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Old 06-09-2005, 01:43 PM   #26
Bronson
 
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Well then you have some choices to make. If you feel the practice is inherently religious and that can not be removed from the art you have to decide whether you want to deal with it or not.

When faced with a difficulty your only two real options are to change something, or accept something. In this case you obviously feel aikido isn't going to change. So if you want to study it you'll either need to change or you'll have to accept it for what it is. Either way, quit bitchin'

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 06-09-2005, 01:48 PM   #27
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

There is no yoshinkan dojo near me, anyway as I said before, even if the dojo you train at has no traces of the religion, you can not escape it completely if you want to be a part of the Aikido community as a whole. Maybe my line of thinking is short sighted and limiting but it is how I feel none the less.

If my path in life somehow leads me back to Aikido in the future then so be it, but right now I don't see my path going that way.
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Old 06-09-2005, 01:50 PM   #28
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Quote:
Either way, quit bitchin'
And that can be directed at anyone else that posts on Aikiweb including yourself
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Old 06-09-2005, 01:56 PM   #29
Bronson
 
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
And that can be directed at anyone else that posts on Aikiweb including yourself
Absolutely.

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 06-09-2005, 02:58 PM   #30
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

The yoshinkan is an aikido community in and of itself. So again, it would seem to be a valid choice. Too bad there isn't one in your area (and there is no guarantee it would be a good fit even if there was). My point is more that there are plenty of dojo out there that don't do the religious thing if you don't want to, and it has really nothing at all to do with the community at large...you make your own communtiy, much as you can make your own reality. But to paint all aikido with the same brush is...well, you know...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-09-2005, 06:48 PM   #31
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Ron, as I said before the religious stuff was only one of the aspects that I did not like about Aikido, maybe I am just using it as an excuse, who knows. I would definately like to visit your dojo one day in Phili, it is not that far of a drive from Washington, D.C. Maybe you can help change my mind about Aikido since I have not experienced Yoshinkan, I definately have an open mind.
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Old 06-09-2005, 10:07 PM   #32
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Note: Below quote taken from this post in the "Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward" thread.


I wonder what percentage of the aikido populace subscribe to the kind of things you are talking about.

Do you have any concrete examples of the kind of behavior to which you allude above which you find objectionable in aikido?

How prevalent would you say the behavior in the examples are in the aikido world?

-- Jun
I've only been to two Aikido dojos in my life. The Seidokan dojo I was in back in the '80s did things like the immovable arm drill where you imagine there are jets of water shooting out of your fingertips, and this prevents your arm from being bent. They also defined the techniques in terms of ki flow. I do not know if this "proves" ki exists, but thinking in those terms, like the finger thing, helps it work, as opposed to trying to think in terms of muscles.

Having said that, in the late '90s, when Guro Andy had a Wing Chun, Sifu Kevin Seaman subbed for him, and at one point while describing tan sao, he also invoked the finger jet analogy, in this case to keep the arm from being unbent. (Tan sao is kinda sorta like an open-handed center block. [Any Wing Chun people who want to jump in and save my bacon here, feel free!]) Now, Sifu Kevin holds instructorships in Jun Fan/JKD, LaCoste Inosanto Kali, Thai Boxing, and god knows what else; he's studied grappling under Sensei Eric Paulson. People who have sparred with him when he goes full tilt, as opposed to when he trying to teach you something, describe him as "an animal" and have this 'I'm alive' timber in their voices. Hardly someone who can't handle himself, yet all over the internal energy side of things, too.

One of Sifu Kevin's isntructors, Sifu Francis Fong, is also all over the internal side of things. I've seen him do the "immovable man" stuff on one leg. And then he has us do them. Sifu Francis teaches Wing Chun and holds instructorships in Jun Fan, Kali, and is no stranger to grappling either. But all over the internal side.

So Ki and "immovable man" stuff are not particular to Aikido, nor necessarily confinded to "softer" arts that aren't considered as combative as Kali, Jun Fan, or Wing Chun. An I have yet to hear anyone bitch about how any of the above gentlemen are packaging their arts as "a relgion."

Aikido may be more spiritual than other arts, but it just goes farther. Even Kali has a spiritual element; Guro Dan admitted that at a seminar I went to back in March. No one's interested in hearing about that part of it, though. (<sarcasm> What a surprise. </sarcasm>)

The Aikido dojo I'm in now doesn't talk about ki quite as much as Seidokan did, but it gets mentioned from time to time. It's a pretty straightforward "traditional" class, but I don't see anything religous about it. As I said in another thread, they host an Okimura Sensei every year, who is also a Buddhist priest. Last October, he said flat out, "Aikdio is not religion." Call me silly, but I think he ought to know.
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Old 06-09-2005, 10:36 PM   #33
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

there are many ways to acheive the top of the mountain...every religion has its own way....
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Old 06-10-2005, 08:53 AM   #34
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Hi Michael, you'd be welcome! It would be good for me to train with someone like you.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-10-2005, 09:58 AM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
I've only been to two Aikido dojos in my life. The Seidokan dojo I was in back in the '80s did things like the immovable arm drill where you imagine there are jets of water shooting out of your fingertips, and this prevents your arm from being bent. They also defined the techniques in terms of ki flow. I do not know if this "proves" ki exists, but thinking in those terms, like the finger thing, helps it work, as opposed to trying to think in terms of muscles.
In other words, it's an odd way to approaching a potentially useable Strength?
Quote:
One of Sifu Kevin's isntructors, Sifu Francis Fong, is also all over the internal side of things. I've seen him do the "immovable man" stuff on one leg. (snip)

So Ki and "immovable man" stuff are not particular to Aikido, nor necessarily confinded to "softer" arts that aren't considered as combative as Kali, Jun Fan, or Wing Chun. An I have yet to hear anyone bitch about how any of the above gentlemen are packaging their arts as "a relgion."
I absolutely agree. "Ki" and "kokyu" are not part of religions, except in an old-fashioned sense which almost no martial arts use as a perspective anymore. The other false view of ki and kokyu is that they are viewed as some sort of "techniques". All over the Aikido forums you'll see people talking about "kokyu", "ki", and some teacher who used them (even in karate, in a thread I saw on Aikido Journal), but the implication is usually along the lines of a "technique", not a strength that so-and-so spent many hours training.

No, it's not religion... those skills are revered in the martial arts world for the strengths they give which give the power to the techniques. You can't learn them from just believing and you'll never have them if you think they're just techniques (yes, there are odd techniques that are needed to learn them, but it's the practice that counts).

One of the problems I think that is encountered in Aikido as it is in so many other Asian arts is that you don't get to fully see what the teachers do or have done ... so you get the impression that you know how the teacher does his techniques so you focus on doing "techniques". O-Sensei did a lot of strength-training on the side. He could stand on one leg and people couldn't push him over, just like is described about Francis Fong. You get that ability by doing standing practice.... it is a cultivated strength, not a religion or technique. All the ki-tricks O-Sensei, Tohei, Abe, and others do is because they have/had cultivated strength. Abe swings a practice sword that weighs around 40 pounds (be careful... you have to know HOW to do this type of swinging or it just becomes normal strength, which is different)... that's a strength and certainly just part of the training methods he does (while hiding others, often in plain sight).

The point I'm suggesting is that Ki, originally viewed in most western Aikido as a mystical/quasi-religious vagary, is now shifting to a view of it being some sort of "technique". How about,as an alternative, understanding that it's a strength and that the habit of hiding your secret strength and conditioning exercises is like the main topic of martial arts books, movies, fables, etc... i.e., it's a part of the traditional Asian culture? Getting bogged down looking at Ki as a "religion" or "unattainable by us mortals" is to deliberately hamstring yourself, IMO.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-10-2005, 05:44 PM   #36
tony cameron
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

"You can argue all day that it is not religious but all that counts to me is my perception."

hi michael. what baffles me is why you even bring the subject to the forum in the first place if your mind is already made up/closed to the subject. there are other MA besides Aikido ya know (gasp! blasphemer! burn the witch!) and being that most of them originate in China, Japan, or Korea, they probably all have some sort of religious or spiritual basis. big deal. if you want an MA totally devoid of mysticism try some american EXXtreme sports competition MA.

personally, i think you are over reacting a little bit about the whole thing i happen to believe that O Sensei became an enightened being through his own efforts, and because of that he is a great role model. and when i bow to the kamiza it is with a combination of great respect, humility, and reverence. is that so wrong? i think that Aikido has nothing at all to do with religion, and that is why i love it so much. Aikido, to me, is an applied philosophy that integrates the total self: body, mind, and spirit, and it is free from the petty dogma and indoctrination practices that are the hallmark of many religions.

best regards,
tony

Last edited by tony cameron : 06-10-2005 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 06-10-2005, 10:37 PM   #37
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido as a Religion

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
In other words, it's an odd way to approaching a potentially useable Strength?
I'm not so sure about that, because I've enver been a big one for strength training, yet I had little problem with the immovable arm drills. The point is not to use strength, ie tensing up, to get the job done.


Quote:
I absolutely agree. "Ki" and "kokyu" are not part of religions, except in an old-fashioned sense which almost no martial arts use as a perspective anymore. The other false view of ki and kokyu is that they are viewed as some sort of "techniques". All over the Aikido forums you'll see people talking about "kokyu", "ki", and some teacher who used them (even in karate, in a thread I saw on Aikido Journal), but the implication is usually along the lines of a "technique", not a strength that so-and-so spent many hours training.
Well, there is kokyu-ho, which is a breath-power exercise, and kokyu nage, which basically times your breathing to your technique. I don't think they say breathing itself is a technique, but that breathing drives it.

And even then, breathing from the abdomen and having funny ideas attributed to it is not unique to Aikido. Everything has some sort of breathing pattern or other related to techniques; it's part of the internal side of the art.
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