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Old 05-28-2007, 11:59 PM   #88
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Parsing ai ki do

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Two points: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but in about 1922, Ueshiba was quoted in Admiral Takeshita's diary as saying - "Aiki is the art of making other people do what you want." - see Harden above.
O Sensei's thoughts changed critically shortly after this date. His revelatory vision of aikido as Love was distinct from his vision of budo up to that point -- and came in 1925.

"All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things. Tears of gratitude and joy streamed down my cheeks. I saw the entire earth as my home, and the sun, moon, and stars as my intimate friends. All attachment to material things vanished."

The difference in the 1922 quote and the 1925 quote is profound. Reputedly, the 1925 revelation occurred in the hot afterglow of a bout with a very skilled swordsman in which O Sensei was unarmed, but prevailed.

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Aiki (see below), whether the dominant energy is yin or yang, is, on a larger level, a YIN state - it is gravitational.
LIKE that.

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Aiki, ... In other words, one controls the other by unifying "heart/mind" - - - - BUT this is not love - (the other "ai"). It means that one achieves such organization within oneself that one can pervasively influence the other in spite of themselves, so that they are "templated" to what your will.
Let me dwell on the topic of love in this image of gravitational dominance in the conceptual elements of "aiki." "Orbit" is a very narrow regime of participating bodies that exists between the regimes of escape and collision.

First, love in this context is not about flowers and chocolates. It is about running through hail of bullets to pull a hit buddy out of a hole, Walking into a compartment in a fuel fire to drag out the last guy that went in to put the fire out for his shipmates. It is about charging the hill, attacking the fire, because of the love for those next to you or in harm's way. It is primal and it is about survival, not sonnets.

Leaving aside any larger metaphysical questions, psychologically, seeking to structure oneself so as to compel the action of another to template to what you will, is still in the phenomenal, objectifying frame of mind. This -- then -- that. The chain of incipient causation is still intact. Therefore, the branch points of that causal chain are contestable by the will of any participant, as they occur.

Presumably, no budo can depend on an opponent surrendering his will. Logically, that leaves one option, surrendering one's own. Not surrendering to HIS will -- vice your own, but surrendering, if you will, the very concept of "will" in the engagement. That means becoming identified with the will of your opponent, but not identical to it -- since you are not him. And his will is expressed in action -- so your identification is with his action, not his presumed or anticipated will or intent (beyond what is revealed in his action). After all, he may (and probably will) change his mind about what he wants or intends.

The attacker needs to go one step further in the (as yet contingent) causal chain to prevail, than does the aikidoka. I need only reach him -- he must reach AND strike/grasp me. As they say, "Reach exceeds grasp." If I seek to grasp him, I am fighting him for first or best grasp -- and one or the other of us always loses. As long as I keep reaching him -- without grasping -- as he comes in reach of me, he cannot win, unless I stop doing that.

Once one achieves this connection, the logic of reactive cause/effect ceases. You want what he wants -- you/he move as he/you moves. All that is required is to have the connection to know what he wants to be doing -- NOW -- rather than what I should do to counter what he (may be) about to do -- much less trying to scheme a path to some result that I imagined to begin with.

"Aiki" means concerning oneself with the needs/desires of another in a situation of violence to the exclusion of one's own. The word for this budo is, properly, "love."

The Earth orbits the sun, not because of the sun's domineering power (although it is), but because their relationship is critically favorable to stable dynamic of mutual attraction. If the Earth were less favorable (moving too fast) it would escape or (moving too slow) collide.


Erick Mead
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