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Old 08-10-2006, 08:56 AM   #26
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

And not necessarily always for the better. I think a certain war-criminal comes to mind....anyone remember his name?

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-10-2006, 09:49 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
And not necessarily always for the better. I think a certain war-criminal comes to mind....anyone remember his name?
Neil Mick
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:18 AM   #28
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Hi Mike, I'm assuming you're close to Neil if not calling him a war criminal is fairly offensive IMO. I've always found you're posts well informed and while it's not my job to moderate this site it is my job to say "Hey!" when someone bad mouths my friends, whatever their politics. As he hasn't been a part of this thread it kinds looks like an unprovoked attack but hey, maybe there's a context or I'm taking life to seriously - he'd probbaly just laugh it off.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:27 AM   #29
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Hi Mike, I'm assuming you're close to Neil if not calling him a war criminal is fairly offensive IMO. I've always found you're posts well informed and while it's not my job to moderate this site it is my job to say "Hey!" when someone bad mouths my friends, whatever their politics. As he hasn't been a part of this thread it kinds looks like an unprovoked attack but hey, maybe there's a context or I'm taking life to seriously - he'd probbaly just laugh it off.
I'm sure Neil wouldn't mind. After all, he calls people "war criminals" all the time. Surely you don't think he means to do it in a hurtful manner? I'd be amazed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:56 AM   #30
akiy
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Can we please get back to the topic at hand rather than discussing personal politics? Thank you.

-- Jun

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Old 08-10-2006, 11:20 AM   #31
Mark Uttech
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
What sparked this was remembering an article by Dave Lowery I believe stating that the martial arts were basically conservative in nature, particularly in regard to their respect for tradition.

My htought was well that's true, but is aikido also innovative in its attitude? Also, does it have any features like the lack of emphasis on competition (see other thread) that are contrary to the spirit of the times?
Competition is always the spirit of the times. Aikido then, is radical in declaring that "aikido is not competition".
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:49 AM   #32
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Ueshiba was in many ways a traditionalist in that he was devoted to the Emperor and he was an fanatical patriot according to his pre war Doka. I would say that made him an extreme conservative. However, he chose to redefine budo under his own terms and the amazing thing is made it stick. That would make him a liberal in many eyes. Some of the old school folks are still pissed at him for that. He saw things differently after the war according to his post war Doka. In may ways he was a radical in his approach to budo and religion. Although he was a staunch conformist to Japanese tradition he broke with it in matters of budo and religion. Is it any wonder that Aikido Schools around the world vary so much? You can find Aikido factions around the world that are very reflective of each phase of his development from conservative to liberal, from conformist to nationalist.

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Old 08-10-2006, 11:58 AM   #33
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Competition is always the spirit of the times.
Hi Mark

Always? Perhaps - yes, it's part of evolution so on that level ok, but so is cooperation and harmony between systems in nature.
Is it always the guiding principle of society - no way. We have a cultural trend towards excessive competition and free (big laugh) markets in all areas of life, that has not always been the case. I'm not suggesting competition is bad per se, only that we are way out of balance at the moment, and that aikido leads us towards balance, so not really disagreeing.

Appreciate your clarity and conciseness as ever.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:20 PM   #34
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

This is one of the "koans" one can see when one looks at just what we are doing in our Aikido training. In the sense that the entire raison detre for Aikido's creation was as a method for personal change, then Aikido could be looked at as a rather radical. Certainly choosing to pursue an art like ours in this time and in our culture is quite radical in many ways.

Aikido is almost at total odds with the direction our culture is taking. At a time in which we find individuals increasingly isolated, without the traditional sense of community folks once had, the dojo functions to give people that sense of shared community values that is lacking in the rest of our society. I actually think that this is one of the most important reasons people train. It's the social function of the art.

The training itself goes against every trend one observes in our modern world. Where the current fashion is to seek labor saving everything, we purposely choose to do that which is difficult. We have a culture obsessed with reducing pain but we choose to do something that can often be painful. Our society takes every possible opportunity to remove our own mortality from our present consciousness but in Budo we have to come to terms with our mortality. We practice right on the edge of what could be lethal interaction with only slight adjustment. In the age of the sixty second manager, the faster, quicker, time saving quest, we choose to take on something for which there is no quick fix.

In an age in which no one is actually responsible for anything, in which someone is sued if one is called on to face the consequences of his own actions, we choose to do a practice in which we have to take full responsibility. If our partner hits us, we don't sue him, we thank him for pointing out our openings and we train harder to fix that problem. If I can't throw my partner, it's not his fault, he is not damaging my self esteem, he is simply training, as I am. I have to fix myself, not worry about what the other guy is doing.

In the age in which value is assigned using monetary valuation, we choose to do an art which has virtually "no commercial potential" (in the words of the record executive evaluating Frank Zappa's first album). We pour our hearts and our time and our financial resources into an activity that has no financial payoff. If one gets to the point of great skill in our art, his practice might become self supporting.

Toady, I can watch mixed martial arts gladiators fighting nightly on prime time cable TV. "Ground and pound" they call it. We don't need a coliseum, it's brought right into our homes. In Aikido we choose to follow a path that isn't about fighting. Even when there is competition, it is about polishing ourselves, not defeating the other guy. We choose to train in an art that takes decades of hard work to perfect rather than take the short route functionality. We do this because the arts which get one someplace fast will never take you to the place that our art will. Like the rest of our culture in which we want to see results quickly, the new martial arts sacrifice the great depth of the tradition and focus on the short term result.

No, I have to say that making a real commitment to Aikido is about as radical a choice as one can make in today's world. There is simply nothing about what we do that finds support in our fast moving, increasingly fast changing, ultra hyper world. Our art is about being at peace within ourselves and with the world outside ourselves. While it is an intensively individual pursuit it is also one of the most intimate activities I can think of. In this day and age Aikido is definitely a radical choice to make.

If, however, one looks at Aikido from the standpoint of what one gets from the training one can certainly say that it is one of the most conservative practices one could imagine. The wisdom we seek is age old wisdom. The techniques we learn are the latest incarnation of techniques which go back through history, teacher to student, for hundreds, even thousands of years. The methods we use to cultivate this wisdom go back in time until we can not see their origin. So, yes, Aikido is about trying to preserve what is the very best about our martial and spiritual heritage. We are all "conservationists" which is by definition conservative.

This whole red state - blue state, left and right dichotomy describes nothing but a media created illusion. Equating radical with left and conservative with right provides no insight into the real issues of our day. Aikido fits none of the preconceived categories in the way we use them daily. It is, just like the physical practice itself, a mixture of opposites, all held in a certain balance with each other but never permanently resolved because nothing in life is ever static. We don't strive to eliminate conflict by destroying one side or another, we hold the opposites in a balance which is ever adjusting and changing. We find our stillness at the very center of the movement of these opposites. The battle which rages in the world between one side and another (whatever battle one chooses) is not our battle in the sense that we choose the path that doesn't battle. Perhaps in that sense it is the perfect art for that moderate center whose wisdom seems so much greater than that of the folks at the extremes who never seem to be able to actually solve anything and whose actions result in simply more problems. So in this sense I guess we could say that Aikido is neither radical or conservative but fundamentally "centrist".

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 08-10-2006 at 12:23 PM.

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Old 08-10-2006, 12:29 PM   #35
Mark Freeman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Great post George, thank you.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:55 PM   #36
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Although a lot of people think that "radical" means leftism or extreme-leftist views, that's not what the core meaning was. "Radical" comes from the Greek "radix" meaning "root". A "radical" solution often denotes a simple "do this and the problem will be fixed" solution. Both the Left and Right can have segments advocating "radical" solutions. "Give Peace a Chance", meaning do everything "peaceful" and things will just work out. Or "Do everything the way Jesus would want you to do it". Obviously, it becomes hard to argue against "Jesus" (or "Allah" or whomever), but the idea of keeping the focus on a simple, philosophical answer to all problems ("harmonize with your opponent and the Spirit of Aiki will fill your heart") is pretty much what "radical" means.

Looking at some of the personality quirks that Ueshiba evinced or looking at some of the dramatic personality conflicts among some of the Uchi Deshi, I wonder how far we can go in insisting that the "peace of Aiki" is an exact read on what Ueshiba supposedly meant, according to many translations. There are many interpretations of philosophies, but maybe it's best to as closely approximate the technical skills shown by Ueshiba before we start trying to interpret the philosophy with too much exactness. It's like the guy who gets a nikyu rank and decides he knows enough to open his own dojo.... maybe it's too soon?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:45 PM   #37
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Radical has come to represent fundamental extremist to most of us I think. I believe we could call many budo masters Radical.

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Old 08-10-2006, 02:13 PM   #38
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

we're getting answers all across the board here, which can be the only answer to this question.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:03 PM   #39
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
Radical has come to represent fundamental extremist to most of us I think. I believe we could call many budo masters Radical.
Hmmmmm. Maybe so, Dennis. However, I still vividly remember listening to a group of very accomplished Asian martial artists wondering out loud why their idea of a martial expert was someone who thought more like an engineer and so many westerners think of martial arts as some sort of liberal-arts philosophy question. And they were not unfamiliar with the concept of budo/wude, by any means. Sometimes we create our own worlds.

A well-known name in western Taiji, once it sank home that full-blown Taiji as done by some world-known experts did not comport with the view she'd held for years and what she'd been "teaching" as Taiji for many years, simply turned her back on this new information and rejected the reality. She made the comment that she had taken the original Taiji and evolved it into something better, more in line with the Tao. Some of this happens in all martial arts, of course, but to an extent we all know it is present in Aikido. Great caution has to be used when surrounded by illusions and fortune cookies.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:05 PM   #40
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

In Germany the Green party says (or at least used to say) "Neither left nor right but way out ahead" - I kinda like that :-)
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:24 PM   #41
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmmm. Maybe so, Dennis. However, I still vividly remember listening to a group of very accomplished Asian martial artists wondering out loud why their idea of a martial expert was someone who thought more like an engineer and so many westerners think of martial arts as some sort of liberal-arts philosophy question. And they were not unfamiliar with the concept of budo/wude, by any means. Sometimes we create our own worlds.

A well-known name in western Taiji, once it sank home that full-blown Taiji as done by some world-known experts did not comport with the view she'd held for years and what she'd been "teaching" as Taiji for many years, simply turned her back on this new information and rejected the reality. She made the comment that she had taken the original Taiji and evolved it into something better, more in line with the Tao. Some of this happens in all martial arts, of course, but to an extent we all know it is present in Aikido. Great caution has to be used when surrounded by illusions and fortune cookies.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike if I understood what you were saying I might agree, however it is late in the day here and my old rusty mind just can't process your line of thought.

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Old 08-10-2006, 03:52 PM   #42
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
In Germany the Green party says (or at least used to say) "Neither left nor right but way out ahead" - I kinda like that :-)
Unfortunately, I did not hear it in Germany, 'though being reliable "green" voter. In fact I thought we have a great - mosty left oriented - Green party, and a small "Íko-Partei", which is slightly right of the center.

Well progressive just means "way out ahead". Maybe I just forgot the slogan.

And back to the topic, in this meaning, Aikido is totally Green, straight and way out ahead.

Cheers Dirk
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:16 PM   #43
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Aikido like life isn't black, white or grey - its rich imperial purple, it's verdant luscious green, it's Mediterranean blue and passionate blood red. It's psychedelic man.

...I really spent too long out West - Is Ian Hurst out there to take me back to the rain, misery and beer?
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:33 PM   #44
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
However, I still vividly remember listening to a group of very accomplished Asian martial artists wondering out loud why their idea of a martial expert was someone who thought more like an engineer and so many westerners think of martial arts as some sort of liberal-arts philosophy question.
Why should there be any distinction at all by either one of them?

There is an apropos saying in the building trades that is applicable by extension to any practical art:

"A house built by an architect without an engineeer will fall down;
A house built by an engineer without an architect will be torn down."

The trick is finding the right collaboration between the two, or individuals who can personally embody both necessary aspects of any art.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:44 PM   #45
crbateman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
The trick is finding the right collaboration between the two, or individuals who can personally embody both necessary aspects of any art.
Methinks that this statement is true of anything where there is not a singular, universally accepted "way".
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