Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Aikido as a "Budo"?
Again, thank you for your patient maintenance of the quality, and the integrity of Aiki Web, in allowing for meaningful exchange of ideas!
As George correctly points out, we need to ask each student, what Aikido training means to them, not only at the outset of training, but throughout their connection with the group.
Then, each of the assistant instructors needs to check in with their respective chief instructors, on a consistent basis, and review their own motives, agendas, and critques of how they are assisting the students in their respective growths.
Notions like "Budo" are intensely personal to me, having my own history of gathering information, insights, exchanging of views with trusted peers, and having the courage and self honesty to adjust or even change my viewpoints on such key issues. In other words, to stay "green growing, instead of ripe and rotting".That's my responsibility.
Before I dare to inflict my limited knowledge and wisdom on my students, I need to know more about their innate, and acquired abilities to understand what I am talking about. This has to take place over time, and cannot be rushed. It is an ongoing mutual journey.
Some essentials I will consistently review with them are concepts such as proper and appropriate (1) Ma ai: the distance to personally maintain and interpersonally to monitor; 2) Shisei: the maintenance of proper physical posture to maximize my body's ability to respond to whatever it encounters; the maintenance of mental shisei, or attitude, to ensure a positive and sensible mindset, whether dealing with a confrontation, or simply keeping my head on straight; 3) Hanmi" the ability to gauge angles, maintain ma ai, and to execute the appropriate kuzushi at the proper moment; 4) Shii kaku, or blind spot, being in that of the opponent, and not him in mine; 5) kuzushi, both executing it, and following up with appropriate technique; 6) metsuke; the ability to take in all before one's sight, without being taken in by any one aspect; 7) Te gatana, the proper use of hand blade, using hachi no ji concepts correctly, just to name a few.
These, and certain notions of ethics and morality are the bulk of what I try to share with my students, tailoring my presentation a little for each one. I finally finish by placing the onus of responsible self image and self defense squarely on their shoulders, emphasizing that they must never relinquish the right to choose life or death answers for themselves. After all, I am merely their assistant instructor.
I remain reluctant to discuss what "Budo", or any other fundamental term we use, as a separate and distinct reality, apart from the entire Aikido experience. I prefer a more "holistic" approach, tying the major concepts, as I see them, together in a woven fabric to wear at all times.
Hope this is closer to what you are looking for.
Last edited by aikishihan : 12-26-2009 at 01:13 PM.