: , especially within the so called religious taoism, the guys who tried to live forever.

Tao Te Ching, with its message of non-interference and calmness in the turmoil of life, has a lot to say to the aikido student - especially in widening the concept of the way, :do:. Well, I'm certainly not trying to assaily your personal beliefs, so I encourage you to think as you please. However, the things I was talking about are substantive and outside of any necessity for religious or philosophical devotion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-19-2005, 09:38 AM
I don't know anyone who doesn't think there is more to aikido than what they know, shihan or otherwise. Also, I don't know anyone in aikido who doesn't think we should develop ki and kokyu skills, by the way. The differences of opinion, is what is most usefull and what is the best way to do achieve it. For instance, at what point in development should one primarily focus on such things and when should it be more of a secondary concern given many conditions (like your level, the ability and availablility of a qualified teacher, your training partner's levels, your personal goals for what you are trying to achieve, and your various teachers goals for teaching you).

We're talking about the information that Tohei and others had to go and deliberately seek out.... none of them just "knew it" because they were Japanese, Swedish, Chinese, etc. Insofar as someone re-discovering it on their own, I wish them well and a fond adieu.?? If the way to develop those skills is specific like the "certain way to repair an automobile engine or to solve a mathematical equation" and human bodies haven't changed much, I'm still not persuaded by that line of though. I made a point about Zen Masters rediscovering Zen. They didn't "just know it" without seeking it either and I'm sure it was also a non-trivial endeavor. How could one even compare those discovering how to develop ki and kokyu skills to becoming a Zen master (and trivialize one enough to dismiss it) unless you've done both?! Lastly, if discovering how to develop ki and kokyu skills is so complex that it cannot be re-discovered, I suppose I wonder how anyone initially discovered it.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 09:45 AM
What would be interesting now, is to take some of the doka, or some relevent parts of the kojiki, and look at various translations, to see what can be pieced together in terms of using the breath, the mind leading the ki, etc.Ellis Amdur did a contemporary reading of one of Ueshiba Sensei's speaches at aikido journal...I wonder if that text would make a good start.

Don, would you know of a particular text that exists in Japanese and english that might be readily available, and that we might suggest as a good starting place?

Jun, would you happen to have Takemusu Aiki in Japanese?

Ellis, would you be willing to look at that text with the ideas Mike has presented? I know you have a pretty strong background in Chinese arts as well...which I certainly don't have.

The article in question can be found here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=744 Aikido is three peaches. I realize that the discussion is evolving and I'm not sure I want to go too deeply into this because I'm engaged in a protracted and interesting discussion on another mailing list. The original question was whether there were any things written down that codified the contents of Aikido. Some people want to argue this area because it is an avenue through which they can argue that "anything is Aikido", etc., and therefore what they do is legitimately Aikido, and so on. I simply wanted to point out that there were indeed some "codified" ideas.

Insofar as what Ellis wrote, Ron, I think you're needlessly opening a can of worms. The discussion might be interesting and even enlightening, but ultimately the functional "how-to" information contained in those sorts of writings is extremely limited.

Let me take one paragraph from Ellis' article and comment:

In Ueshiba's first statements, he defines aikido as the Way of union and harmony of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. Note that very significant trinity, which later, one footnote suggests, come into fruition in a circle. He gives many definitions of aikido, but I see a trinity here as well: as a purification rite, as a procedure to make kotodama possible, and a means of protection of all of creation.

The idea of the harmony of Heaven, Earth, and Man is a basic idea in Chinese philosophy that you cannot escape in any reasonable tome, whether it has to do with martial arts or not. That's one level. On a functional "ki and kokyu" level, they take this basic idea and assign it to some specific physical practices. I.e., one facet of breath-mind-body exercise is called "heaven" and the other main aspect is "earth" and you "mix them" in "Man" to get a certain result. That is, Ueshiba was quoting the standard "Earth, Heaven, and Man" apothegm, but he used it in context with other standard references in a way that makes clear (because that combination is not used in any other usage than the martial) he is referring to the basic way of developing power through ki exercises. Additionally, he is not using an innovative way of developing this very basic idea; he is using the literal formulations that are common in Chinese writings, as well. Let me emphasize that these sayings are basic, not sophisticated, BTW.

Ueshiba also, as Ellis notes, makes Japanese-centered references to Yin and Yang ideas, etc., but these generally refer to the very important idea of "natural harmony" of the universe. The general (and trust me, this is quite commonly found) idea is that the rest of the earth is "natural" because they already or still have their natural ki. Man does not. Either he lost it through eveolution (one view) or he has not yet gained it (Ueshiba subscribes to this idea, apparently, and he ascribes the reason for man's lack due to his "sins"). Just as a quick example of ki in animals, look at the strength of wild animals in comparison to their size; look at how a horse can quiver his flanks at will (this is, believe it or not, a good example of ki, but I digress..).

Anyway, I think it's fairly clear that the vagueness and generality of Ueshiba's writings can be misleading. Look at the differences on a basic level between what Ellis and I see from just a small portion. When I look at O-Sensei's writings, I see him over and over use basic Chinese ideas (mixed with a lot of Shinto, "purification", etc., of course) to essentially espouse the greatness of true Aikido practice that utilizes the learning of ki and kokyu skills because that is the way in which to become "natural" and "harmonize" with the rest of the universe. I think to mistakenly assume the New Age idea (which Ellis does not, I hasten to add) that he was talking about the philosophical idea of "peace, love, and harmony" is totally missing the point. The way you "harmonize", in the traditional sense, is to learn these ki and kokyu things alongside a martial system that utilizes blending with the opponent's forces (another common idea in a number of other arts, experienced practitioner already know)... AND you couple those things with the correct religious practices. Leaving out the religious parts, it boils down to "develop your natural ki skills through certain practices and your Aikido practice and then use those skills to handle life in all its aspects". That's the essence of what O-Sensei was saying, I would suggest. People who want to think otherwise are free to do so and not feel "intimidated". ;)

While a brief discussion of some of the classical and traditional references is perhaps enlightening, as I said, it doesn't really help people achieve physical progress. Let me point out a selected bit of Tohei's interview in Aikido Journal:

On one occasion the prince pointed at Ueshiba Sensei and said, "Try to lift up that old man." Four strong sailors tried their best to lift him but they couldn't do it.
Sensei said of that time, "All the many divine spirits of Heaven and Earth entered my body and I became as immovable as a heavy rock." Everybody took him literally and believed it. I heard him say that kind of thing hundreds of times.
For my part, I have never had divine beings enter my body. I've never put much stock in that kind of illogical explanation. .....

In reality that sort of thing has nothing to do with any gods or spirits. It's just a matter of having a low center of gravity. I know this and it's what I teach all my students. It wouldn't mean anything if only certain special people could do it. Things like that have to be accessible to everyone if they're to have any meaning.

As Tohei indicates, to dwell on what the "divine spirits of Heaven" really means is not so important as to know that that particular demonstration has to do with keeping a low center of gravity. That's the important discussion. Where I think Tohei falls short is that telling someone to "keep a low center of gravity" does not really tell you exactly how to do that trick, even though it is a technically correct statement. You have to be shown how to do the trick and you have to realize that the whole topic of ki and kokyu is far more complex than just a few "force path" tricks and "relaxing" to the point that you "awaken your ki". I.e., vagaries, whether in O-Sensei's writings or in Tohei's clearer statements, will not give you much substantive progress. So I'm somewhat opposed to dwelling too much on translating the purposely vague. :)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 09:58 AM
I made a point about Zen Masters rediscovering Zen. They didn't "just know it" without seeking it either and I'm sure it was also a non-trivial endeavor. How could one even compare those discovering how to develop ki and kokyu skills to becoming a Zen master (and trivialize one enough to dismiss it) unless you've done both?! Lastly, if discovering how to develop ki and kokyu skills is so complex that it cannot be re-discovered, I suppose I wonder how anyone initially discovered it. I'm not sure why you're comparing "spiritual enlightenment" of sorts with the physical skills of ki and kokyu. There's a complex relationship that I could discuss, but it's not germane at this level. For the moment, rest assured that learning how to acquire ki and kokyu skills is, as Tohei indicated, in the physical realm.

Insofar as your contention, without having shown any indication of expertise to support it, that someone can rediscover a subject that is complex in its whole (i.e., you can certainly "rediscover" a thing here and there, but you couldn't possibly rediscover a whole subject that was developed over many generations), I suggest that you pursue it that way and let us know how it works out. I'll be interested in the results. As I've noted, I have no desire to get into another useless argument that devolves every time to the personal level. Instead of insisting on something through repeated assertions, as you continue to do, why don't you tell us some of the basic information that you've "rediscovered" and how it works on a physical level? Perhaps another thread along those lines?

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
05-19-2005, 10:11 AM
That may be so for you....but others might enjoy the discussion. There is also the fact that many have clues to how to do these kinds of things in their practice already...and any tips from the writings could provide some additional clues, that in and of themselves might not mean much, but in the context of our current practice might mean a lot.

I myself don't think I'm very strong in this area physically or intellectually, and I'm willing to spend some time discussing these things. I have also had some recent experiences on the mat which tell me there are people in aikido who do use kokyu and aiki as has been discussed in our recent threads, and I'm willing to put in the mat time to develop (as best I can at my poor level) them as much as possible.

So let us have our little conversations... :) Even if they are not of much use to you.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 10:19 AM
So let us have our little conversations... :) Even if they are not of much use to you. I just meant that I don't want to appear impolite by not joining you too much along those lines, since I'm engaged in some other discussions that involve time and research. I also tried to lay out the practical reasons why, even though interesting, there may not be a lot practical application to an analysis of O-Sensei's comments (vis a vis Tohei's observation).

Mike

akiy
05-19-2005, 10:21 AM
Jun, would you happen to have Takemusu Aiki in Japanese?
Yes, I actually bought Takahashi's "Takemusu Aiki" in Japanese the last time I was over in Japan a couple of months ago. I haven't cracked it open, though.

-- Jun, running to a meeting

Stefan Stenudd
05-19-2005, 02:00 PM
Dear Mike,

I believe that there is a slight misunderstanding. In the reply of mine you quote, I discuss not only your views, but those of others as well. You seem to think that all I said was in regard to your posting on the subject.
I am sorry for being so unclear.

A few details:
However, we're not talking about language, Buddhism the religion, etc.
Well, we are talking about religion, or at least metaphysical concepts - among other things. At least I am, and I believe them to be comparable to esoteric aikido theory, to some extent.

IF they understand it, they can demonstrate it... it's that simple. They can do the jo trick, release sudden great power, be very strong despite small size, etc..
That's one kind of understanding. There are other kinds. For example, there are people who can do, but cannot explain at all. And there are those who understand the theory, but still need practice to accomplish it. I guess it's a question of how the word "understanding" is defined.

If the implication from someone is that they don't need to do all these things..
I never implied such a thing. Quite the contrary. Everyone must study/practice. There is no shortcut.

Insofar as statements like "Bernhard Karlgren got so good at the Chinese language, he could teach the Chinese scholars a thing or two about it", the literalist in me forces me to ask, "did he teach them ALL a thing or two?". Some of them? A few of them?
I dare say that in the field of sinology, he is still highly respected - also in China. No "average joe, at best". Well, have a look:
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&client=REAL-tb&ie=UTF-8&rls=RNWA,RNWA:2003-29,RNWA:en&q=%22bernhard+karlgren%22

These things are not that simple, even though I thought so at one time, too.
I never thought so. I never said so.

To me, an admitted literalist in many things, your last sentence tells me that you don't believe there is a certain way to repair an automobile engine or to solve a mathematical equation because there is no such thing as a wrong way to do those things.
I talk about culture, not natural science. Art and not technology. Belief and not proven fact.

Are you also of the belief that it is impossible to do any Aikido technique incorrectly, because relativism precludes any such thing as "wrong Aikido"? ;)
Well, I have practiced for many shihan, and what they do certainly seems flawless - but they're all different. Clearly, there are many ways to do ikkyo and shihonage and the rest. What is "right" and what is "wrong" in aikido? Big question.
I think that the answer is something like: When you do in your aikido accomplish what you set out to do with it, then it's right. But it probabaly still needs improvement :)
Some people do aikido for self defense, so it should "work on the streets", some do it for relaxation, so they should be relaxed after it, some do it like purification or healing, so they should feel purified and healed, some do it like dancing, so they should enjoy the tango - and so on.
Right or wrong in aikido? They do exist, but they are countless.

However, the information doesn't just reside in the "classics"
I never said so. But there is valuable information in the classics.

I was just contributing some information, not offering to argue.
Feel free not to.

Best,

rob_liberti
05-19-2005, 02:16 PM
learning how to acquire ki and kokyu skills is, as Tohei indicated, in the physical realm
No argument there!

I'm not sure why you're comparing "spiritual enlightenment" of sorts with the physical skills of ki and kokyu.I guess I don't understand why you think that Zen is a complex enough subject in comparison, or why you don't think it was rediscovered. History would seem to indicate otherwise. In my opinion, the realms you mention (physical verse spiritual) do not really matter since they both have the 'mental' approach required for discovery/rediscovery _in common_. About your issue of this idea of being rediscovered "as a whole", certainly a lot of the surface level stuff was there as a major help the new Zen master get started, but couldn't we say the same for martial arts people trying to discover more efficient ways of doing things? Isn't there a lot of other helping information? O-sensei had the kotodama, and specifically tells us that this was his inspiration. Remember the whole "aikido is on spirit, 4 souls, 3 orgins, and 8 powers" quote. You can find that information in Gleason sensei's book, and I'm sure you can find his references from there.

Insofar as your contention, without having shown any indication of expertise to support it, that someone can rediscover a subject that is complex in its whole (i.e., you can certainly "rediscover" a thing here and there, but you couldn't possibly rediscover a whole subject that was developed over many generations), For the record, I was only challenging one of your ideas (which we do on forums). This comment of yours "without having shown any indidation to expertise to support it" seems a bit inconsistent with the idea of not trying to argue on a personal level, but I'll address it without escalation. I suppose the first thing to point out is that this is a forum not and encyclopedia. And the second point that springs to my mind would be: Exactly what certification do I need to make that contention? I really don't need to be a Zen master to have learned that there was a period in time when no one recieved retransmission from a Zen Master, I basically need the reading skills developed by the time I was in 4th grade for that. (I can probably find my 4th grade report card if you want; I'm sure I passed "reading".) Making the logical conclusion that there are Zen masters alive today shows that very complex things can be rediscovered - and I don't have to be a Zen master or have the skills of O-sensei to draw that conclusion either. Now to trivialize the rediscovery of something as complex as Zen enough to dismiss it, that seems to be horse of a different color...

I suggest that you pursue it that way and let us know how it works out.Honestly, I will certainly pursue it through every avenue I think is valuable and I'll do it without putting down everyone else's approach - OR even eluding to it. That will help keep me from starting useless arguments that devolve to the personal level.

As I've noted, I have no desire to get into another useless argument that devolves every time to the personal level.That is well understood and I agree. I'm certainly not taking it personally. If you just wanted to state your opinions and have them "unchallenged" by simply stating you would like to avoid argument, that would be an unrealitic expectation in an internet forum and suggest that you consider writing a book. If that is not the case, then there is no need to take anything I write personally either. You can just accept or ignore the feedback on the perception of your words.

I would let a lot more stuff go on some of these ones, except that I feel for anyone who might be reading these threads years later if no one bothered to jump in and say "I don't agree with that and here is why."

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 02:23 PM
I believe that there is a slight misunderstanding. In the reply of mine you quote, I discuss not only your views, but those of others as well. You seem to think that all I said was in regard to your posting on the subject.
I am sorry for being so unclear. Not at all, Stefan. Perhaps the misunderstanding was mine. Well, we are talking about religion, or at least metaphysical concepts - among other things. At least I am, and I believe them to be comparable to esoteric aikido theory, to some extent. I am talking about the physical art of Aikido. The "esoteric", as shown by some recent posts, tends to be often a matter of interpretation and I doubt we can resolve any subjective issues meaningfully. That's one kind of understanding. There are other kinds. For example, there are people who can do, but cannot explain at all. And there are those who understand the theory, but still need practice to accomplish it. I guess it's a question of how the word "understanding" is defined. Well, it's a simple disagreement between us, then. My position is that if someone really understands something, they can do it to some appreciable degree. The rest is mere speculation, IMO, but opinions vary.I dare say that in the field of sinology, he is still highly respected - also in China. No "average joe, at best". Well, have a look:
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&client=REAL-tb&ie=UTF-8&rls=RNWA,RNWA:2003-29,RNWA:en&q=%22bernhard+karlgren%22
I don't question that he was a noted Sinologist, but it appears he was mainly a linguist, which is not the complete spectrum of Sinology. Since this tangent needlessly deviates from the thread without resolving anything, I'll let it go, if you don't mind.To me, an admitted literalist in many things, your last sentence tells me that you don't believe there is a certain way to repair an automobile engine or to solve a mathematical equation because there is no such thing as a wrong way to do those things.
I talk about culture, not natural science. Art and not technology. Belief and not proven fact. Ah, but my position and the position of many well-known Asian experts nowadays is that ki and kokyu are well within the domain of natural science, Stefan. Well, I have practiced for many shihan, and what they do certainly seems flawless - but they're all different. Clearly, there are many ways to do ikkyo and shihonage and the rest. What is "right" and what is "wrong" in aikido? Big question.
I think that the answer is something like: When you do in your aikido accomplish what you set out to do with it, then it's right. But it probabaly still needs improvement :)
Some people do aikido for self defense, so it should "work on the streets", some do it for relaxation, so they should be relaxed after it, some do it like purification or healing, so they should feel purified and healed, some do it like dancing, so they should enjoy the tango - and so on.
Right or wrong in aikido? They do exist, but they are countless. In that case, it was pointless for O-Sensei to ever correct anyone.... or even teach anyone. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Stefan Stenudd
05-19-2005, 02:34 PM
Dear Mike,

I thank you for your very clever and clear reply to my reply :)
Now, I think I see your points.

Ah, but my position and the position of many well-known Asian experts nowadays is that ki and kokyu are well within the domain of natural science, Stefan.
You got me there, especially since I would like to agree with that position :)

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 02:36 PM
I guess I don't understand why you think that Zen is a complex enough subject in comparison, or why you don't think it was rediscovered. Rob, in case you misunderstand me, you're using "Zen" as a strawman and I see no reason to bite. You're not an expert in Zen and I'm not. Your assertion that it was not transmitted (while not being able to meaningfully discuss either Zen or this portion of Aikido meaningfully) would be a great topic on a Zen discussion list, but Zen is not a physical and mental regimen that produces, power, etc., so I'll leave it to you. If you want to discuss the subject and argue your points without grasping at analogies, please do so. Discuss how Ki and Kokyu MUST be able to be rediscovered and say why, if that is your contention. I've already told you my position and my reasons AND I have accurately described basic methods that apply to these trainings. See if you can debate the issues and your contentions within the issue itself and let's see how the discussion goes.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-19-2005, 03:56 PM
Grasping at analogies? We _are_ dealing with unknowns here, right?! That is a pretty common thing to do when you are dealing with unknowns in my world. I'm an engineer and I solve new problems. I do it based on my past experiences and those of others.

I simply don't agree that it's a straw-man argument and I went into each element of why I didn't see the analogy as a distortion of the topic at hand. If the thing I bring up for analogy is exactly the same thing then it's not really an analogy is it? I guess the question is what the heck is the point of analogies at all if nothing less than exact can be used meaningfully?! Typically, when you disagree with an analogy you state why you think it fails. You seem to think it fails for a reason I don't agree with. That's okay by me, we don't have to agree.

To me, given the telegraph example and my own personal experience, I conclude that at least some fairly complex things can be discovered independently. And, again, to me; given the Zen master analogy (which I learned at the Zen Mountain Monastery), I conclude that complex things can be rediscovered, especially given surface level information available to help. Mental and physical versus mental and spiritual, well, my opinion is that developing a method to discover/rediscover exists primarily in the mental world. I've been wrong before. I'm just not convinced I'm wrong now, and you don't have to try to convince me either, that's entirely up to you.

Using your logic, which is just fine with me. I would say that my comments about kotodama inspiration for discovering/rediscovering were well within the specific context of the thread - more so than most of the other things mentioned so far - but that's just my opinion. What I said regarding the basic elements of aikido thread in the Spiritual forum was: "I'm open to the idea that some of the ki developing methodology were originally Chinese. I'm equally open to the idea that all of these ideas are manifestations of kotodama. I'm open to the idea that the original study of kotodama didn't have to necessarily be Japanese and that they maybe just preserved that particular understanding better, and that the Chinese just preserved their understanding of how to manifest those ideas better given their culture. I certainly don't know any of it for sure and neither does anyone else. That perspective helps keep me truly open-minded, and avoid mental materialism." I never read that you had some ideas based on your experiences but were open to others - which is fine with me. However, I do take it as a given that you must be open to disagreement if you are posting on an Internet forum.

If you want to discuss fair arguing tactics, I think we need to agree that the whole "you can't prove it is" and "you can't prove it isn't" NEVER MEANS ONE SIDE IS RIGHT. I'm not sure why you never seem to agree with that, but it's a fairly logical conclusion. You didn't prove anything and neither did I. If you want to state your opinion based on what you do think you know, then fine. If I want to state my opinion based on what I think I know - that's fine too. Otherwise, I get the impression that I can just say something absurd like:"Prior to 100 hundred years ago, China had no influence on martial arts at all." and then mention that I don't want to argue, so please don't start disagreeing with me unless you are a Chinese martial artist over 100 years old. You might want to say - but I have met people who trained with Chinese martial artists, and it had to come from somewhere, and I can say well you're not qualified to discuss this... I don't know, maybe I'm taking it too far.

As far as me working all of my things out and arguing from that perspective. All I can say, is I'm working on it, and for now, I'll do the best with what I have. I am actually doing it within the context of actually actively studying aikido and discussing things with Gleason sensei, Saotome sensei, Ikeda sensei, and Suganuma sensei whenever the opportunity arises. I didn't have the impression that you were actually "within" the topic itself...

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-19-2005, 05:08 PM
Grasping at analogies? We _are_ dealing with unknowns here, right?! Not that I'm aware of. I know, can demonstrate, have demonstrated, have trained, etc., with the things I'm talking about. I do have bona fides that can be vouched for by recognized experts who deal with ki/qi things. These are not "unknowns" to me.

You publicly display credentials as an expert in Aikido and you represent that you are qualified to teach... AND you charge money for the product you publicly claim credentials for. And that's not a "personal" remark about your character, etc.... it's a comment about something you publicly advertise. We're talking about an essential, according to Ueshiba, aspect of Aikido. How can you argue that it's an "unknown" and still argue that you teach Aikido? The assumption is that this topic is not an "unknown" to you if you're publicly declaring that you are teaching the art. I.e., this relates to statements made by you, not by me.

It's extraneous for you to claim that discussing Zen is the same thing as discussing Aikido because that is simply assertion on your part and not something you've established a priori; nor is it a tangent that is needed in order to discuss ki and kokyu, etc. If you want to discuss these basic elements of Aikido (and a number of other arts), then let's do so without rancor and without asserting extraneous points like Zen is equivalent to Aikido or that all opinions are valid. If that's what you want to assert, then let's just let it rest.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-19-2005, 06:18 PM
What O-sensei knew is an unknown. As a matter of fact, when he was on his death bed he was telling people that he still had more to learn about ikkyo. So, I'm feeling confident about my position on the subject and my students are well aware that I'm a student teacher. I have more than enough to help the new ones get started and they are all welcome and encouraged to go out and find better help.

I suppose I could go around claiming I understand what O-sensei knew about aikido, but that would be arrogant, and a bit silly. Maybe if I studied more tai chi... But then, I could never be certain that what I knew was really to the same depth or even in the same context that he knew it. Maybe I would only know how to really move well when I'm standing in one spot and couldn't handle multiple attacks like he could - just for a possible example.

I agree that it _would_ also be wrong for me to claim that discussing Zen is the same thing as discussing Aikido, but I didn't do that. I discussed rediscovering a complex thing which was brought up on this thread.

Mike, I saw your resistance to the "the aikido nikkyo" on your tape. Maybe I misheard you on the tape. Who was the bona fide that taught you that was "_the_ aikido nikkyo"? I have great reservations about your understanding of aikido based on your tape and/or your wording. As I recall the guy trying was "a very good shodan" and well I have third kyus who can resist _the_ nikyo crush from very good shodans.

But I don't mean to argue, just to discuss.

Rob

rob_liberti
05-19-2005, 11:20 PM
Mike,

Again, I don't mean to insult you personally, it's just that at first I thought maybe you meant somethings other than what you actually said, but then I remembered that you are a "literalist". So, about "all opinions being valid," I just don't consider you to be the best judge of which ones are valid, especially now that I'm no longer sure that you are reading the words I am writing.

I've been laughing all night about "You publicly display credentials as an expert in Aikido and you represent that you are qualified to teach... AND you charge money for the product you publicly claim credentials for." Really?! Where exactly is that publicly displayed?! Sandan is considered a beginner rank in my circles - which I actually have publicly mentioned both on and off of aikiweb MANY times. Also, I actually do not take any money from the students for teaching aikido. Given that I also did not "claim that discussing Zen is the same thing as discussing Aikido" either, what am I to conclude about your power of observation, deduction, and/or accurate expression? So, please excuse me if I don't take your word for what someone else meant...

Rob

Rupert Atkinson
05-20-2005, 04:02 AM
Seems to be a bit of a big discussion going on here - let me give my take on the original question.

I think the thing that makes Aikido Aikido are the forms: the postures, movements, and techniques. Aikido has no greater claim to ki or spirituality than other arts except that some people tend to target those items more specifically for development in Aikido - but we cannot claim such as solely our own. The various arts are all targeting the same martial ideas - it is just that some concentrate on certain ideas to the detriment of other ideas.

The problem with Aikido is that while we are all riding in rather a small boat together we, its various adherents, are not unified in major areas - training method, ki, philosophy (religion), competition, or sometimes even technique. The only way to really nail it down is to go back to the source - Ueshiba - He is Aikido.

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 08:38 AM
The problem with Aikido is that while we are all riding in rather a small boat together we, its various adherents, are not unified in major areas - training method, ki, philosophy (religion), competition, or sometimes even technique. The only way to really nail it down is to go back to the source - Ueshiba - He is Aikido. Well, the initial idea of the thread was along the lines of the common discussion in some members of the Aikido community that "anything is Aikido", "Aikido is what you want it to be", etc. The question suggested that if there is nothing set down in writing, etc., then no one has the right to say that someone else's Aikido was not Aikido and they have a free ticket to practice anything they want and still call it Aikido. At least that's the way I read it, having seen that point made many times in the past. Note that it's only a small (but still too large; they block progress while misleading beginners) but vocal segment of the Aikido population that tries to sell this idea, BTW. Generally what's happening is not uncommon in martial arts, but it usually boils down to a change in a martial art wrought by people who were never experts in the art and therefore never had the right to "make changes" or to insist on anything to do with the art.

The answer is that O-Sensei did put in writing a number of things, but specifically those writings refer to ki development... except he was deliberately and traditionally vague to the uninitiated. However, it doesn't take anyone a great deal of knowledge to see immediately what O-Sensei meant, so the delicate question is why the western experts and translators missed the references to ki development... O-Sensei is not the only Japanese to know or have known those references. Some of our resident Japanese-culture-language experts need to get out the shovels and go to work. ;)

In a general way, developing ki and kokyu skills can be thought of as developing 2 different muscles that wind up working together in your body. There's a few different ways to approach developing those 2 muscles, but the choices are limited, just as you're limited in the number of ways you can strengthen your biceps muscle. O-Sensei, Tohei, and a number of others have basically pointed out developing those 2 "muscles"; O-Sensei says the development of those 2 muscles is the "blade of Aiki"... so it's of paramount importance, not something that should be put on the back burner just because one's peer-group is as lacking as anyone else... seeking comfort in the herd is not the way to go.

Given that you can't develop those 2 muscles by just wishing them to develop, you're constrained to only a couple of approaches and they turn out to be essentially working on the same basic principles. O-Sensei used the standard wordings that are referred to as "mixing the power of heaven and the power of earth in man", which is a reference to the basic approach to ki development. More than that he mentions the general training concepts that standardly accompany this sort of training, leaving no doubt that he was referring to a specific set of knowledge from Chinese sources.

In talking to Stefan yesterday, I was trying to think of some definitive "classical" work that he was asking for, but the problem is that some of the phrases in O-Sensei's writings can be found in so many sources that it becomes a matter of context, not just quote. However, I did a quick search last night and came up with probably the best original source for the 2 essential terms in O-Sensei's writings, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Ti Nei Ching), which may have been written as long as 4,000 years ago (this raises another question in regard to India, but I'll let it pass). In the opening section, the Emperor tells the court physician:

"I have heard that in ancient times there were the so-called Spiritual Beings:

They stood between Heaven and Earth, connecting the Universe;

They understood and were able to control both Yin and Yang, the two fundamental principles of nature;

The inhaled the vital essence of life;

They remained unmoving in their spirit;

Their muscles and flesh were as one;

This is the Tao, the Way you are looking for."

This is the earliest source I can think of which references the idea of mixing heaven and earth in man. Like many Chinese traditional concepts, it permeates the basic rationale of a number of fields, but most particularly the study of qi, qigongs, and martial arts. It is a mainstay. When you add some of the other allusions that are very specific to martial arts and martial qigongs, as O-Sensei did, it becomes inescapable... O-Sensei had access to basic knowledge of Shaolin-derived martial qigongs. The question in my mind is not *whether* he had access to this sort of Chinese material (that's too obvious), it's *WHERE* and *WHEN* did he get that knowledge since it is so grudgingly relayed to foreigners by the Chinese (those ultimate of xenophobes).

Regardless, it is as Rupert says... Ueshiba is the ultimate source and he considered the ki and kokyu skills to be the mainstay of Aikido as he meant it.... not a casual add-on. And as I've remarked in the past, it is my experience that it can be almost impossible for someone to go back and change the way they move in a martial art to this way of power that involves extensive training to accomplish. If you're doing it using "normal strength", it is a rare person who can alter their martial art to this way of movement. Tohei discusses the difficulties in learning to do things "relaxed" and how O-Sensei did it in front of his students but few caught on and changed to that way of movement.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 10:09 AM
FYI: Chapter III - The Spiritual Writings of Aikido
http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/boylan2.html

As previously stated, I don't know if the kotodama information came first, and I'm not sure that anyone else knows either.

I'm suprised that there was writing 4000 years ago. It's confusing to me since there is a well known "oral tradition" of the New Testiment which would have happened about 2000 years ago. But I'm no expert on China.

Rob

RonRagusa
05-20-2005, 10:20 AM
Well, the initial idea of the thread was along the lines of the common discussion in some members of the Aikido community that "anything is Aikido", "Aikido is what you want it to be", etc. The question suggested that if there is nothing set down in writing, etc., then no one has the right to say that someone else's Aikido was not Aikido and they have a free ticket to practice anything they want and still call it Aikido. At least that's the way I read it,...
The initial idea of this thread was to pose a series of questions to the board and elicit replies regarding the nature of the basic principles of Aikido in so far as they relate to the questions posed. The questions themselves contain no suggestions or implications.

As I have followed the development of the thread I have noticed that the basic principles of Aikido as elucidated in the posts vary from practitioner to practitioner. I found most interesting Mike Sigman's observation that O-Sensei kept his explanations deliberately vague and metaphorical in nature. I wonder if O-Sensei did this so that those who followed him would be forced to interpret Aikido in their own way rather than just regurgitate what they had been taught.

From "The Art Of Peace" by John Stevens:

"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other reason than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment."

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 11:14 AM
There has been a tendency to spiritualize and mysticize a lot of Asian philosophy, medicine, martial-arts, etc., while overlooking the fact that the flowery language and unclear literature (read "classical style of writing") was actually referring to things derived from pragmatic and substantive issues. Most of the writings I read that interpret "spiritually" simply follow that trend which is misleading and usually just downright wrong in its conclusions.

Take, for instance, the acupuncture theory and meridians which focus on the "ki" in the body. As everyone already knows, this system was borrowed from the Chinese... but how did the Chinese discover this thing called a "universal force" (by so many westerners) and learn the "meridians" and all that obscure stuff that goes with it?

Ki/qi and strength are inextricably intertwined; ki is a paradigm that explains how strength (and by extension, "health") work. Better yet, the obverse is true... ki is about the health of the body and strength is an aspect of health. Regardless of your perspective, the earliest records relating to ki/qi in China relate to "channels", not the finer-tuned and more complex "meridians" of later times. The "channels" are a study of how strength moves best in the body. For instance, it is easier to push something to your front with your palm, having the elbow down or slightly turned outward; it is easier to pull something toward you with that same hand if, as you draw your hand inward, the fingers close and the arm twists so that the elbow turns down and inward. The convention of strength flow, in this simple example, is that forces going outward go along the outside of the arm; forces pulling inward come along the inside of the arm. Hence you will see musculo-tendon "channels" for ki going away from the body on the outside of an arm or leg and forces coming inward going along the inside of an arm or leg. The precursors to the acupuncture meridians, the musculo-tendon "channels", gradually became more complex as more and more was added to the knowledge of how things work.... but in a practical sense, not a mystical or "spiritual" sense.

The truly interesting thing about the quote from the Yellow Emperor classic is that it indicates the study of ki/qi, etc., has been around a VERY long time. Let me repeat the translation from the previous post and then comment:

"I have heard that in ancient times there were the so-called Spiritual Beings:

They stood between Heaven and Earth, connecting the Universe;

They understood and were able to control both Yin and Yang, the two fundamental principles of nature;

The inhaled the vital essence of life;

They remained unmoving in their spirit;

Their muscles and flesh were as one;

This is the Tao, the Way you are looking for."

Here would be my personal explanation of what is most probably being said:

Of course, there are religious connotations due to the translator's perspectives using the term "spiritual", but maybe it's best just to look at it as a myth explaining a topic. In that myth, there were gods that stood between heaven and earth and who knew how to control some kind of basic forces, if you consider the world in terms of all things being part of a dichotomy. These gods "inhaled ki" while staying relaxed and emptying their minds. Their muscles and fascia systems were as one (via a divine power of the body within the mind). This is the Way to do things.

Of course, I'm verging on being flippant, but given that the words in the original translation pretty precisely describe how a qigong is done, I can't see any other translation or need for that particular story which mentions the specifics that it does, frankly. In a cause and effect world, a myth that has the exact requirements of a qigong in it would be highly suspect as a coincidental myth that mentions those criteria.

Incidentally, this particular Way (the one from which Taoism arose) meshes so very nicely within the Buddhist tenets that it's no wonder that the qigong practices were a mainstay of Buddhist temples in India and China.

Anyway, the point in mentioning that was to point out the "muscles and flesh were as one". Other, but later, Chinese documents refer more specifically to muscles and "connective tissue", "fascia", or similar translations. The idea of the "flesh" and "muscles" combining function is paramount to full-blown qi development and is done via breathing exercises.

Jumping ahead to today, we're suddenly beginning to find out that there is some relationship to fascia layers and acupunture points. Other studies are indicating current flows, "magnetic feelings" and other activities in the fascia. There are a great number of relationships between the muscle and fascia and mental functions that are blatantly mentioned in current qi-related literature and demonstrations. So the point I've been trying to make is that to read the flowery and abstruse descriptions of "classical" comments and to reflexively attribute "spirituality" and mysticism to the initiating thoughts in the words is to usually miss the real idea. (Incidentally, I can give some references for reading material on a number of the ideas, if anyone is interested... although I've previously recommended some of them).

Having said all that, I take a look at Peter Boylan's exposition, which I reproduce in part:

For Ueshiba, the practice of Aikido, like the practice of any art for a member of Oomoto-kyo, was a means of promoting the Divine within oneself, and ultimately a means for achieving unification with the Divine.

Many of Ueshiba's doka were lessons of strategy and technique. Others were lessons about the mystical and spiritual side of Aikido, and how Aikido relates to God and the Divine. The examples below show how Ueshiba viewed the connection between his religion and Aikido.

The Divine Will
Permeating body and soul
is the blade of Aiki:
Polish it, make it shine
throughout this world of ours!
(Ueshiba 1993, 41)

This doka makes it quite explicit that Aikido is an activity that is intimately connected with religion.

Aiki-[its mysteries]
can never be encompassed
by the brush or by the mouth.
Do not rely on words to grasp it,
attain enlightenment through practice!
(Ueshiba 1993, 41)

Though Ueshiba was hardly a Buddhist, still the idea of enlightenment, or sudden, individual understanding about the true nature of things, is such a common idea in Japan after a millennium and a half of exposure to Buddhism that it can be seen here when Ueshiba describes attaining true understanding through Aikido.

Protecting the Way
of gods and buddhas
in this world of ours:
The techniques of Aiki
are the law of kusanagi.
(Ueshiba 1993, 45)


Taking into account my pre-ramble, perhaps you can see my perspective of where a lot of current thought on Ueshiba's writings is simply misdirected because the root understanding of ki/qi and qigongs was kept secret and few of today's practitioners understand the relationships and classical concepts that Ueshiba was referring to. In turn, those classical concepts are turning out to have been based on a far more practical body-technology that we have previously credited.

FWIW

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 11:52 AM
It kind of becomes a Chicken or the Egg thing. I guess I just have trouble with the idea that manifestations of these princples could have come before the philosophical underpinnings. Did China have their own verision of kotodama? Would it really be considered Chinese? They have a word for "air" which probably came before the English word for "air" but I don't think of "air" as Chinese or Mesopotamean either...

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 11:54 AM
Did China have their own verision of kotodama? Would it really be considered Chinese? Yes.

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 12:00 PM
Well, there you have it. It makes you wonder then, who owns "sunlight"?

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 12:09 PM
My reply was too short, I think. The "sounds" and "vibrations" thing originates in India (think of the mantras at certain tones and of things like "OM", which also happens to be a ki/qi/prana developing device). The Chinese developed their own versions along the same theory-lines, etc., which most probably came to China via India. Given how many of these things have been laughed off and then later turned out to have a basis in fact, it makes one wonder if some more research shouldn't be done on the relationship of certain vibrations with the mind/fascia/body thing.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 12:15 PM
I would have thought they existed in early human intuition regardless of location or copyright.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
05-20-2005, 02:00 PM
Yea cavemen probably figured out they could make sounds that resonated and harmonized for sure. Certainly they did not understand it explicitly, but certainly they intuitively did.

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 02:24 PM
Yea cavemen probably figured out they could make sounds that resonated and harmonized for sure. Certainly they did not understand it explicitly, but certainly they intuitively did. And you have some support for this certainty of what went on in caveman times? ;)

Mike

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 02:31 PM
Hey pot, that kettle sure is black, isn't it?

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 02:55 PM
Hey pot, that kettle sure is black, isn't it?Rob, how about quit constantly detroying threads with your venom and immaturity? Take it down to 'Open Discussion' and shake your golden curls and stamp your tiny foot down there. You've been part of ruining about 3 threads, now.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 04:13 PM
I thought you didn't take this personally... How about you try not demanding we all agree with you, and attacking anyone who dares disagree - and I'll stop daring to disagree. Otherwise, dry your eyes and deal with it.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 06:03 PM
I thought you didn't take this personally... How about you try not demanding we all agree with you, and attacking anyone who dares disagree - and I'll stop daring to disagree. Otherwise, dry your eyes and deal with it.

Hmmmmm. Show me the quotes on the "demanding", Rob, since that's what you're accusing me of.

And show me where you represent "all" the people and viewpoints on this forum. This little trick of yours where you represent that it's me against "everyone", when it's really just you and a few of the self-absorbed needs to be stopped. As a matter of fact, while we're on it, a couple of students of Ikeda and Saotome are curious about your twice usage of their names in claiming you're studying something special with Saotome and Ikeda. Perhaps you'd like to expand on it, since you're bandying their names about.

Lastly, how about a quote showing an "attack" since you're making that charge, too. And since when are you the moderator of the forum that you think these things are your responsibility?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Stefan Stenudd
05-20-2005, 06:41 PM
In talking to Stefan yesterday, I was trying to think of some definitive "classical" work that he was asking for

Actually, I was not asking for literature, but suggesting some - for example, the Yellow Emperor classic. The other books I mentioned were I Ching (Yi Jing) and Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing).

Personally, I find Tao Te Ching the most interesting one, also regarding the cosmology of ki/qi.

eyrie
05-20-2005, 06:54 PM
Mike,

Thank you for the extremely informative post #46.

Even though you haven't given away the entire shop, it has opened a few windows and given me just enough information to work with, in my own research and practice.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

wendyrowe
05-20-2005, 07:05 PM
In talking to Stefan yesterday, I was trying to think of some definitive "classical" work that he was asking forActually, I was not asking for literature, but suggesting some...I think he was referring to post #20 by Alfonso Adriasola:
Is there a known body of work (Chinese?) that consists of the "classics" that you mention?

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 09:54 PM
Hi Mike,

I'd take this to a PM but it belongs here because it is an example of what I stated early on in this thread - that a basic element of aikido is not intimidating anyone else and not being intimidated by anyone else.

So, I'll bite... The something special I'm studying with Saotome sensei and Ikeda sensei is called "aikido.". After seminars, whenever I get a chance to discuss anything of interest on that special subject with either of those men, I try to take it. I've done so in front of several witnesses. Sometimes I get surface level answers, sometime I get really great answers, and sometimes I get answers that I really need to think about and work on. Ask a more specific question and I'm certain I can provide examples in detail. I'm not really sure where you were going with that in the first place.

If you really feel that this statement "How about you try not demanding we all agree with you, and attacking anyone who dares disagree - and I'll stop daring to disagree" is an overstatement, then fine, I'm sorry. I should have written "How about you try not demanding we all agree with you, BY attacking anyone who dares disagree - and I'll stop daring to disagree". I'm sorry for my carelessness. Now about your contention with the "all" part; well, I'll take that back the moment you provide the number of any post in a thread where ANYONE disagreed with you and you acknowledged it as a fair point. I can find several where I have done so. I assume someone who is not "self-absorbed" can do the same.

The way I see it, the fact that neither of us are the moderator means that both of our presented opinions are open to discussion and argument. You do get to misrepresent what people say, trivialize other people's points to the cows come home, and you get to project all of your nonsense onto others here and I agree it's not up to me to stop you. It's just that I get to disagree with you and highlight that's what it looks like you are doing and _the funny thing is_ you can put a stop to that. If you catch me stating an opinion as fact, or assuming the conclusion and then concluding the assumption, or doing anything else inappropriate that I think you do please by all means feel free to bring it up. I'm really okay with it. The bottom line is that we all get to disagree with each other's logic and tactics. (For instance, I disagree with some of the things you misrepresented about me being an expert who gets paid for teaching aikido and equates aikido to Zen or some such nonsense.) I'll continue to do by best to keep my disagreements on topic. So my take is that if you think I ruined 3 threads, consider that I think I contributed to them, and maybe I only ruined them for _you_ - but then you would have to consider that you are self-absorbed and just projecting.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 09:58 PM
I think he was referring to post #20 by Alfonso Adriasola: Ack. You're correct, Wendy... thanks. My apologies, Stefan.

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-20-2005, 10:24 PM
Thank you for the extremely informative post #46.

Even though you haven't given away the entire shop, it has opened a few windows and given me just enough information to work with, in my own research and practice. My pleasure, Ignatius, if it helps. It was a great irritation to me to spend so many years frustrated by not finding anyone with substantive information and at the time I promised myself that if I were the one with information worth sharing, I'd do so. Besides, I've gained some information on this forum that has been quite enlightening and it's only fair to go tit for tat.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-20-2005, 10:28 PM
Well, my hats off to you. I feel like we both win.

Rob

eyrie
05-20-2005, 11:36 PM
My pleasure, Ignatius, if it helps. It was a great irritation to me to spend so many years frustrated by not finding anyone with substantive information and at the time I promised myself that if I were the one with information worth sharing, I'd do so. Besides, I've gained some information on this forum that has been quite enlightening and it's only fair to go tit for tat.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Being of Chinese background, I understand your frustration, and can understand where you are coming from, and the obstacles you would have had to encounter in dealing with the Asian mentality and attitudes to westerners (and even towards other races within Asia itself).

So it may or may not surprise you, if I say, that what you write about understanding "idiomatic" phraseology and "cultural context" and "abtruse, flowery descriptions", that it actually means something to me!

So, yes, it helps, if we all continue to share in the same spirit, although I do not know enough at this stage to be able to share anything worthwhile.

Thank you once again.

Mike Sigman
05-21-2005, 08:46 AM
Being of Chinese background, ... Holy Smoke... that catches me by surprise, seeing that you have such a classical Latin Catholic name of the old european order. :) So it may or may not surprise you, if I say, that what you write about understanding "idiomatic" phraseology and "cultural context" and "abtruse, flowery descriptions", that it actually means something to me![That's reassuring to know, thanks. I used to spend a lot of time trying to glean information from the various abstract "poems" (there are so many of them), but it always turns out that the poems are more to help you remember or to show the author has knowledge, than to teach you how to do anything. [QUOTE]it helps, if we all continue to share in the same spirit, although I do not know enough at this stage to be able to share anything worthwhile.. You obviously will be one of the ones that learns, since you're serious. Either it will come as an aid to me or to someone else down the road. ;)

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
05-22-2005, 04:00 AM
Thanks for the kind words.

My parents were Catholic..... what can I say? ;)


I used to spend a lot of time trying to glean information from the various abstract "poems" (there are so many of them), but it always turns out that the poems are more to help you remember or to show the author has knowledge, than to teach you how to do anything


Unfortunately, that is how the old "inscrutable orientals" operated - they point at and talk around things, rather than speak to it directly. It is a (time honoured) way in which to communicate shared understanding, through deliberately vague analogy. Much like a secret codeword within a select circle. Unless you know the secret "codeword", the words, although in plain view, will mean nothing to you.

So something like "Mixing the essence of heaven and earth in man" would only mean something to someone who was also in the know, and since it doesn't say how, one can only presume that they were also privy to the same knowledge, either by being shown or having arrived at it independently.

So the question remains, *where* and *when* did Ueshiba obtain this knowlege and from *whom*? Was it on one of his sojurns to China/Mongolia, which was (deliberately?) omitted from his books?

And if Tohei did not put much faith in the old man's words (as in its literal meaning), how did he then arrive at the same conclusion? And how did he know how to utilize that knowledge?

Mary Eastland
05-22-2005, 07:45 AM
And if Tohei did not put much faith in the old man's words (as in its literal meaning), how did he then arrive at the same conclusion? And how did he know how to utilize that knowledge?

I would guess through dedicated training.

Mary

Mike Sigman
05-22-2005, 08:39 AM
So something like "Mixing the essence of heaven and earth in man" would only mean something to someone who was also in the know, and since it doesn't say how, one can only presume that they were also privy to the same knowledge, either by being shown or having arrived at it independently. I totally agree, but consider the use of the phrase you just used about "heaven and earth"... for Ueshiba to use it would indicate that he recognized it as an "in the know" phrase that was widespread among the cognoscenti and that more than just a few people would recognize it. It also (in conjunction with the supporting phraseology he uses) makes it clear that he was privy to the accepted phraseology used in China to describe these things, *at one level or another* (it needs to be kept in mind that there are degrees of this type of knowledge, from low to high). The point being that someone could have "arrived" at *some* parts of the ki and kokyu knowledge independently, but knowing what the prescribed phraseology meant indicates that they did NOT arrive at it independently. I.e., Ueshiba certainly had training of some sort. One of the questions that keep bothering me is why Tohei and others have not published an analysis of O-Sensei's comments within the doka... it's almost impossible, in my mind, that some of them don't know full well what Ueshiba was talking about. Their silence is something of a confirmation of the idea that secrets are being deliberately kept.So the question remains, *where* and *when* did Ueshiba obtain this knowlege and from *whom*? Was it on one of his sojurns to China/Mongolia, which was (deliberately?) omitted from his books? Given the indications that other ryu and arts used/use this same knowledge, etc., I'd suggest that he got his basic information (if not everything) in Japan. But that's just a guess. He may have acquired additive information in China.... that would certainly answer the question of why he thought his "art" deserved to be separate from Daito-Ryu. At the moment it's impossible to settle on a definite answer, though.And if Tohei did not put much faith in the old man's words (as in its literal meaning), how did he then arrive at the same conclusion? And how did he know how to utilize that knowledge? Tohei obviously was trained in a different manner in a different tradition... within the Chinese communitiy there are also a number of approaches. However the point is that regardless of the terminology, there's only one way these things works, whether between styles, traditions, cultures (e.g., Japan and China), and so on. So once Tohei got his knowledge, he would have been able to see how it was the same thing that Ueshiba used and he would have been able to easily extrapolate *some* of the things if there was a question about how something worked in a technique. Because there are levels of understanding, there may well be some things Ueshiba knew that Tohei never learned and vice versa. It's impossible to get much of this just by "hard practice"... someone has to teach you too many of things. The question of how much Ueshiba knew (I would bet heavily on "more" rather than "less", from what I've learned lately) is really what these discussions may ultimately delve into as more and more Aikido people become acquainted with the material.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

eyrie
05-22-2005, 08:38 PM
He may have acquired additive information in China....

For argument's sake, let's suppose he did, or he observed something whilst he was there, that opened a window for him? We must then also assume that the basic information was already available to him, via Daito-ryu. Perhaps our fellow Daito-ryu practitioners here can pitch in? Are there specific exercises in Daito that focus specifically on ki and kokyu development?


So once Tohei got his knowledge, he would have been able to see how it was the same thing that Ueshiba used and he would have been able to easily extrapolate *some* of the things...

How does this explain Shioda's abilities? Shioda must have been shown the same, if not similar, things.


It's impossible to get much of this just by "hard practice"... someone has to teach you too many of things.

I agree. Or they have to at least show you, and open certain doors at your level of experience.

Out of curiousity, how much of the imagery used in the dokas is easily attributable to Omoto-kyo cosmology?

rob_liberti
05-22-2005, 08:49 PM
Out of curiousity, how much of the imagery used in the dokas is easily attributable to Omoto-kyo cosmology?If it turned out to be 100%, what would that mean?

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-22-2005, 10:07 PM
For argument's sake, let's suppose he did, or he observed something whilst he was there, that opened a window for him? We must then also assume that the basic information was already available to him, via Daito-ryu. Perhaps our fellow Daito-ryu practitioners here can pitch in? Are there specific exercises in Daito that focus specifically on ki and kokyu development? Isn't that like asking most Aikido practitioners the specifics of the inner-core ki and kokyu exercises? The vast majority of practitioners are unaware that there is any such thing, would probably insist that they know all there is, etc. and might get irritated with you bringing up the topic which obliquely infers that they don't know everything about their art. :) I.e., asking an open question like this probably won't yield any substantive results of a pro or con nature. How does this explain Shioda's abilities? Shioda must have been shown the same, if not similar, things. I don't know. I've been trying to puzzle that out for a while and I simply don't have enough information to put my chips on any solid bet. If I had to guess, Shioda's training was not complete in the classical sense, but he was a smart man and he knew a lot and gave a very good analysis of what he knew. For all practical purposes, in my personal opinion, he knew more than enough to wind up with some of the best Aikido in the full sense of the term Aikido. Whether he was able or willing to transmit all he knew is a question I don't have the answer to, but I think it would be interesting to know. Note that it appears that Ueshiba did not transmit everything he knew to his students, either, except for possibly one or two (this comment reflects an opinion and is not meant to be "fact"). Out of curiousity, how much of the imagery used in the dokas is easily attributable to Omoto-kyo cosmology? Well some of it must be, but certainly not all... not unless Omoto-kyo also taught martial arts. ;) It appears that Ueshiba was combining his martial arts, his ki and kokyu knowledge (including the classical stuff), and his religion... all 3 of them... eclectically into his new martial art, Aikido.

It also appears that the fairly clever uchi-deshi focused on the martial art and the ki/kokyu things and didn't get too involved in the religious part (some state this avoidance of religion publicly in interviews, so it's a pretty safe statement to make). I would personally tend to go this route also and to glean the martial and ki aspects out separately.

My other personal tendency would be to do sort of what Tohei does in respect to assigning rank in Aikido and also rank in "ki development". I.e., by doing this, Tohei is pointing out that ki/kokyu development is not necessarily chained to Aikido or any other art. However, Tohei's approach is to teach ki within Aikido and I tend to suggest that you don't need any particular martial art to learn the skills (which is what a number of qigongs also do, BTW).

In other words, going back to your question, I think Ueshiba's imagery was composed of religion, martial art/tactics/strategy, and ki development (in the martial sense). So I wouldn't attribute all of his imagery to Omoto-kyo, personally.

My opinion, FWIW

Mike

eyrie
05-22-2005, 10:41 PM
I just found an interview of Tohei by Aikido Journal, in which Tohei specifically states that he got the key (pun intended) from his sempai Tempu Nakamura (who was, in Tohei's words, "a yoga master and psychologist").

Here's the bit I found:

When I went to Hawaii and tried to use the techniques I had learned from Ueshiba Sensei, I found that many of them were ineffective. What Sensei said and what he did were two different things. For example, despite the fact that he himself was very relaxed, he told his students to do sharp, powerful techniques. When I got to Hawaii, however, there were guys as strong as Akebono and Konishiki [two well-known Hawaiian sumo wrestlers] all over the place. There’s just no way to use force or power to prevail against that kind of strength.

When you’re firmly pinned or controlled, the parts of your body that are pinned directly simply can’t move. All you can do is start a movement from those parts that you can move, and the only way to do that successfully is to relax. Even if your opponent has you with all his strength, you can still send him flying if you’re relaxed when you do your throw. This was something I experienced first-hand during that trip to Hawaii, and when I returned to Japan and had another look at Ueshiba Sensei, I realized that he did indeed apply his techniques from a very relaxed state.

While I was with Ueshiba Sensei I was also studying under Tempu Nakamura. It was he who first taught me that "the mind moves the body." Those words struck me like a bolt of electricity and opened my eyes to the whole realm of aikido. From that point on I began to rework all of my aikido techniques. I threw away techniques that went against logic and selected and re-organized those I felt were usable.

Now my aikido consists of about thirty percent Ueshiba Sensei’s techniques and seventy percent my own.

Mike Sigman
05-22-2005, 10:55 PM
I just found an interview of Tohei by Aikido Journal, in which Tohei specifically states that he got the key (pun intended) from his sempai Tempu Nakamura (who was, in Tohei's words, "a yoga master and psychologist").: I have that particular interview in my files already and it essentially credits Nakamura with some of Tohei's knowledge and slightly disparages Ueshiba's Aikido. In other places in the same interview, some of the comments about Ueshiba seem to, in my personal opinion, go a bit over the top... so I tend to mark the exactness of the assertions in that interview as being subject to question because there is evidently some amount of conflict involved.

I have no problem with the idea that Tohei learned some of the basic ki knowledge via Nakamura, though. However, since the principles of ki development are fairly immutable, I only note that this tells me that Ueshiba didn't share freely. ;)

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
05-22-2005, 10:57 PM
Isn't that like asking most Aikido practitioners the specifics of the inner-core ki and kokyu exercises? The vast majority of practitioners are unaware that there is any such thing, would probably insist that they know all there is, etc. and might get irritated with you bringing up the topic which obliquely infers that they don't know everything about their art. :) I.e., asking an open question like this probably won't yield any substantive results of a pro or con nature.


My bad. I'm sure I could have phrased it better. ;)


Well some of it must be, but certainly not all... not unless Omoto-kyo also taught martial arts. ;) It appears that Ueshiba was combining his martial arts, his ki and kokyu knowledge (including the classical stuff), and his religion... all 3 of them... eclectically into his new martial art, Aikido.


Onasaburo Deguchi, from all accounts, was largely instrumental in encouraging Ueshiba in this matter. Put together the (historical) fact that, both men were extremely eccentric and probably fed off each others idiosyncracies, it wouldn't be at all surprising.


...Tohei is pointing out that ki/kokyu development is not necessarily chained to Aikido or any other art. However, Tohei's approach is to teach ki within Aikido and I tend to suggest that you don't need any particular martial art to learn the skills (which is what a number of qigongs also do, BTW).


Well it's not. And I agree, you don't need to. Personally, if I were to do ki, I would go back to the source, i.e. yoga and shaolin/wudang-based martial qigong.

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 07:17 AM
Personally, if I were to do ki, I would go back to the source, i.e. yoga and shaolin/wudang-based martial qigong. Which is not a bad idea. However, just to be careful about the words since other people are reading, let me add that this area of ki we're discussing is really a subset of the general term "ki", which is a general term encompassing a lot of different topics. What you're saying is that in terms of the specific body skills termed "ki", you'd approach it more directly and I agree.

The second point I'd make is that the general approach to this odd strength/skill called "ki" through yoga and qigongs is more direct but it doesn't include some of the specialized body skills that are developed for martial application. The most obvious example is the ways of releasing power, but there are other aspects as well.

Yiquan is a popular martial art among some westerners and a few Chinese that focuses on going straight to how the power of the body and how power-releases are taught. The problem is that most of the teaching material out there which claims to be very open and "revealing all the secrets" is really not, although it might appear to do so, in the eyes of neophytes. Still, it's more obvious than most arts, by far. I keep having the side thought that if you understand a few basic principles of ki development using Yiquan methods, Yiquan practice (of the basics) might be the single best supplement to Aikido because its approach to development is somewhat along the lines of Aikido (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training). Just a thought.

FWIW

Mike

wendyrowe
05-23-2005, 07:28 AM
... (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training)...
I don't know the others, but I train in taiji with someone who holds rank in external MAs and consequently does taiji in that context and as qigong instead of just as a sort of new-age dance exercise as it's taught in some places. When kept true to its roots, it seems to be as close to aikido as you can get. Granted, it's generally trained slowly; but if you apply those forms at full speed in a martial context, they are exactly the same blend-and-redirect movements as in aikido. I've always thought that taiji is essentially the Chinese version of aikido, and have heard the same from others.

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 07:46 AM
I don't know the others, but I train in taiji with someone who holds rank in external MAs and consequently does taiji in that context and as qigong instead of just as a sort of new-age dance exercise as it's taught in some places. When kept true to its roots, it seems to be as close to aikido as you can get. Granted, it's generally trained slowly; but if you apply those forms at full speed in a martial context, they are exactly the same blend-and-redirect movements as in aikido. I've always thought that taiji is essentially the Chinese version of aikido, and have heard the same from others. Hmmmm. No offense, but Taiji (which I've done for a little more than 20 years; enough to know that there is not a single westerner and dam-few Chinese that are really good at it) is different from Aikido in a couple of major respects. Aikido uses kokyu and ki, as do many martial arts, but it uses them in the way that a good Shaolin-based martial art does, not in the way that Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua do. Aikido does not use the basic six-harmonies way of moving and that method is the mainstay of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua. Very easy to show the difference. The problem is that there are many people teaching Taiji and many people teaching Aikido and there are few that really know those arts completely. In the case of Taiji, it's harder to learn how to control the body properly than it is in Aikido. A quick check would be that someone who really does Taiji will have a muscular ability to isolate and move the muscles in front of the dantien without moving the rest of the body.... there's a reason that "qi ball" develops; it's not done by itself. I know of no western teachers that have developed that characteristic of real Taiji.... and that indicates they're not really doing Taiji. Does anyone know any anecdotes about any of the uchi-deshi that have such a characteristic, BTW?

In other words, I politely disagree with your characterization, Wendy, but I mean it in a non-offensive way. ;)

Mike

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 08:05 AM
Out of curiousity, how much of the imagery used in the dokas is easily attributable to Omoto-kyo cosmology? Well some of it must be, but certainly not all... not unless Omoto-kyo also taught martial arts. It appears that Ueshiba was combining his martial arts, his ki and kokyu knowledge (including the classical stuff), and his religion... all 3 of them... eclectically into his new martial art, Aikido.I think I have a very different idea of what a principle is. To me, a principle must satisfy the principle of correspondence (basically as above, so below, as below, so above). So for instance, the principle of "move off the line" is a principle because its meaning applies to the mind, body, and spirit. My assumption is that the kotodama are such principles. A religious man saw kotodama through his eyes and made a religion. A martial artist who was also very religious saw kotodama through his eyes and made a marital art based on universal principles and tried to explain it by both of the means he was able to really grasp the ideas. Any other martial art based on the same principles will have things in common with it. The differences will probably have a lot more to do with the problems the inventors are interested in solving. I have no doubt that the same body of knowledge influenced other martial arts before aikido. It seems more likely to me that the Japanese were just good at preserving that body of knowledge all together - as I have never heard about a Chinese version of kotodama. (Or the Chinese were remarkably better at hiding it!) But the idea of any nationality owning them is silly. The Chinese manifestations of them are clear enough evidence to me that at least at one point in their history they had those philosophical principles guiding them. Are some Chinese manifestations of these idea a good thing to look at and study - sure. Should we assume that some very important things in Aikido came from China - I wouldn't go that far myself. I'd go so far as assuming that some very important things in Aikido got to Japan by way of China. But early human intuition is all of ours. No one owns it. Different people express it different ways. Heck, read Walt Whitman's poems and you might be very inspired by his apparent understanding of kotodama. I wouldn't be suprised if he had never had any exposer to the Chinese or Japanese represenation of that body of knowledge.

Lastly, I keep reading something to the effect that aikido people might not want to admit they don't know everything about aikido. I have never met one person in aikido who said that. Is there a quote from a book or is this just a re-occurring exaggeration like "90% of all fights go to the ground and if you count knock outs then 100%" ? While I suppose that one or two people may have deluded themselves in this way, the apparent exaggeration seems a bit dishonest.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 08:12 AM
But the idea of any nationality owning them is silly. [snip] While I suppose that many one or two people have deluded themselves in this way, the apparent exaggeration seems a bit dishonest. Has anyone made a claim about some nationality "owning" something? Could I see the quote, please? The second sentence seems to be appropriate in terms of the first assertion.

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
05-23-2005, 08:15 AM
Hi Rob, kind of like aikdo has the market on 'new age'...but I think we all get that the exageration is in fact based in some amount of truth.

Given the indications that other ryu and arts used/use this same knowledge, etc., I'd suggest that he got his basic information (if not everything) in Japan. But that's just a guess. He may have acquired additive information in China.... that would certainly answer the question of why he thought his "art" deserved to be separate from Daito-Ryu. At the moment it's impossible to settle on a definite answer, though.

Again, I don't think that dismissing the input of Daito-ryu would be prudent...at least not without some experiential basis for it. I have seen the use of what has been described here as qi-gongs in various lineages of Daito ryu. And my own personal level there is rather low...mostly open seminars and such. Another reason why these things might not be so well known by the public about Daito-ryu is not that they aren't there...its more that Daito-ryu tends to be much more of a 'closed shop' than aikido. That's just the way it is.

Best,
Ron

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 08:31 AM
That's easy enough! "Japan owns Tokyo." Your turn! One example, if you please, of an aikido person who claims to know it all...

Seriously, I think if you look in many of the 'aikido came from China' or 'O-sensei must have had Chinese influence' etc. threads, you might be able to find quite a few inferences to the idea that some of the body power stuff MUST have come from China because we can find manifestations of those principles in China earlier than we can in Japan. Or that aikido as a Japanese manifestation of these principles is somehow incomplete, as opposed to not thoroughly explored (which is usually a good working definistion of a "way" or a "path"). No doubt that getting a broader version of different cultures' expressions of such things can be helpful. Is it neccessary? No. Might it actually confuse some other essential matters much more than help others? Possibly. Does someone who knows a but about the Chinese expression of such things even if they have limited experience with aikido know squat about aikido - doubtful. (Unless that is that they were a true Chinese master, but I'll take yout word that there are very few of them and no westerners.)

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 11:06 AM
Does someone who knows a but about the Chinese expression of such things even if they have limited experience with aikido know squat about aikido - doubtful. (Unless that is that they were a true Chinese master, but I'll take yout word that there are very few of them and no westerners.) You just can't stop, can you, Rob? I love how you embody the spirit of a lot of American Aikido.

I think it would be a good discussion, if you want to discuss it, about who knows what in Aikido (i.e.,... you're once again feeling for the "credentials in order to trivialize" idea, and it's obvious to a lot of people). Why don't you start another thread on "open discussion", since you like to go personal so much, and let's try to figure out whether my 8 years of Aikido and my knowledge of ki and kokyu gives me perhaps better "credentials", since that's what you want to argue? Of course, I suspect I'm going to simply be another victim of yours like the well-known Aikido poster on this forum whom you told me privately "doesn't know anything... he's just a nidan". But why not start another thread that just honestly devotes itself to personal attack somewhere instead of constantly going back to your venomous style, Rob? Perhaps it would do you some good to just be able to rant about me as much as you want. :freaky: Oh... and please do everyone a favor and don't go disingenuous on us again. I await your thread.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 01:00 PM
At first, my response was only going to be "All of my comments were on topic. In this very thread, you wanted to trivilize my points by attacking my credentials - so maybe you shouldn't dish it out if you can't take it." - But you are right. Trivilizing someone else's opinions, points, or experiences - especially based on their credentials is wrong in a forum. I shouldn't have responded in kind. Let's BOTH not do it anymore.

I can't find where I thought a nidan knows _nothing_. If I did say it, shame on me for my arrogance. They obviously know up to nidan level and I'm sure they know something better than me depending on their area of focus (as there are monay). I apologize to the nameless nidan I may have privately slandered. Regardless, I actually have been a nidan and have trained with many from many schools so I'm pretty sure that any remark I made on general aikido nidan ability is at least coming from some personal experience. I got the impression that you are dissatisfied with the aikido taught by the shihan in this country. I had assumed you didn't reach shihan in your 8 years of aikido and that 8 years of aikido plus lots of Chinese MA didn't qualify you to judge that either.

One of the most useful basic elements of aikido is that less developed people try to force their will and ideas about how things should be on everyone else and hopefully find it to be so frustrating that they eventually change.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 01:22 PM
I got the impression that you are dissatisfied with the aikido taught by the shihan in this country. So? It's an opinion and it's certainly not mine alone. If you have a point to add to a debate, please do so.... but try to do it on topic and without constantly reaching for the personal.

I'm actually heartened by a lot of the Aikido people nowadays. The preponderance of horse's asses isn't so pronounced... there are actually some good martial artists who are not into role-playing and who are also on the lookout for information about not only Aikido, but martial arts as a whole. As I've stated before, I'm speaking to people like those, Rob, not people like you.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 01:29 PM
I apologize to the nameless nidan I may have privately slandered. Regardless, I actually have been a nidan and have trained with many from many schools so I'm pretty sure that any remark I made on general aikido nidan ability is at least coming from some personal experience. Two comments. That nidan was from the Ki Society, if that will help jog your memory. I know Shodans that have been doing Aikido longer than you have, Rob, and one or two Ikkyu's. They're not interested in the ranks and simply don't bother with it. Are you better than they are? I don't think so. As I've noted before, the attention to "rank" as credentials in the martial arts is misleading. The first day I ever took karate I had to spar with a sandan in the free-sparring after class and I took him down repeatedly with judo throws after dodging his kicks and punches. I couldn't care less what someone's "rank" is... I'm interested in what they know, as shown by what they can do. Male or female, big or little, black or white, hot or cold... it's all about the results, not the role-playing.

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
05-23-2005, 01:56 PM
Ya know what? why not take the last 5 or so posts to private email. I'm certainly not interested, and a lot of others as well, I'm sure.

Best,
Ron

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 02:04 PM
When you started Karate, and you were dominating people with your Judo background, my guess is that the instructor didn't ask you to start teaching "Karate" just then.

Regardless, those ikkyus and shodans sound like they are in a good place where they are not interested in getting themselves/their thoughts validated - especially at the expense of others. They probably haven't trivalized anyone else's points or opinions in many of the years they've remained at their present rank. I really admire people like that. It's too bad that people like that are not taking more of a leadership role in aikido - because maybe fewer outsiders might not be so down on the state of affairs of aikido in the States.

Again (but more specifically now), my apologies to all Ki Society nidans. While I think you probably don't know much about aikido "power" as opposed to "flow" considering what is normally meant by that level, you may be someone who should have been promoted to yondan for your aikido martial ability and just decided that rank was not for you.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
05-23-2005, 02:58 PM
There's a guy named Tuey that is american out in ST Louis that is pretty good at Taiji, impressed me and many others. I don't have much experience in Taiji, but I have great respect for the people in Aikido circles that all but gave up studying aikido to work with this guy. All I can tell you is if I were in ST Louis, this is what I would be doing today.

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 03:40 PM
While I think you probably don't know much about aikido "power" as opposed to "flow" considering what is normally meant by that level, you may be someone who should have been promoted to yondan for your aikido martial ability and just decided that rank was not for you. So, Rob.... lay it out factually. Tell me something about "flow" and "power" that you think I may not know. Explain how it's done, even. I've spent a lot of time talking about ki and kokyu and you have yet to rebutt me factually.... if you want to start a different tack on "power" and "flow", do so. I'll either admit I know nothing about it, little about it, or I'll rebutt your positions factually. I won't start trying to assassinate your character. Same would happen on a Chinese arts list... people who devolve to character attacks are simply thrown off on the better lists.

So.... lay out some facts to back up your position. Don't make it a matter of me and what I know... lay it out factually, what it is and how it's done, etc. Focus on the facts of that issue alone, as a suggestion?

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 03:46 PM
There's a guy named Tuey that is american out in ST Louis that is pretty good at Taiji, impressed me and many others. I don't have much experience in Taiji, but I have great respect for the people in Aikido circles that all but gave up studying aikido to work with this guy. All I can tell you is if I were in ST Louis, this is what I would be doing today. Hi Kevin:

My only comment is to repeat what I've said before.... I don't know any westerners that are really good in Taiji. If you think there's someone who is good, engage him for a few minutes and focus on how much he uses his arms and shoulders. If you notice that there's a lot of shoulder usage, then no matter how "good" his reputation is among the peer groups, it's not necessarily "good" in the sense of Aikido, Taiji, Bagua, etc., etc. Just a comment, fwiw. Think of that the next time you meet someone who is "good" at Taiji, or "good" at Aikido, even (watch how much shoulder is used by most people in kokyu-ho-dosa, as a point in fact). ;)

Mike

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 04:48 PM
Mike, you misunderstood. I was speaking to aikido nidans. It is fairly commonly accepted that aikido shodan is just slightly better than surface level technique, nidan is about flow, and sandan is about power. I realize I could have been more clear, but I did mention the word "nidan" in that sentence and preceeded it with a second apology to all of them. My assumption is that if I were saying a nidan didn't know _anything_ to you that is was most likely in the context of kokyu power, and that is not typically appropriate for that level -- as opposed to So and so is completely worthless because or their title - as it seems you misunderstood me to mean back then.

It would have been interesting to hear how do those Chinese forums deal with intellectual bullies, as well. Myself, I just give as good as I get. While imitation is the highest form of flattery, your point about how it's much better to not try to validate yourself or your position at the expense of others is right on the money. I'm sure we'll both make sure not to do that from this point forward... That was a really good point and I'm glad you made it.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 05:40 PM
Mike, you misunderstood. (snip umpteenth time Liberti has been invited to post something of substance, posts no substance, and goes to personal remarks) You don't really have anything to say substantive about the issue, do you, Rob? You're just carping and whining. Tell us something about the "power" of sandan that I don't understand, Rob. Show me "intellectual bullying". You are once again making charges and not backing them up when called for quotes, Rob. Do you have ANYTHING substantive to contribute to any of these threads??

Let's see the quotes on the intellectual bullying, Rob.... calling you on it again. Also calling.... again... for you to contribute some substance rather than charges.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
05-23-2005, 08:30 PM
Like Ron says, perhaps the last couple of posts could have gone to PM.

Back on topic...in relation to yoga etc.

Which is not a bad idea. However, just to be careful about the words since other people are reading, let me add that this area of ki we're discussing is really a subset of the general term "ki", which is a general term encompassing a lot of different topics. What you're saying is that in terms of the specific body skills termed "ki", you'd approach it more directly and I agree.


I am aware of the vagueness and general encompassing nature of "ki", from having a cultural context which I am familiar with and also an interest in TCM.

So, yes, we are specifically talking about developing a specific set of body (more specifically, martial) skills.


The second point I'd make is that the general approach to this odd strength/skill called "ki" through yoga and qigongs is more direct but it doesn't include some of the specialized body skills that are developed for martial application. The most obvious example is the ways of releasing power, but there are other aspects as well.


Yes, I agree. In terms of developing the ability to store, channel and use ki for bodily health, maintenance and general wellbeing, it is a direct approach. And yes, it does not include the specialized martial skills, but it does provide a decent foundation from which to work with.


... I keep having the side thought that if you understand a few basic principles of ki development using Yiquan methods, Yiquan practice (of the basics) might be the single best supplement to Aikido because its approach to development is somewhat along the lines of Aikido (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training). Just a thought.


I have not had the pleasure of seeing or experiencing Yiquan. I'm not sure if there is anyone "qualified" to teach it out here in the stix. :)

However, I have had the brief pleasure of training with a Chinese (as in mainland China) gentleman who had done the 3 internal arts, in addition to a shaolin derived gongfu. He was also a practising acupuncturist by profession, so he would have at least had to have a working understanding of the subject matter, albeit in a different context.

I have to agree, although the fundamental philosophy and principles of application appear to be sympathico with taiji, the movements are not. The way (I saw) this man's taiji work, was receiving "ki" through the hands, waist and feet into the ground, and releasing it back from the ground, feet, waist and hands - like a spring. The way he moved, was very different to how we (I) do it in aiki, yet, I could see *some* similarity in principle, but not a lot, the whole body structural alignment thing is different.

Mike Sigman
05-23-2005, 10:04 PM
However, I have had the brief pleasure of training with a Chinese (as in mainland China) gentleman who had done the 3 internal arts, in addition to a shaolin derived gongfu. He was also a practising acupuncturist by profession, so he would have at least had to have a working understanding of the subject matter, albeit in a different context.

I have to agree, although the fundamental philosophy and principles of application appear to be sympathico with taiji, the movements are not. The way (I saw) this man's taiji work, was receiving "ki" through the hands, waist and feet into the ground, and releasing it back from the ground, feet, waist and hands - like a spring. The way he moved, was very different to how we (I) do it in aiki, yet, I could see *some* similarity in principle, but not a lot, the whole body structural alignment thing is different. I didn't see him, so weight my comments accordingly, if you will. Think of his "receiving ki" as being along a direct path to the ground which compressed and released directly back or at some advantageous angle for the receiver. Perhaps into an "empty" area (the sky is a nice "empty" area, BTW, because no one can balance or stabilizie against the empty sky). There are ways to receive any incoming force, instantaneously combine with it (in an advantageous way that results in an "empty" spot for the attacker), etc. That is "Aiki", regardless of the body posture, alignment, etc. Instead of looking for the differences, why not look for the similarities and figure out how they're done?? :)

Regardless of the postures, techniques, etc., I saw Shioda Koncho do exactly this, so his use of forces was *similar* to and related to Yiquan, Taiji, etc., etc. Although not all ways lead to the top of the mountain (some lead to the tops of different mountains entirely), some ways are indeed leading to the top of the same mountain. ;)

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
05-23-2005, 10:40 PM
I didn't see him, so weight my comments accordingly, if you will. Think of his "receiving ki" as being along a direct path to the ground which compressed and released directly back or at some advantageous angle for the receiver. Perhaps into an "empty" area (the sky is a nice "empty" area, BTW, because no one can balance or stabilizie against the empty sky). There are ways to receive any incoming force, instantaneously combine with it (in an advantageous way that results in an "empty" spot for the attacker), etc. That is "Aiki", regardless of the body posture, alignment, etc. Instead of looking for the differences, why not look for the similarities and figure out how they're done?? :)


Darn! I usually do try to look for similarities rather than differences. Obviously not looking close enough. :(

Hmmm.... definitely more food for thought.

rob_liberti
05-23-2005, 11:12 PM
From where I see it:

- Starting in post 19, you seem to have just decided that these things must have all been Chinese and that many aikido experts are not up to your satisfaction. I think the quote thing is a bit silly as you should be able to remember what you wrote or look it up yourself, but some examples would be:

But despite his other credentials, it is almost completely doubtful that Stevens was also well-versed in the Chinese classical sayings about the training of qi, jin, etc., from which O-Sensei borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc.

As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido.

I don't know what's in the Kojiki, but regardless, "ki" is "qi", etc., and that all comes from the Chinese.

When I look at O-Sensei's writings, I see him over and over use basic Chinese ideas (mixed with a lot of Shinto, "purification", etc., of course) to essentially espouse the greatness of true Aikido practice that utilizes the learning of ki and kokyu skills because that is the way in which to become "natural" and "harmonize" with the rest of the universe.

== and then ==

I doubt that many people in the current "senior" generations in western Aikido, karate, Taiji, etc., will acquire extensive skills in these methods of body use, but it should be helpful for the up and coming generations (the ones who are serious, that is) to get a foothold in what Ueshiba and others were talking about.

And while I realize that some people who are "ranked" in Aikido and other arts may feel "intimidated" by discussions of something they don't have a handle on... i.e., that's just defensive pride... it's still important to move forward and get as much knowledge and skill as is possible in this area that Ueshiba called the "blade of Aiki".

As I noted, though, ultimately to ignore the possibility that some current "experts" don't know some basics (as mentioned and demonstrated by O-Sensei and some uchideshi), is an untenable position.


-In post 29, you attempted to snipe my credentials. I brought that up in post 34 and it went unanswered.

-Then in post 39, you blatantly fabricated what I publicly display as my credentials and informed me that it wasn't a personal remark.

- In post 44, I contributed an alternative idea for where O-sensei "borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc." and gave a link which you thought was a valuable enough substantive contribution that you quoted some of it yourself. We started quibbling over whether these ideas were Chinese for a few posts.

- In post 79, I contributed a substantive definition of a principle and to support my alternative that these things didn't have to come from China. In post 80, you seemed to want to know who thought they came from China. (I had the impression based on the previous quotes that you did.)

I can play the quote game forever. Like, show me the quote please for where I specifically accused you of intellectual bullying, but I agree it's beside the point of substantive contributions.

Ron and Ignatius. I would normally agree that some of these things should have been taken to PM, but as you can see:
1) Mike posts broken snippets of private conversations publicly.
2) As evidenced in the past (see post 39 for an example or three), I cannot trust him to fairly represent what was written.

Rob

My point is made. The last word is yours.

Ellis Amdur
05-24-2005, 12:06 AM
Just noticed this thread. I only have a little time for the next couple of weeks, but a few points. Tempu Nakamura developed his own method of "yoga" after trips to India, and I believe, the Himalayas and China. He certainly brought elements of mainland Asian religion and ascetic practice back to Japan. I may be able to find out more specifics in a month or so.
Secondly, regarding Ueshiba and elements of Chinese martial arts/philosophy. He trained in Shingon mikkyo, which is, essentially, Tibetan Buddhism filtered through China. Taoism is one of the main theoretical bases within koryu. Five element theory and yin-yang dynamism is pervasive in Araki-ryu and in Jikishin Kage-ryu, to mention only two, one of which I study. Chi-kung practices - CHINESE chi-kung practices - are very old in Japan. I cannot remember if it is Hakuin or Dogen, or another famous roshi, but the story is that his health was ruined by zazen (the Japanese typically turned meditation into a self-torture) and he sought out a Taoist who taught him a chi-kung method which healed him. As I remember, it included imagining an egg broken on the crown of the head, and it slowly seeping down the body, relaxing and healing as it went. In short, what I'm saying is that Japanese Buddhists were quite familiar with Taoist practices, philosophy and cosmology. Most old ryu have esoteric teachings that are an amalgam of neo-Confucianism (a mixture of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism), mikkyo and pure Taoism.
Finally, if nowhere else, Deguchi was a spiritual omnivore. He took the intuitive, channeled folk Shinto of his wife, and elaborated it into something far more grandiose and comprehensive. Any and all spiritual training, he devoured, transmuted and under slightly new form, it all came out Omotokyo.
My two of three essays (the third still in formation) regarding Ueshba's own description of his aikido focused on his intention - what he was trying to do, by his own account, in uniting heaven and earth in man - not on an explication of the secret code of training that might be inherent in his statements. That was, by the way, my whole point regarding Tohei. Tohei says that the metaphyisical explanations were irrelevant to the art of relaxation. My point is that they weren't to Ueshiba. They were a means to another end.
Anyway, I have absolutely no doubt that the elements of Taoism and Buddhist ascetic chi-kung so permeated much that Ueshiba studied that there is no possibility that he could have gotten it any other way. Japanese martial ryu without Chinese underpinnings would be quite different. It is true that, for most ryu, this did not include ki/kokyu training, at least in the manner we think of when we think of either aikido or such arts as t'ai chi or bagua - I know, I know - as different as these arts are from each other anyway).
By the way, all of this does not require that Ueshiba went to China to get the goods (that is dubious - he didn't have enough time, nor did he speak Chinese). It is simply that such doctrines were rife, and in some ascetic trainings, and a few ryu, actual teachings beyond mere doctrine were available. There are a few ryu which include purely native Japanese folk Shinto, with exorcism, purifications, etc. But I think Mike is correct that Ueshiba's Shinto - Omotokyo - is not "folk Shinto" - it is a syncretic new religion that integrated a lot of Buddhism and Taoism. Deguchi claimed himself to be a Buddha as Ueshiba claimed to be a Buddhist "diety" - Fudomyo, just to give some examples.

Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur
05-24-2005, 12:35 AM
Sorry, one final point I thought of after the editing function disappeared. There is a lot of literature in Japanese on ki/kokyu, etc., both considering Chinese material, and material in Japanese spiritual traditions. Those fluent in Japanese could spend half a lifetime establishing the details of Mike's claim - that ki and kokyu training is derived, in large part, from Chinese sources. Not exclusively - sure. Just as Japanese Buddhism is, in some significant ways, different from India and China, so too, surely, are the martial applications of ki/kokyu. With the impact of the shamanistic world view of Shinto and the particular requirements of the Japanese style of warfare and later, dueling combat, these methods surely permutated in some uniquely Japanese directions. Again, I doubt 100% that Ueshiba went to China to learn them, or that he had a secret bagua teacher in Tokyo. That would be no more necessary that it would be for Americans to go to England to learn parlimentary rules. Our system of government and law is certainly different from England's, but the roots are there. But we can learn at home, unless we wish to do English "style."

Ellis Amdur

Mike Sigman
05-24-2005, 07:01 AM
Those fluent in Japanese could spend half a lifetime establishing the details of Mike's claim - that ki and kokyu training is derived, in large part, from Chinese sources. Hi Ellis:

Frankly, given the overwhelming amount of borrowing that Japan did from China (it permeates even very small, mundane matters), I'm reluctant to engage seriously in conversation with anyone who wants to argue that there was no borrowing in regard to ki (a direct borrow of the word "qi") and related matters. Thanks for helping me save time. :)

The point I've tried to make, and I'll try it again, is that developing ki and kokyu skills is like developing the muscles and fitness for the 100-meter sprint... regardless of what country you come from and what "cultural tradition", there's not a heck of lot that's going to be ultimately different when you analyse it. The idea that there is a Chinese way of developing ki and expressing it and there is a somewhat different Japanese way of developing ki and expressing it borders on the absurd if you understand the basic principles. It's like someone trying to claim that the Chinese method of sprint training and results are demonstrably different from the Japanese sprint training and results or that the Japanese have a uniquely different way of training for sprinting. Try that on a sprinting coach in the Olympics and see how seriously the idea is accepted. ;) Even to offer up that sort of idea is to immediately show an ignorance of what the basic principles are.

Anyway, thanks for trying to help me make the point, Ellis.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-24-2005, 07:24 AM
That was, by the way, my whole point regarding Tohei. Tohei says that the metaphyisical explanations were irrelevant to the art of relaxation. My point is that they weren't [something] to Ueshiba. They were a means to another end. I earlier suggested that focusing on the metaphysical explanations that Ueshiba used in his doka would probably not be very fruitful in terms of actual "how-to" knowledge. Ellis is touching on that point again and I concur heartily. Acknowledging the references in deliberately obscured traditional "poems" and "songs" is one thing... taking them literally can be a waste of time.

Ellis has mentioned the five-elements theory (which comes from China, BTW) used in Japanese theories and it shows a relationship (establishing a codified "relationship" seems so important to human societies) between things. In Xingyi, which Ellis has done some of, there are 5 basic punches that are each tied to one of the five elements and they're called the "Five Element Fists". You can spend time examining how each fist somehow stimulates the liver, lungs, etc., etc., and how each fist "overcomes" certain other fists as do elements in the theory, and so on. However, if you get with one of the practical teachers from the old traditions they don't spend any time musing over the relationships of the five elements to these punches... they'll tell you flat out that the five elements fist practices is the practice of five basic and different ways of releasing power with the dantien control. I.e., I'm encouraging people to go to the practical without dwelling too much on the traditional attempts to tie the ki and kokyu trainings to the cosmos. "Mixing the ki of Heaven with the ki of Earth" is one thing; understanding that there are two basic types of training within the breathing practices is another. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
05-24-2005, 07:47 AM
I have studied Japanese and Korean for some time and I have to say I notice many more daily expressions with ki in in Japanese than I do in Korean. Considering that the two languages are VERY similar, meaning that much of modern Japanese, especially the grammar, came over with Koreans sometime past, it would seem plausible that Japan developed its particular brand of liking for ki somewhat separately, albeit undoubtably after being introduced from China (via Korea or directly).

Mike Sigman
05-24-2005, 07:55 AM
I have studied Japanese and Korean for some time and I have to say I notice many more daily expressions with ki in in Japanese than I do in Korean. Considering that the two languages are VERY similar, meaning that much of modern Japanese, especially the grammar, came over with Koreans sometime past, it would seem plausible that Japan developed its particular brand of liking for ki somewhat separately, albeit undoubtably after being introduced from China (via Korea or directly). IIRC, the current Korean language is not related to the Japanese language. This has been a puzzle for some time since it turns out that genetically the Japanese are obviously from Korea (except for the Ainu, of course). The current explanation of the different languages is that ancient Korean records show that there were six small kingdoms in Korea, each with their own different language. During the typical conflicts, one of the kingdom's people were driven to Japan, more or less.

FWIW

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
05-24-2005, 02:02 PM
Agree with you Mike, the underlying principles certainly are universal so only so much will ultimately differ.

However, using your Olympic team example, The Chinese certainly could adopt different methodologies for training sprinters that may give them an edge up on the competition.

Could it also be that differences in martial arts methodologies may result in different levels or paradigms of understanding of the same universal principles? I

Mike Sigman
05-24-2005, 02:46 PM
However, using your Olympic team example, The Chinese certainly could adopt different methodologies for training sprinters that may give them an edge up on the competition. I agree. But I would suggest that it's a matter of additive factors. I.e., the basic conditioning aspects of the sprinting *must* still be there and perhaps, as in your suggestion, the Chinese have found something that augments the basic training. In other words, you cannot get around the necessity of the basic principles of sprinting; you cannot get around the necessity of the basic principles of "ki", either. Could it also be that differences in martial arts methodologies may result in different levels or paradigms of understanding of the same universal principles? I would say yes. Let's just imagine that there are several distinct components that are called "ki", in this discussion of ki as a body-skills phenomenon (this is true... there are some distinct components, but they're all wrapped into the umbrella-term "ki"). If someone know some of the components, but not all, they can enhance some aspects of body performance, but not all. If someone is more skilled in usage of "kokyu" than someone else, then they will have a different level with the basic priniciples, and so on. You're applying common sense and what you're saying is true.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Rupert Atkinson
05-25-2005, 07:47 PM
IIRC, the current Korean language is not related to the Japanese language. This has been a puzzle for some time since it turns out that genetically the Japanese are obviously from Korea (except for the Ainu, of course). The current explanation of the different languages is that ancient Korean records show that there were six small kingdoms in Korea, each with their own different language. During the typical conflicts, one of the kingdom's people were driven to Japan, more or less.

FWIW

Mike

Mike,

What is the source of your info here? For example, there is a book by Chris Beckwith: Koguryo: The language of Japan's continental relatives. I have not seen it have heard Koreanists disagree with what it says - that he draws big conclusions from minimal info. The fact is that no one really knows about particular languages as there are few records and therefore little to study. Also, modern Korean grammar is really quite similar to Japanese such that anyone studying both will immediately have no doubt they are connected in some way.

Mike Sigman
05-25-2005, 09:46 PM
[QUOTE=Rupert AtkinsonWhat is the source of your info here? [/QUOTE] Hi Rupert:

It's not uncommon. Try this one: DISCOVER Vol. 19 No. 06 | June 1998 | Ancient Life

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
05-26-2005, 08:35 AM
Sorry... forgot it was a subscriber-only site. Here's the pertinent part of the article:

We have seen that the combined evidence of archeology, physical anthropology, and genetics supports the transparent interpretation for how the distinctive-looking Ainu and the undistinctive-looking Japanese came to share Japan: the Ainu are descended from Japan’s original inhabitants and the Japanese are descended from more recent arrivals. But that view leaves the problem of language unexplained. If the Japanese really are recent arrivals from Korea, you might expect the Japanese and Korean languages to be very similar. More generally, if the Japanese people arose recently from some mixture, on the island of Kyushu, of original Ainu-like Jomon inhabitants with Yayoi invaders from Korea, the Japanese language might show close affinities to both the Korean and Ainu languages. Instead, Japanese and Ainu have no demonstrable relationship, and the relationship between Japanese and Korean is distant. How could this be so if the mixing occurred a mere 2,400 years ago? I suggest the following resolution of this paradox: the languages of Kyushu’s Jomon residents and Yayoi invaders were quite different from the modern Ainu and Korean languages, respectively.

The Ainu language was spoken in recent times by the Ainu on the northern island of Hokkaido, so Hokkaido’s Jomon inhabitants probably also spoke an Ainu-like language. The Jomon inhabitants of Kyushu, however, surely did not. From the southern tip of Kyushu to the northern tip of Hokkaido, the Japanese archipelago is nearly 1,500 miles long. In Jomon times it supported great regional diversity of subsistence techniques and of pottery styles and was never unified politically. During the 10,000 years of Jomon occupation, Jomon people would have evolved correspondingly great linguistic diversity. In fact, many Japanese place-names on Hokkaido and northern Honshu include the Ainu words for river, nai or betsu, and for cape, shiri, but such Ainu-like names do not occur farther south in Japan. This suggests not only that Yayoi and Japanese pioneers adopted many Jomon place-names, just as white Americans did Native American names (think of Massachusetts and Mississippi), but also that Ainu was the Jomon language only of northernmost Japan.

That is, the modern Ainu language of Hokkaido is not a model for the ancient Jomon language of Kyushu. By the same token, modern Korean may be a poor model for the ancient Yayoi language of Korean immigrants in 400 b.c. In the centuries before Korea became unified politically in a.d. 676, it consisted of three kingdoms. Modern Korean is derived from the language of the kingdom of Silla, the kingdom that emerged triumphant and unified Korea, but Silla was not the kingdom that had close contact with Japan in the preceding centuries. Early Korean chronicles tell us that the different kingdoms had different languages. While the languages of the kingdoms defeated by Silla are poorly known, the few preserved words of one of those kingdoms, Koguryo, are much more similar to the corresponding Old Japanese words than are the corresponding modern Korean words. Korean languages may have been even more diverse in 400 b.c., before political unification had reached the stage of three kingdoms. The Korean language that reached Japan in 400 b.c., and that evolved into modern Japanese, I suspect, was quite different from the Silla language that evolved into modern Korean. Hence we should not be surprised that modern Japanese and Korean people resemble each other far more in their appearance and genes than in their languages.

Bill Danosky
05-27-2005, 04:42 PM
I believe I read that DNA tests can now clarify the actual lineage of individuals so that might help to someday solve part of this mystery. Sorry, I don't have the inclination to source this.

I'm late getting into this thread and I wondered if we are referring to the basic elements of Aikido as it differs from it's Ju Jitsu roots?

(Back to lurking)

JasonFDeLucia
06-15-2005, 09:09 PM
aikido 'the matching of the next reflex to its subsequent move'Jason,
I looked at this and initially I went, yes... but the more I looked at it the less I was sure what you meant. Could you elaborate?
- George
Axioms when pushed pull or turn ,when pulled push or enter .so then if you can cause someone to push or pull you ,you will lead them .suigetsu .