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Old 01-07-2011, 09:53 PM   #51
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Tony,
Who are we competing against- ourselves or others? Do you feel that the strong survive?You may well be a prime specimen today but an accident or illness could take away all you power.
Would you then feel that society should allow you to suffer or pass away?As far as winning in the Olympics -Ben Johnson and others won gold medals taking drugs.Johnson was one minute a hero, lauded by all, next he was rated a cheat.
I believe that the aims of Aikido , Judo and related arts are
fundamentally about such concepts as honour, discipline , fortitude.
loyalty and the building of character.Like the alchemist of old we should try and turn base metal into gold .Polish yourself and your waza through diligent training with respect for others. Winning is ok , and we all like a winner but not someone who wins by any means . Tiger Woods may well be a top golfer , but as a husband and father I think he is zero.
Happy New Year to You,and all our readers, Joe.
There will always be cheaters and that is looking at the negative side of things.....I would say we are competing against ourselves to better polish our "spirits". We compete, not to destroy eachother, but to help polish one another's "spirits"......
We all have frailties, but we must learn to overcome them or wither, which we will all do eventually, we have no choice in that, but best to make the best of what we have and strive to become the best you can be?
That is competition I would say.....

Last edited by Tony Wagstaffe : 01-07-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:11 PM   #52
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Again, you're confusing things. I never said that I don't compete or that other people ought not to compete.

What I said was that Ueshiba, quite clearly, made statements against competition. Are you saying that he didn't?

Best,

Chris
I Like my confusion as it makes sense to me......
I don't know........... I wasn't there

To find his path he competed, I'm just doing what he did not what he says.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:21 PM   #53
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
in which the spirit and physical body are balanced in harmony.
Peter, could I ask what word is being translated as "spirit", please?

Many thanks.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:39 PM   #54
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Thanks, Peter . . having experienced with some of Stevens' translations in other places, I suspected there was more context than what was readily apparent on the surface. Which is one reason I caution most anyone to do some research to get information. What tends to happen is people like how something sounds in their head and just focus on the things that reinforce what they already think, feel or believe.

Regarding competition. As Mike mentioned, the traditional paradigm is to spend the correct amount of time retraining the body to carry itself appropriately over a period of time. Introducing competition too early is counterproductive to this, for hopefully obvious reasons. One of my biggest struggles in the MMA paradigm is struggling with the urge to compete and win, since at the level I'm at for rewiring how my body basically moves according to the ki/qi logic, there's enough conflicts that I often need to just invest in loss short term so that I can keep progressing in the bigger picture.

That said, this should not be taken as means to think that what passes for training in lots of aikido dojos that have no competition at all is inherently more correct or superior. Lacking the baseline bodyskills and having no competition removes the activity several more steps from martial applicability and into the realm of a "spiritual practice alone". Which may have been the old man's intent all along, since he didn't seem to care how much of what he had got transmitted to subsequent generations.

And Tony, I sympathize with the statement along the lines of doing what he "did" versus what he said. I think that's something that folks really interested in aikido as a method and puzzle need to be looking at. Where aikido really fits into the rubric or "martial arts" and what it's become, why it's different. Not necessarily because a translation says so, or the shihan in your organization says so.

Last edited by Budd : 01-07-2011 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:39 AM   #55
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Peter, could I ask what word is being translated as "spirit", please?

Many thanks.

Mike Sigman
Hello Mike,

In what follows, the Japanese un reading of a word is contrasted with the Chinese ON reading in capitals.

The basic term used by Ueshiba is 魂 tamashi, which is always contrasted with 魄 HAKU. Both terms are also read as tama, and both mean 'soul' or 'spirit', but there is a major difference.

There are three basic Chinese characters read as tama. They are: 魂, 魄,and also 霊.

The core Japanese concept for ‘soul' appears to be 霊魂 REIKON.

The 魄 is the in (陰) part of the REIKON, that remains in this world, whereas the 魂 is the yo (陽) part that leaves it (after death).

The Japanese for the phrase you actually quoted ["spirit and physical body are balanced in harmony"] is 魂魄調和 kon-paku-cho-wa, or, harmony (chowa 調和) of the tamashi 魂 and haku 魄.


I am sure you will appreciate the Chinese provenance of all this and if I am telling you something you know already, many apologies.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-08-2011 at 12:42 AM.

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Old 01-08-2011, 01:19 AM   #56
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
I Like my confusion as it makes sense to me......
I don't know........... I wasn't there

To find his path he competed, I'm just doing what he did not what he says.....
Again, you're mixing the general with the specific. If you can show were he competed in sports competition (outside of his brief study of Judo) then I'd like to see it.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-08-2011, 05:17 AM   #57
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Again, you're mixing the general with the specific. If you can show were he competed in sports competition (outside of his brief study of Judo) then I'd like to see it.

Best,

Chris
Have you ever competed in Aikido?
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:27 AM   #58
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
There will always be cheaters and that is looking at the negative side of things.....I would say we are competing against ourselves to better polish our "spirits". We compete, not to destroy eachother, but to help polish one another's "spirits"......
We all have frailties, but we must learn to overcome them or wither, which we will all do eventually, we have no choice in that, but best to make the best of what we have and strive to become the best you can be?
That is competition I would say.....
Hi Tony,
This is your friendly aikibunny here. I like this answer of yours and thought it needs validating.

In this thread it has gone to a debate on competition and the use of it, the pros and cons, and I bet you think because I am an advocate of Aikido being spiritual and harmonious and the fact that I agree with what O'Sensei said that I therefore disagree with competition.

Actually it's quite the opposite. I look at it this way:
There is competition in all games and all sports and all walks of life. The differences I see are based on the TYPE of competition. This is to do with the PURPOSE of your activity. For instance if you run a shoe shop and your purpose is to be better than the other shoe shops then you are competing with them. If on the other hand your purpose is to have lots of satisfied, happy customers then you are not interested in the other shops from the view of competition yet you are now in competition with yourself. It is a challenge and there is lots to learn and accomplish on the way to a successful business. Lots of challenges to overcome.

I see in all sports there are those who use honest endeavour and discipline and continually improve and in the end, once they have 'mastered' their craft then they perform with confidence and to them it is now just an enjoyable game. The spirit of play is with us when we are born and the only enemy of it is our unwillingness to be and do the best we can as you so rightly said.

Regards. G.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #59
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

I see in all sports there are those who use honest endeavour and discipline and continually improve and in the end, once they have 'mastered' their craft then they perform with confidence and to them it is now just an enjoyable game. The spirit of play is with us when we are born and the only enemy of it is our unwillingness to be and do the best we can as you so rightly said.

Regards. G.

Graham at least you are an aiki bunnie who has the capacity to see what I see....

You are correct.... through competition I have learnt many important lessons. I am older now, so I am not so competitive, I don't need to be, but am very glad that I did what I did, otherwise I would have been thinking that had I not I would be deluding myself through my inadequacy...... does that make sense?
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:54 AM   #60
Diana Frese
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

at my age I enjoy thinking back to times when I felt a bit
competitive and it worked. Once years ago at NYAikikai a dan ranked person I had not seen before was doing irimi nage kokyu throwing forward, we were in lines.... The throw seemed real hard, and our dojo wasn't known for being wimpy..... for some reason
I thought his particular throw was excessive.... I could be
wrong. But it brought out the competitive spirit in me.

I really don't think our dojo was wimpy, quite the contrary, but
this guy.... I wish I knew what Yamada Sensei would have
said but I wasn't in the habit of asking questions.

So when my turn to be nage came, and it was that particular person coming up as uke, I checked my timing and tried to drop my arm at the correct moment with as much heaviness as I could imagine
..... imagine a wet bath towel that weighed a couple hundred
pounds....

I hope the guy didn't remember it and hate me forever. He seemed
okay but the competitive side of me was glad I did it.

Yes the competitive feeling helped me really examine a technique
we did so very often and I hadn't thought much about. I think
the guy did me a favor, though my feeling was kinda "mad as
a wet hen" at the time.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:23 AM   #61
graham christian
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
I see in all sports there are those who use honest endeavour and discipline and continually improve and in the end, once they have 'mastered' their craft then they perform with confidence and to them it is now just an enjoyable game. The spirit of play is with us when we are born and the only enemy of it is our unwillingness to be and do the best we can as you so rightly said.

Regards. G.

Graham at least you are an aiki bunnie who has the capacity to see what I see....

You are correct.... through competition I have learnt many important lessons. I am older now, so I am not so competitive, I don't need to be, but am very glad that I did what I did, otherwise I would have been thinking that had I not I would be deluding myself through my inadequacy...... does that make sense?
Makes perfect sense to me. When we meet opportunities and don't use them to test ourselves then we end up justifying what we would have done or why we didn't do or what we would do if.....
Thus indeed may we delude ourselves.

Regards. G.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:24 AM   #62
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Have you ever competed in Aikido?
Actually, yes, but that really has nothing to do with anything.

Again, I'm not saying that sports based competition is either good or bad. The title of the thread is "Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It", and that's what I commented on - what he said.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-08-2011, 11:30 AM   #63
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Actually, yes, but that really has nothing to do with anything.

Again, I'm not saying that sports based competition is either good or bad. The title of the thread is "Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It", and that's what I commented on - what he said.

Best,

Chris
So you compete then.......
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:45 AM   #64
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
So you compete then.......
Not in sports, but again, nothing to do with the matter at hand. I never said that competition either in sports or in the general sense was either desirable or not.

Your point is?

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-08-2011, 02:25 PM   #65
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
What event are you talking about? Citation please.
Check out his book "Complete Aikido", Tuttle Publishing
Chance has it you might find there something interesting.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:59 PM   #66
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Not in sports, but again, nothing to do with the matter at hand. I never said that competition either in sports or in the general sense was either desirable or not.

Your point is?

Best,

Chris
That no one person is right and the worship of a man that really did not "invent" martial arts, but passed on his "version" of it seems a bit weird to me I suppose......

I don't think I practice "aikido" in the way that most seem to "practice" it here, that being a "spiritual" practice whatever that "is" or as some quasi religious claptrap that so many want to aspire to.....
I don't think you "need" it to be effective in martial arts.....
I like aikido for its practicability, but as for the "ki" nuttiness I do not care for it one bit....
Maybe what I do, I should call it something else like "aijudo" or something....... Anyone got any suggestions?....
I see it purely as a grappling art similar to Judo.....
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #67
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Maybe what I do, I should call it something else like "aijudo" or something....... Anyone got any suggestions?....
I see it purely as a grappling art similar to Judo.....
Yeah, but you couldn't make much money teaching something without a popular name like "Aikido". "Aijudo" has a ring to it, if you go back to the idea that "ju" actually referred to "internal strength", which in turn refers to using ki/kokyu skills. But I guess you want to stay away from that, so, hmmmmmmm... how about "Ai-wrasslin'"? Would that work for you?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:23 PM   #68
carina reinhardt
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
So what do we do Carina, what is the alternative? It would be great to live in a perfect world, but it doesn't exist.... To wrap children up in cotton wool would be even more harmful to their development, it's how we learn, by trail and error..... It's how we develop mental and physical strength.....
When we get older we don't want it as much, that's a fact of life and the reality of it all it wears us down.... Some are stronger than others by genetics, luck and undetermined fate...... To deny our children to not grow by trial and error would, in my mind, be disastrous
I think aikido is a way of relieving stress , but so is yoga or any form of physical exercise, but foremost in my mind aikido is a martial art to defend your body and mind through challenging practice which is a form of competition against yourself.....
I just saw that, sorry..
But I'm the first leaving my children study away from home so that they grow up and learn to deal with everything..
If you are talking about competition about myself in aikido, I kind of agree.
But I' don't think aikido as martial art must compete like judo, karate or taekwondo. In our dojo our teacher dislikes very much any competition at all, he always talks about humility, that we are all the same, the newbie and the nidan, nobody is better, so we do not have to compete, just train to become better for ourselves, everyone has he can.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:29 PM   #69
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
That no one person is right and the worship of a man that really did not "invent" martial arts, but passed on his "version" of it seems a bit weird to me I suppose......
That's fine, of course, but it really doesn't have much to to with the question of the original poster.

What's the point of trying to deny that Kaiso condemned Aikido as sport?

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:54 PM   #70
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Yeah, but you couldn't make much money teaching something without a popular name like "Aikido". "Aijudo" has a ring to it, if you go back to the idea that "ju" actually referred to "internal strength", which in turn refers to using ki/kokyu skills. But I guess you want to stay away from that, so, hmmmmmmm... how about "Ai-wrasslin'"? Would that work for you?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
I rode by a new fitness center today called "Inner Strength Fitness." I wonder if they are teaching jin paths and suit? Maybe that would be a good place to teach Ai-wrasslin.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:26 PM   #71
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
Chance has it you might find there something interesting.
Maybe I've already read it.

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Old 01-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #72
Dave Plaza
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Maybe what I do, I should call it something else like "aijudo" or something....... Anyone got any suggestions?....
I see it purely as a grappling art similar to Judo.....
How about Egokido?!?

No offence intended, but that's one crazy ego you have my friend...



Dave
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:45 PM   #73
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
What tends to happen is people like how something sounds in their head and just focus on the things that reinforce what they already think, feel or believe.
IHTBF people can also fall into that.

BTW, what I see in Sonoko Tanaka translation is a mix of Yamato damashii, Kokutai no hongi and Shinto mythology under an Oomoto-kyo perspective, and also think Ueshiba could have benefitted if he had read Foucault.

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Old 01-08-2011, 08:46 PM   #74
Gorgeous George
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
It has happened throughout human history and it's unlikely to change until we rise above it mentally? Then what would we do?
Not live for decades on the precipice - wondering when the nuclear holocaust will occur, due to a nuclear arms race/competition, i'd say.

To paraphrase someone (I forget who...):

'Kindess and compassion are as much a part of human nature as cruelty and competition.'.

And there's also the immense quote, in someone's signature on here, from Martin Luther King:

'Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.'

The point being that primitive behaviours, regardless of what they have done or been throughout human history, are no longer tenable: we have the means to annihilate - to extinct - the human race.
If we don't change soon, not only will these endless atrocities we commit against one another continue (which is bad enough in itself), but they could well escalate, culminating in the end of mankind.

That's my interpretation, anyway. I also think that the world's in a terrible state, and so continuing on with traditional methods is preposterous, if we truly wish to make the world bearable.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #75
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Graham, Happy New Year!

I believe that it is always good to begin with what Morihei Ueshiba actually stated, then look at the translations. I have two points to make.

First, if you read further on in The Heart of Aikido, there is another section, on pp. 98-103, where Ueshiba recounts his wartime experiences and his so-called ‘mystical' experience, when he was called upon to build the Iwama dojo. On pp.99-100, there is an explicit reference to ‘competitive matches' in aikido. The Japanese original appears on p. 128 of Takemusu Aiki. For those who can read Japanese, Here are the relevant paragraphs:

 一国を侵略して一人を殺すことではなく、みなそれぞれに処を得させて生かし、世界大家族としての集いとなって、一元の営みの分身分業として働けるようにするのが、合気道 の目標であり、宇宙建国の大精神であります。これが明治大帝の大み心であったと、今日なお迎いでおります。
 絶えずこの祈り争いをせさんようにする。だから合気道は試合を厳禁している。がその実は大なる愛の攻撃精神、和合、平和への精神である。

The closest John Stevens gets to a translation of part of this is the following paragraph:

"The purpose of Aikido is to help us fulfill our mission to bring peace and harmony to this world. That is why there are no competitive matches in Aikido, no contests. We attack with the power of Love, and we wield the weapons of harmony and peace." (The Heart of Aikido, pp. 99-100.)

The Takamusu Aiki passage is quoted in another place. This is Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of Morihei Ueshiba, which was translated into English only recently. This translation is much closer than what Mr Stevens manages to achieve above. Kisshomaru does not reproduce the Takamusu Aiki passage exactly. Here is Kisshomaru's version:

 他の国を侵略して人を殺して勝ったなどと錯覚するのは愚かです。みなそれぞれ、処を得つつ生きてゆき、世界大家族としての集いとなって、一元の営みの分身分業として働け るようにするのが、合気道の目標であり、宇宙建国の大精神であります。これが明治大帝の大み心であったと、今日なお迎いでおります。
 絶えずこの祈りによって、争いをせさんようにする。だから合気道は試合を厳禁している。がその実は大いなる愛の攻撃精神、和合、平和への精神です。

Here is a translation of the above passage:

"It is foolish to invade someone else's country, killing people and achieving the illusion of victory. The objective of Aikido mirrors that of the spirit at the foundation of the universe: for all to have a place to call home, to be part of the same family, to work as children of the same creative source. Even today, I truly believe that this was what Emperor Meiji had in mind. It is for this that we always pray, avoiding conflict at all cost. For this reason, I prohibit competition in Aikido. However, the love which is part of Aikido actively seeks concord and peace." (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, A Life in Aikido, p. 43.)

Secondly, here is a closer translation of the passage that you quoted in your opening post, plus some essential context. The translation is by Sonoko Tanaka and was published by Stan Pranin. It can be found on Stan's Aikido Journal website.

"Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the three Worlds—Appearance, Subconscious and Divine—and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it "takemusu aiki" when we clarify the true meaning of God's works, purify the Great Way and dedicate ourselves to assist the Great Way to become wholesome. This is my firm belief.
Therefore, the martial arts (budo) of our country are not called sports. The purpose of martial arts is to shape and perfect ourselves. Once we build ourselves up, we have to realize everything successfully and, first of all, we, as human beings, must protect all nature.
In our country, originally, we do not have such sports as people have in Western countries. Some people are delighted to say that the Japanese martial arts have gained in popularity since they became sports. However, this is a gross misunderstanding that shows they do not know at all what the Japanese martial arts really are.
Sports are games and pastimes that do not involve the spirit. They are competitions only between physical bodies and not between souls. Thus, they are competitions merely for the sake of pleasure. The Japanese martial arts are a competition in how we can express and realize love that unites and protects everything in harmony and helps this world to prosper.
The Way that preserves this world is a competition to protect the spirit and also the physical world. It is a competition to completely guard the Way of birth and growth of all nature, and to lovingly cultivate the Way of flourishing of all, through the breath of A-UM (breathing out and in) in which the spirit and physical body are balanced in harmony. This competition was exactly the same activity of the creation of today's world engaged in by the Great God through the two deities of Izanagi and Izanami. It is the Way to daily thank the Great God for His work and thus it is a prayer. There is nothing better than a prayer. Even when we feel ill or unpleasant, we can become refreshed and get well by offering prayers. I have experienced this through my prayers. I stand on the platform of Heaven and worship God facing to the east and heavenward. I offer my gratitude in prayer standing in the center of the Earth together with everything existing between Heaven and Earth. This is the true aikido and takemusu. This is the source of harmonious interaction between the breath of fire and water."

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
Thank you for your input, Peter - and happy new year to you, too.

I've heard that Mr Stevens is quite enthusiastic in his interest, and dedication to, O'Sensei, so I was quite cautious in ensuring that I didn't draw a false conclusion due to his influence in the translation.
But as I said: I felt that the quote was so thorough, and unambiguous, that there was no doubt.
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