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Old 11-07-2010, 09:33 PM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: Focus and Aikido Training

Hello Francis,

Apologies for my late response to your most recent post in this thread. I did not see the post until I noticed a reference on Stan Pranin's Facebook page. Of course, I have a few more comments.

Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Per your words quoted above, do you really believe that we actually know what the Founder's training dimensions and results were? With the huge disparities of first hand interpretations, and not counting the flood of "after the fact" announcements by enlightened others, how can we accurately be sure of what we are dealing with in terms of verifiable and acceptable information and understanding?
PAG. Given the information we now have about M Ueshiba, probably not. I assume you have thought about the issues with which Ellis Amdur grapples in Hidden in Plain Sight. We know when Ueshiba lived and we also know generally what he did. Given that he is often referred to, like you do, as the Founder of the martial way that we all supposedly practice, it is reasonable to ask how he himself trained in the art he is supposed to have created--if he actually did, for you suggest below that he told us not to train like he did.
So one issue is whether we accept the official biographies as a reliable source of information about his life and activities, including the information given about his training regimen.
The Aikikai, for example, stands as a monument to one particular way of interpreting Ueshiba, as the Founder of a martial art called aikido, which is an art embodied in the teachings of his descendants and successors at the Aikikai Foundation.
The Founder's training regimen? Look at Doshu for what is essential to the art that Ueshiba created; all the rest is optional, or even downright erroneous.

Actually, there are even issues on how you actually frame the questions. There is major interest in so-called internal arts / skills / training and the question inevitably arises whether Ueshiba practiced / possessed these. However, the ‘rewiring' of the body involved here suggests that we need a new way of talking about it. The metaphors we use need to become dead metaphors, so that the essential nonce factor of metaphor is removed. In addition, for Ueshiba, his training regimen is not something that can be considered in isolation from all the other things he did and said. So we are back to sifting through all the evidence.

Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Further, why would the modern aikidoka really care for or need to replicate what one old man did, or to find a suitable substitute, when this very same person constantly admonished us not to. Could it be that in his wisdom, and bitter first hand experience, he realized the futility, not of honoring, respecting and remembering the past, but of trying to recreate what appropriately should remain in history?
PAG. Touche! Given what you stated in the paragraph above about the disparities of firsthand interpretations, how can you be certain that he constantly admonished us not to? And if he did, did he really mean it? You must have heard the story of his anger at coming to the Hombu Dojo and being enraged at what they were practicing. They were apparently not practicing ‘his' aikido, or the aikido ‘he' taught them. Apparently, they were quite right.

Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Rather, it is not the singular man, and certainly not his unique and unduplicatible accomplishments, but the universally applicable example of how to glean building materials from the infinite warehouse of things Aiki, and the proven value of forging one's own way to do so effectively, that is the true legacy, relevance and benefit to treasuring the priceless event of a man called Ueshiba.
PAG. Ah, the ‘Aiki-as-warehouse' or ‘Aiki-as-treasurehouse' metaphor. We can simply take what we like from the warehouse, believing it all to be valuable, but without really knowing which is Ueshiba treasure and which is dross, for it all bears the Aiki hallmark. Or we can simply follow our Aikikai / Yoshinkan / Yoseikan / Ki Society shihan guide, who will tell us what is really valuable and why—and discard what he thinks we do not need. Or we can take the M-A-D approach and immerse ourselves in our private training regimens, so that when we visit the warehouse, we can see the dross immediately. Or we could try to do all three at the same time. If we find Ueshiba's life and activities of any value, we are still faced with the problem of relating the ‘Ueshiba-event' to the items in the warehouse.

Ja, mata…


P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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