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Old 08-30-2013, 10:45 AM   #151
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Quote:
Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post
(A) Contra Chris Li, I believe in the existence of "Japanese" things. I also believe that "non-Japanese" things exist and are practiced in Japan by the Japanese people. Japanese people can tell the difference, and, so, so can westerners.
Is it still Japanese food if you eat it with a fork?

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:04 AM   #152
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Is it still Japanese food if you eat it with a fork?

Best,

Chris
I like this analogy a lot.

This has been a strange thread for me. I'm agreeing with Ron and Chris and disagreeing with Cliff; usually it's the other way around.

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #153
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I'm a little confused. Uwagi are just the top garment, your shirt or jacket. It's a more general term than keikogi. The standard blue keikogi is what most of the koryu people I train with demonstrate in. At the Budosai in Kyoto every May all the koryu weapons demonstrators are in keikogi, most indigo, a few in white or undyed. The fancy clothes come out for the iai demonstrations after the koryu weapons demonstrations are finished. The blue keikogi goes back to some point at least in the Edo period when indigo was a common color for workers and cloths that would get dirty (training gear). Historically, the Aikido people who don't wear hakama wear judogi. The things being sold as "aikidogi" are very new. I could go back though my collection of Meirin Sangyo catalogs and tell you exactly when they started selling them, but it was less than 10 years ago. And most aikido people just buy judogi. Calling it an aikidogi is 98% marketing. They change a couple of seams so they have something to sell.
I was just at the Butokuden here in Kyoto this May. Koryu demonstrators were wearing a mix of garments. Some in indigo keikogi and some in kimonos.

This is kind of a fruitless argument since it's just about terminology.

In this video of early kendo practitioners, they seem to be wearing shitagi, over half of them light-colored. I say shitagi instead of uwagi because of the way they seem to move, like pressable cotton rather than the textured, heavy style of kendogi and judogi we are used to today, which I think is based on sashiko weaving pattern.

Please note that in the Jim Breen dictionary, if you click on the "Search using romanized Japanese" and search for "keikogi," the first example is a judo practice uniform.

WHen I say that Kano was responsible for the indigo keikogi uniform, what I mean is that I think Kano designed the white keikogi for judo, then the top half was adopted into kendo and koryu. The make of it is fundamentally similar to the keikogi top used for judo. Indigo may have been popular as a dye in the past, but it was by no means universal. Even today, you see some people wearing white keikogi tops in kendo, etc.

Also note that the indigo keikogi top does not seem to have been worn by schools of jujutsu, etc or adopted as the practice uniform for modern budo. I think it would be very strange if there were a standard practice uniform used by all the weapon arts that was not used for jujutsu (not that there was a clear distinction in the past anyhow). Likewise, if a standard training uniform existed already, why wouldn't Kano have simply created some indigo pants for it and adopted it into judo? I think the most likely explanation for both these is that causation went the other way--first Kano's white keikogi, then the adoption of his keikogi top for use by schools that traditionally wore a random collection of other normal Japanese clothes but still wanted to use hakama.

Unless I see a credible reference telling me otherwise, I am sticking with my own impressions of the situation.

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:08 AM   #154
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Kano adapted the jackets used in Cornish/Gouren styles of wrestling. Judogi is european in origin. There's no collar & elbow grip tradition in japanese jujutsu.
I am open to this idea, but would like a reference.

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:17 AM   #155
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Is it still Japanese food if you eat it with a fork?
Yup, and if you eat kaiseki off styrofoam with Coca-Cola sitting on your couch watching Jerry Springer, it is still Japanese food. And the point of it will be less and less accessible to you the more random unrelated elements you add.

... and that may or may not be applicable to aikido.

Last edited by ChrisMikk : 08-30-2013 at 11:21 AM. Reason: clarification

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:31 AM   #156
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post
Yup, and if you eat kaiseki off styrofoam with Coca-Cola sitting on your couch watching Jerry Springer, it is still Japanese food. And the point of it will be less and less accessible to you the more random unrelated elements you add.

... and that may or may not be applicable to aikido.
It's an analogy, and I don't think that it's unrelated at all. The substance of Aikido as described by Morihei Ueshiba (and he discusses it in great detail in "Take Musu Aiki") has nothing to do with being specific physical cultural activities, just as the substance of Japanese food has nothing do do with what you use to scoop it into your mouth.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:42 AM   #157
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post
I've lost the thread of the argument now. Plus, I am tired and inebriated...

(A) Contra Chris Li, I believe in the existence of "Japanese" things. I also believe that "non-Japanese" things exist and are practiced in Japan by the Japanese people. Japanese people can tell the difference, and, so, so can westerners.

(B) I believe the dogi, while not a traditional garment, is fundamentally more Japanese than sweatpants, etc. I also believe because of its structural relationship with traditional Japanese clothes, it may/probably imparts a kinaesthetic understanding of body mechanics that is different from elastic, pull-overs, nylon, and short-sleeves, etc.

(C) I believe that people who demand an "explanation" of why dogi are necessary for aikido training are making bad arguments, be they straw-man, red herring, or some other type. The reason is that aikido is not defined by these people. Aikido can only be defined in two ways: (1) as an activity that is fundamentally universal, i.e. subject to analysis of fighting efficiency, spiritual truth, etc.; (2) as an activity that is not fundamentally universal, i.e. has a cultural context to be understandable. UFC is an example of 1--quality is judged on objective basis such as win-loss records. Tea ceremony is an example of 2--quality is judged on subjective basis that requires some cultural immersion to be accessible. I do not believe most people are willing to define aikido as a universal activity. If they did, then aikido's lack of training against kicking, for example, would lead aikidoka to say, "we should change aikido to include X% defenses against kicking," and if it could be shown that acting like an aggressive bullying a--hole was a better way to stop fights from happening, then aikidoka should say, "we should change to be aggressive bullying a--holes." And if aikido were shown to be fundamentally at odds with other objective things like a scientific understanding of the basis of mind or a utilitarian understanding of the social good, then people would give it up entirely. These types of things do not happen. Exhibit A in this line of argument is the posters who say "last weekend, we trained outside with boken but no dogi, were we doing aikido?" Why the hell were you training with boken? Boken are a culturally contextualized tool, so you should figure out what boken training aims to teach you, isolate that, get rid of the boken, and move on. But nobody wants to do that. Why? Because, in the final analysis, aikido is what people want it to be, and people want it to be culturally contextualized. It makes it more non-mundane, and this is a big reason that people choose aikido. So, I agree entirely with the poster who says that it stops being aikido when your standard of practice is without dogi or etiquette, not when you train in streetclothes a few times a year.
^^^this

Yeah this is largely what I have been ineffectively arguing by saying that Aikido is a culture.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #158
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Is it still Japanese food if you eat it with a fork?

Best,

Chris
Ahhh...the food may be the same, but the MEAL would probably not be.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #159
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Ahhh...the food may be the same, but the MEAL would probably not be.
Sure, the experience would be different. For that matter, your training under Mitsugi Saotome is vastly different than the experience that you would have had training in Iwama with Ueshiba - even the etiquette was quite different. Does that mean that what you do in D.C. is not Aikido?

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:53 AM   #160
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Do kendo practitioners wear kimono for embu, or does anyone besides koryu? Why?
Do kendo groups actually do embu, per se? It seems like the kind of thing that nobody would pay attention to because they are there for the matches.

I think I was just saying that, just because a group dresses up for embu (have you seen the Shumpukan at embu?? Or Yoshin ryu naginata??), doesn't mean they dress up for training....and doesn't mean that the way they dress during training isn't subject to the traditions of that dojo.

It's all culturally contextualized....
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #161
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Sure, the experience would be different. For that matter, your training under Mitsugi Saotome is vastly different than the experience that you would have had training in Iwama with Ueshiba - even the etiquette was quite different. Does that mean that what you do in D.C. is not Aikido?

Best,

Chris
it MIGHT NOT be if the instructors at my dojo all decided to start conducting class exactly as they do in Iwama.

More relevant, it might not be Aikido at our dojo anymore if we began restricting hakama to yudansha!
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:22 PM   #162
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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it MIGHT NOT be if the instructors at my dojo all decided to start conducting class exactly as they do in Iwama.

More relevant, it might not be Aikido at our dojo anymore if we began restricting hakama to yudansha!
I'm sorry, I may be missing your point. Are you saying that what they're doing in Iwama isn't Aikido? Or is it that dojo where only yudansha wear hakama is not Aikido? Both?

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #163
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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I'm sorry, I may be missing your point. Are you saying that what they're doing in Iwama isn't Aikido? Or is it that dojo where only yudansha wear hakama is not Aikido? Both?

Best,

Chris
It's a cultural transmission, dude.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:56 PM   #164
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

If circumstances forced someone to utilize their aikido training on the street (and, of course, you are not wearing a gi), are you saying then that it would not be aikido?
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #165
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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You know that you don't know which translations are more accurate, right? And so your point is, that you pick the translations that most accurately reflect your own biases. It is hard to argue with that if you are upfront about it.
Ultimately, your choice to inherit information and internalize it makes the accuracy of the information irrelevant. This is the foundation of belief. In this sense, it would not matter which translation is more accurate, only which one I choose to believe. Regardless that the facts point to Nolan Ryan as the greatest pitcher in baseball, I believe the interpretation of facts to be that Nolan Ryan is the greatest pitcher in baseball.

To go down the slippery slope... if you choose to empirically clasify a translation as more correct than another... would that affect your decision to internalize the information? I would say no if that translation conflicted with your ideological belief structure. You are going to turn a blind eye to that which rocks your ideological world... even if it means you are "less" accurate.

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Old 08-30-2013, 01:17 PM   #166
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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It's a cultural transmission, dude.
My point was - which culture? Any culture, as long as it's Japanese? Because if it's a specific culture - say, the culture of O-Sensei's personal dojo, then you ain't got it.

Even in Japan, the culture, etiquette and customs vary widely from dojo to dojo - which ones aren't practicing Aikido?

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 01:28 PM   #167
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Judogi is european in origin.
Yes it is, Demetrio. Thank you for adding that fact to this thread. The Japanese school uniform is also of European origin. It's also interesting to see how close the aikidogi and hakama are to the school uniforms. White naval-inspired shirt with pleated-dark skirt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_school_uniform

Aikido is not a Japanese art. It is a world art.

From there, we could adjust the question in this topic, because the clothes really aren't Japanese.

Is it still Aikido if you add clothes, etiquette and other things from other parts of the world.

And the answer is, absolutely, because aikido, as it was established, was, and is, an ever-evolving, international confluence of influences.

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Old 08-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #168
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
My point was - which culture? Any culture, as long as it's Japanese? Because if it's a specific culture - say, the culture of O-Sensei's personal dojo, then you ain't got it.
Which personal dojo?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Even in Japan, the culture, etiquette and customs vary widely from dojo to dojo - which ones aren't practicing Aikido?
Any one that has broken cultural transmission with Osensei.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:48 PM   #169
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Kano adapted the jackets used in Cornish/Gouren styles of wrestling. Judogi is european in origin. There's no collar & elbow grip tradition in japanese jujutsu.
You should have put a smiley on this - some people think you are being serious.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #170
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Which personal dojo?
The only one that he had after 1942 was Iwama.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Any one that has broken cultural transmission with Osensei.
You mean, like the way that Mitsugi Saotome has because his etiquette is different than that practiced by Morihei Ueshiba?

FWIW, I'm not an Iwama guy (although I've trained there), and I'm perfectly fine with the thought that what Saotome is doing is Aikido. But if if changing the etiquette means that you're not practicing Aikido then he isn't. And neither is almost all Aikido today.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:06 PM   #171
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
The only one that he had after 1942 was Iwama.
So...they weren't practicing Aikido at the Asahi Shimbun or at the Kobukan?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
You mean, like the way that Mitsugi Saotome has because his etiquette is different than that practiced by Morihei Ueshiba?
Oh yeah? How is Saotome Sensei's etiquette different than that practiced by Osensei, exactly?
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:10 PM   #172
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Quote:
(C) I believe that people who demand an "explanation" of why dogi are necessary for aikido training are making bad arguments, be they straw-man, red herring, or some other type. The reason is that aikido is not defined by these people. Aikido can only be defined in two ways: (1) as an activity that is fundamentally universal, i.e. subject to analysis of fighting efficiency, spiritual truth, etc.; (2) as an activity that is not fundamentally universal, i.e. has a cultural context to be understandable. UFC is an example of 1--quality is judged on objective basis such as win-loss records. Tea ceremony is an example of 2--quality is judged on subjective basis that requires some cultural immersion to be accessible. I do not believe most people are willing to define aikido as a universal activity. If they did, then aikido's lack of training against kicking, for example, would lead aikidoka to say, "we should change aikido to include X% defenses against kicking," and if it could be shown that acting like an aggressive bullying a--hole was a better way to stop fights from happening, then aikidoka should say, "we should change to be aggressive bullying a--holes." And if aikido were shown to be fundamentally at odds with other objective things like a scientific understanding of the basis of mind or a utilitarian understanding of the social good, then people would give it up entirely. These types of things do not happen. Exhibit A in this line of argument is the posters who say "last weekend, we trained outside with boken but no dogi, were we doing aikido?" Why the hell were you training with boken? Boken are a culturally contextualized tool, so you should figure out what boken training aims to teach you, isolate that, get rid of the boken, and move on. But nobody wants to do that. Why? Because, in the final analysis, aikido is what people want it to be, and people want it to be culturally contextualized. It makes it more non-mundane, and this is a big reason that people choose aikido. So, I agree entirely with the poster who says that it stops being aikido when your standard of practice is without dogi or etiquette, not when you train in streetclothes a few times a year.
I think there is a false dichotomy here. Accepting a non-universal definition of aikido does not necessarily require acceptance of a definition that hinges on certain traditional practices derived from a particular cultural context. I think it is perfectly possible to derive a non-universal definition of aikido from aikido's lineage, physics, and technical curriculum. If what I am training has a lineage to Daito-ryu through Ueshiba; contains fundamental movements like irimi, tenkan, etc.; and is built on aikido kihon waza, I think it's aikido, wherever and with whatever cultural trappings it is practiced.

And in reference to the specific point about the bokken, aikido's physical and technical roots in swordsmanship are a perfectly good non-cultural reason to include sword training in aikido.

Last edited by OwlMatt : 08-30-2013 at 02:15 PM.

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:12 PM   #173
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
So...they weren't practicing Aikido at the Asahi Shimbun or at the Kobukan?
Those were before 1942.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Oh yeah? How is Saotome Sensei's etiquette different than that practiced by Osensei, exactly?
Talk to Saito, or rather, any of the old time Iwama guys. Saotome's etiquette isn't even quite the same as the etiquette practiced at Aikikai Hombu. Not that I care about it, but some people seems to think that breaks the transmission.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:15 PM   #174
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
I think there is a false dichotomy here. Accepting a non-universal definition of aikido does not necessarily require acceptance of a definition that hinges on certain traditional practices derived from a particular cultural context. I think it is perfectly possible to derive a non-universal definition of aikido from aikido's lineage, physics, and technical curriculum. If what I am training has a lineage to Daito-ryu through Ueshiba; contains fundamental movements like irimi, tenkan, etc.; and includes aikido kihon waza and more advanced techniques derived from these kihon waza, I think it's aikido, wherever and with whatever cultural trappings it is practiced.
Lineage from Daito ryu and technical curriculum are both totally culturally contextual!

"Physics" is either universal, or also culturally contextual.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:18 PM   #175
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Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Those were before 1942.
What does that have to do with it?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Talk to Saito, or rather, any of the old time Iwama guys. Saotome's etiquette isn't even quite the same as the etiquette practiced at Aikikai Hombu. Not that I care about it, but some people seems to think that breaks the transmission.
Howso? What is different about Saotome Sensei's etiquette exactly?
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