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Old 09-24-2011, 07:29 PM   #1
graham christian
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Spiritual Power

So much discussion on power I thought I'd give another perspective.

As I see it following the desire for power and more power is a fools errand as far as Aikido is concerned. As I see it I see people debating and believing they are achieving something yet to me no matter how much they try to justify this search they are unaware they are merely standing still or even going backwards.

Can anyone describe what power is spiritually?

I have seen explanations based on many different things discussed but all boil down to superior something that in turn therefore can dominate by choice the less superior. Whether it be through better skills, better education, better .....well whatever.

So we are still looking at the ability to dominate, to control, to be in a position where you have choice.

Is that power? I believe it is stupidity therefore if you really want to be ultimately stupid then that is the path to follow.

Within that logic it means if you are not as described you are weak, unable to control in a good manner, without choice. Thus if you believe this logic then no matter how far 'advanced' you think you are getting you are actually still in the same trap, the same prison, the same ignorance.

Spiritual has nothing to do with such things and thus cannot be understood by such a mind.

Therefore if someone were to do a martial art based on spiritual principles those into power would be blind to what they are being presented with.

Spiritual well being has been the responsibility of religion since time immemorial and thus all religions have mentioned things of ultimate or true power and principles of such that you should incorporate into your lives. Ueshiba did no different.

The problem with religions was that those who recognised those truths were followed by those who could only but translate them in terms of power and control and the feeling of superiority. The same old trap, the same old game, the same old ignorance.

Thus the same pattern follows in Aikido. Thus the same pattern follows on the subject of Aiki. Nothings changed, merely the same cycle of the destruction of truth. Caused by reasoning that can't see past that logic of power.

So we can build bombs and create advanced things with science yet we are still stuck in ignorance thinking we are advanced.

The secret to Aikido is it has nothing to do with power or strength internal or otherwise.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:24 PM   #2
PhillyKiAikido
 
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Re: Spiritual Power

It's a good one, thanks Graham!

"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; " Isaiah 30:15-16
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:57 PM   #3
gregstec
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
So much discussion on power I thought I'd give another perspective.

Can anyone describe what power is spiritually?

Regards.G.
Hey, I can relate to this side of the spectrum as well - what is spiritual power? how about the capability of well balanced fullness of self that can calmly withstand the onslaught of the chaotic external phenomena in all conditions. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion and it is totally within the dimension of it is what it is now.

Greg
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
Abasan
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Re: Spiritual Power

Not everyone is in aikido because they want to learn aikido. Some aspire to be just like role models who they see as extremely powerful warriors who can effortlessly defeat their opponents with seemingly miraculous nonchalance.

After practicing though, they find out that the typical aikido they learn doesn't let them do that. And so they set out to find the missing piece... I.e. Aiki. When they can't find it in the aikido setting, they search for it elsewhere, other arts other teachers. And they see it as truly wonderful, that eventually it becomes a goal to itself.

The difference between aikido and other aiki arts is the philosophy behind it. Take that away and what you are doing won't strictly speaking be aikido. It might look the same but the spirit will be different. Just like a competition could be something to honour your opponent and build him, it could easily be used to annihilate him.

Nothing wrong with pursuing aiki too. In fact aikido should be of three parts. Physical, aiki and spirit. Somehow along the way, most ppl are only being taught the physical and that's what has gotten other schools who do have aiki laughing at us. Still you can't give up spirit if you never had it in the first place.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:14 PM   #5
DH
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Re: Spiritual Power

「私の武産の合気は、宗教から出て来たのかというとそうではない。真の武産から宗教を照らすのです。未完の宗教を完成へと導く案内であります」
"It would not be correct to say that my Takumusu Aiki emerged from religion. True budo illuminates religion. It guides incomplete religion to completion."
And what is his idea of true budo?
My art will not be recognized as a true budo and will not taken seriously without power.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:31 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
「私の武産の合気は、宗教から出て来たのかというとそうではない。真の武産から宗教を 照らすのです。未完の宗教を完成へと導く案内であります」
"It would not be correct to say that my Takumusu Aiki emerged from religion. True budo illuminates religion. It guides incomplete religion to completion."
And what is his idea of true budo?
My art will not be recognized as a true budo and will not taken seriously without power.
And here I think that Ueshiba is pointing to something important - that his spirituality was completed, given substance, through his budo training. Not the other way around.

Western philosophy/spirituality tends to start with an idea or an ideal. That's a good thing, and an important thing, but without some way to get there all you've got is - happy thoughts and pixie dust.

「私は合氣道より他にこの世を立て直す方法は知らないであります」

"I know of no other way to reform the world than through Aikido."

It was Ueshiba's martial training in Aiki that gave substance and reality to his spiritual ideals. No Aiki = No Spirituality

Think about it. How hard is it to really change something about yourself? How many people can successfully do something as simple and superficial as losing weight or quitting smoking? If changing an external habit is that hard, how hard is actual fundamental change going to be?

Happy thoughts just aren't going to get you there - it requires extensive conditioning over a prolonged period of time. Ueshiba found it in Aiki Tanren.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-24-2011, 11:47 PM   #7
Abasan
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Re: Spiritual Power

Yes but I believe he's talking about a stage in aiki development that goes beyond the internal body manipulation.

He attributes his power ultimately comes from the universe/kami. When a man who has unquestionably defeated some of the most powerful men attribute his victory comes from God and not due to his own skill/power, he basically has let go of his ego. And in that instance fighting no longer exists in his life.

Ultimately he is not saying I need power to defeat others. He is saying I need not defeat others when they are basically challenging Gods power. Granted he wouldn't have started down this conclusion without having his eyes opened to the world of aiki, but he has transcended that level and not just focused on it as an end to itself.

Regardless, all of us should travel through the exploration of this baser level of aiki. And if it comes from others, the instruction is no less useful. Only we must retain a goal to understand beyond that if we were to really follow the aikido way...

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:49 AM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
He attributes his power ultimately comes from the universe/kami. When a man who has unquestionably defeated some of the most powerful men attribute his victory comes from God and not due to his own skill/power, he basically has let go of his ego. And in that instance fighting no longer exists in his life.

Ultimately he is not saying I need power to defeat others. He is saying I need not defeat others when they are basically challenging Gods power. Granted he wouldn't have started down this conclusion without having his eyes opened to the world of aiki, but he has transcended that level and not just focused on it as an end to itself.

Regardless, all of us should travel through the exploration of this baser level of aiki. And if it comes from others, the instruction is no less useful. Only we must retain a goal to understand beyond that if we were to really follow the aikido way...
No offense, but I think that's way off. All rose colored glasses aside, he could be immensely egotistical.

Remember the quotation that Dan cited - he specifically said that his power did not come from religion. Also, remember that he specifically discouraged people from studying his religion.

As for taking it to a "higher" level - that kind of thinking is ultimately, I think, misleading, and perpetuates a misunderstanding of where his Aiki came from.

For example, check out this translation of a scroll hanging in one of the most conservative Daito-ryu dojo around - one that I can guarantee was not influenced in any way by Ueshiba:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost...8&postcount=27

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-25-2011, 04:59 AM   #9
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

[/quote]"There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido. You are mistaken if you think that budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and fell them. There are neither opponents nor enemies for true budo. True budo is to be one with the universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe."
"A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to fell an opponent."[quote]

Of course the principles were not taken from a Religion as they are the truths all religions point to. Thus you will find them spoken of by Buddha, Jesus, Yogis etc.

All of Aikido has been described using terminology and relating to Kami, God, the universal, heaven, etc. by Ueshiba.

In true harmony there is no power there is only oneness, thus no opponent, no need for against in any way.

Some strive for this and and follow the way, some don't, yet inside beyond their 'reason' they too know they do.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:14 AM   #10
Abasan
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Re: Spiritual Power

Chris,

Thanks for the link. I would not be able to say whether osensei's skills is poorer by Sagawa or daitoryu's standard and probably not many could say that save for the two gentlemen themselves. However historically osensei's teacher held him I high regard, using him much as osensei himself used tohei. Thus one could safely say that DR opinions aside osensei was a good exponent. Good enough to impress a whole lot of people outside too.

Now with regards the outreaching influence of an art deemed to be a key element for world harmony, aiki through DR has been slow to spread. The art itself was very much held in obscurity until Aikido created waves across the globe. That maybe because of various coincidental factors, but truly it is an art seen to be incongruent to our soul searching. An art that fosters a feeling of mutual development, an art that could be explored and entices people who generally would have shunned such martial practice. That in itself speaks volumes to Aikido's far reaching ability to propagate harmony.

The reason why I think that osensei firmly believed in a higher level of aiki, one that comes closer to the unification with God is because that was what he actually revealed I his last three days on earth to his students. Yet of the 100s of senior yudansha's invited to here his 'secret', almost none stayed till the third day. Most of them dismissed his ramblings as that of a crazy old man.

Here was a man on his death bed, physically weaker than at any time save in his infancy, yet was still able to throw his students even more strongly than when he was fit as a fiddle. He also mentioned to some close senior students how he is unable to convince the vast majority of his Japanese students on the source of all power coming from God and to surrender to Him was the ultimate takemusu aiki. No one believed him then, no one believed him now.

Man can only the fruit of his labour and can only value things he can explain. The mysterious and the enigmatic is now very much a sitting target for every rational and scientific inquest. Faith is fleeting.

I believe that that is not a problem at all. Every person here need to make their own way towards understanding. And learning aiki from the more 'earthly' form is a decent beginning. At least for me it is. I think we will go through that path and for some of us, may even try to glean a deeper understanding. You have to start somewhere. And the most important thing, is to keep having an open mind. A lot of people ridiculed IP some years back until they got shown first hand on it's truth. Nowadays people hold on to it like it's gospel. Who is to say, that it's going to be any different with the more spiritual aspect?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:03 AM   #11
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Hey, I can relate to this side of the spectrum as well - what is spiritual power? how about the capability of well balanced fullness of self that can calmly withstand the onslaught of the chaotic external phenomena in all conditions. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion and it is totally within the dimension of it is what it is now.

Greg
In harmony there is nothing to withstand.

The secret of Aikido is that there is no power.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:14 AM   #12
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Re: Spiritual Power

Graham
Firstly thank you for starting an interesting thread.

The background to this conversation seems to be in part from a disagreement as to the origins of Ueshiba power.

I think it is critical that we are clear in the distinction between the physical skills he possessed and the spiritual awareness he was renowned for. Nobody in their right mind would deny that much/most of Ueshiba's physical martial skills came from Daito Ryu. Also I doubt anybody would question that the ongoing spiritual training enhanced his understanding. Aikido is a blending of these two reference points. Is it really necessary to argue which is more significant. From my point of view they are both equally important to Aikido in its entirety. There is little doubt in my mind that the spiritual aspects of Aikido and the physical aspects go hand in hand and both are worse off without the other. They are not mutually exclusive, not the contrary from an Aikido perspective they are dependent upon one another.

Keith

Enjoy the journey
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:16 AM   #13
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
In harmony there is nothing to withstand.

The secret of Aikido is that there is no power.

Regards.G.
The power of no power.

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Old 09-25-2011, 08:56 AM   #14
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Graham
Firstly thank you for starting an interesting thread.

The background to this conversation seems to be in part from a disagreement as to the origins of Ueshiba power.

I think it is critical that we are clear in the distinction between the physical skills he possessed and the spiritual awareness he was renowned for. Nobody in their right mind would deny that much/most of Ueshiba's physical martial skills came from Daito Ryu. Also I doubt anybody would question that the ongoing spiritual training enhanced his understanding. Aikido is a blending of these two reference points. Is it really necessary to argue which is more significant. From my point of view they are both equally important to Aikido in its entirety. There is little doubt in my mind that the spiritual aspects of Aikido and the physical aspects go hand in hand and both are worse off without the other. They are not mutually exclusive, not the contrary from an Aikido perspective they are dependent upon one another.

Keith
Hi Keith.
Thank you for the interest.

The background to this thread is partly as you say but much more to do with my understanding of Aikido.

I agree that the spiritual, the mental and the physical go hand in hand. I talk of the spiritual as it is the least understood not because it is mutually exclusive.

It would not in fact be true to say that most of his martial skills came from Daito ryu in my opinion as they came from many sources. In fact he equated Kendo more with Aikido at times. However, the form of techniques are more related to Daito ryu.

For me only the understanding of the spiritual will lead to understanding his Aikido for the spiritual principles, the universal principles he was insisting need to be learned and understood lie on the path he described as Aikido.

From such a view the fallacy of power can be seen as used by ego.

As Aikido for Ueshiba was more of a path towards enlightenment then an egoless view is vital to it's full understanding.

Ego follows the opposite path and justifies it as the same or even superior for such is the way of ego.

True spirit does not seek power for it is untouchable and thus power to me is the complete opposite of Harmony.

I am therefore not against such ego style aiki or cravings for power, I am more interested in sharing with. If ego sees this as opposition or whatever then such is to be expected.

In my view all Aikidoka of any significant time of training have experienced glimpses of what I say during their practice and have been shocked or astounded for at these times it feels like you did nothing.

It is shocking or astounding because it doesn't fit the persons assumed view at the time, to do with strength and power and physical something.

These points are the entrance points towards what Ueshiba was saying and doing.

I think ego seeing this can only translate it as power and want it and thus misses the point completely.

So although you may or may not agree with how I put it I do agree with what you say. It is critically important to distinguish both the skills and the spiritual awareness.

Such is my view.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:13 AM   #15
gates
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Re: Spiritual Power

Graham,
You have every right to your opinion.
One rhetorical question, politely asked, before you get verbally mobbed.
Did O'Sensei ever learn Kendo?
Keith

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Old 09-25-2011, 09:23 AM   #16
gregstec
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
No offense, but I think that's way off. All rose colored glasses aside, he could be immensely egotistical.

Remember the quotation that Dan cited - he specifically said that his power did not come from religion. Also, remember that he specifically discouraged people from studying his religion.

As for taking it to a "higher" level - that kind of thinking is ultimately, I think, misleading, and perpetuates a misunderstanding of where his Aiki came from.

For example, check out this translation of a scroll hanging in one of the most conservative Daito-ryu dojo around - one that I can guarantee was not influenced in any way by Ueshiba:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost...8&postcount=27

Best,

Chris
Interesting link, but there is no secret or surprise there - we have all heard various aspects of that from many different sources.

So the universal message is that through aiki we can bring peace and harmony to the world. Pretty much a core tenet of all religions. The question then is how do we apply that? Do we take a pragmatic, religious, spiritual, or scientific approach ? The answer of course will be based on the individual and what their beliefs are and how it all fits into their model of existence.

Greg
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:31 AM   #17
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Stephen Trinkle wrote: View Post
The power of no power.
To Graham,

Yeah, what Steve said

Greg
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #18
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
...check out this translation of a scroll hanging in one of the most conservative Daito-ryu dojo around - one that I can guarantee was not influenced in any way by Ueshiba:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost...8&postcount=27
Quote:
One should use the principle of aiki to harmonize with and de-escalate those who threaten violence. In the case where an enemy has already initiated an attack, one should rely completely on the principle of aiki to blend with or redirect their attack, which in turn produces a state of harmony.
Interesting that Sagawa Sensei validates the idea of using aiki in non-martial, or at least non-physical, ways to deal with conflict.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:54 AM   #19
gregstec
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
In harmony there is nothing to withstand.

The secret of Aikido is that there is no power.

Regards.G.
Well, now, would not one way to withstand be to join or harmonize?

Greg
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:35 AM   #20
Chris Li
 
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Interesting that Sagawa Sensei validates the idea of using aiki in non-martial, or at least non-physical, ways to deal with conflict.
As did Sokaku Takeda, interestingly enough.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-25-2011, 10:52 AM   #21
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Graham,
You have every right to your opinion.
One rhetorical question, politely asked, before you get verbally mobbed.
Did O'Sensei ever learn Kendo?
Keith
Thank you.
I would say he did as well as other kenjutsu. Was he not known for being very well adept with the sword and spear? Apart from that he had many kendo friends and as far as is written defeated a kendo master at one time. He went on to develope his own aiki ken style and as I said implied those principles involved were very much a part of Aikido. But all that is a separate topic for another thread. Historians would know much more data on that subject.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:56 AM   #22
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
To Graham,

Yeah, what Steve said

Greg
Indeed. A nice zen saying to adopt.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:04 AM   #23
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As did Sokaku Takeda, interestingly enough.

Best,

Chris
Unfortunately I see no similarities between Takeda and Ueshiba.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:47 AM   #24
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Re: Spiritual Power

Graham. If you want, I will pay for your subscription to Aikido Journal, but only if you will commit to reading the interviews with all of Ueshiba's prewar Deshi as a start. Or I will send you the book. Whether or not you chose to move on to the founder himself is up to you. Your information seems seriously flawed and may be skewed from a too narrow perspective. I think this will help elevate the discussion. We can still agree or disagree but I think it will at least broaden your perspective. I have had friends of mine in the Chinese community do the same for me, as I was researching. Knowledge and information is power.

Consider this, if the history of your founder matters, then, I think it will help you in conversing here with more well informed people, and give you a better understanding of the art, where Ueshiba got his information and Doka from and how it all fits into a bigger picture.
Would you like a Subscription to AJ? I will email Stan tonight for you.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 09-25-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:19 PM   #25
DH
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Re: Spiritual Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
No offense, but I think that's way off. All rose colored glasses aside, he could be immensely egotistical.
Remember the quotation that Dan cited - he specifically said that his power did not come from religion. Also, remember that he specifically discouraged people from studying his religion.

As for taking it to a "higher" level - that kind of thinking is ultimately, I think, misleading, and perpetuates a misunderstanding of where his Aiki came from.
For example, check out this translation of a scroll hanging in one of the most conservative Daito-ryu dojo around - one that I can guarantee was not influenced in any way by Ueshiba:
here

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris
It is rather telling that he also expanded to the larger picture as was typical with the work under discussion in Asia. We can see that from Sagawa and in the closing comments of Takeda in his newspaper interview on Aikido Journal. For those who are not members, AJ remains the best $30 you can spend for information on Aikido. Imagine where people would be in the art if they actually studied its past.

The root of the problem for so many n the soft arts; Daito ryu Aikido, taiji etc., is their misunderstanding of the word "power." It's why they run away from it. They are stuck in the same understanding they walked in the door with; that power is force to topple someone or something. The mystery for so many of these people, is turned into the wonder for those who let go of their strength to walk into real power, once they have discovered in yo. And that has nothing to do with the type of power so many are discussing. Here we are in 2011, and still so many Aikido-ka do not know what soft power truly is. For those in hot pursuit of in yo ho, what makes power in them is aiki in them. Then and only then, can it be adequately expressed outside of them.

It wasn't only Ueshiba who "used" his understanding of in/yo to fuel his religion, I believe he was used by Deguchi, at every opportunity. It seems at every turn, from getting him a bigger house, to always talking to him and about him regarding his power (not his own mind you) that in itself makes yet another case for Ueshiba's own later admontions to his deshi about in yo ho.
Like Deguchi, many modern adepts have obviously never really embraced in/yo ho, they have no real concept of it in use, and therefore no real power to affect the universe, much less the kid attacking them in the dojo. Their understanding is focusing on the yin side of yang and not expressing the balance he always discussed. Their idea of soft is...vacant, evading, or leading. This is a well known problem in Asian students and Westerners alike, it's yang or all yin. In dealing with the energy of an attacker; their attempts to resolve duality are all external Thus their achievement of a balanced state is outside of them and not inside.
It was the blending of the two that made manifest Ueshiba's ability and why he said it perfected his religion and not the other way round. Hence In yo ho, comes before and is combined with spiritual power. Apparently he considered that spiritual power as budo, is not an acceptable substitute for Budo.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 09-25-2011 at 12:28 PM.
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