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akiy
07-11-2001, 03:10 PM
Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun

jfearon
07-12-2001, 03:45 AM
Did O Sensei actually say there must be no Competition

ian
07-12-2001, 04:30 AM
From AikidoFaqs web pages:

"One of the other big breaks in Aikido history occured during O Sensei's life when Kenji Tomiki proposed "rationalizing" Aikido training using Kata and Competition. Since that time, there has been little commonality between the Tomiki schools and the mainline Aikido schools."

"In addition, he [Tomiki] believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice since it was no longer tested in real combat. This latter view was the cause of a split with O Sensei who firmly believed that there was no place for competition in Aikido training."

"Tomiki wished to obtain the blessings of the founder for his efforts. Exchanges of views took place between Tomiki and the Aikikai with Shigenobu Okumura often acting as intermediary. However, the founder was very firm on this issue and adamantly insisted that aikido did not include competition. A rift between Tomiki and the Aikikai consequently developed and Tomiki continued on his own."

"There is no competition in Aikido because it would eliminate a lot of people from the training. The purpose of Aikido is to allow as many different people as possible - men and women, young and old, weak and strong - to develop their potential through practice together." (Chiba sensei)


so it seems that it may have been an informal disagreement between Tomiki and Ueshiba. There is a brief section on Tomiki's approach to competition at:

http://www.aikidofaq.com//essays/n_section24.html

Also, while I was trawling these pages I found an amazing story about Ueshiba which I'm not sure whether to believe - have a read yourself!

http://www.aikidofaq.com/history/story.html

Sorry I can't help any further,

Ian

andrew
07-12-2001, 05:57 AM
I can't help with the decree, but I found an awfully good article about the matter....
http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articlei.htm

andrew

Richard Harnack
07-12-2001, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by akiy
Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun

Jun -
I think you will find it in his "rules" in Budo.

andrew
07-12-2001, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


Jun -
I think you will find it in his "rules" in Budo.

In the English translation which I have in front of me, the first "precaution for training" says this:
"The original intent of bujutsu was to kill a enemy with one blow; since all techniques can be lethal, observe the instructor's directions and do not engage in contests of strength."

I don't think that's really addressing the issue of competition per se so much as attitude on the mats, although you could certainly extrapulate from the statement.

andrew

Kami
07-15-2001, 03:04 AM
Originally posted by andrew
In the English translation which I have in front of me, the first "precaution for training" says this:
"The original intent of bujutsu was to kill a enemy with one blow; since all techniques can be lethal, observe the instructor's directions and do not engage in contests of strength."
andrew

KAMI : I guess that's why Jun was asking for the original japanese writings. There are always problems with translating ideograms to the english language.
Anyway, I guess the Kaiso didn't stop there. In John Stevens' translation (THE ART OF PEACE - Shamballah, 1992), there's another poem by the Founder :
"As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with and criticizing others weaken and defeat you".
You may interpret it as you wish. Jun's request is still unanswered.
Best

Richard Harnack
07-15-2001, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by akiy
Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun

Jun-
I still think you will find it in Budo, and in a variant form in Kissomaru Ueshiba's books, and finally, why not contact Stan Pranin. I am certain he probably has access to the passage you are looking for.

Kami
07-16-2001, 01:30 AM
Originally posted by Richard Harnack
Jun-
I still think you will find it in Budo, and in a variant form in Kissomaru Ueshiba's books, and finally, why not contact Stan Pranin. I am certain he probably has access to the passage you are looking for.

KAMI : Since Jun's question interests me very much, I have asked the help of Peter Goldsbury Sensei, Chairman of the International Aikido Federation and Professor of Comparative Religions and Mythologies at Hiroshima University, in Japan. He asked me for some time to do some research and I'm waiting for it.
I don't hold to that opinion but some people have used the argument "ad hominem" (O-Sensei's recomendation) for use against competition in Aikido. So, I guess Jun's question is very pertinent.
Best

akiy
07-16-2001, 10:22 AM
Just so that people know where I'm coming from (or where I'm heading), I'm wondering because the word "competition" can be translated as both "shiai" as in a judo tournament kind of competition or "arasoiai" which can mean stuff like rivalry, non-physical fighting, and such.

I don't want to get into a discussion of whether competition is good/bad for aikido here as this is the "language" forum...

In any case, thanks, Ubaldo, for checking in with Peter. Let me/us know if you find anything out!

-- Jun

PeterR
07-16-2001, 09:20 PM
Hi Jun;

I've been staying out of this - actually waiting to see what Peter G. has to say.

I can't help with what Ueshiba exactly said but since you mention kanji - from the Shodokan FAQ


It is often argued that Aikido is "The Budo of Love" and therefore there shouldn't be any form of competition in Aikido. This argument is a good one and arises from the very important Aikido and Budo concept that fighting and aggression are wrong.

We do not think of Shiai (competition) as aggression or fighting against an opponent. If we really think about it the (Japanese Kanji) word 'Shiai' (competition) is made up of two parts. The first part 'Shi' means to test and the second part 'Ai' means together with someone.

Thus we view Shiai as a valuable opportunity to test ourselves whilst working together, and as a useful aid for studying our 'Waza' (art) and our 'Do' (way).

Originally posted by akiy
I'm wondering because the word "competition" can be translated as both "shiai" as in a judo tournament kind of competition or "arasoiai" which can mean stuff like rivalry, non-physical fighting, and such.

akiy
07-16-2001, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by PeterR
I can't help with what Ueshiba exactly said but since you mention kanji - from the Shodokan FAQ
[snip]
We do not think of Shiai (competition) as aggression or fighting against an opponent. If we really think about it the (Japanese Kanji) word 'Shiai' (competition) is made up of two parts. The first part 'Shi' means to test and the second part 'Ai' means together with someone.
Sticking with the language part of this discussion (as this is the language forum), it's basically the same in English, too. The term "compete" comes from the Latin competere or com- together + petere to seek.

-- Jun

PeterR
07-17-2001, 02:13 AM
Which is always the problem of translation. Words have different connotations in the same language, a problem which only compounds across the language barrier.

It is important to understand what is meant by the word in a particular context.

For some competition means to win at all costs. For others, it does not.

Originally posted by akiy

Sticking with the language part of this discussion (as this is the language forum), it's basically the same in English, too. The term "compete" comes from the Latin competere or com- together + petere to seek.

-- Jun

akiy
07-17-2001, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by PeterR
Which is always the problem of translation. Words have different connotations in the same language, a problem which only compounds across the language barrier.

It is important to understand what is meant by the word in a particular context.

I agree with all of the points above, of course (having been a linguist in a "previous life")...

-- Jun

Peter Goldsbury
07-21-2001, 06:42 AM
Hello, Everybody,

This is my first post in this forum (so please be nice!). Cyber-shihan Ubaldo Alcantara first asked me for information on this topic and it took me some time to realise that it was in connection with Jun Akiyama's web site. I sent Ubaldo a reply, but then realised it was better to contribute to the forum myself. So here is what I have discovered in O Sensei's writings about competition.

1. The word which O Sensei uses for 'competition' is 競争 (きょうそう: KYOU-SOU). The first character is composed of the Radials 117 (standing) and the character (344 in Nelson's dictionary) for 'ani' (brother). The second character is also read as 'araso' and the meaning of the compound is basically 'rivalry'.

The word 試合 (しあい SHI-ai) has the sense of two teams meeting for a game or match and is not used by O Sensei.

2. Where does O Sensei discuss competition in Aikido? I have seen no evidence for any general declaration made by O Sensei against competition. There is a reference to sports understood by O Sensei in a western sense on Page 50 of Hideo Takahashi's book, "Takemusu Aiki", which records lectures given by the Founder. A translation of O Sensei's ideas is given on Page 21 of Issue 117 of Aikido Journal. There O Sensei does talk about competition as applied to aikido, always using the Chinese character I explained above. His views are clearly old-fashioned and he makes statements about Japan and western sports which are no longer true.

3. The reference to Tomiki Sensei and competition appears on pp.184-188 of "Aikido Ichiro", by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Doshu explains that Tomiki Sensei became a professor at Waseda University in 1954 but often came to visit the Founder in Iwama and Tokyo. Tomiki Sensei was a POW in Siberia and developed a system of aiki-taiso, probably to stay alive, and explained his system to O Sensei. In Kisshomaru Doshu's words,

"On seeing this (sc. Tomiki Sensei's system), my father said,

そのよおうなものを 合気 と称されて困る

"If you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems."

Kisshomaru Doshu then goes on to discuss what happened afterwards. I muself have had lengthy conversations with Kisshomaru Doshu and with Okumura Shigenobu Sensei (9th dan), who first learned aikido at the hands of Tomiki Sensei and was later deputed to negotiate over whether Tomiki Sensei should use 'aikido' for his art. Okumura Sensei was clearly torn between loyalty to his sensei and loyalty to the Founder.

Best regrds to all,

Peter Goldsbury

Peter Goldsbury
07-22-2001, 03:14 AM
On rereading my last post, I see I should add a couple of points.

1. The character 競 is also used by the Founder in his rules for practice, but in the context it clearly means 'contests of strength'.

2. In recounting the meeting between the Founder and Tomiki Sensei, cited above, Kisshomaru Doshu also adds that the Founder responded angrily to Tomiki Sensei's ideas (the Japanese word used is 怒る おこる okoru), but also that Tomiki stood his ground and stuck to his position. I would think that this would have required some courage, considering Tomiki Sensei's long association with the Founder.

Best regards to all,

Peter Goldsbury

akiy
07-23-2001, 12:08 AM
Hi Peter,

Thank you very much for your detailed and researched answer! It's pretty much what I suspected, although the phrase "kyousou" slipped my mind when I formulated my original question.

Thanks, too, for the pointer to the relevant pages in "Aikido Ichiro." I've gone and reread the chapter including the interview with Doshu and the Kodokan 9th dan practitioner -- it'd been a while since I've read the book. Good stuff in there, too.

I hope you can find the time to peruse these Forums every so often! Your participation om the future would be greatly appreciated.

I hope to meet you next May at the Aiki Expo...

-- Jun

PeterR
07-23-2001, 01:47 AM
I would also like to thank Peter G. for that - it puts a lot into perspective.

Kami
07-23-2001, 09:00 AM
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
Hello, Everybody,
This is my first post in this forum (so please be nice!). Cyber-shihan Ubaldo Alcantara first asked me for information on this topic and it took me some time to realise that it was in connection with Jun Akiyama's web site. I sent Ubaldo a reply, but then realised it was better to contribute to the forum myself. So here is what I have discovered in O Sensei's writings about competition.
Best regrds to all,
Peter Goldsbury

KAMI : Thank you very much, Goldsbury Sama!
As so accurately explained by Peter G., we may, from now on, agree or disagree with competition, but no longer on the grounds of "The Master said so...":) (I never did like that!)
Best

Markus
08-03-2001, 10:04 AM
I seem to remember a qoute such like that if one did shiai in aikido, it would become shiai (with shi = death), but are currently disconnected from my sources. The far end of my mind soehow relates this quotation to O Sensei. As Peter stated, that


The word 試合 (し い SHI-ai) has the sense of two teams
meeting for a game or match and is not used by O Sensei.


it seems to be very unlikely. Does anyone recognize the quotation I have in mind and can trace a source?

Markus

mj
08-03-2001, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by akiy

I agree with all of the points above, of course (having been a linguist in a "previous life")...

-- Jun

Spooky:confused:
I was a pedant. (sic)

CorkyQ
06-27-2013, 09:36 AM
KAMI : Thank you very much, Goldsbury Sama!
As so accurately explained by Peter G., we may, from now on, agree or disagree with competition, but no longer on the grounds of "The Master said so...":) (I never did like that!)
Best

Actually, in the book Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, 1958, under the direction of Morihei Ueshiba), translated by Kaz Tanahashi quotes Osensei in the back of the book under the chapter heading "Memoirs of the Master":

We ceaselessly pray that fights should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido.

That seems pretty clear, says he doesn't want "matches in Aikido" which I would call competition, and gives a reason, but if you want to go straight to the horse's mouth, contact Tanahashi Sensei in Berkeley. I'm sure he would, as the scholar he is, be able to tell you exactly what wording Osensei used.

Also among the memoirs, same book, Then how can you straighten your warped mind, purify your heart, and be harmonized with the activities of all things in Nature? You should first make God's heart yours. It is a Great Love. Omnipresent in all quarters and in all times of the universe. "There is no discord in love. There is no enemy in love." A mind of discord, thinking of the existence of an enemy is no more consistent with the will of God.

Those who do not agree with this cannot be in harmony with the universe. Their budo is that of destruction. It is not constructive budo.

Therefore, to compete in techniques, winning and losing, is not true budo. True budo knows no defeat. "Never defeated" means "never fighting."

Second reason, from my interpretation. I doubt that he means you shouldn't compete because you might lose. My take is, in context with everything else he says in his memoir, is that in an aikido interaction should never end with anyone defeated.

Other than that I take from it that those interested in competing are not interested in what Osensei called "true budo."

Chris Li
06-27-2013, 11:06 AM
Other than that I take from it that those interested in competing are not interested in what Osensei called "true budo."

I think that it's fairly clear that he was opposed to competitive matches for a number of reasons.

OTOH, there are a lot of things that he said and did that people don't really pay much attention to, and even Ueshiba can certainly be mistaken in his reasoning, so I don't think it follows that people who are involved in competitive matches are necessarily uninterested in "true budo".

I think that they are making an argument for a different methodology, perhaps, but that doesn't make them oblivious to his goals.

Best,

Chris

Demetrio Cereijo
06-27-2013, 11:20 AM
We ceaselessly pray that fights should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido.

I think there was a problem with the translation. The original statement was probably "We ceaselessly pray that fires should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido"

Makes more sense this way.

Chris Li
06-27-2013, 11:36 AM
I'd also note that Corky cited the "Rendezvous with Adventure" video in another thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=327615&postcount=39), in which Koichi Tohei participates in a "match". Since that "match" was officially sanctioned by Morihei Ueshiba, doesn't that cause a problem for an absolute prohibition on competition?

I don't think that the issue is all that simple.

Best,

Chris

Janet Rosen
06-27-2013, 12:12 PM
I think there was a problem with the translation. The original statement was probably "We ceaselessly pray that fires should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido"

Makes more sense this way.

:D

CorkyQ
06-27-2013, 12:13 PM
I think there was a problem with the translation. The original statement was probably "We ceaselessly pray that fires should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido"

Makes more sense this way.

Here is the website of one of the two translators of the quote I introduced:

http://www.brushmind.net/index.html

Tanahashi Sensei is an amazing scholar, artist, and zen practitioner and student of Osensei since he was a boy in his early teens. He has contact information (and I hope he doesn't mind me pointing out that fact!) on his website. I'd be curious as to how many ways certain things could be translated...

but fires (assumably metaphorically) or fights, is there any potential discrepancies about the "strictly prohibit matches in Aikido" part?

Oh wait, you're putting me on, right... thanks Janet - that's how thick I can be...

ewolput
06-27-2013, 12:43 PM
Other than that I take from it that those interested in competing are not interested in what Osensei called "true budo."

Is this also for Kendo, Iaido, Jodo, Judo.....?
When you enter a shiai with 100persons, only 1 will be champion (? :D ) all the rest are losers. I don't think most of the competitors are joining a competition to become a champ, they join the competition to understand their own level under pressure. A competition can learn you a lot about yourself. Once Kenji Tomiki ( and also his assisten Hideo Ohba) said randori/shiai is painting in the eye of the dragon.
In Tomiki Aikido, the competition is only a small part of the training. It is not the ultimate gaol.

My thoughts,
Eddy

Hellis
06-27-2013, 12:54 PM
I think there was a problem with the translation. The original statement was probably "We ceaselessly pray that fires should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido"

Makes more sense this way.

Demetrio

Thank you for some sound common sense :D

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

CorkyQ
06-27-2013, 12:54 PM
Chris, of course we can only write about what makes sense to us, and in my practice I have found that the further I stray from a mind of acceptance (including say, an acceptance that If I fight there is someone in the world who can beat me) the less likely I am going to experience the magnificence of an effortless manifestation of aikido. In my dojo, no one goes along with a throw and if I try to throw anyone the aikido will fail or both partners feel that force was used to obtain a result - a throw.

Usually the evidence is in retrospection, that is I thought I was being non-competitive at the time, but in the failing of aikido to manifest, I must acknowledge the fact I had a disguised intention which was ultimately defensive, not harmonious.

By working this way, aikido for us will only manifest with intention to connect to uke's center in a harmonious way, even in harmony from a hard style aikido perspective, but the way that connection is made also produces an effect on the conflict resolution or lack of.

One can send a concentrated flow of ki to uke's center (hard style aikido) or send that energy with the intention of supporting. When this state of being occurs within nage, whether nage is a seasoned instructor or our lowest ranked student, the aikido manifests instantly. It will manifest instantly as well if the state of mind is about counter attacking with using aiki principles, but in terms of victory over self my purpose in practicing aikido failed because it makes me feel personally powerful, no matter how my ego wants to dress it up in some kind of faux humility. I definitely prefer the feeling of the matter turning out well at no one's expense.

I see no reason to compete for this reason and from my perspective, anyway, my reasons are in alignment with Osensei's reasoning. It may not appear like that to anyone else.

I mostly entered this forum discussion because people were saying they could find no written evidence of Osensei prohibiting competition, and if he did, why? and I had been reading that very page the other day.

As for whether Osensei was there and allowed that struggle to ensue in the "rendezvous with adventure", as brilliant as Osensei was if you read the biography in the book Aikido you can see a mere human trying to live up to his own visions and ideals, not a god (who like you and I, never shows one sign of hypocrisy or ego!). I can't imagine Osensei watching his student go at it with this brute from the U.S., pitting aikido against good old grab-and-throw-ya, and thinking "Yes! My student has found the essence of this art!" Can you? All I can imagine is that Osensei had retired for the day and that student was really lucky that Osensei never caught that show on netflix... lol

Chris Li
06-27-2013, 03:04 PM
Chris, of course we can only write about what makes sense to us, and in my practice I have found that the further I stray from a mind of acceptance (including say, an acceptance that If I fight there is someone in the world who can beat me) the less likely I am going to experience the magnificence of an effortless manifestation of aikido. In my dojo, no one goes along with a throw and if I try to throw anyone the aikido will fail or both partners feel that force was used to obtain a result - a throw.

That's fine, of course, but that doesn't mean that other people don't have different experiences.



As for whether Osensei was there and allowed that struggle to ensue in the "rendezvous with adventure", as brilliant as Osensei was if you read the biography in the book Aikido you can see a mere human trying to live up to his own visions and ideals, not a god (who like you and I, never shows one sign of hypocrisy or ego!). I can't imagine Osensei watching his student go at it with this brute from the U.S., pitting aikido against good old grab-and-throw-ya, and thinking "Yes! My student has found the essence of this art!" Can you? All I can imagine is that Osensei had retired for the day and that student was really lucky that Osensei never caught that show on netflix... lol

It's pretty well documented that Tohei engaged in the match with the full permission of Morihei Ueshiba. No need for imagination.

Best,

Chris

CorkyQ
06-27-2013, 03:53 PM
That's fine, of course, but that doesn't mean that other people don't have different experiences.

Yep!


It's pretty well documented that Tohei engaged in the match with the full permission of Morihei Ueshiba. No need for imagination.

Best,

Chris

if you say so, but still, what about the many ways of saying competition is "okay in Aikido" that can be mistranslated into "strictly prohibited?"

If you are saying the Founder of Aikido is guilty of hypocrisy, I wouldn't argue with that - but which do you think he really believed? And if he believed competition in aikido was okay but allowed himself to be quoted in print in a book he conceivably wanted to be seen around the world saying the opposite, that kind of makes the Founder a bull$#!T artist, doesn't it?

Chris Li
06-27-2013, 04:02 PM
Yep!

if you say so, but still, what about the many ways of saying competition is "okay in Aikido" that can be mistranslated into "strictly prohibited?"

If you are saying the Founder of Aikido is guilty of hypocrisy, I wouldn't argue with that - but which do you think he really believed? And if he believed competition in aikido was okay but allowed himself to be quoted in print in a book he conceivably wanted to be seen around the world saying the opposite, that kind of makes the Founder a bull$#!T artist, doesn't it?

Well, there are a number of places where he was...flexible with the truth - but that's another discussion.

If you're read my other posts you'll see that I'm not arguing that he was secretly in favor of comptetion. In this very thread, I said:

I think that it's fairly clear that he was opposed to competitive matches for a number of reasons.

OTOH, we have him participating in "matches" on a number of occassions, and endorsing "matches on others - so it seems clear that an argument for an absolute prohibition would be pretty difficult to make.

It seems to me that he made general statements against compteition, but his actual behavior was not quite that strict on a case-by-case basis. Pretty typical for Japanese, really...

Best,

Chris

graham christian
06-27-2013, 04:24 PM
Was Tohei in a match? If it's the one in that old black and white film I wouldn't call that a match. I'd call it using Aikido with someone who wants a match. Ueshiba invited the demonstration, hardly a match.

You could say everyone he ever invited to test him was a match but as he described pretty ceaselessly was about within yourself.......not to do with the other really. Hikitsuchi explains his words plainly enough I would say.

Inside you know if your intention is to beat, to win, to dominate etc. or if it's to give joy to, give life to, give comfort to etc. A high aim granted but those who do it successfully to any degree get an understanding of what no competition means.

My two pence.

Peace.G.

Chris Li
06-27-2013, 04:33 PM
Was Tohei in a match? If it's the one in that old black and white film I wouldn't call that a match. I'd call it using Aikido with someone who wants a match. Ueshiba invited the demonstration, hardly a match.

I wouldn't really call it much of a match either - it's just the phrasing that was used in Corky's original post.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
06-27-2013, 06:01 PM
I wouldn't really call it much of a match either - it's just the phrasing that was used in Corky's original post.

Best,

Chris

Indeed. Found a couple of your 'interview' postings very interesting recently. Nice.:)

Peace.G.

CorkyQ
06-28-2013, 02:08 PM
The reason I called it a "match" is because that is what it was called in essence by the American... "Herman is still skeptical about how aikido will do in a rough and tumble. His instructor (assumably Tohei) agrees to operate on the principle of gentleness..."

What is the next intention after "I'm skeptical" that would lead to what you saw on video besides, "prove it to me" or "let me prove it to you?" It was a testing, not a real attack with real aikido. It started with respectful bowing for gosh sakes. What kind of real conflict starts with your assailant bowing to you? Really Graham? someone agreeing to take on someone looking for a match isn't agreeing to a match?

Nor was it training. At least I've never seen aikido training that looks like that. I think you really have to stretch to consider what they were doing was NOT a test, a match, a contest meant to show both participants who had the better method for dealing in "rough and tumble."

But if you guys are accurate in your assertion that this was not a match or competition, and what was shown during that part of the video was really aikido, and not someone trying to prove aikido is ineffective against "rough and tumble" with the other participant trying to prove it is, then please tell me that your own aikido looks like that in your dojo.

If not, can you tell me why it doesn't?

Chris Li
06-28-2013, 02:14 PM
The reason I called it a "match" is because that is what it was called in essence by the American... "Herman is still skeptical about how aikido will do in a rough and tumble. His instructor (assumably Tohei) agrees to operate on the principle of gentleness..."

What is the next intention after "I'm skeptical" that would lead to what you saw on video besides, "prove it to me" or "let me prove it to you?" It was a testing, not a real attack with real aikido. It started with respectful bowing for gosh sakes. What kind of real conflict starts with your assailant bowing to you? Really Graham? someone agreeing to take on someone looking for a match isn't agreeing to a match?

Nor was it training. At least I've never seen aikido training that looks like that. I think you really have to stretch to consider what they were doing was NOT a test, a match, a contest meant to show both participants who had the better method for dealing in "rough and tumble."

But if you guys are accurate in your assertion that this was not a match or competition, and what was shown during that part of the video was really aikido, and not someone trying to prove aikido is ineffective against "rough and tumble" with the other participant trying to prove it is, then please tell me that your own aikido looks like that in your dojo.

If not, can you tell me why it doesn't?

I said that it wasn't much of a match, as in - it was a pretty poor "match", if it was one.

Anyway, we don't have too many "matches" with out of shape American TV reporters, which is probably why it doesn't look like that.:)

What are you getting at?

Best,

Chris

CorkyQ
06-28-2013, 03:03 PM
I am getting at the same thing I started getting at Chris - it was a match (whether much of a match or not) because it was two people out to prove something by seeing who could better the other.

Tohei Sensei, in agreeing to the competition, had to put himself in a mind to win, not in the mind of someone who wants no fight. This shows in how many times he tries to throw the American, the only time the guy goes down is when his intention to deck Tohei transcends his reflex to stay balanced.

I'm pointing out that competitions look like this (ugly), but aikido never does...

Chris Li
06-28-2013, 03:10 PM
I am getting at the same thing I started getting at Chris - it was a match (whether much of a match or not) because it was two people out to prove something by seeing who could better the other.

Tohei Sensei, in agreeing to the competition, had to put himself in a mind to win, not in the mind of someone who wants no fight. This shows in how many times he tries to throw the American, the only time the guy goes down is when his intention to deck Tohei transcends his reflex to stay balanced.

I'm pointing out that competitions look like this (ugly), but aikido never does...

Well, perhaps Aikido never does if it's in a constrained and agreed upon situation, which covers the way that most dojo train.

In any case, I don't happen to think that competitive situations look particularly "ugly" - just a little messier.

Best,

Chris

Gerardo Torres
06-28-2013, 03:12 PM
Is this also for Kendo, Iaido, Jodo, Judo.....?
When you enter a shiai with 100persons, only 1 will be champion (? :D ) all the rest are losers. I don't think most of the competitors are joining a competition to become a champ, they join the competition to understand their own level under pressure. A competition can learn you a lot about yourself. Once Kenji Tomiki ( and also his assisten Hideo Ohba) said randori/shiai is painting in the eye of the dragon.
In Tomiki Aikido, the competition is only a small part of the training. It is not the ultimate gaol.

My thoughts,
Eddy
My sentiments echo Eddy's comments. I train in Aikikai aikido, but I think any kind of aikido or martial art would greatly benefit from some sort of competition. I also train classical weapons arts and we engage in all sorts of tests and competitions among ourselves, but it's not about one-upmanship and defining winners and losers, but about self discovery, pressure testing and serious study. So far I have not seen people being crushed spiritually or fostering wrong personality traits from engaging in competitions; on the contrary I see it bringing people together, becoming better friends and training harder (as a good competitive outcome will clearly and unequivocally identify areas for improvement). I think some form of standardized testing and/or competition would greatly help aikido with the issues of delusions of skill, hero-worship, and passive-aggressive BS.

Eddy's mention of iaido among other arts (that include matches/competitions) makes a good point: can anybody say that iaido practitioners (or Kendo, jodo, etc.) are not doing "true Budo"? Furthermore Ueshiba didn't become so famous by just talking... he had to test his skills against a most likely hostile and demanding crowd didn't he? And what if he did really mean to prohibit matches and competitions in Aikido? Is it possible he might have been wrong and matches and competitions are actually good for Budo? Shouldn't we at least try it?

-Gerardo

graham christian
06-28-2013, 04:00 PM
The reason I called it a "match" is because that is what it was called in essence by the American... "Herman is still skeptical about how aikido will do in a rough and tumble. His instructor (assumably Tohei) agrees to operate on the principle of gentleness..."

What is the next intention after "I'm skeptical" that would lead to what you saw on video besides, "prove it to me" or "let me prove it to you?" It was a testing, not a real attack with real aikido. It started with respectful bowing for gosh sakes. What kind of real conflict starts with your assailant bowing to you? Really Graham? someone agreeing to take on someone looking for a match isn't agreeing to a match?

Nor was it training. At least I've never seen aikido training that looks like that. I think you really have to stretch to consider what they were doing was NOT a test, a match, a contest meant to show both participants who had the better method for dealing in "rough and tumble."

But if you guys are accurate in your assertion that this was not a match or competition, and what was shown during that part of the video was really aikido, and not someone trying to prove aikido is ineffective against "rough and tumble" with the other participant trying to prove it is, then please tell me that your own aikido looks like that in your dojo.

If not, can you tell me why it doesn't?

Well I'm sure in the days of samurai in that age of their budo it was imperitive to bow first (and not lose face) and also a match in those days, in that environment, would have to be seen in it's context rather than modern day context when using the word. The result of such a thing would be death. Persons of that ilk, which I call the real fundamental martial attitude, boy do they respect. The attitude wouldn't be much different to the old English gentleman, take ten paces, turn, fire.

Ueshiba for instance trained to kill before the war as did those doing that kind of martial art. It was to kill, not to contest or test or play. That type of mindset also is a kind of no competition mindset too for it is only a do or die mindset. Thus their harsh training was do well or get hurt badly.

So Aikido technique wise and indeed and especially mindset wise did indeed have it's roots re: daito ryu etc., especially the sword work and thus swordsman or weapon man attitude.

So when someone wanting conflict full of bravado and mouth and any other disrespectful thing challenges I myself am not interested. To me they are not worthy and in fact are too cowardly to be honest. Show me someone who bows so to speak or gives immovable respect and I'll show you someone I see as more than worthy.

You are right in one respect therefor that it was not a real match. I would say it was much more real to the American guy for he was trying his best but as you say yourself Tohei was just showing a little, a principle of gentleness.....that's all. That principle of gentleness was part of his Aikido was it not? Just that small part was enough to satisfy and also give the American something to think about was it not? He thus got an answer to his question didn't he? Plus a little bonus of course at the end, one finger wasn't it? So it was a little demo of a small part of the art answering a question.

The fault as I see it is once again people. The fact he asked for how it would do in a rough and tumble doesn't mean the person agreeing is then going to enter into a rough and tumble. No, he entered and kept to a few certain principles only. Thus one was doing rough and tumble while the other was doing something he didn't understand.

Can you not see that asking how Aikido would do in a rough and tumble is like asking how would no competition do in a competition? That was the demo. Yet the real demo of course was via Ueshiba himself, as I recall I was amazed when he seemed to drag the guy like he was a weightless rag doll.

As far as seeing Aikido training looking like that I've seen plenty and I'm sure you have too if you think about it. It usually happens after training when people are experimenting it also happens when someone is testing theirself against let's say an experienced wrestler or judoka and both are let's say for arguments sake about second dan level or less. So things 'looking' the same I've seen plenty. So once again you are right for it wasn't what would be called training.

So back to life and principles. Rather than getting stuck in the view of if you agree to partake when someone wants a match or competition means you have entered into a match or competition look at it this way. What about just agreeing, unbeknown to the other, to have some fun.

I once used to go play a board game called Risk on a friday night. Boy were they all into competition and outwitting and all the usual. They just couldn't work me out. I didn't care for I knew what I was doing, I was having fun just playing. It freaked them out really because they couldn't see how I was having fun and not caring as to whether I won or lost. So it's a choice. I could play that game to win or to enjoy.

So that's an introduction to the concept of game. A match is a game, a contest is a game. The opponent is thus playing a game. Why play his game? When you do you have entered the contest. When you don't you haven't. I demonstrated this point to a boxer last year. I told him when he asked a similar question re: if he used boxing. I said if I competed with him he would win every time. I even showed him. Of course I had no chance. I then sparred with him wher I did what would really be called keeping ma-ai but mixed with mirroring everything he did. It was a no contest. No winner, no loser. Then I did a demo of Aikido. Again no contest but this time others would consider I was the winner.

I did not enter his game, his competition, his considered match.

Have you not ever experienced doing similar and being met with a response of 'yeah but you use Ki, or you used that stuff you do or similar? In other words "you didn't play by the rules!" Thus, enter those rules and you are indeed in a competition, a match. That's a different game.

So as I see it potentially there is a state of no competition, a state of continuous winning. Thus there is a state also of no match no matter what the other is doing or how it's perceived by anyone watching.

Now I don't know your view on what I am about to say but I will give you my view anyway.

The state of continuous winning is similar but not the same as beneficent intention and universal love. For me it is part of 'true' aikido (as we all like to call it) but is purely the expression of active non resistance. To make it even harder to grasp is the fact that all aspects including beneficent intention and love are also non resistive. Thus all is potentially divine.

To put it succinctly your way of Aikido or the main core of it that you talk about and demo I would equate with a fan. The pure non resistance I speak of is more a life giving sword. So most times when watching Ueshiba I see a sword dance and later in life more fan. However I never see competition.)

Give me a couple more lifetimes and I'll come and show you;)

Peace.G.

graham christian
06-28-2013, 04:15 PM
Oh, by the way Corky. If someone asked me to watch that 'incident' from the view of competing or even resistance for to me they are one and the same, then I would be busy pointing out when he wasn't in competition and when he was. In and out. in and out. For as much as I admire and even promote Tohei's way he did have quite a bit of ego and thus it showed or interfered if you like at that time. I wouldn't be surprised if Ueshiba arranged that on purpose actually so that both may learn something.:)

Peace.G.

patrick de block
07-02-2013, 12:25 PM
To derail this thread a bit further; I always use the example of Tohei and the American whenever someone tells me that there is (should be) no competition in Aikido. And that's what Aikido looks like unless you have very cooperative uke's or someone with superior skill. And Shirata also comes to mind, whenever they needed someone, in those days, to clean out someone who doubted aikido, he was called upon and Ueshiba approved of this, to say the least. And Ueshiba himself, he became famous for what? For saying whenever he was challenged: 'No, I don't do competition, only a fight to live or die'.

Of course I am using 'competition' in a broader sense than the one limited to actual matches with rules and judges. Competition in Tomiki Aikido are those very visible events which are what everyone talks about. But those competitions are only the visible part of a methodology, a methodology that consists of a three step program to develop skill: kakari geiko, hikitate geiko and randori. (Anyone who recognizes a similar system in Shinkage Ryu?) A step by step program with at one end two people going at full speed with all the conviction the can muster. Tomiki believed that a there was a dual road to proficiency, kata and free style. They should be in balance as both ways should influence (inform and penetrate) each other. It's not just about doing beautifully choreographed movements or just fighting. Putting the eyes back in the dragon, he called it.

PeterR
07-02-2013, 12:49 PM
Exactly Patrick - great post.

Some of the most elegant and beautiful Aikido I have seen was during randori. Perfect timing, focus and kuzushi - it takes real skill to pull off that level of aiki under those conditions.

philipsmith
07-02-2013, 02:47 PM
just to stir the pot a little further.
Chiba Sensei once told me about a challenge issued to the Hombu by a sumitori.

Tohei Sensei was delegated to deal with it by O'Sensei and I remember Sensei telling me all of the then deshi lining up to watch "to see who would win" - sounds competitve to me.

BTW Tohei Sensei won; apparently using a combination of Aikido and punching/striking.

JP3
07-04-2013, 03:40 PM
Phillip, you wrote, " BTW Tohei Sensei won; apparently using a combination of Aikido and punching/striking"

I just sit here contemplating that sentence with a small frown on my face. Tohei Sensei "won." Using a "combination." Aikido AND striking.

Man, we could spin off a couple good threads on that sentence, right tere....