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  #26  
Old 03-28-2011, 03:36 PM
Niall Matthews AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Zen in the Art of Aikido

Spirit, swift
Mind, calm

Body, light

Eyes, clear

Technique, decisive!

Doka by Tesshu Yamaoka

It should in no way be associated with that great body of factual...
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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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Last edited by akiy : 03-27-2011 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:04 AM   #25
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Nice column Niall, thanks!

I am hoping in the future you will write on what you learned from Arikawa Sensei. I remember when I attended his classes, he would always mumble and I could not make out a word he was saying. Of course you, being his uke and physically close to him when he talked, were probably better able to hear and understand him.

Charles
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:02 AM   #26
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
Nice column Niall, thanks!

I am hoping in the future you will write on what you learned from Arikawa Sensei. I remember when I attended his classes, he would always mumble and I could not make out a word he was saying.

Charles
Heh, that sounds like a classic case of "Oyaji Nihongo" .

I would also be interested to hear more about Arikawa Sensei, given his association with the Daito Ryu community. I believe he put Stanley Pranin in touch with some DR people?

RE: Zen and Aikido, are there any Aikidoka who regularly practice zazen? I've heard the term "hollow body" ("Ku dou") referred to by Zen practicioners, ever heard of this term?

I also recall an article by David Lynch where talked about a zen monk watching a demo given by Gozo Shioda. The monk exclaimed that Shioda was demonstrating "Mushin".

Charles, how are things in Mishima? I hope you have escaped the worst of recent events.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:50 AM   #27
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

It sounds like a case of me too, so I will be me three ...as we used to say around here, and maybe everywhere kids are making little jokes about common phrases.

Anything you all feel like sharing about Arikawa Sensei, I'm all ears, I mean eyes.... That reminds me of an article I wrote for Federation News, years ago. It was a very small article, so I think what I later read someone describing his Aikido as an "elemental force in nature" wasn't quoting me!

He was very kind to us "ladies in sanji keiko (3 p.m. class)" but I'm sure the ukemi was tough in the evening classes for those who were up to it....

This Buddhist reference isn't exactly Zen, but in the same article, I wrote about the statue of Magora-O in the Sanjusangendo, that vaguely resembled Arikawa Sensei. The statue had five eyes and looked very fierce, but the eyes seemed kind. Kind of a paradox.

There were women with far better Aikido than mine, like Mary Heiny, who studied with him. Once I was watching a seminar taught by Lorraine DiAnne. I don't know if she knew I had taken his classes at Hombu, and at seminars here, but she said, "and here's a technique from Arikawa Sensei." How great it was to see his particular way of throwing again....

Niall, in case you want to answer our request, there is the technique and also what he talked about. He was said to be a scholar of Budo history, I remember reading.

I looked up the cat link. I hate to think about a cat being killed. Maybe it was just a parable about the need to say something, the need to act.... I hope so.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:09 PM   #28
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Oisin,
Thanks for asking, I appreciate it. Things are fine here, just a slight underlying stress due to the Fukushima problem. But not as bad as I hear it is in Tokyo.

Diane,

I trained at Hombu from the mid to late 90's. When I was able to get to Arikawa Sensei's class, it was always the same. Sensei would show a technique using Niall as uke while mumbling. Then he would go to the front left side of the dojo and talk to an older gentleman. I saw very little interaction with the class.

For me, a really interesting thing was that Niall was a favorite uke of Watanabe Sensei's as well. From what I could see, you could not get any different than Arikawa Sensei and Watanabe Sensei. I am sure Niall has many amazing insights and I am looking forward to this column.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:41 AM   #29
niall
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Thanks Charles. And Oisin and Diana. A few people have asked me about Arikawa Sensei so I'm planning to do a column on him later this year.

In fact he injured his throat when he was young so his voice was always very soft and in the dojo even Japanese people found it difficult to follow what he said.

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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Old 04-08-2011, 07:14 AM   #30
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post

In fact he injured his throat when he was young so his voice was always very soft and in the dojo even Japanese people found it difficult to follow what he said.
Niall, I didn't know that. I know of a number of prominent Instructors in Japan who speak very softly/quickly and/or use very obscure words and references. It seems to be a fairly widespread habit!
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:22 PM   #31
Diana Frese
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

I had a strange experience possibly the first year after I returned from Japan. I was living at my parents' house in the country (compared to NYC) and I had a Siamese cat I had adopted from Long Island (advertised for free in the Village Voice) while I was living in NY. I would bring the cat to CT with me whenever I visited my parents, but one time my parents were away and my great-aunt who lived in Myrtle Beach at the time was visiting.

She was a Meher Baba devotee and when her old brown sedan backfired the cat ran off. I was upset, but as the motto was 'Don't worry, be Happy" she in her older generation way almost ordered me to calm down. The cat came home and lived here as a both indoor and outdoor cat for the rest of her life.

One day I saw the cat (originally named Biwa, after the lake, but also after the musical instrument, because Siamese cats have a different way of "talking" -- but I changed it because of what the strings are traditionally made of!) with a baby rabbit so without thinking I let out some sort of a scream. It was one of those strange moments where you go, like, what happened? to use one of the fairly recent kinds of teenage language.

That phrase is the only way I can explain how I felt. I was afraid my cat had run off and I really loved her. But seeing that poor helpless baby bunny....

The baby rabbit had disappeared in an instant. Turning to go search for my cat, she was sitting behind me only a few feet away.
That was one of the strangest experiences I ever had, and I never again , even instinctively, challenged my cat's right to be --- a cat.

P.S. Since some of us at NY Aikikai ended up learning a little Yiddish from fellow students, the cat ended up with the nickname Super Kvetch, because of the distinctive way Siamese cats talk.

All this happened many years ago, but the link to the cat story reminded me of how I found out in no uncertain terms the nature of a cat.

Last edited by Diana Frese : 04-08-2011 at 04:24 PM. Reason: corrected a typo
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:25 PM   #32
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Quote:
Turning to go search for my cat, she was sitting behind me only a few feet away.
That was one of the strangest experiences I ever had, and I never again , even instinctively, challenged my cat's right to be --- a cat.
Sounds like some damn fine aikido to me...

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:39 AM   #33
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

I have been left with a feeling that my earlier comment here was quite incomplete and left a lot of things I referred to unstated - so it may have come across as overly academic, and aloof. Here is a site that can serve as a starting point for further explorations of what I meant to say regarding different modern interpretations of Zen:

http://www.thezensite.com/MainPages/critical_zen.html
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:12 AM   #34
jbblack
 
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Excellent! Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:37 PM   #35
niall
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

from Paulo Coelho's blog

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


aikiweb blog|wordpress blog
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:33 AM   #36
Makochan
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Hi Niall; I am pleased to read your column as I am your blogs. I like what you wrote and I identify with your comment. I asked Susan to order several copies of Zen in the Art of Archery so that when we feel our students need more we lend them a copy. Thank you for your support and for sharing with us. Billy
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:18 AM   #37
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Hi William,

Quote:
William McAuley wrote: View Post
I asked Susan to order several copies of Zen in the Art of Archery so that when we feel our students need more we lend them a copy.
More what?

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:22 AM   #38
niall
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Re: Zen in the Art of Aikido

Thanks Billy. Hope everything is going well at the dojo. Cheers, Niall

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


aikiweb blog|wordpress blog
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