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Old 12-30-2007, 07:15 PM   #1
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Takemusu

One of my Korean students sent me this link. You have to watch it to the outcome, which I think is pure harmony born of my interpretation of Takemusu (birth of martial). It is that harmony comes from strength, not passiveness.

http://kr.power.blog.yahoo.com/V2/bb...id=4302&bid=17

I wrote my interpretation of Takemusu on my website a long time ago and received various questions about it - some were positive, others negative - it is not easy to explain what you mean in words. However, this vid explains - a picture is better than 1000 words, as they say.

My interpretation from my 1994 website:

Take a look out of your window into the garden. All those millions of insects are part of one great struggle, every day until their death. This cycle of life and death - takemusu - is inescapable - but humans have created society and have mostly overcome it, or rather, in the martial sense, lost it. So, in order to improve our minds in martial arts we must consider what we have come to lose. If we are to survive we must fight ceaselessly, we can not be passive even for a moment or we will die (lose). All creatures follow this cycle. In fighting for survival, it is best to harmonise with "nature" rather than fight against it. In fact, this is nature's way - all is in harmony - what is not will cease to exist. Accordingly, to harmonise is to offer a greater chance of survival. rmja (C)

Agree or disagree, that is the question!

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Old 12-30-2007, 09:12 PM   #2
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Re: Takemusu

Rupert,

Not sure if I agree or disagree, as what I am about to say is probably more semantical in nature than anything else.

I tend to not look at it as we as humans have to fight against nature or view it as a "win/lose" proposition.

Philosophically, think what we are looking for is the balance between win/lose...that is harmony. If we fight then cause a choice to be made, that is, one side gains, the other loses.

So how do we reach stasis, midpoint, or harmony?

As you point out we have quite a dilemma! If we choose no action, then we might be overrun. If we attempt to conquer, absolutely, then we overrun.

Reminds me of the zen koan, "Cause no Harm/Stop Harm".

I like the four noble truths of buddhism, because i think they some up things fairly well, regardless of your religious beliefs.

1. Life is Suffering. You state this as well in so many words.
2. The Origin of Suffering is attachment. we desire that which we don't have, or want to keep.
3. the Cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. There is a path to the cessation. Buddhism has one path, but all religions/philosopies have various methods that they believe this is attainable.

From the view of aikido, i'd say that really that is what the practice is all about, alleviating suffering, achieving harmony, or happiness.

I suppose we fight many things. Aging, gravity, hunger, craving, desire, the weeds in our gardens!

So how do we conquer, kill, fight, or slay these things?

Well some we can't. I think the best we can do is 1. Recognize that nature will always win. 2. that you, yourself are apart of the process of nature. 3. Try to better understand yourself, and your relationship with nature.

We can slow down aging, or the effects of it, but in the end, we all die.

Eventually your garden will be swallowed back up into the weeds.

all that! So why fight it? Why not just accept that it will happen? Is that admitting defeat?

Or we can learn to accept things for what they are...today. take things one day at a time. Be in the moment, be present and experience the joy that is immediately here!

Sounds alot more fun than fighting!

Anyway, people interpret this and reach peace with this in many ways. Some find solace, love, and peace through God and the promise that he/she has left them.

For some the practice of aikido is not a complete spiritual practice, but a physical practice that is "additive" to their well being in some way.

I think it all differs for each individual.

However, I think what we really are trying to do is not learn how to fight nature, time, age, or what not though budo, but to learn more about ourselves, our interactions with others, reach a deeper understanding of the relationship, which allows us to be stronger and more accepting and happy!

Any how, enough rambling!

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Old 12-30-2007, 09:20 PM   #3
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Re: Takemusu

I agree with the idea that to harmonise may enlarge everyones chance to "survive".

But in my opinion it's not the main connection to (or just I) have with "takemusu".

Hearing the word, I think of the aspect which (I think) is best described with "giving immediately/spontaneously birth".

To illustrate this I like to use quotes of well known movies:

Star Wars Episode I - Qui-Gon Jinn:
"Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think. Use your instincts."

The Matrix - Morpheus:
"What are you waiting for? You're faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are. Come on. Stop trying to hit me and hit me."

The Path beyond thought:
"Trying? Stop Trying! Just do! Trying is crap!"

So takemusu is a finish-line we are trying to reach on the way of AiKi training.

Last edited by ChS_23 : 12-30-2007 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:37 PM   #4
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Re: Takemusu

Couple of other thoughts....

Realized that you meant for the video to be watched. Nice randori by the bear!

Couple of thoughts. I think what distingushes humans from animals for the most part is consciousness of self, that is the ability to ask the simple question "why am I here?" That ability can allow us to transcend suffering on a spiritual basis.

A huge deal I think when you make a comparision to animals. That does not mean we are superior, smarter, or that we should dominate...just means we have potential to transcend the ordinary.

Anyway,

Quote:
harmony comes from strength, not passiveness
I don't necessarily agree with this, as I think it is mixing apples with oranges.

Harmony is harmony....period. Regardless of how it is achieved.

I can think of many examples of passiveness that result in harmony.

Also, there is great strength in passivity. Ghandi is a great example. Strength comes in many forms from the physical, to the spiritual.

So strength to me, is not the opposite of passive.

Also passive to me does not mean "no action" the opposite of "action". the decision to choose a passive course is an action....there is always a choice made.

I think where strength comes into play is dealing with "capability and/or skill"

Either you have it or you don't.

Looking at "survival of the fittest", which I think is what you are really getting at, if you are weak, or do not possess the ability to adapt, or gain strength...then eventually you will sucumb.

In laymans terms:

To me, it is all about understanding the "score of the ballgame".

Some are in the game and don't even know they are playing

Choice is what is key. Having Stimulus meet response, and having the ability to choose.

"strength" is the ability to choose. We might choose a passive action or we might choose an agressive action to benefit us.

"Skillfull Choice" means we understand the TRUE SCORE of the ball game and consider 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Order effects!

Yes, we can cut down all the trees in the rainforest to make room for more cattle and for lumber...AND that requires great strength to do!

However, that choice may not be SKILLFULL as it does not consider the long term effects..and is a disruption of TRUE Harmony.

I think Aikido is about making SKILLFULL choices, and considering orders of magnitude.

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Old 01-01-2008, 05:12 AM   #5
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

Anyway,

"Harmony comes from strength, not passiveness"

I don't necessarily agree with this, as I think it is mixing apples with oranges.
What I mean is, if you train to be strong and find harmony within that, then you will have a better chance of survival. If you train to be passive, you can be nothing but prey. If you are good at it (Ghandi) you will be able to avoid, but you will be prey all the same.

I actually think Ghandi is a bad example, simply because everyone brings him up. What he did was amazing, but, he was Ghandi. I am not Ghandi, and neither is anyone else. Most people who try to be Ghandi end up dead - he was just very lucky.

To me, harmony in nature is not good or bad (no evil etc.) -- it is just raw nature. That vid just fits my view of it. To me, it is another example of aiki, and as far as I could tell, none of the animals even got hurt - due to their skill at avoiding and final mutual respect for the other. Their avoidance was not based on passiveness...

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 01-01-2008 at 05:15 AM.

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Old 01-01-2008, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: Takemusu

Okay...raw nature...

So now we get down to the issue of consciousness, moral choice, alttruism, and "self interest".

Based on your definition of "raw nature", and from what I observed in the video, I'd say that the animals simply acted in what was best for their own self interest.

There was no consideration of moraility or values.

Sure, in this case it resulted in harrmony between the two sides.

I agree, at the base level, nature will always balance out. Absolutely at the base level "survival of the fittest", and the one that has developed the strongest skills to command his environment will win out.

No single wolf could have won that fight. They had to act as a team. The bear was not about sharing, or harmony...neither desired a mutual sharing, they simply wanted to eat. It worked out that way...this time.

So, yes, I agree, at the base level, the laws of nature MUST dictate harmony, and I do think it is a good example of why we as humans must be conscious and aware of the laws of nature and how the decisions we make affect nature.

Animals don't consider it...they just do it because it benefits them.

So is it "aiki" in the human sense. No, I think not.

Why?

Because humans have the ability to say "why am I here?" "how do I fit in?"

We have the ability to process second, third order affects, and to make choices...if we want to and put our minds to it.

We can consider the situation and decide a particular course of action that transcends the fact that we are currently hungry. We have empathy and if we were the bear we could determine how our actions would impact the wolves. We could have chosen to maybe forgo our meal for one at a later date without causing conflct. (Pacifism).

Neither side considered sharing an optimal situation, they did it out of necessity. The next time, they might make entirely different choice if the situation dictated it.

Yes, aiki must not defy the "raw nature" you define. I agree.

However, raw nature is not aiki. Aiki I think transcends and is a human thing....based on the fact that we can have exsistential thought.

Aiki requires gaining skill in order to make higher level choices other than what is in it for me...at least I hope it does.

If it did not, then why even bother with Aiki?

I could simply go out and get a big missle or gun and say, "we are all just going to get along here and that is that!"

The strongest will prevail! When we are equally strong and scared of each other...well, then lets just share from the same table.

I think we were basically doing this in the cold war, and we are currently still doing this today in our international interactions.

To me, that is not aiki! yes, in a sense harmony is there because people may not be fighting....but is that aiki??? I think it is fear!

I think aiki or aiki harmony is when we can transcend this way of harmony, and both sides get along because of interdependence and that becomes MORE important than any one single meal!

Yes macroscopically, I agree no evil, no good or bad...it just is. Yin/Yang, and in the big picture not represented by space/time, etc...none of what we do on this planet will matter as everything will return to zero, statis, harmony...or what not (insert your philosophical or religious preference).

Microscopically though, there is the, here, now, and much we can do as humans to transcend the ordinary or "raw nature"!

So, while aiki may be about harmony, AND it must exist in nature, the inverse I think is not true. Aiki is a purely human thing (unless dolphins, chimps, or guerillas have figured it out as well) I'd love to see examples of this if they have! (not being scarcastic).

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Old 01-01-2008, 06:30 PM   #7
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Takemusu

Hmm. You must bit a bit of a philosopher. I am not concered with why I am here in this instance. Keep phil out of it. When animals or people meet in confrontation, they do not debate phil.

Aiki is a trained skill. The animals have their place and in nature, we have lost ours. Learning aiki is not an attempt to return to the raw, rather, it is a new skill that is more conscious in that it has been developed/taught/learned. Learning aiki is an attempt to become more martial - takemusu etc. -- it is more refined than raw nature, it is alive, not dancing in kata.

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Old 01-01-2008, 06:34 PM   #8
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Re: Takemusu

Sounds like we are saying the same thing!

Thanks for making me think about all this!

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Old 01-02-2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Hmm. You must bit a bit of a philosopher. I am not concered with why I am here in this instance. Keep phil out of it. When animals or people meet in confrontation, they do not debate phil.
And yet there is entire body of thought devoted to that as a first premise, Ego face to face with Other, and all that flows from that. Emmanuel Levinas especailly examined this as did late Pope John Paul II, in other contexts. Both are part of the phenomenology movement which begins from experience, which is primary, and thought (Cartesianism) is secondary, and knowledge of Being (ontology) is derivative. Experience is primary and counts more than thought, although thought is also part of experience. It is not a trivial body of work for discussions such as these.

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Aiki is a trained skill. The animals have their place and in nature, we have lost ours. Learning aiki is not an attempt to return to the raw, rather, it is a new skill that is more conscious in that it has been developed/taught/learned. Learning aiki is an attempt to become more martial - takemusu etc. -- it is more refined than raw nature, it is alive, not dancing in kata.
Little to disagree with here -- except that the point of learning the skill of aiki consciously is to make it unconscious, intuitive and instinctive. You really should read Levinas. He experienced surviving as a Jewish conscripted French Army POW in Nazi Germany, perversely saved from death by the Geneva convention, whose wife and child were sheltered and saved by the Church, while his wife's mother disappeared into the camps and his own father and brothers were murdered by the SS. His thought is not idle on the keener issues of confrontation.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
The animals have their place and in nature, we have lost ours.
Have we really?

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:28 PM   #11
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Re: Takemusu

I certainly think as whole societies, we are not in touch with nature, or don't have a full understanding of it, or we ignore 2nd, 3rd or 4th Orders of effects. We focus much on short order gains with disregard for long term effects. Sometimes (most) out of ignorance of what the impacts may be.

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Old 01-03-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Most people who try to be Ghandi end up dead - he was just very lucky.
EVERYONE ends up dead.
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:10 PM   #13
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I certainly think as whole societies, we are not in touch with nature, or don't have a full understanding of it, or we ignore 2nd, 3rd or 4th Orders of effects. We focus much on short order gains with disregard for long term effects. Sometimes (most) out of ignorance of what the impacts may be.
And there are other creatures in nature that are in touch and understand these impacts?

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:18 PM   #14
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Re: Takemusu

No.

which is back to my orignial premise as to why I did not consider this a good example (harmony in nature) as being aiki.

Humans have the ability to have conscious thought, they have the ability to understand and consider impacts of actions we take whereas animals do not, they simply do what they do because it benefits them in some way either through instincts or through learned behavior.

The difference being that they do not have the ability to consider exsitensially. As far as I know they do not reason consciously and consider their presences, actions, or impacts...they simply do.

Humans on the other hand have that ability.

We could argue, and I have in the past, the humans too act in their own self interest. that is, there is no such thing as altruism.

Even if this is the case, we have the potential and the ability for the most part to transcend "just do", and choose actions based on conscious thought.

Sure the transcendental process is still "what's in it for me" I'd argue that as well, as simply feeling good about what you are doing, is a personal benefit.

Anyway, yes I agree that many times we simply are not in touch or understand our impacts. Many times it is in just simple ignorance of the facts.

We used to put lead in paint and gas because it helped the process of manufacturing/quality what not. Now we know the harm that it causes...so we don't.

The key to me is not what we don't know, it is what we know and fail to recognize or remain in denial about, or outright say "so what!" that matters.

it also matters that we should always approach every interaction, action, situatoin with consideratoin of how what we do might affect another or the world.

This simple fact is what makes humans special. Not superior, I think, not controlling, but unique and special, it is a gift that we should be trying to capitalize on, unfortunately much of the time we do not!

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:12 PM   #15
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Re: Takemusu

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I certainly think as whole societies, we are not in touch with nature, or don't have a full understanding of it, or we ignore 2nd, 3rd or 4th Orders of effects. We focus much on short order gains with disregard for long term effects.
Seems to me that pack of wolves is pretty much not considering fourth order effects of getting hold of the caribou carcass. Frankly, I'd be happy if many people considered second order effects, since third and fourth order are pretty much not computable in any real system. For that there really is no substitute for experience and the wisdom that it brings, anecdotal though the sources of such wisdom must invariably be.

For me it seems that takemusu aiki particularly is a fruit of such long experience alone, and that the experience is what makes the generalized sense of likely second and third order paths narrow enough for action to be practically adaptive (while still never becoming predictive).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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