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Old 12-14-2006, 09:29 AM   #76
L. Camejo
 
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Interesting comments.

Getting back to the point of the thread and seeing the subsequent conversation here it is quite obvious that the limitations of any individual's Aikido is directly related to that person's understanding or misunderstanding of what "Aikido" is.

In the end it really does not matter what Ueshiba M. hoped, taught, knew or practiced since for every individual what will be achieved and manifested as "Aikido" will be limited by that person's approach, understanding or misunderstanding of his core concepts. Therefore their definition of what "their" Aikido is may or may not resemble anything like what Ueshiba M. may have taught or done.

Imho the last person who did Ueshiba M.'s Aikido was Ueshiba M. All Aikido since has been an approximation based on varying degrees of understanding and skill by successive Deshi and Doshu alike.

Just like some well known holy books, Ueshiba M. said and did a few apparently contradictory things throughout his development of Aikido. These contradictions can be addressed by taking all things that agree together and developing them, discarding the rest for future contemplation; or by trying to make the contradictions coexist within the same overall paradigm which can lead to great confusion or great insight.

In the end it comes down to the individual and what they want out of Budo.

Nafis: Great post btw.

Gambatte.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 12-14-2006 at 09:32 AM.

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Old 12-14-2006, 09:49 AM   #77
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
In the end it really does not matter what Ueshiba M. hoped, taught, knew or practiced since for every individual what will be achieved and manifested as "Aikido" will be limited by that person's approach, ... their definition of what "their" Aikido is may or may not resemble anything like what Ueshiba M. may have taught or done.

In the end it comes down to the individual and what they want out of Budo.
That is the attitude by which the connection (musubi) to an interpretive tradition is abandoned and meaning is indeed lost to the vagaries of time and history. Then all you truly have are the increasingly "empty forms." Protestantism in Europe has begun to discover this in the Christian context (I hope not too late.)

Tradition does not do anything useful without new growth, but it is new growth from the strength of old stock. That has vigor to bear far more circumstantial beating than does any newly planted shoot.

Tradition is not an individualist enterprise (undertaking), but it is not dictatorial either. There is much room for novelty, discovery and invention, but it must be faithful to the tradition or it loses its source of vitality, depth and endurance very shortly.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:54 AM   #78
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Erick,

Don't know about the chain. Didn't understand if you were suggesting a pendulum or Galileo's dropping stuff off the tower in Pisa. I'm not an engineer, just love the stuff.

I think you may be creating 'the false dilemma'. Something described as 'immovability' by a practitioner may in fact be 'really really damn strong, seemingly and effectively, immovable' - thus not subject to analysis as though it were in the thing in fact, only because it was described in the same terms.

In terms that don't make my head hurt - displaying in a hypothetical way that one's body is totally coordinated displays one of the secrets of great physical power.

dave
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:10 AM   #79
L. Camejo
 
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Tradition is not an individualist enterprise (undertaking), but it is not dictatorial either. There is much room for novelty, discovery and invention, but it must be faithful to the tradition or it loses its source of vitality, depth and endurance very shortly.
This is very true.

However in the case of Aikido as being dealt with in this thread it is obvious that what the "tradition" itself is comprised of is up for debate at some levels. It is important to use the tradition as the central guiding force for any novelty and evolution, but this first requires a deep degree of understanding of what that tradition was in the first place. In this case the question becomes "What is the Tradition of Aikido?". It would be great if an undisputable answer can be given to act as a central point of reference for all, but from what I've read, seen and heard so far, the answer to that question has also been subject to the observer effect of those who took on the job of continuing Ueshiba M.'s Aikido legacy. This is why when one gets to the meat of the issue there are many differing points of view on fundamental matters, sadly, not many of these points of view can be categorically stated as being completely incorrect.

For example, on my first Aikido class and in most Aikido readings I was told that it was a purely defensive martial art (foregoing kobo itchi for a state of go no sen), however as I have evolved more and more in my understanding of how Sen is used along with the mind in Aikido it is appearing to me that this may not quite be the case. Hopefully further research and time will yield an unquestionable result.

Just thinking out loud.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 12-14-2006 at 10:15 AM.

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Old 12-14-2006, 10:35 AM   #80
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Actually, no you can't, not unless one is intentionally sloppy about defining one's terms, or departs from traditional meanings without saying so. Which is admittedly a problem with many modern philosophers and religious, but not with philosophy or religion themselves.
Only those that do not have an authoritative understanding of the tradition that both created that text and that continues serves as its interpretive foundation. Orthodoxy and Catholicism (together, 1.3 billion people or so, ~20% of the population of the planet) do not have that particular problem.
Yes, there is. And the solution is the same. There is a stream of tradition that lies behind everything that O Sensei taught. That tradition informs the meaning of all the terms he used. You can find ways to interpret them in modern terms and find direct connection to modern observations by understanding those traditions faithfully from their sources. It just takes time and honest attention to the subject matter.
I do not disagree with out. However, I would submit that most people rarely work to have an authoritative understanding.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Let me preface with a bit of Western tradition: Actually, your quote is a paraphrase of Lieh-tzu from the Classic of Perfect Emptiness, in which he describes the experience of enlightenment.

A similar paraphrase of Lieh-Tzu was recently used by Wash Hoburn, the pilot in Joss Whedon's film "Serenity."

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar." He repeats it (far more ironically) when he comes to ground.

The translation of the original is There is plenty to comprehend from these, together or in isolation.
Try spending some more time with the source material and you will see that, in fact, he meant and said a great deal of useful and specific stuff for the practice of aikido and its ultimate purpose. The paradoxes, too, have their purposes. It's just not a dance instruction manual with numbered footsteps.
I try to read all I can, simply because I love reading. So i'm sure I'll read a lot more of his writings. However I was still talking about how to hold the wii controler in your hand with a single focus and thought on the tv.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:35 PM   #81
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
The problem I see with the spiritual side of everything is that it is open to interpretation. Technique is hard to get confused about, you can climb out on the mat and see if it works. However, with philosophy and religion, you can change and warp words to mean anything you want to mean.

****

I find O Sensei's writings (The small amount I've been exposed too) to be just as cryptic and sometimes even express opposite viewpoints to his previous work. Look at how people argue about the attemi quote if you want a better handle on what I'm describing.
In the first case, this is precisely why some understanding of O-Sensei's take on the spiritual is important if you wish to stay in touch with an Aikido that has something to do with what he was doing. If one makes the assumption that he had some deep degree of spiritual insight, then one might want to do this. If one assumes that one man's insight is as good as the next, then by all means everyone can do whatever one wishes and it's all just fine.

Once again, the atemi dispute exists because there is such a wide range of understanding about both the spiritual message O-Sensei put out and an imensely wide range of understanding of how Aikido works in a technical and martial sense. So I guess I am saying that there is a wide range of opinion about what O-sensei meant by his comments about atemi but when you get to a fairly high level of experience there is a lot less so. For myself, I think that I am fairly clear about what he meant. Much of this debate would be solved by being on the mat with folks with opposing points of view. Folks could directly experience what works and what doesn't. Generally this doesn't happen. People usually train with people who come from the same basic style with the same assumptions.

Anyway, spiritual insight with regards to Aikido should be constantly tested by way of the practice. You can ave all sorts of ideas about what O-sensei meant by this and that but if you understand what he was doing, it will show up in your technique. There are literally tens of thousands of strongly help opinions about what O-Sensei meant by this and that statement... there are only a fairly small number of people who can manifest their understanding on the mat.

Also, there are a small number of folks who chose to pursue the technique without the spiritual underpinnings which O-Sensei gave his art and still managed to get very proficient. This is proof that it isn't necessary to delve into the spiritual side in order to understand "aiki". "Aiki" is value neutral. You can do technique with "aiki" and be part of the dark side of the force so to speak.

But if you want to tread the path started by O-Sensei, it's important that you understand where he was coming from. You can have all sorts of your own spiritual insights... God may speak directly to you and inform your practice... but if you happen to think that O-Sensei's Aikido was something unique and you wish to understand Aikido from something like his point of view, then you have to keep checking back with what he taught and comparing your own insights to what he wrote. As your understanding of Aikido changes, your take on what O-Sensei meant will change.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:48 PM   #82
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Wow, this is a great thread, I wish I'd checked it out earlier. Forgive me going back to page1 here...

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
To some of us poor misguided folk Aikido is the evaluation of budo.
Dennis, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "evaluation of budo," is there another way you could say that?

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
As misguided as some of us are we believe Aikido has risen from the quagmire of "martial arts" as they were to a new level of budo. Ya see the founder took Aiki of budo and changed it from war to peace and made it stick.
I've heard that more than a few times. Here's my thinking process:
If Aikido has risen to a new level of budo, it must offer the same level of protection (in terms of martial validity) as what came before it, but then offer some improvement, either in terms of martial effectiveness or a new paradigm (say the protection of the attacker). If that's the case, then it should be able to stand up to the standards that we hold for any other budo/martial art (and to be honest, I don't understand the distinction you're making between the two terms, is there a different word in japanese that you would translate as martial art?)

The alternative is:
Aikido is simply no longer a budo. In this case, none of the traditional critera for evaluation apply (like effectiveness) and training with resistance is no longer critical or even necessary. Aikido becomes an experience you have with a partner, much like dance. It becomes a way for people to connect in a shared experience. This very well may be true. The difficulty I see however for the continuation of this kind of practice, is that without insight into what OSensei's vision actually was for Aikido, or a method from pragmatic evaluation, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain down the generations. Logically, there is also a huge danger posed by experimentation. Without a mastery level of understanding, how can even an accomplished practitioner be sure that the changes and adaptations that they have made are still in keeping with the new paradigm that OSensei envisioned?

Thanks in advance for reading this post in the spirit of dialectic rather than an opportunity just to flame. These are concepts I've struggled with for years.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:00 PM   #83
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Sensei Ledyard,

I must confess, that since you put your opinions out there without fear, I am partly challenging you for the joy of argument, and partly because I'm learning from the interaction.

I agree with your post above, and I'm not saying that studying the saints is of no value. But, what I have read of OSensei has him pointing to nature, and the workings of the universe to learn the truth. I don't feel from him that I had to convert to his religion to benefit from his martial way.

I can and must learn spiritual truths from my own training and experience. I hope I'm not stoned to death for this but I feel the same way about Christian teachings; the tradition I was raised in. Jesus said he was the first among brothers, not that he was God. (my interpretation, my opinion, my ticket to hell if you insist)

Did OSensei say that he and his teachings embodied the art, or did he tell me to seek my own truth according to a suggested method? I trust the method - why do I have to try to understand an esoteric frame of reference, when the language of my body and the universe (life) around me, is apparent without cracking a book or making a pilgrimage to Japan?

dave
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:42 PM   #84
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Interesting discussion concerning budo. Back to the ole' aikido vs. dance issue. I think it depend on how you define budo and what your goals are in budo.

Here is my take on it.

I think there needs to be some degree of martial effectiveness or at least the basis for that effectiveness along with the ethics, code of conduct and philosophy to be called budo.

Actually dance has all those things as well right? minus maybe the goal to resolve violence either figuratively or actively.

Along with martial effectiveness one might argue that aikido has been diluted/evolved to the point that it is no longer budo because it is not martially effective any longer...especially compared to things say like BJJ that I do today.

Yea i'd agree with you there are better methods for training martial effectiveness, but martial effectiveness is not in it's self, budo.

I train many soldiers daily in martial effectiveness, that however, does not make it budo as for many there goal is to simply do there job and go home at the end of the day. Are they warriors, most certainly, if not in mind in spirit, but in practice and profession.

There are others that have embraced the warrior ethos we profess in the military and are true warriors or budoka in the truest sense.

How do you tell the difference? You can just see it in their actions and eyes. They are a rarity among men, even in the infantry.

(sorry for the wandering!)

Anyway, maybe many of us aren't ready or evovled to practice aikido at the level of budo that o'sensei was at. I think if you cannot understand/apply the martial effectiveness of the movements underneath his techniques, then maybe you are just dancing. If you are not embracing the path, philosophy, etc then you are not studying budo.

To me, it is not so much the techniques or practicality that makes it budo, but the intent and mind of the individual practicing it that makes it budo.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:00 PM   #85
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Don't know about the chain. Didn't understand if you were suggesting a pendulum or Galileo's dropping stuff off the tower in Pisa. I'm not an engineer, just love the stuff.
Neither, actually. Try this for some graphic depictions:

http://math.arizona.edu/~ura/031/Taf...son/Report.pdf

On page 2 you can see the chain tip out-running the ball dropped at the same time.

Or if you have the really itchy diffy-q bug:

http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1367-2...jp5_1_045.html
http://personnel.physics.ucla.edu/di...ing_chains.pdf

My ob-Aikido thoughts at greater length over here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...9&postcount=58

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:13 PM   #86
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
In this case the question becomes "What is the Tradition of Aikido?". It would be great if an undisputable answer can be given to act as a central point of reference for all,
I'll start with O Sensei as an indisputable foundation and work outward contingently on any reasoned disputes that arise from that point.
Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
For example, on my first Aikido class and in most Aikido readings I was told that it was a purely defensive martial art (foregoing kobo itchi for a state of go no sen), however as I have evolved more and more in my understanding of how Sen is used along with the mind in Aikido it is appearing to me that this may not quite be the case. Hopefully further research and time will yield an unquestionable result.
An exellent example of O Sensei actually saying something on point that has not been adequately transmitted. He expressly said that all aspects of sente -- sen, go no sen, sensen no sen (basically all timing issues) ---are irrelevant to aikido.
http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
B: Does that mean ~[g]o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)
O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 12-14-2006 at 03:24 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:15 PM   #87
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I do not disagree with out. However, I would submit that most people rarely work to have an authoritative understanding.
We'll just have to remedy that, won't we?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
However I was still talking about how to hold the wii controler in your hand with a single focus and thought on the tv.
Enlightenment is right where you are, man.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:33 PM   #88
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Hey Erick - that chain thing was cool. Apparently there was some additive force that made the chain act faster than gravity?

Anyhoocious, try this link: http://wwwhome.cs.utwente.nl/~jagers...tensegrity.jpg

the one we made was a bit smaller

dave
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:55 PM   #89
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

okay... to throw my one one-hundreth of a cent in, because i obsess over these issues:

on the language issue... martial art vs. budo...

if i'm not mistaken, "budo" was originally / essentially used as a short form of "bushido", and was later adapted in the meiji and post era to denote a classless bushido. i think the generic term for a martial art would be something like bujutsu or bugei. so "budo" would then be something like martial arts plus moral-ethical-spiritual perspectives a la bushido. thus, if aikido is the evolution of budo, it would be some kind of uber-budo for the modern world.

tho as a bone to throw in: didn't osensei also talk about aikido basically being a reinteration of the original purpose/meaning of budo ("second opening of the rock door", etc.)? if so, then mike's assertion that aikido is not necessarily expressing anything knew would be manifestly correct, from osensei's mouth. the thrust would then be that it was time for this stuff to be insisted upon again. this might be shown to be so by the simple fact that so many serious budoka of all styles, etc. (sorry, i don't know what the corresponding term for "budoka", given the above definition of "budo", in korean, chinese, etc. would be) who are concerned with such "internal" (on all levels) aspects find themselves having to deal with the challenge of osensei and aikido at some point. as an example: my ninjutsu sensei would always bow to the photo of osensei in the dojo (which we shared with the aikido group i later joined). he insisted repeatedly that any budoka who exists now must take osensei and what he said and did very seriously, and treat him with great respect.

and my thoughts/questions on the question of martial effectiveness: in any budo, wouldn't martial effectiveness be necessary for any spiritual development? that is: it seems to me that spritiual development requires a confrontation with conflict, death, etc. and ways of effectively dealing with it. and if budo is an important part of one's spiritual methodology, isn't this more so?

finally: props to erick for the wash quote.

"you can't take the sky from me!"

jeff.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:34 PM   #90
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Here's my thinking process:
If Aikido has risen to a new level of budo, it must offer the same level of protection (in terms of martial validity) as what came before it, but then offer some improvement, either in terms of martial effectiveness or a new paradigm (say the protection of the attacker). If that's the case, then it should be able to stand up to the standards that we hold for any other budo/martial art (and to be honest, I don't understand the distinction you're making between the two terms, is there a different word in japanese that you would translate as martial art?)
Hi Chris, in my own opinion, Aikido is a new form of Budo, not because it has taken some aspect of martial technqiue to some new standard but rather it has given martial training a new meaning. I don't think that anyone who is serious about Aikido belives that it is some sort of "ultimate" martial art in that it is the most desctructive or deadly fighting system ever evolved. I feel quite confident that I could more than hold my own with most martial artists if it came to that but that would really have more to do with my being better at my art than they are at theirs, not some superiority of system.

The classical Japanese martial arts certainly eveloved from practical fighting systems but I don't belive my friends doing Katori Shinto Ryu would maintain that their system is some sort of "fighting system" in a way that would be meaningful today. But they strive very hard to keep its original martial validity.

I think that Aikido must do the same thing. I think that all of us who train in Aikido must strive to maintain the martial validity of the practice, at least in terms of the essential assumptions of the practice. In other words, if someone REALLY attacks me using a traditional Aikido technique like shomen uchi or yokomen uchi or grabs me susing one of the kihon grabbing techniques used in Aikido practice, I should be able to execute a traditional Aikido technique and I shouldn't require the collusion of my partner to do it.

The issue of whether I can defeat a parctitioner from any given martial art who walks through the door is of quite a bit less interest to me. It would entail my putting a lot of attention on "fighting" and I am simply uninterested in doing that past the point where I have already done so. I definitely do not believe that this is the point of Aikido. I think that Aikido is meant to be a means of personal transformation and that the practice should inform every aspect of your life. That would pretty much be my definition of Budo and so I consider Aikido to be a form of Budo. I would not be arrogant enough to maintain that it is superior in any way to other forms of Budo I have encountered... I have met and trained with some of the best. The level of insight they have gained from training in their arts is every bit as deep as anything we get out of our Aikido. Additionally, I think it is total hubris for Aikido folks to have the illusion that their art is somehow morally superior to the arts that have gone before. Many of the finest human beings I have met have been practitioners of classical Japanese "combat" arts and many of the biggest wretches have been Aikido people.

Aikido isn't superior, it's just different. I think that the essential insecurity that causes people to feel the need to devolve the art into what they see as something more martially effective is the result of a complete misunderstanding of what Aikido should be about.


Quote:
The alternative is:
Aikido is simply no longer a budo. In this case, none of the traditional critera for evaluation apply (like effectiveness) and training with resistance is no longer critical or even necessary. Aikido becomes an experience you have with a partner, much like dance. It becomes a way for people to connect in a shared experience. This very well may be true. The difficulty I see however for the continuation of this kind of practice, is that without insight into what OSensei's vision actually was for Aikido, or a method from pragmatic evaluation, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain down the generations. Logically, there is also a huge danger posed by experimentation. Without a mastery level of understanding, how can even an accomplished practitioner be sure that the changes and adaptations that they have made are still in keeping with the new paradigm that OSensei envisioned?
I am sure that you and I are in complete agreement on this. If one looks at Aikido from the martial standpoint, as Budo, you can see all sorts of Aikido which is simply substandard. In a city with a huge number of dojos, how many would be there if being able to actually do Aikido technique under real pressure was a requirement to staying open? A small fraction I suspect. But there are no checks and balances on Aikido... anyone can open a dojo. No one expects a challenger to come through the door and even ukes that attack too strongly compared to the generally accepted level at a given dojo are considered rude and pressure will be brought to make them go away so that the group can return to a state of harmony.

Since there are no checks and no agreement about what actually consitiutes Aikido, any nonsense can be passed of as valid. I do not think that will ever produce anything that represents a high level of understanding martially and it cannot avoid resulting in a mediocre level of spirituality. The practice itself should produce insight but bad practice will produce bad insight. This is one of the reasons I have gone out of my way to train with some of the top aiki jutsu folks. These people understand aiki. They have a deep level of understanding of martial arts. Since it is so difficult to find folks in Aikido itself who have a comparable level of understanding or, if they do, can teach what they understand in some sort of systematic fashion, I have turned to some of these exceptional teachers to get the insight I need to take my Aikido up to the level I am striving towards. There is nothing incompatible about about what I have leanred from these teachers with what I have learned from my own Aikido teachers. In fact they have helped me immensely gain an understanding of what my teachers have been doing all these years. I feel that it is my own mission to take that understanding and put it out there to the folks in Aikido who can't or won't seek out these non-Aikido teachers who have so much to offer Aikido folks. As rare as this level of teacher is in general, they are even more rare in Aikido. There are still some Aikido greats around, I have been fortunate enough to have trained with a couple of them, but there is a lot more mediocre Aikido out there than there is really good Aikido. So I think that the interchange that we are having with folks from outside is crucial to maintaining Aikido as a an art that can offer something other than a nice social experience and a good aerobic workout. But we don't need to change Aikido into something else... we simply need to do our art better than it is apt to be done.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:53 AM   #91
DH
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

George
That was truly well thought out and an enjoyable read. I agree that fighting or being martially-effective- doesn't have to be an issue or talking point at all-thats an interesting topic-but not relevant here.

I have often been intrigued -and I understand it on some levels-by folks who like the ride, the energy exchange of "catching air." They like that feeling of their balance being taken and the give and take of "doing Aikido." I remember that feeling well myself. But went in a different direction.
Where-in your opinion does training your body to maintain its balance and structure beyond the hope of most people being able to take its center come to play?
Is it a viable goal in Aikido? Is is something worth striving for?
Ueshiba did not get involved in aeorobic training and did not take ukemi. He threw people.Was he doing Aikido?
Many shihan I hear don't take ukemi anymore, they throw people
Are -they doing aikido?
If someone were to arrive at a point where few ukes ever get in to really throw them but they can pretty much throw anyone who tries-are they still doing Aikido-and everyone else is catching up? Or does "doing Aikido" mean you need to offer an attacking body that is open to being thrown?
Do you have a method for training the body to be ever increasingly difficult to be thrown or taken?
Or do you think that is not a goal that can be attained?
When......or how are you finished or grad-iated?
"Never" is the obvious answer. And one we all toe-the-line to. But what is the arts ultimate goal for physical skill sets in an adept?
Is it a "horizontal playing field" goal designed to have an adept get better at playing well in the field?
Or a linear progression of built up body knowledge culminating in superior...er....something or other?
What are its goals of attainment on a physical level?

Believe it or not I was just asked this on the phone by an Aikido person and I didn't have an answer.

Cheers
and Happy holidays
Dan

Last edited by DH : 12-15-2006 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:24 AM   #92
Ron Tisdale
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

George, wonderfull post. Thank You.

Dan, I have no clue how to answer your questions. They are difficult, and I think they are one reason I have some issues with aikido. The thing is, I still love catching air. It's fun, it makes me feel young, vibrant, alive. I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training. Even though at 45 (still young, I know) I can't do some of the things I used to.

I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.

While I realize that people who have tried this before me say it's hard to go back once you've started this, I will also struggle to find a way to use as much of this training as I can...and still catch some air.

Best,
Ron

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Old 12-15-2006, 09:48 AM   #93
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
George, wonderfull post. Thank You.

Dan, I have no clue how to answer your questions. They are difficult, and I think they are one reason I have some issues with aikido. The thing is, I still love catching air. It's fun, it makes me feel young, vibrant, alive. I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training. Even though at 45 (still young, I know) I can't do some of the things I used to.

I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.

While I realize that people who have tried this before me say it's hard to go back once you've started this, I will also struggle to find a way to use as much of this training as I can...and still catch some air.

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron!

Catching air. yeah, ditto on what you said about it. I remember a time when I loved that rush. I still do, to a point. But, after experiencing a little internal "stuff" from Dan, I can actually see where that would go away. Not the fun or vibrant part, but rather something else would replace the fun and vibrant part. After doing the solo work, I can start to understand why it would go away.

But it also makes me start to realize that it's just another progression in training, and that it might be part of the reason that you don't see shihans like Ikeda sensei take many falls. It changes you. I can start to see where it would be hard to go back. But, I can also see, as a teacher's role, where it would be needed to go back.

Merry Christmas to all,
Mark
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:16 AM   #94
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Hi Chris, in my own opinion, Aikido is a new form of Budo, not because it has taken some aspect of martial technqiue to some new standard but rather it has given martial training a new meaning. [snip]

The classical Japanese martial arts certainly eveloved from practical fighting systems but I don't belive my friends doing Katori Shinto Ryu would maintain that their system is some sort of "fighting system" in a way that would be meaningful today. But they strive very hard to keep its original martial validity.
So if I may pose another question to you, and forgive me if you would prefer to have this kind of conversation off-line, I genuinely admire your candor on these forums. I'm not trying to argue you into a corner, but rather flush out your understanding, because this is an area that I've spent way too many hours thinking about.

You state first that Aikido is a new kind of Budo, not because of it's awesome martial validity, but rather, because it has given training new meaning. You then later mention how the KSR folks you know also consider their budo training to be more than just simple techniques and strategies. How would you describe the difference is between those two kinds of budo? KSR is after all pretty much the gold standard for traditional budo, so if there was going to be a difference between the budo of Aikdio and koryu budo, it should certainly be there between Aikido and KSR. Unless you feel that Aikido changed the scope of budo for budo in general? If that were the case, wouldn't all the nihon budo again share a common meaning?

I know I had a similar view when I started Aikido. My teachers talked about how traditional Aikido was vs. Iaido or Kendo or 'sports' like judo or the barbarism of jujutsu. I didn't know any better, and they were my teachers so I sucked it up and spit it back out again when asked. I know you have a ton more experience than I did back then, and I've never heard you make similar claims. But I know some of the people you have trained with still do. Then after leaving that school, I started learning Iai. I was blown away by the depth of knowledge from this art that had 'lost it's way'. Then when I went to Japan to meet the shihan and soke of our ryu-ha, what was it they talked about over beers? How only through dedicated practice of Shinto Ryu can we understand the true lessons of Shinto Ryu, that the true goal of batto was to learn the value of human life and bring ourselves closer to a personal understanging of that value. That a ryu-ha was more than techniques and fancy names for simple kata, it was a method for creating better people and in a small way make a better world for those around you. Any of this sounding familiar? This is in an art that has *nothing* to do with Aikido, either from a historical standpoint or through common teachers.

So maybe it's new because it combines Omoto kyo with budo? Well perhaps for Osensei and Inoue Sensei, but it's been made perfectly clear that understanding Omoto kyo is NOT a requirement for understanding Aikido. Besides, combining a religion with ones martial art isn't new at all. Most koryu have some legacy aspects of Shingon Buddhism, but then there are arts like Mugai Ryu that were notable for being deeply influenced by non-dominant religions (Zen Buddhism). Mugai Ryu is certainly not a new kind of budo, so association with a new religious ideal can't really be enough to change the definition of budo to become something else.

Using an attacker's force and power against them? I think a lot of jujutsu and judo schools would point out that they do that quite well, and have for a very long time.

Intricate arms length stuff that feels like it shouldn't work but dumps you anyway? Shindo Yoshin Ryu's myojutsu waza would certainly fill that bill.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to bounce some of this stuff off of you. I hope it's obvious that I've spent a lot of time thinking through this stuff and am not just trying to bag on Aikido here. I even tried starting a thread several years ago over on AJ about what Aikido actually was, but was doomed to get a bunch of tired soundbites and old catchphrases. No useful discussion, just lots of patronization.

At this point, I can't think of a single thing that separates Aikido from other jujutsu/budo.

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 12-15-2006 at 10:27 AM.

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Old 12-15-2006, 10:38 AM   #95
Mike Sigman
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
At this point, I can't think of a single thing that separates Aikido from other jujutsu/budo.
I would have said "some other jujutsu/budo", but I pretty much agree, Chris. However, it's human nature to think that your own baby is much cuter than other babies and I can remember being somewhat surprised at how open-minded and "we all do martial arts that are similar" many of the really expert martial artists of Asia were when I met them. The higher-level types considered all the martial arts to just be expressions of the same basic truths.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:37 AM   #96
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...I think that there are many people who see the "big picture" just fine....
I disagree and the reason I disagree is World War II. Even Kansu Sunadomari, who was with him during that period, just mentions it in passing. The creation of modern-style aikido was Morihei Ueshiba's reaction to World War II. Even though the founder credits his enlightenment in 1925 after a duel, it would not be until the war years that he would shape it into what is now seen as post-war aikido.

Although Japan had modernized it's army and navy, the propaganda forces used by the government was a nationalistic Shinto and promoting the code of the samurai. This conviction of the dominance of the Japanese Spirit would led to the atrocities and defeats of World War II.

As these acts were being carried out in Asia and the Pacific Theater, Morihei Ueshiba would be expressing his own convictions on the samurai tradition and budo. His statements like, "A martial art in which there are conflicts, winning, and losing is not true budo." are in direct opposition to the propaganda of the government at that time. This can be seen as a movement for change in the concept of budo and conversely in the Japanese Spirit.

The tradition concept of Japanese Spirit could be seen in the war with the "do and die" attitudes of the military and citizens. After the defeat the term "bunmei kaika [flourishing of civilized society]" was used to indicate the joining of Western knowledge and the Japanese Spirit. This is the "big picture" that I was describing. Because of his reinterpretation of budo, the founder was part of this dialog.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I don't see many people at all who are caught up in the "mysticism and superstitions" of Aikido's creation...
Then perhaps it's just me. I always thought of the founder as a throwback. Someone who spent his life living the tradition of generations before his own birth. He was someone I never considered within his own time-frame. To realize that perhaps, he was participating in the ideas of his own lifetime makes him more human.

I'd like to note that while the war years marked a change in the founder's type of aikido, I personally don't believe this makes the post-war styles any better than the pre-WWII styles. There are no good styles or martial arts. There are only good martial artists.

I also don't see what you're complaining about. If you were to wait for others to see aikido as a spiritual practice, you might not have anyone to train with for years. You should be glad there are so many reasons to appear at a dojo.

While I can see how one can argue that aikido is not a martial art, I like my sensei's statement that aikido is a martial art and more. It's the more that confuses us.

Besides:
Quote:
Kanshu Sunadomari wrote:
"This budo is both martial art and religious faith."
The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, spoke these words directly to me in 1942, when I was his live-in apprentice [uchideshi].
Preface pg. XXIII "Enlightenment through Aikido"
His English translator went on to explain:
Quote:
Reverend Andrew Ellis wrote:
A phrase often repeated throughout the text is,"Aikido is both a martial art and a religious faith," which is what the Founder stressed. Unfortunately, much of the "religious faith" has been lost in the way that Aikido has been and is practiced both in Japan and throughout the world. In Japanese, the word is shukyo, which can be translated as "a religion." However, an important point must be made here, which Sunadomari Sensei hopes will be understood in the following way: The meaning is not that Aikido is another religion like the great religions of the world or the strange cults that often spring up from them. It is a religious faith. It is not a dogma or a set of beliefs or a form of worship. It is an all-encompassing belief in the victory of love and a harmony that unites our hearts with the loving heart of the universe. Call it god, or karma, or whatever, but it is living and continually challenges us to face up to the evil in the world and to do our best to help the good win.
Foreword pg. XX "Enlightenment through Aikido"

Last edited by tedehara : 12-15-2006 at 11:47 AM.

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Old 12-15-2006, 12:25 PM   #97
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
While I can see how one can argue that aikido is not a martial art, I like my sensei's statement that aikido is a martial art and more. It's the more that confuses us.

It's the tension brought on by the "and more" that make training interesting for me.


all due respect to those espousing a new kind of budo and it's not a martial art, it just seems like so much sophistry to me.

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Old 12-15-2006, 01:07 PM   #98
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Catching air.
Now THERE is a succinct image, in every sense, of what ki and kokyu are ALL about!
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I like the struggle (shugyo) with the waza, and trying to do them correctly. But I also feel that I have to struggle with myself to raise my level of ability and training....I'm hoping that the internal training can give me a new struggle...with myself.
I remember a time when I loved that rush.
I still do, to a point. But, after experiencing a little internal "stuff" from Dan, I can actually see where that would go away. Not the fun or vibrant part, but rather something else would replace the fun and vibrant part. After doing the solo work, I can start to understand why it would go away. ... It changes you. I can start to see where it would be hard to go back.
Now you have also summarized the problem. What Dan, Mike, Rob and others in their circle are talking about, by your own admission is not additive within aikido, it is substituting for something else that aikido training provides. Your own language sets apart what they are showing you as something heavier, duller, less vibrant than ki and kokyu as you have experinced aikido . And yet you all seek after it.

That is, in my mind, a real danger in blurring what aikido is and is not. Your own words express a sense of real loss in the effort you all are undertaking to gain somethng else -- for the purpose, I might add, of also reliving the rush of a new experience in what they are teaching.

In maturing into any art, or skill, or relationship, or faith even, the "rush" is an ephemeral thing that is often lost early on. Always seeking that rush by some new thing, lover, faith, art, automobile, is the dissipative side of addictive temptation, as alcoholism and drug use are on the obsessive side. Speaking as someone of similar age, I know personally that these sorts of temptations weigh, perhaps, harder on us than on those younger or older.

One cannot be everything, enjoy everthing or do everything that one might, in an infinite lifetime desire to do. Younger people struggle against the fact that desire exceeds the reality of its actual fulfillment. We are struggling against the realization that desire exceeds the possibilities of finite reality. We, moreover, have the freedom and wherewithal, generally, to struggle more and longer. Dangerous combination.

It is a counsel of wisdom not to seek forever that same experience of novelty by moving on to the next new thing and forgetting to mature in what you have chosen. Shoshin, the beginners mind, constantly sought within the art you have achieved some depth in already, is the proper response in budo, as it is in love, as in faith, as in craft and all other meaningful human effort.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 12-15-2006 at 01:12 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:11 PM   #99
Erick Mead
 
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The higher-level types considered all the martial arts to just be expressions of the same basic truths.
Yes. But there are some mighty deep and deadly gorges between those different paths to the same mountaintop.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:14 PM   #100
Mike Sigman
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Re: For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Now you have also summarized the problem. What Dan, Mike, Rob and others in their circle are talking about, by your own admission is not additive within aikido,
Why be so negative on what he's saying, Erick? I read it just as easily that he's seen what a "dance" most Aikido is and now he's perhaps seeing the serious and important martial art that O-Sensei thought was a crown jewel... while you appear to be missing the joyful play in a black skirt on a mat. Why not go look for yourself. A man of your prestige and ability should have no trouble in flitting up to Massachusetts, Japan, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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