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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,058,025


Entries for the Month of October 2010

In Language Naming of Aikido Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #27 New 10-29-2010 12:12 PM
Naming of Aikido Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts.

Naming of Parts by Henry Reed

I heard on the BBC that the most advanced nuclear submarine in the world, HMS Astute, ran aground off the coast of Scotland؟ Way to go with the naming. By the way that's the first time I've used an irony mark (check out the thread about Omotokyo http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18832).

So I was thinking about naming. Judo is a great name. It's short and powerful and it contains the essence of the art itself: the way of softness. Of course a lot of people who do judo forget that. Kendo is a simple clear name: the way of the sword. Karate on its own - empty hand - is a cool and succinct name but when -do - the way - is added it seems like an afterthought: karatedo. In kobudo - old martial arts - a name I always liked is kage-ryu kenjutsu - shadow style of the sword. It became shinkage-ryu - new shadow style - in the sixteenth century but that doesn't have quite the same ring.

The naming of aikido is a little vague. I don't think I've ever seen a good translation of it. Blending + Energy + Way. In Wikipedia it says: Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit." Well, not often. I've never heard them. It is sometimes called the way of harmony but that doesn't mention the ki part. I have seen the way of harmonizing en ...More Read More
Views: 3341 | Comments: 8

In General best type for aikido? Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #26 New 10-22-2010 12:00 AM
best type for aikido? I'm from the southeast of England. We talk faster there and rush around more than the rest of the UK (although they would probably say aimlessly). Then my family moved to Yorkshire - in the north. I go there when I go back to the UK. I was there in the summer of 2010 (I gave a seminar at the Asoryu Aikido Club in Huddersfield).

There are regional stereotypes about people everywhere. Yorkshire people have the reputation of being direct, down-to-earth, stubborn and very warm and open once you get to know them. I started wondering if the Yorkshire personality was the ideal personality for aikido. Hmm. Direct is good. That's irimi: entering and closing the distance. Down-to-earth? Good too. It has to be real - any pretence or pretentiousness would be the end. Stubborn? Good too! If you're not stubborn and determined you're not going to get very far in any martial art. But there's another side to that. Stubbornness can be a negative thing too - it must never be just hardheaded and obstinate (just read some of the forums…). Warm and open? That's good too - in aikido you have the feeling of welcoming the attacker with a warm "Irasshaimase!" (what they say in Japan when you go into a restaurant). So this is starting to sound like a theory.

Let's try it for different places. A study in the Wall Street Journal had the starting point: "Why were his neighbors in Texas so relaxed, so courteous, so obsessed with sports? Why did New Yorkers seem so tense and inward-focused, often br ...More Read More
Views: 4052 | Comments: 6

In Techniques shiho nage: the acid test Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #25 New 10-15-2010 11:00 AM
shiho nage: the acid test When posture (shi sei, form and force) is perfect, the movement that follows is perfect as well.
Taisen Deshimaru, The Zen Way to the Martial Arts

You can do this acid test for almost any technique but it's particularly clear for shiho nage because of the distinct point - the turn - in the middle of the technique. You can do the check on your own first if you want and then with a partner. Of course you can dissect any technique into many parts and in many ways but for this broad-brush approach I just want to break shiho nage down into three phases. Katatedori is the simplest to analyze but it's the same for all variations.

1. before the technique
2. the technique (and especially the turn)
3. after the technique

Step 1 is really easy because you are in complete control of your body before the technique begins and before the uke takes a grip. So all you have to do is keep a good posture with your shoulders relaxed and your chest open. Easy, right. Anyone can do it. It's your body and no-one is gripping it so you can be perfectly relaxed.

Step 2 is the technique itself. Do it normally but as you turn, and immediately after the turn, check the position of your chest and shoulders. Inevitably you're going to notice that your chest has closed and your shoulders have lifted automatically. Complete the throw as normal keeping zanshin at the finish which leads into step 3.

Step 3 is also easy because you are in complete control of your body again after the uke has b ...More Read More
Views: 3229 | Comments: 12

In General outside the dojo? yep. spiritual? yep. Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #24 New 10-13-2010 11:00 AM
outside the dojo? yep. spiritual? yep. Check out the forum thread Real aikido is not just for the dojo.


I didn't like the way some people aggressively and superciliously jumped on a new member.

From here these are all quotes showing that many teachers believe that there is a spiritual dimension to aikido and that aikido practice extends beyond the dojo.

If you have a comment about the thread itself could you maybe put it in the thread please so the discussion doesn't get splintered? Other comments are fine here. Thanks!

It is important to know that aikido includes a philosophy and ideas that go beyond budo. Budo is a subset of aikido, but aikido is not a subset of budo. Therefore, developing aikido technique as a complete form includes, in addition to the principles of combat that will be discussed here, other elements such as ki (and its constituent elements), kokyu ryoku (breath power), and spiritual functions.

Mitsunari Kanai Sensei 8 dan Aikikai

Training has physical and spiritual aspects.

The body has its limits but the mind has no limit. The mind is free and unrestrained. Even though you can tie the body up with a rope (matter) you cannot tie up the mind. Those things which tie the mind are faith and illusion. The mind moves the body and the body can enrich or impoverish the mind.

Let us reflect on the meaning of training. It seems that
...More Read More
Views: 4390 | Comments: 14 (1 Private)

In General go no sen butterfly Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #23 New 10-08-2010 05:32 AM
go no sen butterfly One night last week on the train going home I suddenly noticed a butterfly motionless inside the carriage. Perhaps it was overwhelmed by the electric lights and all the people and the noise. I imagined it patiently trying to analyze the situation. That's anthropomorphism - attributing human reactions to animals (well, and insects).

So I thought finally when it had worked out the time between stations and how long the doors opened for it might make its move and fly away to freedom. But of course it didn't. It stayed there motionless. Bewildered or frightened. Or still waiting for the right moment.

A moth doesn't do that. It doesn't wait patiently to think about anything. It just gets on with trying to escape. It flies off in a direction at random and if that doesn't work it changes direction and starts again in a different direction and keeps moving tirelessly careless of hitting obstacles until finally it finds an opening and escapes.

So you are probably thinking he's going to say we have to be patient like the butterfly. Serene too, maybe. No. I'm not. We have to act. Like the moth. But the problem is not to go off in the wrong direction. How to know the right direction? Well that might take years of training.

There is a terrible danger in waiting. In being a butterfly. In inertia. Waiting until the right moment. The right moment might never come. You have to act. Saki no saki. I remember at an instuctors' seminar listening to a long explanation from Shigenobu ...More Read More
Views: 4529 | Comments: 12

In General Good teachers. Great teachers. Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #22 New 10-01-2010 10:45 AM
Good teachers. Great teachers. My first teacher Kinjo Asoh Sensei (7 dan) was maybe a little unusual when he started aikido in the 1950s. He was 53 years old. The younger students were in awe of this older guy who trained even harder than they did (I know because some of them told me). They called it eight days a week then. Every day once plus one extra training.

There are celebrations next year for the fiftieth anniversary of O Sensei's trip to Hawaii. So he went in 1961. Asoh Sensei went to see him off. O Sensei called him aside and told him he had to do everything he could to catch kokyu ryoku. "Kokyu ryoku is everything," he told him.

O Sensei told him that several times over the years but Asoh Sensei remembered that time especially. He told me the same thing. I have to get kokyu ryoku. Kokyu ryoku is everything and without it aikido is nothing. My second teacher Sadateru Arikawa Sensei (9 dan) told me almost the exact same thing.

So what is it? Kokyu ryoku. Breath power. O Sensei said it was everything. If you can catch it aikido becomes so easy and so simple.

To get it you have to lose power. All power. If you try to do a technique with even a little power still remaining you will block yourself and block your own progress.

A jujutsu/judo teacher showed me a technique from a kata recently. The technique was completely effective. There was no weak point (suki) anywhere. But it hurt. I have noticed this before with senior koryu people. You can't reverse the technique. Everything is ...More Read More
Views: 6186 | Comments: 23

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