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Old 06-27-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
Re: Long road vs short road to ki power (aiki, internal strength...)

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Ron Ragusa asked: Do you feel that it's important for your students to have the time grow into their power in a responsible manner?

- if you are nervous about people with less compassion ... make sure you have enough power to protect yourself.
However, I have always thought that it seems like there should be some sort of "helpfulness karma". Let's face it, being a jerk to your juniors tends to go unnoticed as long as the seniors asses are properly kissed. (This happens indirect approach to aiki, so I assume as the direct approach is brought to the masses it will continue to happen.)
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Gentile compassion (I don't mean "stupid compassion" )
.. also now available -- kosher compassion -- for our Jewish brethren

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
... the only way to encourage that effectively is to have another feedback system like "social ukemi". ... The problem of course is that once you try to set up such a system it is automatically going to be co-opted and corrupted.
As you know, I am trying to find good western foundations for the things that O Sensei taught to be understood more natively within our traditions, physical, moral, etc.

The man to read on these points and most strikingly in harmony with O Sensei about this particular problem of power, responsibility and the unforeseen advantage that comes from just doing the right thing is Tolkien. I commend his major works, of course. But his letters are very worthy and irreplaceable reading on these issues. His essential approach, very much in lkeeping with similar statement of Morihei Ueshbiba is that the temptation to enter into power and domination leads one into conflict with the Divine order, and that the Divine order has ways of reasserting itself outside the rubric of explicit power and mere counter-domination.

"Responsibility" is often read or spoken by many people with an unstated preposition -- usually "responsibility (to)." In other words, most people formulate their responsibility within a dominant power scheme in which they are not the dominant power. Power is presumed. The person as to whom responsibility is urged, is directing their responsibility TO a person with power over them, power to bring consequences for failing in their "responsibility."

In this sense, people who want power implicitly want to be free FROM responsibility. Such is the way of the modern world all about us, in my opinion. If you read closely, you can generally pick out people who are operating from this position of comprehension about power and responsibility. They generally resent or are reactive against any perception or assertion that someone is exercising any kind of power over them. Those that are not operating from this standpoint, typically do not care too much about the relative power relationships and are far more comfortable operating at any scale in the social or technical order of things.

But the responsibility that is more important is the responsibility OF power, which is "responsibility (for)." There is a yawning gulf of understanding between the two senses of "responsibility." No matter how much power you have, or others have over you, "responsibility (for)" comes from one and only one thing -- love. In "responsibility (to)" love is directed by dominant power (or at the least the failure to suitably display such love may be punished). In "responsibility (for)," whatever power you have (dominant or not) is directed by love.

Aikido, it seems to me, is an object lesson in seeking this form of restoring order where the forces of destruction have arisen thorough an exercise of power, without unnecessarily invoking a countering power of destruction . If done correctly, as I see it and try to do it, aikido works, at worst, to make the destruction mainly self-limiting to the would-be destroyer, and at best to give him the opportunity to be saved from his own stupid error in the first place.

Aikido as the "true budo of love" is not merely stupefied grins of mystic ecstasy aimlesly wandering into oncoming traffic.

O Sensei spoke of Aikido as ubuya -- a house of childbirth -- THAT is the image of love and budo. It IS pain, agonizing work, terror, potentially physically damaging, and in many senses a humiliating surrender to forces over which we can only cooperate and cannot in the least command to our liking.

While the true fact of the thing is exactly that without any diminishment -- none of that is the actual point of it. JOY is the proper mode in which to receive all of that negativity, the ultimate result of which is not the end of responsibility to power, by gaining greater power, but a larger beginning of responsibility for those who are within our power, even (when we can) those who attack us. The product of it is NOT power to destroy but a willing participation in an act of the divine -- on the one hand, the creation of new life, and in the case of aikido -- and all true budo taken in and as love -- to save life from destruction.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 06-27-2008 at 08:07 AM.


Erick Mead
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