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Old 03-23-2011, 11:13 AM   #1
Ketsan
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Spiritual mechanisms

What's the mechanism of developing the same spiritual insights as O-Sensei in Aikido and how does that impact training methods compared to other arts?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
What's the mechanism of developing the same spiritual insights as O-Sensei in Aikido and how does that impact training methods compared to other arts?
stand under cold water falls or some kind of cold water. whenever i saw pictures related to spiritual stuffs, there usually people in water of some sort. i have tried this by standing in the cold shower which elicit a primal respond of screaming my bloody head off "AHHHHH GOWWWD! THATTTT COOOLLLD!"
my wife would ask "what are you doing?"
i screamed "TRYING TO FIND MY SPIRITUALITY!"
wife: found it yet?
me (screaming over my own screams): ya! i think so! but now i can't find my manhood!


* have you notice that you usually have issue control your bladder when you are in some sort of water and very hard to concentrate on anything spiritual? *
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Confused Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
What's the mechanism of developing the same spiritual insights as O-Sensei in Aikido and how does that impact training methods compared to other arts?
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.

Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.

The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.

Nagababa

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Old 03-23-2011, 12:53 PM   #4
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Phi wrote:
stand under cold water falls or some kind of cold water. whenever i saw pictures related to spiritual stuffs, there usually people in water of some sort. i have tried this by standing in the cold shower which elicit a primal respond of screaming my bloody head off "AHHHHH GOWWWD! THATTTT COOOLLLD!"
my wife would ask "what are you doing?"
i screamed "TRYING TO FIND MY SPIRITUALITY!"
wife: found it yet?
me (screaming over my own screams): ya! i think so! but now i can't find my manhood!


* have you notice that you usually have issue control your bladder when you are in some sort of water and very hard to concentrate on anything spiritual? *
Shirley such irreverence is antithetical to the pursuit of such deep thinking!

You can hear some very interesting sounds during misogi...particularly around the time the lower hip area first splashes down. I swear I once heard a guy gasp with both an inhale and exhale at the same time...while, I'm pretty sure, offering a prayer and a curse at the same time. Who knew you could squeeze so much into a single moment of shock? Talk about being in the middle of now!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Sorry, I wanted to quickly add that I really like Szczepan's remarks about paradoxical constructs and logical mind. I view spirituality to be a kind of top-down approach toward understanding things, but it has a very useful tool, the brain, which has an amazing ability at taking disparate things and finding connections between them...even if it has to fill in the blanks in creative ways. By constantly training (which I think of as a continual state of assessment) we keep those intuitions in check with the part of reality we find ourselves in.
...If I'm making many sense. I'm tired, so I'll go now.
Interesting topic!
Thank you!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
Alex Megann
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.

Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.

The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.
Szczepan -

For some reason you remind me of the long-lamented Ivan Vasilev of the old AIKIDO-L list. Reliable ridicule towards those who didn't value good old-fashioned hard training, interspersed with occasional tenderness and deep spiritual insights.

Keep it up...

Alex
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:15 PM   #7
Mark Freeman
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.

Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.

The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.
What a good post Szczepan, a good answer to Alex's question thanks!

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.

Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.

The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.
Amen.

dps

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
Ketsan
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.
Meditation is good for that.

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.
That's not really paradoxical, especially in training. It doesn't logically follow that because I'm throwing someone that I want to cause them harm therefore it isn't a logical contradiction, a paradox, to limit harm while executing technique.

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.
Wouldn't intuition best be verified by competition? Intuition is easy to have in keiko but not in shiai. Reestablishing harmony under all conditions is surely the end goal of practice? I don't see how practice can verify practice.

In fact wouldn't competition act like a crucible burning away everything but the eternal values: the one's that have been pressure tested? Kinda like in science a hypothesis only becomes a theory, something to be relied upon when everyone's tried to destroy it.
The artifical and transient would thus be a path to the eternal things required to win competitions and so push spiritual development.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #10
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
Meditation is good for that..
You think so? May be. In my next statement you can read:
Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience.

I've never excluded other approches.

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
That's not really paradoxical, especially in training. It doesn't logically follow that because I'm throwing someone that I want to cause them harm therefore it isn't a logical contradiction, a paradox, to limit harm while executing technique. .
May be, because of your long aikido training, your logic is already working in very different way? you know - body infulence spirit.....this kind of stuff...

Back to serious mode:
I'm talking here about serious martial situation, not happy aikibunny practice that follows some kind of code. Remember O sensei pointers? : "Practice every technique as it is last technique in your life!" or "hit face of attacker with all your power" or "strike like a thunder"...
These pointers lead us to austere practice, where Nage is on the limits of his physical and psychological capacities with sever health or life threat. That's it; it is a role of attacker to put him in such situation. Under such circumstances, I'm not sure if logic of Nage will follow your proposal..

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
Wouldn't intuition best be verified by competition? Intuition is easy to have in keiko but not in shiai. Reestablishing harmony under all conditions is surely the end goal of practice? I don't see how practice can verify practice.

In fact wouldn't competition act like a crucible burning away everything but the eternal values: the one's that have been pressure tested? Kinda like in science a hypothesis only becomes a theory, something to be relied upon when everyone's tried to destroy it.
The artifical and transient would thus be a path to the eternal things required to win competitions and so push spiritual development.
I agree that "Reestablishing harmony under all conditions is the end goal of practice." However human being is very weak and constantly being distracted by many small stupid things on the Way. I.e. not without reason monks searching ‘satori' went for long time to monastery, particularly in the first phase of learning.
In my opinion competition is quite big distraction as you can see example of historical judo development.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:48 PM   #11
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Alex, I like your point about Shiai, but I believe Szczepan is right that O-sensei wanted us to adopt a certain kind of training mindset -- one that makes keiko in an aikido dojo a kind of serious training that would make shiai redundant.
It's true, if we care about each other's development, we should be able to seriously challenge each other in class, outside of organized sports. (to make each other better, not to try to be better than another guy)

And now, my answer to the OP. Anyone who thinks this is bunk, fine, this is just one idea, no need to take the thread down.
It is a possibility that O-sensei's spiritual beliefs and practices come from tanren training, the first step of which is development of internal strength. It is also a strong possibility that he was told by his teacher not to teach this aspect. So, to keep his word, he thus did not explicitly teach it, but, by suggesting and hinting and demonstrating, he told us as well as he could that we should pursue such a thing.
The following "spiritual" ideas have direct meaning in IS training that can be physically experienced:

unification of the self with the universe
expressing the will of the gods rather than one's personal will
defeating of the self as the ultimate victory, so that one lives in a state of continuous victory even upon being attacked
purification of oneself to allow the gods to enter one's body
irimi, independent of physical movement
defeating aggression rather than the aggressor

Well that's enough off the top of my head. I just want to state this as one possibility.

Last edited by JW : 03-24-2011 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:13 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

My aikido practice happens to be my spiritual practice, because it is a pressure cooker and training situation for how I confront and deal with how I am in this world with other human beings.
However, I don't think this is anything like OSensei's spiritual practice, with its belief in kotodama, etc deeply rooted in in his own culture and religion. And I have no interest in pursuing that any more than I have interest in pursuing other religions.

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Old 03-25-2011, 03:38 AM   #13
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
What's the mechanism of developing the same spiritual insights as O-Sensei in Aikido
O senseis spiritual insigths derrive from being deeply connected with shinto and esoteric buddhism.
Concidering to be the incarnation of a kami, praying to 43 deities of aikido and a lot of other "insights" are very different from what most pracitoners, at least non Japanese can develop.

So there is no such mechanism, I think.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:47 AM   #14
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
O senseis spiritual insigths derrive from being deeply connected with shinto and esoteric buddhism.
Concidering to be the incarnation of a kami, praying to 43 deities of aikido and a lot of other "insights" are very different from what most pracitoners, at least non Japanese can develop.

So there is no such mechanism, I think.
Of course, one can postulate there is such thing as general mystic experience, and just different culturally bound, personally diverse pathways to get there. In which case every person, society and age have to find their own way, and looking for O-Sensei's "mechamism" would be a misleading place to start when looking for his insight.

Not to contradict your statement, just a perspective.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:13 AM   #15
graham christian
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'd say, starting point is a fact that logical mind can't fully explain The Reality (name to describe some kind of eternal reality as opposed to our personal ‘unitary" reality). So we need to develop ability to somehow experience The Reality directly, without any intermediary filters.

Among other systems, aikido provides tools to develop, what I call ‘spiritual intuition' as a tool to realize such experience. Quite similar to some Buddhism teaching, aikido uses the whole range of paradoxes. These physical paradoxes (as i.e. successful execution of efficient martial technique while limiting as much as possible injury of attacker because of the compassion for living being) force us to abandon usual logical mind. The example of other tool can be a possibility to develop a strong personal discipline and commitment that is indispensable to any serious spiritual pursuit.

The lack of the competition as another characteristic of aikido practice allows us to direct attention to eternal values and concentrate what happen ‘inside' of us as opposed to pursuit artificial and transient goals. Any progress in development of intuition is immediately verified by physical practice on the tatami (i.e. am I able to reestablish a "World harmony" that was disturbed by attacker). The key is to create a martial situation where intuition can be verified by aikido techniques and practice of those techniques will push further spiritual development.
Hi. Very well put. Love the last sentence. I'm impressed.

Regards. G.

Last edited by graham christian : 03-25-2011 at 09:13 AM. Reason: signing off
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:48 AM   #16
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Spiritual mechanisms

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
Wouldn't intuition best be verified by competition? Intuition is easy to have in keiko but not in shiai. Reestablishing harmony under all conditions is surely the end goal of practice? I don't see how practice can verify practice.

In fact wouldn't competition act like a crucible burning away everything but the eternal values: the one's that have been pressure tested? Kinda like in science a hypothesis only becomes a theory, something to be relied upon when everyone's tried to destroy it.
The artificial and transient would thus be a path to the eternal things required to win competitions and so push spiritual development.
Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I'm talking here about serious martial situation, not happy aikibunny practice that follows some kind of code. Remember O sensei pointers? : "Practice every technique as it is last technique in your life!" or "hit face of attacker with all your power" or "strike like a thunder"...
These pointers lead us to austere practice, where Nage is on the limits of his physical and psychological capacities with sever health or life threat. That's it; it is a role of attacker to put him in such situation. Under such circumstances, I'm not sure if logic of Nage will follow your proposal..
Intuition, in the thought of Owen Barfield (one of the Inklings, along with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) is the grasp of a concrete perception at the same time as the articulation of that perception -- i.e. before the logical operation of this and not-this. The Doka are instances of this, and for this reason they are difficult for the modernly 'rational' mind -- 'rational' literally refers to "this-as-to-that" comparisons (as in a mathematical ratio).

I highly recommend his book "Poetic Diction" as to how we both grasp and express meaning in perception, thought and language. I think a close reading of that book will help anyone who struggles with O Sensei's lectures and poetic expressions in the Doka, because it is clear to me that O Sensei was operating (in terms of the unity of his perception and his communication) very much at the level that Barfield exhaustively describes in that work. FWIW, it think that a good deal of what Prof. Goldsbury discusses in the topic of nihonjinron is related to this type of comprehension/ expression. The long conforming influences of Japanese culture on unspoken percepts have kept an unresolved ambiguity in meaning that is much more hard-edged to the Japanese than seems natural to us Westerners.

The first task of "unifying the cosmos" surely must be unifying our own body and spirit -- which are often at odds, especially under unfamiliar stress -- not stress or any given intensity of stress as such. Shiai is a stress exercise, surely. But it is a different way of addressing the same problem. Basically shiai is a habituation to operating in situations of swiftly unpredictable, unfamiliar stress. The point of aikido as a martial art is not to increase habituation to stress but to increase familiarity in the martial encounter -- which is to say to make it less stressful and more "normal" to both body and spirit -- so that the division we are prone to does not oioccur between them .

Ideally, we are not -- "doing" -- "this" with our --"body"-- in a -- "spirit" -- responding to a -- "threat''or -- "fear"-- of a --"threat"-- . If we do -- this indicates we have already categorized our situaiton out of its essential unity. Better, we simply find ourselves acting in a familiar and normal way for such encounters, without body separating from mind/spirit -- like taking a steak knife from plate to mouth and licking the sauce from it without a second thought even though the blade could easily cut your tongue.

No division between intention and action occurs and thus spontaneity is freed -- but this requires habituation to certain forms or types of action that are suited to such spontaneous action -- and our ordinary ways of acting are most definitely not suited.

Aikido training, properly done IMO, is imprinting those "types" or "modes" of action, not "learning techniques." And this imprint is occurring in a situation where we do not objectify the opponent and this is very critical to the next stage of unification.

From unity of body and mind we move to unity of persons. Objectifying the opponent means he is "not-me," and this represents a very different manner of action than acting in the spirit that exists before we makes this distinction. O Sensei's teaching make clear that the distinction is one he means for training to break down, so that our identification with the opponent is not broken in the moment of attack, and objectification does not occur. "True Budo is love." or "Love the enemy as you love yourself" -- someone else once said

There are reasons to believe that there are neurological processing advantages in this regard as well -- before objectification occurs mirror neurons act in a a simultaneous sensory and motor capacity; after objectification occurs the mirror neurons act primarily in a sensory capacity and no longer act in a motor capacity and a different set of voluntary motor operations takes over in which perception and action are -- quite literally -- now separated where once they were joined.

Shiai certainly prompts, if not requires, this distinction and is thus detrimental in that sense to the whole purpose of Aikido, as I see it.

Aikido is different way of addressing this problem from that of shiai such that when a high stress situation occurs there is simply perception and action with the familiarity gained. without the division there is more perceptual space or time in the situation to modulate the familiar types of action to the precise nature of the engagement, and without the intervention of slow, negating, categorizing (this/not-this) thought.

In this sense aikido is more allied with Christianity ( and perhaps why O Sensei felt quite comfortable with Christian idioms). They both are more simialr in feel; than, say, with Buddhism. Buddhism seeks this prior unity in negating self and person as illusions, essentially; whereas both Aikido and Christianity seek to enlarge the sense of self to an increasing union of persons who are one and yet not-one at the same time.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-25-2011 at 09:54 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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