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Old 03-13-2007, 07:11 PM   #91
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?

Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
But George, couldn't that internal kokyu be precisely what Ueshiba was able to use to be unthrowable, unbudge-able, unstrike-able? And wouldn't such an ability allow one to practice Aikido in the spirit of peace, without causing harm, without violence, as Ueshiba had intended? It means not having to use throws or waza/technique at all. All he had to do is "be Ueshiba," and attackers bounced off him harmlessly and unharmed. Or, he could direct them gently (relatively) away.

Maybe that's what he meant by "This is not my Aikido!" when he saw students robustly throwing each other, instead of the minimalization of technique. Food for thought. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall (but not in the way of any flying bodies...).
Certainly the inability of people to throw him was an example of kokyu power. No one is trying to maintain that it is not. O-Sensei often did that type of thing at demos or with challengers who came from grappling arts. He was trying to "sell" the art so to speak. It did not represent the sum total of his art. It was a byproduct of the training, not the point of the training. But to attract new students he would often whip these things out because it attracted students who wanted to be like him.

Just take a look at that film from the Asahi demo in 1935(?). The vast majority of the demo is flowing movement. He only does the immovable thing briefly. That's what he was putting out there as Aikido. That's what was taught at his dojo and continued to be taught into the fifties and sixties.

O-Sensei's view of the art was based on the connection between the kototama and the energetic expression of the kototama in movement. In every technique he manifested what he saw as the essential energy of the universe to create form. The doing of this is a way to put oneself in accord with the Kami. The competitive mind is not an example of this energy. Striving to make oneself invincible is a fundamental misunderstanding of what he was doing. Worrying about being invincible. unlockable, unthrowable, etc is essentially still the "fighting mind", the mind of dualism. O-Sensei's Aikido was not about that, it went way beyond.

Do you think that Takeda Sensei couldn't do the things technically that O-Sensei could? Of course he could. Why do people think O-Sensei created Aikido? If it was about being immovable, unlockable, unthrowable, etc he could very well have stayed with Daito Ryu. Understanding Aikido is about understanding the form O-Sensei gave the practice but it is also about how the practice of that form will create change in the practitioner. The form is different from Daito Ryu, the practice is different from Daito Ryu. Whereas some elements of Daito Ryu seem to have gotten misplaced along the way, reintroduction of those elements will not in and of themselves produce "O-Sensei's Aikido".

Aikido is about opening up ones heart through practice. It involves understanding and embracing a set of values which often get demeaned by others because they make the individual look weak. O-Sensei used his martial skills to show people that he wasn't weak in order to have credibility when he talked about his spiritual ideas. Kokyu power, as both Dan and Mike have repeatedly stated is about proper technique. It is teachable and trainable. It should be part of good Aikido; no question there. But it's just technique! It isn't the goal, it's a byproduct of proper pursuit of the art.

This is why bringing every discussion back to these issues is futile. There are many more factors at work in Aikido aside from these. O-Sensei knew people, he knew that the way to get someone's attention was to show them the power. But just look at what he did once he got them enrolled, what he emphasized every time he was on the mat with his students. This constantly gets ignored by folks who just want to focus on the martial application side. This misses O-Sensei's whole point and was exactly why he said that "no one was doing his Aikido."

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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