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Old 09-10-2009, 09:47 AM   #11
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

I disagree with the general idea of the "spiritual / fighting" interplay and what it means -starting with George's contentions about Ueshiba meaning he wanted the art to be more spiritual-as in- away from fighting. I think that entirely misses the mark.
On a physical level I think Ellis expressed my own opinion rather well; that Ueshiba made a moral choice in his combatives beyond their koryu counter part.
On page 182: He discusses Ueshiba's model of two people training as being a moving misogi exercise where the spirit of the practitioners creates an energy that could affect the cosmos. A rather neat idea. I liken this to Christ's model where he stated where two or more are gathered in my name I will be among them.

But where Christs model was focused on grace and works of charity and spiritualism beyond man to affect the spiritual order of the universe- Ueshiba's model remained focused on martial movement and joining in conflict resolution in all aspects. Spiritually I think his students would have been better served had they learned to how to go out and serve mankind to improve the world order, but that's neither here nor there.
The fact remains it was Ueshiba's choice to remain focused -martially.
Percentage wise, there are too many of Ueshiba's comments, to and about martially oriented activities, to ignore in favor of the spiritual side. I think this spiritual side is exactly what is being way overplayed in light of the Ueshiba's well informed and greatly demonstrated CHOICE to be involved in martial activities his entire adult life; including his last breath- "Grab my wrist!"
What he meant he demonstrated: with spears and staves and swords, all while stating his art was about atemi of all things!!
The spiritual aspects he was talking about involved fighting. The spiritual training (some claim) was used to add to his martial power none-the-less was used for power building. I still disagree he demonstrated anything other than DR-even after Ellis's work. But the fact remains that he chose- CHOSE- to demonstrate his spiritual progress with displays of power. Displayed as a means to martially win without causing too much damage.

I am a great fan of his choice to win by not fighting (for many reasons). But he clearly spoke of winning and defeating and avoiding defeat at every turn. Those are choices of dialogue; talking points, where he could have just as easliy used his time here, and his breath, as Christ did- were spiritualism his real goal.
Instead he chose physical dominance in a neutral manner to be his vehicle. Mercy through victory. I just think most people simply do not have a practical or demonstrable clue as to what that really means or how to do it and get there. They can't even begin to approach it with their mind and bodies. At what point can we be polite and supportive, but be utterly frank and call it for what it is.

Aiki always was, and still is, and forever will -be- about power building of a type and on a level that is alien to modern aikido practice. That is how you make aiki happen and that's that. Once you can do it and use it to manage people who actually know how to fight back; the debate ends and all is made clear. The rest is just equivocating and the opinions of those still searching for a deeper understanding.
IME, what aikido people call aiki, simply is not aiki, and it is the main reason the majoirty of Aikido people are criticized for not being able to fight with aiki. This debate has been going on since Ueshiba's deshi went out and came back openly stating they could not use their aiki to handle the tough men they encountered back in the 60's.

Last edited by DH : 09-10-2009 at 10:00 AM.
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