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Old 10-30-2000, 08:52 AM   #8
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Postings re Love

Erik wrote:
Would anyone passing through here on their way to wherever figure that out?

How come, if that guy really said something like that, we never talk about it?

Threads I found:

"Street Aikido experiences"
"Aikido does not work at all in a fight"
"Realistic Aikido"
"Would you kill an attacker? (second in posts only to the great battle of the sexes)"
"Injuring an enemy"
"are we really ready to die?"
"Street Aikido"


until today, when an intrepid pioneer looked yonder and took the initiative, the word love had never appeared in a thread header. Nor has it even been emphasized within a thread.


I sure as hell hope we all do a lot more loving than fighting. It's sure as hell more important.
I'll take a crack at that one. I think that many of the people that I know were trained by high ranking students of the Founder have seen an imbalance in Aikido that has developed over the last twenty years.

Everybody read the 35 or so pages of O-Sensei's writings that exist in English, saw the videos of the Founder doing public demos and classes and decided that they understood what Aikido was supposed to be.

The result has been a watering down of technique and a glamorization of the spiritual principles into something that fits current American political correctness. Clint George sensei and I have found that we refer to this using the same term, "Wishful thinking Aikido".

So now we find that there is a dichotomy within Aikido in which people are choosing up sides and championing their cause. On the one hand you have the Aikido is Peace and Love crowd who want this to be some sort of conflict resolution system. For these people applied technique is distasteful and jsut too "earthy". On the other hand, you have the Aikido is really an effective martial art crowd. They spend most of their time trying to figure out what Daito Ryu practitioners would do in a given situation. They know that what passes for Aikido generally isn't effective but they have trouble getting a handle on what it should really be.

The issue here is the dichotomy itself. For O-sensei there wasn't a split between the martial side and the spiritual side. There wasn't a distinction between Aikido done with a weapon or empty hand. The principles were identical whether you were doing ikkyo or chanting the kotodama.Aikido is one big KOAN for us to meditate upon. I think that we should all recognize that what passes generally for Aikido isn't very good spirituality nor is it very solid martial arts.

If Aikido is to transform the world as O-Sensei envisioned, it must go far beyond feel good spirituality designed to bolster dojo member's self esteem. At the same time if the practitioners of the art do not force themselves to delve into their techniques on a very deep level they will merely be moderately skillful twisters of other people's wrists.

I champion the martial awareness side of the discussions on the forum because I believe that it is through doing good martial arts tha we get the direct and immediate feedback about whether our understanding of the principles is correct. If spirituality is primarily about dealing with our own issues of ego, which I think it is, then sincere attention to the details of martial technique is one of the most humbling things one can do. People mistake feeling good with spirituality and smashing and bashing with good martial arts. Both miss the point.

I think that many people like myself resist talking about Aikido and Peace and Love because they feel it is a bit too presumptuous. I am not some great sage to be dispensing knowledge to the masses tha way. So i talk about what i do understand, at least a bit, and that is technique and its application. Does tha mean that I am out there street fighting and going to bars to test myself? No. I am more apt to to be sitting at Starbucks rereading Casteneda and puzzling about the connection between Don Juan's expnantion of the nature of reality and O-Sensei's. I just figure if I am going to shoot my mouth off it ought to be about something I understand a bit better.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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