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Old 06-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #26
hughrbeyer
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I have never seen the sense in a fundamentalist approach to aikido. A fundamentalist approach looks at O Sensei's teachings and tries to figure out what they were and go from there. If the evidence of your very senses contradicts what you think O Sensei's teachings are telling you, then you have to ignore the evidence of your senses and cleave to a "truth" that you don't experience.
I think your point of view lacks nuance. You don't have to choose between following O-Sensei 100% uncritically (fundamentalism) on the one hand, or ignoring him completely on the other. Any teacher, living or dead, will take you places you couldn't have got to on your own; that's why they're teachers. If the evidence of your senses contradicts their teachings, it could be that they're wrong or misguided. It could be that your senses need honing. It could be that you're misinterpreting what your senses are trying to tell you. It could be that the teacher is pointing to areas of experience you have no clue even exist.

In my experience, if a teacher is worth learning from, most of the time when they tell you something that makes no sense, it's the last of the above possibilities that's operational. So though O-Sensei's spirituality was pretty much opaque, I find value in continuing to struggle with it.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:23 PM   #27
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
No doubt many have never seen the sense in the fundamentals either. They must be separatists.

Peace.Aiki.
Here's something to help out your comprehension, Graham:

Fundamental:
noun
5. a basic principle, rule, law, or the like, that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part: to master the fundamentals of a trade.
6. Also called fundamental note, fundamental tone. Music.
a. the root of a chord.
b. the generator of a series of harmonics.
7. Physics. the component of lowest frequency in a composite wave.

Fundamentalism:
noun
1. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
2. the beliefs held by those in this movement.

You can humpty-dumpty all you want, but "fundamentalism" and "fundamentals" are only distantly related. When I spoke of a fundamentalist approach, I was clearly not referring to those who adhere to "a basic principle, rule, law or the like", but rather to literalists as described under the dictionary definition of fundamentalism. Not for the first time, Graham, do NOT try to tell me what I said and what I meant.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:24 PM   #28
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
I think your point of view lacks nuance. You don't have to choose between following O-Sensei 100% uncritically (fundamentalism) on the one hand, or ignoring him completely on the other.
Where did I say that those were the only two choices?
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:46 PM   #29
hughrbeyer
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Re: Spiritual

Put your dukes down, Mary. I'm not going to go all Deconstructionist on your post for you.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:21 AM   #30
NekVTAikido
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
Your animal brain can and will fabricate whatever feelings and memories are necessary to convince you of two things: First to avoid situations that it feels will result in danger to itself, and second to convince you that its influence does not exist.
Ben, I'm with you on the first point, and curious about the second. Can say a little more about how this works? (Presumably, there's some evolutionary advantage to it, but I'm not sure I can see what it is.)
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:52 AM   #31
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Put your dukes down, Mary. I'm not going to go all Deconstructionist on your post for you.
Prudent of you. I understand and agree with your conclusions, but given the antecedents, I think you made a poor choice of springboard.
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:45 PM   #32
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Here's something to help out your comprehension, Graham:

Fundamental:
noun
5. a basic principle, rule, law, or the like, that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part: to master the fundamentals of a trade.
6. Also called fundamental note, fundamental tone. Music.
a. the root of a chord.
b. the generator of a series of harmonics.
7. Physics. the component of lowest frequency in a composite wave.

Fundamentalism:
noun
1. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
2. the beliefs held by those in this movement.

You can humpty-dumpty all you want, but "fundamentalism" and "fundamentals" are only distantly related. When I spoke of a fundamentalist approach, I was clearly not referring to those who adhere to "a basic principle, rule, law or the like", but rather to literalists as described under the dictionary definition of fundamentalism. Not for the first time, Graham, do NOT try to tell me what I said and what I meant.
Do not tell you what you meant? Shudder the thought.

However fundamentalism has nothing to do with the OP. Fundamentals has though.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:50 PM   #33
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Do not tell you what you meant? Shudder the thought.

However fundamentalism has nothing to do with the OP. Fundamentals has though.
Perhaps, then, you should have replied to your own OP if you wanted to speak on fundamentals. If you reply to my post, I would expect you to address the points in my post. To do otherwise is discourteous.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:25 PM   #34
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Perhaps, then, you should have replied to your own OP if you wanted to speak on fundamentals. If you reply to my post, I would expect you to address the points in my post. To do otherwise is discourteous.
I thought my name was in your post.

Plus I'm not replying to the op but just keeping it in line with rather than off on a tangent like fundamentalism. Think that was in your post too.

I'll leave naked emperors and humpty dumpty alone though.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:30 PM   #35
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
Nobody will be able to understand O Sensei's personality completely.
It seems to me, that according to preference the focus is either on the one ore on the other aspect.
People trying to explore what O Sensei did and to strike new paths seem to have another understanding now, but it's also like looking through coloured spectacles.

Some of his mythical discourses can be seen under the aspect of physical training instructions, but does this mean that all of his religous statements could be reduced to one aspect?
If he would have been that practically, he could have explained what he did in other words.
He preferred to talk in mythical discourses and aphorisms.

Terry Dobson wrote that he was praying the whole night, when he accomapanied him when travelling.
He was not practicing with weapons in this night, he was praying to the kami.
What this praying meant to him, we will not understand in its entirety.
Not only did he apparently prefer to talk in a metaphorical way, but also didn't he obviously have any reason to change a teaching/learning paradigm that had served him so well.

Apart from that, I doubt that he would have been able to explain this in a way more akin to modern science or even in plain words. If it were that easy, why do the modern proponents of Aiki do stress that this stuff still has to be felt before words can begin to make sense? Why do they say, that even moving pictures can only be helpful after one has a grip on what to look for?

And who knows? Perhaps those nightly prayers that Terry Dobson mentioned served a double purpose, a spiritual and a practical one?
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:11 PM   #36
john2054
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Re: Spiritual

I have to say Graham that i have a problem when somebody, no matter what their rank, poses on the internet as some kind of greater source of knowledge with which to whitewash the already established norms of knowledge, in exactly the way you have tried to do now with Aikido's spirituality.

Before I begin my answer proper I'd like to suggest to you a couple of things you could do to get those creative juices flowing... study another language. buy a teach yourself book and learn chinese swahili and french like i have done. read good literature, such as julius evola. meditations on the peaks is a good place to start with him. And read philosophy if not at undergraduate level then at least at college. This might teach you a thing or two about knowlege, which is the root of all thinking, which itself is the root of spirituality and not the other way round. We need both our minds and bodies to be complete human beings, only then and only then can we hope to realize the fullness of our spirits. It is not the other way round!
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:54 PM   #37
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
John Robinson wrote: View Post
I have to say Graham that i have a problem when somebody, no matter what their rank, poses on the internet as some kind of greater source of knowledge with which to whitewash the already established norms of knowledge, in exactly the way you have tried to do now with Aikido's spirituality.

Before I begin my answer proper I'd like to suggest to you a couple of things you could do to get those creative juices flowing... study another language. buy a teach yourself book and learn chinese swahili and french like i have done. read good literature, such as julius evola. meditations on the peaks is a good place to start with him. And read philosophy if not at undergraduate level then at least at college. This might teach you a thing or two about knowlege, which is the root of all thinking, which itself is the root of spirituality and not the other way round. We need both our minds and bodies to be complete human beings, only then and only then can we hope to realize the fullness of our spirits. It is not the other way round!
Do I pose? Are you posing now? Maybe we both pose.

Thanks for the suggestions. May I suggest the zen koan 'cup of tea' or indeed any zen koan. Start with a cup of tea and finish with 'the sound of one hand clapping'

I like true mind, true spirit, true body, true heart and true void myself.

Such is my way and may you enjoy yours too.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:17 PM   #38
bkedelen
 
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Re: Spiritual

This thread is getting pretty catty so I hesitated to jump in, but Graham has peaked my interest by prescribing zen riddles. Since you chose to use it to defend your own knowledge of spirituality (whatever that is), please tell me what you think "the sound of one hand clapping" is, in one sentence or less. As such puzzles go it is short, sweet, thoroughly understood by the initiated, and yet it is surprisingly hard to find the answer on the intarwebs, so it may actually prove a valuable metric. If you don't know I wouldn't hold it against you, I am just curious.

Last edited by bkedelen : 06-15-2013 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:34 AM   #39
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
This thread is getting pretty catty so I hesitated to jump in, but Graham has peaked my interest by prescribing zen riddles. Since you chose to use it to defend your own knowledge of spirituality (whatever that is), please tell me what you think "the sound of one hand clapping" is, in one sentence or less. As such puzzles go it is short, sweet, thoroughly understood by the initiated, and yet it is surprisingly hard to find the answer on the intarwebs, so it may actually prove a valuable metric. If you don't know I wouldn't hold it against you, I am just curious.
Only initiates know? Sounds like applause to me.

The heart, body(soul), mind,spirit and void are all with ma ai.......break ma ai and you will hear the sound of one hand clapping.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:39 PM   #40
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Only initiates know?
That is not what Benjamin said.

You'd probably have more meaningful dialogues if you made a concerted attempt to respond to what people are actually saying, rather than altering and paraphrasing. Try reading carefully and responding to exactly what people say.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:41 PM   #41
lbb
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I thought my name was in your post.

Plus I'm not replying to the op but just keeping it in line with rather than off on a tangent like fundamentalism. Think that was in your post too.
A mention of fundamentalism was in my post; however, it was not a tangent.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:35 AM   #42
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
... if you made a concerted attempt to respond to what people are actually saying, rather than altering and paraphrasing.
Doing so very often, if not ever, affects, influences, changes one's own thinking, opinions, mind ... .
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:10 PM   #43
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That is not what Benjamin said.

You'd probably have more meaningful dialogues if you made a concerted attempt to respond to what people are actually saying, rather than altering and paraphrasing. Try reading carefully and responding to exactly what people say.
Too busy enjoying how sweet the strawberry tastes. (Benjamin will understand)

Peace.G.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:52 PM   #44
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: Spiritual

I'm going to attempt to talk from personal experience about a very subjective topic in a meaningful way to the conversation.

I see the spirituality of O'Sensei (from the little I am familiar with) as finding concrete form in the ethics of Aikido. Whether you believe he achieved enlightenment, or whether one can achieve enlightenment through Aikido; O'Sensei's personal beliefs and philosophy formed the ethical basis of his Aikido and it is one of his most enduring legacies to the art. Rather than trying to speak in terms of "spirituality", which is a matter of semantics in many respects, I think speaking "ethically" is far more constructive in this particular instance.

As a Christian I do not adhere to Buddhist, Daoist or Shinto beliefs or doctrines, however I can agree on Aikido's ethical framework. There are many scriptures in the Bible that support the ethics of Aikido. O'Sensei may have arrived at those ethics through different means than myself, yet nevertheless they converge through the application of Aikido as budo.

As a Christian I am concerned with peace, non-resistance and love. I strive to embody these ideals and the Biblical teachings that provide the ethical framework for these abstract realities. Aikido/Aikibudo is a vehicle through which I can learn to develop meaningful expression of these ethical values.

In such a way I could consider my practice of budo as a form of my "spirituality", but my spirituality is not strictly defined by Aikido or any other kind of budo. I am first and foremost a disciple of Jesus Christ. I could express my spirituality using the same vernacular as Graham Christian, but it would carry very different connotations because its source is very different again.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:39 PM   #45
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I'm going to attempt to talk from personal experience about a very subjective topic in a meaningful way to the conversation.

I see the spirituality of O'Sensei (from the little I am familiar with) as finding concrete form in the ethics of Aikido. Whether you believe he achieved enlightenment, or whether one can achieve enlightenment through Aikido; O'Sensei's personal beliefs and philosophy formed the ethical basis of his Aikido and it is one of his most enduring legacies to the art. Rather than trying to speak in terms of "spirituality", which is a matter of semantics in many respects, I think speaking "ethically" is far more constructive in this particular instance.

As a Christian I do not adhere to Buddhist, Daoist or Shinto beliefs or doctrines, however I can agree on Aikido's ethical framework. There are many scriptures in the Bible that support the ethics of Aikido. O'Sensei may have arrived at those ethics through different means than myself, yet nevertheless they converge through the application of Aikido as budo.

As a Christian I am concerned with peace, non-resistance and love. I strive to embody these ideals and the Biblical teachings that provide the ethical framework for these abstract realities. Aikido/Aikibudo is a vehicle through which I can learn to develop meaningful expression of these ethical values.

In such a way I could consider my practice of budo as a form of my "spirituality", but my spirituality is not strictly defined by Aikido or any other kind of budo. I am first and foremost a disciple of Jesus Christ. I could express my spirituality using the same vernacular as Graham Christian, but it would carry very different connotations because its source is very different again.
Lovely poat if I may say so.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:39 AM   #46
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: Spiritual

Thank you Graham .
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:43 AM   #47
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Re: Spiritual

We do a non-technique form of practice in my dojo that was instituted almost 10 years ago. Attacks from ukes are random, vary from typical aikido forms, and are carried through the entire movement while maintaining the initial intention. No one is ever thrown, nor do ukes go along with a throw. Attempts to throw are met with resistance and/or intensification of the attack.

We have found and continue to affirm that only what we call a true center-to-center ki connection will result in the manifestation of aikido, and only if uke maintains his attack through the entire resolution with the support of nage. A withdrawal of the attack ends the aikido (though not necessarily the connection), but a withdrawal from the conflict or defense from nage intensifies the attack. Our practice includes study of how authentic committed attack intention and energy can be maintained all the way through resolution at a safe level of intensity and at less than full speed. The feeling of struggling is obvious to each participant and is used as a marker to indicate that aiki has not been achieved.

We have found and continue to find in our practice that the spiritual nature of ki flow between individuals has profound material effects. Acknowledging the lack of consensus of definition of both words, spiritual and ki the definition for spiritual ki I use as a model for non-technique-based aikido practice is the form of universal energy expressed through evolving life form, relating it to ki as it expresses as magnetic and gravitational forces in the physical world, all different, yet fundamental expressions of ki.

In this model, think of spiritual ki as that force in nature that expresses through the creation of evolving, reproducing organisms out of ordinary chemical compounds, and that its principles appear in interactions between living beings the same way you might think of magnetic principles manifesting in interactions between certain metals.

Being a conduit of this life-producing energy in its optimum flow feels better than anything else on earth to a physical being, especially when one's flow connects with others whose flow equals or is greater than one's own. We typically call that love in myriad forms.

If intention precedes action, intention in harmony with the expression of this energy (effortless connection) is going to produce a better feeling than intention that creates barriers to keep the connective principle of this energy from completing its "circuit." Therefore love, compassion, forgiveness, and trust feel better than hate, heartlessness, resentment, and fear. Love feels good and we love when we feel good because there is an increase of flow of this life-producing energy.

If feeling love is an indication of maximum ki flow, then fear indicates a restriction of flow within the living being. Because the nature of this spiritual ki is magnetic in its own way, a person operating from a state of fear is like someone trying to hold two electromagnets apart as the flow of electricity increases. The more the person does not connect to others in a way that optimizes flow, the stronger the need to connect grows until the ki, revealing a fluid hydraulic-like principle (think fire hose), is expressed as attack, a connection forced on someone else.

All action arises out of intention. If you look at the intention of an attack as material manifestation of a need to connect to another source of ki flow, when we as aikidoka release the constrictions, born of fear, that reduce on our own flow, that ki combines with the ki of the attack, and if we observe basic specific movements of the art, aikido manifests spontaneously and naturally, and usually in a much simpler path than typical aikido techniques take.

Whereas magnetism increases flow of electrons the same way the flow of electrons increases magnetism, the combination of the flood of ki (optimum ki flow from beneficent intention) from nage fills the system of the attacker, thereby dismantling the fundamental reason for the attack. We see this all the time in non-physical conflict. The art of aikido demonstrates these principles in physical expression. This flood of life-giving ki not only allows the creation of an aiki path (what most might call a technique), it fulfills the basic need that drove the attack in the first place, thereby fulfilling the notion by Osensei that aikido brings the whole situation to its natural harmonious state, which certainly would be less apt to happen if an attacker is thrown into a wall or forced down with pain or leverage.

We continue to find that the more authentically nage can engage the energy of the attack with genuine beneficent intention the more effortlessly uke's intention lands him on the ground. Our success in being part of manifestation of aiki comes from transcending the lower brain reflex responses of withdrawal or defense (including counterattack) to genuinely embody higher consciousness, thereby opening the flood gates of ki which instantly transform both the attack and attacker. There is reason why ukes often laugh in the middle of the interaction. Our practice reveals to us daily that the teachings of the founder regarding the spiritual aspects of aikido making the physical aspects effective were not esoteric ramblings but literal explanations that are profoundly true.

Because the principles of ki flow between individual living beings is subtle and hardly affects anything outside of living things, it is easy to discount as simple imagination without substance. What we have found, and feel is backed up by the words of the Founder as well as our direct experience, is that the physical embodiment of sound moral qualities, produce an optimum flow of ki from one's center, and that flow, in its purest, unrestricted state, is what produces aikido, spontaneously and without technique - what I believe Osensei meant by takemusu aiki.

In my nearly 30 years of practice, I have been very fortunate to have had training and/or personal conversation with at least half a dozen direct students of the founder (or who trained in Osensei's dojo when he was alive). One of them, Kaz Tanahashi, who translated the book Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, 1958, under the direction of Morihei Ueshiba) into English, also translated the "Memoir of the Master" at the back of the book and confirmed to me personally that Osensei genuinely believed that the power of aikido, both as a martial art and as an art of self purification was based in spiritual components.

The next greatest verification I received directly was through a brief training experience and long conversation with the late Kanshu Sunadomari, Shihan who I visited in Kumomoto City. Dai Sensei had formed his own aikido dojo in Kumomoto in the early 1950's, and at that time he was challenged by the local budo practitioners who had never as yet heard of aikido. Dai Sensei quickly learned (as he wrote in his book Enlightenment Through Aikido) that technique would only get him so far. He began to study the words of Osensei, particularly the spiritual teachings, and from there his aikido became what it was before he passed on, still as he said to me, using aikido to remove animosity from his heart. I was invited to grab this frail-looking 84 year old man and hold him with everything I had. I had traveled all the way from Los Angeles, so I made it count. What I felt was being transported and taken care of, not thrown.

We continue our training with the goal of our aikido being both martially sound and fulfilling the goal of the founder for it to literally be "the loving protection of all things."
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #48
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
We do a non-technique form of practice in my dojo that was instituted almost 10 years ago. Attacks from ukes are random, vary from typical aikido forms, and are carried through the entire movement while maintaining the initial intention. No one is ever thrown, nor do ukes go along with a throw. Attempts to throw are met with resistance and/or intensification of the attack.

We have found and continue to affirm that only what we call a true center-to-center ki connection will result in the manifestation of aikido, and only if uke maintains his attack through the entire resolution with the support of nage. A withdrawal of the attack ends the aikido (though not necessarily the connection), but a withdrawal from the conflict or defense from nage intensifies the attack. Our practice includes study of how authentic committed attack intention and energy can be maintained all the way through resolution at a safe level of intensity and at less than full speed. The feeling of struggling is obvious to each participant and is used as a marker to indicate that aiki has not been achieved.

We have found and continue to find in our practice that the spiritual nature of ki flow between individuals has profound material effects. Acknowledging the lack of consensus of definition of both words, spiritual and ki the definition for spiritual ki I use as a model for non-technique-based aikido practice is the form of universal energy expressed through evolving life form, relating it to ki as it expresses as magnetic and gravitational forces in the physical world, all different, yet fundamental expressions of ki.

In this model, think of spiritual ki as that force in nature that expresses through the creation of evolving, reproducing organisms out of ordinary chemical compounds, and that its principles appear in interactions between living beings the same way you might think of magnetic principles manifesting in interactions between certain metals.

Being a conduit of this life-producing energy in its optimum flow feels better than anything else on earth to a physical being, especially when one's flow connects with others whose flow equals or is greater than one's own. We typically call that love in myriad forms.

If intention precedes action, intention in harmony with the expression of this energy (effortless connection) is going to produce a better feeling than intention that creates barriers to keep the connective principle of this energy from completing its "circuit." Therefore love, compassion, forgiveness, and trust feel better than hate, heartlessness, resentment, and fear. Love feels good and we love when we feel good because there is an increase of flow of this life-producing energy.

If feeling love is an indication of maximum ki flow, then fear indicates a restriction of flow within the living being. Because the nature of this spiritual ki is magnetic in its own way, a person operating from a state of fear is like someone trying to hold two electromagnets apart as the flow of electricity increases. The more the person does not connect to others in a way that optimizes flow, the stronger the need to connect grows until the ki, revealing a fluid hydraulic-like principle (think fire hose), is expressed as attack, a connection forced on someone else.

All action arises out of intention. If you look at the intention of an attack as material manifestation of a need to connect to another source of ki flow, when we as aikidoka release the constrictions, born of fear, that reduce on our own flow, that ki combines with the ki of the attack, and if we observe basic specific movements of the art, aikido manifests spontaneously and naturally, and usually in a much simpler path than typical aikido techniques take.

Whereas magnetism increases flow of electrons the same way the flow of electrons increases magnetism, the combination of the flood of ki (optimum ki flow from beneficent intention) from nage fills the system of the attacker, thereby dismantling the fundamental reason for the attack. We see this all the time in non-physical conflict. The art of aikido demonstrates these principles in physical expression. This flood of life-giving ki not only allows the creation of an aiki path (what most might call a technique), it fulfills the basic need that drove the attack in the first place, thereby fulfilling the notion by Osensei that aikido brings the whole situation to its natural harmonious state, which certainly would be less apt to happen if an attacker is thrown into a wall or forced down with pain or leverage.

We continue to find that the more authentically nage can engage the energy of the attack with genuine beneficent intention the more effortlessly uke's intention lands him on the ground. Our success in being part of manifestation of aiki comes from transcending the lower brain reflex responses of withdrawal or defense (including counterattack) to genuinely embody higher consciousness, thereby opening the flood gates of ki which instantly transform both the attack and attacker. There is reason why ukes often laugh in the middle of the interaction. Our practice reveals to us daily that the teachings of the founder regarding the spiritual aspects of aikido making the physical aspects effective were not esoteric ramblings but literal explanations that are profoundly true.

Because the principles of ki flow between individual living beings is subtle and hardly affects anything outside of living things, it is easy to discount as simple imagination without substance. What we have found, and feel is backed up by the words of the Founder as well as our direct experience, is that the physical embodiment of sound moral qualities, produce an optimum flow of ki from one's center, and that flow, in its purest, unrestricted state, is what produces aikido, spontaneously and without technique - what I believe Osensei meant by takemusu aiki.

In my nearly 30 years of practice, I have been very fortunate to have had training and/or personal conversation with at least half a dozen direct students of the founder (or who trained in Osensei's dojo when he was alive). One of them, Kaz Tanahashi, who translated the book Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, 1958, under the direction of Morihei Ueshiba) into English, also translated the "Memoir of the Master" at the back of the book and confirmed to me personally that Osensei genuinely believed that the power of aikido, both as a martial art and as an art of self purification was based in spiritual components.

The next greatest verification I received directly was through a brief training experience and long conversation with the late Kanshu Sunadomari, Shihan who I visited in Kumomoto City. Dai Sensei had formed his own aikido dojo in Kumomoto in the early 1950's, and at that time he was challenged by the local budo practitioners who had never as yet heard of aikido. Dai Sensei quickly learned (as he wrote in his book Enlightenment Through Aikido) that technique would only get him so far. He began to study the words of Osensei, particularly the spiritual teachings, and from there his aikido became what it was before he passed on, still as he said to me, using aikido to remove animosity from his heart. I was invited to grab this frail-looking 84 year old man and hold him with everything I had. I had traveled all the way from Los Angeles, so I made it count. What I felt was being transported and taken care of, not thrown.

We continue our training with the goal of our aikido being both martially sound and fulfilling the goal of the founder for it to literally be "the loving protection of all things."
Thanks, another great post.

Your explanation of how you define spiritual and ki is basically not much different to mine. The universal manifestation through life. Also any struggle we too see as a marker of aikido not being achieved.

The word connection we never actually used and so at first I wondered what everyone was talking about. I suppose it was because we had it as a starting point without which there could be no such thing as aikido. We use the principle of 'be with' and given as such to then recognize whenever struggle or stuckness occurs it is due to a violation of this principle. So that's part of our model.

Then I see connection stated as various things and as you say centre to centre. I too cannot disagree with this although we have 5 basic 'things' we develop and practice where centre is one of the five.

Intention is another thing talked about and emphasized by some and I note you use a slightly different terminology which to me makes ALL the difference and that is that you call it beneficent intention. A great wording I think even though not in my model. We used to do drills practicing intention continuously until you knew when intention was there and when it wasn't and then when it was compared to a different intention and thus discovered 'helpful' intentions were the most powerful.

Personally I have always liked finding out how the spiritual manifests as circles, techniques, motions, forms etc. and thus learn the natural universal pathways of ki which is all technique really is.

The manifestation you describe as gravity we call Koshi, the flood of ki and beneficent intention we relate to as universal love which leads to kokyu. Also we find different principles of such relate to different weapons and yet they are no longer destructive in their use.

A journey of discovering what is actually meant by universal love, the spirit of loving protection, harmony and non resistance. Thus also connection takes on new meaning and of itself can be very technical even spiritually. For example there is not only centre to centre connection. There is koshi to koshi, kokyu to kokyu, hara to hara etc. Inhibited and interfered with only by self, the fearing self, the ego, complete with what you call the 'limbic reaponse'. (another great way of describing resistance).

To us, if you don't take that step of faith, if you don't take what Ueshiba said and study it from the view of it being literal then you won't know if it's real or mumbo jumbo. In my opinion and more than that in my experience by so doing only may you learn and realize what not only Ueshiba but also what past masters meant when they came out with similar 'esoteric' type statements.

Kokyu as I call it or as you call it beneficent intention compleat with that flood of ki type experience is to me the best Aikido experience not only for the person doing it but the person receiving it for they always want more, no matter what they try or how intense they get they can't help but love what happens to them. It all makes perfect sense to me for universal love is all embracing and thus leads from intense fight to harmony. Restoration of peace. Divine technique.

Cheers Corky.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:55 AM   #49
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Spiritual

Spiritual is so personal.

Aikido training is spiritual in that it is in the now. It involves another person. Acceptance helps. And it requires us to be truly ourselves in each moment.

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Old 06-22-2013, 01:03 PM   #50
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual

Indeed to some personal, to others universal.

Universal acceptance to me is pure centre.

Peace.G.
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