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Old 03-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #27
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 844
Re: Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae

First of all, all I have is opinions - just me, one man. That caveat taken into account -
1. I just wrote on another thread something I tried to convey in HIPS and feel even more strongly now. Modern aikido (which is almost ALL aikido aside from what Osensei did, in my opinion), stands on its own merits. I am utterly fascinated by IS - it has given my budo training an utterly new lease on life. I look forward to training in a way that I haven't in years. BUT - that's because I have specific goals. The goals of modern aikido are, in many ways, different from my personal goals, but unlike some, I think, that doesn't make them worse. Modern aikido is not, in my view, merely a watered-down version of Ueshiba Morihei's art, any more than Christianity is watered down Judaism, or Lutheranism is watered-down Catholicism, etc. If it hadn't been for Ueshiba Kisshomaru, Tohei Koichi and Shioda Gozo, in particular, aikido would be no more important than Sagawa-ha Daito-ryu - with is, aside from it's importance to a few people, insignificant. Just another sectarian martial art, trained like a koryu, with ten or twenty people in the whole world who give a damn.
2. Contrary, also, to some, I categorically believe that Ueshiba's singular IS can never be found. Ever. That's why I wrote the last chapter of HIPS. You cannot divide out his Internal Strength/aiki paradigm, derived largely (Possibly solely) from Daito-ryu, and that, almost surely passed down from China, from his mystical/shamanistic/religious practices and beliefs.
3. However, I do believe that IS is learnable, is accessible, in many forms (of the same basic paradigm) from many people. It is also possible that a few still remain within aikido - I've been told - always privately - about a few such people. Unless I get a chance to meet and feel them, who knows. It could be merely a matter of "we do that too." And one can go outside to learn the skills, and if sufficiently skilled oneself - HIGHLY skilled, in other words, one could bring it back into aikido in one's own unique way.
4. Continuing the same metaphor I used in HIPS, if you consider aikido technique, practice, etc to be a vessel - you first have to decide that this is the vessel you want to live with every day. IF you decide that is so, then I firmly believe that training in IS (from elsewhere) should not conflict, but should, in fact, be additive.

I wrote about this in a column on Aikido Journal, but I've been informed that the article has been lost from the site. I'll republish it and put it up on my own website - how to integrate the internal strength paradigm within modern aikido without doing violence to modern aikido.

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