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Old 08-08-2006, 02:23 PM   #1
markwalsh
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Is aikido radical or conservative

Is aikido fundamentally radical or conservative?

Thoughts?

Would prefer to let each define their own terms rather than argue about that.
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:31 PM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

In it's formative years, aikido had strong connections to the far right in Japan.

In Yoshinkan aikido, some of those connections still exist.

It is often said that in America, aikido is very liberal.

It is often said that in California, aikido is radically liberal.

I've heard all kinds of liberal slurs on Boulder...none of which I will repeat because this server is hosted there...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:41 PM   #3
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

What about aikido itself (as opposed to say the politics of those who practice it - though that's interesting too).
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:15 PM   #4
Don_Modesto
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
What about aikido itself (as opposed to say the politics of those who practice it - though that's interesting too).
You mean...the ding an sich?!

THE DING AN SICH?!

Golly.

(How would you interepret such a thing, anyway?...)

...ducking and running...

Don J. Modesto
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:18 PM   #5
Esaemann
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

My experience only encompasses my dojo, and we don't discuss politics. So hard to say, but if someone held a gun to my head and told me to guess (not that you are), I'd have to say aikido in my dojo is more liberal.
Aikido as a "whole" - I don't see how it could be answered. I only see people as radical (liberal?) or conservative.
Me - libertarian (i.e. extremely conservative)
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:23 PM   #6
crbateman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
What about aikido itself (as opposed to say the politics of those who practice it - though that's interesting too).
That's a loaded question, Mark. Many would say that Aikido is largely defined nowadays by the politics and opinions of those who practice it. Whose Aikido is "the" Aikido? Hard to categorize it as radical or conservative, even fundamentally, without a clear answer to that question. I have my own ideas, but that's just one more opinion to throw on the pile...
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Compared to itself, or other arts? The terms radical and conservative bring to mind the idea that they exist on a spectrum, they define it's end points, and so, at least as they are brought to my mind, suggest integrations along the way from one to the other. This is why I'm asking "Compared to itself, or other arts?"

All by its lonesome, I'd propose aikido to be the opposite of whatever neecessity happened to elicit the manifestation of aikido in a practitioner. Or in summary of one column I remember reading here 2 years ago, sometimes you supply the energy to resolve/harmonize the situation, sometimes you receive/blend with. Or, in brief, as brevity is the soul of wit, (duly evidenced by the above), it depends...


The easier interpretation of your question, I'd say any martial art that was practiced solely for itself, not competition, is the more conservative. Simply because in competition you don't have to worry about the thug having a knife, bat, beer bottle, etc, all of which can up the stress factor, and the liberty from such allows competition to happen safely at all, note the word liberty.

michael.

And I wish I knew what Mr. Modesto is referring to...


(editted 3000 times, jeez)

Last edited by MikeLogan : 08-08-2006 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:27 PM   #8
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

What sparked this was remembering an article by Dave Lowery I believe stating that the martial arts were basically conservative in nature, particularly in regard to their respect for tradition.

My htought was well that's true, but is aikido also innovative in its attitude? Also, does it have any features like the lack of emphasis on competition (see other thread) that are contrary to the spirit of the times?
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:09 PM   #9
James Davis
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Having practiced Tae Kwon Do and Aikido, I'd say that Aikido definitely conserves my energy!

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:39 PM   #10
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

I've trained in dojos where long haired Californians all get naked changeing together and talk about "positive healing energy", and dojos where you learn eye gouges and how to remove peaceful protestors from the floor with sankyos (it's a fun game try it). I enjoyed both, and am not saying that aikidoka should be this way or that.

It's mildly interesting to me how aikidoka come from both ends of the political spectrum and that can lead to beautiful, odd mixes. More interesting personally is how aikido totally wrecks this and other dichotomies, as I think was suggested.
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:59 PM   #11
aikidoc
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
I've trained in dojos where long haired Californians all get naked changeing together and talk about "positive healing energy".
.

Interesting. It must have been those northern Californians. I trained for years in Southern California and never ran into any of those.

I think you'll find the spectrum pretty broad. I'm fairly liberal (do your own thing but don't mess with mine) but middle of the road-how's that for confusing. UU Buddhist background I guess. Politically, I live in one of the most conservative areas in the country - G.W.B's hometown-at least they claim him. Personally, I'm not in the fan club. Local Rep.s would probably lynch me. Not a real tolerant bunch, which is funny since the state at one time was democratic-LBJ. I've seen all spectrums in aikido. Is the art conservative-I don't know if you can put a lable on it. I'd say it depends and the ying yang symbol would represent it's flexibility. You'll find all approaches-soft and mystical to hard and aggressive. Just as with people.
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Old 08-08-2006, 07:28 PM   #12
dps
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Is aikido fundamentally radical or conservative?

Thoughts?

Would prefer to let each define their own terms rather than argue about that.
Wikipedia
an sich
An sich is an expression borrowed from German language. Its translation is "as such", "in itself", or per se.

Despite having an adequate translation, the term is used in philosophical contexts as a professional jargon to avoid ambiguity of the general language. The expression "something an sich" means that the discussed "something" is considered only in relation to its intrinsic properties, not related to its surroundings or context.

The expression "an sich" entered many languages after the famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant introduced his notion of Ding an sich (thing-in-itself), however in a somewhat mutated usage: Kant's notion indeed refers to the intrinsic properties of a "thing", but to the ones which are inherently beyond the human cognition.


an sich

From the 'American Heritage Dictionaries' online;

Conservative,
1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
2. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
3. Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.

Liberal,
1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.



Conservative in the techniques practiced.
Liberal in the spiritual practice.
Political left up to the individual.






.

Last edited by dps : 08-08-2006 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:57 AM   #13
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Aikido is conservative as opposite to destructive, as the goal is, to save the opponent. It is conservative as it is based on samurai virtues.

And it is radical as all movement starts from your inner roots, the hara or the "One Point", which obviously does not exist.

It is radically peaceful and radically powerful.

And it may be hijacked by any radical movement, but I am convinced that whenever this woul happen, a new free aikido would raise out of the dust.

Is that conservative and radical enough?

All the best

Dirk
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:51 AM   #14
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Neither. It's a martial art. It's a mistake to attribute to it anthropomorphic ideologies.

A better question might be: 'Are aikido practitioners lib or con?'

The answers, I'm pretty sure, will be all over the spectrum.

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Old 08-09-2006, 07:28 AM   #15
happysod
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Schizophrenic wannabe conservative with a bleeding heart conscience -- tries to be conservative in its adherence to names, ritual, dress and etiquette yet at the same time attempts to be liberal by promoting individual expression and exploration in technique.

Chuck, I'm surprised at you, of course you can make ad-hoc anthropomorphic generalisations about a martial art, all you need do is assume the art is a direct reflection or gestalt of all the practitioners that you've encountered then have fun from there... (annoyed 'cos I had to use a dictionary again)
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:41 AM   #16
Mark Freeman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Schizophrenic wannabe conservative with a bleeding heart conscience -- tries to be conservative in its adherence to names, ritual, dress and etiquette yet at the same time attempts to be liberal by promoting individual expression and exploration in technique.
If you want to anthropomorphise further you could even give it a name - "Dave" ( as in Cameron )

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 08-09-2006, 10:28 AM   #17
David Racho
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

It was once defined in a book (Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere) that there are 4 outcomes when 2 people meet (in terms of martial arts.)

1. Person A attacks and kills, unprovoked.
2. Person B is provoked by Person A, attacks and gets killed.
3. Person A defends from an attack by Person B, but kills Person B in the process.
4. Person A defends from an attack by Person B, but leaves Person B alive.

Kills = seriously injured or something similar.
Alive = perhaps not even seriously injured and can recover completely. Subdued, submitted, tapped out, whatever.

Aikido's goal is #4, and I'd say this is radically conservative. Compared to almost all other forms of martial arts. I dare say, it is even an idealogy as Aikido is a "-do" form of a "-jutsu", but that's oversimplyfying it. The techniques themselves can seriously injure and even outright kill, but the philosophy behind the teachings of Aikido as Aikido is one of peace.

This can be said of other martial arts, but almost no other art results in the way that Aikido does. If I may say so, there isn't a striking art that does, and only a few grappling arts do, but most end up doing permanent damage if the opponent resists. This includes even the sport-competition based arts, although I haven't heard about an injury in Sumo wrestling. Boxers almost always end up having some sort of brain damage.

Anyway, back to the topic, even the sword in Aikido has a tendency not to be used to cut the opponent. Aiki Toho Iai is one example.

How much more conservative can a martial art get without being called a dance? (Not counting tai chi or kata only.)

It's radical in another sense that it's one of the very few arts that have people wearing a hakama. Not counting relatives and derivatives of Daito-Ryu, what other arts use a hakama? (Kyudo? Iaido? = they just happen to be closely related to Aikido, but beyond that?)

Now I understand why you don't like to include the politics, because every other art out there goes nuts when politics gets involved, but that's precisely another reason why you can't separate politics from Aikido. A former Chief Instructor leaves the mainline and starts his own group. Several first and second generation uchi-deshi start their own "styles". Personally, I'd like to see them all fall under the same umbrella Aikikai, but I doubt that will ever happen.

Maybe this doesn't answer the question though ... radically conservative ... conservatively radical. There's always two sides in a coin.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:41 AM   #18
markwalsh
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

There's some debate here. I have an article on this I'd like to share if anyone would be willing to put it online?
Mark
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:08 PM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
In it's formative years, aikido had strong connections to the far right in Japan.

In Yoshinkan aikido, some of those connections still exist.

It is often said that in America, aikido is very liberal.

It is often said that in California, aikido is radically liberal.

I've heard all kinds of liberal slurs on Boulder...none of which I will repeat because this server is hosted there...
Heh. I think my view is distorted by the fact that most of my formative years were in competition judo and pretty hard (in all meanings of the word) Okinawan karate on Okinawa, etc., where a lot of the dojo stuff was focused either on survival or getting better. I never saw a woman in a dojo until I started doing Aikido and I never heard politics discussed in a dojo until I started doing Aikido. But overall I think most western dojo's of all arts tend to be more "social".

Boulder, of course, is a pretty "unusual" place, but it's not as "unusual" as some of the dojo's I've been to in California.

Still, the general rule of thumb, as I have heard it humorously put, is that if you're walking down the street and you glance in through a window and see martial arts gear and a shoe rack, indicating that it's a dojo.... then if you see birkenstocks in the shoe rack, it's an Aikido dojo.



Mike
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:19 PM   #20
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

I think you will find your answerers here in this scientific paper. At least as far as the U.S. is concerned

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/hooker2.html

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 08-09-2006 at 02:30 PM.

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Old 08-09-2006, 02:48 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Good one Mike! I'll remember to watch out for those birkenstocks!

B,
R

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Old 08-09-2006, 09:35 PM   #22
Mark Uttech
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Aikido is a radical approach to life. One could also call it, "very zen". By that, I think I mean that
Aikido is not everyone's answer, but it is a real answer.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:29 AM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Is aikido fundamentally radical or conservative?

Thoughts?

Would prefer to let each define their own terms rather than argue about that.
Aikido is fundamentally radical in the sense that the doing of it seriously will result in substantial personal change. It is therfore quite the opposite of conservative.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:01 AM   #24
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Aikido is fundamentally radical in the sense that the doing of it seriously will result in substantial personal change. It is therfore quite the opposite of conservative.
As long as you define "conservative" as "sticking to old rubbish", you are totally right.

But while you use the essential natural meaning of "radical", why don't you do the same with "conservative". Isn't it essential to aikido, that one preserves or even strengthens old virtues. Isn't Saotome's book "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" full of statements, that on the "Way of Aiki" one has to save and protect the nature?

Well, Saotome Shihan seems to be somewhat conservative even in other views, but that does not change this argument.

And is Aikido not designed to save (conservare) the opponent, rather than destructing the enemy?

In all these meanings, I guess aikido is very conservative. It is absolutely not conservative in the definition some leaders of the Republican Party" might give and it is not radical in the meaning it is used by political or religious fanatics on either side.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:17 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido radical or conservative

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Aikido is fundamentally radical in the sense that the doing of it seriously will result in substantial personal change. It is therfore quite the opposite of conservative.
Doing it seriously in whose interpretation of the right way to do it, though? If it gets down to brass tacks, martial discipline, if done correctly in any art, will change people usually.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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