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Old 02-17-2003, 10:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 482
A miserable atom

"It is because I rediscovered and allowed intuitive and secret forces to predominate that I was able to identify with creation and become absorbed in it."

" I have no other wish than to mingle more closely with nature, and I aspire to no other destiny than to work and live in harmony with her laws. Nature is greatness, power, and immortality ; compared with her a creature is nothing but a miserable atom."

Is the practical (yeah, right) side of Aikido more important than the philosophical side? Are both equally important? What do you think really matters along our path to enlightenment? Where does Aikido go from here? Where's Bruce -- never mind about Bruce.

Many questions, but few ansewrs.


Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-18-2003, 04:05 AM   #2
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
I'm probably the wrong type of person to reply to this thread as I've always considered striving for enlightenment one of the more selfish activities indulged in by otherwise exemplary individuals, but couldn't resist the miserable atom quote.

I'd have to plump for a greater interest in the "practical" over the philosophical. Although to be fair, aikido has led me to read the thoughts of authors I may not have encountered otherwise.

As for where does aikido go from here, I don't want it to go anywhere! I expect it to stay in the dojo where it belongs and continue to allow me to mangle its beautiful concepts for a while to come.
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Old 02-18-2003, 05:34 AM   #3
Dirty Dogi
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 21
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
....continue to allow me to mangle its beautiful concepts for a while to come.
hehe I do my share of mangling too lol

Check out my personal Aikido Journal.
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Old 02-18-2003, 08:57 AM   #4
Dojo: Taunton Takke Musu Aikido
Location: Somerset
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
'is the practical more important than the philosophical?'... ..i guess this depends on what you want to gain from your training.

For someone who wants to win in competition just knowing the techniques perfectly will generally do. For someone who wants to refine those techniques and continue to grow the philosophical side is very important.

The point that mustn't be forgotten with those people that perfect techniques to win in competition is that those techniques were developed by individuals who put the importance of philosophy above that of practice.

I kind of agree a little with Ian Hurst who said that self enlightment can be selfish, but remember Morihei Ueshiba experienced self-enlightenment and it's thanks to him that we have the practical techniques that we perform in our dojos.

A final point is that although the philosophy of what you do is important, the practical is still very important too. There are countless master of martial philosophy that also are masters of the practical side of their art. A good example is Bruce Lee. He made great leaps in martial thinking but at the same time worked on his own fitness, strength, stamina and technique. As everyone knows he was a pretty good fighter as well as thinker.

These are just my thoughts on this one though. It's a very complicated subject and everyone should come up with the answers that are right for them. Enlightenment can benefit others, but mostly it is for self-improvement and is therefore ultimately selfish.

Last edited by RichardWilliams : 02-18-2003 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 04:04 PM   #5
Location: Miami, FL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 453
Richard Williams (RichardWilliams) wrote:
Enlightenment can benefit others, but mostly it is for self-improvement and is therefore ultimately selfish.
"You have to save your own life before you can get into the business of saving others."

--from the movie "Playing God."
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:48 AM   #6
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240

I think much of what you experience depends upon the cirriculum of the school and possibly the style of aikido taught. There are many styles with different emphases (emphasises?)

As for enlightenment, the way I see it is it is the _lack_ of self that helps someone truly obtain that level. I'm no way near there, but as I understand it, with enlightenment, the concept of self dissolves away. It's the basis of true compassion for all things, beyond your own "needs".

The goal of attaining an enlightened state is not for one's own benefit.


Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 02-19-2003, 04:22 AM   #7
paul keessen
Dojo: Takemusu Aikido Hilversum
Location: Hilversum, Holland
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 12
aikido is alway practial if you practise the right way! if you leave out the philosophy, the techniques will be empty and the practical side doesn't excist no more!

I also think, that if you are too busy searching enlightment you will not find it. If you just train and love al things maybe it will come by itself! but...well i don't no haha let's just try to understrand what osensei said...!


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Old 02-19-2003, 08:56 AM   #8
Ta Kung
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 237
I also think, that if you are too busy searching enlightment you will not find it.
There is a story of a man who read as much as he could, in order to be enlightend. He read and read for almost all his life. And when he finally became enlightend, the first thing he did was burn his books.

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Old 02-19-2003, 12:34 PM   #9
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
You can live life without reflection, and you can reflect on life without really living it;

I think experience and reflection need to feed off each other. I believe you can get physically very good at aikido with absolutely no philosophy. Similarly you can talk philosophy without ever applying it.

For me, aikido is an arena where we start off learning the physical techniques and many years later we have to absorb the blending and unifying attitude into our personality to perform aikido well (at least on the mat). If we are practicing blending (which is often not the case!), we don't really have to have a mental idea of only necessary violence in our self-defence as it occurs naturally.

I think the fact that you can defend yourself without causing excessive harm also gives you a mental advantage in conflict resolution, as it reduces fear and actually encourages you to sort the problem out without egos getting in the way. (aikido in my mind being about conflict resolution, and not fighting).

Inevitably we will all be influenced by the philosophy surrounding aikido (though I think most people are more influenced by zen rather than omoto-kyo).

If we live in the current moment and deal with what is here right now, not what we hope or fear will happen - we will be doing aikido, and thought and movement are not seperate.


---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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