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billybob 12-11-2006 06:36 AM

For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
"Perhaps the real question is, "Where do you set the boundaries of your aikido?" What is inside and outside your field of study?" - Ted Ehara

Stolen from the thread - "Why are you Here?" asked by D. Hooker Sensei.

Ted, aikido serves my life, not vice versa. Aikido is a way to see my (sorry) self reflected in others. It is my current path for turning my violent carnal desires into peaceful expressions, in a socially appropriate way - and it costs less than psychotherapy. :)

I say 'sorry self' not because I am pathetic, but because there is plenty for me to work on.

David

tedehara 12-11-2006 02:36 PM

Boundaries Part II
 
Quote:

David Knowlton wrote:
"Perhaps the real question is, "Where do you set the boundaries of your aikido?" What is inside and outside your field of study?" - Ted Ehara

Stolen from the thread - "Why are you Here?" asked by D. Hooker Sensei.

Ted, aikido serves my life, not vice versa. Aikido is a way to see my (sorry) self reflected in others. It is my current path for turning my violent carnal desires into peaceful expressions, in a socially appropriate way - and it costs less than psychotherapy. :)

I say 'sorry self' not because I am pathetic, but because there is plenty for me to work on.

David

After writing that, I realized our personal boundaries were the cause of most of the arguments seen on these threads. How we defined our identities and aikido practices becomes the various positions that we take online.

Most of the time we're unconscious of our boundaries. Only when we start reading threads from people outside of our group/mindset, do we see where we stand. Because this web site draws from a large slice of the aikido community, we see many different perspectives in varying views. The popularity of this web site also draws in people who don't regularly practice aikido but can have things to contribute because of their own experiences.

You can react to this flood of viewpoints emotionally. Flaming is an art that developed along with the Internet. An alternative is to see these viewpoints and find your own position in relation to them. This helps you to define or redefine your own concepts.

Most of the time we're unaware of of our ideas until they're brought to the surface of our consciousness through thread titles like Spiritual Practice in Aikido?, Aikido and Street-Fighting, Cross-Training in Aikido and ***. For those who have read the discussions for more than a few months, the same topics seem to keep rotating though the forums ad infinitum. Perhaps that is because these are basic questions that should be constantly asked.

Sometimes if you start looking thought a discussion, you might find a kernel of objective truth. Often you'll discover a tailor-made truth. Something completely subjective that it applies directly to your life. In this world of one-size-fits-all clothes and fast food lines, finding a personal truth isn't so bad.

Dennis Hooker 12-11-2006 02:59 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Mark Freeman 12-11-2006 04:26 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Great post Dennis, and I hope the your underwear holds up :D

regards,

Mark

DonMagee 12-11-2006 05:04 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Just for clarification, are you saying aikido is no longer a martial art? That it has changed (or risen above) the purpose of martial art and now has high more ethical goals? If so, what word would better describe aikido? When I hear most people's definition of budo, I think religion. Do you feel aikido was ment to be a religion?

Dennis Hooker 12-11-2006 05:59 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote:
Just for clarification, are you saying aikido is no longer a martial art? ?


Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

George S. Ledyard 12-11-2006 06:18 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

Dennis, absolutely to the point and spot on.

Mike Sigman 12-11-2006 06:47 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo. As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick. Oh sure there are a lot of other folk that would like for Aikido to slip back into the quagmire of martial arts but some of us aren't buying it. They can't understand it and they don't want to spend the time to learn it so they say it ain't so. They say come on down to our level and we will show you the true way. I say no thank you I like the way it is. There are a lot of posers and fakers using Aikido as a ploy but those people are everywhere. If you got a good teacher you don't need any other arts. Other arts don't hurt but you don't need them if you got qualified instruction.

Asbestos underwear in place so flam on

Ummmm... I wouldn't want to expend enough energy to "flame", Dennis, but I disagree. I have never been convinced that Ueshiba was talking about "peace" so much as he was parrotting the "harmony with the Universe" which is the basis for so much Asian cosmology. But hey.... each to his own.

Here's the word from Aikikai Hombu:

Aikido is a Budo (martial art) created by Morihei Ueshiba. After the Founder's passing in 1969, his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba was inaugurated as Aikido Doshu. At present, Moriteru Ueshiba, grandson of the Founder, has succeeded his father as Aikido Doshu. The Aikikai Foundation, officially recognized by the Japanese government in 1940, was founded in order to preserve and promote the ideals of the true Aikido created by the Founder. As the Aikido World Headquarters, it is the parent organization for the development and expansion of Aikido throughout the world.

Of course, they may not have gotten the word. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead 12-11-2006 07:44 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
... we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick.

I have never been convinced that Ueshiba was talking about "peace" so much as he was parrotting the "harmony with the Universe" which is the basis for so much Asian cosmology. Here's the word from Aikikai Hombu:

Aikido is a Budo (martial art) created by Morihei Ueshiba. ... The Aikikai Foundation, ..., was founded in order to preserve and promote the ideals of the true Aikido created by the Founder. ....

Of course, they may not have gotten the word. ;)

Ahem...
Quote:

O Sensei, "Takemusu Aiki" Lecture (2). AJ:116(1999) wrote:
Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the Three Worlds -- Appearance, Subconscious and Divine -- and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it takemusu aiki when we clarify the true meaning of God's works.

... In a sense, with aiki, you purify and remove evil with your own breath of faithfulness instead of using a sword. In other words, you change the physical world into a spiritual world. This is aikido's mission.
... In the same spirit as the Bible on the return of Michael (see Daniel 12), all the three worlds will completely admire this Great Saint and follow his words with joy.

Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW --
Quote:

Daniel 12:1-3 wrote:
1. At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book.
2. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.

David Yap 12-11-2006 07:55 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
Actually I am saying it never was (a martial art).

Oh my kami. You make me realize that that I have been wearing those white pajamas for the past 13 years assuming all the time that it was a martial art. No wonder at some of the dojo I attended, the instructor would give me a funny look and told me that I was attacking him wrongly.

I may have to consider whether I need to train again. If aikido is not a MA, then I shouldn't be committed with the "attacks" and I should be more charitable with the falls, I might as well fall voluntarily. Aah! This explains the no-touch throws in some of the dojo too. :p

About tonight's class, I think I will stay at home and spend some aiki time with the family. I will probably laze about and watch some TV. What's the difference being a couch potato and being a bag of potatoes in the dojo? :D

On a serious note, Nidai Doshu said that Aikido is Bu Do (martial way) and according to you it was never a martial art. The aiki in Ai Ki Do is not the aiki of martial art. Can anyone grasp spiritual aiki without understanding martial aiki? The path to spiritual aiki is by way of martial aiki. The recent threads address the martial aiki of aikido and I appreciate all contributions from ppl within and without the aikido circle to help me at this level of the Path.

Why do we put boundary on knowledge of aikido? Worst still,why do you put boundary on your students' aikido?

David Y

Peter Goldsbury 12-11-2006 08:50 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
Actually I am saying it never was. "Martial art" is a western concept to try and explain what the Japanese bushi were doing. O-Sensei said Aikido is the ultimate budo not the ultimate martial art. I believe some folks from south America came up with that concept. However like most things Western once it was defined some folks set about creating it in their image. Folks need to Read what the founder had to say about what Aikido was and is. I have never seen anything that would suggest he thought it was other than the evolution of budo. The next step. I guess he would call it the ultimate budo but damn sure not martial art.

I think Mr Hooker is quite right.

I also think it is important to see how Morihei Ueshiba's original thinking was transformed, especially, but not only, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I am quite close to the Aikikai Hombu and I am also convinced that Kisshomaru and the present Doshu believe thay have inherited a precious legacy, but one that also has to change.

Sorry to be somewhat cryptic. I am at school and in between classes & meetings etc, but I chanced upon this thread. I will contribute some more later, when I have the time.

tedehara 12-11-2006 09:55 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote:
Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.

Quote:

O Sensei, "Takemusu Aiki" Lecture (2). AJ:116(1999) wrote:
Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the Three Worlds -- Appearance, Subconscious and Divine -- and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it takemusu aiki when we clarify the true meaning of God's works.

In a sense, with aiki, you purify and remove evil with your own breath of faithfulness instead of using a sword. In other words, you change the physical world into a spiritual world. This is aikido's mission...

Quote:

The Moon of Onisaburo wrote:
As Onisaburo's most important scripture, The Reikai Monogatari (or The Monogatari for short) is a saga of deities in the three spiritual worlds--namely, the shin-kai (world of divinities), the gen-kai (physical world) and the yu-kai (world of lost spirits). It is also an odyssey of how good deities establish a Maitreyan utopia on earth while leading evil spirits to mend their ways with divine power.

Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance (gen-kai), Subconscious (yu-kai), Divine (shin-kai).

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit. Really? Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Peter Goldsbury 12-11-2006 10:23 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
A little more to add to my previous post.

I might have come at Morihei Ueshiba from a different angle to Mr Hooker.

I think it is fair to say that none of my earlier Japanese teachers ever explained what aikido was in 'western' terms. I know that my first teacher, who was a friend and associate of Minoru Inaba, thought that 'martial art' was not a corrrect translation of 'budo'.

However, I trained for many years in a dojo with a thriving judo dojo on the floor below ours and it was clear that the dominant conceptual framework underpinning the 'martial arts', as this term was understood in the UK, came from Jigoro Kano and judo. Aikido was something like this, but was different because it did not have competition.

It was not until I came to Japan, learned Japanese and read what O Sensei wrote in his own language, that I realised that his whole conceptual framework was quite different and the only things he borrowed from Kano were dan ranks.

It is interesting to me that the very first direct quotes in English attributed to O Sensei were in Aikido, written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and published in the late 60s (when I first started). Koichi Tohei might well have included some sayings in his own works, but I do not remember clearly. These sayings were problematic, for, as they stood, to me they were largely false.

It is clear to me from where I stand now, many years later, that it was a crucial problem for the Hombu how to deal with O Sensei's legacy, given the fact of the war and its aftermath. I had a conversation here a couple of years ago with Fumiaki Shishida, who was a close student of Kenji Tomiki. Tomiki saw the same problem as the Hombu, of which he was also a member, but his judo training at Waseda led him to deviate from the Aikikai about how best to handle this legacy.

There are some serious issues here and I do not want to state that Tomiki was wrong, for example, and the Aikikai was right. This is far too simple a way of looking at it. Shioda was also around at the time and he, too, devised his own way of handling the legacy, as did Morihiro Saito.

Which was, basically, their own individual experience of training with Ueshiba, in all its subtlety, and hearing his voluminous spoken discourses, of which they understood very little because they had not had the same exposure to Omoto-kyo.

I got to know Kisshomaru Ueshiba and occasionally had talks with him. I think he was convinced that aikido HAD to be opened up and offered to all, including non-Japanese, because otherwise it had no future. But this was like opening Pandora's box, since there was no telling whether non-Japanese would be able to understand what budo really was. Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing.

One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.

Best wishes,

Erick Mead 12-11-2006 10:50 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Ted Ehara wrote:
Appearance (gen-kai), Subconscious (yu-kai), Divine (shin-kai). .... Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology?

And thus, I suppose is the Pope thus merely parroting Western Cosmology.

I think the point is that the focus on integrated spirituality in Aikido is not some woolyheaded innovation of wide-eyed acolytes. O Sensei plainly intended his comprehension of these things to be related to a Western setting. Omoto itself was very universalist it drawing upon Japanese myth to meet and connect to Western Doctrines such the Divine Logos, the Trinity and the fundamental Godhead. He went out of his way to select those references from the Omoto theology to do so, as shown in the quote, which is not an isolated example. His intent was to spread the art worldwide and particularly to the West. He said as much in other settings.

Second Doshu can hardly be blamed if he assumed that his father's teacnings on the more involved aspects of mikkyo and the Omoto derivation of Shinto would be poorly understood in the West. If he diminished its emphasis for that purpose, it would have been to serve his father's larger goal. By all evidence, it worked admirably.

Erick Mead 12-11-2006 10:54 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I think it is fair to say that none of my earlier Japanese teachers ever explained what aikido was in 'western' terms. .... Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing.

An elegant disproof ... :D

raul rodrigo 12-11-2006 10:55 PM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
HI Peter:

What do you think Arikawa "had" in that particular incident you witnessed? What was he doing internally? What was he trying to show the unnamed 8th dan?

R

DH 12-12-2006 05:49 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.
Best wishes,

Seems that a Budo with a goal of bringing peace through nonviolence could make very good use of that particular skill. It would leave me wondering if that wasn't the best skill set of all. As it is the basis for everything else that has meaning. Odd that it isn't at the forefront of everything.
Which leaves the questions.
1. Did he do this regularly?
2. Did others do as well- or just him?
3. Was anyone interested in knowing what he was doing?
4. Did you ever see anyone ask?

Tomiki was supposedly witnessed doing these things?
Did anyone ever see anyone being taught how to do these things?
Did anyone ask?
Reminds me of conversations I've had with various men under Menkyo Kaidens, under Shihan, and under master level teachers in the CMA. Sensei can do this, sensei can do that, sifu this, sifu that.
I always wonder when they say these things. What can you do, what can't you do .....why?


That leads to the thought of just how we got here in all these arts.
Various guys had these things and trotted them out on occasion to either show or just to "show-off." They are reported everywhere. I mean if you read, it keeps popping up. Yet a student training, looks up, and sees these wonderful skills and either asks for help and gets some obscure answer, or just goes right back to the grind, hoping to eventually get it through technique.
So, in the end It leaves a curious person to wonder
Were these skills cherished and venerated and so hard won they were not openly shared? Or were they denegrated as curiosities and ancillary skill sets not needed. Were that the case-why are they shown or shown-off with at all?
Why when they are indeed written about, and referred to in many books and interviews and arcticles in such a favorable context-are they still obscure and percentagewise, so very difficult to find?
Then again ....who looks? Seems most are happy doing what they ae doing.
Curious thing budo is.
More so, the people in them.
Cheers
Dan

billybob 12-12-2006 06:50 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
In the company of such heavy hitters let me speak as a child would:

Last night in class we trained basic techniques for testing later that night. I was training with my good friend who was testing for 2nd kyu. He punched me while I was doing shihonage, so I got a little mad and thumped him hard on the ground even though I knew he had a tough test coming up. He laughed. I immediately realized what I had done and said 'sorry'. We both laughed some more and kept training.

I'm afraid my instincts are still governed by violence, and not peace. Need more training.

David

Mike Sigman 12-12-2006 06:53 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote:
Ahem...
Yep. Indisputable. Parroting. Asian Cosmology. Yessirree.

FWIW -- 1-2-3, Appearance, Subconscious, Divine.

Parotting -- Yeah. Right. :p The Old Man deserves a little more credit, really.

I'm not sure that you understand what I said, Erick. You appear to simply be rummaging through Ueshiba's history to try and find something you can quibble about. Do you understand the cosmology, not the ribbons and garlands of Ueshiba's later life and sayings, which involves the Yin-Yang, Ki, Heaven & Earth, etc., which is at the base of all the frippery you're talking about? If you look at my remark, it has to do with cosmology and not religion. If I wanted to get into a religious debate, I'd widen my position to include Buddhism and Cosmology. Did the Japanese layer Shinto onto and with Buddhism...yes. But even the Kojiki is heavily influenced by the Chinese cosmology and Buddhism.

The heart of what I was saying was that the peace and harmony of/with the Universe has to do with the same idea of harmony with the laws of Nature (the Universe) that is found widely in the common cosmology of Asia.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman 12-12-2006 07:00 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Even now I am told by aikido shihans that I cannot (fully) understand Japanese (martial) culture because I was not born a Japanese and have not lived here all my life. But this is their problem and it is pointless to argue. I have learned to smile enigmatically in response and say nothing.

I heard a quite similar comment from a man who had lived most of his adult life in China and who provided the West with *some* understanding of the ancient texts on some interesting subjects. Even though he was a trained classicist, had a deep knowledge of Chinese culture, idiom, legends, etc., he himself felt that he was not on a par with some of the native classicists because he had not been born and raised in the culture. Comparing the two viewpoints, all I can do is smile enigmatically like this: :cool:
Quote:

One final note. I once attended Friday evening training in the Aikikai Hombu, taught by Kisshomaru Doshu. The late Arikawa Sadateru was doing ordinary training, as was an 8th dan who shall be nameless. For some reason Arikawa Sensei went over to the 8th dan and had him throw him. He was completely immovable. Arikawa Sensei never explained in clear terms what he 'had' and some posters here might think he was wrong in this.
Could you explain for us what he did, based on your extensive years in Aikido, please?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

George S. Ledyard 12-12-2006 08:45 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Ted Ehara wrote:
Really? Or is he just transposing Omote cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Ted,
I absolutely have no idea what you mean by this statement... what do you mean he is "just" transposing cosmology into Aiki terminology?

Of course he was transposing Omotokyo ideas into somethjing new which he created out of his spiritual practice and his martial practice. O-Sensei had an extensive Shingon background as well as a deep commitment to Omotokyo. He had a varied martial background with a primary influence of Daito Ryu. His creation of Aikido was a unique interpretation of those elements.

As far as O-Sensei's view that aikido was primarily a spiritual practice and not just a new way of fighting... that is pretty much indisputable as far as I am concerned. There is pretty much nothing that he siad or did after WW2 that would indicate otherwise.

The fact that his son Kisshomaru and his grandson Moriteru have seen fit to rework O-Sensei's Aikido to fit their ideas of what the modern world can understand and accept is a separate issue.

Every one of the Deshi did as Peter has described... each one came up with an interpretation of Aikido that fit his own interest and ability to understand what O-Sensei had taught.

In a conversation with Stan Pranin and Saotome Sensei I had in Colorado, I asked who the deshi had been who most tried to understand Aikido the way O-Sensei himself had done. The answer was Sunadomari Sensei, Abe Sensei, and Hikitsuchi Sensei. I don't think that anyone would argue that any of them thought that O-Sensei's art was some revamped fighting art. Anyone who says that has an agenda of some sort.

That doesn't mean that the teachers like Shioda Sensei, who weren't interested in the spiritual vision, weren't doing highly proficient Aikido from a technical standpoint. But they certainly weren't doing Aikido as O-Sensei envisioned it. As I say, to maintain that O-Sensei did not see Aikido primarily as a form of spiritual development (which is not in the least inconsistent with its designation as Budo) would be to force some sort of gross misinterpretation on his writings, his lectures, his interviews, his oral teaching in class, etc

Ron Tisdale 12-12-2006 08:56 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Hi George,

I'm surprised Shirata Sensei didn't make that list (especially with his family Omoto connections...)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman 12-12-2006 11:39 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I absolutely have no idea what you mean by this statement... what do you mean he is "just" transposing cosmology into Aiki terminology?

I think we're having a mixup between the ideas of "cosmology", which has to do with the nature of the universe and "religion", although of course there are some relationships which are used to tie a religion into a cosmology.

Maybe if we understand that a number of different religious beliefs in Asia were still based on the same cosmology, it becomes clearer?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead 12-12-2006 11:47 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm not sure that you understand what I said, Erick. ....

Doubt and uncertainty are healthy things, Mike. The beginnings of other things. Stay with that ...
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Do you understand the cosmology, not the ribbons and garlands of Ueshiba's later life and sayings, which involves the Yin-Yang, Ki, Heaven & Earth, etc., which is at the base of all the frippery you're talking about? If you look at my remark, it has to do with cosmology and not religion.

It involves a great deal more than that. I would deny, in the first instance, that there is any meaningful distinction between them in this context. In the "Takemusu Aiki" lectures O Sensei said that "Aikido is a religion without being a religion." The attraction of Omoto to O Sensei was its exploraiton of wide and deep connections between the expressed elements of fundamental faith across the globe. His conscious mission was to give those connections a physical form founded on the selfless compassion often found in mortal combat. That is the art.

You, I gather, do not wish to practice that art. Amen. (="So be it." ~ "Tathata."~ "Thus it is")

Andre Nocquet "asked him one day if there wasn't a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, "Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn't. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my Aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian"

As far as the mythology, I understand the significance of making the sword from the dragon's own tail. I understand the relationship between the Trinitarian Omoto Shinto Creator Omikami. I get the creative face of the destructive trickster and stormy sea-god Susano-o (also part of a secondary trinity). Again I will ask -- do you surf ? If you did, you would have great experiential insight into the meaning of immense, implacable, capricious power that always evades attempts to harness it directly, and which nonetheless you can only use by being in intimate contact, and having a willingess (nay, an eagerness) to be moved, in your whole being, at once.

There are no Chinese antecedents for this teaching. Only common principles expresssed in other, often widely divergent, expressive forms.

Back to the point about boundaries, between the internal and external. Like "quiet sitting" in zazen, Aikido, connects the internal with the external. But Aikido seeks transcendance in deep connection of the active internal with the active external. Aikido becomes practice in attaining that peak of interior (dare I say, grace?) experience at the peak of the externality of experience in attack.

From Peter's "Touching the Absolute" article (from which I gleaned my earlier assessment of the Second Doshu's concerns about cultural misunderstandings prematurely impeding the overall mission of aikido:
Quote:

Kisshomaru Doshu wrote:
One of our major concerns is that aikido, because of its unique qualities rooted in Japanese spirituality, tends to invite misunderstandings. This tendency increases as aikido is introduced to people of different cultures and lifestyles, not only among beginners who have unrealistic expectations, but also among advanced students who may miss its subtle principles and may misrepresent them.
...
As far as aikido techniques are concerned, there may be only minor problems, but the philosophical and spiritual basis of aikido presents an entirely different challenge. Real problems may arise unless we return to the original teaching of the Founder and clarify the essential meaning of aikido as fundamentally a matter of the spirit.

The bottom line for this connection with the West, for those who have not forgotten its significance, lies in the three-fold face of Creation and the contemplation of these meanings in the Doka, and in particular, 十 字 道, in its fullest expression, which ties so many other elements and formulas together into a coherent whole.
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
The heart of what I was saying was that the peace and harmony of/with the Universe has to do with the same idea of harmony with the laws of Nature (the Universe) that is found widely in the common cosmology of Asia.

O Sensei was doing more than mouthing mere platitudes -- he was applying PRINCIPLES -- and expressing them in a rich manner.

Apart from his above statement on "becoming a better Christian," and whether or not you think kotodama are wholly Shinto or partly Shingon mikkyo, by the recurrent references he has made between the kotodama and the function of the Divine Logos, he has opened up a global field of references and connections (musubi):
This is far wider than the prefitted room you would limit him to. Peter has provided this quote in proof of that in his article "Touching the Absolute"
Quote:

O Sensei wrote:
"Kirisuto ga ‘hajme ni kotoba ariki' to itta sono kotodama ga SU de arimasu. Sore ga kotodama no hajimari de aru." (‘In the beginning was the Word', spoken by Christ is this kotodama SU. This is the origin of kotodama.)

As to Cosmology, Second Doshu said this (also quoted from Peter's article) that sort of sums it up:

Quote:

Kisshomaru Doshu wrote:
At the heart of aikido as a spiritual way is ki: the world-forming energy which lies at the core of each human being, waiting to be realised and actualised.

The world forming energy - the Divine Logos - the divine spark - the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit -- the Ki of the Great Origin -- call it what you will -- in whatever system of reference you like -- the point is precisely same and the teaching is one piece of cloth -- regardless of the differing embroidery around the fringes.

Mike Sigman 12-12-2006 11:56 AM

Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote:
It involves a great deal more than that. (snip)

That's fine, Erick, but the "great deal MORE " is not what I'm talking about. I said the basis of Ueshiba's stuff is part of the Asia-wide cosmology and within that cosmology is the well-known concept of working in harmony with the natural laws of the Universe. Ueshiba, Tohei, and many others (not just Japanese, either) feel that part of the natural harmony is a desire to get along, etc. All the religious and peaceful, etc., thoughts you're coming up with are simply offshoots of the ancient cosmology that espouses a "harmony" with the laws of the universe. That's all I said. And I'm correct... no matter how much you'd like to tack onto the end of what I said.

Regards,

Mike Sigman


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