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Old 12-08-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
HL1978
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Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

In the stance of heaven and earth thread, I mentioned that when you have some exposure to aiki, or at least a foot in the door, your perception of various phrases and exercises begins to change.

For example:

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
or the whole "absolute non-resistance" thing. Some might take that to mean we get out of the way, we don't impede uke, but since starting on this type of training I've seen how I can remain stationary, not move out of the way or get off the line and let you collide with me, yet still maintain "absolute non-resistance" with the forces you are sending at me. Even better when they find themselves in ikkyo and I still haven't moved my body... I'm standing on that damned floating bridge... and I don't plan on getting off it any time soon.
Now setting aside newer translations of the founder, does anyone have any other insight into other common phrases after "their eyes were opened?" If one could provide a typical definition for the phrase along with their new reinterpretation, it may make for good conversation.

Lets try "non-resistance" for starters.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
Chris Li
 
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post

Lets try "non-resistance" for starters.
Not fighting against their force - this is very different than avoidance, which is how non-resistance is often demonstrated, IMO.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-08-2011, 07:56 PM   #3
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Yes, the term 'non-resistance', IMO, fits very nicely in the model of Aiki we are pursuing - we don't avoid the force, we connect and blend with it internally and make it one force that is controlled within by you - this approach can also be viewed as blending as well - but it does not involve moving to physically blend with an attack - it is all part of you - once 'blended' with the external force, you can move, stay static, or a combination of both - the beauty is that the two are one now and it is your choice to do whatever - uke ceases to exists and essentially comes along for the ride. Of course, YMMV

Greg
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

My current understanding is "absolute non-resistance" means exactly what it says. Not avoiding, not holding, not bracing, not pushing, just plain not resisting. We don't resist gravity. We don't push against the ground. We don't brace our bodies. And yet every day almost all of us can stand with no effort. Someone comes and pushes on us and nothing changes. Your only limit is yourself which brings us to "Masakatsu Agatsu Katsu hayabi."

On the other hand there is a story about Shirata's days teaching with the Budo Senyokai. After he had pinned two challengers who had requested a match he reportedly said, "How's that? Can you resist? This is what I call the world of nonresistance."

Seems he was a funny guy.

What do you guys think Ueshiba called it? 争わぬ arasowanu? 無抵抗 muteikou?

-Doug Walker
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
O Sensei: It only seems to be mystical. In Aikido we utilize the power of the opponent completely. So the more power the opponent uses, the easier it is for you.

B: Then, in that sense, there is Aiki in Judo, too, since in Judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

B: Does that mean ~o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.
This whole section from the other thread reminded me very strongly of the IS stuff, but I was staying out of trouble so I didn't say so there.

No attack; "win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven"--harmonize aiki in yourself first; then when you meet the attack you meet it without resistance or opposition because then you would no longer be harmonized with yourself. We practice exactly this.

You are in a state of continuous victory because your own centered body continually controls yourself and uke. You don't have to fight him because you're controlling him. I have to work at it to come up with different words than O-Sensei already used.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:01 PM   #6
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
We don't resist gravity. We don't push against the ground. We don't brace our bodies. "
Funny -- interesting funny, not ha-ha funny -- that one of the things I've been working on during the last year is identifying places where, in fact, I do resist gravity, push against the ground, and brace my body. It's wholly unnecessary and counterproductive to do so, to be sure, but there it is, again and again, and I wonder that there are so many things to unlearn.....

FL

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Old 12-08-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
Funny -- interesting funny, not ha-ha funny -- that one of the things I've been working on during the last year is identifying places where, in fact, I do resist gravity, push against the ground, and brace my body. It's wholly unnecessary and counterproductive to do so, to be sure, but there it is, again and again, and I wonder that there are so many things to unlearn.....
Masakatsu Agatsu, brother, Masakatsu.

-Doug Walker
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
No attack; "win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven"--harmonize aiki in yourself first; then when you meet the attack you meet it without resistance or opposition because then you would no longer be harmonized with yourself. We practice exactly this.
Hi Hugh -

Pardon my lack of understanding here, but are you saying that you haven't always practiced "exactly this" in your study of Aikido?

Best,

Ron

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Old 12-09-2011, 04:14 AM   #9
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
I... does anyone have any other insight into other common phrases after "their eyes were opened?"
Well, just the phrase "stance that connects heaven and earth" in itself that gave that thread its name .
Connecting "heaven" and "earth" is something which was taught by different teachers. But only during the last year I came to "make it possible".
My first teacher did research in those aspects, connecting aikido and other arts like tai chi, qigong and also shiatsu.
(Although we did classical hanmi then ...)

... and what Hugh said sounds very familiar ...

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 12-09-2011 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:52 AM   #10
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Heaven/ earth/ man
Heaven/ earth/ man is not a stance (as in the thread by the same name) it is a method to train the body, that very much does what most of those in aikido are shooting for.
Which in turn, is why Ueshiba talked about it so much. It changes the bodies quality and connection. For many, lets just say that many senior people avoid power because quite frankly they are truly clueless in how to absorb it. Dealing with force-for most people anyway-is either fight back or avoid, mostly by blocking and moving out of the way. There are many examples I could put up of members here doing just that. I no longer deal with videos because contrary to all the discussions, the simple truth of the matter is that people want to "believe" that what they are doing is good despite all evidence to the contrary. Avoiding contact with better educated people in aikido is for the them the best way to go as once touched...there is no where or not way to hide your lack.

Looking back at phrases and looking back at teachers
Ever notice how many aikido-ka twirl and move and lumber about with their arms down? The reason is they don't know how to engage without their shoulders and local muscle doing the work. Now that people are getting more educated, they have picked up on so many teachers and posters here either being a little bundle of muscle or a wet noodle evading....both of which express a profound lack of understanding aikido.
Dan
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:58 AM   #11
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Hi Hugh -

Pardon my lack of understanding here, but are you saying that you haven't always practiced "exactly this" in your study of Aikido?

Best,

Ron
Pardon my lack of understanding here, but are you saying that you have...and that you believe it has had measurable results in the way you move? The things we are talking about make very definable and palpable changes to your body and the way you feel and interact. If you understand these things. You will stand out instantly. It is definable and that is why it is best for most here to either get up to speed and start learning IP/aiki or seriously consider altering their teaching engagements in public anymore. It's already happening when people touch hands.

In the midst of never ending attacks and me trying to be nice, the bottom line is so far, very few in Aikido get these things at all...and when it is pointed out all they do is get ticked off about it.
Everyone doesn't know everything automatically do they?
The ASU seems to be spear heading it with so many going for it, but there are others from the ki society as as Birankai and Aikikai chasing it. One of Doshu's close friends made an anouncement that he suspending teachng aikido until further notice because he found aiki. He, like Ikeda is hell bent on getting it.
This..understanding...for many people is nothing more than empty words. Here we had seventy years of teaching, books, articles, hundreds of thousands of words on line and in person and when they meet someone who actually DOES understand these things it is...fail fail fail.
Over and over and over.

Last edited by DH : 12-09-2011 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:57 AM   #12
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Been playing around with this stuff quite a bit in my head lately whenever I'm bored..

Endo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM-re...feature=relmfu

Unbendable arm trick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHCXrAqtKD4

Ledyard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...EuO61sY#t=813s

To me, these things are starting to look like the same things. Connecting to your partner's center via intent and being able to unbalance him/her in that way, unbendable arm trick through intent, 'sending ki' behind the other person and being able to unbalance him/her in that way, etc. etc.

I've heard irimi being defined once as 'piercing' or 'devouring' your partner, utterly passing through. Maybe, instead of a merely external notion on footwork, we could look at irimi as in fact being more of an internal/intent thing.

Now, just imagine these lines of irimi/extension/intent/ki/whatever-you-want-to-call-it going into every single direction you can think of, with each having an infinite 'length', so to say. Not just to your partner's center, but beyond, and in all them glorious directions, as a kind of sphere. You'll have yourself a suit of armor made of irimi.. Dayumm! Instant piercing-through-unbalancing whenever your partner makes contact. And you won't have to do something to your partner at all.

Quote:
O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.
Quote:
Seeing me the enemy attacks, but by that time, I'm already behind him.
(if I remember correctly)

And in that sense, there is no resistance. Because you do not do something to your partner, you're just standing/walking there, minding your own business, just occupying your space, being inside your bubble of awesomeness. So then, when your partner would attack you, your partner will in fact be unbalancing him/herself.

On a related note: I've heard zanshin being defined once as exactly this: this idea of awareness and intent going into every direction at the same time.

Now, I've heard Tamura being quoted once as saying that aikido was all about 'irimi and atemi' and 'kokyu and zanshin'. Imagine how much cooler aikido would be if we substituted those ideas in stead of the usual 'triangular entry footwork' and the 'be mindful of your surroundings' that we usually see..

Now, disclaimer: I'm in no way high ranked or good at this aikido stuff, so I'm in no way representing the ideas of the authors/demonstrators in the quotes and the videos.. Just bouncing ideas off you guys

G'day to y'all!

Tim Bergman
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Heaven/ earth/ man Heaven/ earth/ man is not a stance (as in the thread by the same name) it is a method to train the body, ...
Ok, this is different.

Any relationship to dealing with the three dantian (heaven - man - earth)? This is what it is about in our practice. So I don't know it as a method but as a "structure" or a way to "organize" the body and it's movement.

(So of course connecting heaven earth man - as far as I know it - is not a stance. That's why I asked my question in the other thread.)

Hell, it's so difficult to talk about in a foreign language. Especially bceause my level of understanding and "doing it" is so low. Sometimes I think I'm knowing what I talkt about, then again it is gone ...
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:53 AM   #14
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Heaven/ earth/ man
Heaven/ earth/ man is not a stance (as in the thread by the same name) it is a method to train the body, that very much does what most of those in aikido are shooting for.
Quote:
合気道とは、天地人、和合の道とこうなるのであります。
Aikido is the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man.
-Morihei Ueshiba
Best,

Chris

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Old 12-09-2011, 11:45 AM   #15
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

There are a ton of quotes attributed to him that I read completely differently now:

Quote:
All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is the truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together. When the myriad variations in the universal breath can be sensed, the individual techniques of the Art of Peace are born.
Chris Li: Any missing nuance to Stevens translation?
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #16
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
There are a ton of quotes attributed to him that I read completely differently now:

Chris Li: Any missing nuance to Stevens translation?
I'd have to track down the original Japanese (not always easy...), but I'll take a look when I get a chance.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-09-2011, 12:26 PM   #17
Allen Beebe
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
合気道とは、天地人、和合の道とこうなるのであります。
Aikido is the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man.
-Morihei Ueshiba

Chris
Hi Chris,

To me, and I assume you, 和合の道 is of particular significance in this quote as it relates to 天地人. In other words it appears he is saying:

合気道 = 和合の道 in relation to 天地人

Each is deserving of exploration. I just wanted to emphasize your quote.

(Gotta go!)

Allen

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Old 12-09-2011, 12:39 PM   #18
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Pardon my lack of understanding here, but are you saying that you have...and that you believe it has had measurable results in the way you move?
Hi Dan -

It was a simple question to Hugh. Nothing more, implied or otherwise.

Best,

Ron

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Old 12-09-2011, 05:52 PM   #19
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Hi Chris,

To me, and I assume you, 和合の道 is of particular significance in this quote as it relates to 天地人. In other words it appears he is saying:

合気道 = 和合の道 in relation to 天地人

Each is deserving of exploration. I just wanted to emphasize your quote.

(Gotta go!)

Allen
You mean separating the two phrases somewhat and relating them indirectly? That might change the nuances a little bit, depending on how you read it. Or do you mean that Aikido is defined specifically in relation to tenchijin?

Anyway, I put the translation as above because Ueshiba refers in other places to things like "the principal of harmonization of heaven, earth and man" (天地人和合の理).

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-09-2011, 08:03 PM   #20
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: No attack; "win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven"--harmonize aiki in yourself first; then when you meet the attack you meet it without resistance or opposition because then you would no longer be harmonized with yourself. We practice exactly this.
Pardon my lack of understanding here, but are you saying that you haven't always practiced "exactly this" in your study of Aikido?
If you'd asked me before we started this journey, I would have said yes, of course we do. Be centered, move from center, neutralize the attack, yada yada. I've heard people say the words every since I first started Aikido.

But now we practice exactly this. Now we practice exactly this. Harmonize aiki in yourself first. Do it. It's work. Okay. Here's the attack. Meet it. No, don't fight it. No, don't run away. Own it.

Like that.

There's a scene in the Patsy Kline movie where she leans back after bumping uglies with a guy who's not yet her husband and says, "I was starving to death and I didn't even know it."

Okay, icky analogy, but...
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #21
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
If you'd asked me before we started this journey, I would have said yes, of course we do. Be centered, move from center, neutralize the attack, yada yada. I've heard people say the words every since I first started Aikido.

But now we practice exactly this. Now we practice exactly this. Harmonize aiki in yourself first. Do it. It's work. Okay. Here's the attack. Meet it. No, don't fight it. No, don't run away. Own it.

Like that.

There's a scene in the Patsy Kline movie where she leans back after bumping uglies with a guy who's not yet her husband and says, "I was starving to death and I didn't even know it."

Okay, icky analogy, but...
I posted this somewhere else, but...

I was training with Sam Chin and he came up and said "You don't know where your center is, don't Aikido people talk a lot about the center?". I replied "Yes, they talk a lot about the center.".

A lot of people are buzz word compliant, but the number of people who can actually do what they're talking about is disappointingly small.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-09-2011, 08:46 PM   #22
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

I wonder what exactly a non IS interpretation of 'harmonization of heaven,earth,man' is.
On this side of it, I think..that it can only be interpreted/pointing to as the mystical experience of the unity of all, itself. And this too ruffles the feathers of those who subscribe to it. That there is another way.. To see, understand, and use it. Not for either something vaguely spiritual, or something pointedly experiential.

I think this was a way of forcing a dual-meaning (/punning) to IS experiences & Ueshibas neo Shinto animism. All is one ( monism) (macro is micro, the whole in the one, yada yada) , in this mindset, although i disagree in the extreme that the one is the other. Two separate things, and a choice to draw this equality.

Fwiw
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:19 PM   #23
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
If you'd asked me before we started this journey, I would have said yes, of course we do. Be centered, move from center, neutralize the attack, yada yada. I've heard people say the words every since I first started Aikido.

But now we practice exactly this. Now we practice exactly this. Harmonize aiki in yourself first. Do it. It's work. Okay. Here's the attack. Meet it. No, don't fight it. No, don't run away. Own it.

Like that.

There's a scene in the Patsy Kline movie where she leans back after bumping uglies with a guy who's not yet her husband and says, "I was starving to death and I didn't even know it."

Okay, icky analogy, but...
Thanks Hugh.

Ron

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Old 12-09-2011, 11:04 PM   #24
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
You mean separating the two phrases somewhat and relating them indirectly? That might change the nuances a little bit, depending on how you read it. Or do you mean that Aikido is defined specifically in relation to tenchijin?

Anyway, I put the translation as above because Ueshiba refers in other places to things like "the principal of harmonization of heaven, earth and man" (天地人和合の理).

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris,

I did not "mean separating the two phrases somewhat and relating them indirectly." I intended to amplify the translation you provided which seems to me (for whatever that is worth) succinct and accurate. I hoped to encourage individuals to pause and think of the potential implications of such a comment and to also consider "What don't you know?" There may be quite a bit that one doesn't know, and then there may not.

合気道とは、天地人、和合の道とこうなるのであります。
Aikido is the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man.
-Morihei Ueshiba

Allen's emphasis:

Aikido IS: the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man.

I'm guessing that Ueshiba Morihei made this statement through the lens of:

a) a Martial Artist (Primarily, or at least foundation-ally, a Daito Ryu Martial Artist). What does " the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man." mean to such an individual?

b) an Omoto Kyo believer. What does " the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man." mean to such an individual?

and (but certainly not limited to)

c) a unique individualist (who ended up bucking both Daito ryu and Omoto Kyo) influenced by the significant events of his time. What does " the way of the harmonization of heaven, earth and man." mean to such an individual?

How are all of these views reconciled/synthesized within this individual such that such a statement is significant or made vital? Assuming that he thought that his statement was significant. As you pointed out he seems to have deemed the subject worth repeating! (天地人和合の理)

Anyway, when the founder of an art one studies says, "this is what the art is . . . " It seems to me prudent that a student listen and consider. The worst possible response would be along the lines of, "Yeah, yeah, I already know that." or "Yeah, that's what we do." or "Huh? More psycho babble! When does the training start?" Obviously, the founder is defining the art because it seems to need defining. Why? Perhaps because all of the "already knowing," "already doing," and/or "already training," somehow missed the mark.

I liked the quote.

As you probably know, my teacher put and emphasis on 天地人和合の理. That emphasis certainly didn't come about by accident. Yet, I seem to find myself still trying to find the 和合の道 rather than being a veteran traveler of that 合気道.

Best,
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:16 AM   #25
phitruong
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Re: Rethinking the meaning of various phrases in light of "aiki"

Quote:
Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
I wonder what exactly a non IS interpretation of 'harmonization of heaven,earth,man' is.
Fwiw
standing in the middle of the field, holding a metal rod during a thunderstorm. lightning from the heaven, through the man, into the earth. also known as snap, crackle and pop.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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