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Old 07-17-2018, 08:32 AM   #26
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Ai-nuke

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Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
First, Ueshiba didn't study that "many ancient forms of fighting", beside daito ryu he studied only Judo for a while and some style of jujutsu during his army time.

Takeda had esoteric training in Tsutsukowake Shrine under Hoshina Chikanori and he spent time at Ryozen Shrine in Fukushima prefecture, it is said he mastered deeply spritual powers.

I don' think he is the "violent teacher" nor is Ueshiba the peaceful saint how you present him here.
Firstly, I think you may be confusing enrolling in a ryu with studying it, there is evidence that Ueshiba dabbled in many ryuha, such as Hozoin ryu (with Takeda), Kukishin ryu, shinkage ryu, and of course Daito ryu (plus others I think too). Additionally he had ample opportunity to witness countless other martial artists and steal things he liked for literally decades. All of which I would count as coming under to a greater or lesser extent the heading of studying. This despite not necessarily becoming a formally enrolled student. Which is something social custom in Japan wouldn't make it appropriate for him to do once established as a master in his own right.

Secondly, Takeda was taken by his father to become a priest under the direction of Hoshina Chikanori following the death of Takeda's older brother, and then he promptly left to go and try to fight for Saigo Takamori, these do not seem to be the actions of a deeply spiritual man. Rather they seem the actions of a man who prefers war to religion. Despite his numerous encounters with priests and temples and even concerted efforts to get him to become a priest, Takeda always turned toward bujitsu, he cut down people with his sword and carried an unsheathed knife in his clothing. So, sure you can find similar things said by Takeda about aiki that sound spiritual but lets not let a few quotes repaint the picture of the man's life. Ueshiba on the other hand was clearly a deeply religious man who turned over his house to Takeda to go and live on a religious commune.
I don't think it's reasonable to cast one man as the violent one and the other as the spiritual one when they clearly overlap to a great extent in their fascination, study and expertise in budo, but I think it's reasonable to accept that one embraced religion and the other mostly rejected it.

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Old 07-17-2018, 09:51 AM   #27
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Re: Ai-nuke

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Firstly, I think you may be confusing enrolling in a ryu with studying it, there is evidence that Ueshiba dabbled in many ryuha, such as Hozoin ryu (with Takeda), Kukishin ryu, shinkage ryu, and of course Daito ryu (plus others I think too).
I don't think he "dabbled" in daito ryu, it was the one and only art he really mastered, and in which he had a teaching license.

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Secondly, Takeda was taken by his father to become a priest under the direction of Hoshina Chikanori following the death of Takeda's older brother, and then he promptly left to go and try to fight for Saigo Takamori, these do not seem to be the actions of a deeply spiritual man.
This was when he was 17, (later he had closer contact with Hoshina and was taught deeply in spritual practice).

Ueshibas only wish when he was in the same age was to serve in the army and to go to war...does that sound like the action of a deeply spiritual man?
Later he was security chief of a right-wing sect leader, fought with his sword in mongolia, was involved in other outrages in conjunction with Deguchi , taught at several miltiary facilities, and so on.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:03 AM   #28
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Re: Ai-nuke

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Steven Shimanek wrote: View Post
My point was that if even O-Sensei's uchideshi had trouble understanding what he was saying, it is very likely that persons outside of Japanese culture would have even more difficulties. What you think you understand and what is meant may vary; we should remain humble and continue seeking understanding.
Not sure I agree with you there, there are many more means of accessing this sort of information available today than there were to the young deshi in the 1950s and 60s. Plus someone wanting to learn about it now has the benefit of decades of research on the subject done by people such as Stanley Pranin and others. None of which is a substitute for actually getting it direct from the source of course.

I'd never call myself an expert in this, especially compared to someone who was actually there learning it directly from O Sensei - or as you suggest someone who was watching it sail overhead in the presence of O Sensei - but I do think that there are people who do understand it and are trying to pass it on, and that those people are waiting for eager students to come and get that knowledge from them.

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Old 07-17-2018, 10:11 AM   #29
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Re: Ai-nuke

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I don't think he "dabbled" in daito ryu, it was the one and only art he really mastered, and in which he had a teaching license.
Yeah well I included it int he list for completeness, it ought to be evident from what I wrote that I know full well what Ueshiba's training history was with regards Daito ryu.

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Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
This was when he was 17, (later he had closer contact with Hoshina and was taught deeply in spritual practice).

Ueshibas only wish when he was in the same age was to serve in the army and to go to war...does that sound like the action of a deeply spiritual man?
Later he was security chief of a right-wing sect leader, fought with his sword in mongolia, was involved in other outrages in conjunction with Deguchi , taught at several miltiary facilities, and so on.
Like I said the two share considerable overlap and it's not really right to characterize one as the violent one and the other as the spiritual one. But it seems reasonably clear that Takeda was never interested in a particularly spiritual life, whereas Ueshiba saw his art almost exclusively in those terms, aikido was for Ueshiba a religious endevour that required one to be a skilled budoka, whereas DR was first and foremost about budo and if that happened to lead to spritual awareness on the part of the practitioner then cool, but that doesn't seem to have been Takeda's primary goal.. On this particular venn-diagram the circles are quite close together and overlap considerably, but they are still discernibly different.

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Old 07-17-2018, 02:35 PM   #30
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Re: Ai-nuke

I would be careful of the pit falls of taking literally the interpretations that have been presented from Japanese to English. Having lived some years in Japan, and also having Japanese students in my Dojo, it can be quite a laugh seeing how people interpret such things according to their agenda. I am sure Peter Goldsbury can inform you on such matters as well. There are many Japanese words that need to be understood by context, and spiritual context can be the most difficult.
And Hiroshi Tada: "An Aikidoka should be able to consistently cut down an opponent with the first blow" (Italy, 2002)
I think I addressed this in the article as kiriotoshi, as in, the preeminent technique of itto ryu, the art of Tesshu yamaoka (and also Takeda)
[John of the Cross (among others). In the eastern tradition you have Shingon Buddhism and the syncretist blend called Omoto, as can be seen from Onisaburo Deguchi. My time in the Jesuits allowed me to study this in some depth.]
Peter, after you said you studied history as well,I find it a little disturbing how our lives seem to be mirrored, although not a Jesuit, I too was raised in a strict Christian environment and was being groomed to be a man of god. This gave me exposure to John of the cross, a man whose writings I liked very much. Although these days I am an have been for almost 20 years a Daoist and a strict vegetarian, my second subject at uni was Asian studies, especially religion and philosophy.

I also believe I said that I don't disagree with what Aiki brings to Aikido in the context of all over body coordination. I just believe that Ueshiba moved passed that image. I never said he couldn't do it, but I believe he stopped teaching it. There is a lot of evidence to say that he taught with different emphasis the prewar to the postwar students. Michio Hikitsuchi states that the training intent was different. The war had a profound effect on him, far deeper than those of us that have lived in peace times can imagine.

I believe he joined the army as his loyal duty to his emperor, and also to rebel against Dad just a little.
There is zero evidence he used a sword in Mongolia.
As eco warrior stated earlier, he joined a spiritual community in omoto, he prayed daily, and has been described by other Japanese contempories as the most spiritual/religious man in Japan- though I would have to search for that quote. He took Terry Dobson on a trip to Osaka(if I remember correctly) and did nothing but stay in his room and pray for three entire days.......
Takeda was of such spiritual quality he would stab dogs to death that barked at him in the street. He carried concealed weapons on his person at all times. He never surrendered his life to the Dao(do in Aikido) he protected his life against it at all times. Understanding what the Dao is and what makes knowing this path different is a topic for another time, and another ten pages. But studying something in the western context, and following the Dao are completely different things, one is about believing in the control of a destiny or situation, the other is surrendering such control. This smacks at the heart of the issue with western minds attempting to follow any "DO", and attempting to achieve or understand what the founder set out to achieve when he said Aikido is following the way of the universe, because the way is impartial(Dao de Jing 5).
We can't just read and try tounderstand such concepts and disagree with them because we have studied our own version of his Aikido. He understood them from a Japanese perspective. To him, the Dao or way was the way of Lao Tsu, just as his image of reconciling the world was the one of Confucius. Our lack of understanding is our lack of understanding...........

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have virtue or excellence because we have acted rightly.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:51 AM   #31
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Re: Ai-nuke

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He understood them from a Japanese perspective. To him, the Dao or way was the way of Lao Tsu, just as his image of reconciling the world was the one of Confucius. Our lack of understanding is our lack of understanding...........
To further that point. As I understand it, the Confucian idea of reconciliation is to start with yourself and then reconcile those around you such as your family, after that make the circle wider to society itself. Confucianism places emphasis on family harmony and social harmony in the absence of external spiritual forces or deities and has much in common with Humanism. In many ways it starts from the very opposite position of Christianity's original sin and says that human beings are fundamentally good and teachable, and that they can improve through personal and community endevour with particular focus on self cultivation.
O Sensei was originally educated in a Confucian fashion before moving on to a Shingon Buddhist education and actually wanted to become a priest, but this choice was vetoed by his father, which is the precise opposite thing that happened to Sokaku Takeda in his early life now that I think of it.

When O Sensei spoke of harmony and reconciliation he was speaking about it from a Confucian point of view, rather than the way we might think of it in the west.
Personally I find the idea of first reconciling yourself 100% in accordance with the development of the internal aspects of aikido, start by removing the impediments you place within your own body, then work out from there to reconcile yourself with your training partner and so on. I can't find the quote right now but one of O Sensei's students said something about giving up your power to your opponent. All of which fits in with a Confucian view of the world, where you reconcile yourself by constantly improving yourself to create more harmony with those close to you and then society as a whole.

Consider this quote from O Sensei when he visited Hawaii in 1961:

"I have come to Hawaii in order to build a "silver bridge." Until now, I have remained in Japan, building a "golden bridge" to unite Japan, but henceforward, I wish to build a bridge to bring the different countries of the world together through the harmony and love contained in aikido. I think that aiki, offspring of the martial arts, can unite the people of the world in harmony, in the true spirit of budo, enveloping the world in unchanging love."

He said that only a few years before the counter-culture movement of the late 60s took hold, and that was the environment in which a lot of aikido's early practitioners began learning the art in the west. Seen through the lens of a westerner of that era what he said sounds exotic and hippyish. But it's straight up Confucian thought.

It's a really easy to interpret a quote like the one from O Sensei when he went to Hawaii as him saying he's there to preach the gospel according to aiki and that you should therefore go and do the same. But that wasn't what he was getting at I don't think.

I've ignored all the other spiritual aspects of O Sensei's views to just focus on the Confucian parts, I'm aware he was a much more complicated man than that.

None of the above has to do with the OP and Ai Nuke.... or does it?

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Old 07-18-2018, 06:09 AM   #32
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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
To further that point. As I understand it, the Confucian idea of reconciliation is to start with yourself and then reconcile those around you such as your family, after that make the circle wider to society itself. Confucianism places emphasis on family harmony and social harmony in the absence of external spiritual forces or deities and has much in common with Humanism. In many ways it starts from the very opposite position of Christianity's original sin and says that human beings are fundamentally good and teachable, and that they can improve through personal and community endevour with particular focus on self cultivation.
O Sensei was originally educated in a Confucian fashion before moving on to a Shingon Buddhist education and actually wanted to become a priest, but this choice was vetoed by his father, which is the precise opposite thing that happened to Sokaku Takeda in his early life now that I think of it.

When O Sensei spoke of harmony and reconciliation he was speaking about it from a Confucian point of view, rather than the way we might think of it in the west.
Personally I find the idea of first reconciling yourself 100% in accordance with the development of the internal aspects of aikido, start by removing the impediments you place within your own body, then work out from there to reconcile yourself with your training partner and so on. I can't find the quote right now but one of O Sensei's students said something about giving up your power to your opponent. All of which fits in with a Confucian view of the world, where you reconcile yourself by constantly improving yourself to create more harmony with those close to you and then society as a whole.

Consider this quote from O Sensei when he visited Hawaii in 1961:

"I have come to Hawaii in order to build a "silver bridge." Until now, I have remained in Japan, building a "golden bridge" to unite Japan, but henceforward, I wish to build a bridge to bring the different countries of the world together through the harmony and love contained in aikido. I think that aiki, offspring of the martial arts, can unite the people of the world in harmony, in the true spirit of budo, enveloping the world in unchanging love."

He said that only a few years before the counter-culture movement of the late 60s took hold, and that was the environment in which a lot of aikido's early practitioners began learning the art in the west. Seen through the lens of a westerner of that era what he said sounds exotic and hippyish. But it's straight up Confucian thought.

It's a really easy to interpret a quote like the one from O Sensei when he went to Hawaii as him saying he's there to preach the gospel according to aiki and that you should therefore go and do the same. But that wasn't what he was getting at I don't think.

I've ignored all the other spiritual aspects of O Sensei's views to just focus on the Confucian parts, I'm aware he was a much more complicated man than that.

None of the above has to do with the OP and Ai Nuke.... or does it?

Well said.

dps

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:40 AM   #33
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Re: Ai-nuke

This is an interesting read... Couple things that interest me:
1. I am not a huge fan of conflation an argue of skill with an argument of philosophy. I think we see aikido draw upon the ethos of virtue as a substitute for the ethos of skill. "I can't fight my way out off a paper bag, but I am a better person than you." Conversely, we also see this argumentation come up when we cannot oppose someone of [perceived] lesser morals. I think when you separate these two issues, you get a different picture of things.
2. I think much of Ueshiba's history is tainted (good or bad). We tend to rely on second-hand (or third-hand) accounts of stories that we rely upon as bedrock fact for an opinion. The problem is the reliability of the content is not solid and so the arguments [at best] are shaky, and wrong at worst. To make matters worse, Ueshiba did communicate differently over his lifetime and so in some cases we even have conflicting recollections of O Sensei depending on which time period the source experienced O Sensei.

I am not sure what to think. For me, a firm account of Ueshiba indicates he had significant martial prowess, confirmed by his students and peers. Some of his students were able to successfully receive his instruction, some not. There seems to be a correlation with the declining excellence of aikido people with the rise of Doshu and the aikido that emerged in the 60's and 70's. In a previous post, I responded to a question from Peter regarding my personal opinion that our art has been in a decline from a skill perspective.

I would like to see an argument and a premise. What are we trying to say? That spiritual aikido is better than physical aikido? That O Sensei was better because he was religious? Why?
Quote:
I do not reject the ideas that internal power brings to Aikido, the coordination of body that it takes to understand how these things work brings a strong understanding of how we function on a physiological level as efficient human beings, but I would argue that the concept of Aikido that the founder saw in his latter days had more to do with the concept of the spirit than that of an efficient body.
You are speaking about a person who was in possession of an efficient and connected body, why would you expect him to talk about his body after years of talking about how to learn aiki? The premise of aikido training is that you have "aiki body". Without this understanding, why would you assume you could understand his philosophical teachings that rely upon this foundation idea? Why is it OK to skip his foundation physical instruction and go right to his spiritual teaching?
In the previous post, Peter mentioned a book that contained many of O Sensie's teachings - enough that it is one of the rare instructional pieces we know came first-hand from Ueshiba. Yet we don't do many of the exercises and waza found in that book. Why?

I am asking these questions somewhat rhetorically because they are good and deep questions to ask.

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Old 07-18-2018, 03:02 PM   #34
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Re: Ai-nuke

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"No one except Sensei could throw me. It took me only half a year to be able to achieve that degree of ability, so I think taking five or ten years is too slow.
Even now, most people are trying as hard as they can to learn techniques, but I was learning about ki from the beginning."Tohei Koichi
I think the disappearance of ki training from the Aikido syllabus coincided with Tohei's separation from the Aikikai. Internal training in Aikido never wholly disappeared. Tohei moved on and his internal training methods went with him. Aiki training is alive and well in Aikido though perhaps not within the umbrella of the Aikikai.

Ron

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Old 07-19-2018, 03:14 AM   #35
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Re: Ai-nuke

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This is an interesting read... Couple things that interest me:
1. I am not a huge fan of conflation an argue of skill with an argument of philosophy.
Why not? Most people who develop great skill in something also have an accompanying philosophy to it. A quick example might be Mike Tyson saying "everybody has a plan until they get hit", that's a philosophical comment about boxing. I've heard mountaineers say very philosophical things about climbing, artists are the same. I'm not sure why the two should ever be considered to be separate things really.

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2. I think much of Ueshiba's history is tainted (good or bad). We tend to rely on second-hand (or third-hand) accounts of stories that we rely upon as bedrock fact for an opinion.
That's pretty standard for any and all historical study though.

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Why is it OK to skip his foundation physical instruction and go right to his spiritual teaching?
Why are you assuming they are different from one another? Ueshiba's misogi practice for example was both spiritual *and* physical training for him.

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In the previous post, Peter mentioned a book that contained many of O Sensie's teachings - enough that it is one of the rare instructional pieces we know came first-hand from Ueshiba. Yet we don't do many of the exercises and waza found in that book. Why?
I know people who do them, but the real answer is that true aikido is formless, the waza are just tools to get you there. As it happens Peter is a good example, Peter's waza can look different from his teacher's waza, the exercises he teaches are different from those his teacher teaches (I know this because Peter's teacher is also my teacher), yet Maruyama sensei has said "Peter's aikido is my aikido". I'm paraphrasing that but Maruyama sensei says that because he's not talking about the techniques, he's talking about the formless aikido, the true aikido. In fact I'd go so far as to say that if you've truly stolen/received aiki from your teacher you *should* change the waza and exercises, to try to improve it and make it better.

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Old 07-19-2018, 03:24 AM   #36
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Re: Ai-nuke

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
I think the disappearance of ki training from the Aikido syllabus coincided with Tohei's separation from the Aikikai. Internal training in Aikido never wholly disappeared. Tohei moved on and his internal training methods went with him. Aiki training is alive and well in Aikido though perhaps not within the umbrella of the Aikikai.

Ron
Maybe, I'm not so sure. In the recent edition of Hidden in Plain Sight, Ellis Amdur does a good job characterising the teaching method O Sensei used as passing on through osmosis. As it happens I completely agree with Ellis on that, Maruayama sensei often tells this story by way of explanation of how he knows what real aikido is:

"A jeweller had an apprentice and he taught him to recognise a fake jewel from a real one, every day he would show him a real jewel and a fake one and ask the apprentice which was which. Sometimes the apprentice would answer correctly, other times not. But after many years of this the jeweller's apprentice could always identify the fake jewel from the real. However, he didn't know how he could do it because his master never explained anything. This is how O Sensei taught aikido, he never explained anything. I took ukemi from him for 13 years and this is how I know what real aikido is."

This is Maruyama sensei independently describing O Sensei's teaching method as being exactly as Ellis describes it in HiPS, I've heard it from Maruyama sensei for years, so it was a pleasant thing to see it there described on the pages of HiPS when I read it recently. I think there are several of O Sensei's students who he passed his skills using this method or a good portion of them on to in addition to Tohei sensei. But as Ellis implies, this method can lead to diminishing returns over successive generations of students, which is why explanation in addition to teaching by osmosis/feeling it is important.

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Old 07-20-2018, 01:39 AM   #37
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Re: Ai-nuke

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jonreading wrote: View Post
This is an interesting read... Couple things that interest me:
1. I am not a huge fan of conflation an argue of skill with an argument of philosophy. I think we see aikido draw upon the ethos of virtue as a substitute for the ethos of skill. "I can't fight my way out off a paper bag, but I am a better person than you." Conversely, we also see this argumentation come up when we cannot oppose someone of [perceived] lesser morals. I think when you separate these two issues, you get a different picture of things.
2. I think much of Ueshiba's history is tainted (good or bad). We tend to rely on second-hand (or third-hand) accounts of stories that we rely upon as bedrock fact for an opinion. The problem is the reliability of the content is not solid and so the arguments [at best] are shaky, and wrong at worst. To make matters worse, Ueshiba did communicate differently over his lifetime and so in some cases we even have conflicting recollections of O Sensei depending on which time period the source experienced O Sensei.

I am not sure what to think. For me, a firm account of Ueshiba indicates he had significant martial prowess, confirmed by his students and peers. Some of his students were able to successfully receive his instruction, some not. There seems to be a correlation with the declining excellence of aikido people with the rise of Doshu and the aikido that emerged in the 60's and 70's. In a previous post, I responded to a question from Peter regarding my personal opinion that our art has been in a decline from a skill perspective.

I would like to see an argument and a premise. What are we trying to say? That spiritual aikido is better than physical aikido? That O Sensei was better because he was religious? Why?

You are speaking about a person who was in possession of an efficient and connected body, why would you expect him to talk about his body after years of talking about how to learn aiki? The premise of aikido training is that you have "aiki body". Without this understanding, why would you assume you could understand his philosophical teachings that rely upon this foundation idea? Why is it OK to skip his foundation physical instruction and go right to his spiritual teaching?
In the previous post, Peter mentioned a book that contained many of O Sensie's teachings - enough that it is one of the rare instructional pieces we know came first-hand from Ueshiba. Yet we don't do many of the exercises and waza found in that book. Why?

I am asking these questions somewhat rhetorically because they are good and deep questions to ask.
Hi Jon,
Perhaps I have not made myself clear enough in what I am trying to say.
Firstly, I believe absolutely that your Aikido has to be martially effective, and a certain degree of body connectivity and physical ability need to be present to attain this. Sensei said just a few months ago that for people to have true Aikido like the founder, ones perceived spiritual ability or awareness must be balanced with the ability to defend yourself if your life depended on it. He said our spiritual elevation and our technical expertise need to be balanced, like two sides of the same coin. Anyone that has trained with me knows that for me being martially minded, and having correct intent are what makes the difference between Aikido, and collusion.
I also believe that training with intent, exploiting vulnerable areas in technical ability brings an awareness of the vulnerability of life, an appreciation of being reborn over and over again. It also helps us to embrace the Tao(Do in Aikido), that is, learn to surrender to whatever may happen, to allow ourselves to truly become one with the universe. When fate is left up to the universe only then have we achieved true surrender. It’s ok to get hit during technique, it’s ok to fail, train with all your physical and spiritual might and leave the rest up to heaven.
I have heard many question the old ways of teaching, and many western people don’t get the “you have to steal the technique” philosophy. Truth is, it’s not some antiquated form of transmission, it’s following the philosophy of “the way”, teach the technique and leave the rest up to heaven. Problem is western mindsets make us feel entitled. Eg-I have been training for x amount of years, with such and such a master and he had “it” and I didn’t get it, never asking why just thinking they should be entitled. In the “way”, the universe decides who is worthy rather than who is entitled.
And don’t you think that attitude just smacks of ego? Don’t we train to overcome ego?
Unfortunately I have been around and in communication with many people that have jumped rather zealously on the IP bandwagon, some that I know are masters in their own right, masters of a “DO” yet have a certain level of anger towards their masters regarding the fact that they studied under them for decades, and now realising they weren’t taught “the good stuff” that they supposedly possessed, show an attitude that disregards any understanding that mastery of a way should represent?
So then the question begs, what price the search for IP, and what cost?
Don’t forsake morals for passions. Just as the founder did, let the universe decide. Find a good teacher in Aikido. As Tohei said in the interview, stick totally to that one teacher, even if they don’t have what the ego desires. Follow the Tao, totally. Train your ass off with an open mind. Always be the student(shoshin isn’t just a nice Japanese word), I ask you this, how many instructors after a undefined amount of time forget they are still students themselves? If you are called Sensei on a regular basis, it’s not long before you begin to believe that’s what you are, but the secret to unlocking Aikido has been layed out as you stated, in basic Misogi practices repeated on a daily basis, the codes are their, the way is there train and follow the universe, it’s impartail(Dao de Jing 5).
I am very passionate about having valid Aikido, but I am just as passionate about the way, which is more than just about creating opposing harmonies within a unified structure, the character for Dao was used in the art for a reason, let’s learn to live up to that reason........

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have virtue or excellence because we have acted rightly.
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:00 AM   #38
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Re: Ai-nuke

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Well said.

dps
Amusingly, today I just happened to be watching footage of O Sensei with Terry Dobson in Aikido Journal's Divine Techniques video. The subtitles of what O Sensei says before he starts funakogi practice with Dobson are "First we must cultivate the self. Then we must put our own homes in order. Next we must build our nation, and finally enter into harmony with the universe."
I'm amazed it wasn't prefaced with "Confucius says:"

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:25 AM   #39
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Re: Ai-nuke

Quote:
Peter Kelly wrote: View Post
Hi Jon,

So then the question begs, what price the search for IP, and what cost?
Don't forsake morals for passions. Just as the founder did, let the universe decide.
let see for each seminar the costs would be around $150 US$. foods and drinks, lodging, transportation, pain medications (which could be included in the drinks category) around $500 US$. Miscellaneous costs ~ $100 US$. so the total cost per seminar ~ $800 US$ (round up). 2-3 seminars a year, so $1600 - $2400 a year. 5 years minimum, $12000. IP information gain ~ priceless. hmmmm ... oh wait! is that one of those rhetorical questions? fyi, if you can get those IP guys drunk, they will spill all their secrets for the cost of the alcohol, don't even need to pull out the waterboard stuffs.

let the universe decides? nope, we make our own destiny!

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Old 07-20-2018, 09:33 AM   #40
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Re: Ai-nuke

I have a couple of comments to respond, so let's see if I can do it and still make sense...

To Mike's questions...
I am not a huge fan of conflation an argue of skill with an argument of philosophy. The arguments usually end up being crafted of poor logic because that cannot stand on their individual merit. Your examples are not exactly arguments and I have no issue with those comments. The physical talent of Mike Tyson is what lends credibility to his "philosophy", which was very often aggressive, pro-active tactics - consistent with his perspective that getting someone rattled in the ring was important. Although, the actual quote is attributed to Joe Frazier, someone else who was also know to be a very pro-active boxer. Would you still be quoting Mike Tyson if he was an unsuccessful boxer, but still voiced a philosophy? Maybe not.

Philosophy gains ethos through the virtue of a subjective feeling. The nature of subjective criteria means that is will always be a very difficult factual argument to prove. In transition to your second comment, I don't disagree that historical research involves parsing together unconfirmed information. The difference is that speculation is not fact. Opinion is not fact. Historians that publish just any old thing that comes across their desk because it fits a narrative they wish to communicate lose ethos among their peers. There is a reason why hearsay is not part of our legal process in establishing fact.

With regard to a methodology of training. I am not arguing that O Sensei did not teach aspects of physical and spiritual training. On the contrary, what I am arguing is that many people in aikido have chosen to prioritize one aspect of their training to the detriment of the other, then justify that decision. I think we tend to pick and choose whichever mystical teaching anecdotes resonate with us, i.e. stealing technique is OK, but shu ha rei is not because aikido is formless. Leading to your third comment, I think we cannot do what is in Budo Renshu. We had a conversation about the book some time back and I happen to believe our inability to replicate much of the training is the primary motivation for the discontinuation of our curriculum as laid out by the founder. Put simply, I this the aikido that came from the aikikai is different than the curriculum originally laid out by Ueshiba. Yes, I understand there are individuals within aikido with exceptional skills and I don't wish to bog down the discussion arguing that point. There is a difference between "changing" waza to make it your own and mutating waza. Changing waza first requires you can demonstrate it as originally instructed. I think we sometimes confuse these things.

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Old 07-20-2018, 10:03 AM   #41
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Re: Ai-nuke

To Peter's comments...

I am not arguing against a moral code or philosophy in aikido. Again, I think it is part of the beauty that gives aikido a lifetime of involvement. A joke that I like to tell goes like this, "What is the difference between a pacifist and a wimp? A pacifist could stop you if she wanted." I think the argument that resonates with me is that we are learning something dangerous - my expectation is that we should also be learning a responsible and ethical manner in which to use that ability. But I think we need to challenge the premise that the aikido we train qualifies. I think for many of us it does not qualify, which leaves us pretending on a mat. Heck, we have threads about how to handle people that don't want to fall down for us.

Change yourself, change others, change the world. I am not even sure about the number of bumper stickers, religions, or other inspirational groups portray this perspective. It's a lot. It's an old saying. And it means very little to most of the world because most people do not excel beyond changing themselves, so what follows cannot happen. Before you tell me that you are not going to beat me up because you are a good person, you better be able to prove you can beat me up. Some aikido people have build enough ethos they can change others; most don't.

Who decides what the "way" of the universe is? The answer is you. You are the universe. How can this be passive?

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Old 07-20-2018, 07:59 PM   #42
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Triangle Re: Ai-nuke

Quote:
Peter Kelly wrote: View Post
I have heard many question the old ways of teaching, and many western people don't get the "you have to steal the technique" philosophy. Truth is, it's not some antiquated form of transmission, it's following the philosophy of "the way", teach the technique and leave the rest up to heaven. Problem is western mindsets make us feel entitled. Eg-I have been training for x amount of years, with such and such a master and he had "it" and I didn't get it, never asking why just thinking they should be entitled. In the "way", the universe decides who is worthy rather than who is entitled.
And don't you think that attitude just smacks of ego? Don't we train to overcome ego?
Unfortunately I have been around and in communication with many people that have jumped rather zealously on the IP bandwagon, some that I know are masters in their own right, masters of a "DO" yet have a certain level of anger towards their masters regarding the fact that they studied under them for decades, and now realising they weren't taught "the good stuff" that they supposedly possessed, show an attitude that disregards any understanding that mastery of a way should represent?
So then the question begs, what price the search for IP, and what cost?
Don't forsake morals for passions. Just as the founder did, let the universe decide. Find a good teacher in Aikido. As Tohei said in the interview, stick totally to that one teacher, even if they don't have what the ego desires. Follow the Tao, totally. Train your ass off with an open mind. Always be the student(shoshin isn't just a nice Japanese word), I ask you this, how many instructors after a undefined amount of time forget they are still students themselves? If you are called Sensei on a regular basis, it's not long before you begin to believe that's what you are, but the secret to unlocking Aikido has been layed out as you stated, in basic Misogi practices repeated on a daily basis, the codes are their, the way is there train and follow the universe, it's impartail(Dao de Jing 5).
I am very passionate about having valid Aikido, but I am just as passionate about the way, which is more than just about creating opposing harmonies within a unified structure, the character for Dao was used in the art for a reason, let's learn to live up to that reason........
Hi Peter,

I believe I now understand the issues you are addressing. I think you are conflating one issue ("Unfortunately ...") with another (IP) without understanding the root cause of the situation adequately.

Maybe too simply put: Many teachers who were students of Ueshiba seem to have been both unable to fully receive, and also adequately transmit what they did get from him. While I think the concepts of learning through osmosis and "steal the technique" are very valid (indeed I am personally grateful for having been made aware of them as my subsequent change of attitude has benefitted my own practice significantly) they don't address the vastly different circumstances in which most people, even dedicated people such as yourself, train nowadays, nor the critical factor of developing one's own self-training regime.

To use my own case as an example, I practice under a teacher who was an uchi deshi of Ueshiba. He demonstrates techniques in the most straight-forward way, yet it is apparent grabbing him that he has developed physically in a way that makes his technique effortless (you are moved as if by nothing). Looking at his arms, for example, compared to ours, it is very apparent that they are different. The relevance of this is illustrated by an interview with Tsuneo Ando, where he says:

Quote:
In the bath we would shed our shirts and scrub Shioda Sensei's back, matching with Kancho's movements to pour the hot water on him. This was training in reading Sensei's mind -- where to pour the hot water, and with what timing. It was also a chance to really observe the muscles and tendons of Sensei's body. Even now, the tendons under Sensei's arms are burned into my brain. When he moved his arms those tendons would become oddly prominent, as if the tendons were connecting his arms to his lower back. Actually, in the beginning I became entranced with those tendons and thought "I want to develop those too!", so I hung the inner tube from a bicycle tire over a laundry pole and tried training that way, but they weren't something that can be developed through muscular training… Recently, I have finally begun to develop those tendons as well. (laughing)
Your quote from the interview with Tohei regarding his judo experiences is relevant too here. I have likewise observed that the reason people with extensive experience are so good at Aikido is that their bodies have changed.

More in part 2 of the same interview:

Quote:
In the Yoshinkan there are basic movements called "Kihon Dosa" that can be done by oneself. Coincidentally, these are also said to be the most important part of training, so I thought "I will practice the Kihon Dosa by myself". I thought that it wouldn't be a good idea if those around me knew that I was staying in the Kindergarten Dojo to train, so I turned off the lights and tried practicing by myself for an hour in the dark. However, I got fed up with it after doing it for about five minutes. It was then that I thought of my frustration at being dispatched to the Kindergarten and the shortcomings in my own technique and decided to push through it.

Q: Turning off the lights and training by yourself for an hour -- that's really incredible. Did it have any results?

A: I would do it off and on, but in the end doing it made a difference. The stability of my hips was completely different. I thought to myself "So…the gods sent me to this Kindergarten because they wanted to make me do the Kihon Dosa", and I decided to train this way whenever I went to the Kindergarten. When that happened I would think "Today I'll go to the Kindergarten and do the Kihon Dosa again", and I started to look forward to going to the Kindergarten. In the end I went there for five years, and during those five years my Kihon Dosa improved steadily and I was finally able to catch up to the other uchi-deshi.

It was that Kindergarten that taught me that I was able to train without a partner. It could be said that being able to train alone even after quitting Yoshinkan Hombu was because of that experience at the Kindergarten. I think that it was thanks to that experience at the Kindergarten that I was able to get through the hard times and adversity of my wife's passing through my solo training.
It's worth reading the whole interview, as his reason for making such a great solo practice effort was his frustration at not being able to progress with his own Aikido, being that he had been assigned a task that took him away from regular training.

In my own case, I stopped Aikido for many years. When I returned, I felt regret that I had not restarted sooner. My taisabaki was poor, so I started doing practice before class for 5-10 minutes. Soon I realised that just doing the movement was not enough, as there was tension in my arms, and the movement I was practicing by myself and the movement needed during techniques was actually different. As a result, I developed my own method of practice to overcome this, which has been very successful. What is more, I was often doing that practice in front of numerous senior students, so the practice also became one to overcome self-consciousness and not have that cause me to deviate from the intent of my movements.

I continued with this attitude when I encountered other obstacles. Now to me, at best, masters such as Shioda and Shirata created systems which students could use to develop themselves, even after they passed on, such as the Kihon Dosa, mentioned above. We also now know that Daito Ryu had a system for this as well. If anything, this is more the norm, than the exception for the most serious practitioners (look at any olympic athlete and ask yourself if they only repeatedly practice the movements sport to become good, or do they develop their body as well?).

What I feel is a very telling interview is this one, with Tetsuzan Kuroda, who inherited his family's martial arts. Despite not having a great deal of hands' on instruction from his grandfather, whom by all accounts was an incredible master, he was able to reconstruct what he had not learned with the help of others and intensive practice. He has, to my understanding, also created a system by which his students, who may not have the time that students in past eras did due to work and life, can develop themselves even if they cannot train the waza as frequently as would most be ideal.

Likewise, great Aikido masters such as Hiroshi Tada, to the best of my knowledge, practices a daily regime of exercises, the result of which has been him maintaining his strength and skill despite being over 85 years old. Similarly in the dojos here, we practice movements developed by O'Sensei, later in his life, as the warm-ups. I do not believe that just going to a master's classes every day, one would develop to the same level, but would require developing one's own regime, if not duplicating every aspect of the master's. As well as intense observation, developing one's own practice as much "stealing the technique".

The efforts of a number of people to re-construct (or maybe reverse engineer) what Ueshiba did have a similar parallel. Those people practice daily and, in the case of at least one person, they are practicing ALL day EVERY day while they are awake, even if doing something as mundane as sitting at a desk. I don't believe that they need to have trained with Ueshiba to reproduce what he did, especially with a greater understanding of how the body works in the modern era.

To address your moral concerns, we could look at a martial art as a triangle of three aspects: The spiritual, the physical and the martial.
  • The spiritual would be a philosophy and attitude of the art (or of one's own choosing).
  • The physical would be the development of one's own body in various ways, of which IP/Aiki practices are but one example, but even fitness training would be included.
  • The martial would be "alive" training/sparring. In the case of Aikido, providing more challenging ukemi to one's partners, as well as cross-training to seek flaws.

The lack of any one of these three aspects would see the martial art as lacking, and of which Aikido has been criticised. However the lack of any one aspect, is not a fault of the presence of the others. I feel that your thinking that as some people believe that training the body has been lacking in Aikido, that this has a negative moral (spiritual) effect on their practice of the art. The counter to that would be that the excessive focus on spiritual aspects in some dojos (and consequent lack of physical and martial training) has left an art without any martial standing. Personally I don't feel so much that it is so much a matter of balance with all three than it is a matter of someone who is titled as a "master" being extremely strong in all three aspects. Like Kuroda did, if an experience shows that you, as a shihan, have a lack in any aspect of your development, you should immediately work hard to correct it, than feel it is the fault of the person who pointed it out.

Finally, thank you for provoking an interesting discussion. This post could have been much longer, as there were many finer points I wished to introduce (including stories of people who frustrate the hell out of me, but who helped me ultimately). It could have been much shorter too. I was tempted at one point to just reply just "Have you met Dan?". Thoughts would be most welcome.

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Old 07-20-2018, 10:32 PM   #43
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Re: Ai-nuke

Hi Amos,
Just a quick reply, I will address what you have written later, but a quote from O Sensei in Aikido News issue four, where he states(btw, at the age he states this he is well advanced in age and practice)
‘In Aikido, before one's opponent comes, one absorbs the intentions of his spirit/mind into oneself to control it freely. That is to say, the workings of a spiritual gravity makes progress. One sees the world all at once. Today, as yet, almost nobody is able to do this. I haven't reached it, either.”

Now I would argue that this statement (which has also been used by Peter Goldsbury in his transmission..... lectures) means that the budo he is looking for goes beyond Aiki that Dan teaches to what I alluded to in the first instalment of my Ai nuke article, at the time he said this I would argue he had already mastered Aiki, and was looking beyond that form to another level, otherwise why say “I haven’t reached it” , when by all accounts, if it was the Aiki being propagated by Dan, he would have reached it (if eye witness accounts and first hand evidence are accurate, then I would say he had.
What was he reaching for that was beyond that Aiki?

It’s a complex matter, what I am saying is that I don’t believe there is just one(Aiki) answer.......

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have virtue or excellence because we have acted rightly.
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:07 AM   #44
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Re: Ai-nuke

Well...now we're getting into names, and the name of someone who can't comment here himself, so I'll opine for a bit. I certainly can't speak for Dan, but do thing that it would be better to know what Dan is doing rather than commenting on what one thinks that he is doing.

I think that the first comment he would have is that this all has nothing to do with him, that we should be focused on methods and skills and leave the personalities out of it.

Secondly, I would think that he would say that he...hasn't reached it yet either. He talks about that constantly, and how he looks forward to seeing where he is ten years down the line. He has a list of folks he'd like to meet that he thinks are better than he is.

Lastly, I would say that there is a very deep spiritual component to what he is doing, but he doesn't comment on that much online, the best way to find out more about that is to...ask him, directly and in person.

I'm trying to get past the cognitive dissonance of a complaint about people who never knew Morihei Ueshiba talking about what he did from a person talking about what Morihei Ueshiba did....who never knew him either. But I have a couple of comments:
  1. Koichi Tohei going outside of Morihei Ueshiba's teachings is not news, he actually wrote a book about that.
  2. Nobody ever claimed that Daito-ryu was there sole repository of internal power, that's a straw man.
  3. That Sokaku Takeda was completely violent and non-spiritual is a gross misrepresentation of the man, IMO. He was a complicated personality, but his teaching was couched in...spiritual terms and he himself gets less credit in that area than he deserves, I think.
  4. As Amos mentioned above, the spiritual/non-spiritual dichotomy of Aiki that's being set up here is another straw man - nobody that I know ever claimed that technical Aiki and spiritual Aiki either were or had to be mutually exclusive.

The rest of the article was interesting, there's a lot to think about.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-22-2018, 06:33 AM   #45
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Ai-nuke

The purpose of this mail is to second the comments made by Chris Li here – and to add that Mr Kelly’s essay is leading to more correspondence. For me, there are physical problems involved in having face-to-face contact with Mr Harden, so I would like to think of myself as another researcher, pursuing a similar line of research to his, but basically alone, though having very close personal contact with my own students here in my two dojos.

Today, over lunch with two very good friends of mine, both Japanese, I found that the mother of one of them is a member of Seicho no Ie, which is a more modern incarnation of Omoto-kyo. My friend had never heard of Onisaburo Deguchi, but I wonder whether he and Morihei Ueshiba ever had any discussions about the content of what we might call ‘the spiritual’, as an essential component of a human being, especially one who studies aiki.

I should add that this is a topic I have never, ever discussed with my own students.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-22-2018 at 06:36 AM.

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Old 07-22-2018, 10:34 AM   #46
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Re: Ai-nuke

Quote:
Peter Kelly wrote: View Post
Hi Amos,
Just a quick reply, I will address what you have written later, but a quote from O Sensei in Aikido News issue four, where he states(btw, at the age he states this he is well advanced in age and practice)
‘In Aikido, before one's opponent comes, one absorbs the intentions of his spirit/mind into oneself to control it freely. That is to say, the workings of a spiritual gravity makes progress. One sees the world all at once. Today, as yet, almost nobody is able to do this. I haven't reached it, either."

Now I would argue that this statement (which has also been used by Peter Goldsbury in his transmission..... lectures) means that the budo he is looking for goes beyond Aiki that Dan teaches to what I alluded to in the first instalment of my Ai nuke article, at the time he said this I would argue he had already mastered Aiki, and was looking beyond that form to another level, otherwise why say "I haven't reached it" , when by all accounts, if it was the Aiki being propagated by Dan, he would have reached it (if eye witness accounts and first hand evidence are accurate, then I would say he had.
What was he reaching for that was beyond that Aiki?

It's a complex matter, what I am saying is that I don't believe there is just one(Aiki) answer.......
So basically the issue you have is that certain people have replaced the "goal of spiritual enlightenment" with the "goal of achieving aiki"?

Newsflash, not everybody wants to become Buddha. Most people just train so they can become more rounded martial artists, for self defense plus fitness purposes or just to hang out among people and learn something useful in the process.

The whole "problem" would be that much of his talk was deemed incomprehensible religious preaching with no actual practical value and some as just plain occult talk (Tohei said that in an interview). Then several books came out and it seems that the talk was in fact about something practical and martially applicable (more or less) and it was in fact the core on which O'sensei build everything else. Naturally people thought to themselves "We've been bamboozled!" and great interest started to gather around the "achieving aiki" movement, as it still does. This doesn't mean that people automatically throw out the "spiritual ideas" of O'sensei, it means that there was also something else that O'sensei himself deemed valuable enough for his spiritual path (that's why he mentioned it so much) and that it presents a valuable part of his teaching which has been neglected. Naturally people wish to encompass that aspect in their training so they could (perhaps) reach O'sensei's level some day.

At the end of it all O'sensei did say that the created a martial art, Kisshomaru Ueshiba was also explicit about Aikido being a martial art, not a religion so if somebody wishes to train in Aikido solely for the martial proves then just accept it (or don't) and move on. Who knows maybe some of those people achieve some form of "spiritual, religious enlightenment" in the process, it's not like they are mutually exclusive. It depends on the intent and yet even that can change over time.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:56 PM   #47
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Re: Ai-nuke

Actually I am not saying that at all. I am saying that if you just study Aikido, the way the founder intended, with Aikido as Misogi, as tanren and as Shugyo, with an open mind, then perhaps this Aiki would come to you without chasing it.
Over 20 years ago I moved to Japan because the Aikido I practiced in my country wasn’t martially effective, and I saw a gaping chasm between the senior instructors of my organisation and the senior Shihan that had been sent to propagate Aikido in my country. I decided the only way to bridge that gap was to leave and study in Japan.
In Japan I also found the teachers at Hombu taught a generally generic version of Aikido, not all but as just another foreigner it was not so easy to bust through, to get what I was chasing.
By sheer dumb luck I moved house and found myself living in the countryside, wondering how I would find a Dojo, when, whilst waiting for a train about 3 days after moving I saw an advertisement that said Aikido. A friend called for me and arranged a meeting, where the instructor took one look at me and said “we don’t teach Aikido to foreigners here, they don’t have the heart to study Aikido as budo”. I knew I had found what I was after from that response. After a lot of begging, I was accepted on probation. Three months of pain later and I was accepted as a member. This teacher, whose Dojo was below his house amongst rice fields in the middle of nowhere won’t be named as he is a fiercely private individual, and I respect his privacy. His warm ups and movements were unlike anything I had experienced before, and he was a titanic ally powerful martial artist.
Fast forward a few years, and back in my home town, still not being satisfied with my Aikido as martial art, I gathered together a group of like minded individuals and outside the restrictions of an organisation set about workshopping Aikido techniques. The guys around me were all ex athletes, strong and powerful and gave no quarter, we were punched, hit knocked down on many occasions, but lucky enough to be able to put in over 40 hours of training a week for at least 5 years, anytime we had a question that couldnt be answered we reviewed video of the masters looking for solutions. Shirata, saito, Shioda, Yamaguchi, Tohei all were consulted. At the same time we continued daily training in the basic movements my Sensei had taught, what have now become popular as solo exercises, as well as suburi training with a heavy bokken. I was adamant that after what I had seen my Sensei do in Japan, that technical ability in traditional Aikido was able to be achieved, and so I believe eventually we came upon a formula. My first three Dan grades in Aikido are from totally unrelated schools. I have studied by luck, Yoshinkan Aikido, whose work on centreline power and ang,es is invaluable, I have also graded in Iwama Aikido. As I said no leaf left unturned.
Eventually I worked in a maximum security prison, in the high dependency unit for years, my senior student right now is the operational skills instructor at our police academy, and teaches a self protection program based on the Aikido principles we discovered through those hard workshop sessions al ost 20 years ago.
I have said all that to say this. I know what it takes to make Aikido a martial discipline, the amount of work it takes to get entries and angles right, to learn to carry the body as though you are carrying a weapon intent on its use, to have the intent needed to extent ones ki. What this training has brought to me on a spiritual level remains mine personally, and can’t be given to another.
I know personally many of the people chasing Aiki, many of them I have trained with, some of them my students from my organisation and others I would call personal friends. No matter how good your Aiki becomes, if your Aikido is not good enough, you will still get punched in the face, hard. If your technical ability isn’t at the level where you can endure under pressure, no amount of Aiki will save you. Have a look at Shirata Sensei’s essay on Aiki, it also contains a picture about correct entry angles, not just a talk on the internal structures.
I have seen some of these guys return from spending months with IP training only to still not have the technical aspect right, still standing in the wrong place, still not making correct entries. I giggle to myself now when I teach that they say to me - that’s Dans stuff, when it was my teachers stuff, I remind them constantly I have never met the guy,(Dan)never trained in Ip, and have no interest in it either. What I do, to me is just Aikido. Many many hours of training and workshopping, what was just Aikido. No special skill, no other art, just Aikido.
That is why I ask that those perusing IP outside Aikido, to just look back inside Aikido, and be willing to do the work and train the way the founder asked. Perhaps then you may find what you are looking for, whether that be some internal ability, martial ability or spiritual ability. Don’t forsake one in persuite of the other. The secrets are in the basics, as they have always been.

Last edited by mushinaiki : 07-22-2018 at 02:02 PM.

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Old 07-22-2018, 02:34 PM   #48
Chris Li
 
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Re: Ai-nuke

I'm still having the difficulty with the cognitive dissonance of you, who has never met Morihei Ueshiba, telling us what he "intended" while at the same time complaining about others who have never met Morihei Ueshiba discussing him.

In any case, I'm not sure what your point is here. That Aiki doesn't make you a fighter? Sure, that's something that Dan's said for years, in public forums - you can dig it up with Google if you like. Having Aiki doesn't make you a fighter or a boxer, or a wrestler or a swordsman, or whatever. It can help with all of those things, certainly, but those are still specific skill sets that have to be learned, what's your point?

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-22-2018, 03:57 PM   #49
MrIggy
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Re: Ai-nuke

Quote:
Peter Kelly wrote: View Post
Actually I am not saying that at all. I am saying that if you just study Aikido, the way the founder intended, with Aikido as Misogi, as tanren and as Shugyo, with an open mind, then perhaps this Aiki would come to you without chasing it.
Aaaa, so that's the point. By all of the texts and threads that I've read on the subject of aiki, no it won't come by itself. It takes certain practices to achieve it and even with constant all day training results may vary. Everybody says it takes a looooong time. Still if one doesn't try then one can never no.

As for the rest the text I get your point.
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Old 07-22-2018, 04:05 PM   #50
mushinaiki
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Re: Ai-nuke

The point Chris is after all we are studying Aikido. Perhaps the focus should be on the art, the techniques rather than anything else. You have incorrect assumed I have no idea what Dan is teaching. I don’t reject it, at all. What I take Umbridge with is people who I knows Aikido technique is incorrect trying to fix it through Aiki, then making comment on public forums. Make your Aikido the focus, perhaps Aiki can be found just in studying the way the founder asked. Perhaps Aiki can be found in training in the Misogi pratctuce the founder presented. Perhaps people should not get caught up in their own self importance, political aspirations or dogmatic approach to learning Aikido that they blinded themselves from understanding the Aikido that the founder and his better students propagated.
I haven’t come to these conclusions without experience.
When students and teachers of Aikido chase a teacher and student of Daito Ryu and Aiki around the world to restore something to their Aikido, perhaps the methods and mindsets of those teachers need to be looked at.
We disregard the Japanese tradition that brought Aikido to us.
I fear the day that Aiki replaces the need for effective Aikido technique, and the only place it is represented as effective is as a party trick in a Dojo to show absorption, spirals immovable body and so on. I have experience in this within the ki society, where the party trick of ki testing had become disregarded entirely within the functionality of technique, where people that were able to show great and impressive skill in having an immovable body during ki testing would be knocked over by a stiff breeze while executing technique. I have spent over half a decade now trying to fix this issue in my own organisation, and fear the same within the context of Aiki.
And there are other unmentioned issues, such as how the brain reacts under duress in a highly volatile situation, and how the “deer in the headlights” syndrome will effect many of the students now studying Aiki(and Aikido in general for that matter) when faced in a volatile and high stress environment.
I am not attacking your method, just asking perhaps for a more wholistic approach to the method, to rediscover the founders Aiki means pressure testing such Aiki, just like he and his students did when they turned away no challenger, until then it’s just another Dojo trick.
You know what, perhaps I have it wrong, and that’s ok too. Perhaps your Aiki will stand the test, perhaps you are building mentally tough martial giants, who knows, only time will tell. But the question needed to be asked, the dialogue has been almost scripted and expected.
After all these decades of training, I don’t even mind if I am crap at Aikido, I just don’t want to be crap at being a human.......

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