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Old 04-15-2012, 08:28 PM   #71
Tom Verhoeven
Dojo: Aikido Auvergne Kumano dojo
Location: Auvergne
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Again, you're arguing against something that hasn't been brought up. Nobody here has said that being calm and kind is a bad thing. Nobody here has said that being strong and aggressive (in the way that I think you're talking about) is a good thing. They have said that being calm alone is not going to provide you with much protection against an attacker.

Well, I've laid out my arguments, with references to the Founder and to external supporting resources. The arguments could well be more complete - but I'm not going to go there in the context of a blog, which I think should keep to the basic outline.

I'd love to see your explanation of it, with similar references (I'm not kidding - I'd like to to see more people digging into these things).

The physical expression of what I'm writing about is happening in many places around the world right at this moment - I think that Dan is in London today if you can get across the channel - he'll be in Holland next weekend if you can't.


This conversation is starting to sound like Abbott and Costello's "who's on first".

I am not arguing against anything here!

I am trying to express what inner strength could mean. Or what it means to me. Or what I have learned from my teachers. Or what I have found in the religious/philosophical/martial traditions that I have studied. One of these expressions of inner strength is a mental and physical calmness and even kindness. To an onlooker this may come across as weakness. Hence the start of this part of the discussion. But in the Budo tradition we learn to look closer - is there really a weakness or a suki here? There are pictures of O Sensei where he seems very relaxed and he is also getting older. Yet if you look at him, is there really a suki?
The calmness, the kindness and even the politeness that I am talking about are all part of Aiki awareness. Just as creativity is. And that is to be found in the story of Izanagi and Izanami and the floating bridge of heaven (as you translate it).

If you are saying that this is not what you mean by inner strength or Aiki for that matter, fine! I am open to new ideas or different approaches. And if you want to put them on your website first or publish it in a book - I'll be patient!

But untill that time could you stop throwing sand in my eyes? I still have no definition of what you mean by inner strength or of this different kind of Aiki. It is, as you stated, not what the students of O Sensei are doing, it has not really to do with breathing as Dan Harden stated (I take it for granted that you agree with him), which is a statement if I may add that goes against all traditions, including Western tradition and clarifies...nothing. According to you O Sensei showed it (do we have it on tape?) but he did not teach it, you pointed out. It is not muscle power, it is not aggression or dominance? Is it similar to what Takuan Soho is talking about? Is it something universal? Can I apply it while riding my horse? Or drawing my longbow?

If you would ask me how a horse looks like I could give you a fair description of a horse or as Plato would put it the idea of a horse. I would not ask of you to run after a particular horse.
I can accept that Dan Harden is the physical expression of your ideas. I might say the same of my teachers. What I find unacceptable is that you would consider him as the sole person who can physically express this new found but very old concept of inner strength or concept of Aiki in the world.
Even O Sensei himself referred to others, even outside the Aiki tradition, as exponents of deep understanding of Aiki. In my classes I give examples from other disciplines so my students can come to a better and quicker understanding of what they should be looking for. Teachers in other disciplines do the same. I had a university-teacher of math as an Aikido student in my class. He was able to teach me complex theories of math with all kinds of examples from daily life.
Now if you can do that then you are giving a true example of genuine transmission of knowledge.

You give me nothing to work on.
Yes, you have laid out your arguments, yes you gave references to the founder and yes you gave external supporting resources. But of what?
It is not just that it is incomplete. Nothing that you mention is new to anybody who is familiar with the Shinto traditions. The only real improvement lies in the translations of O Sensei's words. But where does that show us proof of a different idea of Aiki? Or a different idea of inner strength? Where does it point to only a martial application? And where does this idea of only a martial application come from? Not from the classics that I have read!

You give your approach the smell of science, but it is not really a scientific approach. It is only meant to "prove" your own doctrine. You are not really open for contributions from others. Unless they have anything to add to what you are already saying. That is not the critical mind of a scientist.

And sure, I would love to give an explanation of "it" and a list of references. If only I knew what you meant by "it".

Nevertheless, I am curious to your next "revelations" on your website.

All the best with your search,



Last edited by Tom Verhoeven : 04-15-2012 at 08:31 PM.
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