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Old 09-12-2005, 11:08 AM   #29
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Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

Thanks for the reply Shaun. It's been a great thread, but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around some of it. Definitely worth trying, though.

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
Mark, I agree with everything that you wrote, completely actually. However, many gates will, in fact lead you to the wrong house. Of course, this can't be judged by looking at the gate, or even at the house, as some houses on the same block may be exactly the same. As you have said, there is no way of knowing which until you get all the way in and see the familiar face of the family member you are there to see.
True. But, the only point I was trying to make here was that two schools of Aikido can be vastly different in training methodology but can still be doing Aikido.

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
Aikido is not dancing, golf or race car driving, and I have heard it compared to these things on many occasions. On a very simple level what I mean by that is that with the latter endeavors, while one may use them or study them in whatever capacity or for whatever reason they may see fit, and while they may grow as individuals on physical, mental emotional and even a spiritual level, there is something inherent to understanding aikido that is not part of those other practices.
Ah, but Aikido could be compared to dancing. In both you learn physical steps, blending, movement, etc. And like dancing, some people can study Aikido and grow as individuals such as you state. But, you are right in that the points are different while studying either. Is Aikido truly comparable to dancing? No, I don't think it is just for the reason you state. There is something that is a part of Aikido that isn't a part of those others and that something is what I call spirituality. Well, spirituality on a grander scale.


Quote:
Shaun wrote:
I agree with you 100% here. However it is how and why one achieves those goals that may separate our individual perspectives. I do not know what you might say, but to expand the thread, how do you believe one achieves this? As for me, I have in mind a very specific route on a physical plane to achieve a very specific goal along a spiritual one.
Wow, there's a great question that a lot of people are still looking for the answer. I think you're right in that physical practice of Aikido does help one along this path, but I wouldn't say it helps everyone. But, to answer your question, I don't know how to achieve that. Just that I keep stumbling along learning.

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
As for me, while typically share these thoughts with my private students, I will offer one glimpse of my personal view, and that is to say that I do not believe if one merely participates with a sincere heart, or practices with intensity, or maintains any other type of linear performance for some extended period of time that they are guaranteed any modicum of success at understanding O-Sensei's Aikido.
No, they may never understand Osensei's Aikido, but they can become physically proficient in Aikido. See below for rest of explanation …

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
Well I am not sure what you mean here. Should we put hope or even faith in the mere coincidence that two aikidoka, Sam and Mary, Sam seeking his spirituality from Zazen and Mary seeking it from piercings and tattoos that either will eventually manage to trip over the answer? Many people feel that their religion gives them spirituality, but I would say that is most often the exception, not the rule.
What I mean is that while someone who goes through training, may gain a proficiency in Aikido, it will not be an understanding of Osensei's Aikido. Look at it this way … Osensei studied many martial arts and was considered very proficient even before he joined Omoto-kyo. So, sometime afterwards, either from Omoto-kyo or age, his Aikido transformed. But we also have other martial artists from Japan who were also exemplary in their arts but never belonged to Omoto-kyo. However, you can usually find some spiritual aspect like Zen, etc amidst their personal history and learning. So, yes, you can become physically proficient in Aikido and never understand Osensei's Aikido as he knew it towards the end of his life. Can body piercings and tattoos get you there? Personally, I don't think they can. But you may find one in a million who can use that. After all, Omoto-kyo wasn't exactly your mainstream choice of "religion".

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
Hmmm, well the points which I have mentioned are not points along a linear path, for those are too easy to reach and become predictable merely with time spent in the art. Many people know nothing about aikido at Shodan. I have met Godan that couldn't do tenkan when I grabbed their wrist. As for what they have learned or have yet to learn on a spiritual level, one can only guess.
I'm not saying that achieving any of these points will let you understand or know Aikido in any depth. Um, let me try this analogy. When a baby learns to walk, it crawls around, then it pulls itself up using the coffee table, then it stumbles along using the coffee table as a crutch, then it finally lets go and takes that first step without the table, using its own legs. Course, the baby falls after one step, but reaching that one step is definitely a pinnacle of learning how to walk. I view some points in Aikido like that. Shodan, Yondan, etc. Not that they are exact points, but merely areas where the points occur. Did I explain that any better?

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
DANGER!!! I have never met anyone who used the term sen sen no sen timing actually know anything about it to the point that they could demonstrate it effectively against even a low level attack. That is not to say it is not an important aspect of one's training, only that those whom I have seen demonstrate it at a high level never, ever use the term in English anyway…
I use those words because that is what was taught to me. But I was on the receiving end as uke just one time with sen sen no sen and it opened my eyes to a whole new world in Aikido. I have never been able to do that again, but the experience remains with me. So, no, I can't demonstrate it. Heck I can't even explain it very well, but I do know what it is in relation to being uke. I can't imagine what it would be like as tori, let alone if I could manage to do it even 50% of the time. But I do know that it is something in my training that I know is there and can be done. I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it, but it's a worthwhile goal.

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
This is the only point that I would caution anyone against adopting for themselves or advocating for others. My own personal path has always been a spiritual one.
Oh, no. Sorry, let me explain. I didn't mean that one shouldn't have spirituality throughout their training. I started Aikido as a spiritual path. But, what I meant was that to truly understand Osensei's Aikido, Shodan is a minimum to having spirituality play an important part in one's study of Osensei's Aikido. In other words, I view it as there being a physical training that one must complete before one can start understanding Osensei's Aikido. You can have spirituality when you start, but you really won't understand Osensei's Aikido until some time after Shodan level.

Quote:
Shaun wrote:
I am sure that your mention of rank is not to indicate that two individuals both sincerely interested in assimilating spirituality into their practice will do so in a linear fashion proportional to their rank. My own view is (and this is not to say that your view is contrary) that it never matters what one's rank is, nor if one is a higher rank today than yesterday. Thus, spirituality can not be any more important tomorrow than it already is (or should already be) today. It also is important to note that spirituality has about as much to do with technical ability as technical ability has to do with spirituality, as while they may overlap at some point the two are (in 99.9% of the people) unfortunately mutually exclusive
.

No, I don't belive that two individuals will move in a linear fashion proportional to their rank. Everyone progresses differently, in technical ability and spiritual understanding.
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