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Old 11-07-2008, 10:44 AM   #1
Simone Chierchini
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Aikido Or Squash

Aikido magazines, leaflets and literature of every Aikido organisation, the Masters' writings, and, above all, the talks of the Aikido practitioners use to repeat the following sing-song, like a well tuned and conducted chorus: Aikido is not a sport. It is instead a high level spiritual path, which covers every aspect of the life and aims to improve the quality of the practitioners existence.

The function of Aikido as a path is what mostly interests Aikido people and attracts who joins our discipline for the first time. That is what differentiates Aikido from other activities in various fields, namely sports, philosophy, culture or religion. We all get upset when the outsiders mistake Aikido for a sport; no-one of us would like Aikido teaching to be confused with those of one of the many new born religions that are trendy today.

We are proud to feel within ourselves that the activity we have committed to is really being useful to our person, we reckon that it is helping us. Aikido also distinguishes us from other people unable to save a part of their day-time to take care of themselves, preferring instead to spend their spare time in less beneficial activities.

The above mentioned sing-song has a truthful and well-deserved reason to be. It is a pity though that like in all human things, between words and action everything is in the way.

In fact, if you really want to verify the reality of that sing-song, you will notice that amongst those chorus singers Mario and Pippo have to share their spare time between the activity A and B; every second time Gina is so tired that can just sit on the couch watching telly; Franco, then, just doesn't go to the training, even if he's not busy. The younger ones have the noble excuse to be in trouble with their home-work, though millions of school students have exactly the same problem....

Someone could rightly say, if Aikido is undoubtedly not a sport, it is also true that many Aikido practitioners are just sport-men, and they are different from body-building or basket-ball followers only in relation to the different kind of movements and techniques they engage in. For what it concerns the rest they are definitely the same. Actually, to be honest, there is a small difference: a football team coach will exclude from the team activity those players absent for more than three training sessions.

We could easily object that the first rule of Aikido practice concerns the acceptance of our fellow students, it doesn't matter in which manner they will manifest themselves. The laziness we notice in other people, what in them often annoys us, what we call in them defects, all that is a sort of mirror reflecting our own lacks. Notwithstanding, it is be better to remember that it is a shame to own a Ferrari car and drive it always at 20 miles an hour.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:13 PM   #2
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Simone Chierchini wrote: View Post
We are proud to feel within ourselves that the activity we have committed to is really being useful to our person, we reckon that it is helping us. Aikido also distinguishes us from other people unable to save a part of their day-time to take care of themselves, preferring instead to spend their spare time in less beneficial activities.
--> Mirror Goes Here <--

Quote:
The laziness we notice in other people, what in them often annoys us, what we call in them defects, all that is a sort of mirror reflecting our own lacks.
Masakatsu Agatsu.

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Old 11-07-2008, 09:40 PM   #3
Don
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

I disagree that the reason most people take up aikido is that they are interested in it as a spiritual path. They may COME to see that but based on my experience (14 years is a moderate timeframe) most people come in, see aikidoka practicing, seeing people being thrown more or less effortlessly around and are mostly interested in wanting to be able to DO THAT. They may be interested in it as a self defense art, or as a physical activity, but rarely have I ever talked to a new student who walked in and had them say "my I want to use aikido to develop myself spiritually". Just ain't so. Of course they didn't realize we are at least most of the time cooperating with each other, and only after a protracted time of practice can we "really" take balance and "really" effect the throw. If they hang around long enough to get there, then they may have started seeing the "spirituality" of it all.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:47 AM   #4
Simone Chierchini
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Don wrote: View Post
I disagree that the reason most people take up aikido is that they are interested in it as a spiritual path. They may COME to see that but based on my experience (14 years is a moderate timeframe) most people come in, see aikidoka practicing, seeing people being thrown more or less effortlessly around and are mostly interested in wanting to be able to DO THAT. They may be interested in it as a self defense art, or as a physical activity, but rarely have I ever talked to a new student who walked in and had them say "my I want to use aikido to develop myself spiritually". Just ain't so. Of course they didn't realize we are at least most of the time cooperating with each other, and only after a protracted time of practice can we "really" take balance and "really" effect the throw. If they hang around long enough to get there, then they may have started seeing the "spirituality" of it all.
I agree with you Don that a few people join an Aikido class because they want to emulate the seniors they see in action when they come to check training out. You must agree though that most don't come to check Aikido by chance, most of them have read articles, websites, books about it. Most people will check different martial arts ethos and philosophies BEFORE checking them out visually. There is no doubt that a large majority of beginners is aware of the fact that by joining Aikido they have the chance to get something more than flicking people around, if, as you said they stick around for long enough. My point was that too often the commitment needed is nowhere to be seen, while the typical Aikido-we-are-so-so-special-talk is ALWAYS there....
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
Simone Chierchini
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
--> Mirror Goes Here <--

Masakatsu Agatsu.
Dear Joe,

I don't get you. Can you articulate for the slow people like me?
Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:01 AM   #6
mickeygelum
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Mr. Chierchini,

Quote:
Aikido is not a sport. It is instead a high level spiritual path, which covers every aspect of the life and aims to improve the quality of the practitioners existence.
Everyone has an opinion and is entitled to it...I do not agree with yours.

Quote:
We are proud to feel within ourselves that the activity we have committed to is really being useful to our person, we reckon that it is helping us.
Depending on ones' perspective and goal, this might contradict the first section of your dissertation.

Quote:
...it is a shame to own a Ferrari car and drive it always at 20 miles an hour.
I absolutely agree!

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:12 AM   #7
Michael Douglas
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

This could be a wierd thread.
What is Simone trying to say again?
I'm a bit confused.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:25 AM   #8
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Simone am slow too, umm...correct me if I am way off in my response. Aikido has a montra to follow, with a touch of a mantra in it, where we are persuaded by the montra of "the masters" which is very strict that Aikido shouldn't be a sport. But, rather a means of spiritual development; a path. Spiritual has so many meanings .

Aikido is a Japanese muse, like playing an musical instrument, like dance, like writing, etc. A muse has a diverse and unique function which has benefits to the individual. The more dedicated to the path (as with any muse) the greater the reward. They have the internal talk with themselves figuring out how far they want to go. Due to that then, it is each individual who must judge themselves and abilities if they are satisfied or not with how far they travel because they are on that path alone. They, alone, have to decide and judge the results and what they make of them.

Aikido by it's nature than of a spiritual path verses a combat path is what is attractive to new and old Aikidoka. Because this path is a specific path carved out by O'Sensei it is unique. This unique path has something very attractive to those new and old Aikido. It has elements of spirituality; a higher being, leadership and personal development learned through the body that teaches the spirit (mind, mental discipline, attitude, etc) and is practical. Besides being a fun and challenging physical activity that is self- competition to better the self both physically in exercise and improving a skill, and mentally rewarding. And it has a different perspective on things that is intriguing to many. It isn't a path a team takes, but rather a path for the individual's development. You are challenging yourself, your abilities intensely. It is up to you what you want to do with it, how far you want to travel on this unique path called Aikido.

Aikido is a complex activity because it deals and focuses so deeply with the human spirt, spirituality, human development, etc. it attracts a variety of people for a variety of reasons with a variety of perspectives on it, due in part that O'Sensei's / masters words are often unique and abstract even in the Japanese langauge and thought. Most people try and make sense of it with the tool of finding something in their own culture that to them is relatively similar.

This doesn't happen in sports. Sports are games where there is a playing field, rules of play, etc. plus competition plays a major role. Sports are things like squash to chess. There are exceptions like rock climbing where it doesn't completely fit as a sport, but is consider a sport for some reason rather than an art. Aikido isn't a sport; Aikido can be and has been altered to be a sport because of its martial elements. Just as squash can be altered to be a form of exercise like an exercise class.

Aikido is a martial art, which takes from Japanese martial culture, like discipline, aspects of philosophy in training, organization, and other things like what you said, practitioners use to repeat the following sing-song, like a well tuned and conducted chorus. But there are no battles to be fought or won in Aikido on an external playing field, only on the internal battle field of the self. This is why Aikido isn't a sport, but a path. And has the issues it does.

Last edited by Buck : 11-08-2008 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:28 PM   #9
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Simone Chierchini wrote: View Post
I don't get you. Can you articulate for the slow people like me?
I suspect you're not slow so much as I am obtuse, Simone

You cannot see yourself as superior without creating something that is inferior. "I am on a spiritual path" leads one to see those who are not. "His practice is bad" only exists when you see your practice is better.

That's the mirror.

Masakatsu agatsu is the founder's "true victory is victory over oneself." Others have the "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" or variations. Zen folks have the path of saving everyone else is saving yourself first.

People come to aikido from different places. Ron Ragusa, in his blog here, cites what he calls the "transformative" properties of aikido. I agree with him in that if you sincerely practice (and I add, "and your teacher has some sense about him"), then you'll move in the right direction. It doesn't matter how you came to aikido, and you don't actually have to realize you're on a spiritual path to be affected spiritually. As a matter of fact, clinging to the idea of spiritual development can actually be as much of an obstacle to spiritual development as anything else.

Long winded---sorry. Make any sense? Anything I can clarify?

By the way, these are just my own thoughts and experience---don't assume I know anything

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Old 11-08-2008, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Don McConnell wrote: View Post
I disagree that the reason most people take up aikido is that they are interested in it as a spiritual path. They may COME to see that but based on my experience (14 years is a moderate timeframe) most people come in, see aikidoka practicing, seeing people being thrown more or less effortlessly around and are mostly interested in wanting to be able to DO THAT. They may be interested in it as a self defense art, or as a physical activity, but rarely have I ever talked to a new student who walked in and had them say "my I want to use aikido to develop myself spiritually". Just ain't so. Of course they didn't realize we are at least most of the time cooperating with each other, and only after a protracted time of practice can we "really" take balance and "really" effect the throw. If they hang around long enough to get there, then they may have started seeing the "spirituality" of it all.
Maybe not many, but that's why I came to it, FWIW

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Aikido by it's nature than of a spiritual path verses a combat path is what is attractive to new and old Aikidoka.... It has elements of spirituality; a higher being, leadership and personal development learned through the body that teaches the spirit (mind, mental discipline, attitude, etc) and is practical. Besides being a fun and challenging physical activity that is self- competition to better the self both physically in exercise and improving a skill, and mentally rewarding. And it has a different perspective on things that is intriguing to many....Aikido is a complex activity because it deals and focuses so deeply with the human spirt, spirituality, human development, etc...
Maybe that's why so many come to Aikido from other martial arts? And I would have to say that one of the best things about Aikido as opposed to other physical activity is that it's not a sport; that it's not competitive, that one isn't bullied into participation, and that lack of commitment is not punished from above but from within. For me anyway.

Last edited by Voitokas : 11-08-2008 at 03:22 PM. Reason: html flub

I am not an expert
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:22 PM   #11
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Phillip wrote:

Quote:
ikido by it's nature than of a spiritual path verses a combat path is what is attractive to new and old Aikidoka. Because this path is a specific path carved out by O'Sensei it is unique. This unique path has something very attractive to those new and old Aikido. It has elements of spirituality; a higher being, leadership and personal development learned through the body that teaches the spirit (mind, mental discipline, attitude, etc) and is practical.
What or who is the "higher being" you refer to?

Phillip also wrote:

Quote:
It isn't a path a team takes, but rather a path for the individual's development.
Ironically while it is somewhat individual in nature, you simply cannot advance without the help of others. I think this is the whole paradox and really one of the unique features of martial arts and aikido specifically, by it's nature, it requires a great deal of team work and interdependence in order to grow.

That is what we are supposed to learn from the art, that we are not individuals but interdependent.

Jeremy wrote:

Quote:
Maybe that's why so many come to Aikido from other martial arts? And I would have to say that one of the best things about Aikido as opposed to other physical activity is that it's not a sport; that it's not competitive, that one isn't bullied into participation, and that lack of commitment is not punished from above but from within. For me anyway
You guys must have had some really bad experiences with sports!

I came and stay with aikido to learn about ai-ki. Not the collection of techniques or moves.

Ai-Ki requires a different type of listening and different type of patience, you learn a great deal about yourself and your relationship with others. It is a purely physical process that requires you to slow down, feel, relax, and re-learn how to move.

I irony of it is, that for many, myself included, this also has mental and spiritual aspects as well.

as you learn the physical you can begin to see things differently than you did before, the physical develops the mental and can lead to a healthy sprit as well.

The key to and the irony of it is that Ai Ki is purely a physical practice.

If you chase the spiritual aspects or try and seek direct meaning from the practice it can be very frustrating and disappointing.

I think there are alot of folks out there in aiki-land that have a false sense of what aikido is about and how the spiritual aspects are developed.

True, the practice is unique, it is a physical methodology that attempts to lead to a peaceful soul or spirituality.

However, it's endstate is not unique and there are many ways to achieve a peaceful soul or spirituality. Church, Yoga, meditation...even through sport oriented practices....pick your poison.

So, IMO, when you look at it that way, that is, that peace, harmony, and/or strong spiritual development can be accomplished through many practices, it means that their is absolutely nothing special about aikido, except for the fact that the practice/methodology itself is unique in how it attempts to do this.

There is no "moral high ground" in the practice over anything else.

It is what it is...aikido.

if it works for you, that is great. I am perplexed as to why folks see the need to define other practices, martial arts, in particular competion or sports as to being somehow inferior somehow.

If aikido works for you in this area, great! For everyone it works for there are an equal number of people that aikido won't work for, that find their way...say...maybe through Softball.

Leave them alone and let them do what works for them. We need to go on and do what works for us...Aikido!

(I would refer you back to Joe McParland's comments on the mirror at this point)

I suppose that I have had some of my most transformative experiences doing some very physically challenging things that I did believe that I could complete. It just so happens that those things took place during a "competitive" process. That is having to be somewhere at a certain place and time or you failed. Or having to work as a team to move heavy things over great distances in a race against others.

The irony of competition is that in trying to beat a clock, or measure yourself against others, the real battle occurs within yourself as you fight to have strength, fortitude, and stamina to prevail.

Anyway, if competition didn't really matter in aikido we would not have test, mudansha and yudansha or even the informal hierachy and cliques that form within the dojo group.

Competition is alive and well in everything we do. To think that it is not present or that we somehow have a moral high ground over other practices is simply deluded thinking.

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Old 11-08-2008, 11:45 PM   #12
Buck
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Phillip wrote:

What or who is the "higher being" you refer to?
Man has this thing about God, gods, or other such higher supernatural beings. That is what that refers to.

Quote:
Ironically while it is somewhat individual in nature, you simply cannot advance without the help of others. I think this is the whole paradox and really one of the unique features of martial arts and aikido specifically, by it's nature, it requires a great deal of team work and interdependence in order to grow.

That is what we are supposed to learn from the art, that we are not individuals but interdependent.
You can advance without the help of others, I think others helping you is a good thing- if they truly want to help without a secret agenda to keep you down. Humans we do that kind of icky stuff. In the dojo others do help you, but ultimately you must help yourself before others can help you. You ultimately must walk the path alone. Your battles are internal and not external toward improving yourself. Others, yes, can support you, but you do the work on yourself. I think that is why those in the psychological field are keen on Aikido. Because Aikido is about working on the self. That is what I meant.

I see your point, and why you think that. Yes, we share knowledge, experiences, and be support by others, and that is why support groups exist, mentors etc. But I am focusing that the path we walk in Aikido being a spiritual one is an intimate walk. You may need physical therapy and the therapist can help you allot to work on the right things in the right way, to coach you, to motivate you, but ultimately it is you who has to overcome the physical and mental obstacles. You have to do the work to meet the challenge of healing and regaining your health. It can't be done for you. It's a personal internal journey, like Aikido is.

Thats all, and thanks for asking.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:26 AM   #13
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Thanks for clarifying your position Phil.

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Old 11-09-2008, 06:46 AM   #14
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
You cannot see yourself as superior without creating something that is inferior. "I am on a spiritual path" leads one to see those who are not. "His practice is bad" only exists when you see your practice is better.
Eh well. A quote comes to mind:

The Great Way is not difficult:
Jus don't pick and choose.
Cut off all likes or dislines
And it is clear like space.


- Tseng Ts'an, third patriarch of Zen

The simple act of saying, "I am on a spiritual path," does not imply a comparison with others; it' is a statement of what is, not a comparison.

With that said, however, I'm just not seeing this "aikido is a spiritual path" kool-ade being passed around and guzzled in my admittedly limited aikido experience. There are those who sell it and those who buy it, but I don't personally find it to be omnipresent. In the dojo where I train, it's nonexistent, as far as I can tell. We're also refreshingly free from other assumptions about why people train. This is nice because it saves us from a lot of second-guessing of ourselves or each other: why are we here? Do we have the right mindset? Are we being aiki enough? Am I more aiki than thou? Yadda yadda yadda. I'm heartily glad not to have to deal with all that.

Now, the whole "Is aikido a sport?" thing is reflective of something different, which I had thought was primarily a USAian thing: the need to understand any physical activity as a sport. We do tend to do this in our culture, I think. I don't think of aikido as a sport unless you redefine "sport" in such a way as to be uselessly broad. But it's a false dichotomy to think that aikido has to either be a sport OR a spiritual practice.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:23 PM   #15
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Eh well. A quote comes to mind:

The Great Way is not difficult:
Jus don't pick and choose.
Cut off all likes or dislines
And it is clear like space.


- Tseng Ts'an, third patriarch of Zen

The simple act of saying, "I am on a spiritual path," does not imply a comparison with others; it' is a statement of what is, not a comparison.
Don't discard the context. The phrase itself means nothing, but Simone's saying it (or whatever I paraphrased) did gave it life.

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Old 11-09-2008, 08:06 PM   #16
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Kevin wrote:
Quote:
You guys must have had some really bad experiences with sports!
Ha! not really - I've actually always enjoyed sports, although for me the joy is in the exertion and a well-played game rather than the competition. Although when you say
Quote:
Competition is alive and well in everything we do. To think that it is not present
, I do wonder if we mean the same thing by competition. I was mostly answering what I thought was the gist of Simone original post, which I took to be roughly "Aikido is spiritual but not a religion, and Aikido isn't a sport but I wish I could bench my lazy students when they don't come to practise"...
And maybe my reply was a little disingenuous, as I've been to some dojos that I thought were less friendly and inclusive than any sports team I've been a part of.
Quote:
I am perplexed as to why folks see the need to define other practices, martial arts, in particular competion or sports as to being somehow inferior
I hope I didn't give that impression! Many of us play sports, or engage in other MA's, or play the violin or whatever, and enjoy those activities as much as or more than aikido, right? And find peace and fulfillment in them, as you say. What makes aikido especially useful for me is that it is inherently philosophical in a way that many things aren't. That's all I meant. It would be weird to assume that other people do or should train for the same reasons I do

I am not an expert
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Old 11-09-2008, 08:36 PM   #17
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Jeremy, Thanks for the clarification. I agree about that the philosophical foundations of aikido make it extremely important in ways that many things are not. A wonderful methodology for helping us find our way.

I am only saying that there are plenty of folks out there that operate just fine playing sports, going to church, and doing other activities that allow them to have a spiritual and/or philosophical foundation. That is all.

Sorry did not mean to imply you thought otherwise. I simply meant to use your post to generate discussion on the topic. Sorry, again for the implication, I see now how it could be construed that way.

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Old 11-10-2008, 03:55 AM   #18
Simone Chierchini
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Hi folks,

glad to see that my first Aikiweb writing is generating some interest and I thank you all for sharing your thoughts.

I would like to point out though that you are generally missing my point, that NOT being whether Aikido is a sport or a religion or a war technique or a form of psycho-dynamics... there are a thousand different approaches to it and it would be ridiculous and pointless trying to do that. The beauty of Aikido is probably that in its greatness you can fit a thousand different version of it in it, totally disagree about what it really means and does AND be able to have a great time training together.

My point was that most aikido people are just great lecturers about aikido and not so great Aikido students.
You can suggest me to use all the mirror techniques you wish (that is private, anyone should do what their conscience suggests fit to do; in my writing I am the first to suggest that what we find annoying in other people might be inside us too), but it is a fact that when you decide to run a school, have hundreds of people and tens of dojos following your lead it is your duty as a teacher to lash at people who talk plenty and do little.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:10 AM   #19
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

What is the criteria for being a great aikido student? How do you measure it? How do you know when you see one?

If I understand what I "think" you are saying is that simply that in a dojo we should do more and talk less.

If that is all you are really trying to get across, then yes...I would generally agree with you. We do tend to try and use verbal communication to help others probably more than we should.

That said, folks do learn in three different ways, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Sometimes it helps to use words.

However, again, It think I see your point and I too don't really like it when you get a person that tends to use more words (auditory) versus action (kinesthetic) to teach or assist his patner.

Everything must be in balance.

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Old 11-10-2008, 09:11 AM   #20
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Simone Chierchini wrote: View Post
The beauty of Aikido is probably that in its greatness you can fit a thousand different version of it in it, totally disagree about what it really means and does AND be able to have a great time training together.
---> ? <---

Quote:
[...] but it is a fact that when you decide to run a school, have hundreds of people and tens of dojos following your lead it is your duty as a teacher to lash at people who talk plenty and do little.
You say aikido can hold 1,000 versions of itself within it. That is a very beautiful thought.

What you may not realize is that what you think of as aikido is just one of those 1,000 versions.

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Old 11-10-2008, 05:11 PM   #21
gregg block
 
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

This stuffs all to deep for me!
I got into Aikido to try to complement my years of being in striking arts (Tae-Kwon-Do, Boxing and Kickboxing)
I thinks it is serving me well in this complementary fashion making me more well rounded as a martial artist.
As far as the spirtual stuff, not why I enrolled. I do appreciate Aikidos spirtual component and respect those who have there focus there. Mostly though I go to church for my spiritual needs.
.Respectfully submitted
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:36 AM   #22
Simone Chierchini
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
You say aikido can hold 1,000 versions of itself within it. That is a very beautiful thought.

What you may not realize is that what you think of as aikido is just one of those 1,000 versions.
Thanks for pointing that out Joe.
Unfortunately you continue to miss my point.

It is not what you make out of Aikido that it is relevant for one's development.

It is what you really put in your training, long lectures about it aside. You are driving a Ferrari, nobody cares where you want to go with it but as a teacher you have the duty to teach the driver how to get there safely and possibly in a conveniently fast time. Then you have have to let the driver to the driving.

In my dojos though -and in my life- there is no space for the ones who drive circles around their front garden and say they are just back from the moon...

Last edited by Simone Chierchini : 11-11-2008 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:36 AM   #23
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Whenever I practise,
I try to be in control of the situation.

I try to be in the center of the play,
let my partner dance around me.

Partner needs to run,
so I can relax.

If partner has the center,
I follow the best I can.

If the opportunity arises,
I take back my place in the center.

Need to be aware of my environment.
feel where partner is going behind my back.

Read my partner's mind,
so I know what his next move will be.

Try to mislead partner,
make him think what I want him to think.

Learn the optimal body movement,
that generates the most force with the least effort.

The result is not import,
as long as we enjoy ourself.

I am better then my partner,
I adjust myself to his ability.

Not only my enjoyment counts,
I care about my partner's as well.

Have fun during practise,
a good laugh lightens things up.

Sometimes I play with someone better then me,
must not let the oncoming defeat get under my skin.

I trained with people that did not care about me,
its hard to relax and not get angry.

I must stay open minded,
so I can learn whenever the opportunity arises.

The game can be hard,
accidents happen.

The best part about the game,
is the shower afterwards.

This is what I learned in aikido,
and what counts for squash as well,
or was it the other way around?
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:12 AM   #24
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Simone Chierchini wrote: View Post
It is not what you make out of Aikido that it is relevant for one's development.

It is what you really put in your training, long lectures about it aside.
I'm not sure what the first sentence means, but I can't disagree with the last one. I think your basic point is an important one to make. It's easy to talk about the great things we're working on and far less easy to actually work on them. Talk is cheap, as they say. However, setting does make a difference: here, for example, all we can do is talk.
It's very easy to remain in our comfort zones...which is, I think , at the heart of what you're describing. Many people are simply too busy doing other things to spend a serious amount of time and effort on their Aikido (or any other discipline for that matter). Investing a serious amount of time into training demands a degree of sacrifice that varies from person to person. And, like you said, often enough people would rather sit in front of the tube than work hard.
The answer in my mind to both the demands of everyday life and the demands of serious training is discipline. Discipline to me implies not only "stick-to-it-iveness" but also organization. When we are properly organized, we can accomplish amazing things. I'm a good example of someone who can do more than I've been doing, but I'm also a good example of someone who's been juggling several demanding activities. I think I'm getting better at how I organize everything. Still, I can always do better, and my training is no exception.
...for what it's worth.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-11-2008 at 08:15 AM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:52 AM   #25
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Aikido Or Squash

Quote:
Simone Chierchini wrote: View Post
Unfortunately you continue to miss my point. It is not what you make out of Aikido that it is relevant for one's development. It is what you really put in your training, long lectures about it aside.
When I was a mathematician, I was passionate about mathematics. Within mathematics, I had my strengths and weaknesses in the different fields, but I did not lack passion.

So, when it came time early on to teach a core curriculum class---a class that many people must take---it was very frustrating to face people who lacked the passion that I had for math. It was even worse to see people who had the aptitude for math, but lacked the passion.

Where did my frustration come from?

I do not know why the students were there. I do not know who went on to become famous writers, artists, musicians, athletes, ... I do not know who learned something useful from me and later applied it. I do not know who, by virtue of their circumstances, came and had a difficult time, but perhaps later developed a passion for the material, perhaps becoming mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists, engineers, ... Who may have revisited because of their experience with me? Who may have tried again late after realizing I was just the wrong teacher for him?

Who knows?

Now, yes, it was my classroom. I had to be prepared, maintain discipline, present what had to be presented to the best of my ability, set a good example, grade according to standards, and so forth. All of that---being the best teacher I could be---was difficult enough at times, particularly with my own work, studies, research, family, and other interests (including aikido) weighing on me. Was my life so much different than theirs?

I am passionate about my sometimes role as an aikido teacher. I wonder, is my mind on aikido sometimes when it should be elsewhere? Do I pay enough attention to my wife, kids, friends, and other matters if I'm nearly obsessive about aikido?

Is that what comes from sincere aikido practice?

Quote:
In my dojos though -and in my life- there is no space for the ones who drive circles around their front garden and say they are just back from the moon...
Live in the way that is right for you. With that, I have never disagreed. Yours is one of the thousand ways.

[Personally, I do agree: When at aikido, practice aikido according to the best of your ability. That is part of what aikido trains.]

Last edited by Joe McParland : 11-11-2008 at 10:57 AM.

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