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Old 08-10-2007, 08:51 AM   #1
tarik
 
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Question What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Let's get this out of the way up front. It seems to me that I must I put the (to you) in there to remind people that one persons definition is not necessarily more valid than another persons and that losing civility in discussions leads to a fruitless exchange.

I do think that there are certainly more authoritative opinions than others, and I think the "Voices of Experience" should be carefully listened to before making a personal decision about these things.

A decision that necessarily must evolve as we train and change ourselves.

So back to the important questions:

What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

What makes it NOT aikido (to you)?

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:56 AM   #2
Basia Halliop
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
How can we know what a thing is without defining it?
By looking at it?

Again, you seem to be looking at it the opposite way than me. It's like if I read somewhere that there's a concept called 'sploffing' that's really wonderful and amazing, I decide I want to do it since it's so wonderful, THEN I go around trying to figure out what it is, trying to find a definition or description for it, and try to find a place where I can truely 'sploff'.

I'd rather look at the world and find things I want to do, places I want to train, etc, and then at some point it might be convenient to slap a label on some of them, maybe. But I like 'aikido' because it's a name commonly used for something I like doing, rather than liking the training because I've decided it's 'aikido'.

If someone came around one day and told me some respected organization or the ghost of Ueshiba or whatever had decreed that what I was doing 'wasn't Aikido', it was really 'Kerplunking', then do you really think that would fundamentally change anything? Well, I'd have to update my family that it's actually called 'Kerplunking'...
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:13 AM   #3
tarik
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
By looking at it?
And studying, sure.

Quote:
Again, you seem to be looking at it the opposite way than me.
I think orthogonal might be a better description than opposite. I don't think we're even trying to address the same issues.

Quote:
I'd rather look at the world and find things I want to do, places I want to train, etc, and then at some point it might be convenient to slap a label on some of them, maybe. But I like 'aikido' because it's a name commonly used for something I like doing, rather than liking the training because I've decided it's 'aikido'.

If someone came around one day and told me some respected organization or the ghost of Ueshiba or whatever had decreed that what I was doing 'wasn't Aikido', it was really 'Kerplunking', then do you really think that would fundamentally change anything? Well, I'd have to update my family that it's actually called 'Kerplunking'...
I actually don't disagree with any of this. I'm prepared to have what I study called "aikido" or "not aikido", it won't stop me from doing it, but what you're talking about has nothing direct to do with the questions. It just avoids them by saying that they're unimportant (to you).

What I'm asking is; what is that fundamental set of things that defines aikido for you?

Regards,

Last edited by tarik : 08-10-2007 at 10:15 AM.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:11 AM   #4
Mark Uttech
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

The simple question: "What makes Aikido aikido to you?" really has a simple answer for me: "Wisdom." I found that generally, it begins to arise around 3rd dan.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 08-10-2007, 11:56 AM   #5
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

If someone would have asked me that a year or so ago, I would have had at least some rough idea of what aikido makes Aikido (tm) to me.

But, now, I'm beginning to understand that it is a very hard thing to define Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido. Let me try to put my thoughts down on why.

1. The basics. Ueshiba Morihei had them. Got them from Takeda. Gave them to Tomiki, Shioda, etc. In fact, I think quite a few of his students got the very basics. I'm not talking about rote jujutsu, but more along the lines of aikijujutsu (Taking a guess, I'd compare this to pulling silk and some of the Aunkai basics.) However, not all the direct students taught this feature. Tohei tried to keep it intact in his school. I think that some higher levels in all aikido schools eventually get a good bit of this. But, this doesn't really define Aikido as a lot of other martial arts convey the same basics, including Daito ryu.

2. The Internal skill. Here is where things get more strict. This is the area where Ueshiba could not be pushed over, where his students said he felt like a ghost, where Dobson felt like he hit a wall when he body slammed the ukes trying to push Ueshiba over, etc. This would be aiki no jujutsu (I'd compare it to reeling silk). Not many of Ueshiba's students learned this. I'd venture Tomiki and Shioda had some measure of it. I really don't know about Tohei. However, as #1, this really doesn't define Aikido because you can find these skills in other martial arts, such as Ushiro's karate, Okamoto's Daito ryu, and some Chinese masters.

Now, before I move on to the next part, I'll make a disclaimer here. While #1 and #2 really don't "define" Aikido, per se, they *must* be present or you have no Aikido. In other words, you can have #1 and #2, but still be doing another martial art. If you don't have #1 and #2 in some measure, you aren't doing Aikido.

#3. Spirituality. There is a place one gets to when one has trained long enough that one understands that there are choices available for a martial outcome. Instead of mere self defense and living, there are options open that include breaking, damaging, killing, etc. But unless one has the skill level necessary, these options are theory only. I certainly am not at that point, so I go by theory alone. Ueshiba had that level and he chose options that were more attuned to discarding an opponent (NOTE: this doesn't mean peace and harmony and loving an attacker) rather than break/kill at his feet as the old jujutsu would have done. Being at this place doesn't necessarily define Aikido, because you can find this theory in a lot of spiritual areas. However, most lack #1 and #2 above, so they can't back up their theory and must use other means available (like peace talks.)

#4. Way out there. Yeah. Kami, neo-shinto, bridges between heaven and earth, channeling kami, divineness, etc. And let me be clear. You can not "find and replace" the word "kami" with the Christian "God". It doesn't work that way. Conversely, yes, the Christian God can be a kami. But, still, Ueshiba was really out there compared to most people. He did believe that you didn't necessarily have to trace his footsteps, but you could use other ways to get there. I believe that, too. But, I think you're still going to have to get to the edge to try to understand what he was doing, what he lived, and how all this intertwined with his martial ways. He didn't just live martially and belong to Omoto kyo. His whole life was a fully integrated mesh of them both, in a manner beyond other martial spiritual practices (such as studying Zen meditation while also studying karate.) As the first three, you can find people like this in other areas.

But, if you are working on having all four. Not 3 out of 4, not 2 out of 4, not 1 out of 4; but all 4, then, I think you are studying Aikido. And working to gain them is the path for what I believe makes aikido Aikido.

Working on #1 & #3 might be construed as Ueshiba Kisshomaru's aikido, but it isn't Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido. Doesn't mean it's wrong or bad, just that I don't believe it's the founder's Aikido. Depending on the school, working on #1 through #3 can be considered aikido, but it isn't the founder's Aikido. You might get close enough that the lines blur. I dunno. Everything is a theory and a work in progress.

All IMO,
Mark
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:23 AM   #6
tarik
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Mark,

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
If someone would have asked me that a year or so ago, I would have had at least some rough idea of what aikido makes Aikido (tm) to me.
_
_
_
Everything is a theory and a work in progress.

All IMO,
Thanks for the interesting thoughts.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

IMHO, (1) the art as a lineage of O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, and (2) the art of blending and taking balance.

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 08-14-2007, 10:48 AM   #8
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Perhaps I took the juice out when I suggested that we should remain civil.

My sense of aikido isn't far off what Mark Murray suggests above, but here's another take I have on it as well that extends the definition out into the philosophical realm a bit as well.

Let's define aiki as appropriate fitting. That's how I currently understand it anyway.

Aikido, to me, is about learning how to fit myself to my partner's attacks appropriately, such that I can achieve the outcome I desire.

A view, with which I disagree, often put on that interaction by many students of aikido is that the outcome must be non-violent. In my mind, the interaction itself is violence, and therefor cannot be non-violent. However, I do agree and believe that to be aikido, the outcome should result in the least possible harm to all involved, starting with myself and extending out as far as possible.

I don't believe that this means the least possible harm in that instant. I believe that this means the least possible harm for all time. This might necessitate serious injury or death in the process of doing what is necessary.

As someone who's been in street fights with and without weapons in the Middle East and the US, and held jobs as a bouncer and security at some rowdy music festivals, I think it unlikely that hurting people is always necessary, but I do not feel that it is automatically "not aikido" should it become necessary.

Each circumstance and situation dictates the appropriate action.

What we do when we train on the mat is mostly NOT aikido; it's training to learn how to DO aikido if and when the time comes.

Is (appropriate) sparring aikido? Training with (appropriate) resistance? Are ki exercises aikido? Is practicing randori to music aikido? Are solo movement exercises aikido? Are there groups of techniques that are or are not aikido?

I think we can all have legitimate feelings about these things for and against, but honestly, I find arguments against various training practices, no matter who innovated or did not innovate the idea are largely just silly because the arguments seldom explore the principles being taught by the idea and accept or discard the practice on that basis. Usually the argument is, "did O-sensei do it?" If the argument were how "this practice will instill the wrong principles" in us, then I think there is more basis to the discussion.

IMO, none of these exercises (which I took from various examples I am aware of rather than just my own practice) are aikido at all, they are merely tools to help us practice the principles of aikido if properly practiced. To me, the principles are what makes what we do aikido, and not the specific set of techniques, exercises, or rituals. These are just the pedagogy that do make up a critical part of the character of the system or approach being taught, but are not the thing itself.

Aikido is not the forms being practiced, but the principles.

In that light, I think that all too many in the aikido world do not do anything like what I would consider aikido when on the mat. Many people train to feel good when they should be training to feel uncomfortable and stretch themselves. We train to discover or reveal the principles and to inculcate them into our instinctive responses so that we can become practitioners of aikido, hopefully able to apply those principles in our everyday life or in moments of great stress.

If we're just getting on the mat and getting a workout, than I sincerely doubt the principles are being trained or consciously practiced in those moments. A workout is great, but shugyo to me is not simply a physically intense workout, but one that is intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically intense and has me sweating even if the training is going at glacial speeds and maybe no one is even falling down.

Many of us do not put the principles in practice in our daily lives no matter what we do on the mat. It is in putting the principles to practice that I, personally, consider to be aikido.

Regards,

Last edited by tarik : 08-14-2007 at 10:55 AM.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:08 AM   #9
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

I think part of the issue as well is who has what at stake based on their definition of aikido being the correct one . . .

Though, personally, I like what Mark and Tarik have said.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
A view, with which I disagree, often put on that interaction by many students of aikido is that the outcome must be non-violent. In my mind, the interaction itself is violence, and therefor cannot be non-violent. However, I do agree and believe that to be aikido, the outcome should result in the least possible harm to all involved, starting with myself and extending out as far as possible.

I don't believe that this means the least possible harm in that instant. I believe that this means the least possible harm for all time. This might necessitate serious injury or death in the process of doing what is necessary.
Here again one could ask a similar question as before. Who has the right to determine what is "necessary?" If you give yourself this right, can you be sure you have enough wisdom or information to make this determination? If you decide that it is necessary to kill someone because you think that this will cause the least possible harm, how do you know that you have made the right decision? What if it turns out that you are wrong?

And how is making such a decision about someone else's fate in the context of aikido any different from making in the context of karate, military force, the criminal justice system, domestic violence, etc. Any of these forms of hurting or killing others can be rationalized or justified as being "necessary" and "good" in the long term, although obviously how necessary or good they actually are is a matter that can be debated. I think anytime you grant yourself the sole right or responsibility to determine that violence is necessary you put yourself on very questionable moral ground.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 08-14-2007 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:47 AM   #11
MM
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Perhaps I took the juice out when I suggested that we should remain civil.
Well, with respect to Lynn and Mark U., I just found their posts lacking any answers for me. Wisdom can come from any martial art, so I didn't understand how that made aikido, Aikido to Mark U. And, how, Lynn, do you define, Ueshiba Morihei's lineage? We have sooo many different students of the founder and each one has their own way of aikido. The art of blending and taking balance can be applied to at least Judo, if not others. How does that make aikido, Aikido?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
My sense of aikido isn't far off what Mark Murray suggests above, but here's another take I have on it as well that extends the definition out into the philosophical realm a bit as well.

Let's define aiki as appropriate fitting. That's how I currently understand it anyway.

Aikido, to me, is about learning how to fit myself to my partner's attacks appropriately, such that I can achieve the outcome I desire.
I'm still wrestling with the "aiki" demons. But, let's do a what if ...

What if aiki, as appropriate fitting, is fitting the partner's attack to you, rather than the other way around? Of being able to manage your body appropriately and in a way that the partner's energy of attack is automatically matched.

There comes two important aspects to the above. How is that accomplished? In this, I think is where Aikido diverges from Daito ryu. Ueshiba Morihei adapted to a more spiritual-based training regimen and how he accomplished his aiki was different than other student's of Takeda. The second part is what do you do after the above is accomplished. Again, this distinguishes Aikido from other arts in that it works to appropriately match an attack and then, for lack of a better word(s), let go. As opposed to break/kill of jujutsu and other arts.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
A view, with which I disagree, often put on that interaction by many students of aikido is that the outcome must be non-violent. In my mind, the interaction itself is violence, and therefor cannot be non-violent. However, I do agree and believe that to be aikido, the outcome should result in the least possible harm to all involved, starting with myself and extending out as far as possible.
Ueshiba Morihei wasn't a pacifist. Aikido was a martial art to him. In regards to my teacher's teachings, yes, I do agree with you.

But, even when looking to the giants and following our teachers, we still must find our own way. And here, I think, one must have the skill necessary to be able to choose what level harm is involved in Aikido. I'm not there yet. One day, I will be close and I can revisit these ideals. Until then, I follow those who are closer.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
What we do when we train on the mat is mostly NOT aikido; it's training to learn how to DO aikido if and when the time comes.

Is (appropriate) sparring aikido? Training with (appropriate) resistance? Are ki exercises aikido? Is practicing randori to music aikido? Are solo movement exercises aikido? Are there groups of techniques that are or are not aikido?
In looking at how Ueshiba Morihei viewed his students when he lived, how can we say that it isn't Aikido? Tomiki, Shioda, etc all started their own schools and for the most part, were allowed to continue. I think the argument isn't are they Aikido, but are they the founder's Aikido. In which case, one can do aikido in any number of variations. But, to do the founder's Aikido ... no, that is much harder and certainly a much narrower vision.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Aikido is not the forms being practiced, but the principles.
I agree. It then becomes the question, just what are the principles?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
If we're just getting on the mat and getting a workout, than I sincerely doubt the principles are being trained or consciously practiced in those moments. A workout is great, but shugyo to me is not simply a physically intense workout, but one that is intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically intense and has me sweating even if the training is going at glacial speeds and maybe no one is even falling down.

Many of us do not put the principles in practice in our daily lives no matter what we do on the mat. It is in putting the principles to practice that I, personally, consider to be aikido.

Regards,
LOL, you should see the recent workouts I've been trying to do. While not exactly "physically" intense, they are physically intense. And intellectually, emotionally, psychologically. I try to keep the solo exercises slow. And then when I do partner training, I keep it slow because I can't do anything dynamically without losing some part of structure. It's intense and rarely does anyone fall down. It's frustrating at times, irritating at others. I fail and fail again. I put the "me" in mediocre for sure. But, I am trying to put the "aiki" into my training so that one day, I will be able to understand the "do" aspect of aikido.

And then, the most important question arises: Do I want to do Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido? Or do as his students did, and find my own way?

Mark
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
I think anytime you grant yourself the sole right and responsibility to determine whether violence is acceptable you put yourself on very questionable moral ground.
In normal societal circumstances, agreed, certainly...but...

Quote:
What {who} has the right to determine what is "necessary?" If you give yourself this right, can you be sure you have enough wisdom or judgment to make this determination?
Nothing in life is sure. I have been sure in the past that I knew what aikido was...and was proved wrong. I'm sure it might happen again tomorrow night when I next hope to be on the mat.

Quote:
If you decide that it is necessary to kill someone because you think that this will cause the least possible harm, how do you know that you have made the right decision?
You don't. When someone physically attacks you, they take that chance. When I defend myself or another, I take that chance as well.

Quote:
What if it turns out that you are wrong?
Society exacts their price...and God exacts his. Such is life...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:58 AM   #13
Adam Alexander
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Who has the right to determine what is "necessary?"

What if it turns out that you are wrong?
It's not a right as much as an obligation. If you stand still, it's just nature, the next person with a lesser value set might move up. You have to trust that you have the highest set. Otherwise, people who don't care about right or wrong are going to fill the void created by your failure to move forward in the way you considered right.

Then you'll really be up the creek.

If it turns out you're wrong, you accept responsibility, you regret your actions, you carry the guilt, and you be a better person for the next decision.


BTW: What makes Aikido to me is learning to be a man the best I can.

Last edited by Adam Alexander : 08-14-2007 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:58 AM   #14
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Nothing in life is sure. I have been sure in the past that I knew what aikido was...and was proved wrong. I'm sure it might happen again tomorrow night when I next hope to be on the mat.
Yeah, for me, too.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
You don't. When someone physically attacks you, they take that chance. When I defend myself or another, I take that chance as well.
It isn't as if the defender is taking a moral road and determining life or death. An attacker, by their actions, narrows down considerably the responses a defender can execute. In such a conflict, where one's intent is a certain outcome while the other's intent is completely different, all predictability is gone. If the attacker's intent is fixated upon a certain outcome and has no compulsion about ending the defender's life ... then the defender has, at that point, had his options for appropriate actions taken from him/her. At that point, the attacker has actually decided, morally, on life or death -- the attacker's own life or death, not the defenders.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Society exacts their price...and God exacts his. Such is life...

Best,
Ron
Or "... and God exacts Hers."

Seriously, though, all too true.

Mark
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:10 PM   #15
Budd
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

So, the topic here is sort of verging on:

1) What is aikido to you?

2) What has aikido traditionally been, historically (and, to you, why not)?

3) What is aikido evolving into becoming (in the mainstream and/or, you guessed it, to you)?

My own little addition . . . how does any of the above impact your day-to-day training?

Last edited by Budd : 08-14-2007 at 12:12 PM. Reason: horrible grammar
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:40 PM   #16
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
I think part of the issue as well is who has what at stake based on their definition of aikido being the correct one . . .
Insightful. If one applies aikido to their philosophy of life, it can be threatening to have that foundation disrupted. Personally I find it uncomfortable, but refreshing when some error is pointed out in my beliefs and understandings that require me to rethink any inconsistencies.

Quote:
Though, personally, I like what Mark and Tarik have said.
Now you're just being nice.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:56 PM   #17
tarik
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Here again one could ask a similar question as before. Who has the right to determine what is "necessary?"
I do. The participants in the encounter do. Frankly. they both have more than the right, they have the responsibility, it's just a matter that many refuse to take on.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
If you give yourself this right, can you be sure you have enough wisdom or information to make this determination?
I don't give it, I take it. One significant reason I train is to develop the wisdom and information it takes to make an educated decision.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
If you decide that it is necessary to kill someone because you think that this will cause the least possible harm, how do you know that you have made the right decision? What if it turns out that you are wrong?
As already mentioned, I take responsibility for it. If it's wrong, I'll willingly stand up and face the consequences and most importantly, learn.

Too many decisions are made today to follow rules (such as zero tolerance statutes) instead of judge each individual situation for itself, and I think it's because no one wants to be the resonsible party for making a decision. If the decision is wrong, they can point at the rules and say, 'I'm not responsible, I had to follow the rules and they didn't allow me any leeway." I think that it's a real problem.

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And how is making such a decision about someone else's fate in the context of aikido any different from making in the context of karate, military force, the criminal justice system, domestic violence, etc. Any of these forms of hurting or killing others can be rationalized or justified as being "necessary" and "good" in the long term, although obviously how necessary or good they actually are is a matter that can be debated.
I think it's the province of another thread to discuss how aikido is or is not different than other forms of martial arts or actual civilian violence. However, it points out that perhaps there is no difference, except in the particularl philosophical and physical nuances that make aikido unique. I know some students of aikido who might prefer to insist that aikido is unique in this particular aspect, but I am not one of them.

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I think anytime you grant yourself the sole right or responsibility to determine that violence is necessary you put yourself on very questionable moral ground.
The sole right? I do not exist in a vacuum, I exist with the context of other interacting individuals, a part of a community and a society and I believe that I have a responsibility to act when I deem it appropriate and not to wait for some authority figure to give me that responsibility.

As to moral grounds, there are no moral grounds that cannot be questioned, IMO, and any that are offered as such are questionable by that very assertion.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:06 PM   #18
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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Insightful. If one applies aikido to their philosophy of life, it can be threatening to have that foundation disrupted. Personally I find it uncomfortable, but refreshing when some error is pointed out in my beliefs and understandings that require me to rethink any inconsistencies.

Regards,
I've had the carpet pulled out from under me far too many times to ever get complacent enough to feel threatened when my foundation is disrupted. In fact, if I start to feel complacent, I think something is wrong with my foundation. lol.

Mark
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:28 PM   #19
tarik
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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The art of blending and taking balance can be applied to at least Judo, if not others. How does that make aikido, Aikido?
Well, I do know of those who consider the only meaningful difference to be maai.

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What if aiki, as appropriate fitting, is fitting the partner's attack to you, rather than the other way around? Of being able to manage your body appropriately and in a way that the partner's energy of attack is automatically matched.
Is there a difference? I think how one achieves "appropriate fitting" might be or might not be a distinguishing feature of aikido. How's that for noncommital? I think the topic of how to appropriately fit is an interesting one, and in a certain sense, whatever works is the right answer.

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There comes two important aspects to the above. How is that accomplished? In this, I think is where Aikido diverges from Daito ryu. Ueshiba Morihei adapted to a more spiritual-based training regimen and how he accomplished his aiki was different than other student's of Takeda. The second part is what do you do after the above is accomplished. Again, this distinguishes Aikido from other arts in that it works to appropriately match an attack and then, for lack of a better word(s), let go. As opposed to break/kill of jujutsu and other arts.
The ramifications are interesting, but I just don't know enough to have a strong opinion on these historical issues. While I'm very curious, enough to have followed most of the published writings and online speculation for almost 10 years, I still don't feel like I have enough information to express a very meaningful opinion beyond "I don't know", and I don't think anyone else does either (for sure), although they might have a stronger opinion than I do.

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Ueshiba Morihei wasn't a pacifist. Aikido was a martial art to him. In regards to my teacher's teachings, yes, I do agree with you.

But, even when looking to the giants and following our teachers, we still must find our own way. And here, I think, one must have the skill necessary to be able to choose what level harm is involved in Aikido. I'm not there yet. One day, I will be close and I can revisit these ideals. Until then, I follow those who are closer.
I'm not really there yet either, except that.. on occasion, I have had encounters where I realized that even with my miniscule level of skill and understanding, I could completely dominate others in certain situations, and so the choice was there, ready or not.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In looking at how Ueshiba Morihei viewed his students when he lived, how can we say that it isn't Aikido? Tomiki, Shioda, etc all started their own schools and for the most part, were allowed to continue. I think the argument isn't are they Aikido, but are they the founder's Aikido. In which case, one can do aikido in any number of variations. But, to do the founder's Aikido ... no, that is much harder and certainly a much narrower vision.
I think here, you are hitting a core issue. I don't think that anyone can do the founder's aikido. It's gone, not even accurately recorded for a real reference, mere momentary glimpses offered for us to explore it ourselves.

Appeals to precisely what he did and what he said are diffcult to make relevant since another person can offer counter statements and actions to support their own viewpoint. Only a comprehensive study can really reveal his intent to us, and few are able to entirely agree with the somewhat detailed results offered already.

This is no different really than what has happened in religion, with Jesus Christ, with Mohammed, with Buddha, and numerous other prominent figures. Even with orthodox groups offering the accepted interpretations, there are many who do not agree.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I agree. It then becomes the question, just what are the principles?
Oh, you move quick.

I think that's what we're exploring in this thread, neh? Some of it. It's rather difficult to explore the physical principles of kuzushi, tskuri, kake, kokyu, etc. online, as we've seen evident in other threads. You have to feel things to begin to understand them.

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LOL, you should see the recent workouts I've been trying to do. While not exactly "physically" intense, they are physically intense. And intellectually, emotionally, psychologically. I try to keep the solo exercises slow. And then when I do partner training, I keep it slow because I can't do anything dynamically without losing some part of structure. It's intense and rarely does anyone fall down. It's frustrating at times, irritating at others. I fail and fail again. I put the "me" in mediocre for sure. But, I am trying to put the "aiki" into my training so that one day, I will be able to understand the "do" aspect of aikido.
This sounds exquisitely familiar, the training and the partner practices. The greater my (perceived) comprehension grows, the more mediocre I perceive my skill set, physically and mentally.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
And then, the most important question arises: Do I want to do Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido? Or do as his students did, and find my own way?
Is M Ueshiba's aikido even relevant to todays practictioner? Maybe and maybe not. We each determine that for ourselves, and I believe that ultimately, it must adapt to remain relevant to those who practice, even as we try to maintain the principles we perceive to be the core of the teaching.

I think, as perhaps described Mr. Goldsbury's recent series of articles, that M. Ueshiba's aikido died with him, and the best we can do is find our own way, using his and our own teachers examples as signposts along the way.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:38 PM   #20
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

I am new to Aikido but have other arts behind me including wrestiling thru high school so my perspective might be a little green and will probably change but it's pretty basic in my opinion.

The path of least resistance to achieve a acceptable outcome.

Erik,

Overcome fear, and stagnation goes out the window.
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:16 PM   #21
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

Mark is taking the genealogical approach with his item 1. He takes the functional approach with his item 2. And then the conceptual approach with his items 3) and 4). over all it is not bad as an approach . However, I think items 1 and 2 lack grounding in failing to explain what O Sensei changed, removed, added and why, and so the comparative dimensions definition is not really adequate.

As to item 2), the "internal skills" debate has not produced much in the way of generally agreed objective defining characteristics of what "it" is, how it may be concretely recognized or measured. Despite useful explorations along the way in near 1500-plus posts, spawning its own subforum, those debates (with some notable exceptions), have mainly boiled down to disputes over labelling or bona fides. Added to this is a general agreement (deeply mourned in some quarters) that O Sensei did not feel the need to teach "it" explicitly, whatever "it" may be deemed to be in objective terms. So that may not be the best basis for definition since everyone will likely read into it what they bring to it.

My definition is more addressed to the principal premises of the art as expressed by O Sensei. This leaves drawing concrete conclusions from them as a practical exercise for the teacher and student.

Straying very little from O Sensei's own words, I see them as follows

1) Love is THE true budo.

Love is the supremely effective basis for martial arts. As a low order statement it may be said to surpass both rage and calculation (the most readily identifiable alternatives) in its power and efficacy. As a high order statement, one could maintain that no other basis for martial action is effective (individually or collectively) without the presence of love in some regard, (even if most minimally as self-love).

2) Correct victory is self-victory. Masagatsu agatsu.

True love removes distinction between oneself and the other. Thus the first condition of true victory is to love the enemy as yourself.

3) Katsu hayabi. Victory is instantaneous.

Joining wholeheartedly with the expressed will of the enemy. The opponent cannot effectively oppose his own will -- without defeating himself. He attacks, I welcome him; he withdraws, I send him on his way. There is absolutely no resistance in aikido.

4) Takemusu Aiki. Conflict and creativity joining in spirit.

Love embraces all equally -- the form of the sphere. Energy is received and returned in a sphere. Attacking energy is in the form of line or point -- directed at the center point of the target; withdrawing energy flows directly back to the center point of the attack.

The characteristic dynamic shape of the art thus relies on tangents, centripetals, and rotations for gathering and releasing the energy of attack. The manner of articulating the body in gathering and releasing dynamic energy is also characteristic of offering, opening, and embracing. It is embodied in certain exercises intended to train it. Between the center point and the extreme limits of the sphere and anywhere along its surface, paths following the shape of the art and articulating the body in the characteristic manner provided for the art are infinite and free everywhere -- saving only the line of immediate attack.

5. Aikido also uses some Daito-ryu and weapons forms selected to organize its practical training and as illustrations of the operation of these definitional principles in controlled constraints.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:21 PM   #22
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I think, as perhaps described Mr. Goldsbury's recent series of articles, that M. Ueshiba's aikido died with him, and the best we can do is find our own way, using his and our own teachers examples as signposts along the way.
I seem to remember a quote from M. Ueshiba, "You can't do my aikido; you must find your own."

Powerful words that surely require a lot of courage even after we begin to understand what "aikido" is.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:52 PM   #23
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Mark is taking the genealogical approach with his item 1. He takes the functional approach with his item 2. And then the conceptual approach with his items 3) and 4). over all it is not bad as an approach . However, I think items 1 and 2 lack grounding in failing to explain what O Sensei changed, removed, added and why, and so the comparative dimensions definition is not really adequate.

As to item 2), the "internal skills" debate has not produced much in the way of generally agreed objective defining characteristics of what "it" is, how it may be concretely recognized or measured. Despite useful explorations along the way in near 1500-plus posts, spawning its own subforum, those debates (with some notable exceptions), have mainly boiled down to disputes over labelling or bona fides. Added to this is a general agreement (deeply mourned in some quarters) that O Sensei did not feel the need to teach "it" explicitly, whatever "it" may be deemed to be in objective terms. So that may not be the best basis for definition since everyone will likely read into it what they bring to it.

My definition is more addressed to the principal premises of the art as expressed by O Sensei. This leaves drawing concrete conclusions from them as a practical exercise for the teacher and student.

Straying very little from O Sensei's own words, I see them as follows

1) Love is THE true budo.

Love is the supremely effective basis for martial arts. As a low order statement it may be said to surpass both rage and calculation (the most readily identifiable alternatives) in its power and efficacy. As a high order statement, one could maintain that no other basis for martial action is effective (individually or collectively) without the presence of love in some regard, (even if most minimally as self-love).

2) Correct victory is self-victory. Masagatsu agatsu.

True love removes distinction between oneself and the other. Thus the first condition of true victory is to love the enemy as yourself.

3) Katsu hayabi. Victory is instantaneous.

Joining wholeheartedly with the expressed will of the enemy. The opponent cannot effectively oppose his own will -- without defeating himself. He attacks, I welcome him; he withdraws, I send him on his way. There is absolutely no resistance in aikido.

4) Takemusu Aiki. Conflict and creativity joining in spirit.

Love embraces all equally -- the form of the sphere. Energy is received and returned in a sphere. Attacking energy is in the form of line or point -- directed at the center point of the target; withdrawing energy flows directly back to the center point of the attack.

The characteristic dynamic shape of the art thus relies on tangents, centripetals, and rotations for gathering and releasing the energy of attack. The manner of articulating the body in gathering and releasing dynamic energy is also characteristic of offering, opening, and embracing. It is embodied in certain exercises intended to train it. Between the center point and the extreme limits of the sphere and anywhere along its surface, paths following the shape of the art and articulating the body in the characteristic manner provided for the art are infinite and free everywhere -- saving only the line of immediate attack.

5. Aikido also uses some Daito-ryu and weapons forms selected to organize its practical training and as illustrations of the operation of these definitional principles in controlled constraints.
I should start sending you money for writing the posts that i would have hired my best self to express. And I'm not just being nice; although it is nice to feel this way.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:19 PM   #24
DH
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

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I seem to remember a quote from M. Ueshiba, "You can't do my aikido; you must find your own."

Powerful words that surely require a lot of courage even after we begin to understand what "aikido" is.
Hi Chuck
I liked that. And courage is perhaps the right word. Budo sometimes saddens me, or more simply- people in it do. When they step out to take their place in the dance, it sometimes seems to call to the worst in men, instead of the very best. For that reason it's sometimes a priveledge and honor to see men stand in the face of lies and half truths. And in the face of challenge- it can be very surprising to watch just who's integrity fails them and who's remains. So in the end, I think you were spot on with choosing courage as a requirement. I think "forged" is a good word too. For our skill is not given, and when we are standing alone, it cannot be forged. For we will be known. Because there is only way to -truly- posess it, it has to -be- forged.
And if Aikido was meant to be love, then it needs no explanation, requires no defense and should be looking for the best in all. Where does technique and personal forging meet spirit? That takes...tremendous courage as well.
Hope all is well.

Last edited by DH : 08-14-2007 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:18 AM   #25
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Re: What makes Aikido aikido (to you)?

I'm a huge advocate for post WWII Aikido. To me Aikido that is combat ready, self defense ready, insures a readiness for life is Aikido. I admire the warrior roots of Aikibudo and one of it's greatest students Mochizuki Minoru. He was direct student of Morihei Ueshiba and kept alive the original roots of Aikido.
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