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Old 05-02-2007, 04:44 PM   #26
Janet Rosen
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Re: How open is your heart?

Marc, thank you for your longer posts of explanation. I don't think there is actually a contradiction between what you say and how Mary opened the thread - I took her words as a metaphor that could equally well have been articulated as "accepting the attack fully" or "being open to reality."
Course that could just be my weird brain :-)

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:45 PM   #27
Mark Uttech
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Re: How open is your heart?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Well, guess what? Everyone gets to be right here...

Martial arts haven't been about real fighting since firearms arrived. William's suggestion that one acquire a firearm is spot on. If one's greatest concern is personal security get weapons and learn how to use them; the rest is about perfecting oneself.

Mary is right on target about Aikido being about opening one's heart. Reference Sunadomari Sensei's wonderful book, Enlightenment Through Aikido.

Chris mentioned Anno Sensei, one of Hikitsuchi Sensei's senior students and an absolute gem of a human being. Anno Sensei is quite clear that Aikido practice is about opening up your heart but he is also quite clear that Aikido is a form of Budo. So what does that mean?

Aikido training is about stripping away artificial notions of separateness. To really open your heart you have to let go of your fears, strip away the aggression, anger, jealousy, etc until it is just you and the other. And then guess what? When you have really stripped all those things away, you realize that there is no "other".

But this doesn't happen by merely deciding to love everybody, hold hands and sing Kumbaya... One has to go deep, as Chris stated, treat ones training as "shinken shobu", the live blade encounter. So Marc is right that very few of the folks who talk about peace and love and harmony in Aikido are doing anything beyond wishful thinking.

I remember being at one seminar years ago when everyone was talking about "connection" and the fundamental unity of all beings, etc Then at one point during the break Ronald Reagan came up and these peaceful loving folks were frothing at the mouth. Reagan was the great Satan as far as they were concerned. I thought it was really funny because if they had really internalized what they were spouting, they would have understood that there was no separation between Ronald Reagan and themselves.

O-Sensei said that if one really understands aikido one has no enemies... there simply is no opponent. You know how hard that is to do? I know very few people who have mastered that and the ones who have seemed to did it by VERY hard work.

Budo isn't about killing the other guy, Budo is about being courageous enough to allow your notions of your own petty self to pass away, which is very much harder. So every class, every technique is indeed a battle which you are fighting. Not many folks really train that way and especially many folks who see themselves as serious about the spiritual side of the art. Marcs comments about the martial aside are apropo, even though the aspect of self defense isn't the central point of Aikido training. One must train as if ones life depends on it. At some point you realize that everyone's life depends on it.
I went through an exact same experience around the character of Ronald Reagan, who was also a hero of mine. I recently received a pamphlet from the Nonviolent Peaceforce which talks about the 'fine line between violence and nonviolence'. It is described this way:
"The fine line lies in the mindset of the actor. If motivated by anger,actions that appear peaceful are in fact violent. If motivated by love and compassion, actions that might appear aggressive can still be nonviolent."
In Gassho, Mark
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:15 PM   #28
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Re: How open is your heart?

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
The government programs for my brethren and I were ineffective to non existentent.
Yes, they certainly were and probably still are. But we're still here with our minds clear, our hearts open, and sweating together on the mats. Only a little worse for the wear.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:17 PM   #29
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Re: How open is your heart?

Thanks for all the responses....it has been great to read them all.
Tonight as I taught class we did a kokyu nage from a front elbow strike....nage stepped in and slightly to the side with both hands up and redirects ...talk about an opportunity for your center to come up and then go back down as nage guides uke gently to the ground. (and sometimes not so gently ;o) ).

What fun.
Mary
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:27 PM   #30
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Re: How open is your heart?

I don't know.
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:07 PM   #31
Chris Li
 
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Re: How open is your heart?

Quote:
Edward Karaa wrote: View Post
Curiously, aikido couldn't find any openings yet in my heart. Anyway, I think it is important to approach the training with no preconceived ideas. If aikido is about opening my heart, it will happen through training, not because I read it in a book. Osensei trained all his life, and didn't reach this love theory until in his late fifties. Perhaps when I am that age, I will start to seek the loving side of aikido, as for now, I strictly approach aikido as budo.
And what of reading a book is part of the training? It certainly was for Morihei Ueshiba, and Gozo Shiodo recounts how he was made to study at night after training when they trained in the mountains before the war.

In any case, Ueshiba had his key realization in 1925, which would make him 42 - and he had been very religious for some years before that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-03-2007, 07:33 AM   #32
Roman Kremianski
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Re: How open is your heart?

That just seems to make it even more complicated. Can you reach the same "state" as O-Sensei if you're not religious?
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:18 PM   #33
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Re: How open is your heart?

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Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
That just seems to make it even more complicated. Can you reach the same "state" as O-Sensei if you're not religious?
Gozo Shioda mentions very clearly in Aikido Shugyo that he is an atheist and couldn't care less about religion.
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:06 PM   #34
Roman Kremianski
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Re: How open is your heart?

Hence why Gozo Shioda left the Aikikai?

I think non-religious people like me tend to take certain spiritual aspects of Aikido with a grain of salt. I don't really know how to make my "soul sing" through Aikido training, so I'm still workin' on it...

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 05-03-2007 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:49 PM   #35
Chris Li
 
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Re: How open is your heart?

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Hence why Gozo Shioda left the Aikikai?

I think non-religious people like me tend to take certain spiritual aspects of Aikido with a grain of salt. I don't really know how to make my "soul sing" through Aikido training, so I'm still workin' on it...
He never really left, the two organizations developed in parallel after the war, but there wasn't much of a formal split. Anyway, the Aikikai isn't at all religious.

In any case, whether he was an athiest or not is not relevant to the fact that book study was a part of his training under Morihei Ueshiba, or that Morihei considered that type of thing to be of some importance, as in "bunbu-ichi" ("bunbu ryodo"), where martial training and book study go hand in hand.

Actually, if you read what he (Shioda) wrote, it's not different from what Ueshiba wrote - it's just shorn of the religious imagery. Interestingly, that is exactly what Kisshomaru used to recommend that people do when trying to fathom his father's method of expression.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-03-2007, 07:16 PM   #36
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Re: How open is your heart?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
He never really left, the two organizations developed in parallel after the war, but there wasn't much of a formal split. Anyway, the Aikikai isn't at all religious.

In any case, whether he was an athiest or not is not relevant to the fact that book study was a part of his training under Morihei Ueshiba, or that Morihei considered that type of thing to be of some importance, as in "bunbu-ichi" ("bunbu ryodo"), where martial training and book study go hand in hand.

Actually, if you read what he (Shioda) wrote, it's not different from what Ueshiba wrote - it's just shorn of the religious imagery. Interestingly, that is exactly what Kisshomaru used to recommend that people do when trying to fathom his father's method of expression.

Best,

Chris
Perhaps then the confusion lies here with folks interpretation of what Mary "meant." It seems obvious that some folks think the heart is a spiritual/religious metaphor.

Nishio Shihan never talked about the spiritual significance of Aikido he was mainly interested of teaching it from a pragmatic it's "more important to walk the walk" point of view. Perhaps a good way to state it is... Bring the body to class and the mind and heart will follow. At least that has been my experiance and since it has been much the same with my Zazen practice I have a feeling it may be one of the "Ways" of teaching something like Aikido.

It may appear that O'Sensei certainly was a bit more talkative of such matters.... More than most Sensei's or Roshi's I have experianced.

William Hazen
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Old 05-05-2007, 08:17 PM   #37
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Re: How open is your heart?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I have found that my practice of Aikido has opened my heart...the strength I have developed has allowed me to experience people in a compassionate way that I could not do before because of the caution I had to exercise and the fear I always felt.

As I welcome uke into my arms and space my heart opens and my soul sings.

How has it been for you ?

Mary
while Aikido has done wonders for me, it's completely different from what it's done for you.

i think that's the true beauty of all martial arts in general: it's incredible how one fixed skillset can be used for so many applications.
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