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Old 11-21-2005, 03:09 PM   #9
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: Article: On the Interdependent Nature of Tactics and Strategies by "The Grindstone"

Dave, I will have to read through your post and think about alot of what you wrote, but here is what comes to mind as I read it.

In Budo, translated by John Stevens, O'Sensei defines the purpose of budo.

"Budo is a divine path established by the gods that leads to truth, goodness, and beauty; it is a spiritual path reflecting the unlimited, absolute nature of the universe and the ultimate grand design of creation."

He goes on to say: "Techniques also display the marvelous functioning of kotodama".

and then "Reform your perception of how the universe actually looks and acts; change the martial techniques into a vehicle of purity, goodness, and beauty; and master these things."

So, I think O'Sensei developed aikido as a methodology to acheive enlightment.

So how much martial technique really remains in aikido? I believe it was changed enough to serve as a methodology to not instill a "killer" spirit in someone, but to "...teach a warrior how to recieve and fill his mind and body with a valorous spirit..."

Later he goes on to say: "The appearance of an "enemy" should be thought of as an opportunity to test the sincerity of one's mental and physical training, to see if one is actually responding according to the divine will."

So aikido becomes an allegory. We learn through the study of budo to conquer our enemies. Those enemies can be our fears and prejudices.

it also mentions sports:

"Sports are widely practiced nowadays, and they are good for physical exercise. Warriors, too, train the body, but they also use the body as a vehicle to train the mind, calm the spirit, and find goodness and beauty, dimensions that sports lack."

I appreciate his feelings on this subject, sports can be incorporated into a practice to develop the mind, but I believe the main point is, that it is not the main focus of sports to do this.

So the quesiton that lingers in my mind, is how "honest" does the art have to be with regards to "martial effectiveness", or efficiency in order to acheive these goals?

If you think about it, how does the practice of aikido really differ from has the same endstate? Yoga follows universal principals of dynamic movement and correctness.

To me, it is about the concept of "enemy". Some of us have a need to feel strong and many of us, like myself, grew up in the military and have spent my whole life practicing military or "martial arts". I believe Aikido can serve as a bridge to help those of us that possess the "killing spiritu" to show us "options" of how to use those same feelings and emotions in a more positive way.

Likewise, many people are timid and weak. They have a inate fear of being trampled and run over, they avoid conflict by hiding from it, or ignoring it. AIkido can give them the ability to be strong and face those fears.

Yoga attempts to heal and create this in a different way.

I think in order to accomplish the goals of aikido, it is important that it is practiced in a honest way. While it is very important that the techniques be "martially correct" in form and application, it is not so important that we learn how to "win" or "overpower" as in a sports contest, as that is contrary to the goals of budo.

So I have no issue with how aikido is practiced.

That said, some of us have real issues within ourselves that aikido cannot "heal" and we need to reach out and understand much more of the underpinnings by training aggressively and hard.

I find ultimately though that it comes back to aikido for me.

I wonder if it is really possible though to study only aikido and reach an understanding of all this? This is the "BIG" question in my mind.

It was not until I really started doing MMA and BJJ that I began to see what is "so right about aikido"! Then again, I am a hardhead and don't do things based on "faith".

It is an interesting journey!
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