Thread: ethical?
View Single Post
Old 09-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #38
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
Re: ethical?

Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Actually, it is my view that, IF the Founder made those two statements of a) exhorting his students to surpass him, and b) predicting that his aikido would die with him, he may have been a bit disingenuous. I doubt not that he always strove to be both honest and sincere, but, as amply documented, he advised against being totally forthcoming in his inner most thoughts and secrets.
I suppose it's inevitable that we create our heroes in our own image. We interpret their words in ways that make sense to us; we ignore or downplay the words that go against our preconceptions.

It's not even wrong, as long as we are honest with ourselves (and others) that this is "our" hero, a construct of our imagination, that perhaps draws inspiration from the historical original but is not that person.

The drawback is that such an attitude is prone to limit what we can learn from our Founder (tho I quote Mr. Takahashi above, my comment applies to us all--myself not least). There's a book called "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time"--how does one take a historical figure and re-encounter, re-engage with them after a lifetime of getting used to what they mean?

To my mind, this is one of the great values of the work Chris Li and others are doing. Not that this is the only way to read O-Sensei, but that this is one way to read O-Sensei that has great internal consistency and validity, and which casts light on his art and on what he was attempting to teach.

I don't think we get to ignore his other pronouncements ("Aiki is love")-we need to understand how he reconciled those attitudes with statements about how aiki gives you mastery over opponents--understanding that "reconciliation" has to recognize a lifetime's maturation and also that people aren't entirely consistent anyway. And understanding also that while he may have reconciled these things in his own mind, we may not choose to reconcile them in the same way.

But if you have a great teacher, I think it's always a mistake to give up on the attempt to understand them. People are only human, and sometimes the understanding may include "well, he had a bad day" (I think Jesus was having a bad day when he met the Syrophoenician woman, but that's a topic for another blog), but that doesn't let us off the hook--why did "having a bad day" show up that way, at that time?

So--love and budo. Spiritual reconcilation and immediate mastery of a contentious situation. I reconcile heaven and earth and at the moment my enemy strikes, I am already behind him. If we accept the paradox, not attempting to explain it away, where does that leave us?

(I have been expanding my research into beers and ales, and have lately gotten on to small batch specialty brews. This post brought to you by Green Flash Brewing Company's Trippel Ale, after a full day spent working on kumitachi and tachi dori. Both are recommended, tho perhaps not for clean syntax and clarity of expression.)

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
  Reply With Quote