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RonRagusa 08-15-2006 07:48 AM

The Spirit of Aikido
 
"Aikido was born out of three Enlightenment experiences of O-Sensei. One occurred in 1925, after O-Sensei had defeated a high-ranking swordsman's vicious attacks, unarmed and without hurting him. Ueshiba then went into his garden and

'Suddenly, the earth shook. Golden vapor welled up from the ground and engulfed me. I felt transformed into a golden image, and my body seemed as light as a feather. All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things.'

His second experience occurred in 1940 when,

'Around 2 o'clock in the morning as I was performing ritual purification, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I had ever learned. All of the techniques handed down from my teachers appeared completely anew. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, virtue, and good sense, not devices to throw and pin people.'

His third occurred in 1942 during the most grim period of WWII, Ueshiba had a vision of the "Great Spirit of Peace"

'The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.'"

Above is from the Wikipedia section devoted to Aikido titled "The Spirit of Aikido." Unfortunately no sources are cited and there is no author referenced to ask questions of.

Assuming for the moment that the quotes attributed to O Sensei are accurate, I'm wondering how, generally, your Aikido worldview dovetails with O Sensei's "Enlightenment experiences" and specifically how you manage the juxtaposition of the traditional view of Warrior ship with O Sensei's reinterpretation?

Robert Rumpf 08-15-2006 02:37 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Have you checked: "The Spirit of Aikido", by Kisshomaru Ueshiba or "Abundant Peace", by John Stevens as being the source of these quotes? I vaguely remember seeing this type of stuff in those books.. I'd say the first is the more likely source.

Rob

Ron Tisdale 08-15-2006 03:03 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
I believe you will find the same or similar quotes in Stevens' work.

Personally, I read things like this and file them away in the bottom drawer to the left in the basement vault of my mind, just in case I ever reach enlightenment.

Failing that, I just train.

Best,
Ron

Charles Hill 08-15-2006 11:27 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
The quotes are paraphrases or direct quotes from The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba translated by John Stevens.

Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote:
"Aikido was born out of three Enlightenment experiences of O-Sensei. One occurred in 1925, after O-Sensei had defeated a high-ranking swordsman's vicious attacks, unarmed and without hurting him. Ueshiba then went into his garden and

This is kind of strange paraphrase.

Quote:

'Suddenly, the earth shook. Golden vapor welled up from the ground and engulfed me. I felt transformed into a golden image, and my body seemed as light as a feather. All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things.'
This is a direct quote with the strange substitution of "shook" for "trembled."

Quote:

His second experience occurred in 1940 when,

'Around 2 o'clock in the morning as I was performing ritual purification, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I had ever learned. All of the techniques handed down from my teachers appeared completely anew. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, virtue, and good sense, not devices to throw and pin people.'

His third occurred in 1942 during the most grim period of WWII, Ueshiba had a vision of the "Great Spirit of Peace"

'The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.'"
The direct quotes are exactly as they are in the book and the narrative like parts are close paraphrases. It almost seems as if the writer felt that by changing a few words of the narrative, they were avoiding any kind of copyright problem. IMHO it would have been better to just copy it verbatim and give the source.

To answer your question, Ron, these stories show me that Aikido comes from the things O'Sensei realized from his experiences, not that it leads to them. He seems to be saying that the spirit of Aikido is the spirit that embraces and nurtures all things, not that by practicing this martial art we will somehow be magically transformed into that spirit in the future. It starts with a realization, even if only intellectually, that "I am a good person" and then to endeavor to get body and spirit in line with that thought. (cue Kumbaya background music:))

What makes Aikido "radical" is that in the past some warriors who survived battle came to have a spiritual realization about reality. Saotome Sensei writes about some of these men in "The Principles Of Aikido." Morihei Ueshiba went the other way. He began with a spiritual background and then had one intense life or death situation. For those of us who do not face such life or death situations, this provides great inspiration that we too might discover something of value in our hard training and deep learning.

For me, two "spiritual" teachers have been helpful in a practical way. Mikhail Ryabko (co-founder of Systema) says, "First, be a good person." And Pandit Rajmani Tigunait (spiritual director of the Himalayan Institute) says, "First, resolve to always be cheerful."

Charles Hill

PeterR 08-15-2006 11:54 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
I've been wanting to remove that section ever since it was put in. Wandering over to wikipedia ......

PeterR 08-16-2006 12:01 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
It shouldn't be in there like that because it is a copyright infringement and at the head of the article it sets a tone which give the article a non-encyclopediac feel - just like John Steven's books. :D with appologies.

I can see a subsection further down talking about the mystical experiences but that's the great thing about wikipedia - anyone can edit.

Ethan Weisgard 08-16-2006 12:51 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
'Around 2 o'clock in the morning as I was performing ritual purification, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I had ever learned.

All of the techniques handed down from my teachers appeared completely anew. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, virtue, and good sense, not devices to throw and pin people.'

After many years of practice, I have reached the first stage of what O-Sensei describes above - ritual purification wasn't even necessary.
Now to work on the second part....

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

raul rodrigo 08-16-2006 02:34 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote:
I'm wondering how, generally, your Aikido worldview dovetails with O Sensei's "Enlightenment experiences" and specifically how you manage the juxtaposition of the traditional view of Warrior ship with O Sensei's reinterpretation?

Not being enlightened myself, I have no idea.

grondahl 08-16-2006 03:42 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ethan Weisgard wrote:
'Around 2 o'clock in the morning as I was performing ritual purification, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I had ever learned.

All of the techniques handed down from my teachers appeared completely anew. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, virtue, and good sense, not devices to throw and pin people.'

After many years of practice, I have reached the first stage of what O-Sensei describes above - ritual purification wasn't even necessary.
Now to work on the second part....

Lucky for people like me that you wrote those excellent books on bukiwaza before that ;)

Ethan Weisgard 08-16-2006 06:06 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
I started to write them so that I had a chance for remembering all that stuff myself!
I am glad that people find them useful. Thanks for the support!

In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Erick Mead 08-16-2006 07:40 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
It shouldn't be in there like that because it is a copyright infringement and at the head of the article it sets a tone which give the article a non-encyclopediac feel

The source is Kisshomaru Doshu's original "Aikido," later published in translation or a new edition as "Spirit of Aikido" He is the primary reporter of his father's statements. It cannot be a copyright inforngement to repeat the quote, any more than it was infringement for Stevens to repeat or retranslate it.

It was O-Sensei's impetus from his revelations that spread aikido internationally with a sense of mission behind it, whatever opinion you may have about the reported content. But for that vision, aikido would be a family heirloom art practiced solely at Iwama.

Merely because the same thing is not directly experienced by those learning the art does not mean it was not important as a component of its development and spread. Plainly, the charisma O-Sensei possessed as reflected in or received from his visions played a powerful part in drawing deshi to him, who then had the will and desire to spread the art far and wide. If you do not live in Japan, and probably even for most of those aikidoka who do -- those visions are responsible for you practicing aikido today -- wherever you are living.

And that information is quite "encyclopedic" in its nature.

gdandscompserv 08-16-2006 11:57 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
For me, the following story exemplifies what I feel to be "The Spirit of Aikido."

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. "I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."Then he told the following story:
Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
Shay asked,"Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."
Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart.
The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"
Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.
Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Ron Tisdale 08-16-2006 12:28 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Now that's a nice story.

Best,
Ron (beats golden vapor all to heck)

Mark Freeman 08-16-2006 12:40 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Now that's a nice story.

Best,
Ron (beats golden vapor all to heck)

It sure is! thanks for posting,

regards,

Mark

dps 08-16-2006 01:59 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_shay.shtml

Ron Tisdale 08-16-2006 02:36 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Foul! Posting a ripped off tear jerker without reference...Foul! I say... ;)

B,
R

Erick Mead 08-16-2006 02:48 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Foul! Posting a ripped off tear jerker without reference...Foul! I say... ;)

I am weeping -- but only in the footnote... :sorry:

gdandscompserv 08-16-2006 03:09 PM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Foul! Posting a ripped off tear jerker without reference...Foul! I say... ;)

B,
R

Soo sorry. Had I known the source when I posted I would have given credit to the author. I should have researched it first.
I would edit to give proper reference if I could.
Jun, a little help, please?

gdandscompserv 08-17-2006 05:10 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Never mind Jun.
It would appear that it's the song, not the story, that is copyrighted.

Ron Tisdale 08-17-2006 07:23 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
Hi Ricky, I wasn't really serious. ;) I did enjoy the story, no matter where the heartstrings came from...

Best,
Ron

ian 08-17-2006 08:38 AM

Re: The Spirit of Aikido
 
[quote=Ron Ragusa]"'The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood as a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek competition are making a grave mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.'"
QUOTE]

Easy to say once you are confident in your ability to smash, injure and destroy other people! Ueshiba is also known to have a different view for 'real life' situations through what he has said to his Uchedeschi and through some of his own confrontations.

I think the view of aikido depicted here by O'sensei stands, and is a goal - but I think we also need to ensure that realistic self-defence is also an aspect (for us lesser mortals!)

P.S. Ricky - that is a beautiful story and maybe illustrates an important point; even the person trying to beat the crap out of you on the street is a human with people he loves and people who love him.


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