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Old 05-10-2004, 05:24 PM   #37
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Ron,

Again, I wasn't meaning to exaggerate, just generalize. In that sense, I didn't mean to suggest that the list I came up with should be seen in any kind of numerical fashion. It is not suggesting that this line went with that post, etc., directly. I.E. The first line on my list does not refer to the first post on the thread.

As for the second reply, the post you are referring to as an example of my misapplication and exaggeration, I think do see that it contains the idea that samurai were about war, fighting, violence, etc., and that whatever came after was about spiritual enlightenment. That is to say, as the poster says, "…the samurai fought for their lives, not spiritual enlightenment." Naturally I took this to mean that the samurai "struggled" toward victory and surviving the battle, not struggling toward spiritual awakening. I understood the words "fight for" metaphorically, and since the poster is demarcating a line between the past and the present -- such that he can use the word "indirect" -- I understood him to be suggesting a kind of definitive. For me this would correspond to my entry on this list: "The samurai did not seek spiritual awakening." In this same sentence, along with sentences from other posts, I think you can also gain a sense, because of what the original post was about, that the poster here also holds the positions that bushido was about violence, fighting, and killing -- two other elements on my list. Again, I do not think I am exaggerating.

The short way of doing this is to note that the Ratti book, which was also mentioned, can be dissected according to the list I put together -- but for the entries concerning sexual behaviors and/or critical history. For me, it's worth noting: the rejection of the samurai and the samurai traditions is carried forth at the cost of some great historical inaccuracies, for the sake of holding up Aikido as something totally different and something totally "better" (however each person wants to define that). This is one way, my way, of understanding what all is in the initial post. I did not wish to say what is "better," or anything like that. I was merely trying to note the room a fellow historian was trying to make in "(re)considering bushido in today's context.

I do not feel that I made any attempt to summarize Mr. Ledyard's post. I only gave a different opinion which was: If one understands bushido as the connection of ethical practices with military practices, then civilians who practice the martial arts can also adopt that aspect of bushido. I was not wholly in agreement with Mr. Ledyard's position that only military personnel had access (or had more access) to bushido. Just a different opinion -- that's all.

And as far as Mr. Modesto's post went I tried to address it as accurately as I could with the main theme being one of proposing caution not conclusion. I did not set out to say more than he did.

I did not even see a post by Mr. Goldsbury on this thread so I don't know how I could have been exaggerating it.

And I do not remember making any reference to your posts either.

Either I'm way off base, which can of course be possible, or I think I must be rubbing you the wrong way. If the latter is the case, I'm sorry. In attempt to keep the thread together through two pages worth of posting, and in attempt to allow the initial post to keep its voice, I have written what I have written. I have no intention to upset, discredit, insult, or disrespect -- none whatsoever -- by what I have written down. For me, respectfully, the Mr. Goldsbury comment stands out as a hint that for some reason I'm not being looked at too fairly. So I must be doing something wrong if not at least different. Again, apologies. My own experience with academic forums has led me a bit off kilter it seems - at least in regards to you and this post.

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