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Old 06-16-2005, 03:29 AM   #49
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Re: Frustrated by unconvincing aikido

The issues I feel are easily noted as inaccurate and that I feel are also supporting your interpretation of the first post - seeing it as "trolling," etc. - pertain to Osensei's involvement in WWII and also the supposed effect and/or centrality of his "enlightenment" experience as something relative to the "non-violent" nature of the art. You commented upon these things regardless of you stating you are no expert regarding Osensei's history. To explain further, what I call "romantic" is the position (one held by many folks) that once there was this violent art, and then Osensei had his enlightenment experience, and then he saw the error of violence, and thus went on to create a non-violent art. It's the whole "genius cult" thing or the whole notion that history is loaded with eruptions of uniqueness that come to mark "beginnings," etc. It not seeing the fiction for what it is - a fabrication put to political use. All "beginnings" are fictions - they are a blinding of the totality of related facts so that things come to appear in one way and not in another.

For me, that party line came from somewhere else - even if it can trace itself back to something Osensei may have said. A big piece of supporting evidence is this for me. In the radio interview Osensei gave late in his life, he was giving his usual spiel from "Takemusu Aiki," and at some point well into the monologue Osensei was delivering, at a point that the radio announcer was seriously (and obviously) lost, he, the announcer, reads an obviously prepared question: "So, isn't it true that there are no attacks in Aikido?" What does Osensei do? Does he say "Yes, that is true." Nope - he says, after laughing at the ridiculousness of the question, (paraphrasing) "Aikido is the harmony of all things. To say that Aikido can be only this or cannot be that - to say it can be only one side of a given dualism - is to deny its harmonious nature - of course there are attacks in Aikido."

Where did the announcer get that prepared question? Obviously he obtained the information via some means, but equally obviously it did not come for Osensei. My guess, some folks, folks in position enough to inform the announcer either professionally and/or incidentally, were touting such a perspective (i.e. there are no attacks in Aikido/Aikido is a non-violent art). For many folks, that perspective has gone on to become gospel. However, was it the position of Osensei or was it the position of folks in power that just used the cultural capital of Osensei "as Founder" to gain the power to determine the party line? I believe it was the latter, but regardless of one's take, one shouldn't act like this history has been decided upon once and for all. It has not - it is still very much up in the air.

My suggestion is caution, and to return to the threads topic.

David M. Valadez
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