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Old 11-15-2005, 01:22 PM   #51
dj_swim
Location: STL
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Anyone who wants to PM me personally with any questions regarding my beliefs in general (not as they relate to Aikido, those can be posted here), I'll be more than happy to discuss it with you (although I can't act as a representative for anyone else but myself).

-Doug
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:29 PM   #52
jeff.
Dojo: aikido of morgantown
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

hey all

a couple of (hopefully) quick thoughts...

((apologies to jun if these seem to stray off topic a bit, but it seems to me that if we're going to have a meaningful discussion of "aikido and vegetarianism" we're going to have to deal with vegetarianism, and reasons for and against as their own issues, in order to meaningfully deal with any possible connections...))

on plants as living things: i for one (as a vegan) completely acknowledge that plants are living things, even (as many buddhists and others claims) sentient beings. on that level it might seem regretable to have to eat them. so my logic goes like this: i can survive and be healthy and happy not eating animals and animal products, so i don't. on this basic level it could be understood as an act of compassion toward animals to not eat them when i don't have to. on the compassion toward plants side of it: it requires something like 16 pounds of plant food to create 1 pound of meat. so a pound of meat, in a sense, equals the death of more plants than it provides for in itself. that is: 16 pounds of plant food is, in a way, more death than 1 pound of meat.

so, crudely / mathmatically, a meat based diet not only kills the animals, but more plants even, than a vegetable based diet.

so, yes, from one (or more) point of view, you can't get away from the fact that life feeds on life. but for me, i suppose, it comes down to only feeding on the life i have to. that is: to not harm unnecessarily. which i think has interesting, perhaps obvious, links with the philosophy of aikido.

i think we also have to be cautious in equating living things in some sort of elementary way. life is life, but clearly, on some level, the life of someone (or something) close to me is going to seem more important to me than the life of someone who is not. i.e. if i only have to oportunity to save the life of one of two people, one of them my best friend the other a stranger, i'll probably save the life of my best friend. so while we might, in the abstract, try to create this equality (and perhaps at some spiritual level, it truly exists), on a practical level we have to make choices.

perhaps, part of a spiritual life, and thus part of the ongoing process of aikido, is learning how not to make these compromises. learning how to, as i once heard it put, "save us all", bodhisattva style. but, i guess until we can acheive that depth of vision, and from there know how to act accordingly, we're stuck with the choices.

also: shaun: i find you comments on the macrobiotic versus veg ideas kinda strange. particularly since, while you can eat some meat (esp fish) in the macro diet, i've only ever met one person who did. everyone else (including some folks i've met who are a part of macro organizations in the u.s. and japan) has not eaten any meat, and often also refered to themselves as vegetarian / vegan. just found your comments curious...

respectfully to all

jeff.

ps-- nick: i have to, perhaps failingly, admit that for me the top slot is shared as such (in no particular order): aikido, punk, girls (not as objects, but as people that i can't seem to get enough of being around as friends, lovers, partners-in-crime, etc. dunno why -- and with some very specific women in mind here, as well), tofu and green tea. with maybe chocolate sneaking in there. at least on certain days.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:19 AM   #53
Misogi-no-Gyo
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Quote:
Jeff Miller wrote:
shaun: i find you comments on the macrobiotic versus veg ideas kinda strange. particularly since, while you can eat some meat (esp fish) in the macro diet, i've only ever met one person who did. everyone else (including some folks i've met who are a part of macro organizations in the u.s. and japan) has not eaten any meat, and often also referred to themselves as vegetarian / vegan. just found your comments curious...
Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your comments and questions.

Jun has politely asked us to keep our comments in this thread to those which talk about how Aikido and macrobiotcs/vegetarianism/veganism are related. While it may seem as though I will lead the thread astray, I will bring my thoughts all together at the end to do just that...

Let's start out with some facts.

1. In macrobiotics, there is no (natural) food that you "can't" eat.
2. Things that are eaten should be consumed in balance taking account a holistic approach to one's environment.
3. George Ohsawa (the founder of Macrobiotics) ate meat. Shiro Matsuoka Sensei (President of the Japan Macrobiotics Association for 30 years) eats meat.
4. Macrobiotics is not about food. They are holistic principles by which one lives. These principles may (and should) of course be applied to one's diet. Diet is not only about what one eats, but how one eats, when one eats and why one eats...
5. American and some European Macrobiotics is not true macrobiotics because they altered several tenets to appeal to the people in the area and make it more marketable to those who didn't want to embrace the principles as a whole)

Okay, now some generalizing for the consummation by the masses:

1. Unfortunately most people who practice macrobiotics don't know what it is, what they are talking about, nor what "healthy living" really is.
2. That is why you have most people who are macro saying they are vegetarian/vegan, or even healthy.

...a funny (not really) aside; I once brought a contingent of the senior-most people in the macrobiotics world into a "famous" macrobiotic restaurant at which I had been working at the time. I had asked permission of the "famous" owner-chef and let her know when I would be coming in. Supposedly her restaurant, according to the reviews in the papers was at the pinnacle of where one could find healthy food prepared by the most knowledgeable people around. I won't say what happened (exactly) but suffice it to say that the owner believed herself to know more about macrobiotics, healthy living and food preparation than Ohsawa-Sensei's disciples. Of course it was I who brought them there to see what macrobiotics was like in America... I guess she believed her own press. They on the other hand, did not.

Details...The owner was rude and ambivalent, and wouldn't you know it, so were most everyone else who worked there. The food, itself, was not in balance, was tasteless, over-processed and over-priced. It also made me fall asleep every time I ate it. Worse, she was a vocal proponent of supplements regardless of the fact that they are contradictory to the macrobiotic approach. She refused to cook with any salt (a necessary component of macrobiotic cooking - and any healthy cooking for that matter). Overall, she could really care less that these people were there at all, even though they were prepared to spend considerable time answering her questions, looking at the kitchen ...etc. to help improve the restaurant, if needed.

Afterwards, I conducted the interview I mentioned in an earlier post entitled Eating Aikido which went very far into the topic of this thread. Although not included in the printed version the interview started out talking about the experience we all had earlier in the day at the so-called healthy, macrobiotic restaurant. The bottom line of what came out was that the people in the restaurant did not understand macrobiotics, and were not healthy people at all. Worse, that those who came to them for healthy food were being led astray, were paying way too much for bad food, and were leaving less healthy then when they had come in. I was asked, "Why do you work there?" to which I responded, "I want to learn about macrobiotics and how to prepare macrobiotic food." That is when they spent a brief time introducing the idea (that like Aikido is not about techniques and how to do them), macrobiotics is not about food, or merely how to cook it.

Tying it all together...
Thus I was introduced to the idea of principle versus practice. Looking around me at the people who worked at and ate at the restaurant, along with the people who attended or ran the Aikido dojos I had visited (i.e. both the macrobiotic world and the Aikido world) it was painfully obvious that spending 5, 10, 20, heck even a hundred years practicing something didn't necessarily mean anything. What became clear was that regardless of how much a person wishes, wants or prays for it to be that knowledge is garnered from practice alone, it is that one must understand the principles in order to make the practice have any true value and be something other than empty ritual.

In the end I gave my notice and left the restaurant about two weeks later. Of course, wouldn't you know it, that restaurant is now even more famous, and now there are at least two of them that I am aware of. Which just goes to show you - the popularity of something has nothing to do with the actual value of it.

As Jun has noted, the discussion of the value of any of these paths, while interesting, is not really a discussion of the relationship between Aikido and Macrobiotics - Vegetarianism and or Veganism which I have stated is not recommended, aside. Like it or not, there is a direct relationship between breathing and Aikido. What you put into your body and how you live your life will absolutely effect one's breath. To say that the two have nothing to do with each other is tantamount to hoping, wishing and praying that such ignorance will nevertheless lead said practitioner to the promise land. On a lark, and as a way of speaking in mere generalizations, I will say that perhaps in 5, 10, 20 or maybe even 100 years or so, practice alone (aikido or macrobiotics) may lead one to the promise land, so to speak, but as my teacher used to always say, "...Somehow I don't think so."

All I can offer people who are training in such a fashion is a line from one of the Star Trek movies, "Good luck, Jim"




.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:48 PM   #54
robertjneal
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Hello everyone,
I have been reading Aikiweb for years now and this subject is the first to spur me to post. I am a student of philosophy and find it incredible that people who subscribe to philosophies in some parts of their lives abandon them in others. In our dojo we have "Seiryoku Zenyo, Jita Kyoei" (Best Use Of Energy With Mutual Benefit- Kano Jigoro) on the wall. I thought this would be painfully obvious in its translation outside the dojo. From the types of cars we drive to the foods we eat to the clothes we wear.
Like the original poster I only eat organic or all natural meats. These are meats certified as free range and humanely raised. The chickens do not have their beaks cut off and the cows are not injected with growth hormones. For the same reason I try to eat only organic and all natural animal products such as cheese and eggs. In essence I try to be vegan outside of the organic world. I also eat organic vegetables when given the chance, but unfortunately I live in a society that does not make this easy.
I find that mutual benefit extends to the earth as an ecosystem not just to my human training partners. I think a judoka or aikidoka driving a Hummer would be oxymoronic.
Just for fun http://www.themeatrix.com/

Peace,
Robert Neal
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:31 PM   #55
bogglefreak20
Dojo: Ki dojo
Location: Ljubljana
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Quote:
Robert Neal wrote:
I find that mutual benefit extends to the earth as an ecosystem not just to my human training partners. I think a judoka or aikidoka driving a Hummer would be oxymoronic.

Oooooh...so that's where my urge to drive a Toyota Prius comes from.

BTW, I agree that if one attempts to sincerely get to know Aikido, it has to go beyond the mat.
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Old 11-16-2005, 03:52 PM   #56
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Thirty years ago, someone told me that 30,000 people starved to death everyday. Thirty years later, 40, 000 people are starving to death every day. If we have food at all, we should be grateful. As Shunryu Suzuki Roshi put it: "We just eat what is on our plate; sometimes we don't eat it."

In Gassho
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:00 PM   #57
Misogi-no-Gyo
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
Thirty years ago, someone told me that 30,000 people starved to death everyday. Thirty years later, 40, 000 people are starving to death every day. If we have food at all, we should be grateful.
Yeah, while this is absolutely true, fortunately it really doesn't apply to most of the people even some of the time... especially you and I and most everyone else here on this internet message board. It does sound really enlightened though, as I am sure you already know...
Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
As Shunryu Suzuki Roshi put it: "We just eat what is on our plate; sometimes we don't eat it."
MMMmmmm! My favorite - apathy disguised as detachment. It just goes to show you, if there is some person willing to buy it, someone will come along and sell it to them. Still, given the current paradigm, more than likely they will overpay!



.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:05 PM   #58
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Hi folks,

Let's try to steer the discussion back to the topic which is "Aikido and being Vegetarian."

If you wish to talk about the general topic of vegetarianism, please head to this thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9281

-- Jun

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Old 11-16-2005, 11:50 PM   #59
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

When I first started Aikido, I thought that all Aikidoists were vegetarians and didn't smoke or drink. You can imagine my surprise, when at the first seminar at my home dojo, we took the visiting sensei out to eat and he ordered a steak! (This was a well known shihan). It was the late Terry Dobson who said in an interview that he never met a japanese sensei who didn't smoke like a chimney or drink like a fish. So all of my pure ideas about Aikido went kaput early on.

In gassho.
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Old 11-17-2005, 03:51 AM   #60
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Last time I saw him, Saotome Sensei was still smoking like a chimney!

We all have choices we make in life. What is important (tieing this back in to aikido ) is that we become aware of the choices we make and how they impact us. As in aikido, we must be aware of ourselves before we can affect change in our uke.

See how deftly I can link smoking to aikido
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:11 PM   #61
j0nharris
Dojo: Kododan Aikido USA
Location: Radford Virginia
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
I'm a vegetarian, but it doesn't have anything to do with aikido.
I'm not a vegetarian, & yet I manage to keep myself from biting uke almost every class!

jon harris

Life is a journey...
Now, who took my @#$%! map?!
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:57 PM   #62
Chizikunbo
 
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Quote:
Mats Alritzson wrote:
Hmm, I'm sorry but I don't see the relevance. How about "swimming and being vegetarian"? Don't get me wrong, I find the thread "aikido and being christian" equally ridiculous.

Sorry, I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer. I've been bothered by these threads to long and if I don't post this message I will continue to be bothered.
Hello all,
I seem that this is relevent.
Aikido is the way of Harmony, love, and compassion, for life itself. Animals are living things, and they do suffer when they are killed. They feel pain as humans do as well, so we should indeed respect them as fomrs of life. They breath the same air we do, the exhale carbon dioxide as we ourselves do. They are come into this world without asking to be as we are, they are closer to us than most think. So using Aikido we draw upon life force energy and our spirit or higher elf to use the highest level of protection technique, so we can respect and protect all life.
How can we only respect and protect human life, and not that life of those so closley linked to us, we form a simbian circle with every form of life, and it is our mission to find a way to live in harmony with all this, and all issues must be examined, and not simply passed off it we are to reach our fullest potential as aiki-ka. Life is life, breath is breath, and pain is pain. So I feel this is a valid point to explore imo.
Yours in ,
--joshua paszkiewicz
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Old 12-04-2005, 08:28 AM   #63
Mat Hill
Dojo: Kaminari Shooto Dojo
Location: Tokyo
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Thank you to Robert Neal and Jeff Miller for summing up my many years of thoughts on the matter. My exploration of Buddhism was a large part of my reasons for becoming veggie and for starting MA of which aiki was my first love.

Since the next to impossibility of being a vegan in Japan whilst keeping down a busy schedule and having to eat out (which I always thought was a lousy excuse in the UK!), ironically I took up eating fish in the first year I was here, but I still think I'm a vegan and organic when I can be!

LOL at Shaun Ravens! Unfortunately too often too true!
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Old 12-04-2005, 08:50 AM   #64
Mat Hill
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

Anyone tell me what the kanji is for "Seiryoku Zenyo, Jita Kyoei" ? 宜しくお願いします。
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Old 12-04-2005, 12:43 PM   #65
RobertBrass
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
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Re: Aikido and being Vegetarian

A total lifestyle of compassion and harmony seem relevant to me
but I just started Aikido.
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