Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Training

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-23-2011, 11:22 PM   #76
Ellis Amdur
 
Ellis Amdur's Avatar
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 887
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
"To be a great martial artist, you must work hard, study hard, raise a good family, be a good citizen, do good deeds, and think good thoughts."
I've come to this thread late, but although I agree with most of the posters - in one way or another - I think that they are not discussing the validity of the original quote. Mr. Furuya set out of define a "great martial artist." Seems to me, his definition is of a good (or great, if you like) human being. My mother and father did all of the things in the quote, but neither of them were martial artists.

As far as I'm concerned, a great martial artist must be a great martial practitioner. Beyond that, one can quibble if it makes tactical sense to be a decent human being, because you'll have less enemies, or follow certain behavioral rules, so you will gain allies, and the like. But the bottom line must be a superlative level of skill which can only be acquired by sacrificing other things, even the needs of one's family.

Most great martial artists whom I have met have been, in some respects, selfish. (I would not put myself in the category of great martial artists - for I would have had to have been willing to sacrifice a lot more than I did - but as a somewhat-better-than-adequate martial artist, I certainly was selfish in my pursuit of skil). Perhaps instructive at this juncture would be Dave Lowry's essay, Get a New Wife.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 01-23-2011 at 11:25 PM.

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 06:17 AM   #77
Carsten Möllering
 
Carsten Möllering's Avatar
Dojo: Hildesheimer Aikido Verein
Location: Hildesheim
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 931
Germany
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
... (Be prepared for a long post, full of Chinese characters.) ...

Thank you very much!

And also to Josh: Thank you!

Your posts have been very helpful!

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 01-24-2011 at 06:20 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 09:43 AM   #78
tlk52
Dojo: Aikido of Park Slope/NY Aikikai
Location: NYC
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 106
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Thank you for the Dave Lowry piece.

I'm always amazed by how common it is that people come to martial arts with the expectation that it's quick, simple, and easy. if only one knew the trick one could just do it.

most people wouldn't expect to reach even an advanced amateur status (ie: acquiring enough skill to publicly perform in high end local unpaid groups or leagues etc...) by putting in 1 hour, 2X a week, on the violin or basketball or painting, or tap dancing, even after decades, I think that most people understand that it simply takes more work than that.

but, we see this expectation frequently in martial arts.

Last edited by tlk52 : 01-24-2011 at 09:52 AM. Reason: grammer
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 01:05 PM   #79
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 909
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
So what, in real-world specific terms, is "a commitment that is equal to your very best"? Training every day? Training three hours a day? Six hours? Nine hours? Becoming an uchideshi?

No matter what anyone does, you can make the argument that that's not their "very best" because there is something they didn't do and that they could have done (at least theoretically). But how does that help people to know what they should do?

If you don't like that idea, then it's up to you to show how "mere mortals" can achieve your level of commitment, isn't it? Railing against the "hobbyist" attitude is only helpful if you also show the alternative.
In my opinion, there are so many Aikidoka out there that live the alternative everyday that we are either blind, or living isolated, if we claim to have never seen them. The alternative is anyone who goes out to train with the highest level Aikidoka they can whenever they can, even make sacrifices to do so.
For me personally, I decide what hours are negotiable and non-negotiable. My hours for training are simply non-negotiable, everything else may bend around it. Barring my husband gets into a car accident or I get hit by a bus, those hours are non-negotiable. I will get a minimal amount of hours done by the end of each week.
Whether the time a person considers non-negotiable for their devotion to their Budo is 16 hours a week, or 3 hours a week; I believe the dividing line in commitment is the choice to declare that your training time is non-negotiable. No matter what is on TV, no matter if your work wants you to stay late, no matter if you have to get up at 5am, no matter if your friend wanted to try this new Italian place, no matter if your husband managed to score tickets to the ball game...those hours are non-negotiable; whether they be 16 hours or 3 hours a week. You make everything else that is important in your life for the rest of the hours. There are 168 hours in a week. Plenty of time to work, go to school, have friends and children, drive in the commute, try that new Italian place and train a non-negotiable amount of hours in our Aikido. This to me is the alternative to the hobbyist. IMO of course.

In the end the person that is respecting the art the most, IMO, is the person that never feels enough is enough. They never feel like they trained long enough, or hard enough. You are never good enough. It is the "I think I'm doing enough", or "I think I'll figure that technique out later, maybe someday" attitude that is causing the issues in Aikido I expressed frustration in. There is no summit to this sort of thing. Even the people who have a non-negotiable amount of training time will still feel like they need to do more, I do at least.

With this aside, I understand physical limitations. And obviously if some one needs to take a hiatus do to injury, illness, your child is sick, or for mourning, it is only healthy to do so. I mean, I went to my own wedding instead of training that day, and I've taken time out to heel a back injury. I'm talking about an over all attitude of devotion, not being an obsessive psycho who ignores family and health.

I think a balanced life can encompass a devotion to Aikido on a serious level. I've been a musician in classical instruments. I know I would of never been accepted to study with any good teacher if I had only studied once every few weeks, or once a week, etc. Why do we treat our Budo differently? A balanced life can encompass devotion to family, friends, collegues and Budo. If it can't encompass it, something is unbalanced some where in my opinion.

Last edited by RED : 01-24-2011 at 01:20 PM.

MM
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 01:17 PM   #80
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,121
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Most of us do not commit the appropriate length of time, intensity of study, or committment to train that is required to become a professional aikido ka. If I reasoned the same argument for my non-professional status as a football player, accountant, or musician most of us would acknowledge that argument as valid.

This is purple pen stuff. Sometimes there are things you do in life that don't earn credit for trying real hard; they aren't fair; and sometimes you are not very good at doing them. I used to work with athletics and I got to see the work ethics of college-grade athletes. They blew me away. Professional athletes do things daily that would make me cry. We train 1 or 3 times a week in aikido and fall over patting ourselves on the back for our "hard" training. We don't even rate professional scales... Look at what MMA does... that's a training schedule.

I am committed to keeping aikido part of my life. I have a family and career, both that precede aikido in priority. However, Aikido is highly prioritized and positioned in my life. I understand the sacrifice my prioritization requires. Some day I hope to change my priorites as my life allows; until then I keep aikido in as much of my life as I can.

However, my aikido is still prioritized highly enough that my instructors and those people with whom I associate should notice progress in my training. I rely on them to push me and keep me advancing my aikido education; I appreciate their criticism even when it is harsh. This is why I believe in testing and social interaction with peers in aikido.

The kind of committment necessary to be a professional is significant. I do not think we should begrudge that fact because we want to call ourselves martial artists and wear a black belt. Much of what we do in aikido is about artificially building ourselves up within a structured environment. Much of Ledyard's Sensei's post deflates that impression. It's not untrue, but it's the ugly lights at the end of the night that keep up from going home with a mistake.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 01:33 PM   #81
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,318
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

This morning, I had a long talk with a colleague about a possible new business venture. I explained that my goal was for my compensation to match the amount of effort I put in. If that's the case, I don't particularly care how much compensation other people get.

Similarly, in aikido, I realize that what I get out of the art will depend on what I put in. And over the years, I've been pretty consistent. There are people who started out training much harder than I do, then burned out and quit. There are people who trained much less than I do, got frustrated with their lack of progress, and quit. I'm still here. I've established a commitment that I can maintain pretty much no matter what else is going on in my life, and I keep chipping away at it.

Will that make me a shihan? Probably not. But year after year, I keep getting better. I'm happy, my teachers seem happy.

Katherine
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 06:48 AM   #82
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,202
Japan
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Hello George,

I have read all your posts in this thread--your last post (#71) especially, and I have a serious question. Have you discussed these issues with Saotome Shihan, or with Hiroshi Ikeda? In some sense, your discussing these issues here with us is like preaching to the choir.

Actually, an uncomfortably large number of Japanese shihans who live outside Japan, and who were deshi in the Hombu when the Founder was alive, have expressed deep anxiety that the general level of training has somehow declined, the unstated assumption being that the root of the decline lies with the Aikikai in Japan. However, Aikikai Hombu shihans are still regularly invited by these very same shihans to give Aikikai training seminars in the USA and so the Aikikai in Japan may be forgiven for thinking that the present situation is just fine.

Some of these shihans complained to me about the decline, but did not like my answer: "You have to tell Doshu yourself. His father has given you 8th dan and he obviously thinks you are a very good teacher/model of aikido. If you think he is not doing his job as head of the art, in what he teaches and expects his shihans to teach, you have to tell him."

So my question is really biblical. Are you a prophet, crying in the wilderness of US Aikikai aikido, or are you leading a grassroots movement from below? In addition, is there any communication between the ASU and the other groups in the US recognized by the Aikikai? I am thinking of the situation in Holland, where an umbrella group of all Aikikai organizations has been created. This has caused a major rethinking--for the better--of established attitudes. The US seems much freer than the EU, in terms of regulation of the martial arts, but it also seems something of a wilderness, in terms of communication among groups within the same Aikikai umbrella.

I ask these questions as an interested outsider, who trained in the US many years ago, looking in.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 09:03 AM   #83
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
All true, but I think it's worth pointing out that the "seriousness" you're talking about was a luxury that few could afford. Those who pursued budo, or koryu before them, were not what you could reasonably term productive members of society: they and the arts they practiced were luxury items, each of which required a certain number of productive members (rice farmers, fishermen, craftsmen) to support him. In economic terms, the budoka you describe is a member of the leisure class, and in societies that lacked the resources, knowledge and level of social organization to create the surpluses necessary to support these luxuries, a leisure class simply didn't exist.
The old bushi were not of a "leisure class" because they didn't train primarily for interest or self-satisfaction: it was their duty, and when duty called, it was their life on the line.

Moreover, the ability of society to obtain the resources, knowledge and level of social organization to create surpluses depended on someone to prevent others from stealing those things. You had to have warriors with skill to fend off brigands and gangs of thieves, a la The Seven Samurai. Of course, The Seven Samurai was a rather late-Samurai-era story. In the beginning, the fighters were farmers and fishermen gathering to protect their homes and villages. But as the thieves and brigands (the true leisure class) grew stronger and more skilled, civilized people found it necessary to form a warrior class, whose sole job was to become strong and skilled to allow the farming and fishing specialists to work and live in peace.

Moreover, while the farmers and fishers could relax and have fun at the end of the day, warriors were bound to step carefully everywhere they went and at all times, lest some casual remark spark the anger of a stronger man, or some close friend stab you in the back because he was paid off by an enemy.

Still, the bushi had their own families and beloved people and their first motivation was to protect them and their society above themselves or their own pleasure and interests. And their waking hours involved hard training and self-sacrifice. It was far from leisure pursuit. And they were far from non-productive since all organization would have been destroyed by thieves without them.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 01:36 PM   #84
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello George,

I have read all your posts in this thread--your last post (#71) especially, and I have a serious question. Have you discussed these issues with Saotome Shihan, or with Hiroshi Ikeda? In some sense, your discussing these issues here with us is like preaching to the choir.
Yes, I realize that. Much of what I put down here is for the newer folks who come to Aikiweb. It may help them think about things they wonder about or here seniors discussing but don't understand. Also, there is an unfortunate tendency for senior folks to complain amongst themselves about things but what they say never reaches the larger arena for general consideration.

As far as discussions from points low to the firmament, yes, I have initiated some. I have found that there is general agreement with my assessment of the issues in terms of the end product not being what it once was. But attempts to actually create substantive, tangible solutions to these issues is entirely another thing. At one point I decided to try to initiate a discussion of possible solutions at my peer level. If we acted collectively I think there are a number of things that might get done that would not constitute getting uppity. But I was unable to get virtually any interest in even having a dialogue started. It was as if I was acting way above my pay grade to even suggest we talk about it.

I think we have witnessed a failure on a massive scale of the top down, hierarchical model in my opinion. The stated goal was to train leaders and the result was actually to create a generation of seniors whose greatest aspiration is to escape notice. Initiative in the Japanese model is a very touchy area. Usually it's easier for folks not to take any.

Quote:
Actually, an uncomfortably large number of Japanese shihans who live outside Japan, and who were deshi in the Hombu when the Founder was alive, have expressed deep anxiety that the general level of training has somehow declined, the unstated assumption being that the root of the decline lies with the Aikikai in Japan. However, Aikikai Hombu shihans are still regularly invited by these very same shihans to give Aikikai training seminars in the USA and so the Aikikai in Japan may be forgiven for thinking that the present situation is just fine.
One has on only to travel around the US to understand that we can't blame Hombu for anything. Great teachers came here 40 years ago or so. They've all created a core of 6th and 7th Dans. If the state of Aikido in America isn't what folks think it should be, it is not the fault of Hombu dojo.

Sure, I'd like to see a different Aikido being put forth by the Aikikai and the Doshu. But it really is of little import what they choose to do. Aikikai folks show up a couple times a year to teach. Every day we teach. It's our problem and our solution.

Quote:
Some of these shihans complained to me about the decline, but did not like my answer: "You have to tell Doshu yourself. His father has given you 8th dan and he obviously thinks you are a very good teacher/model of aikido. If you think he is not doing his job as head of the art, in what he teaches and expects his shihans to teach, you have to tell him."
As you know the ASU relationship with Hombu is different and I think there is little back and forth.

Quote:
So my question is really biblical. Are you a prophet, crying in the wilderness of US Aikikai aikido, or are you leading a grassroots movement from below?
Well, if I were leading anything and said so publicly, I'd probably be seen as not knowing my place by both my seniors and my peers. So, no, I am not leading anything. I dialogue with anyone who wishes to discuss these things, I mentor anyone who is open to my help. I have absolutely no authority, except within my own dojo and a couple of satellite dojos I have been asked to watch over. Anything that happens does so because someone was persuaded by my example. I have created blocks of instruction designed to address some of our issues. I have been setting up instructor level training seminars which folks come to or they don't. I am doing quite a bit within my purview but it would take more people interested i doing the same kinds of things to really get a major shift going. With no "charter " from the King backing efforts of this type, it's difficult to make anything happen. The folks most interested are the mid-level folks, not the seniors,interestingly enough.

I
Quote:
n addition, is there any communication between the ASU and the other groups in the US recognized by the Aikikai? I am thinking of the situation in Holland, where an umbrella group of all Aikikai organizations has been created. This has caused a major rethinking--for the better--of established attitudes. The US seems much freer than the EU, in terms of regulation of the martial arts, but it also seems something of a wilderness, in terms of communication among groups within the same Aikikai umbrella. I ask these questions as an interested outsider, who trained in the US many years ago, looking in.
Now here, I can honestly say that I am proud to be in the ASU. We are absolutely unique amongst the larger organizations in the way we interact with the outside. Ikeda Sensei in particular has developed the concept of the Bridge Seminar in which people from multiple styles or organizations will all teach and the students all train together. I will be teaching at Dennis Hooker's Dojo at a Bridge Seminar along with Bruce Bookman, Greg O'Conner, Kayla Feder, Rich Wagener, Todd Jones, and Dennis.

For many years it has been a tradition for the Rocky Mountain Summer Camp to frequently have a guest teacher from outside the ASU. Sometimes it wasn't even an Aikido teacher but usually it has been. Our seniors were present at the Aiki Expos in force and trained with virtually everyone teaching classes.

Ikeda Sensei has been taking the initiative to create Bridge Seminars in Amsterdam and even in Japan. The potential for creating a network of folks who actively communicate with each other when previously there was virtually no contact is huge. I have committed myself to participate in these events as much as my budget allows. I just got back from San Diego where I trained with Ikeda, Doran, and Tessier and got to spend significant time with Francis, Greg O'Conner, Wikco from Ansterdam and other folks whom I had never met before.

As someone from the IAF, I think this type of thing would be seen as a positive development. From the standpoint of the guys who run the Aikkai Headquarters I think it could prove to be a thorn in their side if everyone overseas starts talking to each other. Just my thought...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 02:18 PM   #85
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,163
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
The old bushi were not of a "leisure class" because they didn't train primarily for interest or self-satisfaction: it was their duty, and when duty called, it was their life on the line.
I said nothing about "interest or self-satisfaction"; I never thought they were in it for the fun of it. The point was that they didn't produce any essential necessities. In economic terms, they were overhead. If you don't like the phrase "leisure class", choose another.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Moreover, the ability of society to obtain the resources, knowledge and level of social organization to create surpluses depended on someone to prevent others from stealing those things.
Well, not exactly. Say rather that in many circumstances, that was a necessary but not sufficient condition to prevent depredation of the work that was done by others. You still have the problem of where the surpluses come from, and they come from numbers.

Let's return to the subject under discussion, about the essence of training and so on. If you're talking about the origins of the koryu, you're talking about martial arts that were developed by a professional military class made up of men (primarily) who had the leisure to train all day, every day. Again, if the word "leisure" offends you, by all means choose another one (but it in no way suggests that they weren't working hard, so ya know...don't project). How many farmers had to work all day in the fields to support one bushi? That's the point. Skip feudal Japan if you prefer and look at feudal Europe: how many peasants did it take to support one knight? The point is that dedicated training of that sort has never been an option for any but a few. Why would we today expect things to be different?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 02:47 PM   #86
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I said nothing about "interest or self-satisfaction"; I never thought they were in it for the fun of it. The point was that they didn't produce any essential necessities. In economic terms, they were overhead. If you don't like the phrase "leisure class", choose another.
What about "life-on-the line" class? They had a grueling life, standing always ready to plunge toward death or even to plunge a knife into their own stomachs....

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, not exactly. Say rather that in many circumstances, that was a necessary but not sufficient condition to prevent depredation of the work that was done by others. You still have the problem of where the surpluses come from, and they come from numbers.
Hardly matters, really. Farmers produce food, samurai produce a safe environment in which to do that. They're not non-productive. Just "differently-productive".

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Let's return to the subject under discussion, about the essence of training and so on. If you're talking about the origins of the koryu, you're talking about martial arts that were developed by a professional military class made up of men (primarily) who had the leisure to train all day, every day. Again, if the word "leisure" offends you, by all means choose another one (but it in no way suggests that they weren't working hard, so ya know...don't project).
So why use the term leisure? It certainlydoesn't apply. What they did was work like animals, just like everyone else in Japan with the added burden of constant vigilance even in their "down" time.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
How many farmers had to work all day in the fields to support one bushi?
What does it matter? The farmers couldn't have lived without them.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That's the point. Skip feudal Japan if you prefer and look at feudal Europe: how many peasants did it take to support one knight? The point is that dedicated training of that sort has never been an option for any but a few. Why would we today expect things to be different?
It's true that a wealthy man can travel and spend a ton of time training. But what in life is different? The wealthy have more opportunity for everything.

But I have found that people prioritize for what they really want. Be it gambling, boat-building, marathon-running or dressing in furry costumes and going to conventions.

I once had a wealthy teacher who could travel freely around the world and never needed to sweat about his mortgage or his children's provision or anything else. He insisted to us that "Budo must be your first priority."

I don't really believe that. Even if it could be my first priority (because I had unlimited resources and didn't need to work), I don't think it would be. I don't believe it should be the first priority for anyone except as it serves and supports his or her family's good. It happens that it does that to a great degree, but in this teacher's case, he was a rich fellow who enjoyed doing judo, aikido, karate and sword, so he made it his first priority. But I doubt it would remain so if his finances were seriously shaken. He would change priorities pretty quickly. A professional soldier does not have such leisure.

Best to you.

Davod

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 02:55 PM   #87
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 711
Canada
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

I don't think people who train in MA would be the 21st century equivalent of the samurai or knights... that would be closer to soldiers or police or something like that... And those DO work full time and get supported economically by others in the population.

Most of us in north america and europe are supported by others, for that matter, in our 'real jobs'. Farming and fishing occupy quite small portions of the total workforce.

The key is you have to convince others that what you're doing is useful enough to THEM that they should support you economically for doing it.... Personal development won't cut it there.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 03:11 PM   #88
Amassus
 
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 306
New Zealand
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Hello all.

As the OP I have been very excited about the responses my post originated. Initially my post was put out there because I, personally, was struggling with why and how I am training, now I am seeing, for some of you, this is a bigger thing.

I'm going to try and touch on some of the comments. All have been great BTW.

Quote:
As far as I'm concerned, a great martial artist must be a great martial practitioner. Beyond that, one can quibble if it makes tactical sense to be a decent human being, because you'll have less enemies, or follow certain behavioral rules, so you will gain allies, and the like. But the bottom line must be a superlative level of skill which can only be acquired by sacrificing other things, even the needs of one's family.

Most great martial artists whom I have met have been, in some respects, selfish. (I would not put myself in the category of great martial artists - for I would have had to have been willing to sacrifice a lot more than I did - but as a somewhat-better-than-adequate martial artist, I certainly was selfish in my pursuit of skil). Perhaps instructive at this juncture would be Dave Lowry's essay, Get a New Wife.
Thanks, Ellis, I always enjoy your honesty. I have read that essay before and I know I would not wish to prioritize my training over my family like that. That is a decision I made when I decided to have kids. At times I wish I could train more, however, I accept that I will not be a martial artist of the highest caliber due to that decision.

Quote:
In the end the person that is respecting the art the most, IMO, is the person that never feels enough is enough. They never feel like they trained long enough, or hard enough. You are never good enough. It is the "I think I'm doing enough", or "I think I'll figure that technique out later, maybe someday" attitude that is causing the issues in Aikido I expressed frustration in. There is no summit to this sort of thing. Even the people who have a non-negotiable amount of training time will still feel like they need to do more, I do at least.
I agree, Maggie. It sounds like you just got in my head I remember talking to a guy after training one night and discovered he comes to aikido because it was 'a bit of exercise'. That was the first time I realized that not everybody treats training as seriously as I do.

Quote:
I am committed to keeping aikido part of my life. I have a family and career, both that precede aikido in priority. However, Aikido is highly prioritized and positioned in my life. I understand the sacrifice my prioritization requires. Some day I hope to change my priorites as my life allows; until then I keep aikido in as much of my life as I can.

However, my aikido is still prioritized highly enough that my instructors and those people with whom I associate should notice progress in my training. I rely on them to push me and keep me advancing my aikido education; I appreciate their criticism even when it is harsh. This is why I believe in testing and social interaction with peers in aikido.
This is exactly where I am at, you wrote it much better than I.

Quote:
I think we have witnessed a failure on a massive scale of the top down, hierarchical model in my opinion. The stated goal was to train leaders and the result was actually to create a generation of seniors whose greatest aspiration is to escape notice. Initiative in the Japanese model is a very touchy area. Usually it's easier for folks not to take any.
This whole line of posts has been very interesting...and exciting. My club's lineage is through Robert Nideau sensei so we have links with the States. New Zealand now has a real mix of aikido styles and associations, its pretty messy really, but at least the training opportunities are diverse. Consistency can be an issue.
It's great to hear people with experience thinking critically about aikido training.

Overall there seems to be two sides to this discussion. What aikido training means for the individual and what it means for aikido as a martial art. The two are obviously connected and one can affect the other.

Great reading, thanks!

Dean.

Last edited by Amassus : 01-25-2011 at 03:15 PM.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 04:51 PM   #89
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
but in this teacher's case, he was a rich fellow who enjoyed doing judo, aikido, karate and sword, so he made it his first priority.
O-Sensei's family was loaded and his Uncle subsidized him when it became apparent how little aptitude he had to go into business, He also had a JAPANESE WIFE meaning he could train his brains out and she took care of everything else; and she didn't divorce him. That's pretty much not going to happen in America.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 08:17 PM   #90
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,163
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
What about "life-on-the line" class? They had a grueling life, standing always ready to plunge toward death or even to plunge a knife into their own stomachs....
As I said, choose whatever term makes you feel good. It doesn't have anything to do with the subject under discussion, which is how (or whether) a society can afford to support a professional military class. Not every society could, you know. Just because something is valuable doesn't mean you can automatically afford it.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Hardly matters, really. Farmers produce food, samurai produce a safe environment in which to do that. They're not non-productive. Just "differently-productive".
Again, call it whatever you want, it does not matter.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
What does it matter? The farmers couldn't have lived without them.
In the discussion of whether or how a society can support a professional military class, it is the only thing that matters.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
But I have found that people prioritize for what they really want. Be it gambling, boat-building, marathon-running or dressing in furry costumes and going to conventions.
So if you really cared about your martial arts, if it was really a priority, you'd do it all day every day. So why aren't you?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 09:26 PM   #91
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
As I said, choose whatever term makes you feel good. It doesn't have anything to do with the subject under discussion, which is how (or whether) a society can afford to support a professional military class. Not every society could, you know. Just because something is valuable doesn't mean you can automatically afford it.
But maybe they can't afford it because they didn't establish a military class to protect their interests.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Again, call it whatever you want, it does not matter.
Hey, you were the one who made the claim. If you don't want to stand by it, own up to it.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In the discussion of whether or how a society can support a professional military class, it is the only thing that matters.
Well...exactly. The fact is that a society that can't guard its wealth will lose all the fruits of its labor. A society can't afford not to have a military unless it has the benefits of mountains or oceans to protect it. Minus those things, you have to have the army.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
So if you really cared about your martial arts, if it was really a priority, you'd do it all day every day. So why aren't you?
Actually, I do. It's just not in the "form" you recognize. I have over 39 years of experience in aikido, judo, karate, kenjutsu, jujutsu, baguazhang, taji quan, xing yi quan and others. I'm constantly working on refining the inner principles of all those arts. I just don't have to wear a uniform to do that.

Even so, it's not my first priority in life. That would be my family. And to keep my family financially secure, I must maintain a job with much more concern than I have for martial training. After that, I need to work to be independent of "a job" in which I work for others, so my third priority is writing novels and screenplays. And martial arts comes in about #4 in my priorities.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 09:57 PM   #92
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
I have a book called Kodo: Ancient Ways by Kensho Furuya.
It is a book based on old martial wisdoms. I read and reread passages from it all the time. This morning I read a passage titled "The essence of training".

This part stood out for me.
"To be a great martial artist, you must work hard, study hard, raise a good family, be a good citizen, do good deeds, and think good thoughts."

Then,
"What really matters is that you lead a good healthy, wholesome life. And that is what a martial arts master is."
I don't know...at what age did Kensho Furuya die?

I remember him when he was called Dan Furuya.

What was the cause of his death at such a young age?

The kinds of things he said sound good, but I'm not sure that he followed his own advice.

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Now, I have a demanding job and young children. So I can't get to training as often as I like but when I'm there I believe I value that time and train mindfully. I take what I have learned home and do what solo exercise I can. I will not be training with any of the IS guys mentioned on the forums anytime in the near future, I live in New Zealand and don't expect my family to have to sacrifice money to get me over to Japan or the States. I read the articles and advice given here and elsewhere and do what I can. Am I doing it right? Who knows? I try and keep my training honest and look for disrupting the structure of uke first and foremost. Technique comes second these days. I'm doing what I can in the confines of my life. But the passages above suggest that life is training. Isn't that what training in budo is all about? Not learning how to fight but learning how to better oneself through martial training.
I think you're on the right track, Dean. You have to care for your family first and, frankly, most aikido training, no matter how hard or faithfully you hit it is not really going to do you that much good that you should neglect your family over it.

I think the best thing I could tell you is, if you're in New Zealand, get with David Lynch. That's probably as good as any aikido you'll be able to find and most likely a better way to get it than going to Japan, in your case.

Gambatte.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 07:59 AM   #93
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,163
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
But maybe they can't afford it because they didn't establish a military class to protect their interests.
Maybe, but it's irrelevant to the point under discussion.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Hey, you were the one who made the claim. If you don't want to stand by it, own up to it.
Sheesh, do you have to be so cantankerous, David? It's not clear what "claim" you're talking about, but I don't think I made it. The word "leisure" seems to be a hot button for you. All that I have said is that it's just a label to designate a certain social class or type of activity, and does not derogate the activity or imply that it's frivolous, worthless or an idle pleasure. If you insist on manufacturing a derogatory attitude, sorry, but for the last time, I'm not going to play.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Well...exactly. The fact is that a society that can't guard its wealth will lose all the fruits of its labor.
With context intact, you can see that my "it" does not refer to military power. So no, it is not exactly what you are saying at all.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Actually, I do. It's just not in the "form" you recognize.
I do recognize it, David. Can you really not be understanding the point that I'm trying to make?

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Even so, it's not my first priority in life. That would be my family. And to keep my family financially secure, I must maintain a job with much more concern than I have for martial training. After that, I need to work to be independent of "a job" in which I work for others, so my third priority is writing novels and screenplays. And martial arts comes in about #4 in my priorities.
And I have no problem with that at all. That was my whole point: that except for a very fortunate few, we in the modern world do not have the resources that would allow us to pursue something like martial arts training -- no matter our dedication -- as a full-time occupation. This was also true in feudal Japan. The differences between then and now (different class structure, more efficient means of production, plus all the history in budo development since then, etc.) means that now we have this (perhaps historically anomalous) middle class of people who have enough means to not have to work from dawn to dusk in the fields seven days a week (so we have some time), plus some surplus money, plus access to training that once would have been off-limits to us for reasons of social class, gender, or other reasons. We can train, but very few of us can train full-time and support ourselves. Even a relatively short period of time doing so, say a few months as an uchideshi, is beyond the reach of most, at least most of those who have family obligations. So if we are to understand what it means to be dedicated to training, we need to get past this martial arts movie ideal of living in the dojo and come to terms with what it can mean in the real world today. There's been so much sneering talk of "hobbyists"...okay, how do we know who's a "hobbyist" when we're all evening-and-weekend types anyway?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 10:38 AM   #94
Carsten Möllering
 
Carsten Möllering's Avatar
Dojo: Hildesheimer Aikido Verein
Location: Hildesheim
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 931
Germany
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
The word "leisure" seems to be a hot button for you.
I somehow don't understand this point:
As not being a native speaker I have to look up words in my dictionaries. And what they give for "leisure" (time off; free time; spare time; recreation; time out [Am.]; relig. retreat) just doesn't fit to the role the bujutsu training had in the life of the bushi.
And it doesn't fit describing the sociol role of the bushi or their tasks in building society.
Not to mention that lot of or most of the bushi had work to do besides their training.
So I don't understand the meaning you give to "leisure" in this context?

Quote:
... is beyond the reach of most, at least most of those who have family obligations. ...
I think we experience different surroundings: Who is "most"?
In my context there are many many practioners who live aikido in a way which you don't think to be possible for "most of us".

Quote:
... we need to get past this martial arts movie ideal of living in the dojo ...
This has never been the ideal of any teacher or sempai, I know. And as far as I know this has not been the ideal of "the old". Living as an uchi deshi is one possibility, but there are also other ways. Are now - and have been in former times.
And also being an uchi deshi is not a model for ones whole life but just a part of the education for.some time.

And I often hear it to be important not to make a living out of aikido but to have a good job instead, and to do it good. Not only to be a committed member of the dojo, but also to be a good "member of the society".

Quote:
... when we're all evening-and-weekend types anyway?
Are we? I think there are a lot of different types of living aikido.
And:
Don't you think it already makes a difference being a one-evening-per-week type or being an every-evening type?
Or being an one-weekend-per-year type or an two-weekends-a-month type?
Or being a building-the-job-around-aikido type or a training-when-the-job-allows-type?

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 01-26-2011 at 10:43 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 11:09 AM   #95
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 711
Canada
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Leisure's probably not the best word to use, but I think I see what Mary's getting at, more or less...

If everyone in the country is a substistance level farmer, if because of soil or climate or whatever it literally takes a single person 14 hours of labour a day to provide enough food to not die of starvation, then that is what every single person in the country will basically have to do, all day, otherwise starve.

If the land is richer (better soil, lots of fish, whatever) then maybe some people might farm but for the sake of argument now they will have a few hours of time left at the end of the day to do something other than farm. And maybe a few people will start to do other things other than farming or fishing and there will still be enough food for them to not starve to death.

What economic model is used to distribute the food might vary -- they might be given food because they do something useful for the farmers (trades, etc), or they might manage to take it from the farmers (or by neighbouring farmers) by force, or by buying or accumulating enough land that they can act as landlords and take a share of farmers' food.

Either way, these people are not directly involved in producing food and if I understand right, Mary is using the term 'leisure class' to refer to them or perhaps she just means some subsets of them. I would argue though that there are really at least two groups of non-food producing people --

a) those that do some other trade all day and get payed for it, and

b) the group of people that has got hold of land or power or capital of some kind and can in some way get people to give them food without taking all their waking hours working to provide some service they can trade directly for food. (this is the group that could most accurately be called a leisure class, if you want to use that term at all)

And you could argue there are those
c) that are somewhere in between, perhaps taking half their day to do whatever it is they do to get food...

So where do martial artists fit in? They're not producing food, but are they 'tradespeople', using their martial art directly to provide a service that others pay them for by feeding them? Or are they more like groups b or c, getting fed for some other reason and doing the martial art with their left-over time?

I think for those studying traditional martial arts in modern western civilization, the answer is clearly b or c (mostly c). No one is paying us for our training.

A professional military would fall more under group 'a'...

So I guess if you want to talk about history we can argue about which japanese martial artists in which part of history fell more under group a, which under b, and which under c...

It's the 'c' group that seems to best describe most of us today...
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 11:12 AM   #96
Ellis Amdur
 
Ellis Amdur's Avatar
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 887
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

One small point . . .a lot of the most significant koryu practitioners in the sengoku and Edo period were farmers (nomin) or yeoman (goshi), who did their training after a full day in the fields. For just one example, Maniwa Nen-ryu was almost completely farmers. And there were masters among them. In the Meiji revolution, the bulk of the really formidable fighters were rural samurai, who were farmers, except for their caste designation.

Best
Ellis Amdur

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 12:40 PM   #97
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 386
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Hi Ellis, nice to see you on Aiki Web and to read around in the threads learning how you have continued your studies and work for the benefit of Aikido and various communitites in general for the common good .... I have read of several of your publications and works among the general public (not sure the right words for this but I'm sure most people can look up your work on Aiki Web and elsewhere)

I'm very interested in this thread about the interface between training and the obligations and choices present in daily life.

Yesterday, I was grateful to Francis for acknowledging and furthering my mention of Kanai Sensei after the column Legacy and the Founder. Of course I found his question difficult to answer as all the teachers I mentioned were kind and helpful in different ways. Then I remembered the beginning at NYAikikai after a brief introduction to Aikido at college.

What perhaps fits this thread was the composition of the dojo in the late sixties. Some of us were there for our health we had either heard of it or actually had opportunity to try it at school, etc. but others were actually there for reasons of livelihood as well as the fact they liked it. I am thinking of the actors and dancers who were among the first to join in the sixties, they are included in the many sempais to whom I am very grateful. And the artists. But in Yamada Sensei's dojo training was very serious and kinda hard to some of us, but because we enjoyed it and it was good for our health we kept at it. Just look at the USAF list of dojos, so many of the students from back then are still active. Sid Spencer just turned 80 I read, and still teaches.

Let's get some of these people to write (Francis, I am just one of so many you should ask)
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 01:42 PM   #98
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
He also had a JAPANESE WIFE meaning he could train his brains out and she took care of everything else; and she didn't divorce him. That's pretty much not going to happen in America.
Even with a Japanese wife!!!

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 01:57 PM   #99
Amassus
 
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 306
New Zealand
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
I think the best thing I could tell you is, if you're in New Zealand, get with David Lynch. That's probably as good as any aikido you'll be able to find and most likely a better way to get it than going to Japan, in your case.
Thanks for the reply, David. I have trained with Lynch's dojo once and found them to be a real mix of styles and studying aikido is the focus, not grades. Very enjoyable. He doesn't teach at the dojo himself so much now, check this out if you are interested in what he is doing these days.
http://www.aikido.co.nz/
Look at the koru dojo...a real aikido gem in NZ.

Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 03:33 PM   #100
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
United_States
Offline
Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Thanks for the reply, David. I have trained with Lynch's dojo once and found them to be a real mix of styles and studying aikido is the focus, not grades. Very enjoyable. He doesn't teach at the dojo himself so much now, check this out if you are interested in what he is doing these days.
http://www.aikido.co.nz/
Look at the koru dojo...a real aikido gem in NZ.

Dean.
That's probably the nicest geodesic dome I'll ever see.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Experience Dave de Vos General 43 12-07-2010 04:20 PM
Is two Days a week enough? EMelanson78 General 237 11-03-2010 11:57 AM
Long road vs short road to ki power (aiki, internal strength...) RonRagusa General 38 06-27-2008 04:08 AM
Am i missing something?? aikigirl10 General 119 04-20-2006 01:07 PM
The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines senshincenter General 47 02-20-2006 06:20 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:48 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2017 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2017 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate