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Old 06-23-2008, 08:17 AM   #32
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
This thread is not about me. It is about two things
a) The people in aikido who have felt these skills from Rob, Ark, Mike or me or in some cases combinations thereof and how it has impacted either there overall view of Aiki, view of aiki in aikido, and how the pursuit of it is impacting their aikido and how they train it within or without.
b) How the various reports here have impacted the community and a chance for that community to address those in aikido who have felt these skills
c) To NOT discuss the validity or doubts of these skills with the typical people. There are many threads available for that.
Well -- I can't comment on a. since I have never met any of you guys (although one of my students has met Rob in Paris).

I am well qualified to comment on b though -- I feel this thread is hugely important and underpins the biggest problem in Aikido today…and for many years,

Which is simply that many many thousands of us hide behind an easy translation and do not or will not accept what aikido means.

Pretty inflammatory stuff -- I don't mean to be so I'll offer some thoughts -- not really my own but those of my instructors teacher, Pierre Chassang of France.

Similarly to the discussion here there was a discussion between Pierre and Arikawa Sensei in Paris during 1993.

In discussing the differences between much of the ‘Aikido' practiced at that time which in the opinion of both differed from that originally taught by O'Sensei, Pierre used the expression ‘Modern Aikido'.

This was met by Arikawa with "Chassang, there is only one Aikido, one only; there cannot be two. Aikido is unique…Modern Aikido! It makes no sense"

In order to discuss Arikawa preferred the term "Budo Sportif"

Anyway -- for me this equates to Dan's Aikido(TM) and to others Aikido-lite.

But why so much concern about a name? Its just a label …isn't it? Or is it?

Where did Aikido the name come from? Was it chosen by O'Sensei or agreed by a group? I'm way to young to know.

However, after 1942 Aikido became the name of O'Senseis art.


Aiki had existed for many years, as an art, as a name, and as a way for many. So why suddenly should O'Sensei change it?

Cutting very much to the chase -- Pierres offering from translations of Japanese kanji / Chinese Hanji is thus;

Ai - unify
Qi - energy
Dao -- Tao

If one choses to consider this, then by definition the principles of the Tao become fundamental to Aikido ….because that is what it says on the tin. Its what is name describes.

Furthermore, the concepts outlined specifically by Rob John earlier in this thread become the base of what Aikido is.

Ignore them and you lose what is Aikido.

Having defined Aikido…if anyone is still reading this heresy…then what next ?

How to work towards it?

This is even harder to agree. Who is right? O'Sensei? Tohei? Tamura? And so on.

Probably all right to differing degrees.

Yet they are not all the same.

For some the training methodology differs. Rob and Dan seem to place great store in solo practice (if I read correctly), Pierre Chassange espoused Kotai, Kotai and always Kotai .(For him this solid practice is the square of per other thread).

As long as you work towards Aikido then that is good.

But when the practice is drawn to the flashy, large ukemi and the always compliant uke then Aikido can be lost and Budo Sportif takes over.

Kevin Leavitt points out the difficulty of teaching and working at this core. For most students their expectations of what Aikido is does not match the truth.

So the dilemma is where to pitch a class …assuming you have the choice as you can only teach what you know.

Where that level is …who knows? I know I personally stray towards the more exciting stuff on occasion and I know we teach syllabus mostly which is not really the crux..

I take some sugar with my coffee too to make it a bit more palatable.

But if we don't compromise we have no student base, and ultimately no dojo unless some benefactor would like to sponsor our hardcore in the pursuit of excellence.

Realistically a trade off is needed …but for me this is part of the long term goal to preserve the training environment on order to work towards Ai-Ki-Dao.

So to answer the question -- I'm drawn to this thread like a moth to a flame, and while the major contributors do not have a monopoly on internal skills , (nor claim to), they do have clearly relevant insights into the core of what I believe Aikido is.

So thankyou.


"That which people who practice the martial arts call Aiki is fundamentally different to what I call Aiki" -O'Sensei
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