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Old 06-08-2005, 06:52 AM   #14
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: aikido and sword principles

Michael Stuempel wrote:
I have alot of difficulty with people saying "Aikido principles are based on the principles of the sword". One cannot argue that Ueshiba M. trained with the sword and it influenced his understanding and creation of Aikido, however I would argue that both the sword and Aikido are based upon the same principles...not that one came before the other...just that they both use similar understanding of body dynamics and movements.
I'm pretty much on the same page with you on this one. Historically, it makes sense to say one came from another. But, logically, the entire point of a principle is that it works in all sorts of different situations - sword or empty hand regardless of which one people discovered/developed first. I love history, but it's just one of many valid perspectives, which in and of itself has many valid perspectives. Consider Howard Zimm's books with the perspective of the populous as opposed to that of the tradional "great man" perspective. Studying both probably would give you much better insight into what the principles of the politics were at those times. Similarily, studing sword and empty hand will bring you better insight into the principles.

Michael Stuempel wrote:
One of my students trained with the sword in a couple of styles for many years and I mentioned this to him. He looked at me in shock and said something like "Aikido is nothing at all like the sword and anyone who thinks so should go talk to a real sword teacher". He then thought for a moment and said the principles were the same, but the muscle memory (that we speak of so much in these forums) is completely different.
I study classical sword under Gleason sensei (which he learned from his Kashima teacher in Japan - but he's not officially allowed to call it such because of strict rules about who has teaching certificates). What is amazing is that most of the time when the muscle memory differs - that's where I need to be looking for principles - to discover more depth about them by using other principles to guide me. I think a majority of aikido is by necessity an apparent surface level contradiction, which can only be resolved by constantly researching and getting more depth. I understand that people what to "know what they know" - but that's not really a "path", and it is not really "shoshin".

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