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Old 06-13-2005, 01:29 AM   #239
Red Beetle
Dojo: Ithaca
Location: Tennessee
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 97
Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Rebecca Montange wrote:
I'm not sure where you watched an aikido class or tried an aikido class, but I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.
I am talking about mysticism / irrationalism that is taught in more than a few Aikido dojos.

I have never once been in a trance or trance-like state that didn't involve dehydration or low blood sugar, nor have I heard of anyone doing that.
I have heard lectures about Aikido experts entering trances and being able to do all sorts of strange things. One of my teachers had a student to meditate for about ten minutes on a word that he spoke to him silently. At the end of that time he extinguished several red hot cigars on the man's hand and tongue. The man was not burned. He appealed to mysticism as the source of such power in the presence of a large audience. Later he explained to me that this was a popular trick to entice unsuspecting people to join up. When I asked him if this was dishonest, he replied, "Beetle, combat is about deception. If the people think you have supernatural powers, then they will fear what they do not understand. You will have a psychological edge on them if combat with them should ever become a possibility. Use the enemies superstition to their disadvantage." I will not name the master who told me this, nor his affiliation. He was also a master of Judo, and Kendo. He was not American and he commanded great respect from his colleagues. He used Mysticism to sell his product and to scare the locals, and many of his students. He only revealed these secrets (he called them tricks) to those he felt would one day work for him. I could list other examples he used in front of crowds to magically impress them. I hope this one example helps you to understand why I think such mysticism can be eliminated without hurting Aikido itself, but rather, improving the technique.

No explanation of anything
This is sad.

my sensei here in CO makes very very small movements so sometimes it's almost impossible to tell what's going on by watching and since he's not explaining himself we just experiment
Why not demand thorough explanation? Especially if you are paying him, then he is contracted to do so.

There's lots of ways to teach
The right way to teach is with simple clear systemic instruction.

, and the effectiveness of the method depends as much on the student as it does on the teacher.
Call me old school, but I would blame the teacher if the students did not understand what was going on.

The only formal discussions of ki I've witnessed were at seminars. For some reason senseis like to talk more at seminars.
Maybe they are hiding the goodies from the lay persons.

Sometimes, in some dojos, there's a moment of meditation at the end of class,
How would you, or does your sensei define 'meditation.'
If you go to my web-site, then you will see a newsletter which explains how I define meditation. I think it is the Jan., Feb., or March newsletter. I can't remember. Tell me if you agree with that definition.

Martial arts have a philosophical component for a reason
I think that our own philosophy governs our Martial technique. Martial arts is way smaller than philosophy as a whole. Martial arts, in my opinion is a form of coercion.

With ability comes responsibility.
I think that the amount of knowledge one has of right or wrong determines his/her level of responsibility. Knowledge makes you responsible. But, responsibility itself assumes that there is one greater that we must give a response to. One who will call us to give a response for what we have done. I don't think that the concept of responsibility is easily found to be consistent in Asian philosophy or religion. Forgive my digression.

The technical component teaches
see the knowledge?

(ie, not beat the crap out of someone because you can or they insulted you).
Why not beat them up?
Does Aikido teach an effective moral reason as to why we should not beat people up?

I did not want to get sucked into this mess.
Oh, its not that big of mess. Your smart and you have much to say. And I want to hear from you.
And guys, my remarks are nothing personal, I am reacting to what you guys are saying, not who you are. Everyone here seems to be full of character.

Red Beetle

Last edited by Red Beetle : 06-13-2005 at 01:39 AM.
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