View Single Post
Old 01-24-2011, 09:57 PM   #64
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?

Keith Gates wrote: View Post
In Esoteric Shingon Buddhism I have also read that as mediation progresses to the higher levels and the consciousness transcends to higher states that super human powers can manifest, but within the teaching it is critical that they not be pursued.

In both cases it is sighted that a desire of chasing power is ultimately detrimental to the real human quest. It bolsters the ego and, as has been said suggested, can distort and corrupt ones life. Hasn't this been repeated in history a myriad times? People acting out of a desire of power and control. Isn't this also central to Aikido philosophically? Sadly I feel that Demetrio's desire to "impose his will" over others highlights the dangers of such a quest.
I was recently discussing my sudden awareness of my own ki with a good friend and he gave me a surprising outline of yoga that closely parallels what I experienced. And he added that after a certain amount of study and seeking, one would suddenly find that he could manifest "strange powers" (called Siddhi, I believe), more or less along the lines of being immoveable, being able to propel others a big distance, and so on, much like the results of internal power training. But as you said, the teachings warned that when you begin to experience these Siddhi powers, you must not pursue them because then you get side-tracked into them and can lose the way in focus on the powers. If you avoided this, you could reach greater and greater depths of understanding, moving toward Wisdom.

And in the internal power circles, it has also been suggested that the "power" comes spontaneously when the body has been properly conditioned and disciplined. And it has also been said that these skills are only a side-benefit of the training.

Reading this thread, I had a sudden insight about what seems to frighten Mary and some others: that we're seeking really great strength, and they're associating that with great "muscular" strength and the kind of power that goes along with that. This gave me a sudden laugh because what we're seeking is not more muscular power, but the power to do more with less muscle! We want to be unaffected by an opponent's power while remaining completely relaxed and unexerted! We're not talking wild-man hell-raising burning-red eyes and uncontrolled frenzy. We're talking about calm, smiling, amused, relaxed, funny absorption of all power that comes against us, leaving us unexerted, unstrained and completely free to move no matter what kind of load comes upon us. When done properly, it feels like we're not doing anything at all, yet nothing can hold us back or divert us.

And I think that's really the essence of what amazed people about Morihei Ueshiba and first made people want to be like him.

The general problem is that when we signed up to learn to be like Ueshiba, we weren't given this ability to be unexertedly free: we were given techniques which sidetracked us into learning their complex twists and turns and placement of the feet and how does he attack an did he attack right and is he trying to mess up our technique, and do you start with this foot first or that foot first and on and on in a way that really takes us down the rabbit hole. The only thing keeping that pursuit at all relevant to aiki would be learning to keep our balance and to move without conflicting with the opponent's power.

I decided right after I left Mochizuki Sensei's dojo that aikido was being taught "backward," much as George Ledyard said a few posts back. My answer was an overview of the human body first, to make it freely moving. But because my view of aikido meant always moving and never letting uke's weight settle on me, my method was trained completely without loading.

Now I can see all that in a new light and while I still believe that aikido is taught backward and that we must begin with making the body free, I understand now that we must learn to keep the body free and unexerted even when a great load comes upon us.

As for Demetrio's comment, I'm sure he's not talking about any kind of world domination or even dominating other individuals in a power sense, but in the way Morihei said "Aiki is blending with another person in order to make them do what I want them to do." But that blending means going along with what they want to do to bring them back to where you want them to be: in harmony. Just to force them egotistically to go where we want them to is not aikido, but to lead them back to where we want them to be--in their right relation to life--that's really worthy and I think that is the essence of Truth as you hope to see it.

Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Now I am not saying that IP is wrong, or bad, or searching for it is not a potentially good and positive thing to do. I am however questioning that maybe in the broader debate perhaps we are missing something, once somebody has acquired this strength then what, what next?
Well, next is to cultivate it and use it to build up good people to make a better society and life for us all.

Best to you.


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

"Eternity forever!"
  Reply With Quote