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Old 03-13-2007, 05:38 PM   #89
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post

It's hard for me to believe Ueshiba looked at people doing waza and said, "That's not my aikido!" because he meant they should all be doing solo exercises. I think he said it because the waza were not being done in the spirit in which he intended them to be.
Despite statements to the contrary, I do not believe that O-Sensei was talking about technique at all when he made that statement. I think he was commenting on the fact that most of the deshi were focused almost solely on technique.

I believe that one could incorporate all of the internal kokyu development aspects which have been under discussion and one would still not be doing "O-Sensei's Aikido" as he saw it. It wasn't about the technique!

All this talk about who can and can't throw who, whether MMA folks can beat up Aikido folks is almost completely irrelevant to what O-Sensei wanted his art to be. I am not saying that martial skill is not to be had through Aikido training. It is a by product of proper training or should be. But it simply isn't the point. O-Sensei bemoaned the fact that so many of his students couldn't see beyond the waza. They wanted to be able to do what he did. They failed to see what he wanted them to be.

One can see just how FEAR motivates so much discussion about martial arts and in this case, Aikido. What if an Aikido guy meets a guy trained in knife fighting? Could an Aikido guy with a sword handle a guy training in kenjutsu? I better train in two or three other arts as well Aikido so that I can win if I get in a fight...

What is this fight everyone's preparing for? As Pogo stated "we have met the enemy and he is us." Where is the 46 page discussion of masa katsu agatsu? The vast majority of discussions here revolve around technical issues yet 90% of what O-Sensei talked about was spiritual. The point of the whole thing was never about fighting. You can develop all the kokyu power you want and still not get that fact.

I am not in any way, disparaging what I see as very important issues regarding internal power, kokyu training etc. I am trying to research these areas myself for my own training. But people's focus on how important these issues are to being able to fight simply shows that they are still coming from a FEAR based point of view.

O-Sensei made this very clear when Mochizuki Sensei came back from France and stated that he had felt that his Aikido was lacking as he had had to fall back on tricks from his other martial training to prevail in his challenge matches. O-Sensei simply told him that he hadn't understood what his (O-Sensei's Aikido) was about. I am sure that it didn't have to do with being immovable or being able to knock someone through the air without seeming to move.

Training should be a transformative experience. But it must be done with the right mindset. All this ability that some folks have in the area of internal power to be unlockable or unthrowable is just that, they are unlockable or unthrowable. That isn't doing Aikido. Those skills might be a by product of Aikido training, or should be, but they are hardly the point of that training. That's why I keep saying that folks from outside Aikido can't save the art. The idea that these internal skills ARE Aikido is wrong. They are part of skilled Aikido but they are hardly the point of the training. Winning over some enemy or beating some hypothetical opponent simply misses the whole point. That's what O-Sensei meant when he said "no one is doing my Aikido."

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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