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Old 04-13-2007, 09:38 PM   #1
Luc X Saroufim
 
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"We don't do that here"

i recently moved back to Boston, and after observing a class at my new dojo, i noticed they didn't clap at the beginning or end.

i understand the rule about having to be around a Shinto shrine, and i'm guessing it came from the West, although feel free to prove me wrong; but Shinto is also something you carry in your heart and with your spirit, especially if you train in Aikido. so in my opinion, the shrine is always there.

Gleason Sensei's book, "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" highlights the importance of understanding Shinto to better understand Aikido.

in my opinion, if you don't clap, you're simply bowing to O'Sensei as a sign of respect, but you're not getting in touch with Aikido's Shinto roots.

i insisted on speaking Japanese on the mat, something else they don't do. he said that was fine. but i'm not happy about having to sneak in before class in order to do something i have every right to do.

what does clapping mean to you? should it be required for every dojo? i think so. feel free to disagree and flame away.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:07 PM   #2
MikeLogan
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

I recently moved to new jersey, and after attending several classes here, I notice everyone claps at the beginning and end.

I now understand how this is supposed to attract the spirits at our beckon call, and when we finish, we clap again to "send them away" in the so many words it was explained.

In my opinion, it is arrogant to summon and dismiss at will, when one should be constantly engendering the spirit of aikido, not the trappings.

But then, we all have opinions, just like we all have as- ah, obis.

I would have been more peppery if I hadn't seen your invitation to flame at the end. Why should you want everyone to train exactly as you? The idea translates into every language and culture.

michael

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Old 04-13-2007, 10:19 PM   #3
Just Jamey
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
i recently moved back to Boston, and after observing a class at my new dojo, i noticed they didn't clap at the beginning or end.
We don't clap at our dojo either.
Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
but Shinto is also something you carry in your heart and with your spirit, especially if you train in Aikido. so in my opinion, the shrine is always there.
I train in Aikido, but I don't follow Shinto... Does that mean I'm not practicing Aikido?
Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
in my opinion, if you don't clap, you're simply bowing to O'Sensei as a sign of respect, but you're not getting in touch with Aikido's Shinto roots.
I bow as a sign of respect to O Sensei, and as a sign of respect to the art he created. I never bow to get in touch with Shinto... but then I'm not a follower of Shinto. Does that mean I'm not practicing Aikido?
Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
i insisted on speaking Japanese on the mat, something else they don't do. he said that was fine. but i'm not happy about having to sneak in before class in order to do something i have every right to do.
Now funny enough, I'm not Japanese so I don't speak the language fluently. I do use Japanese terms to refer to Aikido techniques. I find some humor to the fact that you feel you have to sneak into the dojo to speak Japanese, but then if you chose to speak only Japanese to me during a class I wouldn't understand you, so maybe sneaking in makes some sense.
Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
what does clapping mean to you? should it be required for every dojo? i think so. feel free to disagree and flame away.
Well, because I'm not a follower of Shinto clapping is associated with applause to me. I don't think it absolutely necessary to clap at a dojo. It doesn't change my practice. It doesn't change my mindset while practicing. It doesn't change my reasons for practicing Aikido. It doesn't alter the philosophy behind Aikido. All that being said, if I were at a dojo that clapped during the bowing in/out, I would adopt the practice of clapping to show respect for that dojo, out of respect for its intructors' wishes, and to blend or harmonize with the dojo atmosphere.

Hopefully, I'm not flaming you here. Just offering up my own two cents.

Last edited by Just Jamey : 04-13-2007 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:01 PM   #4
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

In our dojo/system we never clap (but then again we don't wear no ... hakama neither. )

When I visit dojo that clap I follow along - "when in Rome" and all that.

The presence or absence of clapping has absolutely no effect on my Aikido or my training. The Japanese language is used to have a common nomenclature to refer to things in Aikido training. When we bow it is out of respect for those who came before and developed what we study today.

I'm wondering though why you feel this strong need to clap, worship Shinto deities and speak Japanese. Why is it so important to you?

LC

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Old 04-14-2007, 05:19 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
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Re: "We don't do that here"

People can think of the bowing and clapping ritual as shinto, or not. I was taught and have always thought of the two claps as being "one clap and its' echo". It is also a ritual that brings us "right here." A little bit of ceremony helps to focus. You can have a lot of different thoughts about it, but when you actually just practice the ceremony/ritual, it is what it is.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:19 AM   #6
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
i recently moved back to Boston, and after observing a class at my new dojo, i noticed they didn't clap at the beginning or end.

Gleason Sensei's book, "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" highlights the importance of understanding Shinto to better understand Aikido
So why don't you just go train at Gleason Sensei's dojo?
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:57 AM   #7
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Chris Willenbacher wrote: View Post
So why don't you just go train at Gleason Sensei's dojo?
Now that's a good question.
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:08 AM   #8
crbateman
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Clapping is a sound that two hands make coming together. Anything more meaningful comes from your individual beliefs and intent. I would respectfully suggest that the thing to do is follow suit with your school's way during the group bows. I'm not into Shinto, but I'd be willing to bet that the spirits can still find you, if that is your intent. Call them on your own in some alternate fashion as you get on the mat, and send them home as you leave it. It would seem similar to the scenario where some bow to the kamiza as they first enter the mat, and then again as they leave, but not everybody does, or maybe some kneel while others bow standing. It's at these entry/exit points where you can better exercise some personal background and distinctiveness, without affecting or offending others by what you do, and the "group bows" can be still be done in unison without breaking protocol.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:29 PM   #9
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Re: "We don't do that here"

If you're really interested in learning about Shintoism or becoming Shintoist (I don't know if that's the correct noun.), why not find out if there is any kind of local Shinto community in your area? Although depending where you live I guess there might not be (or there might be but they might be sceptical about you).
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:38 PM   #10
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
...... I never bow to get in touch with Shinto... but then I'm not a follower of Shinto. Does that mean I'm not practicing Aikido?
i'm not a follower of Shinto either.....never was, never will be.

until i step on the mat.

without Shinto, O'Sensei would've never created Aikido; carrying a Shinto shrine in your heart, and bowing to O'Sensei go hand in hand. i wouldn't bow to O'Sensei off the mat, so i wouldn't clap off the mat either.

Quote:
Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
Now funny enough, I'm not Japanese so I don't speak the language fluently. I do use Japanese terms to refer to Aikido techniques. I find some humor to the fact that you feel you have to sneak into the dojo to speak Japanese, but then if you chose to speak only Japanese to me during a class I wouldn't understand you, so maybe sneaking in makes some sense.
i should clarify; i meant saying "onegaishimas" and "arigato gozaimasta" ; they say it in english in our dojo.

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Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
Hopefully, I'm not flaming you here. Just offering up my own two cents.
it's all good in the hood.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:40 PM   #11
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Mike Logan wrote: View Post
In my opinion, it is arrogant to summon and dismiss at will,
on the contrary; praying is the most humble thing you can do. you're putting your well being in someone else's hands when you clap.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:43 PM   #12
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
I'm wondering though why you feel this strong need to clap, worship Shinto deities and speak Japanese. Why is it so important to you?
Aikido is a big gift to the West. it is an honour to learn Japan's wonderful art. the least we can do is prevent the Westernization of it; it is like receiving a gift from someone, and then stepping on it.

just like we follow O'Sensei's physical techniques, we also owe it to him to clap before class, just like he did.

most Eastern martial arts have philosophical/spiritual roots. here in the West, we're used to separating church and state. Japan is not the West, and we should respect that.
.


to answer other people's question about Gleason's dojo; i would've, but it's too far.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Personally if I wasn't really a believer in something I think if I took up parts of it just when I was doing one thing, I would feel like I was playing games with parts of someone else's deeply held faith. To me that would not feel right, just as I would not be at all comfortable if someone who didn't believe in my religion came to my church and took the sacraments without fully believing in them, and then went away and ignored it in the rest of their life.

I don't do anything religious when I'm doing Aikido -- I respect the religions of those whe went before me but personally, I do not follow them.

That's just me, BTW -- if you are sincere I don't think it's disrespectful or anything. What matters is your intent and what it means to you, whether it helps you be a better person, etc... so that isn't actually meant as a criticism, as it probably sounds.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:26 PM   #14
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
to answer other people's question about Gleason's dojo; i would've, but it's too far.
you did say you were in boston.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:51 PM   #15
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote:
on the contrary; praying is the most humble thing you can do. you're putting your well being in someone else's hands when you clap.
Humility is always good, but whose hands are we considering, uke/nage's? Or that of the spirits? I put my life at the hands of everyone I encounter during my drive to the dojo. It's never given or taken for granted.
Quote:
it is like receiving a gift from someone, and then stepping on it.
I don't think it is so bad as that. If Aikido technique and philosophy depended on a strict adherence to shinto concepts, it would have never left Japan.

michael.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:41 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: "We don't do that here"

I OWE it to OSensei to clap?
If you feel that way, that is between you and him. How dare you to presume you speak for me and how I relate to him?

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:48 PM   #17
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I OWE it to OSensei to clap?
If you feel that way, that is between you and him.
and thanks to the internet, it can be between me and thousands of other people.
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:06 AM   #18
Just Jamey
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
i'm not a follower of Shinto either.....never was, never will be.

until i step on the mat.

without Shinto, O'Sensei would've never created Aikido; carrying a Shinto shrine in your heart, and bowing to O'Sensei go hand in hand. i wouldn't bow to O'Sensei off the mat, so i wouldn't clap off the mat either.

i should clarify; i meant saying "onegaishimas" and "arigato gozaimasta" ; they say it in english in our dojo.
So you follow Shinto... but only when you're on the mats? This is going to sound harsh, but wouldn't that be like claiming to be Christian/Muslim/Jewish only when you are in church/mosque/temple?

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you Luc about the necessity to, in some way, follow Shinto. Does clapping and bowing mean we are following Shinto. I feel that it does not. Historically, I can accept that bowing and clapping arose from a religious practice. However, these actions have grown beyond their roots and I feel that it is not necessary to have some form of religion attached with bowing or clapping. I tend to think of those actions as being more along the lines of a cultural action rather than a religious one.

I do not need to subscribe to Shinto religious beliefs in order to show respect for O Sensei, nor do I need to subscribe to Shinto religious beliefs in order to gain understanding of Aikido. Now if you feel it is necessary for your practice, then it is necessary... for you. That's how you are interpreting your Aikido; just don't make the mistake of trying to define my Aikido for me.

Oh yeah, forgot the last part. I think you can use the Japanese terms for requesting and thanking people for the opportunity to train interchangeable with the English equivalent. If you want to use the Japanese, I don't think your dojo will have a problem with it, as long as, you aren't using the terms out of ego. Honestly, when you get down to it thanking someone is thanking someone, whether you say it in Japanese, English or Swahilli.

Last edited by Just Jamey : 04-15-2007 at 12:15 AM. Reason: Oh yeah...
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:11 AM   #19
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
wouldn't that be like claiming to be Christian/Muslim/Jewish only when you are in church/mosque/temple?
No.

It'd be like claiming to Christian/Muslim/Jewish, but only when you go to the YMCA.

And never going to church/mosque/temple.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:13 AM   #20
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Re: "We don't do that here"

I have to disagree with the main post here.

The art may be from japan. But it certainly doesn't belong to the Japanese anymore like it once did. Aikido is now a world art. I see absolutely no reason to restrict ourselves to the japanese language or religion when practicing and I don't believe it was the founders wishes that we do. I would like to think that Ueshiba would have expected us to see aikido through our own faith.

Aikido does not belong to shinto. It does not belong to Japan.

I hate it when my kohai try to talk to me in japanese or call me 'Gidney san.' I'm an American, in an American dojo and I consider it rude. I'm fine with Senpai, but if you need to address me by my name, call me Mr. Gidney, or just Nathan.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:22 AM   #21
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Kent Enfield wrote: View Post
No.

It'd be like claiming to Christian/Muslim/Jewish, but only when you go to the YMCA.

And never going to church/mosque/temple.
I'm Christian as well and i have been being an Aikidoka for a period, and i don't ever do Shinto practice at my dojo all the time. Some of Malaysian Christians/Muslims have to misunderstand about Japanese etiquette while actually such etiquette has not everthing is Shinto related, that's why we gotta explain aboud such misunderstand to our martial arts.

I had been struggle with my mind for Aikido and Shinto stuffs, but the real problem is what intention for such as funakogi, furitama, kodotama, chinkon, etc. And real religion is communication etween human and god, surely Christianity has it's own way of meditation. Few years after, few of my Yoshinkan buddies have to tell me that it is no Shinto thing in Aikido.

Holy Bible doesn't mention about Aikido, TKD, Karate, Judo, BJJ, Sambo, MMA, etc, but it (Old Testment) tells us that Israelies had their own way of fighting before Jesus comes to the world.

KamiKaze
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:45 AM   #22
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Holy Bible doesn't mention about... Judo...
But it DOES mention JEWDO! (way of the Jew) anyone? huh?

*crickets*

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:09 AM   #23
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Nathan Gidney wrote: View Post
But it DOES mention JEWDO! (way of the Jew) anyone? huh?

*crickets*
Anywhat do you say, Jews have their own fighting way and their fighting way has our Aiki skills. Anyway, Krav Maga, Kappap, Haganah, whatever Jews fighting.

KamiKaze
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:58 AM   #24
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
............just like we follow O'Sensei's physical techniques, we also owe it to him to clap before class, just like he did.................
I`m currently in Japan on vacation, at the dojo I have practiced in every year for the last 11 years, they don`t clap at the rei. In the dojo I trained in Tokyo for 2 years when I lived there, they didn`t clap at the rei. At the Aikikai honbu dojo, I don`t ever remember clapping at the rei.

From what I understand, O Sensei didn`t force his shinto ideals on his students.

It`s very easy for us in the west to get carried away during practice. For me, it`s enough that I pay my respects to kaiso before and after keiko. if I ever take up shinto, I may feel different.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:02 AM   #25
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Bryan Bateman wrote: View Post
I`m currently in Japan on vacation, at the dojo I have practiced in every year for the last 11 years, they don`t clap at the rei. In the dojo I trained in Tokyo for 2 years when I lived there, they didn`t clap at the rei. At the Aikikai honbu dojo, I don`t ever remember clapping at the rei.

From what I understand, O Sensei didn`t force his shinto ideals on his students.

It`s very easy for us in the west to get carried away during practice. For me, it`s enough that I pay my respects to kaiso before and after keiko. if I ever take up shinto, I may feel different.
What are intentions of funakogi and furitama for? Some senseis still lead up those excersice, it is mistake if student don't do those.

KamiKaze
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