Thread: Seiza
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Old 03-28-2002, 10:23 AM   #25
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Warriorship and aikido

Originally posted by erikknoops [/b]
Hi Erik,

Thanks for taking time to respond. I'm not trying to be belligerent, but I guess -- me being on old enlisted foot soldier -- your comments struck me as being a bit elitist.

Note that I did like your comments about self-applied discipline rather than external discipline!

Now, I'll don my crusty old grunt suit and address your comments about fighters and warriors.

Well, there are two different concepts:
1. The fighter
2. The warrior or warrior-savant

Hmm. I'd have to say that there are far more differentiations than those -- so many gradations, in fact, that the lines are blurry and grey rather than black and white -- but speaking broadly, I sort of see your point. If I read this right, you're saying foot soldiers can't be warriors and warriors aren't foot soldiers ... or no?

That studying aikido leads one to some sort of enlightened state of existence and that folks who aren't enlightened are more or less common thugs?

I hope I'm wrong in interpreting what you're saying ...

The fighter just needs to know how to fight. Give him a gun or a spear and some basic training and sent him into battle.

Sounds like the bulk of the warrior class of most societies for most of history. A few elite leaders (wealthy, land-owning, nobility, etc) and a mass of lesser folks who actually do the fighting and dying to accomplish the ends of those elite and their rulers.

soldier. Basicly they are nothing more than an weapon to be used by others. (Maybe these are the reason people dont expect insight or great poetry from commandoes).

Haven't known many commandoes, have you?

And the tradition of the soldier-poet is alive and well and has been a part of both eastern and western civilization for many centuries.

The warrior-savant is the one that trains not only physical skill but other things as well, among which strategy and compasion. He is the one that decides, that chooses.

Sorry, this, to me, smacks much of the archetypes of the Iron John men's movement sort of thinking (Warrior-Healer-Artist-Sage-etc).

A warrior is a person who makes war. A savant is a learned person. That describes MANY of the common soldiery I've known.

Does the study of aikido (or ANY budo) lead us to a spiritual evolution that sets us apart and above the common man? I don't know. I believe it can, but I also believe it is only one path among many.

And then we have to examine and dal with the reality of the folks who study aikido (or other budo) for a lifetime and who are still bullies, criminals, liars, cheats, frauds, etc. It happens. Sad, but true. Why didn't the process work for them?

Is the process flawed or are there some people who simply cannot be redeemed?

I don't know. Not nearly enough wisdom in this old heart to ascertain the truth of that.

I do know that some of the best people I know are budoka. And some of the worst I have known have been budoka. It's not a silver bullet.

To set ourselves above our peers simply because we study aikido/budo is arrogant at worst and self-delusional at best.

It's a great fantasy to think that we're studying the Way of the Warrior and that we are sealing unto ourselves some greater ideal. However, the truth of the evolution spawned by budo lies in the individual, I think, and not in the practice of a particular art.

The differents between these concepts can be found at different places. Even in western history there was a huge difference between soldiers and knights.

Yes, usually the knights were the landed gentry and nobility and the foot soldiers were the poor schmucks who were forced to fight the battles and die so the nobility could keep or add to what was already theirs.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba quotes in his book "The Spirit of Aikido" Guy Bonnefond, who says:

Yes. Great marketing that! Seems to have worked quite well!

So where does come into the equation, one might ask.
The connection is made between the savant part of the warrior-savant and .

And herein, once again, we must examine the root of what DO means in regards to budo (and thus aikido) and likewise, examine its relationsiup to jutsu.

Many excellent martial scholars have delved into this (I refer you to Karl Friday, Meik and Diane Skoss, Joseph Svinth and Ellis Amdur, among others) and the concensus seems to be that there is little or no real difference in jutsu and do.

In the end, it is something within each of us which determines our potential for enlightenment. Through the medium of budo, we can attain great heights, but we are not guaranteed to so excel. Unless it's in the heart and spirit and mind of the practitioner to take the lessons we learn and make them a living part of our being, then it's just physical and mental exercise ...


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