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Old 07-02-2006, 12:02 PM   #6
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Poll: Does aikido contain any philosophical principles not present in any other budo?

Hi, Mark,

Mark Freeman wrote:
Voting in a poll doesn't have to be preceeded by any experience. There are no right or wrong answers, only opinions.
If that were the case, the only people qualified to vote would be those that have direct experience of 'all' martial arts.
I've never agreed with the proposition that there are no wrong opinions, so we'll have to agree to disagree here.

Of course, things would always be a little quieter if only those who knew spoke.

maybe if a someone could point out 'any' other martial art that has the same philosophy as aikido, then I would think about changing my vote if the same poll was ever put again.
There's gotta be a ton.

I found one in English, even. Karl Friday's Legacies of the Sword, p. 64 says,

"The Japanese martial art tradition, however, associates "bu" phonetically with the native term "musubu""to give birth," "to bring together," "to create," or "to give life." In the Japanese conceptualization then, "bu" is a proactive, constructive idea, meaning "to bring forth peace."* Peace cannot be created through military affairs alone. In its broadest sense, therefore, "bu" also refers to agriculture, manufacture, and all other forms of production. Japanese budo * posits the sword as a symbol for all the tools of these peace-creating trades, in the same way that Kashima-Shinryu* bugei takes the sword as its nucleus, representative of all the other weapons of the various disciplines.
"Both the goal and the essence of Kashima-Shinryu budo are expressed in the word "shinbu." The most common orthography for this term modifies the character "bu" with shin/kami ("divine, spirit, deity"), but alternative renderings use shin/ma ("truth, reality") or shin/makoto ("sincerity, fidelity, honesty, genuine"). "Shinbu" thus translates inexactly as "divine valor," "true martial art," "spiritual martial power," or "sacred martialism.

"In its narrowest sense, "shinbu" means "sublime martial moral power, like that of the deities; or to rectify turmoil as would the deities." This is the notion hinted at in the famous phrase "shinbu ni shite fusetsu" ("to attain shinbu and kill not"), which appears in a number of Tokugawa period treatises on the bugei, the best known of which is the early eighteenth century Neko no myojutsu.

"But the concept of shinbu embraces physical and metaphysical as well as ethical ideas. In its fullest sense, it describes the condition that holds when all the essential principles of martial art are put into application simultaneously and in proper balance. Shinbu is, in other words, the summation of idealized budo, that which at once epitomizes and transcends physical combat."

Does that qualify?--The conflation of ethics, metaphysics, training, peace, agriculture, birth...

Off the top of my head, there's also Iizasa Choisai's punning of Strategy of War with Strategy of Peace (it works in Jpn).

Osensei as revolutionary is marketing, not history. That there are precedents for almost everything he did does not detract from his accomplishment, of course.

On the one hand, we can look at this as hopeful, that the highest of the MA's practitioners always had their eyes on something higher than kicking ass.

On the other hand, one is put in mind of Dower's observation that the pablum of the 30's-40's militarists in Japan, slogans about divinity and harmony, were transferable pretty much unchanged to the new environment of democracy. During the war, the Jpn hadn't gone about proclaiming, "Brutality, rape, and slaughter" to epitomize their intentions. We ought possibly to take greater care in our satisfaction at aikido's vaunted high philosophy.

As always, caveat emptor.

And now that I've provided the requested example, I'd still like to know the extent of investigations into other MA among those voting yes.


Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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