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ShugyoSystems
05-09-2005, 01:12 AM
Hey There Melburnians

I've just recently moved here from interstate and I've been looking for a new dojo for some time now... I'm hoping that someone can give me the hot tip on where to go.

I'm having a hard time finding a dojo because I have a few specific requirements:

1) I want to be able to train 7 days a week. I work shifts, overtime and on-call and so I may or may not be available on any given day. Besides, to be honest, given the opportunity, I will train 7 days a week. I'm an Aiki-jun-ki ;)

2) I want a dojo affiliated with a major organisation because I've moved 4 times in the last ten years and every time I move interstate I join a new school and it's back to white belt for me... It's getting a little frustrating :\ I

3) A sizable dojo. A few that I've seen have been top classes with top teachers but the dojo have been smaller than my bedroom, and as a result the class basically stand by and watch while two or sometimes four others practice. I'm used to a dojo the size of two full basketball/netball courts (Jan de Jong in Perth if anyone knows of it) and I would think that in a place like Melbourne there would be something even better? I want to throw and be thrown without worrying about hitting some poor kid's head, or my own, on the wall! ;)

4) No separatism/elitism within the school. I'm tired of being separated from higher/lower experienced students. It's no good, and the only reason it's happening is because the dojo is simply too small to fit everyone. I want to be able to learn from those more talented than I, and I'd like those less talented to be able to learn from me... And another thing - Hakama. A quick search around here will point to many a reference to Osensei claiming that training was to be done in hakama, and not just Gi(I believe he referred to the dogi as 'underwear'?)... And yet the majority (dare I say ALL?) of dojo which claim to follow the style of Osensei will not allow anyone sub-yudansha to wear the hakama. Now me personally, I've been studying MA's for 7 years now, and much of it has been done wearing hakama.I feel uncomfortable having it removed, and I really don't see why I shouldn't wear it. I mean, it has been argued that it hides poor leg movements, but if that's really the case then they would offer to allow me to wear it after having confirmed that my footwork is all good. But I'm always confronted with "only black belts get to wear them"... :( If it's a matter of 'rank', well sheeet, people, what do you want, a medal? Crikey it's just a pair of pants, not a status symbol. The worst thing about those schools claiming that it is a matter of 'rank', is that they inevitably claim allegiance to the way of Osensei, and yet haven't done even basic homework about it. I don't want to go to a school to learn bad habits from those who haven't yet learned for themselves!

Help me! I'm lost! I just *know* that somewhere in this magnificent city is a huge dojo with dozens of happy friendly students who have done their homework and follow the right way, not the way everyone else does it. Please someone tell me where!

Desperate Todd, the rusty Aikidoka :)

Colbs
05-09-2005, 02:15 AM
Howdy Todd,

There really isn't any Dojos that I know of that are full time, most are 4-5 days in the evenings (some have weekend classes).

There are a few choices that fit your criteria to varying degrees (and in no particular order):

Joe Thambu - Yoshinkan Aikido (http://www.aikidoshudokan.com/) - bloody good from all reports although I haven't seen him teach yet (will soon, seminar coming up :P ), not sure how big his joint is.

Michael Giannone - Iwama Aikido (http://www.riaiaiki.com.au/) - My dojo of choice, Michael is an excellent teacher, but is only a Nidan (under Mic Marelli Sensei from sydney). The dojo is only a few years old, and relatively junior, but the atmosphere is very friendly and open.

Sonny Rehe - Iwama Aikido... Dojo is in fitzroy, kind of small and cramped, but has a generally more experienced level of deshi. Not sure what his contact details are unfortunately. I've been to a seminar or two with guys from here (one was at the dojo) and they're a tops bunch, not sure how open the atmosphere is during classes though (I haven't seen any), but I can't imagine it being anything other than constructive.

There are some others around like Barry Knight et. al. but I haven't seen any of their classes or heard much about them so I can't comment...

There really aren't many large dojos in melbourne, it's just too hard to pay the rent to have a small class in a large space... The biggest is Field Aikido (http://www.martial.com.au) but it won't meet your requirement for no elitism within the school, it's heavily 'ranked' and has a more closed atmosphere than most.

I have heard of your old dojo and it's definitely an exception, in part probably because of the way, way lower land values in Perth, inner city melbourne is a nightmare for rent so almost all dojos will be pushed for space.

stuartjvnorton
05-09-2005, 02:18 AM
Um, here goes.

Aikido Shudokan teaches Yoshinkan Aikido.
The head instructor is Sensei Joe Thambu, 6th dan IYAF.

It has classes 6 days a week. Lunch classes at the main dojo are general, and there are "junior" (5th kyu and below but you'll usually get some yudansha) and "senior" (4th kyu and above) classes every week night and on Saturdays. Ranks starts at 9th kyu, so some of the "juniors" have still been training for a little while. The smaller satelite dojos hold classes 2-3 days a week.
At a guess, there are probably 60 or so adults regularly training at the main dojo, and another 20 or so between the satelite dojo.
The main dojo is about 9-10 tatami long by 9 wide, so a fairly large mat area.
As for hakama, students don't wear them, even yudansha. Only the instructor gets to wear one. So maybe not what you wanted, but at least an even playing field.
Not sure how many schools in general will let you dictate your own dress code though...

If you want more info, try www.aikidoshudokan.com (http://www.aikidoshudokan.com)

Cheers,
Stuart.

t_muraoka
05-09-2005, 02:21 AM
Aikido Shudokan (http://www.aikidoshudokan.com/) is a fantastic dojo. I used to train there until I moved overseas but will train there again when I return. The instruction is of the highest standard and people are very relaxed and friendly. The mat space is not two basketball court's worth but it's large enough and very rarely is it tight for room.

Hakama are generally only worn on special occasions. Often, even the instructor doesn't wear one, so it's not really an issue of rank :-)

Colbs
05-09-2005, 02:26 AM
There ya go - you blink and two of Thambu Sensei's students jump in :P

Shouldn't you guys be working or something... I know I should be *cough* ;)

ShugyoSystems
05-09-2005, 05:16 AM
Thanks for the words guys....

Anyone else have any advice?

eyrie
05-09-2005, 07:29 AM
Have you tried the dojo search function on this site?

ShugyoSystems
05-09-2005, 08:05 AM
Fraid so... It's only after visiting either the dojo themselves, calling and asking questions, or viewing images on the websites (that speak for themselves, for eg. class photos with only yudansha in hakama), that I've decided to ask on this forum... I'm in desperation mode right now!

I should add that there are a few that I'm still getting around to visiting, but they are few, and I've done all the major schools. I sadly doubt that the minors will have the full-on facilities I'm searching for...

Colbs
05-09-2005, 10:07 PM
It's a simple fact of life that in order to pay rent you have to have a certain number of students, you can turn that into a student per square foot calculation if you like - basically, in melbourne, due to the higher prices of rent/land value you will find a higher student per square foot ratio than you were used to in Perth.

There are only a couple dojos that have large class sizes, Joe Thambu's and Field's being probably the two most well known, I don't know how Thambu Sensei runs his classes, but from what I've heard it is much more likely to meet your requirements than Field's will (I trained at Field's for a while).

You will generally find that the smaller dojos are more likely to have the atmosphere you seem to be looking for - an open atmosphere where rank isn't important and everyone is just there to learn.

Regarding wearing a hakama, everyone knows where you're coming from, but most styles have created their own set of "rules" for wearing them. In most dojos you will find that they are only worn by yudansha, but then, just like most people don't care if they have to wear them, perhaps you should care less if you don't wear one, in the end it's just training. Don't limit yourself based on that rule, it would be silly for someone to lose out on studying with the person they find best able to teach them simply because they didn't like the uniform...

In short, you will not find exactly what you're looking for - but what is life other than a whole string of compromises?

The only advice I can give you if you're running out of options is to ignore everything else other than the instructor, choose the one who you believe you will learn the most from everything else is superficial.

eyrie
05-09-2005, 10:37 PM
Yeah, what Colbs said....just put up and train. Does it matter whether you wear a damn skirt or not? Jan de Jong may have done aikido, but the core of his "style" is traditional jujitsu, and although it may be true that the people in Perth may wear a hakama in accordance with jujitsu tradition, as they do in John Bear's Meidokan dojo in Queanbeyan, as far as I know, Jan de Jong's students here in Brisbane do not wear one.

When in Rome....

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 12:17 AM
Heh this is really depressing...

I understand the math of it all... What I don't understand is why some of these organisations don't join up for the better of the community (ha! jeez I'm funny. Yes I do...Fame and fortune ;) )

The concept that Field has a large dojo, well, has just pummeled my hopes squarely into the mat... That was the first dojo I went to and I walked out 3/4 of the way through the class, extremely disappointed (Sorry guys, just being honest!). My original post, referring to the class sitting and watching, was talking about Field... The place was tiny! The way I (and the math) see it is this. My armspan is 2 metres. Uke's armspan is two metres. In order to get a full armspan between us with full range of motion we need a good 4 square metres each. That's 8m2 for each pair in the class... And that's if we don't move our feet. Expand to twice that space to make room for throws and yes, I'm asking too much. Such is the capitalist world in which we live ;)

However while I'm on the gripe about being poorly instructed, the thing that eventually made me leave was watching two yudansha walking round the class instructing students on the correct grip on the sword, and describing the same thing as each other, and yet using different grips to each other while demonstrating - one following their instuctions, one not, and confusing the heck out of a group of three whitebelts. This is not how I want to be taught... It was only after I left, and hung my head in embarassment on behalf of the martial art which I had long spoken highly of, and just shown to my girlfriend and a long time close friend for the first time, that the mate asked me "Is it usually that quiet? most of the class spent most of the night sitting down watching... Was it just me or was there not enough room for everyone?, and my girlfriend said "well for an art that you claim to be all spiritual, I thought the meditation you've told me about before and after class would have been longer than like 30 seconds". That's when I realised that I should have had faith in my feelings and that I wasn't just being an elitist.

Regarding wearing a hakama, everyone knows where you're coming from, but most styles have created their own set of "rules" for wearing them. In most dojos you will find that they are only worn by yudansha, but then, just like most people don't care if they have to wear them, perhaps you should care less if you don't wear one, in the end it's just training. Don't limit yourself based on that rule, it would be silly for someone to lose out on studying with the person they find best able to teach them simply because they didn't like the uniform...

I don't mean to be rude, but I couldn't disagree more with a bunch of things in there. Aikido is an extremely spiritual thing for me, and to claim the significance of the way that the dojo treats what I consider to be my soul as something that should be warped to suit their whim, that it's "just training", cuts a little deep. It's more than a uniform man... It's a representation of things which I hold very dear...

A few pertinent quotes and info that you probably already know:

The 7 folds in the hakama (5 in the front, 2 in the back) is said to have the following symbolic meaning:

"They symbolize the seven virtues of budo," O Sensei said. "These are jin (benevolence), gi (honor or justice), rei (courtesy and etiquette), chi (wisdom, intelligence), shin (sincerity), chu (loyalty), and koh (piety). We find these qualities in the distinguished samurai of the past. The hakama prompts us to reflect on the nature of true bushido. Wearing it symbolizes traditions that have been passed down to us from generation to generation. Aikido is born of the bushido spirit of Japan, and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues."

O Sensei was rather emphatic that EVERYONE wear the hakama, but he came from a time/culture not too far from wearing hakama as standard formal wear.

"Most of the students were too poor to buy a hakama but it was required to wear one. If they couldn't get one from an older relative, they would take the cover off an old futon, cut it, dye it, and give it to a seamstress to make into a hakama.

- Saito Sensei

"In postwar Japan many things were hard to get, including cloth. Because of the shortages, we trained without hakama. We tried to make hakama from air-raid blackout curtains but because the curtains had been hanging in the sun for years, theknees turned to dust as soon as we started doing suwariwaza. We were constantly patching these hakama. It was under those conditions that someone came up with a suggestion: "Why don't we just say that it's okay not to wear a hakama until you're shodan?" This idea was put forward as a temporary policy to avoid expense. The idea behind accepting the suggestion had nothing to do with the hakama being a symbol for dan ranking."

- Shigenobu Okumura Sensei, "Aikido Today Magazine" #41


If we can allow the importance of the hakama to fade, perhaps we will begin to allow things fundamental to the spirit of Aikido to slip into oblivion as well. If, on the other hand, we are faithful to O Sensei's wishes regarding our practice dress, our spirits may be more faithful to the dream to which he dedicated his life."

- Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, "The Principles Of Aikido"

Check out the full version at http://www.shindai.com/articles/hakama.htm if you haven't seen these before... There's also much more of course, but this gets it in a nutshell...


So maybe after reading this you'll see why the hakama is important to me: Respect for OSensei, the old ways, and my spirituality.

Call me an old fashioned hippy but that's me :p

I wonder whether a dojo who does not know about, or care about, such things is a dojo I want to learn from.

I would like to make it clear that I am not taking shots at anyone here, and I am not trying to argue with anyone, it's just that I feel maybe my reasons for wearing hakama, and finding a dojo that encourages it, are misunderstood :)

Charlie
05-10-2005, 01:03 AM
... :( If it's a matter of 'rank', well sheeet, people, what do you want, a medal? Crikey it's just a pair of pants, not a status symbol...

I don't mean to be rude, but I couldn't disagree more with a bunch of things in there. Aikido is an extremely spiritual thing for me, and to claim the significance of the way that the dojo treats what I consider to be my soul as something that should be warped to suit their whim, that it's "just training", cuts a little deep. It's more than a uniform man... It's a representation of things which I hold very dear...


Well which is it?

stuartjvnorton
05-10-2005, 01:04 AM
Not sure how many schools anywhere would cater to all of your needs. Sounds like quite a list.
Maybe you need to split them into "deal-breakers" and "nice to haves" and re-evaluate the places you've been.
Best of luck though, and I hope you find a place you're happy with.

Cheers,
Stuart.

maikerus
05-10-2005, 03:25 AM
In Yoshinkan its pretty rare for hakama to be worn except in official functions and demos. Instructors - including hombu dojo instructors - don't always wear them. Hakama hide the teaching of body movement, which is pretty important when showing people what to do...so instead of hiking up the skirt everytime you want to show a point we don't wear 'em....

....more of a stylistic culture than a tradition...or maybe not. I don't know. But I can't stand 'em, so I guess I follow this tradition <wry grin>

FWIW,

--Michael

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 03:42 AM
Well which is it?

I was wondering as I typed, who would be first to take those out of context :D

It's both mate...

It's NOT a status symbol

It IS a spiritual symbol


Hope that clears it up for you

Charlie
05-10-2005, 05:04 AM
It never was unclear for me in the first place and I don't feel that I took it out of context. In presenting your quote, I didn't want to overburdon the next reader with a bunch of redundancy.

It is a valid question though. How can something that you deem so important to your spiritual self on the flip side be "just a pair of pants"? Seems kind of convenient for your arguement.

If the hakama is so important to your study that you can't do with out it, more power to you and good luck to you. My only advice would be to study where ever as hard as you can, progress as best as you can...and open up your own place and use what ever rules you want.

Regards,

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 05:18 AM
It never was unclear for me in the first place and I don't feel that I took it out of context. In presenting your quote, I didn't want to overburdon the next reader with a bunch of redundancy.

It is a valid question though. How can something that you deem so important to your spiritual self on the flip side be "just a pair of pants"? Seems kind of convenient for your arguement.

If the hakama is so important to your study that you can't do with out it, more power to you and good luck to you. My only advice would be to study where ever as hard as you can, progress as best as you can...and open up your own place and use what ever rules you want.

Regards,

If you didn't feel it was unclear, perhaps you clearly misunderstood :)

I already answered that question... As a status symbol, it is just a pair of pants. As a spiritual symbol (and mark of respect to the founder's wishes as mentioned earlier etc..), it is far more. Hopefully this will demonstrate the context to you that you removed...

eyrie
05-10-2005, 05:26 AM
I find it hard to believe that a simple hakama can carry so much spiritual symbolism. Spirituality isn't in the external "trappings", it's inside you. Would you feel less "spiritual" if you were attacked in the street, without your hakama?

The fact that you are so hung up on it, really means one thing - you're not ready for it.

Indeed, good luck!

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 05:27 AM
Not sure how many schools anywhere would cater to all of your needs. Sounds like quite a list.
Maybe you need to split them into "deal-breakers" and "nice to haves" and re-evaluate the places you've been.
Best of luck though, and I hope you find a place you're happy with.

Cheers,
Stuart.

Thanks Stuart, I appreciate your being constructive about this... Seems I've riled a few people up here :sorry:

I completely agree with you on this one... Alas, I have already done just that... You should see the length of the "nice-to-haves" list! ;) It's a full A4 page... I'm not that optimistic! hehehehe

In all honesty though, If I could find 1 and 4 on my list then I'd probably settle for that... Geez right now I'm at a point where I'm trying to decide whether to give up entirely :(

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 05:56 AM
I find it hard to believe that a simple hakama can carry so much spiritual symbolism. Spirituality isn't in the external "trappings", it's inside you. Would you feel less "spiritual" if you were attacked in the street, without your hakama?

The fact that you are so hung up on it, really means one thing - you're not ready for it.

Indeed, good luck!

If only you could tell that to OSensei! I only wish that I could say that I knew him personally, but from every indication I have been able to find, I doubt that he would concur with you, and I feel that to honour him is my duty...

And this is what I'm saying... It's not just that I'm "hung up" on the hakama, I'm also hung up on the fact that noone else seems to care at all....As I said earlier, I have never been able to find any evidence that OSensei was anything but pro-hakama, in fact all evidence I have found indicates that he was strictly 'hakama or no training'. Please correct me if I have been misinformed...

This makes me wonder as to the dedication of the school I would be attending if they do not support their Master's way. I do understand that there are other concerns involved. For example if I were running my own school, I certainly would not turn away the poor child of a single mother who can barely afford to eat, simply because they could not afford a hakama. I understand that in order to improve the physical movements of the students, sometimes the hakama can be an impediment, however I cannot say that I feel the physical learning is more important than the spiritual learning...

Still, I wonder whether OSensei would say that I would be better to train alone/not at all, than to train in a manner going against his tradition. We may never know.

Regarding spirituality, I'm not talking about being attacked on the street, I'm talking about training in the dojo.... My spirituality whilst being attacked on the street can be manifested in innumerable ways, so I won't even start that list... But while in the dojo, or training alone or with friends practicing our form in the park, or meditating, etc etc, I feel that to do these things to 100%, is my duty, and to do so 100%, means not cutting corners... I wouldn't skip bowing in and out, I wouldn't skip the image of OSensei, I wouldn't skip the Kannon Sutra, and I wouldn't skip the hakama...

It's a shame that I'm being so misunderstood here and that instead of trying to help or come to an understanding, most replies are trying to shoot me down. I am a fellow aikidoka, perhaps you may even consider me a friend as I would you...Surely though, I am certainly not an enemy unless you choose for me to be, and I wonder why I'm being treated as though I am.

I dare say I'll need that luck, so thankyou :)

Edit: Changed "with friends doing forms " to "with friends practicing our form " to clear my words up... Didn't want to sound like I was talking about kata, lord knows I'm already misunderstod enough! ;)

Charlie
05-10-2005, 06:04 AM
Just seems strange that a self professed "old hippie" would be going on about an item that (according to you and maybe others) symbolizes the belief systems of a militant class!

An answer has been presented to you already. Looks like you have two main choices. One of the choices you have already ruled out do to your own observations. The second choice looks to be a nice fit according to the list that you provided. HOWEVER, you won't be wearing a hakama in Thambu sensei's dojo. So, which is more important to you? Learning aikido or doing it while wearing a hakama.

Nick Simpson
05-10-2005, 06:29 AM
Not trying to shoot you down mate, I think that in a way what your striving for/towards is admirable, but just something to perhaps consider:

"I understand that in order to improve the physical movements of the students, sometimes the hakama can be an impediment, however I cannot say that I feel the physical learning is more important than the spiritual learning..." - Todd Worth.

I think that in this case your particular views toward the hakama are currently being an impediment to your training in aikido. whats more important, actually being able to train or a piece of cloth? (I understand that you view the hakama as a 'spiritual item' Todd, so I dont intend any disrespect). If you decide not to train with the above dojo's/people because of this issue, then your missing out on some great opportunitie's...

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 06:31 AM
Just seems strange that a self professed "old hippie" would be going on about an item that (according to you and maybe others) symbolizes the belief systems of a militant class!

An answer has been presented to you already. Looks like you have two main choices. One of the choices you have already ruled out do to your own observations. The second choice looks to be a nice fit according to the list that you provided. HOWEVER, you won't be wearing a hakama in Thambu sensei's dojo. So, which is more important to you? Learning aikido or doing it while wearing a hakama.

Hehehe yeh I see what you mean, perhaps I chose my words badly... I actually said "old fashioned hippy", and what I meant (jokingly I might add, hence the smiley) was that I tend to not follow new fashions, instead opting for older values such as opening doors for people, saying please and thankyou and excuse me when shuffling by people on the train and not pushing and shoving in a race to the seats at the expense of others, saying "pardon me" when I pass wind in public, "Ladies first" etc - chivalry for lack of a better term; and the hippy bit is referring to the fact that I'm very spiritually inclined... Maybe it's different where you are, but around me, most people who are spiritually inclined these days get called a "hippy". I didn't take into account that the colloquial (slang) value of the term is most likely different in other circles. Apologies for the confusion.

As for your saying "So, which is more important to you? Learning aikido or doing it while wearing a hakama" Well, I must admit that I'm still hoping for another option... But you make a good point, and this is what I meant in my previous post where I stated "Still, I wonder whether OSensei would say that I would be better to train alone/not at all, than to train in a manner going against his tradition. We may never know."

Until very recently, I still held hope that I would not have to make this decision (no hakama or nothing at all), and so I think that I may have to spend some time thinking very seriously about it.

I have to be honest and say that my first inclination would be to visit Yoshinkan as they seem to very very nearly meet the mark. As has been pointed out earlier, at least there is an equality, and when the more formal occasions arise, the more formal dress code is taken up, which seems sensible to me. However I also know that I am not one to keep a secret, as I consider it lying by exclusion, and I fear that my opinion on these matters when voiced would almost certainly offend the seniority of the school, which would mean that I could be a detriment to the school, and I would hate to show disrespect to the school while training with them....

I'd really appreciate advice on this new matter ...

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 06:51 AM
Thanks Nick, I do see where you're coming from... This thread originated as a 'find me the perfect dojo' thread, but I can see that it has fast become 'You're not going to find it so are you going to take 2nd best or take nothing at all'

I can only accept the reality that there are no Melbourne dojo (or perhaps anywhere) that feel the same way about aikido as I do... Now I have to make a very big decision....

Is studying aikido, minus much of the spiritual side and allegiance to OSensei, better than studying aikido, not at all? Or does the removal of these things remove too much to be accepted? Or can it be endured without disrespecting the school I choose?

It's a tough one. I'm a fairly good fighter (don't mean to have a big head, just saying), so learning self defense means little to me... But the great deal of spiritual learning I have done over the last few years where I have been too poor to pay for training and been suffering from a disabling illness, although very meaningful, seems inbalanced without the physical side...

I'm lost :(

But I really appreciate your post. I agree with all that you say, and I don't take any disrespect, I can see what you mean and I thank you for your sensitivity :)

Nick Simpson
05-10-2005, 07:24 AM
Any time Todd, I really do hope you find what your looking for. I know that the ASU (have I got that right?) let everyone wear hakama and they are also aikikai affiliated, unfortuantely they are the north american organisation, not sure if they have an austrailian branch/equivalent. if your interested in the spiritual side of aikido primarily then you could try the ki society out?

eyrie
05-10-2005, 07:30 AM
Look, I'm sure the old man would not mind, besides he would have turned in his grave several times over by now, I'm sure....

A church would be no less a sanctified place of worship if it did not have the trappings of religion. The things that religion has done in "the name of God" is far worse than the lip service they pay to the fundamental precepts of religion - usually the result of "blind allegiance" to the letter.

The best you can do is train and live your life "in his spirit", rather than focus on the externalities of dress codes, paying homage to a dead-head, and telling us how fine and upstanding a gentleman you are, when you can't even budge on the simple issue of not being allowed to wear a damn skirt.

That's just hypocrisy....

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 07:25 PM
Look, I'm sure the old man would not mind, besides he would have turned in his grave several times over by now, I'm sure....

A church would be no less a sanctified place of worship if it did not have the trappings of religion. The things that religion has done in "the name of God" is far worse than the lip service they pay to the fundamental precepts of religion - usually the result of "blind allegiance" to the letter.

The best you can do is train and live your life "in his spirit", rather than focus on the externalities of dress codes, paying homage to a dead-head, and telling us how fine and upstanding a gentleman you are, when you can't even budge on the simple issue of not being allowed to wear a damn skirt.

That's just hypocrisy....

Before I respond further, I just want to clear something up... Did you just call OSensei a "dead-head"?

maikerus
05-10-2005, 07:36 PM
Todd,

One point that you may want to consider when you make your list of what you require in a dojo is that it is highly probable that your needs and requirements will change as you pursue your training. I have talked to many fellow Aikido practitioners about this and I cannot think of a single person who is still training with the same expectations and desires they started with.

We all evolve as people and Aikido is one very positive way to grow within yourself. My expectations of what Aikido will do for me have changed/mutated a dozen times over the years and when I think back I can't believe how limited my original "goals" were.

Go train. Find out the parts that you like in the dojo and see if they outway the parts that you don't like. If they do, stay...if they don't, go someplace else and try again.

I have trained with Joe Thambu Sensei and highly recommend him. Not only is he highly proficient at Aikido he is a genuinely warm and interesting individual. I suspect that his dojo will be the same.

cheers,

--Michael

eyrie
05-10-2005, 08:08 PM
Before I respond further, I just want to clear something up... Did you just call OSensei a "dead-head"?

Oh hell! Blasphemy! Fatwah on the infidel! Burn the heretic at the stake!

The spiritually enlightened person has no need for physical or emotional attachments to transient things.

People still genuflect before a crucified figure on a cross....yet the atrocities committed in his name would make him turn in his grave. No wonder he got up and left after 3 days!

Get over it!

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 09:58 PM
Oh hell! Blasphemy! Fatwah on the infidel! Burn the heretic at the stake!

The spiritually enlightened person has no need for physical or emotional attachments to transient things.

People still genuflect before a crucified figure on a cross....yet the atrocities committed in his name would make him turn in his grave. No wonder he got up and left after 3 days!

Get over it!

Do you bow to his image before and after class?

eyrie
05-10-2005, 10:59 PM
Actually, no I don't.... I don't have an image of the old man on the wall. When I bow to the kamiza before and after class, I am performing a personal spiritual cleansing/meditative ritual. My personal ritual does not involve paying homage to any dead-heads - it does not form part of my personal practice, although from time to time, I may personally acknowledge the old man's genius, privately, or in sharing with someone else.

But you are still missing the point. It's not the externalities that define spirituality. You can have all the external trappings of religion, go thru the motions of ritual, but still be internally devoid of spiritual feeling. Which is more important to you? A priest in full frock that on the surface appears to adhere to the rites and rituals of the church and the priesthood, but secretly engages in paedophilliac activities, OR the down-to-earth, dressed liked a country bum, priest that touches people's lives by his "being"?

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 11:16 PM
I'm not sure I miss your point, although I'm almost convinced that I disagree with it. It's funny how often someone tell's me that I don't understand, when in fact, I just don't agree.

In answer to your question, I would prefer neither.

But once again you're attempting to draw me away from the context. I am not talking about wearing the hakama and being a pedo at the same time

To use your example, how about this:

A priest in full frock that fully adheres to the rites and rituals of the church and the priesthood whenever possible, but is down-to-earth, and as such doesn't mind being dressed liked a country bum if the need arises, and he touches people's lives by his "being"?

Why not the best of both worlds?

eyrie
05-10-2005, 11:23 PM
Nor was I, Todd, it was a metaphor...

I have said my piece, now go in peace. Good luck and all the best.

Ian Williams
05-10-2005, 11:35 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, no I don't.... I don't have an image of the old man on the wall. When I bow to the kamiza before and after class, I am performing a personal spiritual cleansing/meditative ritual.



eeerrkkk it's this sort of mystic baggage that keeps me away from aikido and concentrating on a system with little or no 'ritual'.

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 11:39 PM
Nor was I, Todd, it was a metaphor...

I have said my piece, now go in peace. Good luck and all the best.

:D :D :D
Falls off chair laughing

ShugyoSystems
05-10-2005, 11:43 PM
eeerrkkk it's this sort of mystic baggage that keeps me away from aikido and concentrating on a system with little or no 'ritual'.

I'm glad you've found what you need... I wish some people around here would follow your example :)

Ian Williams
05-11-2005, 12:44 AM
sorry my post came across more harshly than intended.. I really am a fan of Aikido (hence my being here) but really...

Kristian Miller-Karlsen
05-11-2005, 12:52 AM
Hello Everyone,

I've noted that there is quite a bit of tension in this discussion. I don't know why. I read that osensei stated:

"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace...... foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all you encounter."

I don't mean to sound sanctimonious, however, the time we spent arguing here could have been spent training.

I hear that there is a sensei named David Brown in Melbourne. I am told he is quite experienced and has a lot to offer. I also hear that he is affiliated with the Aikikai. As to the hakama issue, I can't say.

Good fortunes to you Todd.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 01:03 AM
Any time Todd, I really do hope you find what your looking for. I know that the ASU (have I got that right?) let everyone wear hakama and they are also aikikai affiliated, unfortuantely they are the north american organisation, not sure if they have an austrailian branch/equivalent. if your interested in the spiritual side of aikido primarily then you could try the ki society out?

Thanks for the advice mate :)

I was actually hoping to join a Ki Society dojo, they seemed perfect for me.... but I'm afraid the nearest one is some 1000's of kilometres away... D'oh!

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 01:09 AM
sorry my post came across more harshly than intended.. I really am a fan of Aikido (hence my being here) but really...

Nah man it's all good, it didn't come across too harshly at all...

If your interest in Aikido does not include the spiritual side of it then that's your thang... Heaven knows the physical side of aikido is a very very good thing :D

Combined with Ju Jitsu (in your case) or similar (HapKiDo in my case) it becomes a truly formidable fighting form.

I admire your honesty and your direction.

My only beef here was with Ignatius playing spiritual and simultaneously spitting on the spiritual... I was glad to see your post - someone who actually lives and speaks by their beliefs :D

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 01:14 AM
Todd,

One point that you may want to consider when you make your list of what you require in a dojo is that it is highly probable that your needs and requirements will change as you pursue your training. I have talked to many fellow Aikido practitioners about this and I cannot think of a single person who is still training with the same expectations and desires they started with.

We all evolve as people and Aikido is one very positive way to grow within yourself. My expectations of what Aikido will do for me have changed/mutated a dozen times over the years and when I think back I can't believe how limited my original "goals" were.

Go train. Find out the parts that you like in the dojo and see if they outway the parts that you don't like. If they do, stay...if they don't, go someplace else and try again.

I have trained with Joe Thambu Sensei and highly recommend him. Not only is he highly proficient at Aikido he is a genuinely warm and interesting individual. I suspect that his dojo will be the same.

cheers,

--Michael

Absolutely Michael! When I started HapKiDo (my first foray into MA) I am ashamed to say that all I was after was a way to win fights. It didn't take long for me to grow beyond that. The change never stops of course :)

You suggested that I weight up the parts I don't like with the parts I do... And that's pretty much where I am now... Only thing is that the way I see it, although Thambu Sensei may be a top bloke and a top teacher at a top school (all reports would make it so), fact is that he doesn't respect the meaning of the hakama in the way that I and OSensei, and hopefully someone else out there, do. (Please, no offense is intended here, just calling it how it is. I'm not suggesting that it's wrong for Thambu Sensei or his school or students)

It's a paradoxical situation... Do I let my morals slip to keep my aikido (physical), therefore losing a piece of the aikido (seems pointless), or do I uphold my morals to keep my aikido (spiritual), therefore losing a piece of the aikido. Either way I win some, I lose some.

If I am truly non-attached, the solution isn't to drop the hakama, or drop the training, it's to drop aikido altogether.... At least for the time being.

But lord knows that doesn't feel right :sorry: Still a win some lose some situation. I'm a win-win kinda guy.

I thought that maybe I could do the physical side in the dojo and the spiritual in my own time... But I feel as though separating the spiritual from the dojo could defeat what I feel to be aikido - more than just something physical, but also physical representation of a spiritual way.

Still lost eh... The answer will surely present itself in time, and probably sooner than expected while I have helpful posts like yours :) Thanks mate!

maikerus
05-11-2005, 02:24 AM
You suggested that I weight up the parts I don't like with the parts I do... And that's pretty much where I am now... Only thing is that the way I see it, although Thambu Sensei may be a top bloke and a top teacher at a top school (all reports would make it so), fact is that he doesn't respect the meaning of the hakama in the way that I and OSensei, and hopefully someone else out there, do. (Please, no offense is intended here, just calling it how it is. I'm not suggesting that it's wrong for Thambu Sensei or his school or students)

Hi Todd,

Thanks for the reply. I'm really surprised about what you say about Thambu Sensei not respecting the hakama. His family has a long history within Aikido and I would be surprised if he hadn't picked up at least a little respect along the way.

Have you talked to him and asked him? Whenever I see him in a hakama it is always one of the better cared for ones at a demonstration.

I mentioned earlier that followers of the Yoshinkan style don't wear hakama very much. I am told that this is because it interferes with our teaching style. Yoshinkan is very precise in movements and angles, and wearing a hakama hides those movements.

So, as a teacher, its hard to tell if a student is moving correctly if they are wearing a hakama. As a student, it is hard to see exactly how you are supposed to move if the teacher is wearing a hakama.

If you keep this in mind, I think you'll see why I believe that whether or not students and teachers are wearing a hakama in the dojo while training has no bearing on their spiritual beliefs with respect to the hakama.

The primary purpose of Thambu Sensei's dojo is probably to teach Yoshinkan Aikido and if they wore hakama they would not be able to achieve that goal as well as they are now.

I have never discussed the spiritual aspects of the hakama with Thambu Sensei, but I urge you not to dismiss him without finding out what he actually thinks. He may not hold it in as high esteem as you, but he may understand more than you think.

FWIW,

--Michael

kironin
05-11-2005, 02:48 AM
way too much whining and pickiness going on here for a self-professed aiki-junkie.

:rolleyes:


One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.

eyrie
05-11-2005, 03:19 AM
My only beef here was with Ignatius playing spiritual and simultaneously spitting on the spiritual...

A bit rich coming from someone who places such great emphasis on the external spiritual symbolism of a skirt, whilst completely ignoring my point that the internalization of spiritual practice is just as valid.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 04:25 AM
A bit rich coming from someone who places such great emphasis on the external spiritual symbolism of a skirt, whilst completely ignoring my point that the internalization of spiritual practice is just as valid.

I did not say that it was not just as valid. Quite the contrary. I asked you "Why not the best of both worlds?" and you walked away.

I feel that both are as important and unimportant as one another.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 04:27 AM
way too much whining and pickiness going on here for a self-professed aiki-junkie.

:rolleyes:

Well I haven't whined yet, I've stated the factual truth. If you'd prefer to ignore it because you don't like hearing it then I suggest that you do just that - ignore it.

As for pickiness, the other way of seeing it would be that there is too much complacency.

It's a matter of perspective.

It's funny how when you're agreeing strongly with someone you're right-on, but if you're disagreeing strongly, you're whining.

Nick Simpson
05-11-2005, 05:15 AM
"Absolutely Michael! When I started HapKiDo (my first foray into MA) I am ashamed to say that all I was after was a way to win fights. It didn't take long for me to grow beyond that. The change never stops of course."

I got my hand cut a bit on saturday doing Tachi-dori with a live ken (I botched up :) ), nothing too bad, no tendons cut or anything, just a nasty flesh wound across my little finger, ring finger and palm.

Well I went back for a check up yesterday morning to see how the wound was healing and saw a different doctor. He was asian and I had to explain to him how the accident happened, went like this:

Doctor; "So how did you cut hand?"

Me: "Erm, I got hit with a sword doing aikido, erm."

Doctor: *Rolls Eyes and tuts.* "You werent wearing the gloves?"

Me: "Erm, its not like kendo. We dont wear armour."

Doctor: "Ah, so it must be OK to get cut then?"

Me: *feeling very small and silly* "Erm, no, I slipped up."

Doctor: "Ah..."

Me: "Erm."

Doctor: " So let me ask, why are you doing this aikido thing? do you want to be some MA champion?"

Me: "Erm, no, we dont have any competitions or anything. I just like it."

Doctor: "So you like this?" *points to wound*.

Me: *chuckle* "No."

Anyway, was funny (maybe you had to be there?) trying to explain why I do aikido, people asking always ask about rankings and tournaments and stuff first. Its hard to explain to someone why you practise a potentially dangerous sport/art with not many materialistic benefits when everyone is so brought up on the competitive aspects of things.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 06:17 AM
Hi Todd,

Thanks for the reply. I'm really surprised about what you say about Thambu Sensei not respecting the hakama. His family has a long history within Aikido and I would be surprised if he hadn't picked up at least a little respect along the way.

Have you talked to him and asked him? Whenever I see him in a hakama it is always one of the better cared for ones at a demonstration.

I mentioned earlier that followers of the Yoshinkan style don't wear hakama very much. I am told that this is because it interferes with our teaching style. Yoshinkan is very precise in movements and angles, and wearing a hakama hides those movements.

So, as a teacher, its hard to tell if a student is moving correctly if they are wearing a hakama. As a student, it is hard to see exactly how you are supposed to move if the teacher is wearing a hakama.

If you keep this in mind, I think you'll see why I believe that whether or not students and teachers are wearing a hakama in the dojo while training has no bearing on their spiritual beliefs with respect to the hakama.

The primary purpose of Thambu Sensei's dojo is probably to teach Yoshinkan Aikido and if they wore hakama they would not be able to achieve that goal as well as they are now.

I have never discussed the spiritual aspects of the hakama with Thambu Sensei, but I urge you not to dismiss him without finding out what he actually thinks. He may not hold it in as high esteem as you, but he may understand more than you think.

FWIW,

--Michael

I strongly respect your standing up for Thambu Sensei here, and I thank you. This is precisely the manner of action which I am attempting to promote.

However once again I've been misquoted and misunderstood... I didn't say he does not respect the hakama. I'm fully aware of his place in this society and would be extremely suprised if that were the case - as you say, I'm sure he's picked something up along the way. I did say that he doesn't respect it the way that I do. And, based on matters brought up earlier (by others, not myself), that he doesn't respect it the way OSensei did, or he would insist upon having people wear it too (Perhaps with some exceptions such as extreme poverty such as that which was induced post WWII)

This is why I said later (in fact I said it earler on too) that I understood that certainly the hakama could be an impediment to the physical training, and that it did seem sensible that the more formal wear was worn in the more formal occasions (IE public displays etc.) I can certainly see the sense in this - although I wonder if the physical should be considered more important than the spiritual. Surely the hakama was just as restrictive to directing a student's movement in the early 1900's, but OSensei saw fit to endure this for reasons which he held important....

Now, I am strongly tempted to at the very least visit Thambu Sensei's dojo, because, to be direct, to make the call that it lacks spirituality without actually having seen it for myself is somewhat 'shooting off at the mouth'. But as said before, without even visiting, I can see from photographs that he obviously does not feel the same way about this issue as I.

Please do not misunderstand me. Like I said I did not mean any disrespect to anyone, Thambu Sensei included. Saying that he does not respect it the same way I do should not suggest that he does not respect it at all...

But I agree that I should take the time to discuss this with him. For all I know, he is prevented from following OSensei by something else, and feels the same as I do, or maybe, quite possibly given Thambu Sensei's place of seniority in Aikido, he is aware of more detail regarding OSensei's stand than is publicly known.... I would certainly respect him taking the time out to discuss the matter with me, and I will take your suggestion and discuss it with him, provided that he is able to do so. I would imagine that he is a very busy man, and I hope that he will be able to find the time.

Thanks for the suggestion :)

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 06:30 AM
Hello Everyone,

I've noted that there is quite a bit of tension in this discussion. I don't know why. I read that osensei stated:

"The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace...... foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all you encounter."

I don't mean to sound sanctimonious, however, the time we spent arguing here could have been spent training.

I hear that there is a sensei named David Brown in Melbourne. I am told he is quite experienced and has a lot to offer. I also hear that he is affiliated with the Aikikai. As to the hakama issue, I can't say.

Good fortunes to you Todd.

I think that perhaps the reason for the tension in here is that some people, rather than attempting to help me find what I want, are attempting to tell me that I'm wrong to want it. I didn't come here for abuse or correction, or for others to attempt to degrade me for my dedication to things which they do not believe in, I came here to find fellow Aikidoka who I presumed would be like-minded and assist me, either in finding the right dojo, or in finding a way around the lack of one.

I've re-read the thread, just to be sure that I still feel this way, and surely enough I don't feel that I've said anything to initiate any ill feeling. I do think that I've been grossly misunderstood/misquoted and attacked for it on several occasions. I've certainly pointed out how I've been misunderstood, in an attempt to quell any argument based on misconception of my opinion.

The only points where I feel that this is not the case, which unfortunately seems the be the root of the majority of tension, is in regard to Ignatius' disrespect towards OSensei. I stand by my opinions and my Master on this matter.

You're right, the time spent here could certainly have been spent training! That's why I'm here remember? :) Gotta find somewhere to train! So I appreciate the tip regarding Brown Sensei, thanks muchly! But I'm sorry if you feel that I'm trying to make waves, for that surely is not my intention... I just want to train, without compromising my spirituality. I didn't come here to question anyone else's spirituality, or to have anyone else question mine....

I'll save that for another thread ;) hehehehe

Thanks for a positive post, and my apologies for the waves that are occurring due to my presence.

eyrie
05-11-2005, 06:38 AM
I did not say that it was not just as valid. Quite the contrary. I asked you "Why not the best of both worlds?" and you walked away.

I feel that both are as important and unimportant as one another.

I walked away because you seem intent on pressing the point, and besides, I had to leave to go to training. But I am glad you had a laugh over it.

Why not? Because it is an imperfect world with each dojo having their own rules and rituals. I believe mudansha in Michael Field's dojo do wear a hakama, but it did not meet your other criteria.

I understand where you're coming from, but if neither are as important and unimportant, why do you insist on pressing the point?

FWIW, my personal expression is simply that - mine. Not something I impose on my students. Some of my students wear a black gi to training because it is the only thing they can afford.

Does that make me a heretic? Does that make me less serious or passionate about my training? If I don't bow to an image of the old man, does that make me less respectful?

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 06:41 AM
way too much whining and pickiness going on here for a self-professed aiki-junkie.

:rolleyes:

Oh yeh, and of course, I'm the only one mentioned... Why would that be? Because I correct people misquoting me? Because I explain myself to people who misunderstand me in an attempt to avoid argument based on misgivings? Because I stand up for my beliefs, the same beliefs that originated from our founder? Because I stand up for the founder almost all of us bow to a few times a week?

I have to be honest, If you want to hear a whine, if you'd like to learn the difference between conversation and a gripe, where I speak with the full knowledge that I will cause a disturbance (despite that I do so in an attempt to bring greater respect to our art and it's founder), how about this one:

I can't believe that so many people on here were willing to sit by and let Ignatius disrespect OSensei in such a manner. I think you're all gutless.

What happened to Loyalty to your Master?

To throw out the previous importance of the Hakama for practical reasons is one thing (I will digress from this matter temporarily for your benefit), but to speak of the man who has brought so much good to all of our lives in such a disrespectful manner is absolutely unacceptable, regardless of any supposed delusion of enlightenment and allusion to the wonders of detachment from the physical. Detachment does not mean throwing things to the wind without reason. No-mind does not mean that one should allow themselves to be struck down by an enemy while knowing that your defeat will not come to any gain.

The tacet condonation of this disgusting display of disrespect makes me question the moral fibre and motives for training of each and every member of this board. Why in heck am I the only one who thought that was well out of order? Perhaps you're trying to keep the peace? But is it right to do so at the expense of our late Master's honour?

Now THAT is a gripe! :grr:

eyrie
05-11-2005, 06:50 AM
"Disrespect" - by whose standards? Yours?

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 07:28 AM
Disrespect is disrespect.

How was what you said in any way respectful?

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 07:33 AM
I walked away because you seem intent on pressing the point, and besides, I had to leave to go to training. But I am glad you had a laugh over it.

Why not? Because it is an imperfect world with each dojo having their own rules and rituals. I believe mudansha in Michael Field's dojo do wear a hakama, but it did not meet your other criteria.

I understand where you're coming from, but if neither are as important and unimportant, why do you insist on pressing the point?

FWIW, my personal expression is simply that - mine. Not something I impose on my students. Some of my students wear a black gi to training because it is the only thing they can afford.

Does that make me a heretic? Does that make me less serious or passionate about my training? If I don't bow to an image of the old man, does that make me less respectful?

Pressing the point? If you don't want to respond, then don't; but don't respond by misquoting me and twisting my words to support your standpoint, and then complain that I'm pressing the point, when the point you're making implies mistruth about me and I'm just trying to set the facts straight. If I told a lie on your behalf, I'm sure you'd pipe up. You are piping up, repeatedly. Does that mean you're "pressing the point"?

Mudansha at Field's do not wear hakama I am afraid, or at least that is what I was told when I visited...

I continue to discuss this and to correct you on your misquotes etc (you call it pressing the point) because it is important to me that you do not think of me, that which is not true. In case you haven't noticed, while we've been rabbiting on, I have otherwise been moving on in the discussion, from a matter of finding the perfect dojo, to accepting that it does not exist, to discussing the spiritual ramifications and whether to sacrifice the physical, or the spiritual, or both, would be the best course of action, given that sacrificing neither is an impossibility.

I'm not pressing the point mate, I'm moving on, and in the meantime, I'm setting the facts straight.

I see what you mean about "it is an imperfect world with each dojo having their own rules and rituals", but does that mean that it HAS to be that way? Of course not. So is it such a bad thing to try to improve the situation? Is accepting things the way that they are, if they could be better, being non-attached, or being complacent?

Me, I'm inclined to try and do something about the things I see around me that could be improved. That is the way our samurai forefathers would have done it, or else they would not have carried swords. If you choose to discard those beliefs, then so be it. But it seems to me you're fence-sitting.

"FWIW, my personal expression is simply that - mine. Not something I impose on my students. Some of my students wear a black gi to training because it is the only thing they can afford.

Does that make me a heretic? Does that make me less serious or passionate about my training?"

Lord, no! That makes you compassionate! I applaude it. I already said that I understand that in some cases wearing hakama is too much to ask. I'm sure that if hakama cost nothing you'd probably hand them out for free.

As for "If I don't bow to an image of the old man, does that make me less respectful?"

To him? Yes. He has given you so much.

eyrie
05-11-2005, 07:39 AM
For your information, and to set the record straight, I do not bow to a picture of O'Sensei because I do not have a picture of him, one large enough or decent enough to display. If I had one, I would pay my respects as much as any other. The point is, I don't need one to remind me that I need to be respectful of the fact, nor does it lessen my respect in any way.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 07:59 AM
For your information, and to set the record straight, I do not bow to a picture of O'Sensei because I do not have a picture of him, one large enough or decent enough to display. If I had one, I would pay my respects as much as any other. The point is, I don't need one to remind me that I need to be respectful of the fact, nor does it lessen my respect in any way.

So in one post you call O'Sensei a dead-head, and refer to that which he held to be of high spiritual value, as a "simple" matter and a "damn skirt", and now you say that you do hold respect for him?

I always live by the ideal that I should not say something behind someone's back that I would not say to their face.

You said to me in private that you didn't mean any disrespect to him by referring to him as a dead-head, but I wonder if you honestly can say that you don't think he would be offended if you were to say such a thing to his face?

Judging by your words, your intentions are good, you don't seem to mean any ill intent judging by some of your words, and yet your actions do not seem to always reflect those intentions.

I see what you mean about the internal spiritualism, but why does the internal spiritualism conflict with your external actions?

eyrie
05-11-2005, 08:12 AM
Because I wasn't specifically referring to him... I was referring to MA in general, and in particular to the cultish mentality of elevating dead founders to "God-like" status.

C'mon Todd, lighten up.... I don't think there is any conflict. Perhaps my choice of words could have been better, and I apologize if it offended your sensitivities.

Arjan
05-11-2005, 08:19 AM
I just read the entire thread and a curious thought just struck me...

In my dojo, only people that are an example for the group (be that in Aikido-skills, or by persisting in training despite a serious physical handicap) wear a hakama. I don't wear one, which is perfectly fine with me, I don't feel like a lesser person because of it.

I can imagine that things in Japan in the early 1900's were different and everybody wore a hakama. But then, I see quite some more differences with back then...

Did they search the internet to supplement their training in the dojo with more information, discussing things with people online from the other side of the planet? Did they have many 6"6' guys with blues eyes 'round? Did they have the fancy rimless glasses I wear? Or the red beach slippers I use for the part between the locker rooms and the tatami, for lack of an alternative (try finding slippers in Holland in winter... :) ) And my classes are in Dutch, taught by a Dutch guy, that doesn't seem to be very authentic... And there's a lot more...

Do all these diferences inhibit me to enjoy Aikido to the fullest, or to be as spiritual as I want to be? Don't think so: circumstances change, attributes change, clothing changes, but the core is still the same. And for me, that's what counts.

Just my opinion though, don't want to insult anyone that feels more strongly about the traditional side.

Arjan

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 08:40 AM
Because I wasn't specifically referring to him... I was referring to MA in general, and in particular to the cultish mentality which elevate dead founders to "God-like" status.

C'mon Todd, lighten up.... I don't think there is any conflict. Perhaps my choice of words could have been better, and I apologize if it offend your sensitivities.

Thanks for your apology...

But I did ask you earlier if you were talking about OSensei and although you didn't outright admit it, you certainly didn't deny it... Maybe it's only due to the precedent set by the previous conversation, but it seems like a convenient change of tack... Only you know for sure though, so I can't make any more comment than to state my own impression.

Anyway, that "cultish mentality" is known by some as a part of the Budo code... Live it or not, that's a chat for another time, I just wanted help from those who would help me to live it.

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 08:41 AM
I just read the entire thread and a curious thought just struck me...

In my dojo, only people that are an example for the group (be that in Aikido-skills, or by persisting in training despite a serious physical handicap) wear a hakama. I don't wear one, which is perfectly fine with me, I don't feel like a lesser person because of it.

I can imagine that things in Japan in the early 1900's were different and everybody wore a hakama. But then, I see quite some more differences with back then...

Did they search the internet to supplement their training in the dojo with more information, discussing things with people online from the other side of the planet? Did they have many 6"6' guys with blues eyes 'round? Did they have the fancy rimless glasses I wear? Or the red beach slippers I use for the part between the locker rooms and the tatami, for lack of an alternative (try finding slippers in Holland in winter... :) ) And my classes are in Dutch, taught by a Dutch guy, that doesn't seem to be very authentic... And there's a lot more...

Do all these diferences inhibit me to enjoy Aikido to the fullest, or to be as spiritual as I want to be? Don't think so: circumstances change, attributes change, clothing changes, but the core is still the same. And for me, that's what counts.

Just my opinion though, don't want to insult anyone that feels more strongly about the traditional side.

Arjan

You read the whole thing? Crikey mate, your eyes must need a rest ;) :cool: heheheh

Sorry 'bout all the static. I really didn't mean to kick all that off :(

In Dutch, in slippers and rimless specs, done by us whiteys, enhanced by modern communications, I don't think necessarily detracts from the art. I don't think that the land and time you were born in should stop you from learning the wonders of AiKi, and I doubt that OSensei would feel that way, from what little of him I can learn from books and other media...

But I do feel that to discard our loyalty to OSensei's wishes and the traditions put in place to encourage and uphold a positive movement of people could be detrimental.. And that's the difference to me.

Let me assure you that the day I find that OSensei would have been offended by the concept of an Australian studying his art, his way, will be the day that I respect those wishes and quit.

eyrie
05-11-2005, 09:07 AM
I hope you're not calling me a liar! :)

I see no point in nitpicking what I said, or your of interpretation what I said. I'm going to let it slide. Heck, call me complacent, but at this hour, I'm in no mood for it.

Seriously, whether you believe it or not, I am trying to help. Short of me saying that I don't think you're going to find the perfect dojo, and good luck going into someone else's dojo and trying to change their rites and rituals? No, I'm not going to. (Oops!)

Nor am I am going to get into the argument of displaced cultural traditions which no longer exist even in the parent country, only in the hearts and minds of the few.

I wish you well on your search and your journey for perfection. Perhaps you should take your credentials to a dojo and ask if they will recognize it. Shihan Jan de Jong's name is well known, I'm sure you will be most welcome to train at most dojo. Maybe go easy on the hakama issue, lest you receive a less than welcome response.

If you happen to be this side of Queensland, you are most welcome to come train with me in my dojo, with your hakama, but do bring a picture of O'Sensei that we can hang on the wall...

PS: Don't mean to burst your bubble, but one of O'Sensei's books written in the 1930's was published with the specific caeveat from him, that the material therein was "not to be shown to non-Japanese". I guess that means, some of us are in a lot of trouble with the man.

maikerus
05-11-2005, 09:01 PM
Just a quick point that may or may not be relevant. I think it fits in the thread, but then again, I may be wrong.

I have heard that at times that the hakama was worn with the intention of hiding the art underneath. The skills were passed down through family lines and hakama were one way of hiding how techniques were done.

An additional thought is that I have also heard that uchideshi would pay Ueshiba Sensei to be his uke in demonstrations so that they could feel the technique and learn from it, since they couldn't see what he was doing under the hakama. One thing that this did was make sons of families with money the more skilled uchideshi...

Anyway...just a thought.

cheers,

--Michael

maikerus
05-11-2005, 09:04 PM
Now, I am strongly tempted to at the very least visit Thambu Sensei's dojo, because, to be direct, to make the call that it lacks spirituality without actually having seen it for myself is somewhat 'shooting off at the mouth'.

Hi Todd,

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

cheers,

--Michael

ShugyoSystems
05-11-2005, 11:39 PM
Hi Todd,

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

cheers,

--Michael

Thanks mate :)

It would not surprise me greatly if he's heard nasty rumours of some guy picking bones with his school on some website somewhere... Hope he's open-minded ;)

I'll certainly post here just to let it be known what the official stance on this matter is from his school.

Cheers!

ShugyoSystems
05-12-2005, 12:02 AM
Just a quick point that may or may not be relevant. I think it fits in the thread, but then again, I may be wrong.

I have heard that at times that the hakama was worn with the intention of hiding the art underneath. The skills were passed down through family lines and hakama were one way of hiding how techniques were done.

An additional thought is that I have also heard that uchideshi would pay Ueshiba Sensei to be his uke in demonstrations so that they could feel the technique and learn from it, since they couldn't see what he was doing under the hakama. One thing that this did was make sons of families with money the more skilled uchideshi...

Anyway...just a thought.

cheers,

--Michael

Ah the might bl**dy dollar :disgust:

I've also heard those stories, and also that the reason the samurai kept the hakama around was to help them to win in battle by masking movement, and similar stuff...

I must agree that, to argue that the hakama does not hide leg movement seems foolish. Sure, to the very trained and experienced eye, the folds open in certain ways when moving in certain ways... And to the spiritually trained the intentions of the enemy are advertised clearly... But to most eyes, heck, you might as well be hiding behind a chunk of drywall ;)

Kristian Miller-Karlsen
05-12-2005, 01:47 AM
Hello Todd,

Thanks for the reply. Did you look up David Brown sensei? I found out a bit more and he teaches from a dojo in Clifton Gardens. He is an Aikikai affiliate. David Brown was recommended to me by a friend who has done alot of training with the Ki Society. He had an eye opening experience when he trained in Melbourne while there on holiday.

You mentioned earlier that you would prefer a Ki Society dojo but I figure that if you are desperate enough for a fix of Aiki you will train anywhere. I know I would. I hope this is of help to you. All the best with your search for a training hall.

Also, I believe that osensei stated: "Your spirit is your true shield." When we sit within our shield we remain untouched by the verbal/psychic attacks of others. It's all training after all. A strong, sincere attack gives us something good to work with.

ShugyoSystems
05-13-2005, 12:20 AM
Hello Todd,

Thanks for the reply. Did you look up David Brown sensei? I found out a bit more and he teaches from a dojo in Clifton Gardens. He is an Aikikai affiliate. David Brown was recommended to me by a friend who has done alot of training with the Ki Society. He had an eye opening experience when he trained in Melbourne while there on holiday.

Hiya Kristian,

Well it's a funny world full of coincidence... It so happens that the Aikikai Central Dojo in Clifton Hill is one of the first dojo that my g/f and I had visited, and we really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if Brown Sensei still teaches there, however I sincerely hope so, as I have discovered today that he is very involved with shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and I am well into taiko. I'd love to talk with him.

I decided to keep looking after deciding that it was a little small, and the whole hakama issue (hakama? who said that?! ;) ) but it seems that after the conversation here over the last few days, that perhaps I had better take a second look at the school, better educated as to the ways of Melbournio...


You mentioned earlier that you would prefer a Ki Society dojo but I figure that if you are desperate enough for a fix of Aiki you will train anywhere. I know I would.


Me? I'd train underwater with concrete pylons chained to my wrists if I could :D


I hope this is of help to you. All the best with your search for a training hall.

Also, I believe that osensei stated: "Your spirit is your true shield." When we sit within our shield we remain untouched by the verbal/psychic attacks of others. It's all training after all. A strong, sincere attack gives us something good to work with.

Well this thought has been a really huge assistance to me, and I've been sitting here all day with this window open trying to figure out how to show my appreciation for it, and I still have no clue. I think that the gist of what you have said here, has shown me a way that I feel that I can continue my training, hakama etc or no hakama etc, and still feel that I am following in O'Sensei's way to the best of my abilities.

Thanks so much Kristian, I really do appreciate this.

ShugyoSystems
05-13-2005, 12:49 AM
I hope you're not calling me a liar! :)

I see no point in nitpicking what I said, or your of interpretation what I said. I'm going to let it slide. Heck, call me complacent, but at this hour, I'm in no mood for it.

Seriously, whether you believe it or not, I am trying to help. Short of me saying that I don't think you're going to find the perfect dojo, and good luck going into someone else's dojo and trying to change their rites and rituals? No, I'm not going to. (Oops!)

Nor am I am going to get into the argument of displaced cultural traditions which no longer exist even in the parent country, only in the hearts and minds of the few.


Good idea!


I wish you well on your search and your journey for perfection. Perhaps you should take your credentials to a dojo and ask if they will recognize it. Shihan Jan de Jong's name is well known, I'm sure you will be most welcome to train at most dojo. Maybe go easy on the hakama issue, lest you receive a less than welcome response.

If you happen to be this side of Queensland, you are most welcome to come train with me in my dojo, with your hakama, but do bring a picture of O'Sensei that we can hang on the wall...

PS: Don't mean to burst your bubble, but one of O'Sensei's books written in the 1930's was published with the specific caeveat from him, that the material therein was "not to be shown to non-Japanese". I guess that means, some of us are in a lot of trouble with the man.

I should point out that I was not with Jan de Jong for very long... I joined up there after moving from Sydney but shortly afterwards was bitten by the tech-wreck and ran out of cash.... The majority of my training was done in Sydney under a non-affiliated dojo, and in HapKiDo dojang in a few cities (Perth people, there's a great dojang in Freo! HUGE!)

Regarding that book, I think you'll find that Japan was going to war at the time.... Might explain it ;)

Cheers,
Todd

Kristian Miller-Karlsen
05-13-2005, 01:06 AM
Todd,

I'm sorry I was wrong about you wanting to train at Ki Society. I was obviously not concentrating. As to the rest. I'm sure the kami will guide your steps to the best training hall for you :do: .

".....Bravely face whatever the gods offer." as osensei stated.

I'm quoting The Art Of Peace like it's going out of fashion aren't I. It just happens sometimes. :p

ShugyoSystems
05-13-2005, 01:10 AM
Todd,

I'm sorry I was wrong about you wanting to train at Ki Society. I was obviously not concentrating. As to the rest. I'm sure the kami will guide your steps to the best training hall for you :do: .

".....Bravely face whatever the gods offer." as osensei stated.

I'm quoting The Art Of Peace like it's going out of fashion aren't I. It just happens sometimes. :p

Ahh, you were right indeed, Ki Society has drawn me to it's particular ways for some time.... But you were also right about me training anywhere ;) So you were correct twice :)

Hey mate, I can think of far far worse things to quote :) Quote on, mate! :D

siwilson
05-13-2005, 07:42 AM
Hmmm, this hakama thing is a bit like not joining the Navy because you don't like the uniform.

As for Joe Thambu Sensei, he is one of the best teachers and Aikidoka I have had the pleasure of learning from and landing very hard on the mat from. He has dedicated his entire life to Aikido and any comment such as suggesting that he does not hold as much respect for the hakama as you....! Well, that statement alone shows itself as false, or you would never have made it:

1. JIN (Benevolence)

2. GI (Honour)

3. REI (Courtesy and etiquette)

4. CHI ( Wisdom, Intelligence)

5. SHIN ( Sincerity)

6. CHU (Loyalty)

7. KOH (Piety)

I must admit to being amazed you could even think that!

ShugyoSystems
05-13-2005, 09:13 AM
Hmmm, this hakama thing is a bit like not joining the Navy because you don't like the uniform.

As for Joe Thambu Sensei, he is one of the best teachers and Aikidoka I have had the pleasure of learning from and landing very hard on the mat from. He has dedicated his entire life to Aikido and any comment such as suggesting that he does not hold as much respect for the hakama as you....! Well, that statement alone shows itself as false, or you would never have made it:

1. JIN (Benevolence)

2. GI (Honour)

3. REI (Courtesy and etiquette)

4. CHI ( Wisdom, Intelligence)

5. SHIN ( Sincerity)

6. CHU (Loyalty)

7. KOH (Piety)

I must admit to being amazed you could even think that!

Well I'll take it as a compliment that you're amazed that I would think such a thing, because I don't! :)

Once again...geee this is getting old.... I've been misquoted, and misunderstood. I really don't appreciate this constant string of people twisting my words. I trust that it's just an accident.

I said "he doesn't respect the meaning of the hakama in the way that I and OSensei, and hopefully someone else out there, do."
Saying he doesn't respect it the same way I do does not mean that he does not respect it as much as I do.

As I've also said, there may be some reason that he has not made public, as to why he does not follow in what are widely known to be OSensei's footsteps on this matter, and that I will be making an effort to discuss this with him in an affort to learn from him.

I was referring to the fact that in the eyes of myself and to the best of my knowledge, O'Sensei, the hakama is a must-have on the mat.

1. JIN (Benevolence)
Has been shown by almost everyone on this thread while suggesting certain situations where some aikidoka are not able to wear hakama (from poverty, to postwar materials shortages)

2. GI (Honour)
Honouring OSensei is precisely why I feel the importance of wearing hakama on the mat. Thanks to a quote you can read above, It has been shown to me that if it is not possible to train in hakama, it is still possible to train while honourin OSensei's ways.

3. REI (Courtesy and etiquette)
I have made it clear that I hold no disrespect for Thambu Sensei and have made every attempt to be polite despite the consistent rudeness shown by those attaking me for my beliefs

4. CHI ( Wisdom, Intelligence)
Where's tha lack in wisdom and intelligence here?

5. SHIN ( Sincerity)
I doubt that anyone could accuse me of lacking honesty and sincerity in any of my posts. If anything you might compain that there is too much of it for you to handle?

6. CHU (Loyalty)
Loyalty to OSensei is precisely the point of all this. Loyalty to my fellow Aikidoka is just why I trust this community to help me. Loyalty to the art is precisely why I feel great respect for Thambu Sensei despite never having met the man.

7. KOH (Piety)
Once again Piety is the source of my need for help here. I feel that the removal of the hakama represents the removal of the pious nature of the art and am hoping to find that piety within the dojo available to me.


As for the navy analogy, in fact, you;ve gotten it a little backwards. If, like I, you have a personal history and family heritage of military service, you'll be well aware of the importance placed on the uniform.

If your analogy were adjusted to better represent the situation, it would in fact be that this is a little like not wanting to rejoin the Navy now that they have removed the treasured uniform, the Royal Navy crest, the hard-earned chevrons, the service medals, the crisp whites ironed and starched to crisp creased perfection, the spit-polished boots in which your superior can see his reflection thanks to your hours of work, the ceremonial sword, the specifics such as lining up the belt buckle with the centreline of the pants zipper and the 75cm paces while marching with thumbs pulled down, and replaced it with a pair of old shorts and a t-shirt and a stroll in the park with a beer ;) OK I took it a bit far but you get the idea. You got it backwards!

Still I appreciate your input and thank you for sticking up for Thambu Sensei, despite the fact that you did not need to defend him as he was not being attacked - as each time one of you does so, you further strengthen my realisation that he is obviously a man of great honour which brings his students to respect him greatly.

siwilson
05-13-2005, 09:26 AM
Joe Sensei is well deserving of all the paise he receives. I still don't like your quote as it reads a certain way. I also do not believe that you respect the hakama in the same way as O'Sensei, as you would need to walk in his shoes through his life to do so.

I hope you can lose you fixation about the hakama, as you can find yourself receiving a wonderful gift in your studies, but to turn away from that gift because of the uniform... well.

I have spent my entire career with the military, but your example seems to point that those who practice without hakama (and I have) are losing the tradition and disipline. "A pair of old shorts and a t-shirt and a stroll in the park with a beer!" You should look further in to the Yoshinkan.

Regards,

ShugyoSystems
05-13-2005, 10:24 AM
Joe Sensei is well deserving of all the paise he receives. I still don't like your quote as it reads a certain way. I also do not believe that you respect the hakama in the same way as O'Sensei, as you would need to walk in his shoes through his life to do so.

I hope you can lose you fixation about the hakama, as you can find yourself receiving a wonderful gift in your studies, but to turn away from that gift because of the uniform... well.

I have spent my entire career with the military, but your example seems to point that those who practice without hakama (and I have) are losing the tradition and disipline. "A pair of old shorts and a t-shirt and a stroll in the park with a beer!" You should look further in to the Yoshinkan.

Regards,

The post reads like it reads mate, if you want to read more into it than what's there than that's your problem. I'm sorry if it bothers you, but if it does, it's because you're reading something I didn't type.

Once again, context is being removed. When I said that I respect the hakama as OSensei does I was referring to the need for it being worn in the dojo, and the reasons for doing so. To state that I know and concur with ALL of OSensei's feelings towards the hakama would surely be foolish as I did not know him personally and did not live his life, but as I have said, by all publically available information which I have been able to obtain, we do concur.

I should also point out that you are negating the possibility of my feeling as OSensei did regarding hakama due to the impossibility of my knowing all of what those feelings are, while yourself being in the same position. If you have not walked in those shoes either, then how can you know that there is a difference between my feelings and OSensei's on the matter? You don;t know my feelings, and you don;t know his, and yet you see fit to draw comparison....

I'm almost positive that OSensei had feelings toward the hakama which few if any others had or will ever have, and I would hesitate to suggest otherwise - However as I said, I was referring to the wearing of the hakama in the dojo and the reasons for doing so being of such importance. If that isn't clear to you then perhaps you'd like to read the thread again.

If you had bothered to read the thread in it's entirety you would be fully aware that I do not have a fixation on tha hakama, or anything to do with a uniform, but on the representation of values or lack thereof depicted by the exclusion of hakama in the dojo.

Also if you care to scroll up a few posts, you will also be aware that I do not plan on turning away from the gift as some more helpful posters have shown me a positive way to blend my own spirit with that of the dojo I am forced to choose from. Nor am I choosing to do anything as a result of the uniform, but am having moral and ethical dilemmas resulting from the fact that the uniform is being toyed with.

You say that "your example seems to point that those who practice without hakama (and I have) are losing the tradition and disipline."

Precisely. That's why I keep talking about it! One point you seemed to miss is that it is not only the hakama but also it's spirtual value that I am concerned with.

And once again, scroll up and you'll find that I am making plans to chat with Thambu Sensei and others, which I believe would constitute "looking further into the yoshinkan"

Hope this clears things up

siwilson
05-13-2005, 12:06 PM
Todd, yes I have read it all, and did know that you were planning to go to Joe Sensei's dojo.

I have practiced both with and without hakama, and when I started to practiced without it, it felt strange, but the Aikido was the same, so was the energy and spirit in its practice, just the clothes were different. I think someone mentioned this already, a priest doesn't stop believing in God or being a priest just because they take off their collar.

The one thing I can say that we seem to be differing on, I am quite prepared to accept that I may be wrong.

Regards,

ShugyoSystems
05-14-2005, 10:54 AM
Todd, yes I have read it all, and did know that you were planning to go to Joe Sensei's dojo.

I have practiced both with and without hakama, and when I started to practiced without it, it felt strange, but the Aikido was the same, so was the energy and spirit in its practice, just the clothes were different. I think someone mentioned this already, a priest doesn't stop believing in God or being a priest just because they take off their collar.

The one thing I can say that we seem to be differing on, I am quite prepared to accept that I may be wrong.

Regards,

Well I don't think I see the need to differ :)

Perhaps though, if you wouldn't mind, you could share with me how it was that you dealt with ignoring the founder's wishes regarding hakama in the dojo, thereby breaching the budo code and the values symbolised by the hakama; in particular what enabled you to feel the same spirit in the art? It may help me to do the same, so I'd really appreciate your advice :)

(This statement of course assumes that you were concerned with OSensei's wishes and the budo code, prior to training minus hakama - if not, then perhaps we will differ after all :( )

You mentioned "I think someone mentioned this already, a priest doesn't stop believing in God or being a priest just because they take off their collar."

Please see the word on this matter as approved by late Pope John Paul II at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/RMCOLLAR.TXT

The priest's collar is a symbol of his connection to God, and as such it's removal could arguably be considered to be a betrayal of that connection. Likewise, as you can see, the Pope would prefer the collar to be worn, so although removing it may or may not symbolise some level of disrespect towards God, regardless of this, it certainly does represent a lack of concern for the Pope's requests.

I wholeheartedly agree that nothing, hakama included, could separate me from my spiritual beliefs. What you may not realise is that, regardless of his being long passed, and of the varying 'flavours' of Aikido that have grown from the original in time, as far as I am concerned, as the founder of this art which I sincerely believe has saved my life, and therefore the man ultimately responsible for that, and the man to whom I owe that debt, is OSensei, and as such, I choose to honour his word.

If OSensei insisted that all practitioners of the art wore hakama, then I'm inclined to do so. If a priest chooses to go against the word of the Church, then that is his decision, but I am not inclined to follow suit.

The part of this that seems to be overlooked frequently in this thread is that the spiritual matters symbolised by the hakama include loyalty, and that loyalty points to the fact that OSensei would have you wear hakama... It's interlinked and circular, and as such, it becomes very difficult to separate the spiritual values symbolised by hakama and OSensei's wishes... The only ways that I can see the separation to be acceptable are, if OSensei had suggested that there was a situation where not wearing hakama in the dojo was acceptable, if your loyalties do not lie with OSensei, or if your spiritual values do not include the loyalty to your master symbolised by the hakama fold.

If one of the latter two cases apply to you, then surely we will differ in opinion on this matter, and there is most likely little point in posting. However if you can suggest words of OSensei's that would support the first case, then I would greatly appreciate your sharing them with me, that I might serve him in the best manner possible.

Cheers,
Todd

siwilson
05-14-2005, 04:31 PM
Todd

You believe in what you believe in, but you kind of missed my point on the clergy. From the link you posted:

"The purpose of this article is to encourage our fellow priests to
wear their collars (and, by analogy, religious to wear their habits).
It goes without saying that there are reasonable and legitimate
exceptions to this rule, such as during sports and recreation, during
one's vacation (in general), while at home with family or in one's
private quarters in the rectory. And, of course, the obligation to
wear clerical clothing ceases during times of violent persecution."

In the times above, when they are not wearing their collar they do not believe any less in God or stop being priests.

Back to topic!

In my old school yudansha wore hakama, in my new school they don't. I hence no longer practice in a hakama. As Michael said, it is so you can see the legs clearly to both learn from for the student, and assess for the teacher. My old school came from Yoshinkan, but our UK head said all yudansha must wear hakama. That said, when teaching certain things I would not wear the hakama to show my legs.

What I said about the spirit in practice was the energy in the dojo, the harmony between the practitioners, the purposeful way of practice, and the focus and determination. I don't mean the magical mumbo-jumbo that gets waffled about.

You talk about your loyalty to O'Sensei, and talking about the various different schools having followed their paths, but still you see that the loyalty should be to O'Sensei. I will not dispute that we should honour and respect the "great teacher", but what about Sokaku Takeda, Takeda Kunitsugu, Takeda Yoshikiyo, Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu, Prince Tsunemoto and Prince Teijun? Should we be looking for what they said on the matter, and what if they conflicted with what O'Sensei said?

Regards,

ShugyoSystems
05-14-2005, 11:31 PM
Todd

You believe in what you believe in, but you kind of missed my point on the clergy. From the link you posted:

"The purpose of this article is to encourage our fellow priests to
wear their collars (and, by analogy, religious to wear their habits).
It goes without saying that there are reasonable and legitimate
exceptions to this rule, such as during sports and recreation, during
one's vacation (in general), while at home with family or in one's
private quarters in the rectory. And, of course, the obligation to
wear clerical clothing ceases during times of violent persecution."

In the times above, when they are not wearing their collar they do not believe any less in God or stop being priests.


What was I saying about being told that I don't understand when the case is that I don't agree? heheheh

I fully understand that a God-loving Priest is God-loving while wearing a collar, while jogging in 45 degree heat in shorts, while sunbathing on Bondi Beach in speedos, while taking a shower or stark naked for that matter. Likewise as I said, nothing, hakama included, could separate me from my spirituality. I don't wear hakama to work (see abovementioned persecution hahahah), I don't wear one riding a bike, I don't wear one while showering, but it does not impact my spirituality.

Aside from violent persecution, which I don't think applies in this case, the quote you reference does not say anything about not wearing the collar while giving a service in the Church. If it did, then your analogy may retain some substance but as it is, the analogy is, well, not analogous to the conversation at hand.


Back to topic!

In my old school yudansha wore hakama, in my new school they don't. I hence no longer practice in a hakama. As Michael said, it is so you can see the legs clearly to both learn from for the student, and assess for the teacher. My old school came from Yoshinkan, but our UK head said all yudansha must wear hakama. That said, when teaching certain things I would not wear the hakama to show my legs.


And as I said before, I see the practicality involved and agree that most certainly, some techniques are far more efficiently instructed and learned without the visual obstruction of the hakama. I also said that I am not sure that the physical side of the art should outweigh the spiritual.


What I said about the spirit in practice was the energy in the dojo, the harmony between the practitioners, the purposeful way of practice, and the focus and determination. I don't mean the magical mumbo-jumbo that gets waffled about.


OK I think I was talking about magical mumbo-jumbo :ki:


You talk about your loyalty to O'Sensei, and talking about the various different schools having followed their paths, but still you see that the loyalty should be to O'Sensei. I will not dispute that we should honour and respect the "great teacher", but what about Sokaku Takeda, Takeda Kunitsugu, Takeda Yoshikiyo, Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu, Prince Tsunemoto and Prince Teijun? Should we be looking for what they said on the matter, and what if they conflicted with what O'Sensei said?

Regards,

I am very interested to learn the position of the Takeda clan et al on this matter, although it is muchly out of curiosity. The nature of my reverence to OSensei is largely as a result of my relation to his stance on 'magical mumbo-jumbo', and as such the stance of such figures as Onisaburo Deguchi and even O'Sensei's Mother (I am embarassed to say I do not remember her name) would also be poignant to some extent. That said, it remains that it is OSensei who brought together the numerous factors that became Aikido and it is OSensei who my alliances lay with when it comes to Aikido training.

stuartjvnorton
05-15-2005, 09:37 AM
Dare I upset the apple cart and mention at this point that in most Yoshinkan schools, the master you'd probably hear about is Gozo Shioda (or Kancho Sensei as a lot of Yoshinkan people tend to call him), and not O'Sensei ?

siwilson
05-15-2005, 10:35 AM
I am very interested to learn the position of the Takeda clan et al on this matter, although it is muchly out of curiosity. The nature of my reverence to OSensei is largely as a result of my relation to his stance on 'magical mumbo-jumbo', and as such the stance of such figures as Onisaburo Deguchi and even O'Sensei's Mother (I am embarassed to say I do not remember her name) would also be poignant to some extent. That said, it remains that it is OSensei who brought together the numerous factors that became Aikido and it is OSensei who my alliances lay with when it comes to Aikido training.

Ah, so you actually want to practice Omoto Kyo Aiki!!!!

Really, Aikido is an off shoot of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, just as Yoshinkan, Tomiki Ryu etc. are off shoots of Uyeshiba Ryu Aiki Budo as forms of Aikido/Aiki Jujutsu.

The lineage of our martial art does not simply go back to Uyeshiba Sensei and stop there. Aikido's roots lie in the 9th Century. After all, the Aiki system of techniques originated with Prince Teijun of the Minamoto family.

BTW, follow the link below. The Uyeshiba family disagree with you as their students don't wear hakama!

Aikikai Academy (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/Eng/hombu/Academy.htm)

Hmmm!

Also, Stuart, I don't think that is fair. Yes Kancho is where we look to in our teachings, but his Aikido came from O'Sensei, and O'Sensei's photo hangs in our dojo.

Regards,

stuartjvnorton
05-15-2005, 07:01 PM
Also, Stuart, I don't think that is fair. Yes Kancho is where we look to in our teachings, but his Aikido came from O'Sensei, and O'Sensei's photo hangs in our dojo.


I've trained at a couple of Yoshinkan dojo and been to a few seminars in the last 7 years, and rarely do I hear about O'Sensei. Kancho Sensei, on the other hand, I hear a fair bit about.

It just seems that there is a whole lot posted here about "O'Sensei this, hakama that" when there should possilby be a little more "Just get in there and train. See how you like the place and go from there."

maikerus
05-15-2005, 08:18 PM
Dare I upset the apple cart and mention at this point that in most Yoshinkan schools, the master you'd probably hear about is Gozo Shioda (or Kancho Sensei as a lot of Yoshinkan people tend to call him), and not O'Sensei ?

Stuart...upseeting apple carts is bad for the digestion :)

I was also wondering where it was written/commanded/suggested (and it might be..I just haven't seen it) by Ueshiba M. that hakama be worn in the dojo. I believe that Kancho Sensei had the highest respect for his instructor and would be surprised to find he had changed that, especially since he had ties to the Ueshiba family and Aikikai until the end of this life.

Just a thought...more apples rolling <wry grin>

cheers,

--Michael

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eyrie
05-15-2005, 10:55 PM
It's been done to death on this forum.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1445
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142

ShugyoSystems
05-16-2005, 04:00 AM
It just seems that there is a whole lot posted here about "O'Sensei this, hakama that" when there should possilby be a little more "Just get in there and train. See how you like the place and go from there."

Didn't I already respond to that line of thought?

Tell me, does this thread have the topic "Help change my mind!" or "Help me find a dojo in Melbourne!" ? This is getting a little tiring....

ShugyoSystems
05-16-2005, 04:05 AM
Stuart...upseeting apple carts is bad for the digestion :)

I was also wondering where it was written/commanded/suggested (and it might be..I just haven't seen it) by Ueshiba M. that hakama be worn in the dojo. I believe that Kancho Sensei had the highest respect for his instructor and would be surprised to find he had changed that, especially since he had ties to the Ueshiba family and Aikikai until the end of this life.

Just a thought...more apples rolling <wry grin>

cheers,

--Michael

-

Yeh well from what I gather Shioda Sensei held O'Sensei in very high esteem. Likewise as to the issue of the Ueshiba family losing the hakama, it is unclear why this has been done. I'd LOVE to know, despite the fact that I'm not sure that the answer to this question would change my perspective on the situation....

ShugyoSystems
05-16-2005, 04:07 AM
Ah, so you actually want to practice Omoto Kyo Aiki!!!!


Well honestly yeh I am very interested in it, but I'm not sure yet. I don't know enough about it :( I'm on my way there....


Really, Aikido is an off shoot of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, just as Yoshinkan, Tomiki Ryu etc. are off shoots of Uyeshiba Ryu Aiki Budo as forms of Aikido/Aiki Jujutsu.

The lineage of our martial art does not simply go back to Uyeshiba Sensei and stop there. Aikido's roots lie in the 9th Century. After all, the Aiki system of techniques originated with Prince Teijun of the Minamoto family.


Thanks for the info but I did know that. I used to train Hapkido which is an offshoot of aikijujutsu too, that's actually how I found out about aikido, studying the arts... Of course you can trace it all the way back through China to India, and arguably African plains too. Likewise for the spiritual stuff... But this particular mix that I am so attracted to is AIkido, and as I said, "it remains that it is OSensei who brought together the numerous factors that became Aikido and it is OSensei who my alliances lay with when it comes to Aikido training"


BTW, follow the link below. The Uyeshiba family disagree with you as their students don't wear hakama!

Aikikai Academy (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/Eng/hombu/Academy.htm)

Hmmm!


Hmmm indeed. I'm aware of this too. They actually stopped wearing hakama during O'Sensei's living years.

stuartjvnorton
05-16-2005, 08:45 AM
Didn't I already respond to that line of thought?

Tell me, does this thread have the topic "Help change my mind!" or "Help me find a dojo in Melbourne!" ? This is getting a little tiring....


Couldn't agree more.

I never claimed that Kancho Sensei (or anyone else for that matter) didn't have a ton of respect for O'Sensei.
It is however stated that your allegience is to O'Sensei first and foremost in regards to your Aikido training, and my point was that his beliefs/values are practised more in some styles than others.

So this is something you should be mindful of to avoid future frustration in your chosen dojo.

So once again, best of luck in finding a dojo that satisfies your needs.

siwilson
05-16-2005, 12:40 PM
Hmmm indeed. I'm aware of this too. They actually stopped wearing hakama during O'Sensei's living years.

So O'Sensei changed his mind about the hakama, yet you ignore his wishes from his later life?

ShugyoSystems
05-17-2005, 03:16 AM
So O'Sensei changed his mind about the hakama, yet you ignore his wishes from his later life?

No.... There's no evidence available to support the concept that this was his decision, in fact, the opposite is the case. Read the links earlier from this thread and you'll see what I mean... But that's the tip of the iceberg. ...


Still trying to change my mind?

ShugyoSystems
05-17-2005, 03:17 AM
Couldn't agree more.

I never claimed that Kancho Sensei (or anyone else for that matter) didn't have a ton of respect for O'Sensei.
It is however stated that your allegience is to O'Sensei first and foremost in regards to your Aikido training, and my point was that his beliefs/values are practised more in some styles than others.

So this is something you should be mindful of to avoid future frustration in your chosen dojo.

So once again, best of luck in finding a dojo that satisfies your needs.

I know, you said he had lots of repect for O'Sensei and I agreed with you... Crikey aren't we in defense mode!

Yeh your point was taken... That's the whole issue here ...

Thanks for the wellwishes :)

Todd

siwilson
05-17-2005, 03:51 AM
Still trying to change my mind?

Nope. That is impossible! Only you can change your mind, all others can do is inform your decision.