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Old 08-25-2011, 09:32 PM   #101
jonreading
 
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Niall made a comment about techniques that kill being the antithesis of aikido. I think I understand the gist of the comment, but in application, would the argument then be that a technique applied incorrectly (and therefore effectively causes no harm) be considered aikido? Conversely, would a technique applied correctly, but resulted in harm (killing) not be considered aikido? I ask these questions mostly to construct the argument premise. To point out the obvious, the argument is action-oriented; mens rea is missing from the argument.

I think sometimes we confuse the ends and the means. I can understand that the study of "aiki"do is a study of the means, the end is simply closure to the experiment. In this context, I could entertain a statement that expressed the irrelevancy of the end. Likewise, I can understand a statement that the end is the purpose of training, the means is the medium used to accomplish the end.

For me the study of aikido is not about the end. If I correctly perform aiki, the end result is demonstrative of that success. I think the study of aikido is in the present of interaction, not the future of conclusion. In a sword book I read, the author advices students not to plant their front foot until they have reached the proper striking distance. In planting your foot before you strike you forego the ability to pursue your opponent should he retreat.

If I am already committed to the end, how can I possibly be free in the present to perform aikido? In using Graham's example, If I commit to performing a shiho nage that causes no injury to my partner, how can I do anything but move in a manner that will, in its end, look like shiho nage and not cause injury to my partner? Further, how can one validate whatever movement is necessary to get to the end as aikido? This is flawed logic. A move like shiho nage and shiho nage are not the same. Committing to make a shape that looks like shi nage and committing to aiki resulting in shiho nage are not the same. I think this is why we have non-functional aikido-like movement.

Last edited by jonreading : 08-25-2011 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:21 PM   #102
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Anita Dacanay wrote: View Post
Why-oh-why must we break Aikido down in terms of "martial" VS. "philosophical"(or "spiritual")...

Are we so terribly dualistic in our thinking that we cannot conceive that Aikido is BOTH a spiritual practice and martially effective?
Are we so historically inaccurate that we do not realize that the founder of aikido was dualistic?

Q: When Morihei Ueshiba lectured to his students, what did he say?
A: He spoke in archaic, spiritual terms that no one could understand.

When Morihei Ueshiba talked about his spiritual ideology, he used what "religion" as his base?
A: Oomoto kyo

When asked, Morihei Ueshiba stated he was a man of ??? and not a religious man.
A: he was a man of *budo*

Q: When other people came to Morihei Ueshiba to learn from him, they came because of ??? and not because of ???
A: They came because of his martial skills and not because of his spiritual ideology. They felt and experienced the former and wanted it for their own. They listened and heard the latter and did not understand nor were they interested.

It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who ushered in the new, modern aikido that removed the dualistic nature of his father to create one martial system comprised of an ideal of peace, harmony, and techniques that was acceptable to a world wide audience.

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
In the case of aikido the peaceful philosophy springs from the way that the technique requires being relaxed and in harmony with the attacker in order for it to be effective.In that way the practical aspect of aikido, the waza, gives birth to the philosophy,so if your aikido is correct on a technical level the philosophy is already there.That means that if one would strip aikido of its philosophical aspect he would actually be performing joint manipulations and wrist locks using brute force, violence and a lot of...ignorance of ki and kokyu thus redusing to a fighting method that is no longer an art.And the magical thing is that it would also be less effective on a practical level, that's how aikido works,you have to be one physically, mentally and aware of your ki and the way to extend it.
And that is directly opposite Morihei Ueshiba's vision of aikido. He rarely showed a technique twice. When asked to perform a technique again, he would either answer no or they are all the same. He would become irate if people thought of him as being religious. He was a man of budo. He stated his art was formless. Ueshiba stated one must become the Universe, be an avatar of the kami, etc and not that one must use techniques to reach some peaceful philosophy. Pre-war students practiced joint locks as a body developing method and not as techniques. Only after Kisshomaru came along did joint locks become techniques. Only after Kisshomaru came along did aikido change to become a complete vision of spiritual peace and harmony by practicing techniques.

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
The same applies to the avoidance of a punch or a kick.You "sweep" what's coming in the same direction that the attack was going(no blocking), while simultaniously you make sure that you are not there anymore.That way you never resist,
And how do you reconcile the fact that Ueshiba could stand or sit and have people push on him and he didn't have to move to neutralize the "attack"? He didn't have to "get out of the way" to make his aikido work.

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Carsten this sounds like very confused thinking. Perhaps you could explain the spiritual nature of atemi to the larynx.
Perhaps someone could also explain the spiritual nature of breaking an elbow joint with an atemi, too. Because even in his old age, Ueshiba can still be seen delivering that kind of atemi, among others.

Quote:
Anita Dacanay wrote: View Post
Doesn't this mean you have to be clear about which spirituality you already have and bring to the dojo?

I interpret it as meaning that O Sensei did not think it mattered what one's religious background was, one could still develop spiritually through practicing Aikido.
Ueshiba said that whatever religion you chose, aiki would make it better. Not that you could develop spiritually through practicing aikido. There is a big difference there. Kisshomaru's Modern Aikido changed and added that one could develop spiritually through practicing aikido.

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
There is only one aikido and that is o'sensei's aikido, based on the basic principles that he taught. Everybody who say that they are teaching another style, they don't know what they're saying! And then of course, they engage in endless discussions wondering about the magical secret of o'sensei's skills...Beats me!
Historically, that isn't true. Ueshiba's martial abilities and skills were replicated by his peers, who were also students of Sokaku Takeda. Spiritually, pretty much all his students (with a few exceptions) had no idea what he was talking about.

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
As for the second question, "who is they?"...The teachers who are claiming that they are doing another style of aikido than the original of course. They chopped aikido to pieces and then chose to study only what they like. They are not practicing the way o'sensei taught and then they are wondering why it is so difficult to achieve his level in aikido. Where's the logic in that? It really beats the hell out of me!
And what of Morihei Ueshiba, who chopped his teacher's art to pieces to reduce the number of techniques taught? Is he then not practicing aikido? Remember, Takeda called his art aikijujutsu, the precursor to aikido and Ueshiba only agreed to the name aikido -- he never named it himself.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Niall made a comment about techniques that kill being the antithesis of aikido.
If we look at Daito ryu as a martial system that taught people the ability to capture center on contact, bring them in, down, and then deliver a blow to hurt/maim/kill, then we can look to Ueshiba adding one more option ... instead of in and down to the feet for harming the attacker, Ueshiba allowed for the possibility to take the attack and allow it to be redirected away.

But, Ueshiba never removed atemi from his aikido. The question is whether or not he thought of the atemi as a "killing blow" or just one that maimed/injured.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:13 PM   #103
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Are we so terribly dualistic in our thinking that we cannot conceive that Aikido is BOTH a spiritual practice and martially effective?
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Are we so historically inaccurate that we do not realize that the founder of aikido was dualistic?
Would you elaborate, Mark? This strikes me as a bit odd. So Anita basically says, "why must people suggest we can only be either philosophical or martially effective?" You seem to reply that O Sensei suggested it's either you're philosophical or you're martially effective; or that he completely seperated his philosophy/spirituality and budo practice.

Quote:
It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who ushered in the new, modern aikido that removed the dualistic nature of his father to create one martial system comprised of an ideal of peace, harmony, and techniques that was acceptable to a world wide audience.
Except that it was O Sensei who also
Quote:
spoke in archaic, spiritual terms that no one could understand.
...as part of his budo class.
Couldn't it be that he simply had different notions of what constituted harmony, than what most people today think?
How do you reconcile the times he spoke of the homonym "love" as being relevant to Aikido practice? You seem to be saying on one hand that no one was interested in his spiritual philosophy so O Sensei didn't connect his budo with his philosophy. Then on the other hand you seem to say Nidai Doshu tweaked the philosophy, so O Sensei didn't include philosophy in his budo. So I'm left still wondering why it's unreasonable to consider the practice of Aikido as being both.
I also wonder why anyone who doesn't practice the exact philosophy of O Sensei can't be described as doing both authentically. And while I know O Sensei was a close member of Omotokyo, that still doesn't tell me what his exact views were. I've known many spiritual people who adhered closely to some philosophy/sect or another, but who also had and allowed for differences of opinion here and there. Did O Sensei not look to learning from other spiritual practices? Wouldn't that be one example of how we might hit a pit-fall if we assume Omotokyo represents the entirety of his personal spiritual views?
Concordance with nature seems to be a part of O Sensei's philosphy, at the very least. As it relates to what I've learned of Jinja Shinto, Harmony and Peace are important works and not to be confused with "hippie-talk" (for lack of a better description). We harmonize with nature to attain peace...which includes a state of being consisting of restless and infinite movements...rather like a hurricane that can generate its own "eye."
...which I just included because it's not what most "hippies" (lack of a better description) consider harmony-induced, or peaceful, but I do.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-25-2011 at 11:24 PM.

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Old 08-25-2011, 11:46 PM   #104
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

I'm confused again...
Quote:
Mark wrote:
Ueshiba said that whatever religion you chose, aiki would make it better. Not that you could develop spiritually through practicing aikido
What is the difference? How is "make [spirituality/religion] better" not a development?

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Old 08-26-2011, 12:14 AM   #105
niall
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Thanks Jon. I wasn't talking about the means or the result. I was talking about the philosophy. My original comment about killing techniques being the antithesis of aikido was about learning atemi designed to kill - not that could kill. I think that is a fundamental difference. In aikido you learn how not to kill.

But break it down to a simple level. If a ten or eleven year old child attacked you with a knife you wouldn’t use a technique that could maim or kill. You take the knife away.

There is no philosophical difference if it is a 100 kg man attacking you with a knife. The only point is if your level is high enough to do it or not.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:15 AM   #106
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Reminds me of a conversation I was having with my 11 year old this week who was struggling with the paradox his martial studies are presenting between what he thinks he is learning in TKD and Aikido.

For me, I think it maybe the depends on how you look at it.

Learning to kill or not to kill.....which is it?

well I think we break things down way too simply and try to get evangelical or fundamentalist with it. We wanna "bible" to tell us what is right and wrong.

I don't it is as simple as "the difference between aikido is you learn how NOT to kill".

I believe that in aikido you explore many aspects of how things work...both the yin and the yang.

I think you have an open book that you must figure out how this stuff works for yourself.

I think many of us...myself included believe we have choices that in the end we may not have...they are only delusions and in the end we hold ourselves up to standards that we do not have the ability or the fortitude to actually back up with any real, and honest substance.

I think a big part of aikido, for me is letting go of all that crap and simply expanding our knowledge and our practice...finding new things and gaps in our own weaknesses...and improving them.

killing or not killing....well I wish I were that good to be able to make those "choices".

I think techniques are techniques...they are what they are.

People...well they are what they are.

Luck, intent, and situation are all elements that also play into equation and things we don't always control.

So, the same "technique" you learn in Jiu Jitsu that you believe is about killing...is the same "technique" you learn in aikido that is about NOT Killing.

What is the difference? who knows in the end. Alot of it has to do with many other factors both internal and external to us.

I think Aikido is more about learning to identify those factors than it is about ANY thing to do with the up front physics of a technique.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:21 AM   #107
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Another simplistic perspective.

Is a handgun's purpose to kill or not to kill?

If you take firearms training are you learning to kill or not to kill?

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:32 AM   #108
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Thanks Jon. I wasn't talking about the means or the result. I was talking about the philosophy. My original comment about killing techniques being the antithesis of aikido was about learning atemi designed to kill - not that could kill. I think that is a fundamental difference. In aikido you learn how not to kill.

But break it down to a simple level. If a ten or eleven year old child attacked you with a knife you wouldn't use a technique that could maim or kill. You take the knife away.

There is no philosophical difference if it is a 100 kg man attacking you with a knife. The only point is if your level is high enough to do it or not.
I understand your point. good example.

I think it depends on many factors. I believe in your example you are basically saying that size makes a diference on your ability to control..and I would agree that size is definitely a factor that gets weighed into the situation and you would (should) use appropriate enough force, provided you have control of the situation.

Therefore, based on your assumptions, it would take less of X to control an 11 year old child than a 100KG man.

The issue I have is with "killing techniques" vice "non killing techniques".

I don't think (as I outlined my perspective above), that you can divide techniques out into categories.

For example Kotegaeishi is the same regardless...you can perform it on a spectrum however, and as you state, your skill level AND degree of control of the situation etc...may afford you some choices....of which you in all cases use minimal force necessary.

In that respect...yes...I do believe in aikido, as in all martial arts I have studied....a big part of the study of the practice is to understand minimal force and the spectrum of our martial movements.

There is a big danger, I believe though in separating things out based on a philosophical basis and trying to take a philosophical high ground as is done ALOT in aikido.

When you do that...I think you have set a dangerous and delusional precedence for your martial training that could get you are someone else hurt when dissonance hits reality!

So, maybe I am splitting hairs but I think that the statement

" My original comment about killing techniques being the antithesis of aikido was about learning atemi designed to kill - not that could kill. I think that is a fundamental difference."

....I think it is an incorrect perspectives. You learn atemi period. and you should learn good atemi. Good atemi done correctly will get the job done...and it may killl or not kill...that depends on many factors...but in the end...the atemi is the same.

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Old 08-26-2011, 03:45 AM   #109
graham christian
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Niall made a comment about techniques that kill being the antithesis of aikido. I think I understand the gist of the comment, but in application, would the argument then be that a technique applied incorrectly (and therefore effectively causes no harm) be considered aikido? Conversely, would a technique applied correctly, but resulted in harm (killing) not be considered aikido? I ask these questions mostly to construct the argument premise. To point out the obvious, the argument is action-oriented; mens rea is missing from the argument.

I think sometimes we confuse the ends and the means. I can understand that the study of "aiki"do is a study of the means, the end is simply closure to the experiment. In this context, I could entertain a statement that expressed the irrelevancy of the end. Likewise, I can understand a statement that the end is the purpose of training, the means is the medium used to accomplish the end.

For me the study of aikido is not about the end. If I correctly perform aiki, the end result is demonstrative of that success. I think the study of aikido is in the present of interaction, not the future of conclusion. In a sword book I read, the author advices students not to plant their front foot until they have reached the proper striking distance. In planting your foot before you strike you forego the ability to pursue your opponent should he retreat.

If I am already committed to the end, how can I possibly be free in the present to perform aikido? In using Graham's example, If I commit to performing a shiho nage that causes no injury to my partner, how can I do anything but move in a manner that will, in its end, look like shiho nage and not cause injury to my partner? Further, how can one validate whatever movement is necessary to get to the end as aikido? This is flawed logic. A move like shiho nage and shiho nage are not the same. Committing to make a shape that looks like shi nage and committing to aiki resulting in shiho nage are not the same. I think this is why we have non-functional aikido-like movement.
Jon. I would say first you would have to see that there is an end a middle and a beginning. ie: Result, means applied, purpose. All three have to be there if you're talking completion or the subject of correct Aikido.

Thus when I talk about correct shihonage for example I am talking about all aspects in so for me there is no just end product or just means or just purpose. Therefore the means is not shihonage and neither is the shape, it's the whole.

Therefore in your first premise I would say a technique done incorrectly is not good Aikido obviously so if it doesn't cause harm then that's just fortunate.

A technique applied correctly would therefore be a complete harmonious action and therefore couldn't cause harm. So one that does doesn't exist.

There's always a minimal chance of the result being harmful for example if someone was about to have a heart attack or something at that precise moment or if they were hiding an injury they already had but you never know, done correctly it might save that persons life.

A person who says it's one aspect is all important and the other is not needed is missing a third of Aikido.

The purpose I would say is not the end of Aikido it's the beginning. It's the reason to do it in the first place, it's the reason for the middle or the means. So without correct purpose there is no correct middle or without purpose then you have a student concentrating on the means without knowing why.

The end is the ideal, the envisioned result. So that takes the firt two factors to be known and used together in order to accomplish.
Therefore if a student doesn't have the correct ideal or cannot envision it then he cannot recognise what the result of Aikido is. He has no target, no goal, no end product of any worth.

So focussing on the end is just as important as the other two. All three should be focussed on in order to enjoy the whole journey.

Such is my view.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:17 AM   #110
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
...You "agree" with his attack and you overextend it, thus breaking his ballance without using extra force.
I don't think this describes how my aikido works.
We tend to stay on the line. We connect to uke, to his center, to his structure.
We don't throw by overextending uke. But we do kuzushi by affecting the structure of his body by this connection.

This video may give an impression of what I mean.

Quote:
The same applies to the avoidance of a punch or a kick.You "sweep" what's coming in the same direction that the attack was going(no blocking), while simultaniously you make sure that you are not there anymore.
Another example. I'm not sure whether the way we try to do it the way you understand it.

And at last another video, which may be charcteristic for us.
We don't avoid the attack, but often go right into it and cut through it.

When looking at those videos: Ist that aikido in your eyes?
At least both teachers are well recognized shihan of the aikikai. Do they meet your "standart"?

And do you think this will lead to the same spirituality / philosophy ?
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:03 AM   #111
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Another simplistic perspective.

Is a handgun's purpose to kill or not to kill?

If you take firearms training are you learning to kill or not to kill?
Another fuzzy gray-area answer: it depends

In answer to the first question, it's hard to speak of an inanimate object having a "purpose". You can't even really speak about its designer's purpose in creating the firearm, if you're being precise (perhaps it was "to make money" -- a lot of products are designed for exactly that reason). So, maybe the question is, "What is this firearm designed to do?" It depends on the firearm. Some handguns' design is optimized for target shooting, for very precisely being able to punch holes in a paper target, and that's it. Considerations of being able to kill or do damage are absent. But I think it's fair to say that such a firearm represents a departure from the original purpose of firearms, which was to kill, and specifically, to kill people.

The answer to the second question is also "it depends", on the person and the training. I have a good friend who's a firearms instructor, and my impression is that the basic NRA course puts most of its effort into teaching safe operation, i.e., not shooting anything that you don't intend to shoot. Beyond that, you get handgun retention, and beyond that is learning to use the firearm effectively as an offensive weapon. I don't believe there's any training in trying to use a firearm as a deterrent or as a limited weapon (trying to control someone with it vs. using its offensive potential to the max). So that's the general purpose course that is probably the most common in the US -- but again, you've got courses that are focused on hunting and courses that are focused on target shooting. If I were to take firearms training, my most convenient alternative would be the rod and gun club across the river from my house, and they're all about either hunting or pistol target-shooting. It's funny, I'm the only one of my neighbors and one of a minority in town who doesn't own a firearm -- and I doubt one of those people owns a firearm for self-defense.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:04 AM   #112
graham christian
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Marc wrote:
Are we so historically inaccurate that we do not realize that the founder of aikido was dualistic?

Q: When Morihei Ueshiba lectured to his students, what did he say?
A: He spoke in archaic, spiritual terms that no one could understand.

When Morihei Ueshiba talked about his spiritual ideology, he used what "religion" as his base?
A: Oomoto kyo

When asked, Morihei Ueshiba stated he was a man of ??? and not a religious man.
A: he was a man of *budo*

Q: When other people came to Morihei Ueshiba to learn from him, they came because of ??? and not because of ???
A: They came because of his martial skills and not because of his spiritual ideology. They felt and experienced the former and wanted it for their own. They listened and heard the latter and did not understand nor were they interested.

Yes, when he lectured he spoke in spiritual terms. He spoke of the spiritual side of Aikido obviously.

Archaic? Well it depends how you use that term. If you use it to mean outdated then you are mistaken. Try timeless.

He didn't actually use the religion as his base when he spoke he used Kotodama, said to be the truths used by great seers of the past worldwide.

He knew himself thus he knew he was a man of budo, a man of love, expressing himself through Aikido. Thus Aikido as the budo of love.

When people later, including today hear his words and see his actions it strikes a chord, thus they are attracted.

For those early ones it was more of a shock for it was totally new to their way of thinking. They had trained knowing only the budo he himself had trained in before. They were fascinated for they could feel the difference yet not understand the new philosophy. Emphasis spiritual, kotodama, new. Only those already of a spiritual disposition through zen or yoga etc. or indeed omoto had a better perspective on some of what he was saying ie: Tohei etc.

Those who only wanted the martial aspect would thus revert to a more pre Aikido way for their aim was not masakatsu or indeed agatsu.

That's how I see it.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:44 AM   #113
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

to answer the OP question, it's not either or. it's both. and this is not apply just to aikido, but to all other martial endeavors be it learning how to shoot a gun, a tank, to aikido, to judo, kungfu, ....etc.

practical demonstrates the ability to carry out the action to it successful completion. philosophical gives the moral restraint to the practical actions. practical without moral restraint gives us the killer, murderer, rapist, etc and etc. philosophical without practical gives us the victims of the above folks of "practical without moral restraint".

i don't know about you folks, but i don't care to be a victim nor do i care to be a murderer and rapist. although, a bunch chickens, pigs, cows, ducks, fishes, shrimp, and other edible species have been posting my picture on their "Wanted: dead or alive" bulletin board. so far, i have been quite successful in reducing their number; however, they are slowly reducing the blood flow to my arteries. it's a struggle of life and dead. sometimes, i am quite philosophical about it, while practically chowing down a big steak, whether i should use A-1 or Hein 57 sauce.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:05 AM   #114
Marc Abrams
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
to answer the OP question, it's not either or. it's both. and this is not apply just to aikido, but to all other martial endeavors be it learning how to shoot a gun, a tank, to aikido, to judo, kungfu, ....etc.

practical demonstrates the ability to carry out the action to it successful completion. philosophical gives the moral restraint to the practical actions. practical without moral restraint gives us the killer, murderer, rapist, etc and etc. philosophical without practical gives us the victims of the above folks of "practical without moral restraint".

i don't know about you folks, but i don't care to be a victim nor do i care to be a murderer and rapist. although, a bunch chickens, pigs, cows, ducks, fishes, shrimp, and other edible species have been posting my picture on their "Wanted: dead or alive" bulletin board. so far, i have been quite successful in reducing their number; however, they are slowly reducing the blood flow to my arteries. it's a struggle of life and dead. sometimes, i am quite philosophical about it, while practically chowing down a big steak, whether i should use A-1 or Hein 57 sauce.
Phil:

Practical: If the big steak is high quality beef, covering up the flavor is bad!

Philosophical: I eat steak, therefore I am full, therefore the universe is happy.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #115
Keith Larman
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
You learn atemi period. and you should learn good atemi. Good atemi done correctly will get the job done...and it may killl or not kill...that depends on many factors...but in the end...the atemi is the same.
Agreed completely.

The tendency to attach philosophical and moral questions to these things is a good discussion for those so inclined. And I do believe that Aikido, at least on some level of understanding, involves a struggle with those issues. However, there are some serious issues here if the person in question is incapable of delivering the technique except with "complicit" partners in a dojo. In that case the atemi is worthless and is really just part of a cooperative "dance" that will make no sense in contexts other than a dojo. The mugger on the street will not be phased by a tap. Depending on what they've ingested they might not even be phased by a pretty good shot to the chest. Things get complicated and messy in the "real world" (patent pending).

There are many within aikido who practice in a fashion that brings to mind a famous quote by Gandhi.

Quote:
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. -- Mahatma Gandhi
Some would do well to understand what he is saying. Lots of people wear that cloak like a medal, proudly proclaiming their transcendent ability. Unfortunately the fella attacking may not be in the same transcendent state when they try to take your head off.

Anyway, I think it is a somewhat an error to think about the atemi as a "killing blow". It is an atemi. *In context* it could be many things depending *on* that context. Sure, once we have developed tremendous skill we might have the choice of how we go about delivering our atemi in that sense in the larger context. Unfortunately many skip all that messy "getting good at it" stuff and hope that the philosophy without the foundation will be good enough. And I dare say it is only good enough when the guy attacking is already keyed in on your rules.

So philosophical or practical martial art? Um, how about start with the martial art. Study the philosophy. Get good at the former, and learn the latter. They should come together in the end. But to insist one, the other, both, whatever seems to me to be oversimplifying a really complex issue. And it is often done at the expense of one or the other.

So no answers from me. Really I suppose I'm saying the question really doesn't make a whole lot of sense because it tends to imply a necessity of choosing. As if there aren't overlaps, differences, and context sensitive issues to contend with. It ain't so simple... To me at least.

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:10 AM   #116
sorokod
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

and then off course there is this from Yukiyoshi Takamura Sensei :

Quote:
"Some aikido teachers talk a lot about non-violence, but fail to understand this truth. A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He chooses peace. He must be able to make a choice. He must have the genuine ability to destroy his enemy and then choose not to. I have heard this excuse made. "I choose to be a pacifist before learning techniques so I do not need to learn the power of destruction." This shows no comprehension of the mind of the true warrior. This is just a rationalization to cover the fear of injury or hard training. The true warrior who chooses to be a pacifist is willing to stand and die for his principles. People claiming to be pacifists who rationalize to avoid hard training or injury will flee instead of standing and dying for principle. They are just cowards. Only a warrior who has tempered his spirit in conflict and who has confronted himself and his greatest fears can in my opinion make the choice to be a true pacifist."
Techniques do not kill or maim, people do. If you are good enough you get to choose.

Last edited by sorokod : 08-26-2011 at 10:19 AM.

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #117
Keith Larman
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
and then off course there is this from Yukiyoshi Takamura Sensei :
Yes.

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:15 AM   #118
Marc Abrams
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Agreed completely.

The tendency to attach philosophical and moral questions to these things is a good discussion for those so inclined. And I do believe that Aikido, at least on some level of understanding, involves a struggle with those issues. However, there are some serious issues here if the person in question is incapable of delivering the technique except with "complicit" partners in a dojo. In that case the atemi is worthless and is really just part of a cooperative "dance" that will make no sense in contexts other than a dojo. The mugger on the street will not be phased by a tap. Depending on what they've ingested they might not even be phased by a pretty good shot to the chest. Things get complicated and messy in the "real world" (patent pending).

There are many within aikido who practice in a fashion that brings to mind a famous quote by Gandhi.

Some would do well to understand what he is saying. Lots of people wear that cloak like a medal, proudly proclaiming their transcendent ability. Unfortunately the fella attacking may not be in the same transcendent state when they try to take your head off.

Anyway, I think it is a somewhat an error to think about the atemi as a "killing blow". It is an atemi. *In context* it could be many things depending *on* that context. Sure, once we have developed tremendous skill we might have the choice of how we go about delivering our atemi in that sense in the larger context. Unfortunately many skip all that messy "getting good at it" stuff and hope that the philosophy without the foundation will be good enough. And I dare say it is only good enough when the guy attacking is already keyed in on your rules.

So philosophical or practical martial art? Um, how about start with the martial art. Study the philosophy. Get good at the former, and learn the latter. They should come together in the end. But to insist one, the other, both, whatever seems to me to be oversimplifying a really complex issue. And it is often done at the expense of one or the other.

So no answers from me. Really I suppose I'm saying the question really doesn't make a whole lot of sense because it tends to imply a necessity of choosing. As if there aren't overlaps, differences, and context sensitive issues to contend with. It ain't so simple... To me at least.
Keith:

Well put! Philosophical thinking about what we do works great from a comfortable reclining chair with an awesome drink in our hands. Practical martial arts movements work great when having to address an ongoing physical confrontation. If what you do is not practical and effective, you stand a better chance of resting in a box of wood six feet under the ground, rather than resting in the reclining chair, waxing poetically about the philosophy of what was behind what you did that warranted enjoying that nice drink from the relaxing chair.

Ledyard Sensei wrote a great article of "Atemi" which I consider important reading for all Aikidoka. A vital strike is designed to thwart/disrupt the effective action of an attacker. What happens next, is what happens next.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:58 AM   #119
graham christian
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
and then off course there is this from Yukiyoshi Takamura Sensei :

Techniques do not kill or maim, people do. If you are good enough you get to choose.
Well philosophically put. I agree that the aim should be masakatsu, agatsu, and katsuhayai.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:28 PM   #120
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

Mary, This is all about the violent of the dissolution of cognitive dissonance. I wouldn't get too upset. This, and recent posts, are altogether nuttier than a squirrel turd under an oak tree.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:40 PM   #121
sorokod
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

I do not speak Japanese myself and doubt that you do, your list makes no sense to me. I doubt that we are in some sort of agreement here.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:59 PM   #122
dps
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

If Aikido is about redirecting your opponent's attack back to him/her then isn't the opponent responsible for how much violence he/she receives?

What goes around comes around.

dps
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:34 PM   #123
graham christian
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Another simplistic perspective.

Is a handgun's purpose to kill or not to kill?

If you take firearms training are you learning to kill or not to kill?
I would say yes to the first. Philosophically I would say when you transcribe the makers purpose and apply it to an object then you have function. So it's prime function is to kill. You canthereafter use it for other things ie: secondary functions.

If you take firearms training you are therefore using a weapon designed to kill. You are learning how to shoot. The purpose for so doing lies with you.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:32 PM   #124
lbb
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
If Aikido is about redirecting your opponent's attack back to him/her then isn't the opponent responsible for how much violence he/she receives?

What goes around comes around.
Well, that's literally and pragmatically true, to be sure. The faster my attack is, the harder my attack is, the more surprising my attack is, the less likely my opponent is going to be able to moderate his/her response and the more likely I'm going to get seriously turfed.
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:46 PM   #125
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Re: philosophical or practical martial art?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Um, how about start with the martial art. Study the philosophy. Get good at the former, and learn the latter. They should come together in the end. But to insist one, the other, both, whatever seems to me to be oversimplifying a really complex issue. And it is often done at the expense of one or the other.

So no answers from me. Really I suppose I'm saying the question really doesn't make a whole lot of sense because it tends to imply a necessity of choosing. As if there aren't overlaps, differences, and context sensitive issues to contend with. It ain't so simple... To me at least.
I think the two are somewhat unavoidable...and even inseperable to a degree. Even the least thoughtful/philosophical person I know has "a" philosophy. They just don't think about it much or know how to articulate it in fancy language like people like me tend to like. They still have a "world view" though, and they exercise it all the time.
So to my mind it's not a matter of this or that, but both...and I think it's best to take each one as it comes. On the mat people probably shouldn't generally analyze Locke or St. Thomas Aquinas, but we can chat about this or that while folding hakama, or over beers afterward. Here, online, we can't practice what to do against a punch, but we can consider training methodology and certainly can cover a lot of philosophical ground.

Gambarimashyo!
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