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Old 08-23-2016, 08:47 PM   #40
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 433
Re: Reconcile the world

Good conversation.

Firstly, Dan, I meant you no injury. Nothing was written as an attack on your world view.

I have actually been wrestling with this question for some time, and in other blog entries. Most quotes from the Founder are more spiritually minded than combat oriented. Personally, I feel distanced from this tradition. I do not feel well equipped to teach it. I go through life more answering to my conscience. When I teach Aikido, I research a topic I teach and I debate it and evaluate it.

It is interesting in a forum as well populated with senior students as this that every one has answered differently, with more diversity than might be seen on a more technique oriented question.

The mind-body exercises mentioned are interesting and profound - but ethics and philosophy is about Why. These exercises are about How. They are different questions. Relaxed and integrated movement is a goal in many martial arts; ethics and philosophy would be more about why do it? Doing this to inflict maximum damage versus avoiding damage, going on the attack versus defensive - I realize I am using tactical examples, which are different questions again.

Aikido doesn't seem to clearly have a coherent world wide tradition, for all that most writing attributed to the Founder seem to hint at one. In Aikido, students from different schools can argue about techniques, and names of techniques, and practice methods, and weapons use...but Aikido identified as an ethical practice is usually not challenged. Why would a school board look at aikido? Because a million Google hits will promise love, harmony, and never any injury to anyone. Do any aikido research, easy to find mention of Morihei Ueshiba's enlightenment. What do I do with the knowledge - harder to answer.

Students don't teach what they don't know, and maybe students adopt traditions - or take an opportunity to further justify already entrenched and cherished beliefs. Neither makes a student part of any lineage or allied with any founder. And some maybe just train How. Or respect memories and keep personal connections alive (I do.). That might not be a bad thing.
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