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Old 06-09-2005, 01:40 AM   #100
Dojo: Kim's Hapkido
Location: California
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 86
Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Let's start from the beginning.

Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward
You don't just say that mysticism is unnecessary. You say that dropping mysticism is a step forward. This implies that keeping the mysticism is a step back. You are saying that mysticism somehow makes the techniques less effective. Please explain how this is so.

Take for example the teaching of "Ki."

Lots of Aikido people run around talking about "ki", but the fact of the matter is that the teaching of "ki" is simply a mystical/magical teaching which conjures belief in superstitious nonsense.
Ki can be a way to explain natural phenomena otherwise covered by physics, anatomy and neurology. Some people have a better time grasping concepts explained this way rather than with torque, moments of inertia and center of gravity. I do not see how this reduces the effectiveness of the art.

Students attempt to clear their minds, chant words or syllables, breath a certain way, assume postures, and so forth in the attempt to grasp or develop a magical power that is about as real as George Lucas' "Force."
Maybe you miss the point of clearing your mind. Bruce Lee, a very pragmatic martial artist, stressed the point of clearing your mind. The point is to not be focused on a certain technique and to be open to whatever technique is appropriate to the situation. And of course if your mind cluttered with thoughts of things other the situation you are in you will not be as effective.

Students and Teachers would do better spending their time in the examination of, and actual practice of technical skills, rather than pretending to direct a make believe power from their bowels to their fingers.
Do you know for certain that students and instructors do not spend time examining and practicing technique? This is where your own knowledge of aikido, and how you came about this knowledge become relevant.

Another example of the useless mysticism inherent in Aikido was the recent video that appeared on one of the forum threads. The clip did a nice job demonstrating technical skills that actually make up the system of Aikido. However, from time to time one would see something like: "Aikido is love." flash on to the screen.

Aikido is love?

Why not say, "Baseball is love." , "Golf is love.", "Nascar is love", or whatever else someone decides love is to them.
The word 'love' quickly loses any meaning.
If a word can mean anything, then it simply means nothing.
Why does this one video exemplify the entire art? If some Aikidoka wish to view their art as an expression of love, will this make their technique ineffective?

Just because a teacher, or a founder of Aikido was a nice guy, this is no basis for concluding that what he taught was the source of this kindness.
As it was pointed out to me, many schools of Aikido do not emphasize kindness, and have no problem dishing out hurt when appropriate. Also, there is no reason why it is wrong or ineffective to strive to do as little harm to your opponent as possible (while still keeping yourself safe).

If a person was not familiar with Aikido, and its mystical teachings, do you really think that such a person would conclude that Aikido was the way of peaceful harmony just by watching a demonstration of Aikido projections or neutralizations? Of course not.
They may be impressed, but no such moral assertion will be made from watching such a demonstration.
Why do you assume that these demonstrations were meant to convey this message?

The reason it would be impossible to deduce a moral principal from a visual or tangible demonstration is because you cannot start with something you see (Aikido demo), and end up with something you cannot see (moral ideas).

One can practice ethics in Aikido class, but one cannot deduce ethics from Aikido.
If a dojo chooses to teach morality as part of Aikido, then morality becomes part of their Aikido. There is not reason why teaching self defense technique excludes teaching morality.

If ethics are taught at Aikido class, then they did not come from Iriminage or kotegaeshi, but from Asian philosophy or religion. Since that is clearly the case, why should I pay homage to such Asian religious philosophy? Why not some other religion? Why not deontology? Why not utilitarianism?

If I want to go to church, why would I go to Aikido class?
Why can't philosophy be taught in conjunction with technique? As you have pointed out yourself, it is a free country. Those who do not like philosophy or spirituality with their martial art are free to seek instruction else ware.

If I want to learn how not to fight, couldn't I just ask an Amish person? Wouldn't that be easier than all that physical combat training? Aikido is combat training isn't it? The Amish manage not to fight without Aikido. The Amish manage to live in harmony without Aikido. Maybe Morihei Uyeshiba should have joined an Amish community instead of the religious school of Omoto-kyo.

If you don't need Aikido to live in harmony and peace with your neighbor, and clearly you don't, then maybe Aikido doesn't need Asian philosophy of religion in order to function. Maybe Aikido is simply a physical exercise that can be used in a self-defense situation.
Again, there is no logical reason why conflict avoidance could not, nor should not, be taught in conjunction with self defense technique, nor is there a reason why teaching conflict avoidance or philosophy or spirituality would render technique less effective.
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