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Old 12-18-2006, 12:43 PM   #1
Mike Galante
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Zazen necessary for training

Hi, am new to the Forums, and wanted to say emphatically that Aikido in it's outer form is marital, in it's essence is transcendental. How can one expect to achieve the oneness that O Sensei seemed to have by just practicing dynamic technique? It is hard enough to sense this when sitting quietly. Sit Zazen ideally before class to achieve what our master had to offer!

All the Best,
Mike Galante
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:13 PM   #2
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

A few years ago I had a good aikido teacher. She quit Aikido, because her Zazen practice was so exhausting, that she could not combine both.

Well, I personally think, that it is not important, which type of meditation you do. Having some time before training to calm down and leave all your daily burden outside the dojo is very good.

And taking some more time to find your true way is helpful, too. Zazen, Seiza, Yoga, a simple quiet prayer or whatever you want. Nothing of them is the alone one , that is necessary. But you should choose (at least) one of them.

My 2 ct Dirk
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:37 PM   #3
mriehle
 
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Ki Symbol Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
Sit Zazen ideally before class to achieve what our master had to offer!
Okay, well, I'm a big fan of meditation. I'm not a big fan of zazen. There are a lot of different forms of meditation, Zen does not have a monopoly.

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Old 12-18-2006, 06:11 PM   #4
Mark Uttech
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Simple reflection every day in mindfulness is something that 'seems' easy to do, but it is only easy if you do it. Taking a bit of solitude every day will become your treasure.

In gassho

Mark
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:47 AM   #5
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Zazen as a practice is not something you can pull off by sitting for 5 minutes before the start of class. This is more akin to 'quiet time' , and laying one's head on the desk in kindergarten. That doesn't make it bad. I would use the word 'ideally' to say that one should sit with a group in seated meditation before they can find significant effect from Zazen before class.

Aside from western prayer, I want to hear about other forms, Michael(Riehle) (don't want anyone thinking I'm talking to myself). Walking, and guided meditations are interesting once in a while.

But I agree, with the idea, Mike. At the very least if it doesn't impart whatever O Sensei found for himself in meditation, it will at least empty the brain pan and make the subsequent experience much more significant.

michael.
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Old 12-19-2006, 06:14 AM   #6
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Relaxation.
Concentration.
Meditation.
Transformation.
Integration.

While I have been a daily meditater for all my adult life, I agree that mental training (including meditation) is useful, I would not say its necessary.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:37 AM   #7
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

After zazen daily for around twenty years or so I only occasionally sit now. While engaging in both kata and randori (not aikikai style randori) in both judo and aikibudo for the last fifty years I, at some point, discovered that what I call "moving meditation" was better for me. I have experienced many meditators that sit and then turn it off when they stop sitting. Meditation, whether zazen or whatever is not necessary; it can be a start. What is really necessary from my experience is ATTENTION and AWARENESS at all times. When sense of self goes away and the attention and awareness continue it is then all action in the midst of all the "stuff." The feedback and continuously changing learning is immediate.

Safe, Peaceful, and Joyful Holidays to All,

Chuck Clark

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 12-19-2006 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:46 PM   #8
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote:
Aside from western prayer, I want to hear about other forms, Michael(Riehle) (don't want anyone thinking I'm talking to myself). Walking, and guided meditations are interesting once in a while.
Well, you just nailed the two most significant forms.

Meditation, on some level, is nothing more than paying attention to one thing very closely. I have a particular fondness for guided visualizations because they can be used to set up a particular mood. What's more, in my experience, they can have the quality where the meditation can be interrupted and resumed without disturbance. It requires some practice, but I see this as important.

You can, actually, do this with any meditation form, but I find most people find it easiest with guided visualizations.

I've no use for meditation which requires that you leave the meditative state and start over again if you are interrupted.

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote:
But I agree, with the idea, Mike. At the very least if it doesn't impart whatever O Sensei found for himself in meditation, it will at least empty the brain pan and make the subsequent experience much more significant.
I don't like the "empty the brain pan" image. I prefer the image of cleaning out the cruft. It's similar, but not the same. At any time that you are thinking, there are thoughts which help and thoughts which are clutter. Sometimes just acknowleding and dealing with the clutter allows you to work on the stuff that matters.

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Old 12-19-2006, 12:48 PM   #9
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
Meditation, whether zazen or whatever is not necessary; it can be a start.
See, I'd say it is necessary because it is a start.

But, now that that hair is neatly split, I basically agree with what you had to say.

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Old 12-19-2006, 01:33 PM   #10
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
See, I'd say it is necessary because it is a start.
The reason I don't think it's necessary is that I've experienced people that develop that awareness and attention (it's part of zanshin when done properly and then muga mushin can develop also) from proper budo practice without doing zazen or any other form of sitting meditation.

I do think formal sitting (or forms of yoga) meditation is a major way to develop the initial practice if the beginner has a guide/teacher that can pass on the real stuff rather than just the form.

A Safe, Peaceful, and Joyful Holiday Season to All,

Chuck Clark
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:51 PM   #11
mriehle
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
The reason I don't think it's necessary is that I've experienced people that develop that awareness and attention (it's part of zanshin when done properly and then muga mushin can develop also) from proper budo practice without doing zazen or any other form of sitting meditation.
Okay, I'll buy that. I don't think it works for everyone and I do think some kind of quiet meditation is useful. But for some people meditation is movement and vice versa.

It's hard, in any case, to argue with success.

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Old 12-19-2006, 04:59 PM   #12
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

I use a distinction that the down-time internally absorbed trance state in meditation/contemplation is different than the up-time externally focused trance state of awareness and attention.

But any form of mental discipline can be useful.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:13 PM   #13
Janet Rosen
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

I am capable of resting quietly and letting my brain wander, but I am not meditative at rest - I immediately want to Get Up and Do Something. Whereas moving meditation for me = weapons kata and sometimes empty hands training.
I do NOT think zazen is "necessary" for doing aikido. It is one of many available adjuncts that fall into the YMMV category.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:16 AM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

When I trained in the UK, I practised zazen on a regular basis for 90 minutes before class. At that time the zazen training was led by a zen master, so our training was directed. One of my early aikido teachers, who is now a Buddhist priest, also recommended us to practize zazen because he himself practised. However, he actually began to practise zazen because his postwar education in Japan had disposed him to reject the shintoist training that O Sensei practised (even though he was one of the Founder's deshi).

My teacher's father-in-law, however, eschewed zazen in favor of individual training (for example suburi training) with a sword, on the grounds that that kind of 'meditation' was more immediately productive and relevant to aikido training. He told me that O Sensei had said, 'Ken before zen" (not, of course, in those very words), but I do not think son and father-in-law ever agreed on this point.

When I came to Japan I stopped practising zazen because I could not find a good teacher, for I think serious zazen training requires a teacher.

Best wishes to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:28 AM   #15
raul rodrigo
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

As Chiba shihan put it:

To begin with, I would like to describe how I began Zen training which, in a passive way, was due to my teacher, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. What I mean by a "passive way" is that he taught me the importance of spiritual discipline along with martial discipline. However, the system of spiritual discipline he followed was based on CHINKON-KISHIN (method of pacifying the soul and regaining or recovering the spirit) derived from ancient Shintoism and its extension - the study of Kototama doctrine (the miraculous power of language inherent within the Japanese alphabet)...

Although I was an uchideshi at the time, I found it extremely difficult to follow and I was unable to understand most of the words O-Sensei was using in his teaching. Shintoism was the spiritual backbone of his Aikido, and in order to understand his teachings, one had to understand the KOJIKl, which required extensive study. Unfortunately, I belonged to the generation whose education was strongly affected by the post-war policy carried out by G.H.Q. (General Headquarters of the Occupation Army), established in October of 1945 (1 entered Junior school in April, 1946), the central premise of which was the systematic denial of the Japanese culture, tradition and history. Thus, the myth and the world view represented by the KOJIKI was, for a time, denied as unscientific, an absurd superstition. This view was even widely supported by the post-war Japanese academic world. As for myself, being brought up and educated this way, I found the Founder's teachings not only difficult to follow, but also apparently nonsensical.

Nevertheless, the Founder always emphasized the importance of spiritual discipline ("religious faith", in his exact words) and the practice of farming along with martial discipline, if one wished to achieve one's goals. I had no problem with following the practice of farming and martial discipline (I still do both even up to today). However, I could not avoid the increasingly strong internal resistance that, as time went on, built up within me toward the Founder's spiritual discipline. I suffered from an internal split and feared the loss of unity between the physical art and spiritual discipline which was supposed to be the underlying principle of the art.

I started to look to Zen training as a substitute for the Founder's teaching. As I see it, it was a positive turning point in my Aikido life. However, I can't deny that it was an escape from the Founder.
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:54 AM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Hello Paul,

Good. You guessed who my teacher was. His father-in-law was M. Sekiya Sensei, who studied kenjutsu.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-20-2006, 01:04 PM   #17
Mike Galante
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

I am happy to hear so many responses. There are so many paths to the same end. When I studied with Nakazono we sat zazen style, then practiced the Kotodama sounds for over an hour before our Aikido and weapons practice.
It is my conviction that the intensity of serious meditation is needed to achieve what O Sensei had. It is a state of enlightenment. My training for over 30 years was in Kotodama, Zen, and Kundalini.
Over and over the concept of emptiness is emphasized in many disciplines.
In the US, many typed of "spiritual practice" are sold to the public.
In my work, I have the opportunity to ask about all aspects of peoples lives and it is remarkable what people think is spiritual practice. I mean practice, not just experiences.
One person said that she sings when she cooks.
Another said that they fire walked one time in Sedona etc. etc.

It took Buddha years to achieve the enlightenment talked about.
Whether O sensei's enlightenment was that deep we don't know.

But what i am talking about is not the pleasant state of mind from practice, but a state of oneness with the universal. All i am saying is that practicing Aikido alone will not get you to that remarkable place.
O sensei said the stars and the moon and the earth are all mine. He was empty, he transcended himself. He said we need faith. Aikido is much much more than what most people think.
Most martial artists are attached to self defense and how to fight.
How many of us can say we have transcended this?
How many can say we can face death calmly?

Just trying to stir up the pot here. I love Aikido but sometimes I cannot listen to people talk about it without realizing that it is one of the rare physical activities designed to take one to enlightenment.
And that aint just singing while you cook.
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Old 12-20-2006, 01:36 PM   #18
MM
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
... but a state of oneness with the universal. All i am saying is that practicing Aikido alone will not get you to that remarkable place.
and
Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
I love Aikido but sometimes I cannot listen to people talk about it without realizing that it is one of the rare physical activities designed to take one to enlightenment.
Um ... can you explain that a bit more? It seems that those two statements contradict one another. Sort of confusing ...

Mark
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:30 PM   #19
saulofong
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

There are different ways to practice Aikido. One of the ways is to practice in a what I call a meditative state, present in your body, paying attention to the sensations and to what is actually happening around you. Or, the other way is to practice wondering around, not paying attention to the movement, thinking about what are you going to have for dinner etc...

I am finding out that if you practice Aikido or live your life in the so called meditative state, you do not need to sit in Zazen everyday, but if you wish to do so, you will do it easily.

Just different ways to practice Aikido and to live your life. None better then the other, just different for different kind of people.

Best regards,

Saulo Fong
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Old 12-20-2006, 04:18 PM   #20
Fred Little
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:

It took Buddha years to achieve the enlightenment talked about.
Whether O sensei's enlightenment was that deep we don't know.
With all due respect, I think it's pretty clear that it wasn't.

FL
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Old 12-20-2006, 06:59 PM   #21
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

I practiced Sitting meditation every day for fifteen years and have attended several extended silent retreats. Since I started training I have became more stable, and better able to communicate, nore responsive in ways that continue to develop even when I do not Sit for weeks or months. Currently I am doing more sitting practice than I have been, however I do not see that one is necessary for the other.
I know plenty of lovely people who don't practice as a Spiritual exercise and they seem just as enlightened as those I know who use aikido specifically as a tool for self-transformation.

Q
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:21 PM   #22
Mike Galante
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Hi Mark,
All i mean to say is that my teacher emphasized the practice of kototama sounds and Zazen and Aikido and weapons practice together.
With all due respect, unless one is born practically a saint, mindfullness won't cut the mustard for facing a lethal attack with calm mind and love in ones heart. Maintaining a peacefull mind is a prerequisite for allowing the spirit to take root in a person. Usheba said we are bringing heaven down to earth. A bridge if you will. Taking a fighting mind and leading it to peace.
Jo, how many enlightened people do you know?
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Old 12-22-2006, 08:30 AM   #23
Qatana
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Probably as many as you do. I never claimed to know any Enlightened Beings, I said the people I know who train for physical reasons seem no less enlightened that people I know who train for spiritual reasons.
However if one defines enlightenment as being free from internal burden,as always Present and exemplify impeccable behavior, I know several.

Q
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:46 PM   #24
stan baker
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

The question is what is zazen?

stan
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Old 12-27-2006, 08:23 PM   #25
Qatana
 
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Re: Zazen necessary for training

Zen-style sitting meditation.

Q
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