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Old 05-31-2008, 10:32 AM   #23
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
Re: Striking in your Aikido

Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Thanks George - Not sure I agree with Ellis on that one, regardless of the chosen art, how many 'martial artists' around the world train to fight a professional? So perhaps by Ellis's standard very few are doing 'Martial Art'? ... ... I'm not really into semantics and exploring the definition of words - don't really have the time for one thing, but I see Budo as delivering more than an ability to fight...although its there, and this is very consistent with my view of Aikido.
Yes, but words, like movements, are expressions of the mind and therefore are revealing. By Ellis's definition, gladiatorial contests were martial art -- which I fervently deny. Professional warriors, which I was at one time, are by necessity belligerents, whose ultimate task is, in the necessity, killing people and breaking things, and nothing more sophisticated than that, though the means to do it are increasingly sophistcated There is intellect, effort and skill involved -- but there is no art in the doing of it, as there is no virtue in it either.

But we speak of "martial art" as we speak of "martial virtue." Neither the art nor the virtue lie in the necessities of war, but in the spirit that it reveals. That is what "martial art" means -- the "art of Mars," or Ares the god of war -- The art that comes from or relates to the spirit of war.

O Sensei's "true budo" is aiki, which has been translated as "harmonizing spirit," described by him as "The spirit of loving protection." These are not cultural particulars, either to his particular views of Shinto or even of Japanese culture alone. It is a truly "martial" universal.

The consort of Ares was Aphrodite, goddess of love. Their sons were, in the nature of their sire, named Deimos (dread) and Phobos (fear), and in the nature of their mother, named Eros (love desired), and Anteros (love returned) . But their daughter was of both natures -- of love and protection -- and she was named Harmonia.

As I was trained, there are in every movement, properly done, many atemi. They require no choice to employ, they just occur by virtue of proper movement and maai. The only choice exercised is that of affirmatively protecting one's partner, by constraining the dynamic that results in atemi -- converting its expression into a less damaging form. If I lose that restraint and the spirit that motivates it -- I would strike with the whole body in the same movement whatever happened to be in the way of it.

So does martial art or virtue reveal these spirits in the context of atemi? I would say yes. I have been surprised in practice after some planned full speed attacks (which I thought we had finished) by a unexpected full speed attack and I lost that typical restraint momentarily. It was frightening (Phobos), to be conscious only of desperately (Deimos) trying to belatedly withdraw a full irimi developing into a strike before I crushed his face, instead of, as I was able to do, merely crumpling his nose a bit. There was a genuine love returned (Anteros) to my friend and practice partner and only the two natures together could so keenly blend (Harmonia) both the violence and the restraint that I experienced in that moment.


Erick Mead
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