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Old 04-26-2004, 03:54 AM   #47
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

I think it is interesting that in almost all these discussions people seem to view O-Sensei's acomplishemnys in terms of the creation of his physical. Vertainly Ted's original question seems to be considered from that point of view.

I think it is important to remember that O-Sensei was an extremely spiritual person and had had at least one, if not a series of what could be called "enlightenment" experiences (kensho or satori in Zen). If he had been acting within a Zen Buddhist context, he would have been considered a "Roshi".

I think the "O" in O-Sensei was accorded as a way of recognizing that O-sensei wasn't merely the highly skilled Founder of a physical martial art but a man of truely deep spiritual insight who had founded an art through which he hoped others could experience and develop their own insight and spiritual practice.

When it comes to a discussion about whether O-Sensei's students reached or exceeded his skill, it always seems to leave this question of spirituality out and for O-sensei, I think this was the most important element of his Aikido. Very few of his students either could, or cared to, venture there.

There is no doubt in my own mind that O-Sensei was the kind of larger than life spiritual genius that crops up from time to time throught out history in different arts and religious traditions that serve to revitalize those traditions. He was truly an "O-Sensei". Perhaps what was lacking for Morihei Ueshiba was very many "O-Deshi" who were inclined to go the distance to make their art as deep spiritually as they did technically.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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