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Hello. I am a being of immense power. I stand outside creation and possess the ability to observe without interfering. Heisenberg and his nasty Uncertainty Principle are confined to creation; I am free of his curse. I am granting you the ability to step out of creation for a while so that we may look upon another of my works together.
Envision a universe consisting of a single switch. The switch has two possible end-states; end-state zero, called off and end-state one, called on. The switch is considered in an end-state when there is no ambiguity regarding whether the switch is on or off.
For the switch either end-state coincides with the moment. In the moment the switch has no motion, no mass, no energy; it simply is. In the moment, the universe that is the switch is static. Between moments the switch will swap end-states. Between moments the switch is not on and the switch is not off. It is between moments that the universe that is the switch is dynamic. The process that the switch undergoes when it oscillates from one end-state to another is called Ki.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The moment is irreducible. It has no extension physically or temporally. In the moment the universe has no motion, no mass, no energy; it simply is.
Mary and I have three grandsons. Kai, the oldest, has only lately come to the point where he is able to identify with his own uniqueness as an independently existing individual. He has slipped away from unity with the moment in a way that his younger brother David and cousin Tony have yet to experience. Kai has reached a point where his memories are numerous and rich enough to form an identifiable past from which he is able to conceptualize the idea of a realizable future. He has moved decidedly away from the moment of his life and stepped onto the timeline of his life. David and Tony have yet to complete the same transition as Kai. Their pasts have yet to gel and become consciously recallable and as yet they show no signs that the idea of a future holds any meaning for them. They are still very close to the moment though moving steadily away from it.
My mother will be celebrating her 89th birthday in three weeks. Over the past couple of years dementia has eroded not only her memories but begun to eat into her very notion of self. The timeline of her life has been considerably shortened due to her condition. Her past is a chronologically jumbled collection of images and, as far as I can tell, her notion of future events has become considerable foreshortened. She moves now closer and closer to the moment; opposite the direc
Aikido was first presented to me as the Way to Union with Ki. With that in mind I'm wondering if a purely physical model of Ki will ever be able to provide a complete picture of that process.
My simplified view, built up over the years, is that I was born into the world fully integrated with the rest of creation and via the process of emergent self awareness and my concurrent socialization as an individual by society, family and friends I was essentially carved out of the whole to assume my role as a distinct person. The emergence of individual forces from a cooling post Big Bang universe is analogous to what I'm attempting to describe. One consequence of my individualization has been the loss of connection with the larger totality of existence that I came into the world with.
O Sensei notes repeatedly (From the Founder's Teachings on AikiWeb):
"…you should let the ki of your thoughts and feelings blend with the Universal."
"The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, ‘I am the universe.'"
"…I am the universe."
"You should realize what the universe is and what you are yourself. To know yourself is to know the universe."
My take on the sentiments expressed in the above quotes, and others of Ueshiba I have come across over the years, is that the Way to Union with Ki is the road that will take me back to the
Aikido illuminates my fears and gives them substance. I'm able to face them and learn that instead of overcoming them I can use the energy they supply me with to enrich my experience. When I face my partner my demons are awake, whispering in their nasty little voices of times in my life when choices I made led me astray; riddling me with labyrinthine reasoning as to why failure is inevitable. And I see them for what they are; distractions, attempts to make me abandon mind/body coordination in favor of isolation where fear reigns as I am cut off from the universe.
There is no room for winning and losing in my Aikido. Both are illusions, as transitory as smoke riding the crest of a gale. The idea that defeating my partner will somehow make me stronger is shown to be a lie. For the victory will feed and grow my ego bringing me further from my goal rather than nearer.
Forty-six is a number. It is composed of a four followed by a six. It is also twenty-three doubled or forty-five plus one, forty-four plus 2 … forty-seven minus one, forty eight minus 2… It turns out that forty-six may be represented by an infinite number of forms other than a four followed by a six. Underlying all forms of forty-six is the idea that forty-six is the numerical representation of a collection of something's that when counted individually total forty-six. So is there a "true" form of forty-six? Are certain forms of forty-six to be considered closer to the idea of forty-six than others?
Aikido is a martial art. Aikido's structure is composed of techniques. The variations in form of Aikido techniques are manifold. Shiho-nage in this style is performed thusly, slightly different in the school over there. Underlying all forms of Aikido technique is the idea that Aikido is a "Way" of discovering and experiencing Aiki. So is there a "true" form of Aikido? Are certain forms of Aikido to be considered closer to the idea of Aikido than others?
I said "It's not how I teach Aikido, it's how Aikido affects those who study it."
Joe McParland replied "There may be a semantic loophole here: Does aikido manifest clearly within the student regardless of the instructor; or, will you say that if the student is not affected as you might expect, then the teacher was not teaching aikido?"
Ueshiba said "All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you" - The Art of Peace translated by John Stevens.
I take this to mean that Aikido exists in everyone and that the study of Aikido is, ultimately, the study of one's self. As an instructor I don't teach Aikido as teaching is commonly thought of. I get out on the mat and do things that folks call Aikido technique and students then try to emulate what I show. That's teaching in a sense, but it isn't teaching Aikido.
I teach Aikido by continuing to learn Aikido. I share my process of learning Aikido with my students. I tell my story and open myself up to them so that they may observe my journey and learn to discover Aikido for themselves. As such, I have no expectations regarding how their Aikido manifests itself.