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Old 06-14-2005, 10:54 PM   #295
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 980
Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Phillip Kirkan wrote:
.... Wearing a hakama has nothing to do with sport of self defense.
Kendo people would be very interested to hear that.

Everyone's perspective has been shaped by their own experiences, but that has nothing to do with what I said. I made a comment about aikido masters, and you're response was about a bunch of JKD and FMA guys. Please try to stay on topic.
Actually, I went back through the thread, and we talked past each other: I made reference to how Guro Andy and his insturctors, Guro Dan Insoanto and Maha Guru Victor de Thouras make a point of the culturalr preservations side (which is where I got it). Monty came back with how "appealing" the the old men of the MA was a fallacy, and I came back with "God forbid MA masters have a point" or something like that. That's when you made your comment about Aikido masters, but you left the word "Aikido" out; I was still thinking about Guro Dan and Pak Vic. And that's when I said what I said. So it wasn't "suddenly."

BTW, I have yet to be to a seminar in anything where the demonstraiton is with anything other than a "compliant student." The exception might be a demonstration of sparring or light grappling for position, but even then, it's with someone out ot be a horse's backsdie and confound/hurt the instructor. So why it's a big deal that you don't see AIkido masters fight their ukes is beyond me.

If you guys want to think that learning how to break arms, strangle people until they pass out, knock people out with strikes, throw people (most people don't know how to fall properly), stab them with knives, hit them with sticks, etc. is the only way to become a better person then there's nothing I can do for you. If Kano, Ueshiba, and all these other people were so concerned with self-improvement they would have come up with a religion or philosophy, not a way to injure people.
They would probably say they did.

People have different reasons for training. Not all of them want to become 'Little Ueshibas'. Some people are perfectly happy with their own culture, tradition, and spiritual/religious beliefs.
I don't want to be a "little Ueshiba" either. And I train because I like it; that's why I came back to Aikido. But I also take seriously the cultural preservation side of Aikido, not because I'm unhappy with my own culture, or because I'm seriously into Japanese culture, because IMHO, that's a big part of what the MA are about. If the spiritual part of Aikido is an important part of it, then that is what I will learn and pass down. Not because I want to be a "little Ueshiba," but because I want to be respectful to him and the art he founded. Even if there are things I'm not crazy about -- and there are --- I'm not originating anything in any of my classes; instead, I am having something precious passed to me. And I don't think I could live with myself if, when the time came, I deliberately went out of my way not to pass it on to other people.

Again, aikido has very little to do with Japanese culture. There is more to a culture than clothes, words, and fighting techniques. If I told you I could preserve American culture by wearing jeans, speaking English, and fighting would you believe me?
I'd believe you would be preserving a part of it. Culture is so ubiquitous that you can not get away from it. Language and dress are a part of a culture. Fighting systems are interesting because you don't find that as a speciality in hunter/gatherer societies; it's only in agricultural societies that MA became a separate area of study, and so the culture they originated in got bound up in it. Even if it extends only to the style of uniform, terminology, it's there. Like it or not.
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