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Old 04-26-2001, 08:27 PM   #1
Chocolateuke
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
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Way of life

I have a Question for y ou all

do you think of Aikido only as a Martial art or a Way of life??

I think of it as a way of life. Why becaseu I have been living the Aiki way My whole life. my Aikido adn My belifes melt into one and it really is a way of life in my opinion.

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 05-07-2001, 09:55 AM   #2
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Way of life

Chocolateuke asks:
>I have a Question for you all
>do you think of Aikido only as a Martial art
>or a Way of life??

What's the difference? Aikido is, by translation, a way (Jap. Micho/Do = path or way). Why can't a martial art be a martial way? In Japanese budo circles, there's not much distinction made between the art and the way of budo.

In order for aikido to be budo (and it is, indeed) it must be martial.

>I think of it as a way of life. Why becaseu
>I have been living the Aiki way My whole

Sorry. You'll have to define that for me. I can give you several (all valid) definitions of 'aiki' ranging from 'domination of the spirit' to 'universal harmony'. All are correct _within context_.

Chuck Gordon
chuck@the-dojo.com
http://www.the-dojo.com/




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Old 05-07-2001, 05:23 PM   #3
Mark Cochran
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I have adopted Aikido as a way of life too. In fact I have adopted the code of Bushido as a governing force in my life. I feel that all Martial Arts were ment to be ways for people to live. Just that in this day and age of instant pleasrue and give it to me now many people are unwilling to make the sacrifices needed to live the Martial way. Budo or Bujitsu.

The meek shall inherit the earth. It is our duty to seek out and protect them.
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Old 05-07-2001, 06:05 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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Hi Chuck;

I must say the Do component has sort of grown on me. I know roughly when the transition happened but strangely, well actually not so strangely, I as yet do not know why that transition occurred.

It occurred in my last year in Japan and my fourth doing Aikido. The year and a half in Japan before I took up the art did not contribute much even though I had been doing some other stuff.

What did happen in my last year was a lot of taking confidence and emphasis on behavior. I don't think I was such a loose cannon but the emphasis seemed to shift from purely technique to - well other things.

Was I ready and their actions just followed or was it pre-programmed - before he gets yudansha we better beat him down a bit.

One comment though - I have heard a lot of people declaring quite loudly that Aikido is their way of life. That they follow the path. At this point I have no idea what that path is beyond observing rather than proclaiming and training rather than talking. And yes there is a real contradiction between that and the proliferation of my e-mails - but I have to have some outlet.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-08-2001, 05:37 AM   #5
mle
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Way of Life (Bushido?)

Mark Cochran said:
>I have adopted Aikido as a way of life too.
>In fact I have adopted the code of Bushido

Umm. Which one? There is no monolithic Code of Bushido. The various tenets by which the samurai lived varied widely throughout history. Broadly speaking, however, I suppose you could be talking about that utter unwavering fealty to your lord business that was pretty popular most of the time.

Want to know about kyuba no michi, about the way of the samurai? Do some research. Here's a good place to start: www.koryubooks.com and the books Koryu Bujutsu and Sword and Spirit, edited by Diane Skoss.

>as a governing force in my life. I feel
>that all Martial Arts were ment to be ways

Ehh ... no. Not originally. They were developed as methods of combat and strategy and mayhem. Over the years, and especially during times of peace, the warrior class found that training vigorously and with dedication made them stronger physically, mentally and spiritualy. Add in elements of religion and philosophy here and there, and they then start to become methods through which we CAN change our lives in a positive manner. But, neither bujutsu nor budo are inherently 'good' -- they are, like a hammer or a book of philosophy, just tools that can be wielded in many ways ...

>sacrifices needed to live the Martial way.
>Budo or Bujitsu

Again, there is no Martial Way as such. That, to me, smacks of One-True-Way-ism. Budo is a wonderful tool through which we learn a LOT about ourselves. It is also a method wherein we gain mind-body-spirit experiences in ways we never could outside the dojo. But the bottom line, IMNSHO, is this, budo ain't gonna save your soul. It may help you figure out what NEEDS to be saved, and offer tools through which you can develop a plan to do so.

And unless you know the background and history of what budo was and how it got where it is today, it's potentially QUITE confusing.

Training in the dojo should be supplemented by good research and examination of the culture that created these wonderful arts.

cg



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Old 05-08-2001, 05:42 AM   #6
mle
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Talking Way of Life

PeterR said:

BTW, this IS really Chuck and not MLE, She's MUCH prettier.

>I must say the Do component has sort of
>grown on me. I know roughly when the

No disagreement whatsoever. I see the path I follow as a Way. However, I've also done my homework (as have you, we've poked at this beast before, we two!)

>the emphasis seemed to shift from purely
>technique to - well other things.

And when that happens, it's a beautiful thing!

>people declaring quite loudly that Aikido is
>their way of life. That they follow the >path. At this point I have no idea what >that path is beyond observing rather than

That bit from the Tao te Ching comes to mind: The path that can be described ...

>talking. And yes there is a real
>contradiction between that and the
>proliferation of my e-mails - but I have to

Heh! Yeah, shut up and train! That's one of my personal mantras, but sometimes someone says something and I just CANNOT refrain. Sigh. Maybe someday I'll be spiritually enlightened and meld with the universe like some of the folks.

Take good care and train hard!

cg (not MLE!)



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Old 05-08-2001, 05:44 AM   #7
mle
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Talking Re: Way of Life (Bushido?)

[quote]Originally posted by mle

Ehhh. OK, that really was Chuck and not MLE posting that last bit. MLE is well capable of cousing her own trouble here ...

Chuck Gordon
chuck@the-dojo.com
http://www.the-dojo.com/

No really, she's much sweeter than me!


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Old 05-08-2001, 06:08 AM   #8
Mark Cochran
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Actualy I've read alot on the code of bushido and the varing tenents but some have remained constant. Such as loyalty to lord and family. Courage in the face of battle or if you like adversity. Truthfulness ,and eve punctuality have been mentioned at times. I've found a number of good book over the years. One which I feel was very informative was Bushido The Warrior's Code by Inazo Nitobe. Haukura (i hope i spelt that right) other wise called Falling Leaves is another good book. Living the Martial Way has also helped. Its not to hard to find translations of older texts from Japan Dealing with the subject. I simple adopted those tenants that have remained constant. Such a loyalty to the family, courage in the face of adversity, the princaple of duty. There are also many referances to benevolence and tolerance. It realy isn't that hard to find this information.

The meek shall inherit the earth. It is our duty to seek out and protect them.
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Old 05-08-2001, 07:08 AM   #9
ian
 
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I think what we often miss in our lives is a militaristic hiearchy where we (i) know what we should be doing and just do it to the best of our ability. (ii) have superiors who are resonsible for us, and which we trust to direct us in order to achieve a mutual goal.(rather than being selfish)

However, in most people's lives point (i) and (ii) don't occur. Therefore respect for our lord, leader or authority is usually missplaced, and life is itself pretty pointless.

There are some aspects of Budo I agree with e.g. acceptance of death and sincerity. However we live in a very different society, in which reciprocal altruism (i.e. looking out for people who will help you) dominates above any particular personal ethic of justice. I think it is very good for our ego to believe we are following budo, but in reality to do so seperates us from present society. Saying this, Ueshiba very much rejected the society in which he lived.

Ian
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Old 05-08-2001, 08:43 AM   #10
PeterR
 
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By all means read and explore but a couple of observations.

First of all there is such a thing as reading too much too soon. Budo is a path of self discovery, travelled by training hard. Books are useful for putting things into context but the answers come from within, just as your sensei is nothing more than a guide.

Mark I don't know about the level of your training but I have met people who "study the philosophy of the samurai" who don't train in budo. From my perspective that is impossible. Understanding comes only through doing and the philosophy and martial art are completely linked.

In gendai budo, and I would say most Koryu, what is learnt is not the romantic version of the samurai or even the true battle field version. They all deveopled during a time of peace - when most samurai were bureauocrats.

Nitobe was a classic example of the samurai bureauocrat- his view was a romantic yearning for days gone and the book was an attempt to reconcile Japanese Bushido (a term he almost invented) with western Christian Chivelry. He was Christian and I suspect wanted to be seen on par with his Western counterparts. The end result was a view far from historical reality for both Japanese and Western warrior ethos. His book was the second one I read while I was in Japan and at the time it impressed me also. How can you not trust a guy who is on the 5000 Yen note.

What I do recomend is a good book on Japanese history, shy away from the popular and full of pictures. Then move into the books and articles of Draeger and some of the living budo-ists. The Skoss's and Karl Friday come to mind. Finally, and certain purists will want to shoot me for this, but read Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi. It is an entertaining newspaper serial roughly based on the life of Musashi but you know, I read it before I started training in Japan and then again about five years later, and it helped me make sense of a lot of dojo behaviour. That by the way is different from basing dojo behaviour on the book and it should be read in the context of how it was written. As I said - read the history first.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Cochran
Actualy I've read alot on the code of bushido and the varing tenents but some have remained constant. Such as loyalty to lord and family. Courage in the face of battle or if you like adversity. Truthfulness ,and eve punctuality have been mentioned at times. I've found a number of good book over the years. One which I feel was very informative was Bushido The Warrior's Code by Inazo Nitobe. Haukura (i hope i spelt that right) other wise called Falling Leaves is another good book. Living the Martial Way has also helped. Its not to hard to find translations of older texts from Japan Dealing with the subject. I simple adopted those tenants that have remained constant. Such a loyalty to the family, courage in the face of adversity, the princaple of duty. There are also many referances to benevolence and tolerance. It realy isn't that hard to find this information.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-08-2001, 09:08 AM   #11
Sam
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Way of Life?

I truely belive that if you want to regard aikido as a way of life, then you have to live it.

Most of us (myself included) are just hobbyists.

I only do 10 hours a week and I know a lot of people do less. Can it really be a way of life doing so little?

In the west I think it is hard/impossible to make aikido your way of life.

There are those whom have travelled and devoted a large part of their lives to their aikido and they have my greatest admiration - they have made aikido their way of life.
But I certainly would not say aikido is my way of life, it is just something that is an important part of it.
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Old 05-08-2001, 09:13 AM   #12
BC
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For me it is very hard to verbalize, but I definitely like the words that my sensei posted in our dojo years ago:

"This is a dojo where one learns to become a better human being through training of Aikido."

Robert Cronin
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Old 05-08-2001, 09:59 AM   #13
PeterR
 
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Re: Way of Life?

Having met some of the few who do devote their lives to Aikido I agree completely.

It is possible for us hobbyist to have our lives affected by our Aikido but as you said most of us are a far cry from devoting our lives to it.

I personally devote my life to Aikido related e-mails

As an aside - there is such a thing as youthful exuberance and the ensuing declarations. The real test is what you are doing 10 years from when you started. For example in Japan there are a huge influx of college students into the Shodokan system - it is not unusual to see 30-40 hours a week of Aikido training. College training plus daily trips to Honbu. Once college is over the level of training drops as family and real work take over. Some leave forever, some come back, some never leave. The professional instructors aside there are those that come most days, week in and week out for 20+ years. Work demands in Japan being what they are - this involves both professional and family sacrifice. The college kids observing the old timers would never think of putting themselves on par with the latter - the example of what devoting your life to Aikido is just too clear.



Quote:
Originally posted by Sam
I truly belive that if you want to regard aikido as a way of life, then you have to live it.

Most of us (myself included) are just hobbyists.

I only do 10 hours a week and I know a lot of people do less. Can it really be a way of life doing so little?

In the west I think it is hard/impossible to make aikido your way of life.

There are those whom have travelled and devoted a large part of their lives to their aikido and they have my greatest admiration - they have made aikido their way of life.
But I certainly would not say aikido is my way of life, it is just something that is an important part of it.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-08-2001, 10:31 AM   #14
Mark Cochran
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Hi chuck I wanted to include this in my secound post but ran out of time. Thank you for the recomendation of the book Koryu Bujutsu and the Sword and spirit I'll check it out. Also thank you for the recomendation of the site too. I know I have a hard time articulating my self when writting so please bear with me when it comes to these things.
Thanks again for the recomendation.
For thoughs how want to know if any of you do I only have five years of Aikido training so I am still truly a beginer. Than again I'll still probably be a novice of Aikido after twenty more years.

The meek shall inherit the earth. It is our duty to seek out and protect them.
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Old 05-08-2001, 10:57 AM   #15
PeterR
 
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Hi Mark;

My points were general and not directed at you but in any case five years is a significant chunk of time - I don't have much more in Aikido and yes we are all beginners.

With respect to my comments about Bushido and the way of life - last term I had an earnest young man who studied samurai philosophy but wasn't interested in getting on the mat. I convinced him otherwise. Your post just triggered a memory that's all.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Cochran
For thoughs how want to know if any of you do I only have five years of Aikido training so I am still truly a beginer. Than again I'll still probably be a novice of Aikido after twenty more years.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-08-2001, 10:36 PM   #16
otto
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Aikido as a way?!

I don't know , but after reading a lot of long and elaborated answers to Mr.Adolphsen original post about adopting Aikido as his way of life....maybe most of u people are missing the point..

i believe Chocolateuke just referred to the harmony...as a goal in aikido , being in harmony with yourself , others and the universe , as a way to avoid conflict , to live more peacely maybe..

if that is what he meant...i must say i trying to adopt that way too...thought i'm very new at aikido training and really don't know very much about the traditional budo meaning, history and origins....

thought i think could be learned easily....


Once againg please excuse my Broken english

Saludos a todos!!!!
Ottoniel Ojeda
Venezuela
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Old 05-09-2001, 06:54 AM   #17
ian
 
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I'm amazed by the level of commitment to Aikido that is depicted on these pages and the wealth of Budo knowledge. Maybe my previous post was too judgemental. I know myself that I get a bit bored after a few solid days of doing aikido. I would be suprised to see this commitment in many other japanese martial arts, especially in the west.

Also thanks for the info Pater & Sam.

Ian
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Old 05-09-2001, 09:37 PM   #18
Chocolateuke
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Otto is right about what I mean by living the art of peace: trying to apply your noncompetitive side to your daily life and living harmonious and virtuous live, trying to discover yourself and get closer to the day of true Victory.

Sure, I get that for most people Aikido is a hobby, and to tell the truth, it is fun! But some people just use it to learn self defence and not really try to learn the philosophy. I have nothing against this because that is how that person ( people) trains.

Then there are people who embody the art of peace. Not necesarily go through a samurai martial code but try to live by the teaching of O-sensei. Be in harmony, be at peace, try to avoid conflict, but that is not just external but internal as well. The way I see Aikido I see it as a way to purify the whole being of a person: their soul, their body, their mind. But then again I believe if you love something enough and look into it hard enough you can find your inner light and God.

Dallas Adolphsen
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