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Old 08-08-2004, 08:27 PM   #1
Chris Birke
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Revelations

What are some of the ways your understanding has evolved during your study of Aikido. What preconceptions did you see shattered, what ideas did you have affirmed?

I mean this with regard to the art itself, the related social aspects (politics included), self defense, and any other miscellany you think might be good in a thread.
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Old 08-08-2004, 09:16 PM   #2
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
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Re: Revelations

I've studied aikido for a bit over two years. My learning pattern, so far as I can tell, has included a couple important periods of blunder. I'll briefly describe one.

First, I just didn't know very much. I hadn't even been introduced to many of the techniques in the syllabus. (Such as it exists.) Then, when I learned the names and had tried them out, and had accomplished some breadth, I figured that I'd tapped into the majority of aikido, and it was all just polishing from there. I was troubled, because I could feel that my aikido was still very weak. So I suppose I had the arrogance to assume, "Oh, well, I've learned most of these techniques, polishing aside, and they don't work well. I must need to embellish them." So I tried many tricks (building upon a weak foundation...and with many pink flamingoes and not enough solid planks), and also tried to /do/ the technique /to/ uke, rather than doing it with them. Lots of muscle, and forcing, and always thinking, "How can I /make/ them fall?" Basically, I was trying to do aikido techniques like wrestling moves.

I think it was iriminage that really kind of opened my eyes...it was a difficult throw for me, and I poured myself into trying to make it work. And combined with some crucial, sensible advice from my roommate and fellow aikidoka, I started to rid myself of the conceit that I had it all "pretty much figured out."

This wasn't just significant because it helped me see that depth doesn't come nearly as easily as breadth, but also just as an example of why it's important to make sure I always have the proper attitude and aims.
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Old 08-10-2004, 04:20 PM   #3
Bronson
 
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Re: Revelations

In our tradition we have certain codified principles. There are "Principles to Unify Mind and Body" and "Principles of Aikido". Within both of these is the idea of "Let Ki Flow". One day I realized that it wasn't Let YOUR Ki Flow, or Let UKE'S Ki Flow. It was just Let Ki Flow. All Ki, yours, uke's, the situations, everything...all of it as one.

I recently had the "duh" moment where I applied the same thinking to "Unify Mind and Body". I'm slow but I'll get there eventually

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-11-2004, 11:22 PM   #4
xuzen
 
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Re: Revelations

Quote:
Chris Birke wrote:
What are some of the ways your understanding has evolved during your study of Aikido. What preconceptions did you see shattered, what ideas did you have affirmed?

I mean this with regard to the art itself, the related social aspects (politics included), self defense, and any other miscellany you think might be good in a thread.
]

When I was a young person, I love to watch kung fu movie, I love Jackie Chan and Li Lin Jiet (Jet Li) movies. I tried to imitate their moves (silly me). I did not realise that their movements were only possible with wires, springboard, slow mo and tonnes of movie making technique.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:08 AM   #5
Amassus
 
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Re: Revelations

I don't think I've been doing aikido long enough for it to have given me huge insights into anything.
I'll get back to you in a couple of years.

OK, seriously, in the little time I've spent training, I've learnt alot about my own pride and I have learnt to find strength in learning from my mistakes. It has given me more confidence and I don't even mind if I make a mistake in front of the class anymore.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:46 AM   #6
xuzen
 
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Re: Revelations

Sorry I have not finish writing, I accidently clicked on the send button. Anyway here is the continuation of my post...

After studying aikido, I laughed at my folly. Aikido shattered the misconception of combat, it illuminated to me that all those high flying kicking stuff on movie are just as they are... movie making.

Aikido showed me that effective combative move follows the natural state of things. Fortunately it is very simple, non extravagance and low key. It also serves a vital purpose, in combat, we must assume multiple attackers and if the techniques utilise flashy extravagance movements, we would have been out of breath and that is self defeating. The above is my view point of aikido with respect to combat attitude.

Now, moving on to other factors...

After studying aikido for a length of time, it has helped me with my problem solving skills. It helps me to remain composed even when confronted with problems. Although in modern times, the chance of me confronted with a katana wielding samurai adversary is almost nil, I, the normal working class person faces immeasurable problems in my daily life e.g., dealing with a co-worker, dealing with irate customers, etc.

I am sorry Chris, this post turns out to be more of a personal account of how aikido affect my life rather than revelation. Thanks for your forebearance.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 08-12-2004, 02:11 AM   #7
Chris Birke
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Re: Revelations

No Boon, it's a great post! Thank you for sharing =) These are exactly the sort of posts that I'd like to read.

Last edited by Chris Birke : 08-12-2004 at 02:12 AM. Reason: grammer
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:42 AM   #8
ian
 
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Re: Revelations

I have had a few revalations in aikido, but bringing these together into a cohesive pattern of training can take some time. For example I believe I am starting to understand what blending is and yin/yang (particularly the constant and consistant movement between yin and yang that is necessary to unbalance someone). However doing this and incorporating it into an instantaneous response is very difficult.

Often I'll examine old video footage of Ueshiba to see if certain theories about aikido stand up in practise. More and more I can see a larger difference between Ueshiba and the uchideschi in their aikido and I still believe that no-one absorbed the full teaching of Ueshiba, and though there are some great instructors out there, I think we're still waiting for someone to exceed Ueshiba. (also, although certain patterns and rules are mostly supported my Ueshiba's body movements, there are always inconsistencies).
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:02 AM   #9
xuzen
 
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Re: Revelations

Quote:
Chris Birke wrote:
No Boon, it's a great post! Thank you for sharing =) These are exactly the sort of posts that I'd like to read.
Aww, schucks! You are encouraging me.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 08-13-2004, 06:33 AM   #10
JJF
 
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Re: Revelations

I have recently had two revelations concerning the whole issue of irimi. One was during ken-tai-ken (pairede sword) practice and had something to do with what having the center line 'feels' like. The other was just last week and was about the whole concept of welcoming uke into my space when doing gyakuhanmi katatetori... It is so cool when theses things happen. Too bad it's not a little more frequently...

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-13-2004, 10:05 AM   #11
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Revelations

I'm a very competitive person, and I've held high rank in a couple of competitive board games. I finally gave up chess after attaining Expert ranking because I was getting totally stressed out over it.

Last spring I played in a major Diplomacy (board game) competition. I had really bad results--I was in running for last place up till the final round, and only then managed to eke out a few points. (If only I had known there was a surprise prize for last place, I could have been a contender!)

I had a great time. This is really unusual for me, and I attribute it to aikido. Instead of being miserable because I was losing all my games, I was enjoying the grace with which my opponents rolled me! And appreciating various things I did do right, and enjoying interacting with the other players, and just generally having fun.

I haven't stopped being competitive by any means, but I think learning to love taking ukemi has worked its way unexpectedly into my attitude towards other parts of my life.

Mary Kaye
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Old 08-13-2004, 02:43 PM   #12
markwalsh
Dojo: Airenjuku Brighton
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Re: Revelations

I think most people go through a stage of disillusionment with Aikido when they realize that it doesn't always make practitioners "better" people, or even half decent human beings (use your own definition). Then you get through it.

Some rude awakenings:

1. The first time I heard an Aikidoka openly criticize another in the dojo. This happened after 6 months training, which by human human standards ain't bad. I remember thinking, "I though this was about harmony".

2. The first time I heard a senior instructor describe what they were doing as "their Aikido". i thought, "its not about you mate". It wasn't that I thought Aikido had to be technically all the same, but that it was an egocentric way of looking at it.

On the positive note I've had breakthrough moments:

- Upside down in ukemi.
- Training with children.
- Semi conscious from hard training.
- Knocking on the door of a dojo.

The post by Chris also got me thinking ,that I can't remember how I thought of Aikido when I started (and I'm fairly junior) and that this was sad. What did these words look like before you could read English? - Japanese maybe I think I spent the first 3 years unlearning preconceptions about strength, movement and power.

With regard to specific techniques, I tend to go through stages of thinking I can do x or y technique well, before realizing I'm still rubbish at it and getting a new favorite.

Mark
x
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Old 08-15-2004, 12:19 AM   #13
Anders Bjonback
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
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Re: Revelations

I think the biggest widening of perspective for me that aikido had to do with was that it brought me to read the book In Search of the Warrior Spirit. It was about the author's experience in teaching awareness disciplines to a group of green berets. I found it really fascinating and eye opening. I guess you could consider me a pacifist since I have a commitment to never kill another human being based on the conviction that killing or participating in another's act of killing by an indirect means is wrong and leads to suffering and more problems in terms of my own karma. And this book showed me another way of looking at things, it showed me that people with the idea of killing in order to protect, people in or associated with the military, can have a holistic way of looking at things. Many of the green berets in the book, at least from the way the author described them, appeared to be a lot more selfless in their intention than many Buddhists or other "spiritual" people I know.
[edit: What I mainly got out of the book was how it showed the basic us vs. them, black and white mentality of many spiritual people in this country in terms of how they view the military, and how the reality isn't that simple. There was a person from the US Army who was in my aikido class (at Naropa University!), which I had given a report on this book to. And because I had read this book, I felt like I could actually bridge the gap and respect his position and respect him more as a person, despite our big difference in opinion.]

Of course, as I got into aikido, my perspectives on and my understanding of the art changed, but the above is probably most important in terms of my life and a changing or widening of my understanding of things in general.

Last edited by Anders Bjonback : 08-15-2004 at 12:31 AM.

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--Lilian Smith
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