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  #26  
Old 03-23-2007, 03:54 PM
George S. Ledyard
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The Point of Aikido

I think that there are many reasons people choose to do martial arts but perhaps the predominant one is fear of some sort. If one looks at the biographies of many of the martial geniuses of history, one finds quite a few who were sickly and weak as children or experienced some traumatic incident in...
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Last edited by akiy : 03-28-2007 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 03-25-2007, 03:54 PM   #25
Edwin Neal
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Re: The Point of Aikido

hey mike could you be a little more specific about the "The ki and kokyu stuff"... give some examples, how is it different from the ki developement and Ibuki that many of us already include in our practice? How does one demonstrate them? It is my belief that just practicing the waza will naturally develop Ki over time, without any other "practices"... please give me a little more info on this...

Edwin Neal


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Old 03-25-2007, 04:13 PM   #26
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote: View Post
It is my belief that just practicing the waza will naturally develop Ki over time, without any other "practices"...
Hi Edwin:

If you believe that just doing techniques will develop ki and kokyu (a subject in itself which has been beat to death in numerous threads on AikiWeb) then you make my case for me. If just doing waza developed some things called "ki and kokyu" there was really no need for millions of Asians over thousands of years to make such a big, near-religious deal of it all unless they were incapable of envisioning simple "expertise" by any means other than making up exotic words. Rather than divert this column with yet another discussion, why not look at the "Baseline Skillset" and previous threads for you answers. The short answer would also be for you to take a look at Tohei and Ueshiba's ki-tests-demo's and see if you can do them easily.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:55 PM   #27
statisticool
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
These skills [what Mike labels "kokyu/ki powers" and others might label 'tricks in static demonstrations with play-nice rules, reminescent of the Magnetic Girl'] are the whole essence of Aikido, Taiji, Karate, ju-jitsu, and so on.
Nope, they are not the "whole essence". They are just a single, limited part.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 03-25-2007, 05:07 PM   #28
statisticool
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If just doing waza developed some things called "ki and kokyu" there was really no need for millions of Asians over thousands of years to make such a big, near-religious deal of it all unless they were incapable of envisioning simple "expertise" by any means other than making up exotic words.
Of course, we've seen millions of people (Asians even Mike!) practice techniques. I think they make a big deal out of it like anyone makes a big deal out of anything they love, respect, and enjoy doing. That says nothing about 'how to get ki/kokyu', however.

They also probably made a big deal out of ki-stuff because ki is huge philosophical underpinning in many areas of their culture, martial or otherwise. Thus, they consider it important in many areas.

Of course, we've also seen people claim that the method to get ki/kokyu is also to practice techniques; techniques that they claim will get them ki/kokyu, so I'm not sure why 'waza' becomes a bad word in these debates.

But turning the 'if you question me you are calling millions of people dumb' counter-arguement around, if the ki/kokyu stuff was so important, why did any of these millions of Asians who practiced thousands of years not provide a direct explanation like

Start
Goal: to get ki/kokyu
Steps:
a)
b)
c)
...
z) You now have ki/kokyu powers
End

, and we had to wait to be enlightened to this process by Westerners, many who have much much much less experience in aikido (for example) than all those Asians?

It truly makes one think.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:44 AM   #29
Edwin Neal
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Re: The Point of Aikido

[/quote]If you believe that just doing techniques will develop ki and kokyu... then you make my case for me. [/quote]

sorry i don't follow... what case? i have learned that there are 6 methods of Ki developement in aikido... the actual practice of the waza being one, along with Ibuki and seiza ho and a few others

[/quote]If just doing waza developed some things called "ki and kokyu" there was really no need for millions of Asians over thousands of years to make such a big, near-religious deal of it all unless they were incapable of envisioning simple "expertise" by any means other than making up exotic words. [/quote]

What? what do exotic words have to do with developing Ki... doesn't execution of the waza, demonstrate these qualities and their level of development?

[/quote] Rather than divert this column with yet another discussion, why not look at the "Baseline Skillset" and previous threads for you answers.[/quote]

i will, but the "short" answer would be appreciated...

[/quote] The short answer would also be for you to take a look at Tohei and Ueshiba's ki-tests-demo's and see if you can do them easily. [/quote]

those tests are required on every test i have ever taken except for my first "yoshinkan" test... so i can do them, "easily" is subjective, but i don't seem to find it difficult. While i will agree that some aikidoka focus less on Ki development than others... my initial belief that the practice of the waza is itself a method to develop Ki means that to some degree Ki/internal power is being practiced/developed by all aikidoka... as i believe was Osensei's intent...

Edwin Neal


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Old 03-26-2007, 07:53 AM   #30
billybob
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Having offended most of you at one point or another I feel almost too shamed to speak. I will try, since that's the point.

When I came back to the martial ways I could not remember the abuse I had suffered. Now I remember, and I'm getting the medical, and emotional treatment I need.

Having awakened from the nightmare of trauma I see a wake of damage and hurt behind me.

Now, I turn to you who lead the way on this path. Unable to bow in the past, I bow now. It is because of your efforts that I have a PHYSICAL way to address my healing, and it seems to be the only way that has helped me.

Sensei Ledyard - you know me, and I have offended you as well. Pardon the fool who was the last to know he was wrong, and let me learn from you.

Thank you.

David
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:22 AM   #31
Paulo Barreto
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Thank you for an excellent and heart touching column and for taking the time to write it.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:49 AM   #32
dps
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Hi Edwin:

(a subject in itself which has been beat to death in numerous threads on AikiWeb)
By you mostly.
David
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:51 AM   #33
dps
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Hi Edwin:

If you believe that just doing techniques will develop ki and kokyu(a subject in itself which has been beat to death in numerous threads on AikiWeb)
By you mostly.
David
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:22 AM   #34
tedehara
 
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Lightbulb Re: The Point of Aikido

Why compare aikido to mixed martial arts (MMA)?

It is just a matter of time before MMA develops its true potential to become a major entertainment like professional wrestling. Stadiums filled with screaming fans, DVDs and pay-per-view shows; they already do that now. The only things missing are the fight scripts and outside-the-ring dramas.

Give them time...

This is not a martial art. It's $howbiz!

kewl
U herd it here furst.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:43 AM   #35
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Ted,
I think you're mixing up commercialized MMA with more traditionally-attuned martial artists who master useful methods from a variety of backgrounds to become their personal best at fighting arts and skills. These latter individuals are also MMA, but I wouldn't dump them in the same pot as the jamokes who tussle for $ as sport-style competition on TV.
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Old 03-27-2007, 07:44 PM   #36
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Cady,
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Ted,
I think you're mixing up commercialized MMA with more traditionally-attuned martial artists who master useful methods from a variety of backgrounds to become their personal best at fighting arts and skills. These latter individuals are also MMA, but I wouldn't dump them in the same pot as the jamokes who tussle for $ as sport-style competition on TV.
I agree with you. Ironically, the same thing happens with respect to aikido: people see one or two Japanese shihan (or their students, or their students' students), often in a seminar rather than in daily training, and draw broad conclusions about the art. As some sage said, "All generalizations are false."

Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 04-13-2007, 09:26 AM   #37
da2el.ni4na
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Re: The Point of Aikido

For those people with whom the idea of aikido "training as a transformative experience" resonated, here is an article that resonates for me more recently, despite some of the "airy" language: Aikid«Ô and Self-Inquiry - particularly, "it is necessary to have strength that will hold up against competition and can continually embrace paradox."

Considering the context of these forums, I wonder if it would be make for a robust topic to discuss the paradox between facing and even cultivating/encouraging potency, negation of others, or danger within oneself and one's dojo/community and the endeavor of becoming "higher", more peaceful, in sync with the universe, etc.

I have also been thinking on the value of the possibilities to be found in weakness, and so this statement was also interesting: "The Founder was a person of unparalleled physical strength, yet he became enlightened to this truth. The fact that a person who possessed such tremendous strength as the Founder came to spread such a teaching is really quite magnificent."
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:00 AM   #38
tedehara
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

It seems that some have taken my flippant remarks seriously. The fact is there were/are some very good wrestlers who have participated in professional wrestling. Just as there are some very good martial artists who do mixed martial arts (MMA). Their performance is no reflection of their actual fighting skills.

However everyone has expenses. If people can capitalize on their skills by performing them, personally I am all for that. What will transform MMA into an entertainment sport like professional wrestling is the development of an audience/market. Not internet chatter.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:49 AM   #39
tedehara
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

While this is an interesting article, it does miss The Point of Aikido.

THE POINT OF AIKIDO IS:




Translated it means the way (path) to harmony (or union) with (universal) ki. In other words, the reason for doing aikido is:
Quote:
the founder wrote:
Becoming One with the Universe.
And as Rabbi Hillel noted, "... All the rest is commentary. Now go and learn."

Last edited by tedehara : 04-14-2007 at 09:58 AM. Reason: addition

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:39 PM   #40
gyudien
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Very interesting article. I've passed it on to other members of my dojo.

Something caught my attention, though. You say,

"In common, everyday thinking, the word tenkamuteki (which the Founder used when speaking with me privately during my teens) refers to being 'invincible' or being of such incredible strength that you have no contenders."

Can you say something more about your experiences with O Sensei? Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:56 PM   #41
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Geoffrey Yudien wrote: View Post
Very interesting article. I've passed it on to other members of my dojo.

Something caught my attention, though. You say,

"In common, everyday thinking, the word tenkamuteki (which the Founder used when speaking with me privately during my teens) refers to being 'invincible' or being of such incredible strength that you have no contenders."

Can you say something more about your experiences with O Sensei? Thanks!
If you read the article again carefully, you will see that Ledyard Sensei was quoting Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei in the paragraph you referenced. So it is Sunadomari Sensei who was talking about his personal experiences with O-Sensei.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:50 AM   #42
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Quote:
Guy Stevens wrote: View Post
Great Essay:

I agree with everything in it. As a matter of fact I am trying to set up a trip to Seattle in the near future to train with Ledyard sensei. I may even bring along a couple of friends.

There is definitely a group that starts training with the idea that they are going to keep themselves safe from anything that the world can dish out, by learning a marshal art. For me, no matter what the art, this fails the logic test. (I know O Sensei could dodge bullets cause he could see them coming.... I am not, nor have I met anyone in my reality that could do that).

Yeah occasionally marshal art X helps in a physical confrontation. One of my sempies used it to control his 80+ year old father in law that was suffering from dementia, and tried to punch him in the head. He did it gently, without anger, and without even bruising pops. All in an instant! Was that a marshal situation? (pops was no lightweight).

Every day though I hope that Aikido keeps me from hurting the world. If we all did this, where would the conflict be. Like Ledyard sensei says, when outside of TV land have you heard of two trained marshal artists going at it?

Part of keeping the world safe from me is my getting rid of my violent fantasies. You know the ones, I can take on the whole street full of ninjas that attack when my car breaks down in the bad part of china town kind of thing. Training is for ME, not for THEM, for NOW not WHEN or IF. I don't train in dark alleys while I am in the dojo. (I don't think that I have ever actually been in a dark alley thinking about it.....) I know some of my training partners that do, it is one of the situations that I allow myself to speak to my partner while on the mat, without them asking me a question. "Hi Frank, I am Guy, we are here in the Dojo. I will do my best not to hurt you, are you ok with the level of our training, or do we need to slow down?"

Maybe this is wrong. Maybe I should work on trying to kick everyone's butt in the world..... Wait, I did that once, it was highly frustrating and isolating... Nah..... Oh look time to go to the seminar..... Mary McLain sensei today. I love her posture!!! :-)

Guy
:-)
I am glad to hear you say this (all of it). I personally started Aikido to save my own life from the most destructive person to me; me. There is so much profile assumption about who and why people train in aikido.
I personally kicked 5 kinds of ass when I started. I was also a very spiritual person. The two coexist. Because I am from CA and because I know the harmony of nature I'm frequently thrown in online with New Agers (another character assasination branding). I support physical inquiry, so I'm not a 'purist'. Many of the 'effectiveness' conversations are so purely 'male agrressor' that I can't even relate to what they have to do with me except I know I'm done with coddling fantasies about what they would do in a fight . Bah! If you haven't had to do it yet......find a good reason to train. Train the violence out of yourself.
I was so appalled at the recent lack of honor among men on this site (' no, you didn't ask if you could come to my dojo.'' No, you can't call me C_ark, I didn't give you permission.'). Embarrassing to say the least. I personally would not trust someone with those current attitudes to protect or represent my being. And the gang up online of any person is a demonstration of fighting mind and points to the deficiencies in training of everyone involved.
I heard someone say in that forum they don't want to be treated like a child. Really?

When we're in our training we don't come up with this kind of s#*+. We turn it over to our practice and we get to be innocent children who respect their parents (aikido). We get the relief of having something greater than ourselves guide our actions and our speech (online or off).

So, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should just go back to 2x4's and to curb jobs so I have an 'event' to point to that confirms my 'effectiveness' in life. But maybe I can learn to be a beautiful parent to my children through the model of Aiki therefore potentially saving them from harm or harming in the future. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But that's my fantasy. For now:

Let's walk with purifying intention (misogi) toward the source (musu) in friendship (aiki).
Jen

This beautiful appearance
Of Heaven and Earth
Everything is One Family
Created by the Lord

All blessings of this Great Universe are manifested, without exception, in all deities and buddhas, all nature, animals, birds, fish, and even in insects. Aikido means receiving all blessings into ourselves and performing our duties as human beings. On the subject of religions, I think that each religion should become an ubuya (house of childbearing~ see Takemusu Aiki in AJ116) to impart this same teaching. Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:48 AM   #43
tarik
 
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Hi Jen,

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I am glad to hear you say this (all of it). I personally started Aikido to save my own life from the most destructive person to me; me. There is so much profile assumption about who and why people train in aikido.
I started for similar reasons. I don't personally know anyone who makes assumptions about why other people train, do you?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I was so appalled at the recent lack of honor among men on this site (' no, you didn't ask if you could come to my dojo.'' No, you can't call me C_ark, I didn't give you permission.'). Embarrassing to say the least. I personally would not trust someone with those current attitudes to protect or represent my being.
I am a bit puzzled by your comment here. It's not a good example of your points to my understanding. I'm familiar with those people and those posts and as such I doubt you have all the information to form a truly educated opinion about everything that took place.

I can say that not only do I trust the honor of the individuals involved, I have literally put my life and my baby daughter's life in their hands and will again soon. It's an experience like no other in the world, and I've felt some well known people.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I heard someone say in that forum they don't want to be treated like a child. Really?
Depends on what you mean. I still have a great deal of respect for my father, but it was his disrespectful treatment of me that damaged lot of respect I held. His choices of actions with primary concern for himself and his rigid beliefs without the flexibility or allowance for those around him to be respectfully different did more of the same.

For 10 years I've born witness to the same in a lot of Aikido and discussions of Aikido.

The way that I treat my child is always measured by the fact that I am her parent and have a duty to educate and guide her in life. But it is tempered by the understanding that I have to also respect her integrity and guide her attempts to become an independent free thinking individual; albeit with respect for others. Her behavior dictates how I need to treat her, not my fantasy of what I want her to accomplish or become or what I wish her to believe.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
When we're in our training we don't come up with this kind of s#*+. We turn it over to our practice and we get to be innocent children who respect their parents (aikido). We get the relief of having something greater than ourselves guide our actions and our speech (online or off).
I want my training to be real and to cause me real problems. Not because I want to be 'effective', but because I don't believe that I accomplish anything otherwise except perhaps some fun exercise. If my buttons aren't getting pushed when I train, I am not forging myself, polishing, or otherwise enforcing change upon myself.

I don't respect aikido or consider it my guide. I have met too many people over the years of my training for whom 'aikido' does not mean the same thing that it means to me.

Instead I respect my partners and teachers, old and new, and allow them to shape me, help me to stand on their shoulders, and show me the path that they have walked. Then I walk my own path and respect that others may or may not follow in my exact footsteps.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
But maybe I can learn to be a beautiful parent to my children through the model of Aiki therefore potentially saving them from harm or harming in the future. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But that's my fantasy. For now:
I think good intentions are only a start and not enough. Harm is not just a physical thing. A lot of damage is done in the name of good intentions.

I think we need to understand the implications of all our actions and instead of just allowing things to happen to us, to choose the actions that will cause the least harm to the most people all the time.

To me that requires something quite different; it requires specific attention to how and what I'm training; hence my current practice.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:14 PM   #44
smellott
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Dear George,

Thank you for this well-written and thought-provoking article. My husband and I run a small dojo and we were discussing this very topic just last night so it was very timely for me to just happen to get on Aikiweb today and read this.

Take care,
Susan Mellott
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:55 PM   #45
Albert Oktovianus
 
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Lightbulb Re: The Point of Aikido

Dear Ledyard Sensei,

Thank you so much for the article.
I've been training in Aikido for around 7 years now, but I just pass the exams for Kyu 5 only last week. Some of my friends are wandering why it took so long to take the exams. Sometimes I just tell them that it's because I changed around Dojo so many times and I trained Aikido unofficialy with my friend (who was a trainer for Keijitsukai Aikido) so I don't have the certificates.
To be honest, some of my reasons are true, but deep down inside I knew that there is something else. That something is 'fear'. Yup...I have the fear of taking my trainings to the next level, because I'm afraid that I won't be as good as anyone else in Aikido (or other Martial Arts). I'm afraid that Aikido is really not the one for me (I've practiced Pentjak Silat also for a couple of years). I'm afraid that I will let down my previous Sensei (who is also my best friend). I know that it's stupid to be afraid of those things after training for years and I hope by taking the exams I have gained control over my fears. So here I am now with the understanding that Aikido is so much more just being stronger or better or trying to prove myself to others. With your article, I have found the realization of my condition in writings and I hope my resolutions also.

Peace & Respect,
Albert. O
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:23 AM   #46
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Sensei Ledyard,
I'm late to this party but thats not unusual. Another brilliant column, and for me, you are one of the most intellectually stimulating posters on the web and a Sensei I would surely like to meet. Most of my life I've been an admirer of the Martial Arts and just dabbled in a few...perhaps its my fear of commitment! I have recently decided to give Aikido another try, not because of the art but because of the caliber of the people in it.

Thank you for your leadership and you commitment to helping others to discover themselves.

Good Training Ladds....
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Old 09-22-2007, 09:18 PM   #47
Don
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Re: The Point of Aikido

I like to offer some slightly divergent thoughts....and perhaps it speaks to the problems enunciated by Ledyard sensei. I agree with Ledyard sensei as to the ultimate desirable outcome of training in aikido, but is that not the desired outcome of continued study of all martial arts. Anectdotal examaples....the recent "Human Weapon" series on History Channel has had several instances of sensei from other arts stating ultimate outcomes similar to what Ledyard sensei has stated. George's article itself uses Kano's judo as that example.

However, when Tohei came over to the US did he advertise aikido for its philosophical and self-improvement ideals? Perhaps he did, but surviving photos and antecdotes highlight the martial aspects.

There are articles that suggest that many of the now senior aikidoka that first came to the U.S. downplayed the spiritual aspects both during their training with O'Sensei and when they came to the US.

I suppose what this all leads toward is that our culture in the US and the natural desire to get inital converts as aikido spread in the US (and perhaps elsewhere) would seem to have conspired to emphasize for a generation or more the martial (fighting) aspects of aikido. I'd venture to say that other martial arts experienced the same "adulturation" when they came to the US. In karate and judo however, there is the additional outlet of sport that does not exist in aikido. So in another sense "we have met the enemy and he is us" is true as it applies to what is being discussed about the true purpose of aikido. Perhaps its the commercial culture we live in. Maybe Jun has (or could) run a poll something like "why did you first start aikdo? Self Defense? Self-Improvement? For a good workout? I don't do aikido. I've been in aikido long enough and am old enough to have seen a bunch of students come and go in our dojo, and none of them come in seeking self improvemnt....They come in because aikido is a Japanese martial art and they have preconceptions of being able to learn self-defense techniques, or at best they have been in another martial art, usually a striking art, and have gotten too old or just wanted another art. These students at least might have a clue as to what might result if they stay with it long enough. I'm sorry I was wrong....we did have one student who came in and liked the idea that aikido was totally defensive. This presented a problem because that student had trouble with anything that looked like irimi. But you see my point....externally the techniques are martial...and we have fed that aspect of it. Now if you stay with it long enough (or any martial art) you (hopefully) start integrating the deeper parts with the external techniques. I think we are a product of what we have done. How do you fix it? Do you fix it? I dunno. Perhaps more importantly, if aikido is forced to compete against other martial arts in our commercial culture, will it survive as is? My guess is some practitioners will "devolve" it back to something more like Daito Ryu and some will evolve it to something more like tai chi (yeah yeah I know tai chi can be martially effective)....Well these are just slightly less than random thoughts....any other suggestions?
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Old 09-22-2007, 09:40 PM   #48
salim
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Here is nice explanation of Aikido. Quote from Hiroshi Isoyama.

"Budo as the Undercurrent of Aikido
How would you say that your emphasis on the importance of budo in aikido developed?

Since I’m in the position of teaching aikido, I feel I have to keep myself oriented in one consistent direction. People practice aikido for a variety of reasons - to keep in shape or stay healthy or what have you - but it is clearly “budo” that is the undercurrent running beneath aikido. There’s no problem with people practicing aikido simply as a good way to stay in shape, but I think they still should also cultivate the kind of vigilance that strives constantly to avoid showing openings to potential opponents. This is an important underlying aspect of budo, and I think neglecting it or allowing it to become too minor a part of your training will result in a divergence from the real spirit of aikido.

The founder’s thinking changed over the years between the time he started teaching aikido and later in his life, so naturally the kinds of movements he used also changed. There are very few people who had direct contact with him over the span of several decades, so in many ways it’s like that old story of the three blind men all feeling different parts of an elephant and giving different descriptions of what an elephant is. In that sense, I wonder if there is anyone at all who understands O-Sensei’s greatness completely.

Some people were in contact with O-Sensei when he was spreading aikido purely as a budo; others only began learning from him once his thinking had evolved to emphasize aikido as “a way of harmony”; still others learned from him at various periods later in his life. All of these will have different viewpoints and interpretations, and I don’t think it’s possible to say that any of these is better than the others.

I also think there are differences depending on the age of the learner. Younger people naturally sought a stronger kind of aikido, while those who were older may have been drawn to aspects such as harmony and spirit, and so these are what each absorbed from O-Sensei. Issues like these make it very difficult to talk about aikido in clear-cut terms.

As you know, O-Sensei never wrote much about aikido in books, although some of this techniques are recorded in Budo. Sometimes I’ve wondered why he didn’t write more about aikido, but on the other hand, I think I might understand: his thinking gradually evolved, and he may have felt that anything he wrote in his younger years would potentially end up being contradictory to his thinking later on. The same is true of his techniques: if he had said anything definitive about them at any point, he might have ended up contradicting himself later on as he evolved.

Another difficulty is that different people have tended to interpret O-Sensei’s words in different ways, even though he may have actually said the same thing to all of them. People then end up expressing their own interpretation as if they had absorbed all of what he meant, leading in turn to small variances and eventually to misunderstandings.

When O-Sensei taught he never gave any particularly detailed explanations. One reason was that the many people who came to practice aikido under him were all individuals of a certain higher standing in society, for example military officers, politicians, high-ranking practitioners of other martial arts, people from the financial sector, the heads of private enterprises, and various others all well-established and respected in their fields. Giving too much detail to people like that, for example teaching them things like “this is the way you do a proper bow” and so on would have been regarded as condescending and offensive.

During practice O-Sensei often spoke in honorific language to individuals of higher social standing and us regular students alike. I was very moved by that attitude and way of interacting with people."
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:02 AM   #49
semantik
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Re: The Point of Aikido

Great article... I just started my journey into Aikido a few weeks ago, but this helps a lot.
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