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Old 01-24-2011, 08:19 PM   #61
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Mary and I trace our lineage back to Tohei thru Maruyama Shuji sensei. I don't know what the Aikikai considers real Aikido and, to be truthful, I don't care. We learned Ki development as an integral part of our Aikido from Maruyama sensei and, though we are now organizationally independent, continue to teach it to our students.
I agree with that. I'm not the least concerned with what aikikai thinks is or is not aikido.

However, Mary's question was "Why go outside aikido?" and I'm saying that from the mainline point of view, she's already outside of

And if it's alright to go "outside aikido" in that regard, why not go on and find internal power?

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Understand though, training to become relaxed and strong (correct feeling) is only a part of Aikido for us. We don't train solely to become the strongest people on the planet. We also don't judge people who choose to emphasize internal strength development as the core of their practice. Our view is that people are free to choose their own paths and we wish them well no matter the direction they take. We believe that Aikido should be inclusive in the extreme; a very large umbrella with room under it for the woo woos, the bone breakers and everyone in between.
I don't see where the question comes in, then. Personally, I don't see "aikido" as any kind of big rope that has to include every kind of goo-goo-woo-woo-hee-ha-hoo. The bone breakers are wrong. The dive-bunnies and Senseis who insist that uke must fall no matter what kind of limp response nage gives are also wrong. Aikido flows in the middle path--no hurting training partners, no falling for ridiculous technique. In my opinion.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Ya know David, at the risk of being branded a heretic, I think if folks stopped trying so hard to become the next Ueshiba and concentrate on developing the Aikido that naturally emerges from their own practice they'd find that there's a lot more there than they think.
I've said it before: my aikido has never failed me. And Dan's proclamations notwithstanding, I don't think I can reach (much less surpass) Morihei Ueshiba's level. Mochizuki never saw himself as having reached that level. So that's not my aim. However, I do believe that the only way I can progress beyond what I found through technical training is to move to internal training, to work not by outer "aikido-looking" form (which even the weakest of people can present) but to work from an inner movement that expresses technique spontaneously. I'm feeling very refreshed an invigorated by this pursuit.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Here'a a question for you: With all of Ueshiba's direct students internalizing only a portion of the teachings how do you even define "the whole art" or "the real art"?
Mochizuki Sensei said, "Nobody does Ueshiba's aikido but Morihei Ueshiba." And by that, he meant not Kisshomaru, not Tohei, not himself. But there is an essence there that, if we connect with it, it is aikido and we each have our own.

However, in violating any of the character of that essence (violence or limpicity), that's "going outside aikido" by trying to make aikido what we think it ought to be. And I have been convinced that internal power (and Mike identifies Tohei as a major figure in this) is a part of the essence of the real and whole art of aikido.

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
[rampant supposition] I believe that Ueshiba really wanted Aikido to spread world wide. It's possible that he realized that if Aikido became a koryu like art that its dissemination would always remain limited and secretive. To prevent that from happening he purposely made sure that no one got the full monte as he understood it. That is to say the fracturing of Usehiba's Aikido into the convoluted tree of interpretations that exists today was planned from the outset in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. [/rampant supposition]
I think Ellis' description of Morihei's seeing himself as a shaman and all the rest of us as people stirring the energy pot to support him is probably closest to the truth of what Morihei wanted "us" to be doing. He apparently saw early on that his real art was not being passed on and I think he also understood that very, very few people were ever going to approach that because it was so completely and idiosyncratically his own. He definitely loved Mochizuki as a friend as well as the son he wished he'd had. And he didn't give Tohei judan because he didn't like him. And there was Saito and little Shioda, the human tornado. Morihei loved them all and appreciated and criticized each of them for their own characters and short-comings as he saw them, but still none of them really did quite what Morihei truly did. I think he just realized, too, that human nature and the Japanese character demands that a strong individual make his own way, just as he broke away from Sokaku Takeda, who loved and criticized him. If you help someone become strong, you have to accept that eventually, they will go their own way. So I just think the fracturing and splintering of aikido was unavoidable, but that, by adhering to the real core principles something does live on.

Best to y'all.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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