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Old 05-13-2007, 01:47 PM   #1
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Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be aikido?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of May 13, 2007:

Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be aikido?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

No.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

No.

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:32 PM   #4
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

While I cannot think of aikido without physical practice - aikido is budo and budo is going a spiritual way by practical exercises - it might be hard not to allow someone calling his non-physical art 'aikido'.

So if you train conflict management skills according to attack-tics ("Aikido in everyday Life"), you might call it aikido-communications. But to me it would not be just aikido, while the results are aikido in an other environment than in the dojo.

Nevertheless, I voted 'No' as well, so I am interested about why voting 'yes'.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 05-13-2007, 04:04 PM   #5
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I believe that you can practice AIKIDO without the physical part of it and indeed call it AIKIDO. After all isnt it translated as the Way of Peace and Harmony or some derivative of that, and i do believe that you can practice both peace and harmony without any physical action at all, i believe that this is a great poll, should be some very interesting opinions about this one
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Old 05-13-2007, 05:04 PM   #6
Karen Wolek
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Nope.

Karen
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Old 05-13-2007, 05:24 PM   #7
Mark Uttech
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

O Sensei used martial arts to demonstrate what he called "Aikido". Everything else that he did, he called 'Budo'.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:43 PM   #8
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I would say yes, but only after a real reconciliation of fear has been cultivated via martial training. After said reconciliation, in fact, I would say the whole point is to move well beyond martial training - to areas that on the surface have nothing to do with that training but that in essence are all about the continuing reconciliation of our fears.

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:12 PM   #9
Dan Rubin
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
After all isnt it translated as the Way of Peace and Harmony or some derivative of that, and i do believe that you can practice both peace and harmony without any physical action at all
There are many methods to practice peace and harmony. Without the physical component, how could you determine that the method you practice is aikido?
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:21 PM   #10
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

No.
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Old 05-16-2007, 08:22 AM   #11
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Circle Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Can a bird fly without its wings?
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:01 AM   #12
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Well, for those that have answered how important physical training is to something being "Aikido," let me ask you this:

- Are you not practicing Aikido when you are off the mat? Is the mat something that has some kind of electronic border-guarding system that prevents your Aikido from leaving? If yes, what is that border-guarding system? If not, when you are off the mat, what is that you practicing and how is it possible?

- Do you think the Founder felt he was not doing Aikido when he was praying before a shrine?

- If you got injured, such that your physical ability on the mat was seriously in question, would that mean you are in the midst of quitting Aikido? What about when you are older? Not moving so well. Not going to classes all that much? Does that mean you are quitting Aikido? If not, why not?

- How physical does your practice have to be to be qualified as Aikido? For example, if you train once a week here, thrice a week there, no classes that week there, are you still qualifying as an Aikidoka? The same way someone that trains three hours a day? If not, what is the deciding element and where does it start to function toward identifying the spectrum of Aikido practice? In other words, when are you only dabbling and thus not training? Additionally, how intense does your physical practice have to be to qualify? Does any intensity qualify? Can it really just be a matter of "as long as you are moving"? If not, on what basis are you going to say one level of training is Aikido, while another level is not and is thus more like not moving at all?

- a real-life scenario: I have two students. One is young, male, single, student, smokes, drinks, can't seem to stop using pot though he has seizures frequently from a unknown brain disorder. While he's scheduled (we use committed schedules in our training) to attend classes 6 days a week, he only actually shows up to about 2 or 3 classes per week. On those days he comes, he's always late, sometimes even 20 minutes late. Our dojo has a courtesy protocol in place, where students have to call in and give notice when they cannot make their intended class - he makes the courtesy protocol only about 10% of the time he is supposed to. When he trains, he uses a lot of muscle and pent-up aggression to do the techniques, so that he can feel "martial". Etc. Etc. He's been training with me for about 6 months. I got another student. She is not so-young, nearing 40, single mom, two kids, one kid just receiving a bi-polar diagnosis, she is full-time student, ex-husband on restraining orders, facing poverty, family not supportive, plagued by a neurological disorder (yet to be diagnosed but MS-like) that has it impossible for her to walk or move normally, has her eyes unable to function well/properly, and is likely to have her back go into convulsions, ones that force her to double-over and collapse to the ground. She's been training with me over six years now. When she started, she was married, very physically fit and athletic, and living comfortably in expensive Santa Barbara. Currently, she is scheduled to train 4 days a week, she comes to every one of those classes almost always. When she has to, because of her school schedule, she has scheduled to train only on Saturday and Sunday - she comes to those classes all the time. Should she ever have to miss a class, she never fails to address the courtesy protocol. When she trains, she has no concept of "martial" nor does she desire any bit of it. She just trains. My question is this: Which student is doing Aikido? If you answer "both," which student has a more legitimate Aikido practice and why?

dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 05-16-2007 at 10:03 AM.

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Old 05-16-2007, 10:03 AM   #13
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Carlos Rivera wrote: View Post
Can a bird fly without its wings?
Is a bird that cannot fly no longer a bird?

At the center of each shape lies the same immovable center.

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Old 05-16-2007, 10:12 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Is a bird that cannot fly no longer a bird?

At the center of each shape lies the same immovable center.
Thanks for the discourse, perhaps training by other means could still be considered "in the spirit of Aikido." This was meant to emphasize the fact that there are many ways to achieve enlightenment. Not all manners would be considered Aikido, not everything can be labeled the same.

So, the "immovable center" is and at the same time may not be considered by the same name. True to your previous statements, one person may be doing Aikido and the other may not.

Thanks again.

"Caminante, no hay camino. . . se hace camino al andar."

Last edited by Carlos Rivera : 05-16-2007 at 10:24 AM. Reason: grammar and further explanation of issue
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
At the center of each shape lies the same immovable center.
agreed, for aikido this would translate as physical practice in my opinion.

While I'm more than happy with your caveats with regard to the physical practice of aikido in the examples you gave, I would have to ask you one question - if someone had never actually practiced aikido in the dojo, would you consider them ever able to "do" aikido in the rest of their life?

For me, the answer would be no. Often, I read people claiming aikido does this for them and aikido principles teach us that, sometimes to the point that it's some sort of spiritual panacea for the world. Here, I disagree. Theses principles/effects attributed to aikido aren't unique to aikido, but one aspect where I do feel it has a claim to distinction (again, not uniqueness) is where it attempts to blend these ideas with martial practice. So, to cut a long answer short -- no to the poll.
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:55 AM   #16
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Earlier, mention was made of Zen and its reliance on Zen practice, etc. Having done Zen practice, I can understand where one might be coming from when they want to point out the difference between actually engaging in the trials and/or ordeals (for example) of that practice and just reading about its philosophy in an Alan Watts book. Thus, I can understand how one might want to do the same here with Aikido practice. However, in Zen, in the Zen tradition, their are huge parts (huge because of their impact) of the discourse that uplift, admire, and place more value on the person that has no zen training but that has enlightenment. These folks, in fact, are not the ones seen as living in the "spirit of zen." They are Zen. In fact, the one's labeled with that kind of reducing descriptive are the one's in the temple, folks that have a practice but that show no real understanding. In these cases, these uplifted folks are used in the discourse to alert one to the obvious fact that the small self is more than likely to get stuck on the grossness of the practice itself, hiding its ego there, and in the end, as they say, "missing all of the heavenly glory for being stuck on the finger that points to the moon."

I am making no judgments here, but traditions the world over have always held that for the unenlightened there are many types of enlightenments; for the enlightened, there is only one. One of the reasons why this has been the case, as I said above, is that we as practitioners get our ego caught up in our own practice, where the practice actually comes to reinforce the small self rather than to purify it. For example, look at how we might want recognition for our trials and ordeals, for our small victories and hardships, etc., look how we contain in our efforts a strong sense of "defending" our art from what we want to call "impostors," etc. Look at our efforts to function within dualisms and to judge ourselves and others in terms of dichotomy. These things are all of ego, as they always are. As such, from this point of view, these things are not of Aikido, as the practitioner who practices them is not.

For me, when folks come in having read all about Aikido, or even when they come from other dojo, having practice what from our point of view is an Aikido lacking martial sense, I look to be able to see them as Aikido practitioners - not as non-Aikido practitioners. I look to be able to say to them, "Keep what you know and feel, let us continue to develop it here." Whenever I do this, I never feel threatened or that I am in need to protect something. I feel we are all on a Way, trying our best, making our mistakes and breakthroughs. Nothing is ever lost when I take this risk, when I understand it as no risk at all.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:02 AM   #17
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

As usual my best answer was eaten by the computer when I attempted to post it so here I go again.

As a strict materialist I can not find basis for anything human to exist outside of having a physical component, but:

In that the question was insufficent, it was was poorly written.

"Except for blending with the void, There is no way to understand The Way of Aiki.Morihei Ueshiba" as it was also stated that there was disappointment that some youngers did not spend sufficient time in meditation in which I derive great benefit.

This question is one that is in the center of many or most of the philosophical questions today, but where there are those that do not care for philosophical questions and merely approach life as a vulgar expression of survival, existing, success, accomplishment, and the ego of making money is a capitalist society, one can also ask weither Aikido would be Aikido with out the intellectual components to which I answer NO.

If the question was phrased differently to state that we already physically existing, and developed cognitively with full understanding of the basic principles of Aikido, that yes Aikido would exist outside of strict physical practice.

Physical practice implies physical existence so it incorporates all that implies by mere association.

In closing I can not find reconciliation with many in their approach to life and living especially those consumerists typified by "industrial: society as they tactically rush to and forth without consideration of any long term strategy of an real nature beyond their own mere existence temporal and flighting.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:03 AM   #18
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote: View Post
If someone had never actually practiced aikido in the dojo, would you consider them ever able to "do" aikido in the rest of their life?
Since that would be the whole point of training, I would answer that question, "no." However, I would answer that question the same for anyone that is training but that is not training daily, that is training but that is not training in intense live-training environments, that is training but that is not working to develop a connection or relationship with the Sacred/Divine, or that is training but that has not problematized their ethical self. Like the person that has never actually trained, this other type of person that is training but not as described above is only likely to practice the art under the more pristine conditions of life - not all conditions of life, and thus not in the "rest of their life." This will be true whether we are talking about defending yourself in a real life and death violent struggle for survival or whether we are talking about having a crappy boss or whether one's marriage is on the rocks, etc.

my opinion,
dmv

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Old 05-16-2007, 11:18 AM   #19
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
...not all conditions of life, and thus not in the "rest of their life."
David, beautiful reply as always, but I'm afraid you're guilty of thinking I'm bright enough to explain myself correctly . My question should have read - if someone never practices any physical aikido, can you claim they ever have done aikido? Being a rather simple person, this is how I read the thrust of the poll so amount/type/effectiveness of physical practice then happily falls out of the picture and prevents me getting confused again.
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Old 05-16-2007, 11:24 AM   #20
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Short answer, No.

Longer answer, I think very few people who go to Aikido dojos and pay dues actually DO aikido. It's a physical art. It has to be a physical art. The art teaches through the body. It's easy to read what aikido teaches us, but until I can see and feel someone apply those concepts, they're not doing aikido. I'm kind of draconian however, hell I don't even thing *I'm* really doing aikido anymore...

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Old 05-16-2007, 01:19 PM   #21
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Short answer, No.

Longer answer, I think very few people who go to Aikido dojos and pay dues actually DO aikido. It's a physical art. It has to be a physical art. The art teaches through the body. It's easy to read what aikido teaches us, but until I can see and feel someone apply those concepts, they're not doing aikido. I'm kind of draconian however, hell I don't even thing *I'm* really doing aikido anymore...
Is teaching method inextricably linked to goals? If I learn how to read with whole language methods am ending up with something different than if I had learned to read with phonetic teaching methods?

One of the interesting things about the essays in Morihei Ueshiba's "Take Musu Aiki" is the almost total lack of discussion of anything related to physical practice. He does, however, discuss his concept of what the goals for Aikido are, and none of them seem, to me, to be specifically dependent upon physical training. In fact, at one point he even admits that fact, although he was at a loss as to what other methods would be practicable.

Now, physical training is certainly the engine that drives intensity in standard Aikido training, but there are certainly other ways of creating intensity, at least in theory.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-16-2007, 01:52 PM   #22
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
One of the interesting things about the essays in Morihei Ueshiba's "Take Musu Aiki" is the almost total lack of discussion of anything related to physical practice.
He also states, "We have to enter the main gate through budo, protect humanity from destruction, and dedicate ourselves in order to bring peace to humankind." (emphasis mine)

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Old 05-16-2007, 02:17 PM   #23
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
He also states, "We have to enter the main gate through budo, protect humanity from destruction, and dedicate ourselves in order to bring peace to humankind." (emphasis mine)
Of course, budo is a recurring theme in Take Musu Aiki. It is not gospel, however, and he does admit the possibility of other methods of achieving the same goals.

For that matter, would planning and directing a strategic campaign be classed as budo? It certainly would under the classification of such things in Japan, but does not involve any physical practice...

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-16-2007, 02:35 PM   #24
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I like the points that Chris Li brings out. The study of Heiho is certainly not a physical one, is it?

I used to think the only way to keiko in aikido was the physical practice, and I still think that is usually the case...but I feel like I have seen exceptions to that rule.

One notable exception was a very fine gentleman named Ubaldo who used to post on Aikido Journal. I still miss him. I think he did aikido.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-16-2007, 03:05 PM   #25
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
For that matter, would planning and directing a strategic campaign be classed as budo? It certainly would under the classification of such things in Japan, but does not involve any physical practice...

Best,

Chris
And yet most sogo bugei only taught heiho towards the END of the curriculum after their members had been indoctrinated into the physical methods and strategies of a ryu-ha.

To be clear, I'm not saying that lessons from aikido can't apply off the mat, but I don't think you could call a non-physical activity "aikido". At one workshop I attended years ago with Kurita Minouru, he went so far as to say that aikido only happened within a dojo.

I've learned some valuable life lessons through snowboarding and motorcycling, real deep valuable stuff. I could even explain what I've learned to someone else, and rationalize why these lessons applied outside of those very specific environments, but they wouldn't be snowboarding or riding. And even if they believed everything I said, those lessons would not have come to them through their bodies, at the risk of injury or death.

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