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Old 06-27-2008, 11:48 AM   #45
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Misogi and Internal Training

The moving of these posts to this thread came just after I posted the following Looooooonnnnnnnnggggggg post. I removed it from the other thread as Jun was creating this one and it was lost (intentionally) in the mix. I want to qualify what I am choosing to repost it, as although some of you have it via email, it would not have shown up or be maintained here on Aikiweb. Dan hinted that Mike and I may be reading past each other and misreading each other's motivations. That is a fair statement, and one that should be addressed. As far as motives, I don't think anyone could really say what Mike's are, but Mike. As far as mine, well, truthfully, its simply about pointing out long-term misconceptions about both Misogi and Aikido.

For years there were many misconceptions that there was some great divide between "Do" of say, Aikido and the "Jutisu" of say Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu. Some of these were proffered up by Don Dreager or his contemporaries. Later we come to everyone and their sister repeating axioms like "if you want to learn the art of martial arts, study the "DO" but if you want to learn the martial of martial arts, study the "Jutsu." Now of course we realize that this is only the westerner's misunderstanding of something that in fact is not separate at all. Just like every tenkan has irimi, and yin and yang or heads and tails, these are only relative concepts to one another. Aikido is Misogi. That is what makes this discussion not merely important, but key in understanding the art of the founder. Mike and I agree on many things, but we do so from very different perspectives. Mike's point seems to be that these "baselines" which he has determined to be the important ones are the only way through which he will approach the subject, and that noting the uniqueness of the founder, his art form and his methodologies would be irrelevant to his preferred baselines. I would agree with him in that once you are interested in commonalities, uniqueness has no place. However, I strongly disagree with the idea that only commonalities matter. So, in an effort to flush out more ideas from this "Contentious Debate" as Mike seems to see it, here is the post...


Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Are you saying that Abe Sensei learned his Misogi-no-gyo from O-Sensei?
Hi Mike,

It would be wonderful if you stated your point instead of just asking open-ended questions that smack of something sinister behind it. In any case, here is what Abe Sensei has said about it:

Seiseki Abe Sensei, Shihan 10th Dan wrote: View Post

It was there that I found my growth as a calligrapher moving toward to an impasse. It was about that time that I first encountered Kenzo Futaki's Misogi no Renseikai (Misogi Training Society). Kenzo Futaki was a Doctor of Medicine and a pre-war student of Morihei Ueshiba. This Misogikai was a group dedicated to exploring and teaching methods that could be used to draw on a kind of "psychological" or "spiritual" strength beyond mere physical strength --what we might now call misogi (purification) to draw out" ki". It sounded like exactly what I needed. The application date had already passed, but they made an exception for me and I was able to join the first session, which was conducted as kind of "training camp" consisting of about a week's worth of seminars.

Was the Misogikai the creation of Futaki Sensei himself?

Yes, he was the one who set it up, although the training methods taught were derived from those formulated by Bonji Kawatsura [philosopher who organized and formalized Japanese misogi practices], which were taught at the Misogikai by one of Kawatsura Sensei's students, Ken Tatsumi.

What were some of those practices?

There are eight major ones. Standing under cold water (mizu no gyo) is one of the more well known. The eight include norito no sojo, mizu no gyo, furitama no gyo, ameno-torifune no gyo, chinkon no gyo, otakebi okorobi and ibuki no gyo, genshoku no gyo, and bunkon touitsu no gyo.

Are these practices related to the Omoto religion?

What Futaki Sensei and Kawatsura Sensei were doing was based not on religion, but on traditional Japanese customs and mores. Misogi practices are really nothing more than specific formalization of various customs commonly followed by the Japanese in their daily lives in ancient times. They are not, in other words, derived from Indian Buddhism or Chinese Confucianism, but from ancient Japanese practices that are clearly documented in works like the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters). Kawatsura Sensei's work involved casting these in accessible forms that anybody can pursue.
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
But when you make an assertion like that, Shaun, you shouldn't get excited when called out.
...are you calling me out, Mike? Gosh, you seem to have so much frustration. Why don't you just go ahead and ask me out, already?

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well, great, Shaun. Why don't you state what you have a problem with and support it with a logical rebuttal, etc., instead of vague character attacks? Give us and example of a statement I made, then tell us what you think is wrong with it and why. This is a logical step, believe it or not, in a lot of debate in the civilized world.
Mike, since you love to ask people to go back and do your work for you by citing your past remarks, I guess I'll just have to ask you to do the work. Go back and read my old posts, or my private messages and emails to you where I spoke very plainly about issues with which I held contention and why. In fact, you never replied to those, either. With regards to logic and debate, sorry, but I am not interested in debating you, nor interested in pursuing the logic missing from several of your martial, cultural and ontological hypothesis.
Actually Mike, here is a case in point. Two in fact. let's take a look, shall we?
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Reading your comments on Misogi-no-gyo, you've dropped some of the completely wrong comments about breath and breathing from a couple of years ago,...
You should be careful Mike. You almost made it sound like I now know what I am talking about with regards to breath and breathing (although, I am sure you would probably just take credit for that, too, along with re-educating all of us KI-challenged, Aikido folk...) You see, I haven't dropped anything. I haven't changed anything. It was you who "stated" that I was wrong in the first place - all according to... you. But you never proved anything about your theories, nor mine. You did state that since mine were different than yours, that mine were, therefore wrong You did the same thing, twice just in the past few days. The first is where I made some statements about Misogi. You then went on some sort of rant about mysticism and esoterica. I never included anything with regards to those subjects in my post. You both, misread me, and misquoted me. Both indicate that you concluded that I must hold some opinion about misogi being mystical, so that you can dismiss my opinions outright. However, you are simply not correct. Say it with me... (Mike was wrong). The second instance, when you questioned from whom Abe Sensei learned misogi, or who knows, maybe even questioning if Abe Sensei was privy to O-Sensei's Misogi, is interesting on two levels. The first is that you truly believe that because you read a bunch of articles about the subject, maybe even this one or this one that there isn't anything that someone else may know about the subject that you may not have been able to consider before coming to perhaps some very inaccurate conclusions, just like you did with regards to my thoughts and opinions about KI, Kokyu, Misogi and Aikido. The second level is that Abe Sensei's points seem to contradict things you have said on some levels as well as introduce other levels that are seemingly absent from your myopic approach to traditional Japanese Martial Arts training.

In any case, let's just leave it there for now.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
but the rest of your assertions seem to be the old "I can't tell you because it's a secret; give me a call and we'll set up a meeting at my dojo". In reading your recent posts, you seem to still set yourself up as an expert, but you give no credentials other than "some secret stuff Abe told me". That's fine, but if I set myself up as some sort of expert like that, I'd expect people to question me. Yet you take offense.
Last things, first.
Mike. You are offensive. Worse, you don't really care that you are offensive. You park in someone's driveway, knock on their door, and then proceed to tell the homeowners your opinion about their Internal Decorating. I am not offended by you because you can't help yourself, treat everyone who disagrees with you the in the same manner, and ultimately have no clue as to the sorriness in which you are held. If you were incapable of growth I would pity you. But that is not the case, you just choose to be singular in dimension.

Next Item
I don't know the nature of your teacher/student relationships because you choose not to talk about them. Worse, you publicly invalidate the entire value of such relationships in Traditional Japanese Budo along with those who choose to publicly acknowledge the importance of it in their own training. However, in traditional Japanese Budo, and I suspect, many other cultural arts, there are ALWAYS secrets. However, there is a complete difference between having someone tell you to keep something they share with you to yourself, or to share it only with your senior students and wishing to choose to not share it with rude, dingleberries on the internet either because they "call you out" to do so, or threaten to invalidate your pedigree amongst themselves or their cohorts.

  • Yes, I trained with Abe Sensei.
  • Yes, he shared things with me that are sensitive in nature.
  • Yes, he told me things and asked me not to repeat them.
  • Yes, he showed us Gokui, (secrets) with regards to Shodo, Aikido, Misogi, Kotodama, and other things.
  • Yes, we know you don't like it!

The bottom line is, Aikido is Misogi. Now, just to be clear, Do you claim to be an authority or expert on either?

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
The way I read some of these posts is that someone wants to represent themself to the world as something of an expert and yet they face-savingly want to get some information.
Okay, so that is the way you read it. Sorry, you are wrong. I tell everyone who comes to me for instruction the same thing, my role is to prepare you to meet my teachers. They are the experts. Please be ready when you meet them. When I share something that is mine, I say, "this is my current understanding." When I share something that someone shared with me, I say, "This is from Sensei so and so." I also say things like, "If you are worried about getting jumped, study Krav Magra. If you want to compete take MMA classes and most importantly that Aikido is the path that begins with first learning to control yourself, and depending on who you are, that may take a really long time."

If that is misrepresentation in any way please be so good as to be specific on how so. As for what you call face-saving, I call that being open to another person's point of view. I don't come into the picture having done all the research, having made up my mind. I am not the one who appeared to the IMA community saying, "...its all the same..." regardless of my theories, understandings or abilities I don't teach IMA seminars because;
  • I would consider that disrespectful to the masters of the art form
  • I might not be spot on when it came to my understanding, theories or ideas.
  • that would be considered rude to civilized people everywhere.

And for the love of god, please do go on any rants about how I am only trying to protect the aikido hierarchy, my groups handle on the thrown or the money flow. I have a small, private dojo who isn't interested in any of that.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Dan's motives appear to be *completely* different from mine, so let me be clear that I separate myself from him or what he knows.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Me personally, I consider these skills to be fairly deep and worth serious discussion of the facts, the how-to's, different approaches to the basis skills, and so on. That happens to be pretty much the only way I'm going to do it.
Mike, if you would only follow your own words you would do so much more to assisting those of us who, regardless of Art, skill, ability, understanding or personality have a sincere interest in IMA.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Am I going to play some sort of fake-Hagakure etiquette or play-Budo games, trying to make the topic some role-play aspect? No. Is that going to hack off a few people who are deeply into role-play or other absorptions? Of course.

But what happens is that the more clinical thinkers will get involved in a no-nonsense approach and discussion. They will also see the justification for some of the questions I ask when I question some of the role-play assertions.
I can't even begin to understand what is going on in your head that would have you spend so much time thinking about any of that enough to type it out on a keyboard, much less let on that these are your actual concerns in life in a public martial arts forum. As for your assertion about what other people may see about you, I would do a whole lot more investigating the opinions of those who openly can't stand you rather than anyone who might sing your praises or ignore you altogether. You will get much more honesty out of the former group than the later.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
So if you want to keep worrying about some imagined personal contention between you and me or me and a very few other people, please feel free to do so.
Mike, sorry to have to inform you that you are not the subject of my thoughts or imaginations. I am not worried about you, what you say, what you do, who you talk to. As for imaginary contentions, I beg to differ. Remember, you decided to actually "call me out..." as you like to put it, even though it was based upon your incorrect assumptions about my thoughts on mysticism, esoterica, secrets, blah, blah, blah. If anyone is imagining anything, well that would be you.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Frankly, when you start a critical and clinical discussion of facts, how-to's, etc., I think you'll find that all your personal problems with me tend to go away.
Dr. Sigman, what are my problems, again? How do I solve them, again?

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
The problem seems to happen when you claim facts or an approach or a status but you can't support it with facts. So try a few hard facts....
You just don't like that I don't follow Mike's rules for debate. Are you really stuck at such a high-school level of debate. Have you even seen a high school debate lately? Bunch of silly, elitist, arrogant quasi-activists who speak so fast over everyone else's point just to try and make everyone (anyone, really) believe what it is they are saying. It would be nice if you elevated the discussion above debate. Be open to learning something from others - even people you may disagree with or (gasp) not even like much.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I've mentioned probably the best entre' baseline several times, if you'll go back and read my posts.


Mike Sigman
That has to be my favorite McSigmoid of all time. I'll say one thing for ya, you certainly have mastered how to reveal so much about your strange, inner-self goings on in one sentence. Masterful!


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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