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Old 02-07-2002, 07:53 AM   #1
Ghost Fox
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Martial artist / Aikidoka

Do you think it is possible to be an aikidoka without being a martial artist, and is it possible to be a great aikidoka without being a martial artist?

What's the difference between an aikidoka and a martial artist and where is there overlap and divergence?

Just wondering.

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Old 02-07-2002, 08:14 AM   #2
Chuck.Gordon
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Freaky! Re: Martial artist / Aikidoka

Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
Do you think it is possible to be an aikidoka without being a martial artist,

No. Though some far-fringe aiki-fruity aikidoka might LIKE to shed the martial aspects ...

However, if you shed the martial, you are no longer doing budo and aikido without budo is simply a form of dance. IMNSHO, of course.

and is it possible to be a great aikidoka without being a martial artist?

See above. And why the heck anyone would WANT to take the martial aspects out, I'll never understand ...

What's the difference between an aikidoka and a martial artist

Umm. None?

and where is there overlap and divergence?

Aikido is budo. Budo is martial. A practitioner of aikido practices budo, like it or not.

Odd question. Curious ... why do you ask? What do you think about it?

Chuck

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Old 02-07-2002, 08:31 AM   #3
Tim Griffiths
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No, no, and "necessary but not sufficent and vice versa".

Aikido is a martial art. This is not a grey area. Someone who does aikido is doing a martial art. Someone who practices a martial art is a martial artist, good or bad.
To say something else you have to twist one of the definitions so far as to make it unrecognisable, or useless.

Even Koichi Tohei made a distinction between teaching 'ki movement' and teaching aikido (although initally more distinction than he would have liked ).

You can do a physical activity that follows aiki principles, and that could technically be called aiki-do, but its not what is generally understood by the term, and it isn't aikido. You can practice what you like. Hell, if you lived next door to me I'd give you a lift to the club to do it. But if it isn't aikido, it isn't aikido.

Now, with a degree of sophistry, I could say that as there should be no conflict in aikido, and as 'martial' (of, pertaining to, or suited for, war) refers directly to conflict, then aikido is not technically a martial art, and so an aikidoist is not really a martial artist. I could say that, but I won't, because a) its silly and b) I would be wrong. I'm sure it doesn't mean someone else will, though.

Why do you ask?

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 02-07-2002, 08:34 AM   #4
jimvance
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Goose Feathers

Do you think it is possible to be a duck without being a bird, and is it possible to be a great quacker without being a bird?

What's the difference between a duck and a bird and where is there overlap and divergence?

Just wondering.

Mad Lib Editing by Jim Vance
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Old 02-07-2002, 09:33 AM   #5
Creature_of_the_id
 
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depends on how you limit your view of what aikido is and what martial arts are.
I have personaly experienced aikido more outside of the dojo in a non combatant way than I have inside the dojo.
inside the dojo I learn techniques, that is the martial arts side of it.
when I forget techniques then I am able to experience aikido. this can be applied in a martial form. The martial form is probably the most obvious demonstration of its principles as it shows in a physical, visible way what aikido is. but aikido is not limited to the dojo, aikido is not limited. the principles of non resistance do not have to only be applied to martial situations and physical violence, they can also be applied in any given situation.
they lead towards an experience that cannot be defined here on these forums.

I dont necissarily go to the dojo to learn aikido, I go to the dojo to learn technique and then through that apply aikido physically.

so yes, aikido is a martial art, but it is so much more than that. I can take the martial aspect out of aikido and still experience the principles involved, I can also ignore the principles and focus on the technique in aikido.

I think the answer to your question lies in whether or not you define aikido to be a set of principles or a set of techniques.

everyone will have their own interpretation, which is just as valid as my own. but this is what I have found from my own limited experiences.

thanks
Kev

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Old 02-07-2002, 10:50 AM   #6
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Well, if you go back to the founder's words, he said clearly that Aikido is the true Budo.
Obviously we are doing one of the most refined, sophisticated and modern martial arts. The true Budo is the one which preserves life not takes it away. It is by being able to cause damage but choosing not to that you can be a real Martial Artist.


Of course, Aikido is also the Martial Art which is most Law-friendly. By not causing damage, you stay away from jail

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 02-07-2002, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
Well, if you go back to the founder's words, he said clearly that Aikido is the true Budo..
No disrespect intended but I always found the true Budo statement to be a bit of salesmanship.
Quote:
Obviously we are doing one of the most refined, sophisticated and modern martial arts.
Well I happen to agree that Aikido is wonderfully refined and sophisticated although I might quibble about modern. I definately have a problem with obviously if by that you mean because of the above quote.

The idea of trancending destruction runs throughout much of Japanese budo.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-07-2002, 12:15 PM   #8
Chuck.Gordon
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
Well, if you go back to the founder's words, he said clearly that Aikido is the true Budo.

Wellll, OK, he said that. He also said a lot of other things that we probably oughtn't take exactly literally.

Aikido is _a_ budo. It was for Ueshiba _his_ true budo. It is not for all beings _the_ true budo. The challenge we have as students of budo is to find, each of us, our OWN true budo.

Obviously we are doing one of the most refined, sophisticated and modern martial arts.

Hoo boy. Have you ever seen really, really good judo? Takenouchi Ryu jujutsu? Kashima Shinryu? There are many budo out there that easily rival (and some, I might venture surpass) aikido in terms of refinement, sophistication, etc etc.

Aikido is a great budo, don't mistake me, but it is not the ultimate budo. It might be for _you_ and that's fine. However, to make such a statement: 'we are doing one of the most refined, sophisticated and modern martial arts' ... sheesh. Dunno, that's not even close to the mark, I fear.

The true Budo is the one which preserves life not takes it away. It is by being able to cause damage but choosing not to that you can be a real Martial Artist.

Sentiments found in MANY of the koryu and older gendai budo. There is nothing to be found in aikido that was not already found in the koryu and gendai budo from which it was synthesized.

Katsujinken/satsujinken had been around a long time before Ueshiba took his first judo lesson way back when.

Over the years, Ueshiba developed a fine budo, one well-suited for self-examination, self-improvement and (as a bonus) for self defense (on many levels). He took elements of many disparate things and molded them into a cohesive whole that suited his particular (and often damned quirky) personality and then offered that to the world.

He was no Messiah and his art is not Gospel. He was a funny, spiritual, grumpy, feisty, weird old man in his later years. He spent hours talking about bringing the kami into his body in order to do his aikido.

He went on lengthy diatribes about how his art took budo to a new level (well, hell, so did a lot of other old guys who were putting similar arts together).

Kano wasn't as spiritual. He was a highly-educated, internationall respected educator. His judo shows that influence. Kendo and seitei iaido are budo built by committee and that shows. Aikido was built by a man who was quite a brawler in his own right, not particularly well-educated, deeply influenced by a couple of very, very weird characters, who had visions, talked to the kami, and lived a very strange life.

To say aikido is the most sophisticated budo? No. Not even close. It is complex and deep, but there are other budo more complex, other budo offering philosophies that are just as sophisticated and valid.

Of course, Aikido is also the Martial Art which is most Law-friendly. By not causing damage, you stay away from jail

Please look at that statement very, very carefully. Aikido can potentially cause GREAT damage. People are hurt on the mat in dojo across the world every day.

Aikido techniques are not safe, non-violent, atacker-friendly. Using aikido technique on someone not trained to take ukemi can be disastrous.

Chuck

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Old 02-08-2002, 06:49 AM   #9
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tim Griffiths
No, no, and "necessary but not sufficent and vice versa".

Aikido is a martial art. This is not a grey area. Someone who does aikido is doing a martial art. Someone who practices a martial art is a martial artist, good or bad.
To say something else you have to twist one of the definitions so far as to make it unrecognisable, or useless.

Why do you ask?

Tim
First, Aikido is a martial art (budo). I wouldn't be so religously devoted to the art if I thought it wouldn't be effective (with another 10 years of practice . I really can't wait for those FORCE powers to kick in and the gods to flow through me (I'll save that for another post.) My question is not about the art but the artist.

I think the latest poll got me to thinking. If a person goes to an art class to learn how to paint and all he does for 10 years is through paint on the canvass (I know this too can be art in a abstract sense) and pound clay is he an artist? Even if he's enjoying himself and loves to go to class, does the fact that he can't paint a simple flower or sculpt a bust exclude him from being an artist?

If a person goes to a dojo and practices for 10 years without martial intent is s/he an artist ? I know people whos wazas are beautiful, who roll without making a sound, but there is no Thunder (for lack of a better term) in their techniques. Is this person a martial artist? Is a person who goes to the park and pracitces tai chi with a martial artist. I'm not knocking Tai Chi. Chen, Wu and Sun Style tai chi are quite effectvive, but are what the people pracitcing in the park a martial art. If a technique is done without martial intend and just for the beauty (I'm saying this is wrong) is it budo?

Please understand I'm not trying to knock anyone. I'm just trying to get things straight in my mind. I tend to get very focus on a thing and tend to exclude other peoples point of view.

Just another man looking for a better way.
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Old 02-08-2002, 09:06 AM   #10
Edward
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Hi Peter and Chuck,

The true Budo: What I meant is that since the founder of Aikido called it Budo and intended it to be Budo, so probably it is Budo To say Aikido is The true Budo is an exaggeration and I agree with you.

One of the most sophisticated....: Chuck, I never said The most sophisticated. I'm sure there are other sophisticated MA, but Aikido happens to be perhaps the most known. Honestly I've never heard about the arts you mention

Life preserving and law-friendliness: It is true that life preservation is the main theme for all Koryu arts, but it seems that aikido teachings emphasize this the most, I guess, not only in words but in practice as well. As for damage potential, it seems to me that Aikido techniques have been modified from their original jujutsu versions in a way to make them much less dangerous. I'm sure that a skilled Aikidoka can reverse this and use Aikido techniques in a damaging way if he wanted to. However, if Aikido techniques as taught and practiced were as dangerous as you say, half of the Tomiki Aikido practitioners would be in hospitals.

I just wanted to clarify my point of view.

Best regards,
Edward
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Old 02-08-2002, 10:58 AM   #11
Sid
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Thats like saying, "Is tai chi a martial art"?
or "is someone who does tai chi a martial artist"?

The answer, generally, is a profound no, because some idiot got hold of it and got rid of every last drop of martial intent.

Thus, most tai chi "master"'s would get severly hurt in a fight.

All I can do is pray that aikido doesn't go the same way.

sid
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Old 02-08-2002, 12:23 PM   #12
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You read my mind, Sid.
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Old 02-08-2002, 01:45 PM   #13
Andy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sid
Thus, most tai chi "master"'s would get severly hurt in a fight.
How long have you trained in tai chi? How many tai chi people have you challenged to a fight?
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Old 02-08-2002, 04:53 PM   #14
PeterR
 
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One of my Aikido sempai (personal interest sempai) also trains in tai chi. I once made similar comments about tai chi and martial intent and was soon corrected.

Quote:
Originally posted by Andy

How long have you trained in tai chi? How many tai chi people have you challenged to a fight?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-08-2002, 08:09 PM   #15
jk
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sid
Thats like saying, "Is tai chi a martial art"?
or "is someone who does tai chi a martial artist"?

The answer, generally, is a profound no, because some idiot got hold of it and got rid of every last drop of martial intent.

Thus, most tai chi "master"'s would get severly hurt in a fight.

All I can do is pray that aikido doesn't go the same way.

sid
I applaud your desire to present a strong opinion, but wouldn't it be more diplomatic to say "most of the tai chi I have observed/practiced contains very little martial intent?"

I'm sure you can find examples of tai chi with plenty of martial intent, if you are so inclined.

At any rate, doesn't the subject we're supposed to be discussing become a matter of semantics? As in what's your definition of an "aikidoka?"

Regards,
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Old 02-08-2002, 10:19 PM   #16
Sid
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Exclamation

Ok, slightly OT, but the end applies to aikido.

Quote:
Originally posted by jk


How long have you trained in tai chi? How many tai chi people have you challenged to a fight?

Regards,
Approximately 2.5 years, in both Yang and Chen style, under my aikido sensei, and an ex-chinese national champion(in forms).

I haven't challenged many tai chi people to a fight, but I have heard and seen some really disturbing things.

Firstly, that practicing a form( like a kata, a set of martial movements ), will teach you everything you need to know to defend yourself - which, from my own experience, does not happen.

Secondly, that pushing hands ( a tai hci exercise ), is the pinncale of tai chi self defense training. Nonsense - there are two person fighting sets ( known as san sau).

Thirdly, the emphasis on tai chi self defense, seems to be on pushing an attacker away. You can push someone rather hard using tai chi, but they will just get back up and hurt you badly.

I suggest, if youre game, to have a look at two sites -

Firstly, Peter Lim's excellent tai chi history site, where he mentions something called small frame practice - a martially
intended practice - and fa jin -bascially, how to strike an attacker in a relaxed way. Interesting how few ever mention this.
http://web.singnet.com.sg/~limttk/
Small frame - http://web.singnet.com.sg/~limttk/yshsmfr.htm

Secondly, have a look at Erle Montaigue's site. He teaches "Old Yang style Tai Chi" - in other words, tai chi with its full martial intent. Have a look at "The demsie of taijiqaun". http://www.taijiworld.com/Articles/demise.html
Before you dismiss this guy as a fraud, or something, I suggest that you have a look at what the Chinese Wushu Organization, in China, thought of him.


"One of my Aikido sempai (personal interest sempai) also trains in tai chi. I once made similar comments about tai chi and martial intent and was soon corrected"

Obviously, you can find martial intent when you look for it. But how many tai chi people go out, and and train in it? The same applies to aikido, methinks. You can ask most people who have done form work to give you an application, but has it been learnt to a point where it can be used properly, or is it a nice added extra?

While this might be a bit off-topic , i think that aikidokas should make a concerted effort to prevent this from happening. Look at this week's poll.

Thanks, sorry for the lack of tact,
Sid

Last edited by Sid : 02-08-2002 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 02-09-2002, 11:43 AM   #17
Sid
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Come on guys, don't tell me I stifled the topic. It has so much potential!

Sid
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Old 02-09-2002, 04:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
Hi Peter and Chuck,

The true Budo: What I meant is that since the founder of Aikido called it Budo and intended it to be Budo, so probably it is Budo To say Aikido is The true Budo is an exaggeration and I agree with you.
As a note, M. Ueshiba would never have said "THE true Budo", because there is no "the" in Japanese. He would have said "Aikido is true budo", which has very different implications.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-09-2002, 05:24 PM   #19
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Wink Just joined in this discussion

Martial artist and Aikidoka... Hmmm...

Now you got me thinking... both implies that I do it for a living... I don't make money out of either of them.

I have life outside of Aikido but I have accepted Aikido as a part of my daily life. Sometimes I do use the word Aikidoka loosely, just as someone that practices Aikido, but I can't call myself a true Aikidoka.

Everytime I go to an Aikido practice, I don't see it as just practice, I see it as a class where I learn new lessons. I would rather say that I am a "student of martial arts" specifically a "student of Aikido", and I will forever be a student that will never actually graduates no matter what dan grade I am in.

I don't think there any longer that many true bujutsuka/budoka anymore in the world today. For we live in a relatively more peaceful world where learning the martial arts are no longer seen as a necessity (did I spell this correctly?).


P.S. to Dagore-san:

I believe the martial values of Tai Chi have either been long gone or been kept secret by certain masters. Only the excercises survived for health purposes. When it first concepted, I do believe Tai Chi is a martial art.

As for how many people that learn Aikido to fight? It is sad to say, in my country, people that learn martial arts, most learn it for the fighting/combat values. People do get out there and fight, and what happens? Their frustration gets in the way, and it's not Aikido anymore, it looks more like freestyle wrestling (not even JuJutsu let alone Aiki-JuJutsu).

But what I am proud of, those who takes it for self defense values, have been pretty successful. There is a lot of confessionals from those who have delt with pick pockets, muggers, street thugs that's just looking for a fight, and even knife wielding angry mobs (this particular one is my sensei's personal experience).
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Old 02-09-2002, 10:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Li


As a note, M. Ueshiba would never have said "THE true Budo", because there is no "the" in Japanese. He would have said "Aikido is true budo", which has very different implications.

Best,

Chris
I agree with you, but this seems to be the standard translation since I've seen it in several places... I noticed that the Japanese usually add a lot of unnecessary "the" when they speek english probably because it's difficult for them to judge when and when not to use it. Same is true for Chinese and South-East Asian people. Maybe the translator had the same trouble

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 02-09-2002, 10:22 PM   #21
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Regarding the Tai-Chi issue, my personal opinion is that it is definitely a MA. You can see in Aikido that the most basic and simple techniques, the ones with the least martial intent, such as Kokyu Ho for instance, are the most benefitial ones. After practicing "meaningless" form diligently for ages, one becomes naturally a "master". Tai-Chi takes this concept at an even higher level since exercices are not paired. That's why "mastering" Tai-Chi takes a life time, but I have no doubt that Tai-Chi masters are highly efficient martial artists. Aikido and Tai-Chi are known to be internal MA, which efficiency looks doubtful in the beginning (the first 20 years or so), but in the long run prove to be superior to other more basic arts.

It is curious to notice that techniques which are directly meant for self-defence, and practitioners who put emphazis in their training on such techniques, instead of the more abstract but purposeful techniques, do not take go very far in terms of mind-body control, and technical over physical, or Ki ...etc.

Sorry for this very incoherent post. I hope you'll understand anything

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 02-10-2002, 12:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward


I agree with you, but this seems to be the standard translation since I've seen it in several places... I noticed that the Japanese usually add a lot of unnecessary "the" when they speek english probably because it's difficult for them to judge when and when not to use it. Same is true for Chinese and South-East Asian people. Maybe the translator had the same trouble

Cheers,
Edward
Most of the translations come from just a few sources and are copied over and over, perpetuating the same mistakes. In any case there's a danger in trying to analyze translated sources too closely because they can never completely duplicate the original.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-11-2002, 08:01 AM   #23
Ghost Fox
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Every morning thousands (if not millions) of people wakeup early in China and go to the park to practice tai chi. I doubt if after 10, 15, 20 years of such practice that can be considered a martial artist or properly defend themselves in a fight.

Tai Chi originated in Wu Mountain; the style was so powerful that tai chi chuan translates into Great Ultimate Boxing (in some definitions). The problem that arouse is as generations past and more branch schools were developed the martial aspects were removed from tai chi. The majority of people who practice tai chi today learn a style that is lacking in martial intent. There are a few styles (Wu and Chen Style) of tai chi around today that have preserved the martial aspect of the art. A matter of fact I was seriously considering studying under Master Ren an excellent instructor of Chen Style Tai Chi before deciding on aikido. The reason that so many people take tai chi lightly is that the vast majority of people studying tai chi study a form with little martial value.

What is to stop that from happening to aikido? Is it happening already?

Martial intent is not about being angry and wanting to kill everybody insight in order to prove that your kung fu is the best. It is like being a lion. A lion is a natural predator. It dominates all it surveys, and yet it does not go around boasting that it is a lion. It is at the top of its food chain (except for humans). It has claws, strong powerful muscles and jaws. It is aggressive without being angry, it kills without joy or remorse. It is a lion; it is a martial animal. My feeling is that many aikidoka think that it is wrong to be martial. That to be martial is to be violent and arrogant. There is nothing wrong with pride. There is nothing wrong with bleeding for your art. There is nothing wrong with trying to be the best.

Does the world still need martial artist? Is there a place for warriors and heroes in this world?


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Old 02-11-2002, 07:27 PM   #24
Mares
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox

There is nothing wrong with trying to be the best.

I know this is a selective quote and I'm not sure exactly what you meant, but I believe that trying to be 'The Best' is way too subjective and not worth thinking about. However, trying to be 'the best you can be' is a more productive and noble pursuit.
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Old 02-11-2002, 11:48 PM   #25
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Ai symbol Again...

You got me thinking again Lost-san...

Ah... so Tai-Chi originally came from Bu-Tong-Pai (Wu Tang Clan - not the rapper group). Anyway...

Now I see what you mean by differing between an Aikidoka and a martial artist. Your analogy of the lion as a "martial animal" interests me. But it is still an animal nonetheless. We humans are blessed/cursed with strong emotions. It is our strongest yet it is our weakest.

I try to keep a sense of honor, not pride. The word of my sensei that sticks to me even to this day is, "If I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor." (Not meaning killing myself or recklessly engaging a fight). I will bleed for the protection of the ones I loved, and I will bleed for my honor and the honor of my family.

Warriors and heroes? I know my heart cries out, but my body lays still.
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