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Old 05-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #38
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Re: Three Levels of Aikido

Graham this is from the Tengugeijutsuron in Zen and the Ways by Trevor Leggett. Your interesting post reminded me of it.

Ri has no form, and its functioning is manifested through some instrument, without which it is not to be seen. The inspiration of the absolute appears through changes of yin and yang; the divine ri of the human heart appears through the four virtues. Though swordsmanship is techniques of combat, ultimately there is no perfection of technique without the inspiration of the heart-nature. But it is difficult for young warriors to attain it.

So traditionally the instruction has been in the nature of formal practice (kata), going through all the techniques of thrust and cut, attack and counter, lightly and without forcing them. In this way sinews and bones become well-knit, and the use of hands and feet is mastered, and how to use them in responding to changes.

While technique is immature the heart is tense, and one cannot move as one should. So the practice of the techniques is by 'feeling' (ki). The heart rides on ki to employ one of the techniques; ki, then, being the energy, is not to be restricted, but vigorous and untrammelled. When ri-inspiration is contained in the technique, the latter conforms to the nature of the instrument used. As technique matures, the ki becomes harmonious in it, and the inner ri-inspiration spontaneously manifests. When without any doubts one penetrates into the heart, technique and inspiration are one, ki controls itself, the spirit is composed, and the potentialities unlimited.

This was the ancient method of training in the arts, and it is the essence of that training. If technique is not mature, ki is not harmonious, it does not conform to the particular formal technique. Then heart and technique remain two separate things and there is no freedom of action.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
w b yeats

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