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Old 07-02-2013, 05:26 AM   #78
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: No Competition in Aikido(excluding Tomiki)

Dear Mr Quakenbush,

Many thanks for your detailed response.

With respect to your metaphor about feeding zoo animals, I have not been to a zoo for many years. I do not entirely approve of such institutions, but that is a separate discussion. The only injunctions about feeding the animals I see are the signs in Miyajima against feeding the deer that wander around the precincts of the Itsukushima Shrine. I think the logic behind these signs is quite straightforward. I would also think it depends on the animals in question, for it took Pi quite a while to work out how to feed Richard Parker -- to ensure their own survival.

In my international activities connected with aikido, I meet many members of sports organizations, especially judo, karate, kendo and sumo. All interpret competition in varying ways and all have a robust curiosity about aikido -- how it can manage as a ‘sport' without competition. Some simply decide it is not a sport at all; other define ‘sport' in a more subtle way, to allow for sports that do not have matches with referees etc. In a recent discussion I had, with a kick-boxing official, I suggested that they look at Wittgenstein's discussion of games and family resemblances. Thus, I do not entirely agree, either with Morihei Ueshiba's rather low opinion of western sports, or with your rather narrow view of competition (cf. your response to Phi Truong's post #73). The Japanese language has terms for a more flexible view of competition.

Personally, I think you cannot separate Ueshiba's views on competition from his views on religion and this also involves Omoto theology, and so I wonder to what extent Kenji Tomiki accepted the theological way in which Ueshiba expressed his views. This assumes, of course, that he understood them and I have no evidence that he did not. Kenji Tomiki became a student of Morihei Ueshiba before Minoru Mochizuki and it is plausible to believe that he changed his training methods and his views about teaching after the war, partly as a result of his own wartime experiences.

P A Goldsbury
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