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Old 05-10-2003, 03:40 PM   #1
zachbiesanz
Dojo: New York Aikikai; Byakkokan Dojo (Toyama Ryu Battodo)
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Tattoos and Aikido

Anyone out there go so far as to get aikido-themed tattoos?

I'm in the middle of this one:
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Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 05-10-2003, 04:01 PM   #2
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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This is not really an aikido tattoo. I know some folks who have done 'aikido' in kanji really large - funny though, they all quit practicing after a few months. Well, most. I have a copy of the kanji 'ki' done by O"Sensei on my arm and my wife is still p---ed off. Who knows why we do these things?

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
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Old 05-11-2003, 12:27 AM   #3
zachbiesanz
Dojo: New York Aikikai; Byakkokan Dojo (Toyama Ryu Battodo)
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no, not aikido per se, but definitely samurai culture...

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 05-11-2003, 05:40 AM   #4
taras
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My mate has "Zanchin Do" tattooed near his heart.

I am not 100% sure but I heard that having a tattoo means something in Japan, something like you belong to a gang or some group or something.
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Old 05-11-2003, 09:21 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Quote:
funny though, they all quit practicing after a few months. Well, most.
That's a running joke in our dojo: If you want to get somebody to quit, have them get an "aikido" tattoo. We've had three people get tattoos, within a few months they all stopped practicing (one comes back on a sporadic basis, but nothing regular). It's made me afraid to get one
Quote:
I am not 100% sure but I heard that having a tattoo means something in Japan, something like you belong to a gang or some group or something.
I believe in Moving Toward Stillness Dave Lowry talks about a high ranking sensei in Japan who said he wouldn't accept students with tattoos. I don't have the book here so I can't look it up.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-11-2003, 10:53 AM   #6
Charlie Huff
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
I believe in Moving Toward Stillness Dave Lowry talks about a high ranking sensei in Japan who said he wouldn't accept students with tattoos. I don't have the book here so I can't look it up.

Bronson
It's my understanding that wearing prominent tattoos used to be associated with the yakuza (Japanese gangsters). "Respectable" people didn't wear them.

We have met the enemy and he is us.
-- Pogo
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Old 05-11-2003, 01:05 PM   #7
Keith R Lee
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I've met a few diffenrent Yoshinkan people with the Yoshinkan crest tattooed(sp?) somehere on their body. Heck, there's a nidan here at the Chudokan with the Yoshinkan crest on his shoulder.

Keith Lee
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Old 05-11-2003, 02:50 PM   #8
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Re: tattoos

Quote:
Zach Biesanz (zachrocksteady) wrote:
Anyone out there go so far as to get aikido-themed tattoos? (1)

I'm in the middle of this one: (2)
1) I saw too much doggerel English in Jp to want to see Americans reciprocating with kanji. Even if the tattoo artist gets it right, which he probably won't, it may still come off as very strange. A woman down the hall from my office had one on her ankle. I recognized it, pointed and said, "Woman." She was delighted that someone recognized it. She might not have been so delighted had she known that I learned it through the rote practice of seeing it on every other public restroom in the country.

2) Handsome. What's going to become of those subtle gradations in 10 years?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 05-12-2003, 04:36 AM   #9
taras
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how about body painting? An artist could do very fine lines, just like on the photo; but the picture will only stay on your skin for a few weeks. Then you could have something else.
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Old 05-12-2003, 07:23 AM   #10
Tim Griffiths
Dojo: Nes Ziona Aikikai
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Or the temp tattoos you can get from Jun's aikistore. They last about a week, or about half an hour of practice I got some to see if I would like the real thing - haven't found anywhere I'd like it that wouldn't look bad in twenty years...

There's also henna tats, they last about a month.

Tim

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 05-12-2003, 07:44 AM   #11
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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At the risk of pissing folks off here I go again!

Well, I am an old man and even my friends say I'm to damn conservative in my attitudes (leave out politics please). My son has a couple of tattoos and I love him. But where and when I was brought up observation told me and a hard ass DI taught me (when I wanted to join some guys and get a tattoo that said " Death Before Dishonor") that when a person did not hold a cretin quality they desired on the inside they had printed on the outside.

I know attitudes toward body art must have changes since my early formidable years. However old beliefs die hard if ever.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:40 AM   #12
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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Actually, I failed to mention the dragon on my other arm. This is the arm I could not show in public for almost twenty-five years. Yes, I agree with Mr. Hooker, but at the time I also believed in rum - the U.S. Navy way.

Thankfully, my wife married me despite the tattoo. But she made me promise to get rid of it. The surgury was waaaaay too expensive so she paid to have another artist cover the first one. Now its a dragon. A nice, young, perky, not what it once was, dragon. Good luck, Son.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:05 AM   #13
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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I think that first tattoo on Mr. Linden was not a statement of what the lacked inside but what he longed to be inside of. Young drunken sailors ar war do strange things!!! Thank good I was Army.

We both had an Aikido instructor that was also an old Navy man. He had a tattoo of a roster hanging by a rope on his calf just below the knee. He would go in to a bar and make an outrageous clam regarding his physical attributes and when others would scoff and lay their money down he would life his pant leg show them the tattoo take the money and hope the fight was not going to be to long. I sure miss him.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:15 AM   #14
ian
 
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I've often thought of getting a tatoo. I believe they are efforts to express oneself (a type of self-image projection). However it is unfortunate if, as always happens, that self-image changes. I'm wondering if, when I get older, I'll have no signs of my miss-spent youth to impress the grandchildren with.

I would be interested in seeing the Yoshinkan crest Keith - any photos (tatoo of not)? I didn't even know they had a crest (and isn't a crest a European medieval thing?)

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 05-12-2003, 12:20 PM   #15
KaitlinCostello
 
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Try henna designs. Henna only stains the skin for 3-6 months and is relitively allergy free. Up until about three weeks ago I had "spirit" in Kanji on the back of my neck (about 1/4 -1/2 in. in size. Gradually faded, but can be touched up at any time.

~~No smile is as beautiful as the one that struggles through tears.~~
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Old 05-12-2003, 12:31 PM   #16
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Hooker Sensei,

That was a keeper! I can see why you'd miss someone with that sense of humor...

As to tats, well...whatever floats your boat. Just try real hard not to get something silly.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2003, 12:54 PM   #17
Jim Sorrentino
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Greetings All,

I started getting tattooed in 1989 or so, 5 years after I started aikido training at Saotome-sensei's dojo in DC. Between '89 and '92, I acquired 10 tattoos, all in black, all by the same artist, Tom Beasley of Dragon Moon Tattoo (http://www.dragon-moon.com/). They are, in order of acquisition:

1) Biohazard symbol, upper left bicep

2) 5 kanji which translate as "The swiftly flowing stream can not wash away the moon." The kanji were an inscription on a book I received while practicing Uechi-ryu karate-do in Okinawa in 1981.

3) Crane tsuba, below left pectoral

4) and 5) Spiderwebs in a Japanese style on each elbow. The webs were done on the same day, and are based on inside cover illustrations from "Yoshitoshi's Thirty-Six Ghosts", by John Stevenson and Donald Richie.

6) Plum branch with blossoms, outside edge of right shin

7) Leafy bamboo, outside edge left shin. Both 6) and 7) were done on the same day, and were based on photographs of carvings on Japanese sword blades.

8) The Knight and Death Begin Their Chess Game on the Beach, upper back, from a production still from Ingmar Bergman's film, "The Seventh Seal".

9) Flames in a Japanese style, done as a sleeve on the left forearm.

10) Waves in a Japanese style, done as a sleeve on the right forearm. Both 9) and 10) were done on the same day, and were based on different Japanese woodblock prints. I've attached a jpg of these.

Initially, Saotome-sensei was quite unhappy with my tattoos, and used to insist that I keep them covered both on the mat and off the mat (in the dojo). As someone pointed out, tattoos in Japanese society often signify membership in a yakuza gang (Japanese organized crime), or the desire to join the yakuza. At the very least, a tattoo marks its bearer as "a nail that sticks up".

As time passed, Sensei gradually relaxed about this. It may have helped when his wife Patty got the Saotome family crest tattooed on her upper right arm, with Saotome-sensei's kanji, "Ichi Go, Ichi Ei" beneath it (Tom did this work as well).

In March and April 1993, I visited mainland Japan for several weeks, training at Aikikai Hombu and also several dojo in the Nara area. The tattoos drew a lot of stares, but most people did not hesitate to practice with me. I was refused service at a restaurant in Nara, however, and whenever I wanted more room on the subway, all I had to do was role up my sleeves.

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, bear the following in mind:

1) The tattooed area will need one to two weeks of really gentle treatment in order to heal properly and avoid infection. That means no grabs, strikes or falls on the tattooed area.

2) To maintain the tattoo, you must moisturize the skin every day. Use an odorless, non-staining moisturizer.

3) Don't get a cheap tattoo! The good artists are worth it. My tattoos have aged well, in part because of the skill of the artist. The better artists will have a waiting list.

4) Get a design that you really love. Over ten years later, I still like all my tattoos.

Good luck.

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 05-12-2003, 02:55 PM   #18
zachbiesanz
Dojo: New York Aikikai; Byakkokan Dojo (Toyama Ryu Battodo)
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Re: Re: tattoos

Quote:
Don J. Modesto (Don_Modesto) wrote:
1) I saw too much doggerel English in Jp to want to see Americans reciprocating with kanji. Even if the tattoo artist gets it right, which he probably won't, it may still come off as very strange. A woman down the hall from my office had one on her ankle. I recognized it, pointed and said, "Woman." She was delighted that someone recognized it. She might not have been so delighted had she known that I learned it through the rote practice of seeing it on every other public restroom in the country.

2) Handsome. What's going to become of those subtle gradations in 10 years?
A couple quick points on kanji:

-Yes, it's a little silly to get something in another language, and will be especially perceived so by someone who speaks/reads that language. However, there are two redeeming aspects. One is that kanji is beautiful. I mean, really, in our culture of rigid 90-degree angles, brushstrokes look refreshingly nice. It just looks good. The other bonus is that most people who get kanji tattoos won't run into too many people who will be able to read them, so if they decide they chose a stupid word to tattoo on themselves, they can lie.

-Tattoo artists have a fairly severe motivation to get kanji tattoos right. There's already a legal precedent where someone sued their tattoo artist over a design that didn't mean what the tattooee wanted. The most amazing part is that the design was presented by the tattooee. For thise reason, many tattoo artists will only use kanji they have on hand (flash art) or something out of a book with a translation. I learned this when I observed that many people getting kanji these days are dumb white college kids with no japanese friends, and asked my artist whether he's ever considered giving someone kanji for "gaijin" instead of what they asked for...

As far as Oni-Kage goes, I'm not worried about the detail fading, because it's enormous. It takes up most of my back.

And now to call Karl and see if he has an opening for today... youch.

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:24 PM   #19
DCP
 
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I had thought of getting kanji tatooed on me. Then I thought: what happens when age and gravity work against me? Would a beautiful expression in my youth go limp and turn into "I'm dog vomit" as I age?

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:33 PM   #20
joseph totty
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I have a couple of tattos(one full and one half sleeve) as do several other people that belong to the same dojo. After I started training our sensei told us that the tattoos made our pressure points much more vunerable, I was just curious if anyone has had any problems regarding this. thank you
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Old 05-13-2003, 07:05 AM   #21
tlurie
 
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Jim -

I read you post with interest (I have two tats, thinking I just might have room for one more) and was thinking how lucky you were to have an artist you trust close by (mine were both done by an artist named Doc at Physcial Graffiti in Rochester, NY), and then I checked out your artist's website... I live in Laurel!!

Uh oh.



Train hard,

Thad
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Old 05-14-2003, 09:38 AM   #22
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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Dennis, remember our old friend also had port and starboard running lights on his legs as well? He used to say it refered to him knowing if he was coming or going...

Amazing that this thread has brought out so many of the truly decorated...

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:43 PM   #23
aikicougar
 
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reply

Quote:
Taras Poltorak (taras) wrote:
My mate has "Zanchin Do" tattooed near his heart.

I am not 100% sure but I heard that having a tattoo means something in Japan, something like you belong to a gang or some group or something.
Actually yes and no. I Japan tattoo artistry was an art form. It was passed on from generation to generation. Then for some reason, not sure why, it was outlawed in japan. That's when the yakuza began getting them as a sign of rebellion and because it was illegal. Hence tougher.
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Old 06-02-2003, 06:44 PM   #24
Jesse Lee
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido, formerly named Seattle Aikikai
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There is only one difference b/w people with and without tattoos -- only non-tattooed people care if you have one.

, can't find m s
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Old 06-02-2003, 07:39 PM   #25
Daniel Blanco
Dojo: Suffolk Aikikai
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TO ALL CONCERNED REGARDING THE TATTOO:

TO TATTOO IS THE FORM OF ONES EXPRESSIONS AND DEDICATIONS IN THEIR LIFE. IF YOU DIG DEEP ENOUGH YOU WILL FIND FAULT IN EVERYTHING. GETTING A TATTOO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TRAINING. I HAVE AIKIDO IN JAPANESE ON MY RIGHT ARM AND IT HAS NOT EFFECTED MY TRAINING IN A NEGATIVE WAY, BUT BECAUSE OF MY SELF CONFIDENCE IT MAY HAVE MADE ME MORE FOCUSED AND DEDICATED TO THE ART. I CONTINUE TRAINING REGULARLY COMING UP ON MY TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY. GETTING A TATOO IS NOT RIGHT FOR THE PERSON THAT WORRIES ABOUT WHAT EVERYONE THINKS. I RESPECT THE TATTOO ARTIST AS IT IN ITSELF IS AN ART AS I WOULD LIKE TO BE RESPECTED FOR THE ART OF AIKIDO.
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