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 > Spiritual

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 06-19-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
dapidmini
Dojo: Surabaya Aikido Dojo
Location: surabaya
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 95
Indonesia
Offline
philosophical or practical martial art?

I hope this is an appropriate sub forum to post this topic.

the aikido I know has a very deep philosophical points such as: non violence, non ego/self, etc. but it's still an effective martial arts for self defense. I know we're supposed to train both but in dojo, which part should we be more focused on? philosophical or practical side?

Last edited by dapidmini : 06-19-2011 at 12:02 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2011, 12:45 PM   #2
DCP
 
DCP's Avatar
Dojo: Inaka Dojo
Location: Land of Lincoln
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 135
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

That depends on what you want from aikido. Find an instructor and dojo that fits what you want from aikido.

Where I train, philosophical/martial emphasis usually depends on Sensei's mood.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
jester
 
jester's Avatar
Location: Texas
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 329
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

I don't really see martial arts as philosophical or non violent. You fight like you train.

If you get mugged and your family is at risk are you going to be philosophical or non violent?

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 12:56 AM   #4
Carsten Möllering
 
Carsten Möllering's Avatar
Dojo: Hildesheimer Aikido Verein
Location: Hildesheim
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 802
Germany
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
the aikido I know has a very deep philosophical points such as: non violence, non ego/self,
...
which part should we be more focused on? philosophical or practical side?
I don't think aikido or budo in general to be non violent.

I don't train and I don't teach any philosophical or religious issues during training. We just practice. But I train and try to teach reishiki/reigi.

Philosophical or religious aspects of aikido / budo I discuss with my teacher or students after practice. On the tatami we just train. This is one reason, why seminars are so important.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 06-20-2011 at 12:58 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 01:38 AM   #5
Tim Ruijs
 
Tim Ruijs's Avatar
Dojo: Makato/Netherlands
Location: Netherlands - Leusden
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 395
Netherlands
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

To properly train, it is important to understand what and why you practise.
Your mindset (and focus) is very important.
When you only practise for good fun, then that's what you will get: fun.

You can practise Aikido to (learn to) hold your own in a fight and at the same time become more philosophical outside the dojo.
There is a time to practise and a time to be philosophical. But to practise the latter in the dojo? I am not so sure.

In our style we stay close to aikijitsu to understand aikido and at many occasions I show how the (do) technique might become dangerous/martial jitsu. I guess you could say one is more philosophical than the other...and then yes you can practise both in the dojo. But my intention is not to teach philosophy but to make my students understand Aikido by showing (some of) its origin (e.g. Aikijitsu).

But can you elaborate on your statement "supposed to train both" and in what way you currently do that? I am curious...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 03:10 AM   #6
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 252
Philippines
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

I think there is a misconception that aikido is a non-aggressive, non-violent martial art. Aikido is in the first place a martial art.

I had trouble understanding the concept initially as the phrase "non-aggressive martial art" seemed contradictory. How could this be?

In my understanding (pls forgive me if it may seem shallow) as a martial artist, you go through phases. The initial phases, as a beginner you cannot avoid the violent or aggressive phase that the martial art offers. This includes aikido. You start learning techniques mostly painful submission moves and throws to control your partner and this is the only way you know how to control your aggressors. As you start learning more and more techniques, and get more proficient at them, you slowly start to realize how easy/trivial it is to maim, injure, paralyze, and even take ones life or the opposite, how they can take your life. I think the ultimate purpose of aikido or any other martial art for that matter is to transcend the violent phase and challenge yourself to accept that there exists a phase of non-violence (compassion, also for legal reasons) as you now, have higher probability of "winning" over your aggressors using less aggressive BUT more efficient techniques. This non-aggressive principle may just be more pronounced in aikido I think but no matter what phase you're in, violence and aggression will still exist just much, much less to minimize the damage. I think we may have heard the phrase "winning without fighting" at one point in time and this is the ultimate goal for any art.

I think it is not in the art to be questioned if it is effective or not, but in the artist. The techniques themselves are battle tested. The onus is on the artist if they are.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 06-20-2011 at 03:21 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 03:35 AM   #7
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 252
Philippines
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

case in point re aggressiveness/violence.

chiba or isoyama senseis videos. being high ranking aikidoka, the techniques they employ look aggressive and violent to me.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 03:54 AM   #8
Jauch
 
Jauch's Avatar
Dojo: Shinji Dojo/Curitiba, Paraná, Brasil
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 29
Portugal
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I hope this is an appropriate sub forum to post this topic.

the aikido I know has a very deep philosophical points such as: non violence, non ego/self, etc. but it's still an effective martial arts for self defense. I know we're supposed to train both but in dojo, which part should we be more focused on? philosophical or practical side?
Hello David

I'm not a "police officer" (or anything like it), so my answer is from a "pure civilian point of view".

My "self defense" (practical) training is to avoid be in a place/situation where I my need to "defend myself/others". The day I believe this is not enough, I'll move to other place (like my parents did) or if this is not possible I will begin to carry a gun.

Because of this, my training is focused on learn to listen my body, my partners body and my surrounds. I think our "soul" (or intent, or will, or whatever) "talks" through our eyes, movements, etc. I training to become able to clear my mind from everything, so I can "feel" the others/universe. I try to not cause injury, no matter how "violent" my partner charges against me, because I "believe" that if you aren't able to avoid hurting someone (and I'm not saying that you will never have the need to do it...), you do not have "self-control". Without self-control, no one is able to really control the other. And despite the fact that I "believe" in the "aiki is love" idea and that the "universe/others" talk to us in a manner that you can't hear with your ears, for me, aiki, when there is a "physical conflict", is about control.

Then, like was already said, when on tatami, I just train. Or, at least, I try to do it. My philosophy is there, but I try to not be thinking on it. I just try to do what I believe is what I must in order to learn the things I think are important.

"Thinking", right or wrong, is a slower thing. So, I try to "internalize" the aiki concept (my believes) when I'm not practicing on tatami. On tatami, I train the ability to use aiki without the need to think on it.

Unsuccessfully until now, I must admit

Hum... I said a lot and don't know if I really helped...
I can only say "Good luck" in your search!

Last edited by Jauch : 06-20-2011 at 03:59 AM. Reason: missing words
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 05:03 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,710
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

IMHO, train the body in the martial aspect and train the mind in the philosophical.

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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 06:31 AM   #10
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 252
Philippines
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, train the body in the martial aspect and train the mind in the philosophical.
well said.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2011, 04:48 PM   #11
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Hi David.
Philosophical or practical? Why in your mind are they different as if to be not connected?

Here's some data for you. Back in Japan in those 'old' days it was quite normal to recognise spiritual and zen was known as very spiritual yet disciplined and real.

Here in the western world when a teacher of such things gives spiritual rules which have physical effects it is generally pur down as philosophical.

Non-violence is an active thing as is non-resistance the effect of which is immediate. Very practical and effective. Hard to learn only because of our own unawareness.

Regards.G.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2011, 10:03 PM   #12
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

When you're sharpening a sword, the first thing you do is sharpen the sword. You don't worry about the meaning of the sword, or the use of the sword, or the philosophical implications of owning a sword. You sharpen the sword.

Do all that other stuff off the mat.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 02:25 AM   #13
Tim Ruijs
 
Tim Ruijs's Avatar
Dojo: Makato/Netherlands
Location: Netherlands - Leusden
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 395
Netherlands
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
When you're sharpening a sword, the first thing you do is sharpen the sword. You don't worry about the meaning of the sword, or the use of the sword, or the philosophical implications of owning a sword. You sharpen the sword.
What would be the purpose of sharpening a sword, when you do not know why you need a sword in the first place?

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 05:55 AM   #14
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Sigh.

When you're sharpening a sword, you sharpen the sword.

When you're not sharpening the sword, do what you like.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 06:13 AM   #15
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,758
United_States
Online
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
the aikido I know has a very deep philosophical points such as: non violence, non ego/self, etc. but it's still an effective martial arts for self defense. I know we're supposed to train both but in dojo, which part should we be more focused on? philosophical or practical side?
depends on the kind of person you are. if you are more philosophical and spiritual then you are more than likely will focus on those things. if you are a practical person, then that would be your focus. but it doesn't have to be either or. can be both. just because you are practical doesn't mean you are not philosophical about it, and vice versa. just because you are wearing a skirt, doesn't meant you are not a cross dresser.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 06:18 AM   #16
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,758
United_States
Online
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
What would be the purpose of sharpening a sword, when you do not know why you need a sword in the first place?
someone pay you, perhaps?

read somewhere, that mentioned if you start to ponder on the meaning of life in the middle of a battle, you will have neither meaning nor life.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 06:44 AM   #17
Tim Ruijs
 
Tim Ruijs's Avatar
Dojo: Makato/Netherlands
Location: Netherlands - Leusden
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 395
Netherlands
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Sigh.

When you're sharpening a sword, you sharpen the sword.

When you're not sharpening the sword, do what you like.
Sorry, I somehow missed that...

Agreed. Focus on what you do, live in the moment.

@phitruong
Agreed.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 07:32 AM   #18
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 906
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

If you take your Aikido training as a serious, life-or-death endeavor, you inevitably reach a point where you spend a lot of off-the-mat time thinking and worrying about how good you are and whether Aikido could ever work in a "real" situation.

It is in these moments that you have the opportunity to delve into the philosophy of Aikido. When you are staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, driving through rush hour traffic, or on a train having your head rocked back and forth.

That's part of shugyo. Budo training is supposed to change you, but the process of change takes place largely without conscious involvement of your brain. So intellectualizing the philosophical and spiritual side of Aikido is a generally useless endeavor without a storehouse of training experience "soaked in" to your self through hours of getting on the mat and giving it your all.

You can go to seminars and listen to shihan talk about what Aikido means and what it is and how it extends to your normal life, but the words won't mean much if you can't make an intuitive connection with them. The intuitive knowledge can only be formed through severe training.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 07:48 AM   #19
philipsmith
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 312
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
case in point re aggressiveness/violence.

chiba or isoyama senseis videos. being high ranking aikidoka, the techniques they employ look aggressive and violent to me.
Appearances can be deceptive.

I remember Chiba Sensei once saying (to paraphrase) true compassion is having the ability to destroy but not destroying [your opponent] which sums up both practical and philospohical elements for me
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 11:44 AM   #20
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,136
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
Appearances can be deceptive.

I remember Chiba Sensei once saying (to paraphrase) true compassion is having the ability to destroy but not destroying [your opponent] which sums up both practical and philospohical elements for me
Dear Philip,
Agreed. Cheers, Joe.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 12:44 PM   #21
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 906
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
Appearances can be deceptive.

I remember Chiba Sensei once saying (to paraphrase) true compassion is having the ability to destroy but not destroying [your opponent] which sums up both practical and philospohical elements for me
For what its worth, this is pretty compassionate, but far short of "truly" compassionate. Lat met throw two principles at you:

1) Since action begins as thought, aggressive thoughts (to harm or hurt another) are, in some sense, as bad as the actions themselves.

2) The boundaries between one person and another are illusory.

if we are all one and the same, then allowing someone to harm you is as bad as harming another person. I.e. turning the other cheek is right out, you might as well mug somebody yourself.

Furthermore, allowing someone to THINK of harming you is as bad as harming them yourself. Bad karma that you will have to pay back at some point.

So true compassion would involve being a person for whom it is impossible to be "an opponent" in the first place.

Like when a swordfight ends before anyone makes a cut, because one guy realizes the other guy just has no openings. The state I am talking about is one where the thought of drawing a sword never even occurs...he's not even a would-be attacker.

I think that's true compassion. If I ever get anywhere near that state I'll let you guys know all about it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 01:16 PM   #22
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
Location: Freiburg
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 308
Germany
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
So true compassion would involve being a person for whom it is impossible to be "an opponent" in the first place.
Thanks, I like that a lot.

For myself I would maybe add something along the lines of "... while maintaining one's own intergrity as much as possible." Somewhere in that direction is the goal of (my) practice. And at heart it is not validated or invalidated by winning or losing real or hypothetical violent encounters, as interesting and relevant as that may be.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 02:58 PM   #23
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,100
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
For what its worth, this is pretty compassionate, but far short of "truly" compassionate. Lat met throw two principles at you:

1) Since action begins as thought, aggressive thoughts (to harm or hurt another) are, in some sense, as bad as the actions themselves.

2) The boundaries between one person and another are illusory.

if we are all one and the same, then allowing someone to harm you is as bad as harming another person. I.e. turning the other cheek is right out, you might as well mug somebody yourself.

Furthermore, allowing someone to THINK of harming you is as bad as harming them yourself. Bad karma that you will have to pay back at some point.

So true compassion would involve being a person for whom it is impossible to be "an opponent" in the first place.

Like when a swordfight ends before anyone makes a cut, because one guy realizes the other guy just has no openings. The state I am talking about is one where the thought of drawing a sword never even occurs...he's not even a would-be attacker.

I think that's true compassion. If I ever get anywhere near that state I'll let you guys know all about it.
Duuuude! I so totally dig it! To my mind, that's some practical philosophy!
Thank you for that.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 09:12 PM   #24
JW
 
JW's Avatar
Location: San Francisco CA USA
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 509
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
if we are all one and the same, then allowing someone to harm you is as bad as harming another person. I.e. turning the other cheek is right out, you might as well mug somebody yourself.
Reminds me of the story of Tohei and the leather jacket. O-sensei chastised Tohei for having/flaunting something that inspired so much desire -- meaning his attitude and actions pushed the guy to be a thief! Bringing that jacket to Japan where it was rare contributed to the occurance of the transgression, so thanks to Tohei, the world has one more action of theft to stain its history.

For my answer to the OP question-- as I understand aikido, there is no aspect of philosophy that is not a direct metaphor for what you do on the mat. You should be living the philosophy with every movement.
In other words there is not techniques + philosophy, there is only the Way, which tells you 1) what to do on the mat, and 2) how to look at things off the mat.
If you look at the idea of this kind of progression:
unify your body--> unify yourself with what is around you (heaven and earth)--->unify yourself and your partner--->become the universe
it sounds philosophical but it is also a big project physically, which you just keep on working at.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2011, 07:01 AM   #25
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,769
United_States
Offline
Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
To properly train, it is important to understand what and why you practise.
Your mindset (and focus) is very important.
When you only practise for good fun, then that's what you will get: fun.
Bit of an aside here, but that really isn't true. I can't count the number of times I went into an experience and got something completely different out of it than what I went looking for. Martial arts training is only one of these.
  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
Martial Ineffectiveness dps General 148 08-20-2012 09:15 AM
Aikido: more than a martial art? OwlMatt Spiritual 63 08-05-2010 05:40 PM
Baseline skillset eyrie Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 1633 05-23-2008 01:35 PM
Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido Mike Sigman General 240 08-12-2005 06:22 PM
Something I wrote for a few friends of mine (long) drDalek General 1 11-18-2002 08:44 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:29 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 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