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Old 10-03-2006, 09:19 PM   #121
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,502
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
...normal, natural motion is that which accords with the Way, which is to say, what functions without special effort. O-Sensei is not applying any special effort in the videos you sent, he is walking around, almost dancing, dropping strapping youngs lads on their butts.
Now you're really close to my way of thinking about martial arts.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Normal motion is kokyu as an expression of ki. There is nothing special or mystical about it.
I do agree that normal motion is kokyu as an expression of ki and that it is not special or mystical in ordinary life, but that, when refined and cultivated it is both very special and deeply mystical because ordinary people don't even keep the surface level of it. Far from refining and cultivating it, they lose it in habitual movement and fear-based reactions.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
What aikido uses to function is an exceedingly common inheritance. The art of using it in this way, now that is the treasure, but it was always ther foir us to enjoy. Most people do not do it because they stop moving normally when confronted with opposition and threat.
Very much agreed.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
People untrained in martial arts react like babies who flail and wail when they fall over when learning to walk.
There, I think you need to observe more babies more closely. Unless an adult attaches intense emotion to their walking and falling, babies take both as ordinary miracles in stride. They typically don't even get flustered when they fall (unless they fall really hard) and just get up and keep on about their business.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
It is in our nature to learn how our body fights as we learn how our body walks. Most people never get to learn that, and thus have a stilted, unnatural and unhealthy approach to conflict.
Both points I strongly advocate. However, even lions and panthers must learn to fight and they do that mostly by playing among themselves, with their parents and siblings. Our society (human society, ego-based and power-hungry) tends to pit us against each other and breeds competition instead of cooperation and sharing. This is why Jigoro Kano's maxim "Ji ta kyo e" (improve together with the other guy) is so revolutionary. But even more than aikido, judo gives us a ground for the kind of play-fighting by which lions and tigers become strong and able fighters.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
That is pretty much it - returning to our original nature and what we are naturally capable of developing, not our constructed nature -- our maya.
Yes, this is true, but we do have to develop that nature. I think the mistake is in reliance on "second nature" development and I think that you have named it quite well as "maya".

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Physics has its issues, as a system of knowledge, but illusion is not one of them.
However, I do think that physics sometimes suffers the illusion (physicists may, at least) that it can and should be used to explain everything. And I think some things are best not attempted through rationality. Zen, for instance, teaches exactly that. Enlightenment is said to be "Nothing special."

As for Mike:

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Abe, Tohei, Ueshiba, and all the others were just simpletons for acting like kokyu power was special or even deserved a special name. Who knew???
Again, the name is not particularly "special" in Japanese language. It's an ordinary word for "breathing." Of course, it has a "special" meaning in martial arts terms, but that's only a matter of refinement, not a matter of its basic nature.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
let's pretend for a minute that there is a special form of movement that takes special training and needs someone to show you how to get started, etc., (sort of like Tohei says he learned it from Tempu Nakamura, and so on).
Granted, it would take an extraordinary person to develop the full range of aiki technique without having someone show him how to get started (and guide him quite far down the path), but what did Tempu Nakamura actually teach Tohei? Isn't he the guy whose main influence on Tohei was a single sentence? "The mind leads the body."

Unless I'm mistaken, that was the major part of what Tohei said he learned from Nakamura. And he said that the major part of what he learned from Morihei Ueshiba was how to relax. And by applying those two principles, along with his well-developed judo physique and mentality, he was able to master aikido in rather short order.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The really interesting question is whether every practitioner of a martial art should learn how to do that stuff. It's an interesting philosophical discussion because it potentially means that some teachers and students, etc., are left out in the cold.
I think that's simply a matter of personal capacity. O-Sensei taught many, many people, but the true stand-outs were rather few: Shirata, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Tenryu, Saito, Shioda and not so very many others. It was similar in judo. There were some five million Japanese practicing judo before WWII, but only twelve achieved tenth dan. There was only one Mifune and he was one of the few whose name ever became known outside the circle of judo enthusiasts.

So while I think that aikido is based on natural human movements, it is true that they must still be refined and cultivated and that, even with one's utmost efforts, one's personal capacity will still define a limit for him well below the likes of Ueshiba, Mifune, Mochizuki, Saito and Shioda.

Add to that one's personal inclination to train and their actual application of effort to fully master the art and it should be no wonder that the vast majority of practitioners will remain "in the cold".

But even at that, anyone who dilligently practices can gain a great deal from aikido training and can enhance their life and their ability to deal with the challenges of life according to their needs.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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