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Old 03-19-2007, 05:48 PM   #1
akiy
 
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"Don't Make a Thief"

This article by Stanley Pranin on the Aikido Journal site relates a couple of stories from Shoji Nishio sensei:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=695

The first story is about a leather jacket of Koichi Tohei sensei's being "skillfully stolen" and Morihei Ueshiba sensei's reaction of the incident. Surprisingly, perhaps, Ueshiba sensei's response to this theft was to say to Tohei sensei, "You're the one to blame, Tohei" rather than placing the blame onto the thief.

Stanley Pranin offers his interpretation and his views on the incident as well as for another recollection from Nishio sensei regarding Kyuzo Mifune sensei whose house was robbed twice and purportedly said, "The next time he robs my house in my presence, I will catch him no matter what happens, even if I am killed!"

How do the two stories of Tohei sensei and Mifune sensei compare to you in terms of the spiritual aspects of aikido?

Do you agree with Stanley Pranin's interpretations? If so, how? If not, how not so?

-- Jun

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Old 03-19-2007, 10:01 PM   #2
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

I agree very much with Stan's assumptions in the Aikido scenario based on Tohei's stolen jacket. I think in that case ego and suki were very important factors. To me it represented the balance of things - the more attached he was to the material trinket (a hindrance to his own inner development), the more likely that he would need to lose said trinket to learn the lesson of non-attachment.

I think the evaluations and assumptions made by Stan in comparing Aikido and Judo by using some "moral measure" for each Budo is a lot of nonsense however. His concerns on vengeance are quite correct within themselves but I do not think that Ueshiba M.'s reaction to Tohei's stolen jacket and Mifune K.'s reaction to a home invasion can be equally compared on the same merits.

Also I believe that each individual's reaction had more to do with the character and psyche of the person rather than the Budo each one trained in. It is known that Ueshiba M. was quite a religious man and as such would have a certain set of moral values that would affect much of his life and thinking. This has nothing to do with Aikido training but with Ueshiba M. as a human being and the way he chose to deal with the world around him.

I also think that Stan's assumption that Mifune's response to the home invasion was revenge-based is also incorrect. A home invasion can engender serious fears pertaining to one's own safety, the safety of loved ones or that of ones community. Mifune may have simply decided that the thief was too dangerous to be allowed to continue unabated in his behaviour. This may not have been revenge-driven as Stan has assumed, but driven by a need to make one's environment as safe and secure a possible. It may have instead been a "protector" response (reminds me of the "loving protection of all things" line quoted by many Aikidoka).

Overall the article was not bad but sadly I see Stan voicing the same pretentious "holier than thou" attitude that many Aikidoka exhibit in comparing Judo or (insert art here) and Aikido philosophy, using the stories as a means of saying that Aikido training somehow places one on a higher moral ground than someone in a sport art, in this case, Judo. The reality is that the 2 men saw the world differently and responded based on the sum total of their knowledge and experiences as human beings. One cannot say that Ueshiba M. would not have had similar feelings to those of Mifune if dealing with a situation of his family being endangered by a home invasion.

Imho these articles show me how much work many Aikidoka need to do in truly addressing their ego and their need (attachment?) to see Aikido as some "morally superior" Budo. Moral superiority is the quality of the person, not the Budo one trains in.

Just my 5 cents.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 03-19-2007 at 10:06 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:16 PM   #3
xuzen
 
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

I prefer Mifune's more secular response.

Boon.

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:59 PM   #4
Walker
 
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

Did anyone else find this little tidbit from an interview of Moshé Feldenkrais -- Moshé on Moshé on the Martial Arts?
Quote:
Then, around 1930, there were two Judo greats, Nagaoka and Mifuni. Nagaoka was the most powerful man in the Kodokan and Mifuni, the fastest, the best in quality. Kind of a small chap, but he could beat anybody. Actually I heard very many very long stories; Kano told me extraordinary things. He told me about Mifuni afterwards, later – we met about 12 times afterwards. So, he told me that Mifuni was a born fighter and that two or three times every year, he had to go to the police and take him out of prison. Wherever there was a brawl, wherever there was fighting, Mifuni was there and usually an ambulance had to take away a dozen people and the police would arrest him. (Laughter) You see? Then Kano as the Undersecretary of State for Education in Japan had to use his influence. He told me that he had to get Mifuni out of prison perhaps 30 times in his life.
http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm

-Doug Walker
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:36 AM   #5
RoyK
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
Imho these articles show me how much work many Aikidoka need to do in truly addressing their ego and their need (attachment?) to see Aikido as some "morally superior" Budo. Moral superiority is the quality of the person, not the Budo one trains in.

Just my 5 cents.
LC
If one system's art is in instantly killing or maiming and another system's art is in swiftly thwarting and protecting, wouldn't you agree there's a moral difference between these two approaches?
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #6
Mark Uttech
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

I read the article and it seems that O Sensei simply used the incident of the theft as an opportunity to teach about being aware of openings. Mifune's response was a reaction to feeling vulnerable to humiliation. I have heard that O Sensei once said that the only way to close your openings is to stand and acknowledge your fear of death.

In gasshp,

Mark
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:31 AM   #7
mriehle
 
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
I also think that Stan's assumption that Mifune's response to the home invasion was revenge-based is also incorrect.
This point is the one that I see as important. I agree that revenge as a motive is consistently destructive. But it's not clear from what I saw in the article that Mifune's motivaton was revenge. It may well have been that he perceived the person who was breaking into his home as clear and present danger to his family.

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Old 03-20-2007, 01:00 PM   #8
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Don't Make a Thief"

Quote:
Roy Klein wrote: View Post
If one system's art is in instantly killing or maiming and another system's art is in swiftly thwarting and protecting, wouldn't you agree there's a moral difference between these two approaches?
The real question is whether one's chosen Budo represents or constitutes the sum total of ones moral paradigm. If it does then the moral content of the Budo one practices is directly bearing upon all of one's moral decisions. However I wonder how many people are like this in the real world. Even the Bugei who supposedly "lived" by the "moral code" of Bushido have no common understanding as to what constitutes it, only general guidelines. The vast majority of moral paradigms are a combination of religious knowledge (if available), personal survival choices based on life experiences, societal conditioning and a host of other factors. Budo does not rule our morality unless we start training literally from birth and keep it as our single and only guide towards moral values.

I honestly do not think that the Budo one practices dictates an individual's moral paradigm. It may affect/influence it, but then more often than not, a person is attracted to a method/style of Budo whose moral paradigm is already congruent with that of the person drawn to it. If one is morally opposed to killing it is unlikely that one will choose to train in a killing art and vice versa. The moral paradigm has already been shaped by other factors by the time the person decides to take up a particular Budo.

In my own travels I have met and trained with folks who have done Aikido longer than I, who believe in the philosophy and who have killed without flinching using Aikido waza when it was necessary and will continue to do so; and I have also met people who train in Jujutsu and other "combative" methods who have attained many of the moral/spiritual illuminations about love, interconnectedness and harmony of all life that is often preached to be a benefit of Aikido's popular philosophy.

So imho the Budo one trains in is irrelevant, it is the person who decides his moral path and development. In fact, it is this personal moral paradigm that decides which Budo this person decides to train in, not the other way around.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

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