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Old 05-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #56
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 896
Re: Does Modern Aikido Teach Enlightenment?

Why not? According to my reading of Buddhism (which is where talk of enlightenment comes up, as it's not a Taoist, neo-Confucianist or Shinto concept), anything can be a path. As far as criticism of modern aikido goes, let's look at the product.
Shirata sensei - O-sensei's aikido - a lovely man, a beautiful man
Shioda sensei - O-sensei's aikido - too many people have told me in confidence, "he was a sh*t" - seriously I'm startled that three long term students said exactly the same thing to me in the past year in three separate conversations.
Murashige sensei - O-sensei's aikido - I've been told that he slaughtered Chinese with his sword

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason

Hikitsuchi sensei - O-sensei's aikido - I've heard too many unsavory stories from way too many women - one described how he'd manage to get ahold of her breast when doing kokyu-ho on a regular basis (her account was more explicit than this).
Saito sensei - said to be a staunch powerful advocate of hard training, but he countenanced physical violence against outside visitors to his dojo
Tohei Koichi sensei - a grandiose man, who dismissed his own teacher as addlepated, and became the leader of his own kingdom

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason

Kobayashi Yasuo sensei - a lovely man, a beautiful man
Nishio Shoji sensei - a dignified, graceful, elegant, eminently decent man
Terry Dobson sensei - saw O-sensei's vision as a way of peace for all mankind - and lived, one foot in heaven and one foot in high school

same teacher, same time, no rhyme or reason - and take it further, listing all the uchideshi - there is no rhyme or reason whatsoever - there are the violent, the wonderful, the sleazy, the unscrupulous, the immoral and the ordinary, all in the same cadre - no rhyme or reason

And as Ueshiba came from Daito-ryu, let's look at the product of Daito-ryu under Takeda Sokaku
1. Ueshiba - a god-intoxicated mystic, with a practical bent underneath
2. Kodo Horikawa - evidently, a quiet, unassuming, school principle
3. Yoshida Kotaro - oxymornonically, a Japanese Christian supporter of fascists (Kokuryukai)
4. Sagawa Yukiyoshi - "among the most unpleasant men I've ever met - horrible!" - a direct quote

Far as I'm concerned, Ueshiba was Jesus and Kisshomaru was Paul - I'm not sure who was the greater man (aside from the reader's religious beliefs). Jesus, on a human level, may have been "enlightened." Paul brought the first vision to the world beyond the Jews that every person mattered, no matter how poor, how mean. Without Paul, it would have just been a small sect of schismatic Jews. Paul brought the value of the individual to the world. So was Jesus (again, on the human level) greater than Paul? I'm not so sure.

Anyway, if you look at the product of the teaching of pre-war, transition, post-war and present day aikido, I don't see any pattern whatsoever in terms of spiritual development of it's practitioners. The good get better, the bad stay bad, and the middlin' are probably better off in the dojo rather than elsewhere.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 05-07-2012 at 09:44 PM.

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