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Old 05-10-2003, 07:42 PM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Mr Ledyard,

I have been following the thread here and in aikidojournal.com (interesting how the responses are quite different) and I have a pretty good idea about the identity of Mr Valadez's teacher. Concepts like integrity, honesty, commitment, even the tree analogy, immediately struck a chord and reminded me of conversations I had years ago with the same teacher.

I have some reservations about the validity of the general distinction being made between 'real' attacks and something else. I suppose the opposite could be either 'unreal', or 'ideal', but these are not the same.

In his second post, Mr Valadez claims to be making a philosophical distinction and I wonder about the basis for the distinction. Plato, for example, who pretty well established the distinction between an ideal and its ‘real' instantiation, would have had a major problem in explaining the relationship between 'ideal' attacks and the other sort, which we would actually do in the dojo.

Mr Valadez suggests that in the dojo the attack is ideal because it is not the kind of attack that would happen in the street: to me this seems more like saying the attacks are unreal, because they do not come anywhere near to achieving their aim (the latter understood in a wide sense—and your own remarks are very relevant here). An attack could be said to be ideal if it embodies a certain absolute form and is executed with a certain absolute intention. The better the form and the purer the intention (I suppose), the closer to the ideal. I do not see why street fighters cannot use these paradigms, in the same way as practitioners in a dojo.

My aim here is not to make mere verbal distinctions. I think the way aikido was conceptualized after the war is a crucial factor in its success and this was done by the second Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In fact, Mr Valadez's first post pretty well sums up what Doshu wrote in "The Spirit of Aikido": the importance of KI and the spiritual value of training. The point is that he abandoned his father's prewar blend of Shinto/Omoto mysticism, but I am less convinced that postwar attacks became any more ‘ideal' than the prewar variety in the Kobukan ‘hell' dojo.

Alas, this is all I have time for. I am preparing a longer response, but the thread might well die before I have time to finish it.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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