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Old 05-16-2007, 03:22 PM   #26
Chris Li
 
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
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.
So...

What is Aikido?
What are the specific goals of Aikido?
Is it possible to seperate those goals from the pedagogical method, and if not, then why not?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-16-2007, 03:34 PM   #27
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
So...

What is Aikido?
What are the specific goals of Aikido?
Is it possible to seperate those goals from the pedagogical method, and if not, then why not?

Best,

Chris
Shoot, I asked this several years ago over on AikidoJournal's forum and got a bunch of stock responses.

Frankly, I don't know anymore. No one has been able to offer me satisfactory answers to "What is Aikido." All of the things that are brought up as unique, I've found in other unrelated systems. I generally think of it as an off-shoot of Daito Ryu now. Perhaps OSensei really did transcend all that, but since none of his senior students seem to have understood what he was talking about, how are we ever going to find out? The closest group would probably be Inoue's Shin-ei Taido, but they don't consider themselves aikido either...

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Old 05-16-2007, 04:12 PM   #28
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Shoot, I asked this several years ago over on AikidoJournal's forum and got a bunch of stock responses.

Frankly, I don't know anymore. No one has been able to offer me satisfactory answers to "What is Aikido." All of the things that are brought up as unique, I've found in other unrelated systems. I generally think of it as an off-shoot of Daito Ryu now. Perhaps OSensei really did transcend all that, but since none of his senior students seem to have understood what he was talking about, how are we ever going to find out? The closest group would probably be Inoue's Shin-ei Taido, but they don't consider themselves aikido either...
I thought that Morihei Ueshiba was really pretty clear in "Take Musu Aiki", that's what he spends most of the book discussing...

If you don't know what it is, or what the goals are, then how do you know that practice of it requires physical training methods?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-16-2007, 04:17 PM   #29
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I voted no.
Then I remembered the essay by Terry Dobson, "A Soft Answer"
I asked myself, "Was the old man in the story doing Aikido?"

Cheers!

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 05-16-2007, 04:57 PM   #30
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

A couple of quick thoughts here, one reread" The Art of Peace"
and see what your answers might be, also hasn't it been said time and again that Aikido is a lot like moving zen, also ask your selves this, has anyone other that O'SENSEI ever really done AIKIDO?
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Old 05-16-2007, 06:04 PM   #31
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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I thought that Morihei Ueshiba was really pretty clear in "Take Musu Aiki", that's what he spends most of the book discussing...
Chris, how many people that you know and train with approach aikido in a similar fashion to that laid out in Take Musu Aiki? I don't know any. None. Perhaps, as others have said, no one is actually doing aikido anymore? Perhaps I haven't read the book in question, I'm familiar with a series of lectures complied into "Takemusu Aiki" on Aikidojournal.com, is that what you're referring to or is it something else that isn't in my library?

Perhaps you'd like to answer your own questions and explain how aikido can be applied and learned totally removed from the physical practice of aikido?

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:04 PM   #32
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

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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.
Hi Ian,

Thanks for replying.

You are right on target with what I'm asking, actually. I understand that we may want to keep amount, type, and effectiveness out of the picture, or beyond question, but my mind is wondering on what basis shall we justify their exemption when it comes to explaining ourselves when we are saying that training in waza is vital to something qualifying as Aikido. I think if we can answer that question we are going to get one thing at the cost of the other. Specifically, I think we are only going to be able to say that these things are irrelevant to the issues at hand if we reduce Aikido training to some very mundane and superficial elements. Alternately, from the other side of the same coin, it is going to be logically impossible for Aikido to claim spiritual aspirations at the same time that it wishes to say if you do not practice waza (i.e. train the body, be of the body) you are not doing Aikido.

Of course, many folks have their way out of this pickle. They say or lean toward the position that Aikido should have no spiritual aspiration or that said spiritual aspirations are not necessary for Aikido to be Aikido - but from my perspective this too is just another reduction. If we look at the Founder's practice, using it here since most folks here are more familiar with it than we are with each others' practice, we can see that he sought not to reduce the art via either of these two options, and thus that it is possible to have a different kind of Aikido that does not all open itself to either of these reductions and/or to what these reductions often try to fight against (e.g. being flaky, self-deluded, etc.). As Chris pointed out, in his main writings, Osensei never makes a reference to anything remotely close to either of these two reductions (which is why I call them reductions and not just "positions"). In fact, he is always suggesting otherwise. I'm not stating this because I'm saying "Osensei said." I'm saying this because, as I just said, it demonstrates that there is another possibility here. With that other possibility, the "obviousness" of the two reductions just isn't so obvious anymore.

thanks,
dmv

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:22 PM   #33
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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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
Chiba Sensei said he uses the zafu toward this end. His reasoning was that the mat could never get intense enough, after a while, because it must always remain a partially controlled environment. In my experience, I not only feel the mat cannot get intense enough but that the cushion cannot either - for the same reason. For this reason, I try and look for two other areas of application/cultivation: law enforcement applications (which can get very intense, but not that often) and everyday relationship with those around me (which is by far the most intense training areas around). Don't get me wrong, it's always going to be easy to practice various forms of ignorance, alienation, and apathy, with our spouses, our children, our aging parents, our co-workers, our friends, and those that are strangers to us. But, if you commitment yourself to a broader application of Aiki, where wisdom, intimacy, and openness have to be present in everything you do, say, and think, then your day-to-day encounters with others are going to make the mat, any mat, feel like a break from it all.

dmv

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:24 PM   #34
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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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
I think I would read this the same way, were Budo is not a restriction to martial techniques or the practice of martial technique. I think if such a restriction was ever understood to be necessary, there would have been no reason to borrow burgeoning Zen praxis to make martial practice a Way.

dmv

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:26 PM   #35
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
I voted no.
Then I remembered the essay by Terry Dobson, "A Soft Answer"
I asked myself, "Was the old man in the story doing Aikido?"

Cheers!
This is a good point.
Thanks,
dmv

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:30 PM   #36
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Chris, how many people that you know and train with approach aikido in a similar fashion to that laid out in Take Musu Aiki? I don't know any. None. Perhaps, as others have said, no one is actually doing aikido anymore? Perhaps I haven't read the book in question, I'm familiar with a series of lectures complied into "Takemusu Aiki" on Aikidojournal.com, is that what you're referring to or is it something else that isn't in my library?
The part that you're talking about is just a section of the beginning of "Takemusu Aiki".

I know a couple of people who try to approach Aikido in a similar fashion. Few with the exact same religious perspective, but Kanshu Sunadomari comes fairly close in that respect, I think.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Perhaps you'd like to answer your own questions and explain how aikido can be applied and learned totally removed from the physical practice of aikido?
First you'll have to tell me what you mean by "Aikido" - if you mean the spiritual/philosophical goals espoused in "Take Musu Aiki" than take a look around - there are any number of training systems that don't involve physical practice of a martial art.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:51 PM   #37
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

No, but it is certainly better than sitting watching TV or doing absolutely nothing.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:35 AM   #38
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Agreed Chris M. But somehow I still think there are exceptions, like with every rule...

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:24 AM   #39
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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First you'll have to tell me what you mean by "Aikido" - if you mean the spiritual/philosophical goals espoused in "Take Musu Aiki" than take a look around - there are any number of training systems that don't involve physical practice of a martial art.

Best,

Chris
Now we're getting into a "you first" thing...

I think one of the areas of confusion here is that (as I've stated elsewhere)I believe the goal is not a defining feature of a budo. Most true budo aim to achieve the same higher goals, so therefore I consider the path (michi) to be the defining characteristic of any art. It names a road, not a town.

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:29 AM   #40
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Perhaps I should pose this question, (particularly to David and Chris).

How would you react if your teacher promoted someone who had never set foot into an aikido dojo, or examined the physical side of the art for a minute over you in your own dojo? Do you think that that person would be capable of preserving the art? How would you fell about that promotion?

If it's possible to practice aikido without any physical component whatsoever, it should be possible to master aikido along those same lines.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:40 AM   #41
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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Perhaps I should pose this question, (particularly to David and Chris).

How would you react if your teacher promoted someone who had never set foot into an aikido dojo, or examined the physical side of the art for a minute over you in your own dojo? Do you think that that person would be capable of preserving the art? How would you fell about that promotion?
You mean, like Masao Tonedate ? It doesn't much matter to me what rank anybody has.

If you're talking about instruction, I wouldn't expect somebody not trained in certain things to be instructing in those things, no matter their rank. Just as I don't like it when Aikido people not well trained in a weapon teach that weapon, regardless of their rank. Other than that it really doesn't matter much does it?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:46 AM   #42
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

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Now we're getting into a "you first" thing...
Well, I can't comment on a question unless you ask it - and you say that you don't really know what Aikido is, so I'm not sure what you're asking...

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I think one of the areas of confusion here is that (as I've stated elsewhere)I believe the goal is not a defining feature of a budo. Most true budo aim to achieve the same higher goals, so therefore I consider the path (michi) to be the defining characteristic of any art. It names a road, not a town.
Maybe that's a difference in concept with Morihei Ueshiba.

So in your view, Nishio, Saito and Yamaguchi all practiced different martial arts?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-17-2007, 09:48 AM   #43
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

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Well, I can't comment on a question unless you ask it - and you say that you don't really know what Aikido is, so I'm not sure what you're asking...

Maybe that's a difference in concept with Morihei Ueshiba.

So in your view, Nishio, Saito and Yamaguchi all practiced different martial arts?

Best,

Chris
Here's the deal, I genuinely don't know what makes Aikido Aikido. Here's my working definition, "Japanese Martial art based on the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba based on the technical syllabus of Daito Ryu." I can't put any more specifics on it than that because, as you kind of point out with your sample Sensei, it varies so incredibly much after that. The only thread I can find is a general similarity in techniques and a cult of personality around the founder. If Aikido is supposed to create a golden bridge, then it's failed. There are more people doing aikido now than ever before, and the world is no better off. Tensions are rising between cultures. If it's supposed to make you a better person, why are so many of the senior shihan so despicable? Womanizers, alcoholics, abusive to their students. One minute someone is the shining light of aikido, writing books about the deep moral lessons of the art, then it comes out that he's been sleeping with underage students, or maybe just 1/2 of the women in his own dojo. Perhaps it's a physical metaphor for conflict resolution (this is a very popular view here in the NW). Why then are there so many organizations? Peter Goldsbury has even stated that in his view (and I'm paraphrasing) that the nature of aikido (at least in Japan) does not even really allow for a resolution of conflict between members of the same organization. Bernie Lau has talked about how his teachers in Hawaii settled some of their differences, they locked the door to the dojo and punched and kicked each other until one cried unkle. If the ideas presented in books and lectures like the ones you bring up are so central to the art that they could be approached without ever doing the physical side of aikido practice, why have they been nearly completely dropped by the Aikikai?

So I'll again turn the questions around to you, "What is Aikido?" Would you say that Nishio, Yamaguchi and Saito are all doing Aikido, and if so, what is the common thread that makes aikido unique and distinct from other martial practices?

Chris Moses
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:25 AM   #44
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

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So I'll again turn the questions around to you, "What is Aikido?" Would you say that Nishio, Yamaguchi and Saito are all doing Aikido, and if so, what is the common thread that makes aikido unique and distinct from other martial practices?
I would say that Aikido is the quest to meet the goals defined in "Take Musu Aiki" by Morihei Ueshiba. Yamaguchi, Nishio and Saito all worked towards those goals in their own ways - and I have never seen those goals stated in that way as the primary focus of any other martial art.

That it hasn't solved all of the worlds problems doesn't make the ideal any less valuable, any more than violence in India negates Ghandi, or racial violence negates Martin Luthar King.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-17-2007, 11:37 AM   #45
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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I would say that Aikido is the quest to meet the goals defined in "Take Musu Aiki" by Morihei Ueshiba.
So would you say that ANY practice which strives to meet those goals should be considered Aikido?

Edit: Unless I'm mistaken, this text still has not been translated into English. If this is indeed the clear and rational explanation for what we've all been studying, why is it still largely unavailable to English speaking practitioners? Why wasn't this THE priority for the Aikikai and other groups. Please note, I'm not saying it isn't as central and important as you insist, but since I have no access to it, I'm at a loss to comment on it in a meaningful way. If I'm mistaken and it has been translated, point me the way, and I'll gladly order and read it.

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 05-17-2007 at 11:43 AM.

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:04 PM   #46
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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So would you say that ANY practice which strives to meet those goals should be considered Aikido?
Basically speaking, yes, although I'm sure that someone will come up with exceptions and caveats.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Edit: Unless I'm mistaken, this text still has not been translated into English. If this is indeed the clear and rational explanation for what we've all been studying, why is it still largely unavailable to English speaking practitioners? Why wasn't this THE priority for the Aikikai and other groups. Please note, I'm not saying it isn't as central and important as you insist, but since I have no access to it, I'm at a loss to comment on it in a meaningful way. If I'm mistaken and it has been translated, point me the way, and I'll gladly order and read it.
Because it's so difficult to read, even in Japanese? Or maybe the copyright is still owned by the Byakko Shinko-kai. Or maybe it's the fact that good translation costs a bundle and there's a somewhat limited market for this kind of work.

I don't know but it's really the only text in which the founder speaks at length, in his own words, on the goals and purposes of Aikido, so I would consider it fairly important for anyone studying the "Japanese Martial art based on the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba". FWIW, there is another collection of essays by Morihei Ueshiba published in "Aikido Shinzui" (this one by the Aikikai), but that one hasn't been translated either. How many years was it before the Gospels or the Tripitika were translated into common languages?

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:20 PM   #47
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

Quote:
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Basically speaking, yes, although I'm sure that someone will come up with exceptions and caveats.
Well at least that explains some of the confusion here. Since you're asking me to read something which I have no access to to appreciate where you're coming from, I cannot speak intelligently on your comments. I must say that I disagree however, that a goal or end result defines a path. All types of psychotherapy have the goal to improve the mental health of the patient, yet there are very real and meaningful differences between say Existential Phenomenological Therapy, Jungian Analysis and Behavioral Therapy (for example). Same goal, different thing. Since most people will never achieve the goal in question, the path walked is by far the more meaningful point of discussion.

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:30 PM   #48
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

At one level, I have to agree with Chris Li - on all his points. On another level, I do get where you are coming from Christian, but perhaps your position is based in large part upon the preservation of a training paradigm and this has you asking certain questions (coming up with certain answers) that someone else whose position is based upon the achievement of a goal wouldn't ask (or answer the same). For example, if Aikido is found within the training of Ikkyo, and only there, then one is going to ask, "How can you say you are doing Aikido, if you have never done Ikkyo." The obvious answer is going to be: "You can't." But, if you understand Aikido to not be limited to things like Ikkyo, all you are going to do is wonder how anyone could be thinking that doing Ikkyo is practicing Aikido.

For me, I like to make use of Ikkyo (i.e. Aikido's training paradigm), but I do not limit myself to Ikkyo because I hold Aikido to more than Ikkyo - in the same way that Spirit is more than religion, in the same way that an arm-bar is more than Ikkyo, etc. To borrow a metaphor again, Ikkyo is the vessel; Aikido is the other shore. Some might be threatened by this, or some might feel that there is a lot at risk in such a view, particularly over the LOSS OF IKKYO. Additionally, some might think this is crazy since there is nothing beyond Ikkyo (which leads one to a very difficult time in defining and contrasting Aikido with other arts). However, for me, this is not the case. That vessel is pretty damn important, as it can get me to the other shore. I do not need it to be the only boat in the world for me to keep it important and/or for me to make use of it. So, I talk like I talk, but I do a hell of a lot of Ikkyo.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:21 PM   #49
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I wrote a piece a while back about whether there was really anything we could really call Aikido. It might be relevant to the discussion on some level...

http://www.aikidojournal.com/index?id=259

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-18-2007, 05:38 AM   #50
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Poll: Would you consider aikido without a physical practice component to still be

I voted no.

Can one express the non-physical principles of Aikido without a physical practice? Of course.

Can one express the particular physical mind/body coordination practice method founded by Ueshiba M. called Aikido without a physical practice? No imho.

This reminds me of something I read on Judo recently. In the specific sense Judo is the method founded by Kano J. in the broader sense of principles and human development Aikido and Judo have the same goals. Kano called Aikido "true Judo" I believe. So if we are doing Aikido are we automatically doing Judo? Where do we specify the definition?

I think if we become too general in our definitions in the end we define nothing.

Imho.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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