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Old 01-14-2001, 01:25 PM   #26
darin
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Quote:
crystalwizard wrote:
[QUOTE
so should we still bow to O-sensi??

Well, do you worship him? Do you think of him as some kind of deity?
I am just wondering if aikidoka really understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.


Quote:
akiy worte:
Inasmuch as I've understood it, bowing is not religious in nature. Its origin for the Japanese culture stems from budo and the inherent trust one would give in symbolically offering one's head and neck to the other party.

My feeling is that just because you're bowing towards someone doesn't mean you're worshipping nor deifying him or her...

-- Jun
For those that would like to do a little reading, about.com has an EXCELLENT set of guides on japan. The language, culture and so on
Easiest way to find them is just go to about.com and click on J on the alphabet line

The section on culture, subsection bowing states:

BOWING

Bowing represents humility. You elevate, honour, and respect the
other person by humbling yourself or lowering yourself. The
lower you bow, the more you are honouring or respecting the
other party. As a Westerner, you are not expected to initiate a
bow, but a bow should always be returned (except from personnel
at department stores and restaurants who bow to welcome you,
and to whom you can nod in return if you like). To not bow in
return is similar to refusing a hand shake.

The person of lower status usually initiates the bow, bows the
lowest, and is the last one to rise. The most frequent bow is a
rather informal bow of about 15 degrees and is held for one or two
seconds. A deeper bow is used for a superior or for a formal
occasion such as a first meeting. It is usually about 30 degrees
and is held for about three seconds. Men usually leave their
hands at their sides while bowing, but women usually place them
together on their thighs with their fingertips overlapping or
touching. Heels should be together. If you rise from your bow and the other person hasn't risen yet, you should bow again. On
most occasions, especially when saying good-bye, there are
several bows by all parties.

USES OF THE BOW

FOR GREETINGS
AND PARTINGS
introductions
welcoming
acknowledgment of another's
presence (even across the room)
gaining attention
FOR SINCERITY
offering assistance, food,
presents, etc.
showing gratitude
congratulating
sympathy
FOR HUMILITY
requests
apology
respect
FOR CEREMONY
TO ACKNOWLEDGE OR
SHOW AGREEMENT


THE HAND SHAKE

Hand shaking is definitely a Western custom. Generally, the
Japanese are uncomfortable with any physical forms of contact,
however, they have become accustomed to this Western tradition
and often shake hands to promote good relations. You should
not judge the kind of hand shake a Japanese person returns nor
should you be too aggressive or excited shaking the hand of a
Japanese person.


====
The site has much much much more, quite indepth and informative for any who might be interested [/b][/quote]

That website's description of bowing kind of reminds me of Sean Connery's speach about Japanese customs to Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun. hehehe

I sometimes think bowing is an art form in itself. Knowing how to bow, who to bow to, the different kind of bows, and when to bow really only come with the total Japanese experience. What I mean is that in order to perform bowing correctly you have to have a very good understanding of the culture. In theory it is not something you think "how deep should I bow..." it is a natural expression that compliments forms of communication. Have you ever seen Japanese people bow when they are talking to someone on the phone?

Interestingly, not all Japanese know how to bow "properly". Most are tought how to bow, serve tea and even talk correctly when they join a company.

So this brings me back to my question, are Japanese customs such as bowing necessary for aikido outside of Japan if we don't fully understand and perform them properly? I feel that if western schools are going to keep the language, bowing etc they should fully educate their students so they can understand what they are doing and perform everything correctly. I wonder if there are any teachers out there who are capable of doing this...











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Old 01-14-2001, 02:31 PM   #27
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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Quote:
darin wrote:
Aikido is unique. No other martial art has the same training routines and syllabus of techniques. Some schools may have adopted some aikido techniques but those schools are not aikido. Even in aikido its possible to differentiate between Yoshinkan, Tomiki, Yoseikan and Aikikai. Actually this can be said for almost all martial arts systems.
You are right, there can be big differences in my opinion. I was recently in an Iwama dojo and the instructor wasn't Iwama style. Most of the students (at least 2 sandans) struggled with what I considered fairly basic movement. I actually found myself wondering how they spent their time. Clearly, their day-to-day practice was significantly different than mine. Given the technical differences in that environment and based upon the idea that Aikido is a unique structure and syllabus either they don't do Aikido or I don't do Aikido, if I understand your argument correctly. I can guarantee I've spent my time in the art doing different things than they have. Not better, just different.

Quote:
The spiritualism in aikido is found in all aspects of Japanese society, arts, and traditions. Ask any Japanese martial artist, regardless of any style or art they do, why they train? They will answer "Seishin no tame ni" which basically means "to improve my spirit".
Really! None of them would respond by saying "because I was picked on and didn't like it", "because I'm fat and want to lose weight", "that I enjoy the people or movements" or "my father signed me up." They are all out forging their spirit? We really are decadent over here.

Quote:
Flow, blending, and harmony? These are in all martial arts. Have you heard of timing, distance and execution? Punches, kicks, takedowns, pins and chokes all require flow, blending and harmony just like in aikido. It's only narrow minded western instructors who have read too many books that say their art is unique to only these three elements.
Virtually all physical practices involve some component of flow, blending and harmony. Even offensive linemen in football will blend and flow with their opponents. But there's a difference between pancaking a linebacker because you were in the zone and what we do when we are in the zone. Guess you could argue that's a technical thing though.

Quote:
You should know that to most Japanese people, aikido is the same as karate, judo and kendo. Even my Japanese teacher says that the only difference is in the techniques.
I figured they worshipped the ground we walked upon. Such a bummer that the typical Japanese doesn't have a clue about the martial arts. Just like here. Oh, you probably meant something else.

Quote:
You have used your martial art to dig in and learn about yourself. I won't argue with you here as I did the same. But so did people in karate, kung fu, tae kwon do etc. I suppose the question is did everyone get the same answers...
Absolutely, why is it different, or is it different? By the way, this must be a mid-aikido-life crises thing. I've been pondering these same questions for some time.

[Edited by Erik on January 14, 2001 at 06:24pm]
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Old 01-14-2001, 05:48 PM   #28
JO
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Universitť Laval
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For a little education on etiquette and bowing, check out Etiquette and transmission, Chap. 3. By N. Tamura sensei at
http://www.aikidoonline.com/

[Edited by JO on January 14, 2001 at 05:53pm]

Jonathan Olson
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Old 01-14-2001, 07:48 PM   #29
darin
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Quote:
Erik wrote:
Quote:
darin wrote:
Aikido is unique. No other martial art has the same training routines and syllabus of techniques. Some schools may have adopted some aikido techniques but those schools are not aikido. Even in aikido its possible to differentiate between Yoshinkan, Tomiki, Yoseikan and Aikikai. Actually this can be said for almost all martial arts systems.
You are right, there can be big differences in my opinion. I was recently in an Iwama dojo and the instructor wasn't Iwama style. Most of the students (at least 2 sandans) struggled with what I considered fairly basic movement. I actually found myself wondering how they spent their time. Clearly, their day-to-day practice was significantly different than mine. Given the technical differences in that environment and based upon the idea that Aikido is a unique structure and syllabus either they don't do Aikido or I don't do Aikido, if I understand your argument correctly. I can guarantee I've spent my time in the art doing different things than they have. Not better, just different.

Quote:
The spiritualism in aikido is found in all aspects of Japanese society, arts, and traditions. Ask any Japanese martial artist, regardless of any style or art they do, why they train? They will answer "Seishin no tame ni" which basically means "to improve my spirit".
Really! None of them would respond by saying "because I was picked on and didn't like it", "because I'm fat and want to lose weight", "that I enjoy the people or movements" or "my father signed me up." They are all out forging their spirit? We really are decadent over here.

Quote:
Flow, blending, and harmony? These are in all martial arts. Have you heard of timing, distance and execution? Punches, kicks, takedowns, pins and chokes all require flow, blending and harmony just like in aikido. It's only narrow minded western instructors who have read too many books that say their art is unique to only these three elements.
Virtually all physical practices involve some component of flow, blending and harmony. Even offensive linemen in football will blend and flow with their opponents. But there's a difference between pancaking a linebacker because you were in the zone and what we do when we are in the zone. Guess you could argue that's a technical thing though.

Quote:
You should know that to most Japanese people, aikido is the same as karate, judo and kendo. Even my Japanese teacher says that the only difference is in the techniques.
I figured they worshipped the ground we walked upon. Such a bummer that the typical Japanese doesn't have a clue about the martial arts. Just like here. Oh, you probably meant something else.

Quote:
You have used your martial art to dig in and learn about yourself. I won't argue with you here as I did the same. But so did people in karate, kung fu, tae kwon do etc. I suppose the question is did everyone get the same answers...
Absolutely, why is it different, or is it different? By the way, this must be a mid-aikido-life crises thing. I've been pondering these same questions for some time.

[Edited by Erik on January 14, 2001 at 06:24pm]
I don't know if it is a mid-aikido-life crisis thing hehehehe. I think I was just bored one night and decided to start a forum.

I am right about the reason Japanese train martial arts. "Seishin no tame ni" is a very common phrase. Of course its not the reason why people join up. My teacher joined up because his brother was beating him. But if asked why he has kept going he will answer "seishin no tame ni" or something of similar meaning. Its a very common saying. It probably includes self defence, physical fitness etc... I guess anything that makes them feel better. I should note that I did ask them in Japanese not English. And I asked why they train not why they joined up in the first place. Also saying you are training your mind or polishing your spirit sounds educated and wise. Who wants to be thought of as a thug? Besides nobody wants to talk about their fat or other personal problems.

No you were right about the Japanese not having a clue about aikido etc. Its only a minority in Japan that actually do these traditional arts. Most young people are only interested in western style activities. Kind of a shame isn't it... Apparently a lot of the really old schools are funded by the Japanese government because they have few students and are on the verge of becoming extinct.

I can relate to you about different aikido in aikido. When I went to Japan I noticed major differences in the hombu dojo and mine. It was like night and day! But every aikido school I have been to or seen on video etc has the same basic aikido techniques and movements. But I know what you are saying. If teachers throw away a lot of techniques are radically change their aikido into something else is it still aikido?







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Old 01-14-2001, 10:46 PM   #30
crystalwizard
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
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[quote]darin wrote:
Quote:
I am right about the reason Japanese train martial arts. "Seishin no tame ni" is a very common phrase. Of course its not the reason why people join up. My teacher joined up because his brother was beating him. But if asked why he has kept going he will answer "seishin no tame ni" or something of similar meaning. Its a very common saying. It probably includes self defence, physical fitness etc... I guess anything that makes them feel better.
Same could be said of most readers of this forum i'm guessing. They started for all kinds of reasons....but why do they keep going? I've heard answers such as 'I can't imagine life without it' .


Quote:

No you were right about the Japanese not having a clue about aikido etc. Its only a minority in Japan that actually do these traditional arts. Most young people are only interested in western style activities. Kind of a shame isn't it...
The grass is always greener etc. Yeah it's a shame but how many traditional arts from your own neck of the woods are you personaly intersted in? (you meaning eveyrone not just the person I quoted). Live in Texas...square dancing is traditional. Do you practice it or is something from far away more interesting (and so on)


____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 01-15-2001, 05:04 AM   #31
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
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[quote]darin wrote:
Quote:
No you were right about the Japanese not having a clue about aikido etc. Its only a minority in Japan that actually do these traditional arts.
It's only a minority anywhere. I believe you'll still find that Japanese martial arts are more popular in Japan than elsewhere.

I must go now and actually read the _rest_ of the thread. seeya,
andrew
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Old 01-15-2001, 11:30 AM   #32
Nick
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I agree, we shouldn't hang on to tradition. We should rename aikido to Bubba's Throwin' system, wear purple uniforms, and use all english terminology... no problem, the Japanese wouldn't mind since they don't know what aikido is, we could probably get away with it as long as the techniques looked the same...

Tradition is the core of Aikido. They add a dimension to it that is missed by many other activities because they don't have any...

Nick
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Old 01-15-2001, 01:04 PM   #33
Erik
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Quote:
crystalwizard wrote:
The grass is always greener etc. Yeah it's a shame but how many traditional arts from your own neck of the woods are you personaly intersted in? (you meaning eveyrone not just the person I quoted). Live in Texas...square dancing is traditional. Do you practice it or is something from far away more interesting (and so on)
I've always been under the impression that Texas has maintained close ties with it's martial traditions.

Am I wrong about that?
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Old 01-15-2001, 07:14 PM   #34
darin
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Quote:
Nick wrote:
I agree, we shouldn't hang on to tradition. We should rename aikido to Bubba's Throwin' system, wear purple uniforms, and use all english terminology... no problem, the Japanese wouldn't mind since they don't know what aikido is, we could probably get away with it as long as the techniques looked the same...

Tradition is the core of Aikido. They add a dimension to it that is missed by many other activities because they don't have any...

Nick
Tradition isn't the core of aikido. The core is the techniques and training. If you only had tradition, aikido would be a ceremony not a fighting art.

Names, colors of gi etc are all superficial. They don't make an art. Art is about human expression. By sticking to tradition this human expression is restricted. If aikido is a martial art then it should be brought up to date with today's environment. Art is life and life is art. Life is about moving forward, making new discoveries and change.

It should be known that the Japanese have changed much of western culture to suit their own. Is it so bad that they call baseball yakyu?

Well, would the Japanese have any say in the matter? There are plenty of high ranking western instructors around. Most of them have enough autonomy to do what they want anyway.

What I am asking is, should aikido be allowed to evolve to suit western society. Why can't we use our own traditions and customs? Why should we adopt the Japanese ones especially since we don't truely understand them?







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Old 01-16-2001, 06:43 AM   #35
ian
 
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I remember talking to someone who did ju-jitsu, and they seemed to like the idea that they did not do any bowing to partners or kamiza during their training and it was more sport/athletic orientated. I considered whether this was appropriate in our class but decided it was not for several reasons:

1. bowing to our partner is a sign of respect which I believe reduces the incidence of people trying to compete and test each other, as well as violent outbursts. [interestingly people now think road rage could be due to the fact that you cannot see the body language of other drivers and what is interpreted by you as aggresive, may have just been a mistake by the other driver, but lack of body language stops us realising this]. The same in aikido - bowing shows that you respect your partner and are not there to harm them.

Shaking hands is just too time consuming and is easily manipulated into a strength/dominance contest!

2. Bowing to sensei enforces a militaristic style of training. People might not like this, but it means that students are more likely to do what sensei says, and it is easier to control a large group of people.

3. Bowing to kamiza: I always bow very slowly at the end of the class - it helps me to relax and gather my thoughts. Bowing to kamiza also helps us to focus on the spiritual dimension of aikido and to me is definately an 'internal' feeling.

Bowing to kamiza is a physical illustration that the training group is bigger than just your own group and Aikido groups around the world are showing respect for the founder and for the spiritual aspects of aikido.

For me the use of japenese language allows you to go to a dojo anywhere in the world and do a specific technique.

Ian
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Old 01-16-2001, 06:51 AM   #36
ian
 
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Saying all the above, I think there is a tendancy to not want to change anything in Aikido. I think Aikido should evolove to be the best martial art and self defence it can be, incorporating any new knowledge into it.

However many aikido techniques are done in certain ways for certain reasons and things that appear to be better/easier early in training can be a mistake when you realise more specific ideas about the technique (i.e. the way it protects your body and moves you to an advantagous position, the dangerous application it derives from, the pressure point strikes or further techniques it sets you up for). It is very unfortunate that Ueshiba was not more forthcoming and specific in explaining the techniques - and maybe the we would have ended up with less 'styles'.

Ian
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Old 01-16-2001, 09:53 AM   #37
darin
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Quote:
ian wrote:
I remember talking to someone who did ju-jitsu, and they seemed to like the idea that they did not do any bowing to partners or kamiza during their training and it was more sport/athletic orientated. I considered whether this was appropriate in our class but decided it was not for several reasons:

1. bowing to our partner is a sign of respect which I believe reduces the incidence of people trying to compete and test each other, as well as violent outbursts. [interestingly people now think road rage could be due to the fact that you cannot see the body language of other drivers and what is interpreted by you as aggresive, may have just been a mistake by the other driver, but lack of body language stops us realising this]. The same in aikido - bowing shows that you respect your partner and are not there to harm them.

Shaking hands is just too time consuming and is easily manipulated into a strength/dominance contest!

2. Bowing to sensei enforces a militaristic style of training. People might not like this, but it means that students are more likely to do what sensei says, and it is easier to control a large group of people.

3. Bowing to kamiza: I always bow very slowly at the end of the class - it helps me to relax and gather my thoughts. Bowing to kamiza also helps us to focus on the spiritual dimension of aikido and to me is definately an 'internal' feeling.

Bowing to kamiza is a physical illustration that the training group is bigger than just your own group and Aikido groups around the world are showing respect for the founder and for the spiritual aspects of aikido.

For me the use of japenese language allows you to go to a dojo anywhere in the world and do a specific technique.

Ian
From my experience bowing doesn't make students better behaved or show respect to their training partners.Have you heard the expression bad teacher bad student? The way a teacher conducts a class determines what kind of students he or she will have. Even with all the bowing etc there still are arrogant, ignorant, stupid instructors out there.Imagine what kind of poor mislead students they have!

But in general I would say that most aikido schools are friendly because the teacher instills confidence and teaches how to safely train with one another. This is what gets people coming back.

The more aggressive people train the more chances tempers will be raised.I have seen people start things over unintentional injuries, intentional injuries, loss of ego, and jealousy.A disorganized dojo can even lead to mutiny where the students complain to superior instructors in the style, lose faith in the art itself, or just walk out and never do budo again.

Some schools proclaim they are the best. Even though they bow etc they always have something to prove. Not much harmony there don't you think?

In the end its how you train that makes a difference. If your students enjoy the class, are learning techniques and basically getting what they want then it doesn't matter what customs and traditions you have.

Bowing is only an extra part of aikido. It's a ritual. It doesn't guarantee that any aikidoka is kind, sincere or respectful to others.

I speak Japanese fairly well and have found that non speakers of Japanese have real trouble learning the aikido terms.

Not all schools use the same Japanese terms for each technique. For example our style uses robuse for ikkyo, kote kudaki for nikkyo and mukai doshi for irimi nage. Now, those who understand Japanese can get an idea what they mean.
If you don't understand Japanese its all Greek (no offense to any Greeks out there).

Japanese language isn't so important in aikido. Everything is tought by demonstration and application. Many karate schools use English terms most of the time. Eg: round house kick, front kick, inside block. Its easier for westerners to learn. What's wrong with wrist twist or four direction throw? Hey you could use cool names like the ones in Tekken or pro wrestling! hehehe Of course everything will have to be standardized for English aikido classes. Thats asuming everyone will go to everyone elses classes or agree on one system...

Another reason is that most western instructors can't pronounce the names of techniques properly. Its really only useful if you are training in Japan or learning under a Japanese teacher who has a poor command of English.



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Old 01-25-2001, 03:35 AM   #38
JJF
 
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Quote:
Erik wrote:
Think about it another way. Do you bow to your tennis instructor? Did you bow when you went to school? Do you bow when you step on the tennis court? Do you bow to your tennis instructor when he/she makes a suggestion? Sounds ridiculous in that context doesn't it?

But is it any different?
Hi Erik

Just wanted to say: Yes in my opinion it is. Though you may have a very powerfull back-hand in Tennis it is seldom used for fighting, apart of in the battle on the tennis court. Aikido is basically about fighting - though primarily about how to solve the conflict, but Tennis is a sport and therefor has a very different area of attention. If you practice what is potentially lethal techniqes a certain amount of discipline is required. In Aikido we have inherited this discipline from Japan, the same way boxing has got rituals based on western traditions.

Just my 2 cents.

- JÝrgen Jakob Friis

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Old 01-26-2001, 11:09 AM   #39
BC
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I actually like the various traditions which our dojo practices. To me, bowing is a sign of gratitude and respect, and you will not convince me otherwise. However, the only Japanese terminology we use in the dojo is for techniques, and "onegaishimasu." Before I began aikido, I praciced an American kenpo, in which we used no foreign languages. However, we still bowed to our instructors, partners and the front of the school. It was not religious in any way, shape or form. By the way, here is a good article by David Lynch relating to this very topic:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.../lynch_111.asp

Regards,

Robert Cronin
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Old 01-26-2001, 03:22 PM   #40
Erik
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Quote:
JJF wrote:
Hi Erik

Just wanted to say: Yes in my opinion it is. Though you may have a very powerfull back-hand in Tennis it is seldom used for fighting, apart of in the battle on the tennis court. Aikido is basically about fighting - though primarily about how to solve the conflict, but Tennis is a sport and therefor has a very different area of attention. If you practice what is potentially lethal techniqes a certain amount of discipline is required. In Aikido we have inherited this discipline from Japan, the same way boxing has got rituals based on western traditions.

Just my 2 cents.
I believe the Japanese bow during or before baseball games. We don't. Why? It's a cultural norm. My understanding is that the Gracie's don't bow to each other, yet they seem to be mostly respectful sorts. The same thing would apply in other venues which are easily just as dangerous. I'd rank professional football as more dangerous than what we do for instance. While I sort of agree with the point, I think respect comes from something more substantive than bowing.
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Old 01-26-2001, 04:26 PM   #41
crystalwizard
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interesting replies. I'm curious now. For me (and no I'm not japanese) bowing just seems way more natural than shaking hands. Always sorta done it without thinking and then felt selfconcious and had to stop myself. Starting Aikido was great for lots of things but especialy since I didn't have to feel self-concious about this at least at the dojo.
anyone else in the same boat?

____________
Kelly Christiansen

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Old 01-26-2001, 04:39 PM   #42
Jim23
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I don't really mind the bowing, shoes off, no chewing gum, etc.

Not too crazy about bowing to O-Sensi, but that's not a big deal.

What drives me crazy is overuse (in my opinion) of the Japanese language. Words for techniques may be necessary (I think), but I think some instructors tahe it to the extreme.

I have no problem respecting the art and the Japanese people, but I speak English. Let's not add another layer of difficulty to aikido.

I feel that when the Japanese, in japan, play soccer, baseball, do boxing - whatever, they should use only English!

Aikido if difficult enough to learn!

Jim23

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Old 01-26-2001, 10:30 PM   #43
crystalwizard
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:

I have no problem respecting the art and the Japanese people, but I speak English. Let's not add another layer of difficulty to aikido.
If you speak american english, then you already speak a mixture of a number of languages. Because a fairly large number of 'english' words used in america are in fact not english at all....they're spanish, german, celtic, etc. Words that were absorbed into the language and have become common place enough that the people using them dont realize they're speaking something other than english. words are words. unfamilure terms are unfamilure terms

If I tell you that a technique is called the whopass move does it mean anything to you till you've heard it called that a few times? no. If I tell you the same technique is called the bojomo move does it mean anything more or less than the other unfamilure term? no. I think you'll have a lot less difficulty retaining the terms and remembering what they mean if you stop being angry that they're not in the language you prefer to speak.

____________
Kelly Christiansen

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Old 01-27-2001, 08:44 AM   #44
Jim23
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FEWER WORDS - MORE UNDERSTANDING

“No, no, no, that’s the wrong technique!”

“All right you two, sit down, and let the next pair stand up!”

“No, not there, kneel down over there!”
“OK, now you do the technique!”

This was the scene I witnessed at an aikido grading examination. It all seemed fairly normal, except for one thing--the commands were all in Japanese, even though there were no Japanese people present, the instructor himself was not Japanese and the dojo was many thousands of miles away from Japan ...

--------

I have no problem with using Japanese words where appropriate, it's taking it to the extreme (or should I say being ridiculous) that I have a problem with.

I've actually found an instructor who feels the way I do.

http://209.15.100.149/articles/ajArticles/lynch_111.asp

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 01-27-2001, 08:49 AM   #45
Jim23
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Sorry, the address doesn't seem to work. Go to http://209.15.100.149/ then to Articles, then to David lynch, then to the article.

Jim23

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Old 01-27-2001, 11:34 AM   #46
Matt Banks
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Darren, if you get rid of tradition you lose the tecniques with it. There are so many examples of this. Judo, tecniques practically irradicated to keep up with modern sporting times, kendo etc etc. Tradtion gives what you do meaning. Helio Gracie himself expressed his consern in the amount of competion that was arising in GJJ, he felt that the art was diluting, like all arts that lose there traditional roots. When you start getting rid of tradtion in an art you start getting rid of stuff that one person doesnt like...where do you draw the line. It is true that the practicailty of an art decreases when you lose tradtion. Plus I assume that you dont care about the many sides of aikido about from the practical side of it. You will always be in the minority, most people love the tradition.

Keeping tradition prevents corruption and dilution.



Matt Banks

''Zanshin be aware hold fast your centre''
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Old 01-27-2001, 03:15 PM   #47
giriasis
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
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I think the key to "tradition" is to understand why we do it. In understanding, we gives the "tradition" worth, thereby, adding more depth to our practice.

If someone doesn't have an interest in learning the tradition, then they should find a group/dojo that does not focus on tradtion. (I've been to dojos that teach aikido and use English for a lot of terms.) And if you don't find worth to the tradition, then don't do it.

Personally, as soon as I started aikido, I took the effort to understand the Japanese language. As a former foreign language major and student of anthropology, I have an interest in learning about different cultures and ways of life. Plus, I find learning the different aspects of the language interesting. I, also, find the traditionally Japanese practices of interest to me. I am aware of the religious connotations involved in bowing, but I am also aware of the secular reasons as well. I know in some way the bowing to Ueshiba has a religious connotation. But that is not the reason we pracitice in my dojo. In my dojo, we bow to show our respect and appreciation to Ueshiba for Aikido. It is also done for the purpose of putting the student in the proper state of mind. At least on my part and in my dojo, it is done with meaning -- meaning derived from the secular reasons of bowing not the religious. But this meaning does provide depth to our practice.

(Oh and this is what was taught to my sensei from Yoshimitsu Yamada)

Because we bow for secular reasons, does this some how mean we don't understand the purpose to bowing? I don't think so. It just means my dojo has chosen it's meaning for the bow. And given our American nature we can separate the religious from the secular.

Plus, if I didn't want the religious connotations involved, I would have found a dojo without the kamiza, that only does the techniques and that finds a secular way of keeping a student's mind focused. However, I am also interested in learning the heart of aikido as well. And I believe learning this heart begins with paying tribute to its Japanese origins. Yes, the religious connotations are there just because of the spiritual nature of the art. But it is up to the student in my dojo to decide whether they put a spirituality in their practice. And since we bow for secular reaons, they are not forced to practice a religion against their beliefs.

I have no problem with doing this. And if you choose otherwise, that is fine.

So in general, I don't believe that the traditions found in Aikido should be down away with. But I do believe that there is enough room is this aikido world to allow those who find the "traditions" objectionable to practice aikido.

Sincerely,
Anne Marie Giri

[Edited by giriasis on January 27, 2001 at 03:21pm]
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Old 01-27-2001, 04:30 PM   #48
Gerardo A Torres
Dojo: Aikido West
Location: SF Bay Area, California
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Here is a link to an article about etiquette and tradition in budo. It is part of a work written by Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan (9th dan). Tamura sensei ("O'Sensei's favorite uke") has a lot more experience in aikido than most people in this forum, so maybe we should listen to what he says.

http://www.aikidoonline.com/

One only has to read a few lines to understand that etiquette is fundamental to budo training. Rei, and all the expressions and customs are for the purpose of providing a proper environment for training. The expressions we use, and the way we sit, bow, and handle items in the dojo come from a martial tradition, and changing them would make aikido less of a martial art. A lot of the mental training in aikido comes from practicing proper etiquette. Budo etiquette is self-defense.

Quote:
crystalwizard wrote:
For me (and no I'm not japanese) bowing just seems way more natural than shaking hands... anyone else in the same boat?
I feel the same way. It feels natural to me, mostly because these expressions allow us to accurately express our gratitude, respect, etc, to anybody from any culture within the aikido community.

About the burden of learning all the Japanese terms, I must say that learning these allow all aikidoka to have a common language.

When I started aikido we didn't have videos or books available where I lived, but after showing a technique my teacher would say the Japanese name for the attack and the technique. On the way home, I would sit in the bus and write down the Japanese names together with a little drawing of what the technique looked like. After a year I had learned every common aikido term and a lot more, and I never forgot them. If I had spent my time complaining I would have never learned the names.

I see aikido as my education, and not just a physical/recreational activity. I see aikido training similar to studying to become a doctor, a soldier, or a priest, where ranks, traditions and etiquette also apply (for a good reason). If I didn't agree with aikido's customs and etiquette, I could always do something else --people do it all the time when they grow tired of a certain career or study. Aikido is no less than any other type of study, and should not be changed just to satisfy certain personal philosophies.


[Edited by gerardo on January 27, 2001 at 04:42pm]
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Old 01-27-2001, 04:43 PM   #49
Jim23
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I don't know why when I pasted the web address, spaces were added where they shouldn't have been.

One more time:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.../lynch_111.asp

Jim23

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Old 01-27-2001, 05:25 PM   #50
crystalwizard
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
Location: Dallas
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
I don't know why when I pasted the web address, spaces were added where they shouldn't have been.

One more time:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.../lynch_111.asp

Jim23
so were you on the receiveing end of the instruction in all japanese or are you just upset because david mentioned it and is upset?

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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