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Old 12-12-2020, 03:59 AM   #1
StefanHultberg
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What is power?

Just read a few articles about "internal power", so disappointing. I wish those who are interested in aikido would search for wisdom, insight, or enlightenment rather than power. One of the stated purposes of aikido, according to the founder, is spreading love - seems forgotten sometimes. Yes, power indeed, but what about love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation etc. Aikido has so much good to give, but it seems a lot of people, even very high ranking aikidoka, seem to be content with the little shrimp entree rather than the main course - not to speak of the wonderful desert. Have we entered an age of aikido myopathy??

Raise your eyes, raise your expectations, aikido is so much more than right and left - and "internal power".

All the best
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Old 12-14-2020, 05:55 PM   #2
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Then he said, 'Before you go, is there anything you want to ask me?' So I simply said, 'O-sensei. What is aikido?' He responded by saying, 'Well, let me write it down for you and someday you can read it and understand.' What he wrote were the words: 'intellectual training, physical training, virtue training, ki training - these produce practical wisdom.' He added that it wouldn't do for even one of those to be missing, that lacking any one of them would render anything for naught, and inevitably slow one's overall development. One must, he told me, always maintain a harmonious balance among these.
Mariye Takahashi

O-sensei was very clear. Love was not all there is. Intellectual wisdom is the ability to think critically, in the sense of being able to evaluate truth, falsehood and nuance. Physical training is all the technique. Virtue training - morality - is that by which love could be expressed. [Putting aside all that I could write about what 'love' meant to a man such as Ueshiba]. And note the forth - by 'ki training,' he explicitly means internal power.

An intellectual, no matter how brilliant is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A physical wonder is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A wonderful person expressing, as you say, "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" Is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A person obsessively pursuing internal strength to the exclusion of all else is not doing O-sensei's aikido.

Let me jump to a salient conclusion. A person of intellectual brilliance, with incredible waza, who expresses "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" is not doing O-sensei's aikido - if they lack skill in Internal Strength.

And furthermore, O-sensei emphasized the balance of these four.
So, A person who has all for components, but is overly intellectual, or is overly technically obsessed, or who is busy expressing "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" and not practicing enough, or who had not extensively trained the kind of KI, internal strength that O-sensei said was absolutely necessary, is not doing O-sensei's aikido.

Remember the stories of O-sensei storming in the dojo shouting "That's not my aikido." Knowing the Aikikai of the time, that would have been waza dominant. But I bet he would storm in a love and reconciliation dojo, that had anemic waza, or a lack of training in Daito-ryu derived aiki, and shout the same thing. In fact, after this overly intellectualized text, I expect Ueshiba to storm in here too and shout the same thing, slamming emoji's left and right.

Happy Vaccine Year to All

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Old 12-17-2020, 02:37 PM   #3
jonreading
 
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Re: What is power?

I am not sure how to read this, so I will just throw out a few comments that came to mind...

I am not sure how the alphabet soup of every positive trait was ascribed to aikido. Nor am I aware of some omnipotence who assigned a value to these traits by which to qualify one over the other. Finally, I am pretty certain those of us who train aikido are not inherently imbued with those desirable traits, anyhow. Myopathy, indeed.

To the question of the thread, What is power?... I am reminded of a kids say the darnedest things that goes something like this:
Q: What is a pacifist?
A: That's what you call yourself when someone takes your things.
Humorous and innocent, yet surprisingly astute. Without the power to stop someone from taking your things, how can you make a choice to let them? Power, in any form we choose to motivate our bodies, is a fundamental precondition of most [any] physical pursuit. Ignoring its importance is poor training at best.

So why is internal power training in a competitive marketplace with philosophy? Spirituality? How are the two not inclusive of each other, if not [actually] supportive? Why is your [external] power not in conflict with your spirituality?

Jon Reading
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Old 12-17-2020, 02:48 PM   #4
Ellis Amdur
 
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Pacifism

Hi John -

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am reminded of a kids say the darnedest things that goes something like this:
Q: What is a pacifist?
A: That's what you call yourself when someone takes your things.
You bring to mind the only powerful pacifist I ever met in my life. He had been psychologically and physically tortured by his father throughout his childhood, until he escaped at the age of 15. He swore that he would never do anything to anyone like his father did to him, and he interpreted this as any act of violence or psychological aggression, whatever the provocation or cause - because, as he put it, "Everyone has a good excuse."

He intervened in a violent assault in the Paris subway, where one man was beating another to a bloody pulp. He stepped between them. The man punched him in the face. He just looked at him. The man punched him again. He continued to look in his eyes. The man started yelling at him, "Fight me! Fight me!" He just looked in his eyes. The man punched him again (he had a broken nose by that point, and his mouth was bloody, the other man cowering on the ground). He just looked at him. The man raised his fist, trembling and then burst into tears and ran away.

I was truly moved by this story, but I asked him, "What would you have done if he had pulled out a knife and started to stab you. . . . . . .and, he raised an eyebrow, and looked in my eyes.

That's not me. I don't agree that what he does is the right choice. But I admire him more than I can say.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-04-2021, 12:49 AM   #5
StefanHultberg
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mariye Takahashi

O-sensei was very clear. Love was not all there is. Intellectual wisdom is the ability to think critically, in the sense of being able to evaluate truth, falsehood and nuance. Physical training is all the technique. Virtue training - morality - is that by which love could be expressed. [Putting aside all that I could write about what 'love' meant to a man such as Ueshiba]. And note the forth - by 'ki training,' he explicitly means internal power.

An intellectual, no matter how brilliant is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A physical wonder is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A wonderful person expressing, as you say, "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" Is not doing O-sensei's aikido.
A person obsessively pursuing internal strength to the exclusion of all else is not doing O-sensei's aikido.

Let me jump to a salient conclusion. A person of intellectual brilliance, with incredible waza, who expresses "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" is not doing O-sensei's aikido - if they lack skill in Internal Strength.

And furthermore, O-sensei emphasized the balance of these four.
So, A person who has all for components, but is overly intellectual, or is overly technically obsessed, or who is busy expressing "love, empathy, care, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation" and not practicing enough, or who had not extensively trained the kind of KI, internal strength that O-sensei said was absolutely necessary, is not doing O-sensei's aikido.

Remember the stories of O-sensei storming in the dojo shouting "That's not my aikido." Knowing the Aikikai of the time, that would have been waza dominant. But I bet he would storm in a love and reconciliation dojo, that had anemic waza, or a lack of training in Daito-ryu derived aiki, and shout the same thing. In fact, after this overly intellectualized text, I expect Ueshiba to storm in here too and shout the same thing, slamming emoji's left and right.

Happy Vaccine Year to All
Dear Ellis Sensei

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this reply. I am so happy to see the word balance, showing the richness of "power". I think you are expressing my point I was trying to make - any aspect of power taken in isolation is not O-Sensei's aikido. En passant, though, it seems like several aspects of O-Sensei's aikido are either not understood or ignored by large swathes of the aikido community.

Power can be physical - right and left. It can be mental - how to handle a conflict with the chairman of the board. It can be social/spiritual - how do I forgive my enemy. Personally I think the power to be loving, to be forgiving is at least as important as the physical aspect of power. Power which is only physical is not worth a lot. Power which covers the wholeness is worth pursuing.

Thank you so much for your input!!!

Stefan
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Old 01-04-2021, 09:38 PM   #6
Peter Goldsbury
 
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Re: What is power?

Hello Ellis,

I do not think the Aikikai Hombu has changed very much. It is still waza dominant, but the different instructors might well emphasize certain aspects of the art and not others. Doshu, however, always does basic waza and he once told me directly that this was his mission as Doshu. He added that there were many waza that he would like to show--but never could.

I can see his point, for in my own dojo the oldest member is 88 and the youngest are two twins aged 9, who regularly come with their father. I have to cater for everybody, but also give everybody targets that they can pursue with profit. Is this spiritual? Is this internal training? Probably, but I do not really care. A very close friend of mine, who runs the dojo with me, recently told me that I sometimes do things that he can understand, but cannot do, but which other students told me that they do not understand. They are to do with kuzushi, the initial unbalancing of the opponent. However, there are certain waza that I cannot really do unless I split the class and have a separate dojo for yudansha.

I knew Kisshomaru Doshu and occasionally took his ukemi. There was a precision there, perhaps like a surgeon performing an operation. Incidentally, I can imagine Kisshomaru's reaction to his father's outbursts: "Ah. He's having a bad day today." (With the slightest hint of a shrug of the shoulders.)

Best wishes for 2021.

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-04-2021 at 09:41 PM.

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Old 01-04-2021, 09:42 PM   #7
robin_jet_alt
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Is this spiritual? Is this internal training? Probably, but I do not really care.

PAG
I love this statement.
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Old 01-04-2021, 10:41 PM   #8
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Incidentally, I can imagine Kisshomaru's reaction to his father's outbursts: "Ah. He's having a bad day today." (With the slightest hint of a shrug of the shoulders.)
And this, Peter, is the statement that I love

Happy 2021 to you too, my friend

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Old 01-05-2021, 03:25 PM   #9
StefanHultberg
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Re: What is power?

Dear all

So what IS power, true power?

Anyone

All the best, thank you for the feedback !!!

Stefan
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:05 PM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
 
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
Dear all

So what IS power, true power?

Anyone

All the best, thank you for the feedback !!!

Stefan
I think you answered your own questions above, in Post #5.

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Old 01-06-2021, 03:08 AM   #11
StefanHultberg
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think you answered your own questions above, in Post #5.
😇😉

All the best!!

Stefan
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:27 PM   #12
mathewjgano
 
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Re: What is power?

Power is work done.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:26 AM   #13
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: What is power?

Power is not so important...blending is the answer.

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Old 06-07-2021, 04:14 PM   #14
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Power is not so important...blending is the answer.
To what?
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Old 06-08-2021, 07:48 PM   #15
Eric Jones
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Re: What is power?

I think she means using their momentum against them.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:26 PM   #16
mathewjgano
 
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Power is not so important...blending is the answer.
I think it depends on how we look at it, Mary.

In my opinion power is work done; another way of thinking of that phrase is that it is a matter of what we accomplish. Meeting energy can mean I still take control in net effect.

Blending can mean attenuating our own effect or it can mean empowering ourselves further. I'm sure it can mean more than I've thought of there.

What do you mean?

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-11-2021, 04:53 PM   #17
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Re: What is power?

What I mean, is that in the aikido that I practice I seek not to over power uke but to use the energy offered and blending with it to resolution.

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Old 06-13-2021, 09:33 AM   #18
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
What I mean, is that in the aikido that I practice I seek not to over power uke but to use the energy offered and blending with it to resolution.
This is also a very nice description of good judo ...

Best,
Bernd
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Old 08-09-2021, 12:44 AM   #19
Chris Li
 
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Re: What is power?

There's really nothing to feel sad about, unless you're feeling sad about Morihei Ueshiba, since he often used the word "power" to talk about physical manifestations of power in his art, all the way through the 1960's.

Actually, the internal arts, the ones that often talk about internal power, are also often associated with various forms of personal development, so the whole point in the OP is really a straw man, IMO.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-10-2021, 06:43 AM   #20
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There's really nothing to feel sad about, unless you're feeling sad about Morihei Ueshiba, since he often used the word "power" to talk about physical manifestations of power in his art, all the way through the 1960's.

Actually, the internal arts, the ones that often talk about internal power, are also often associated with various forms of personal development, so the whole point in the OP is really a straw man, IMO.

Best,

Chris
Hello Chris,

So true.
In the texts that you have made available to us and which I recognize as authentic, there is neither a pacifist nor a wimp, but a consistency of the position of strength. It's always about power and when someone like him says: "Get them before they get you", then that is not what some, even many, would like to see in him here.
If a profound change has occurred in Aikido in order to make everything more digestible for the general public and also better accessible to a broader public and at the same time to correspond to the post-war zeitgeist, then I think it starts more with his son Kisshomaru and also Tohei, to name just about two developers of today's trademark Aikido.

If OSensei had been a German of the Third Reich, he would not have been forgiven for much of his past (quite rightly) to this day. Therefore, his deification as an unattainable moral model for the world IMHO is completely inappropriate, but this should not diminish his extraordinary development and achievements.

As can be seen from your texts and if I have understood it correctly, he has given very clear instructions on how to optimally develop your own body and the effectiveness associated with it, apparently using ancient traditions.
I can only recommend everyone to read your Sangenkai block carefully.
I myself am still gaining new knowledge from this, especially now in times of pandemics, when personal contact with the few who are familiar with this area is so limited.
So far I have met the only contemporary in Dan who was able to convey to me credibly and practically through direct physical contact that this path is also viable for us.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 08-10-2021, 04:48 PM   #21
Craig Moore
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Re: What is power?

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
"Get them before they get you"
I know there's debate with translation with some of the doka poems, but there's at least one if not a few that pop up in our "Doka of the Day" where it takes mental gymnastics to justify an interpretation in any other way than the statement above.
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