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Old 08-06-2011, 05:23 AM   #186
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
Location: Freiburg
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 322
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I don't go into the spiritual side of Morhei Ueshiba. If I do meander that way, I do so as little as possible. It is a very complex area.
It is a very complex area indeed, but why that should justify your strategic exclusion of it, for the sake of an easier argument, is not clear to me. You keep introducing "Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido" as such, then don't cut it into parcels that are more convenient for your understanding and/ or argument.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Instead, I focus on the point that Morihei Ueshiba made -- you didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. He said aiki made everything better and somewhere he told one of his students that aiki would make religion better.
So he made clear points? I thought he did not?

Plus, understanding somebodies practice and following their instructions for it are two different things for me, And may I point out that there seems to be some consensus that he was a "lousy teacher", so why should he suddenly become a good and credible one when it comes to following his advice on spirituality?

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
So, of the two things that are primary influences in Morihei Ueshiba, martial aiki and spiritual ideology, the former is a must have and can be trained while the latter can be any outside spiritual influence that is similar in ideology.
To me dividing the two is, technically speaking, an anachronism: a later attribution of terminology and distinctions to somebody who most likely did not make them. Yes, he may have used terms that we translate that way. But what they really meant to him I would like to subject to the historical agnosticism I mentioned earlier.

And I also have dificulties with your use of "ideology" here - what do you mean? I stand to be corrected, but snippets of indirect infomation from back issues of ATM magazine that have gone through processes of editing and translating are not going to convince me that a Japanese man of his time, with a traditional provincial upbrining and deeply involved in a sort of neo-shamnistic new religion, made the distinctions you make here. It would be most unusual.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
So, yet again, we find that Modern Aikido is very different than Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Modern Aikido created a complete package of martial and spiritual while Ueshiba's aikido used Daito ryu aiki merged with Oomoto kyo ideology. Ueshiba himself said he was a man of budo and not religion. I believe it was Kisshomaru who said that his father got angry when people called him religious.
Unless someboy can give an exact outline of the Japanese terms used, in their context at the time, this point is sort of mute to me. My agnosticism extends both ways, actually.

On top of that, I find it very hard to believe that somebody who underwent quite extreme transformational spiritual practices should make the body/mind, technique/ideology distinctions you keep making and implying. That type of dictinction is modern Western fare to me.

Do you have any background yourself with such practices, btw? It would inform the discussion in a similar way as knowing modern aiki teachers does to discussing aiki.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
As for the spirituality side, it didn't *seem* to matter to Ueshiba if you were Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. With Ueshiba, it was an *outside* spiritual influence. With Modern Aikido, it is one complete package. (AGAIN for the masses -- NOT stating either are bad just that they are different.)
I do not see the religious part of the "modern aikido package". And I do not think there is such package at all, anywhere. It is a strawman you are building up. There may be certain mainstream tendencies in a Kisshomaru-dominated generation of Hombu dojo teachers, subject to processes of intercultural translation and adaption.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Why do I not go into the spiritual side in these posts? Because it is an open field, dependent upon each individual person to fulfill as, I believe, Morihei Ueshiba envisioned it. What most people are doing in trying to be a better person, spiritually, would fit with this ideology. Why try to include nearly every religion, every spiritual ideology into aiki? As long as you are similar in the peace, love, harmony, make the world a better place, you're good to go. On the other hand, aiki is a specific martial quality. So, most everyone is fulfilling the spiritual side of Ueshiba's aikido. Why debate that? It's pretty much a given. You study Modern Aikido, you're fulfilling Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. You might not be studying the *exact* spiritual ideology of Ueshiba, but it doesn't matter. Ueshiba said it was okay to pursue your own way.
Again, his vision and his practice are two different things. I do not find it convincing to claim, on the one hand, that he was a bad teacher of aiki and we should reconstruct what he was "really" doing, and then say in the same breath that there is not need to reconstruct his spiritual practice because he told us we do not need to. Did he tell us to study his IS-type stuff? I guess not. We still do it.

Again, my point is not that anybody needs to do all these reconstructions. But if you (not just you, any "you") do, please be honest and do the whole package, or don't claim to know who does or does not do "Morihei Ushiba's aikido".

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
The martial aiki from Daito ryu would make it better. Now *that* idea is a whole different thread and a subject just waiting to be explored. How can aiki make religion better?
It cannot. Do IS-teachers of all sorts strike you as a particularly religious bunch? Sagawa? Does aiki improve any religious practice you do?

A disciplined physical practice can of course serve as a "meditation" method of some sort of course, towards certain goals, like counting the breath or using a rosary. But that would really be an almost banal point.

To sum up, I do not think there are grounds to claim that some of us really know what Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido was exactly. We have hints and inferences and all sorts of information, some better than others, but not the whole package. And isolating one element out as the defining criterion over others, I will say it again, I do not consider a legitimate intellectual operation.

And just to make sure: no personal animosity intended!


Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 08-06-2011 at 05:31 AM. Reason: spelling & clarification
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