Re: What Is Your Frame Of Reference For Understanding Aikido?
I have only read the last few posts on this thread, but just for the record:
Toby Threadgill, Richard Elias, Neil Yamamoto, and James Williams all were students of Don Angier at one time and to one degree or another before they became featured on the front of martial Wheaties boxes. Don Angier taught (teaches?) Shidare Yanagi Ryu Aikijujutsu. So when one sees their "stuff" there would be an undeniable Yanagi Ryu Aikijujutsu influence because of the profound influence of Don. Not that any of those guys are doing Don's art now. I'm just saying that when one is a sincere student, and I have no doubt that they were all sincere students (one doesn't get good at what one studies unless one is sincere), one is deeply and profoundly influenced by one's teacher, probably even in ways that one is not consciously unaware of. In fact, it sometimes is quite difficult to "shake the dust off" of such an influence from one's sandals even if one sincerely desires to do so.
Also it is my understanding that according to Don, his teacher, Kenji Yoshida, was taught the Yoshida family art by his father Kotaro Yoshida, who, it is well documented, also happened to be a friend and student of Takeda Sokaku.
So there are both Yanagi Ryu Aiki and Daito Ryu Aiki connections and probable influences at play. It should come as no surprise then that one would recognize some form of congruency there. Although, before one jumps to hasty conclusions . . . if Daito Ryu, at least, consists of a Jujutsu, Aiki Jujutsu, Aiki no Jutsu tripartite, which of these three is one recognizing? Who is "qualified" to say? And, who "has the eyes to see?"
Just for transparency's sake, the Ki is Crap calligraphy that probably is featured on the t-shirt is mine. Neil asked me to do write it out so that he could make a gift of it to Don. I'm happy to hear that it isn't lining Don's underwear drawer in the manner that the certificate awarded by certain August Aikido personage reportedly is. I wrote it in a manner that mimics a certain other well-known aficionado of "Ki" BTW.
Personally I loved the irony. Here is a person that could do what that "other person" could do (and possibly more) but was so turned off by the mystical smoke blowing and cult worship that he felt compelled to promote an opposing (balancing) view, "Ki is crap!" Thereby producing . . . Aiki! It is my understanding that Don actually has his own nuanced opinion and insights into what he thinks Ki actually is, or at least what it could be, and what it definitely is not. But for the sake of simplicity "Ki is Crap!" suits his unique "martial curmudgeon" accoutrements quite nicely! I imagine that Don finds the self righteously indignant outrage aimed at him by true believers (usually self deputized defenders of an art they have just begun to learn) to be particularly amusing considering that he is the Soke of a lineage of ai KI jujutsu.
And then there is the blog . . .
I have to admit I was surprised when I bumbled along that a several days back. Basically it is an entire blog largely consisting of my post taken from Aikiweb. At first I didn't know what to think, and then I thought, "But he didn't even ask my permission." And then it occurred to me that any post is probably in the "public domain." I'm admittedly getting older and, while I really love technology, I am kind of "old school." So I took the blog as a reminder that what I say on a board I am saying to the world, around the world.
Anyway, Dan's comment about my quote frames it up nicely. The longer one lives with ANY art the more one sees "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
I remember the first time Neil hosted Jon Bluming to the U.S. A bunch of guys were standing around and introducing themselves and then recognizing each other even though they had never met . . . because they had met on e-budo. I remember thinking, "e-what? Who are these guys, and why are they sitting around typing when they could be training?"
Well look who's a motor mouth on the boards now! (Maybe that is why my pants don't fit me any more.)
Yesterday, my son's (5) and daughter's (7) grandfather came to spend the day for the first time in their lives.
Within maybe 20 minutes my son was sitting in his grandpa's lap, leaning back so that his little head was nestled against grandpa's cheek reading grandpa one of his favorite books.
Now THERE was some ai (love) ki (joy) on contact! Seeing the inter generational (in/yo) bond (musubi) happen instantly (katsu hayabi), between my kids and their grandfather formed a bridge in my heart (ame no ukihashi) and I felt that my own departed father and all of our ancestors somehow were enjoying that moment with us, a sense of the high plain of heaven (takamagahara) shining down upon my jaded and world weary sense of life for a moment, a sense of unity, wholeness, and at home (O-moto).