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Old 09-27-2011, 07:28 AM   #26
worrier
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
My second contribution to this thread is that in my Aikido I am not interested in connecting mentally. Physical connection is is merely because our body is stable reality. All techniques and motions are based on connection from true self to other true self.

In life this reminds me to do the same and not go into mind versus mind or physical versus physical. In true self there is no versus.

Regards.G.
That's a good way of putting it, I think, that in true self there is no body vs mind. Still, I would be interested how exactly that works in life, because in my experience, blending mind and body is a lot harder than it sounds.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:05 AM   #27
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

still trying to figure out what is this "spirituality" thingy that folks are talking about. where do you find it? how would you know if you found it?

i read the 20 principles of karate from Funakoshi sensei. one of them was "Spirit first. Techniques second." haven't quite figure that one yet. of course, for some, it would be "hell ya! lets drink first then beat up each other afterward!"
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:19 AM   #28
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

On the mat Aikido training is Budo, first and foremost. It has to be this way. I never consider spiritual or philosophical concepts or abstract ideas whilst training. Training is training. I'd prefer to train harder (in a controlled fashion) to help ‘beat' the impurities out of body and mind.

I can see commonality between spiritual practices and many martial arts training, in both form and function. They both have tradition, ethics, structure and teaching and both require of the participants certain things: concentration, inward refection, mindful awareness.

As does snooker and maypole dancing. So what?

As suggested prior there is no conflict resolution in Snooker or maypole dancing. Through the process of placing ourselves in a conflict situation we can learn certain physical lessons. These lessons can then be applied back to non physical situations. For an example, unbendable arm, if we resist it what we are actually doing is pushing back against it. To do this we contract muscles, muscles only contract. So now instead of one contraction we now have two, one on top of the other. Fighting back in this way restricts the other systems in the body to help take the load, facia system for instance, which as we have recently discovered acts in tension throughout the entire body, it is stronger the more flexible it is. If we relax and extend we can engage with connection throughout our entire bodies and into the ground.

This example has clear crossover to verbal confrontations as well, under verbal assault our minds undergo stress. Stress is a contraction, it encumbers our mental agility, we freeze up, cant think what to say. On the other hand if we are able to stay relaxed we can more easily do a verbal irimi tenkan and get out of there safely. In this way Budo reduces the fighting mind, you can't argue with somebody if they don't argue back, it is just not possible.

For me Aikido is much like a Zen Koan, it asks of us a seemingly impossible question, this acts to force us into a state of intuition. Latent forces, can by definition, not be seen but are only to be felt and known through intuition. They cannot be clearly understood intellectually. By giving up and giving in to the process we are forced to let go of the self, some negative emotions, skeletons, horrible personality traits may be revealed in the process, then hopefully we can drop them. I hope the process will lead me towards a real sense of the nature of life's inner activity.

Maybe the maypole dance representing intertwining the horizontal forces and the vertical forces in nature, the yin and the yang, vertical fire and horizontal water, male and female, may also teach me something, or perhaps it is just another bad example of ribbon dancing.

Last edited by gates : 09-27-2011 at 09:21 AM.

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:45 AM   #29
donhebert
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Hi Keith,

I respect what you are saying (which means, of course that I am about to disagree). Certainly "Aikido as a metaphor for something else" has its value. But metaphors only get me so far. I experience Aikido spirituality as the thing that is happening in the very moment when I am practicing and I think one can actually create a practical training framework for this process which is just as valid as the physical doing part.

I was in closer agreement when you said "For me Aikido is much like a Zen Koan, it asks of us a seemingly impossible question, this acts to force us into a state of intuition."

Best regards,

Don Hebert
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:49 AM   #30
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Don Hebert wrote: View Post
Hi Keith,
I think one can actually create a practical training framework for this process which is just as valid as the physical doing part.
Hi Don,
I would be very interested to hear more about it, it is exactly why I started the thread, to hear others thoughts and experiences.
Keith

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Old 09-27-2011, 10:01 AM   #31
graham christian
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Hi Don,
I would be very interested to hear more about it, it is exactly why I started the thread, to hear others thoughts and experiences.
Keith
Hi Keith. I was interested in your description of unbendable arm. Is that how people do it? Is that the general concensus? If so it would make certain things make sense to me.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #32
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi Keith. I was interested in your description of unbendable arm. Is that how people do it? Is that the general concensus? If so it would make certain things make sense to me.

Regards.G.
As I am sure you are aware it is a tohei method, as a ki aikido man yourself you probably know more about it than I do. Wouldn't know what the concencus is, that it just my limited understanding of it. We don't actually practice it very often.

If you have a different or another explanation feel free to elaborate.

Last edited by gates : 09-27-2011 at 10:22 AM.

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Old 09-27-2011, 10:26 AM   #33
graham christian
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Keith Gates wrote: View Post
As I am sure you are aware it is a tohei method, as a ki aikido man yourself you probably know more about it than I do. Wouldn't know what the concencus is, that it just my limited understanding of it. We don't actually practice it very often, pretty rudimentary stuff though.

If you have different or another explanation feel free to elaborate.
Just curious Keith as I have seen discussions on this kind of thing before and seen people going into discussions on muscles and contractions etc.

When it comes to such things I personally can do unbendable arm or let's say the tests of being unable to be lifted up with two people trying one on each wrist by various methods rather than just one. So I'm just interested that's all.

Anyway good on you for posting your view, like you I look foreward to reading more perspectives.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:07 AM   #34
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
For me Aikido is much like a Zen Koan, it asks of us a seemingly impossible question, this acts to force us into a state of intuition. Latent forces, can by definition, not be seen but are only to be felt and known through intuition. They cannot be clearly understood intellectually.
For me, I'd say it's more like an inductive proof. Most people only ever learn deductive reasoning: A leads to B, B leads to C, and so on. But there's also this thing called inductive reasoning, where you start by assuming that what you want to prove is so...then prove a base case...then prove that if the base case is true for x, it's also true for x+1. Aikido is like that: I see someone doing something, I can't see how they're doing it (I can't deduce it)...but I can see that it is being done. So the conclusion is true, I just don't know (yet) how to get from here to there. And that's where I have to start out by "proving" (on the mat, the hard way) that the base case is true...and then it's a long, long series of "proving" that if it's true for x, it's also true for x+1.
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:21 PM   #35
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
For me, I'd say it's more like an inductive proof. Most people only ever learn deductive reasoning: A leads to B, B leads to C, and so on. But there's also this thing called inductive reasoning, where you start by assuming that what you want to prove is so...then prove a base case...then prove that if the base case is true for x, it's also true for x+1. Aikido is like that: I see someone doing something, I can't see how they're doing it (I can't deduce it)...but I can see that it is being done. So the conclusion is true, I just don't know (yet) how to get from here to there. And that's where I have to start out by "proving" (on the mat, the hard way) that the base case is true...and then it's a long, long series of "proving" that if it's true for x, it's also true for x+1.
I think thst is a good way to deduce things. However, if x+1 equals something for you that doesn't mean that x+1 equals the same thing for someone else because Aikido is not math.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:31 PM   #36
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I think thst is a good way to deduce things.
On the contrary, it breaks the rules of deduction. It uses a different set of rules.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
However, if x+1 equals something for you that doesn't mean that x+1 equals the same thing for someone else because Aikido is not math.
It doesn't have to be for the statement to be provably true, as long as x is the same in both cases. Take two things that are the same, add the same thing to each, get the same result. Identical ingredients, identical process, identical result.

But that's a digression. The point was not whether or not aikido is like math, or whether the rules of math can be applied to aikido. The point is that for people who have not learned any formal reasoning beyond deductive reasoning, everything else is "intuition" or some kind of magic -- and that this is a false belief. Just because someone does not understand a reasoning process, does not mean that there IS no process.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:14 PM   #37
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Hi Don,
I would be very interested to hear more about it, it is exactly why I started the thread, to hear others thoughts and experiences.
Keith
Hi Keith,

Before I respond I would just like to say that I posted on your thread because the topic is important to me and I am interested in the exchange of ideas and receiving feedback. However, I don't feel that simply by working on an approach means that my ideas aren't full of flaws. My own personal sense of success with experiencing spirituality in Aikido is often mixed. This is a work in progress.

Having said that, the framework I am looking for has mostly to do with the intention I bring to my training. Here are the guiding principles that I try to use:

1. I am not training for some future event (e.g. in case I am attacked while walking down Main Street in Brattleboro). The training time itself is what I want to be present to.

2. My body movements and the feeling I project is an accurate reflection of my present emotional and spiritual state. By exposing problems and blind spots in my physical practice I create the opportunity to identify problems and blind spots in my inner landscape as well.

3. The teacher and my training partners are crucial in that they provide immediate feedback about my efforts and thus allow me to see what I need to work on.

4. Good movement is identified by its martial intelligence, lack of openings, relaxation of the body and internal inter-connectedness that includes connection to my partner. Good movement can be described as both powerful and beautiful . The experience of both myself and my partner should be intense but also ennobling.

5. Aikido training involves being able to identify and balance both light and dark personal material. Since the practice is rooted in playing out human conflict, the opportunities for going down weird roads is everywhere. Accumulating experience with this is a way to obtain wisdom.

6. Training is about changing myself, not my partner. One consequence of this is that the Uke is always right. By this I mean that I have to figure out how to work with whatever stuff my partner is offering me. (I do retain the right to withdraw from my partner or ask for them to modulate their attack if it is too far beyond my ability).

7. Since Aikido movement is based on natural forms that exist everywhere in creation, its practice gives me a visceral sense of connection to a larger universe and its mysteries.

I think this framework parallels a successful approach to physical practice as well as provides a concrete way to grow spiritually. I don't claim it to be original - its principles have been absorbed from many teachers and sources. But with it, I feel that I am training a positive way for me to be in the world that has actual roots.

Best regards,
Don Hebert
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:06 PM   #38
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

I think the uke side has lessons at least as valuable as the nage side. As uke, as in life, you don't always get to "win." Sometimes you have to take the fall. But you're much less likely to get hurt if you learn to roll with it rather than fight it.

Katherine
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:27 AM   #39
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Thanks Don,
I liked the clarity of purpose that your framework presented. With a good solid framework such as the one you have presented, I think it will definately help to achieve goals and get to a deeper level of understanding.

There does seems to be some common ground between your points and the condensed forms where I suggested a commonality in what spiritual practices and MA require from us: from a starting point of tradition, formality and practice they:
require mindful awareness
require us to be present / fully engaged in the moment
require concentration and contemplation
require us to extend intuitive attention to our bodies and our surroundings
in the case of MA there is also a complex interplay between uke and nage

In terms of your framework, Would I be correct in assuming that none of these things actually change the way in which the waza is performed (outwardly), but act to change the intent and perseptions behind the movement. Which then in turn changes the way it manifests and feels to both parties?

Understanding how concious intent effects physical reality is a really interesting area of study, quantum physics is beginning to brige the gap from a scientific viewpoint.

Incidentally what I suggested using Unbendable arm as an example, was not intended as a simple metaphor is was intended as a demonstration of a directly learned experience from physcial waza extracted and directly apllied to a metaphyscial application somewhat akin to your point number 2. I was attempting to give a direct example of how this can actually happen and change the way we think and approach situations. I hope that in future I can make my case with as much clarity as you have shown, so that the point I intend to make is more clearly understood.

Your point number 7 for me strikes to the heart of the matter, and where I love to see this discussion go. Needless to say I have something to say on this matter but want to hear some other perspectives first. It is a big question. Is a clear understanding of how the physcial lessons learned are transmutable to a metaphyscial understanding of our life's most inner activity? And an even bigger question then is, how can we (if we can) transmit this understanding to others?

Regards
Keith

Last edited by gates : 09-28-2011 at 12:30 AM.

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:48 AM   #40
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Correction: 'affects'

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Old 09-28-2011, 01:19 AM   #41
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

Do you differentiate between Uke and aite?

I agree that what changes is your internal approach towards practise of the techniques, rather that change the techniques themselves.

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.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:36 AM   #42
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Do you differentiate between Uke and aite?
Tim, not quite sure where you are coming from. To be honest Aite is not a term we use so I am not clear on the implications of it's meaning. Please enlighten me.

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Old 09-29-2011, 12:59 AM   #43
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

I have been taught the distinction between attacker (uke) and partner (aite). Uke is the one you encounter in combat; the one that wants to kill you. Aite is a trainingspartner willing to help you understand technique and allows for 'some space' (openings, timing, relaxation) for purpose of training. Off course aite becomes tougher and tougher when you progress.
Hence we always say when you meet uke, kill him. He has no purpose to help you at all (he does what he does without adaptation to you for training purposes).
At higher level the distinction fades...ultimately disappears completely.

I asked because you said: uke is always right. In my understanding of uke I agree with you on this. But when you mean as aite (trainingspartner) I disagree. In practise you work together to make the technique work (globally) and progressively aite makes it harder. It is aite's responsibility to allow for tori to practise properly and challenge him.

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 09-29-2011 at 01:04 AM.

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
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:10 AM   #44
gates
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Re: Discussion of Spirituality from an Aikido Perspective.

I thought it was the Buddha we were supposed to kill if we ever met them on the road.

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