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Old 03-06-2005, 09:38 AM   #13
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Re: Without this, No Aikido

Rob Cunningham wrote:
So my conclusion is this: Aikido, like any other concept, is what you want it to be. It is what you believe in.
In its original usage, I think aiki has probably bee fairly well defined in the literature of budo; though the definition of 'aiki' will very likely vary from ryuha to ryuha. My understanding is that 'aiki' references can be found in some of the older sword and weapon treatises, but mostly, it appears to be a fairly esoteric term that came more from religious and philosphical theory than from combat.

In aikido, the term became very fluid -- although I believe Ueshiba had a very clear vision of HIS 'aiki', he wasn't, unfortunately, a good communicator and left his students a fairly muddy set of ideas that each then built upon, expanded, altered or outright redefined it.

And THEN it came to the West and we deconstructed it, layered our own interpretations atop it, ried to fit it inot our own pet philisophies ... etc etc etc.

I do rather like Sczepan's definition though. Succicnt and clear. Reminds me of Kano's adage.

I believe that the concept of striking to gain control is against my concept of Aikido. The founder, however, made excellent use of Atemi and many instructors today claim that it is an integral part of awase technique.
So, why is your concept of aikido so different from Ueshiba's? Or am I reading that wrong?

I'd say that for a concept such as 'aiki' to be valid, it most be applicable across a spectrum of physical/combative behaviors. So, if 'aiki' is a functional theory of human combtive activities, then it must apply to any level or approach to those combatives. YMMV, of course.

The point is, if you want to make Aikido your religion, I say that is wonderful.
Really? Why would that be a Good Thing? Or am I, possibly again, misreading you?

I can't help but beleive that anyone who turns their budo into their religion is probably really deeply troubled and needs far more help than is available on the mat.

Practice of Aikido has urged me into the path of a devout pacifist.
Good for you. Having been a soldier made me a pacifist. Although your defintion of pacifism and mine may vary a bit, I suspect.

I don't even kill bugs anymore unless I have to. Yet I say that my beliefs make me no more a follower of Aiki-budo than anyone else.
So how would you differentiate aikido from aiki-budo? Or do you?

We know what that founder believed, but since his death his art has grown and evolved.

I'd have to disagree. This is part of the problem with aikido,. Ueshiba did not leave an accessible set of core beleifs behind. What we see today in aikido are not HIS ideas, but rather those of his students (and theirs) that have been overlaid on a rather muddy foundation, I fear.


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