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Old 03-12-2009, 02:55 PM   #251
kironin
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

As long as I have known enough detail to make a decent judgement, I have always admired Tempu Nakamura Sensei and the example of his life set much more than Morihei Ueshiba Sensei.

of course given my organization, the only rose-tinted view of O sensei I was exposed to was through reading tales in books that Pranin has pretty much blown away.

whatever his foibles as a human being or the gulf in culture and another time, that's different than my appreciation of aikido in all forms coming out of his actions and those issei.

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Old 03-12-2009, 07:39 PM   #252
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
It isn't not what am saying at all. Why should we not educate ourselves well in Japanese culture and the way they think? Why shouldn't we question what we are told and test it for truth. Should we live in ignorance about something we are passionate about. Why is it important to believe in the myths and our own assumptions for the truth, for the facts. Doesn't that lead us down the wrong path? If you are going to walk the path of Aikido you might as well do it right.

I will never believe that O'Sensei was super human no matter how many students it brings in, and who propagates that, be they Japanese or not.

What do you fear by looking at Aikido and O'Sensei in the right direction, in the proper light, or O'Sensei as he truly was- warts and all?

I weight the truth over anything else, no matter how beneficial mis-information it is to whom ever.

George, I may have sounded somewhat in insensitive. Any good discussion broadens the mind, and heated debates are useful, but here I see no purpose for that. This discussion is to explore and look at really how O'Sensei was thinking, instead of making assumptions, or myths. For that awkwardness of mine and stuff, I apologize. Please understand if I sounded heated, I was in an hurry jotting down thoughts before work. That too I have an apologize for.

I was speaking in a broad sense and not specifically to you what you said, "many Japanese teachers [think] that foreigners can't really understand Aikido" . I don't feel O'Sensei felt that way either, otherwise Aikido would have stayed in Japan and never been an international organization, but even more than that, that statement doesn't fit with the philosophy or mission of O'Sensei in the loosest terms.

Education is something everyone can do. Everyone can seek the truth, we all can see how Japan and the Japanese think and function. We are able to grasp intellectual survey and figure stuff out about Japanese spirituality, religion, behavior, thinking society etc. without being Japanese. A good business must do it if they are are to be successful in business with Japan- allot of the time. Or those who work and live in Japan who are not Japanese.

You can understand and function in a culture and its society either through fact or myth. Some don't even want to understand, they just plug in what they want to see and how they see it.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:50 PM   #253
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Mark Peckett wrote: View Post
I've tried to answer the question originally posed by Mr. Burgess, i.e. "Who sez O'Sensei was wise?" several times and I feel that the question has broadened now. Mr. Burgess talks a lot about questioning the myths of aikido, and I think it would be useful now if he talked about the myths he feel need questioning, the ones he has questioned and rejected so that we can move this discussion forward or finally put a lid on it.
I am sorry that the discussion has broaden. George brought in the element of myth- it is part of the topic- and the discussion swung that way.

I will go back and re-read your posts, cause I don't remember you answers.

VERY IMPORTANT THING TO READ CONCERNING MY DISCUSSION ON MYTH
I am not questioning Japanese myths. I am trying to identify Japanse myths and how they were used and the effects by O'Sensei as a Japanese, in a Japanese way at the period of time inwhich he lived that have a role in Aikido,. Instead of pointing to and using the ones other people made up out of the lack of knowledge and understanding about Japanese, O'Sensei (as a Japanese) and all that stuff.

Last edited by Buck : 03-12-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:17 PM   #254
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Originally, at the start of this discussion. I was trying to identify the all the Japanese architecture, templates, models, plans and stuff (myth, budo included) that O'Sensei used to build the house of Aikido and his spirituality. It seems O'Sensei used a standard Japanese formula.

Any of us studying Aikido and wanting to know more beyond technique you come across gaps, and gray areas in your studies. You also come across mis-information. What is an such an Aikidoka to do? In my mind you go to the source. There is allot of information on Japan and O'Sensei at our finger tips. So why not go for it and get the right information. Part of going for it is questioning.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:29 AM   #255
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Got it - I think. Seems to me that we've got to separate a few things out:

First of all, the myths about O'Sensei. I'm prepared to take as read things that people who were actually there saw and reported. Of course it's possible that what they saw isn't actually what happened and you might argue that we should take a completely inpartial view and expect, like journalists, that each story about O'Sensei be independently verified. Since this isn't likely to happen, then I think you pays your money and you takes your choice. Some of O'Sensei's direct students were mistaken, or for whatever reason, they are lying, or they are indeed telling the truth.

As far as O'Sensei using myths, I believe that what he was trying to talk about was beyond concept - exactly the same thing that Buddhism attempts to directly perceive, that many religions through contemplation or meditation try to attain - and the language which we normally use is not adequate to explain it. Although this might be a slightly imperfect analogy, the same way that aspects of quantum physics can be explained in mathematical language, but are harder to explain in everyday language.

Therefore when O'Sensei explained things in terms of myth, we must use that myth to help us to try and see what he was trying to say or lead us to.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:06 AM   #256
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Hello Jen,

Many thanks for the response. I have made a few comments, from which you will see whether or not I have understood you fully.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,
Thanks for the fine post. I agree with your viewpoint (which is not quoted in this post, but is available up there a post or two ; follow the eyes.) that it is educational and functional to know the references and ,perhaps, the context of what one's teacher is teaching. I hope I got that right.
PAG. I mentioned Hiroshi Tada and Sadateru Arikawa. Tada Sensei speaks good Italian, I believe, but not English and when he comes to Hiroshima, he speaks in Japanese with lengthy explanations (with a white board). His seminar lasts two days with five hours training each day. He gives detailed explanations of the breathing exercises (from Tempu Nakamura), his footwork exercises, metsuke / eye contact, zanshin, etc etc. Similarly with Arikawa Sensei, who placed far more emphasis on rigidly correct taisakabaki.

In earlier posts you mentioned Motomichi Anno (Yes, I know you are one of the Shingu folks ). I presume that when he visited you in CA, Linda Holliday translated from Japanese. It has been my experience that translations into English for Hombu / IAF organized seminars has ranged from the barely satisfactory to the truly execrable. The translators--usually barely paid Hombu volunteers, do their very best, but they are not professionals and they sometimes have to strike a balance between being honest and being deferential to senior rank and 'shihan-dom'. In addition, the IHTBF doctrine (the finer points of aikido techniques are self-explanatory if one trains / observes correctly) tends to rule out making a large budget for translating.

The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.)

So, as someone who has a foot in both cultures, I ask you: do you get the whole of what Anno Sensei tells you? The omote and the ura? (If you say Yes, I shall be very suspicious . If this needs further explanation, please feel free to send me a PM.)

I should add, by the way, that we held the demonstration at the IAF Congress last year in the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Have you been there? We used the site of the old shrine in Oyunohara, with its huge torii. The shrine has an atmosphere which is really 'electric', just like the shrine at Izumo, which I visit quite often. The demonstration was organized with the help of Hikitsuchi Sensei's Kumano Juku, so I was able to meet some of the Japanese members of the Shingu Folk group.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I would like to comment on the quoted part of your post, ...I believe some American students who have trained in Japan and are now Sensei, have also come away with a way of being 'Japanese' that is aside from my own take on morals. They look like they're on the same page as you, publicly they may say they're on the same page as you, but behind closed doors, 'it's none of your business conversations' regarding policy and power are not on the same page. I believe this is an area of mis-use of cultural training and abuse of power when it comes to Americans who don't know they're having the cultural/moral wool pulled over their eyes. I don't know that it is always intentional, but I suspect it is terribly convenient.
PAG. I think it is terribly easy in aikido to be at least twice as Roman as the Pope, if not more. This tendency afflicts some who have lived in Japan, but not long enough to discern and appreciate the ura. And the ura is always there: you can never ignore it. In the Holy See that is the Aikikai Hombu, Terry Dobson was a Presbyterian, not particularly knowing or particularly perceptive (in a political sense), but a Presbyterian all the same. So he was eased out, with Kisshomaru's blessing.

But he had done his time in Japan and, from all I have read by and about Terry Dobson, I am still unsure to what extent he used his stay in the Hombu as a deshi as 'political capital' for his aikido activities after he returned to the US. Terry probably had more cause to use his stay in such a way than those who have lived in the Hombu for a year or two and then return home as someone 'specially trained by the Doshu' etc etc, when all they did was to attend classes fairly regularly. (I use the Hombu as an example, but this thinking can affect anyone who has spent some time in Japan specifically to train at some dojo or other.)

As for morals, well, if we confine ourselves to training, I think there is a difference between,

(1) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I can treat it how I like--all in the cause of training," and,

(2) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I have a duty to return it to you in a better state than it was before--all in the cause of training."

There is a large grey area here, but I suspect that many members here would think that we should train in Pattern (2). However, there are a number of people who believe that it is important to train according to Pattern (1). Why? Because they went through this experience themselves in Japan.

Then there is morality off the mat, which you alluded to in your post, but which I do not have the space to pursue here.

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I realize I'm drifting off thread, but the thread was already a bit adrift. And I realize this may not be exactly what you were saying, but I would appreciate your comment.
Would you be so kind?

Thank You,
Jen Smith
PAG. Not at all. Was this what you were expecting?

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 03-13-2009 at 08:09 AM.

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Old 03-13-2009, 09:14 AM   #257
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Matt,

I think you do have it.

The issue that I have with myth is the myths that are created around Aikido, because it doesn't lead to the truth. Myths that are created or those myths already in existence that are used by others in place of the truth. The truth includes what myths are used by O'Sensei, what architecture for communication he uses, how he communicates using layers of meanings and codes, and what is he getting at, where it is copied from, originated etc., including all the warts. Plus, questioning O'Sensei and everyone one else who takes about Aikido, even me. That way new myths are not created.

There are some books that have been around awhile that created more myths about Aikido then there is about Santa Clause. Some people questioned those myths and made what they found public. Allot of people didn't like it. They where enjoying the myths of O'Sensei and Aikido and stuff. It angered them to have someone question those myths they dearly loved. threatening the existence of what they believed, told to them by their Sensei(s), Japanese and not, who crafted the myth so well.

That isn't Aikido, that is someone else's stuff. That is fine if you know that. But, what isn't fine is if you think that is O'Sensei's stuff and it isn't.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:31 AM   #258
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

So Buck,

Separating the myth-using man from the man as-myth, was O'Sensei wise?

Regards,

David
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:00 AM   #259
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.)
Seals??!!!??? Cows???!!?? Udder posers.

It's the penguins, man. It's all about the penguins:

http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/aaark.htm


Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:15 PM   #260
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Jen, Many thanks for the response
Hello Peter, and you are very welcome. Thank you.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In earlier posts you mentioned Motomichi Anno (Yes, I know you are one of the Shingu folks ). I presume that when he visited you in CA, Linda Holliday translated from Japanese.
Yes, it is true. Indeed I mentioned myself as one of the "Shingu Folks". I 'spose I would like to modify that comment, at this point, by saying, I have trained quite extensively within the Shingu lineage, as well as others. I had the opportunity to be a close student of Anno Sensei's ,during his extended stays, sponsored by the dojo to which I then belonged. During those stays I was( forgive my "not so humbly at the moment") his favorite uke. He would often use and choose me extensively for demonstrations. He also taught some of my children's classes and I was fortunate to share many meals and car rides with him. During those stays it was Linda Holiday who mainly translated, although I did have the additional benefit of hearing translations from native Japanese speakers, such as Yoshi Shibata,the head of the UCSC Aikido program. The translations were indeed different.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The UK has had a strong tradition of satire at least since the 18th century and so we gleefully poke fun at kings and queens, senseis and doshus, in a way that would be utterly anathema here in Japan. Then I came across the Far Side cartoons of Gary Larson. I lack the technical skills, but I would love to make a Far Side movie of a Hombu / IAF aikido meeting / seminar, but with cows or giant squids as participants--all being badly translated. (I think someone did something like this a few years ago, with seals.)
Sounds really amusing. I'd buy it.

I think this a great place to spring from in terms of my experience with 'hearing' Anno Sensei. Funny enough, native people from this area(Cen Cal) are a bit different, like the English. We are not like the typical 'new age-y transplants' that seem to be springing up right and left. 'Non-native exotics, if you will. Native people here have a deep sense of satire and tend to take things in spirit and humor above literalism that is often forced down our throats. We have a belief system of our own, and that does involve hearing the essence, for want of a better phrase, of communiation. For example, when some people say, " Hmm,that's interesting." what they are really saying is, "Shut-up, I'm uncomfortable and I am afraid to say so." So, I get the humor/ cartoon aspect of your comments. Well said, if I may .

Back to Anno Sensei:
For me personally, and I'm absolutely sure this is not the case for many other people who were present at the time, the translations seemed to interfere in the spirit of the message that Anno Sensei was transmitting. I felt what he was saying in both my body and my heart, and when I acted upon that inner ear and made the adjustments I felt he was asking for, he was soundly supportive. When I checked in later with people who were following his words, they matched very closely what I had dicerened. More in the heart and the movement than the literal. That was my independent process. I know many others did not have this experience. Admittedly, I'm unusual.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury;226427So, as someone who has a foot in both cultures, I ask you: do you get the whole of what Anno Sensei tells you? The omote [B wrote:
and[/b] the ura? (If you say Yes, I shall be very suspicious .
Sounds loaded
But, here's my honest response. I never particularly relied on translations to 'hear' what Anno Sensei was 'telling me'. Since I was engaged physically with him, I relied on my body to absorb the teachings, both the hidden and the manifest. By doing it this way, which again is my native approach, I was able to allow him' in ' to the greatest of my capacity. His instructions to me, which were also sometimes communicated in writing, I endeavour to understand. Frankly, after years of form, I rely strongly on poetics and physical experience. But people often experience what I'm saying as ura, even in english.

I have many calligraphy that Anno Sensei has graciously awarded me. I meditate on their meaning even to this day. Some of the conceptual adjustments he instructed of me became both excruciating and perilous; I am still working them out. I believe this is relative to the interior aspect of the teachings and my openness to receive them. I suspect the Ura is involved in that. And I've got the scars to show it. But, in general, I guess I'm suspicious, too.

Anyhow, that's my stab at answering your great question.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I should add, by the way, that we held the demonstration at the IAF Congress last year in the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Have you been there? We used the site of the old shrine in Oyunohara, with its huge torii. The shrine has an atmosphere which is really 'electric', just like the shrine at Izumo, which I visit quite often. The demonstration was organized with the help of Hikitsuchi Sensei's Kumano Juku, so I was able to meet some of the Japanese members of the Shingu Folk group.
How wonderful for you! I have not yet had the experience of such a visit. I would like to see it and see the Shrine of O-Sensei that already exists in Tanabe. You are very fortunate!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury;226427PAG. I think it is terribly easy in aikido to be at least twice as Roman as the Pope, if not more. This tendency afflicts some who have lived in Japan, but not long enough to discern and appreciate the [I wrote:
ura[/i]. And the ura is always there: you can never ignore it. In the Holy See that is the Aikikai Hombu, Terry Dobson was a Presbyterian, not particularly knowing or particularly perceptive (in a political sense), but a Presbyterian all the same. So he was eased out, with Kisshomaru's blessing.

But he had done his time in Japan and, from all I have read by and about Terry Dobson, I am still unsure to what extent he used his stay in the Hombu as a deshi as 'political capital' for his aikido activities after he returned to the US. Terry probably had more cause to use his stay in such a way than those who have lived in the Hombu for a year or two and then return home as someone 'specially trained by the Doshu' etc etc, when all they did was to attend classes fairly regularly. (I use the Hombu as an example, but this thinking can affect anyone who has spent some time in Japan specifically to train at some dojo or other.)

As for morals, well, if we confine ourselves to training, I think there is a difference between,

(1) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I can treat it how I like--all in the cause of training," and,

(2) "On the occasions when we meet and train, you lend me your body/mind in the dojo and I have a duty to return it to you in a better state than it was before--all in the cause of training."

There is a large grey area here, but I suspect that many members here would think that we should train in Pattern (2). However, there are a number of people who believe that it is important to train according to Pattern (1). Why? Because they went through this experience themselves in Japan.

Then there is morality off the mat, which you alluded to in your post, but which I do not have the space to pursue here.
Good thoughts. I believe morality off the mat is important to evaluate as more and more dojo sell themselves on 'off the mat aikido"rather then rigorous, structured waza.

If organizational morals are not lined up with principled, movement of practice, it's just another way to 'get over on people.' as we say in the vernacular. But that is a big topic and I'd love to continue it in a different thread or context. I hope you will engage. I like your outside the box way of dissecting these situations. There's something to be said for being independent.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Was this what you were expecting?
Exceeded my expectations; thank you kindly, sir.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 03-13-2009 at 12:26 PM.

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Old 03-13-2009, 12:41 PM   #261
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
So Buck,

Separating the myth-using man from the man as-myth, was O'Sensei wise?

Regards,

David
Hi David,

Once we do the separation, dig through all the layers of misconceptions and throw them to the side, it is then we can say if O'Sensei was wise. To respect O'Sensei, I think you have to in order to walk that path correctly as possible the laid out. Now the issue I see in that, is that the path was designed and constructed from Japanese materials. Once the path was finished it was to be applied to the rest of the world. That is where things get more tangled, confusing, etc. for those of us who where no Japanese. The Japanese (others well versed in the Japanese) themselves I think find him difficult base on the wide spectrum of opinion etc., but less then the rest of us because they are more familiar with the Japanese stuff O'Sensei used build Aikido.

It is a Beacon not hard to understand that O'Sensei wanted a world of harmony/concord. But, is that coming from origins in the west or from Japan. I think because the Japanese have this thing about a social ideal, a community with an unanimous moral solidarity. Harmony or concord becomes the most important thing in a community. O'Sensei took that and stressed that to be an important message, goal, a part of Aikido.

Here is another way of what I mean by misconceptions. What if someone by intellectual default thought O'Sensei's poems are reflecting the Beat generation author's writings. What if they looked at O'Sensei's message as the message of the Beatniks. Or if a western sensei who was asked by question by an student, the sensei had no true information on about O'Sensei and tells the student that O'Sensei message or path is just like the Beat generation stuff. Both seen the same big picture for the world and method of change. What an awful mistreatment and offense to both and a huge use of misinformation.

Misinformation obscures the truth so much and is accepted without question. Like if a student, becomes a sensei, perpetuates the misinformation to his students. Then it is seen as fact. On that where do the students end up? Not on the path constructed by O'Sensei. They become lost- and that is a good way of saying it.

Yea, it is important to establish what myths O'Sensei used. And to evaporate any myths that surround him and those he didn't use. Even though he may have liked the idea he was made out to be a myth- a big ego builder- I think it is a flaw of his, if it is true. But, I think he wanted people to walk upon that path (a path that is old wine in a new bottle) and learn from it as he intended.


Last edited by Buck : 03-13-2009 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:43 PM   #262
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
PAG. I think it is terribly easy in aikido to be at least twice as Roman as the Pope, if not more.
WAIT! Wait. On Sunday the Pope was German. I keep missing stuff.

And Aikido! The Pope does Aikido!! Who knew?!?!?!

You've been holding out on us Peter.

"Peter?" (Hey, hold on a sec. ... )

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:44 PM   #263
C. David Henderson
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Hi Buck,

Sounds like the answer you'd propose to my question, then, is "maybe."

I think ultimately when we settle on a "story" of O'Sensei's life -- however documented, cross-referenced, and annotated we require it to be in order to avoid false, poorly founded, or misunderstood material-- and then ask the question I asked, and try to answer it, i.e.,at that very point when we ask about the meaning of a person's life, we are engaged in kind of "myth-making," in the first sense Peter used it rather than the second.

In that sense, the use of even an "accurate" story defines its nature as much as its content.

We can use facts that are biographically accurate and accurately understood to create a text.

When we look at that text and ask big questions about someone's life or character, then we're probably looking to that figure as a source of meaning about our own lives, much in the same way people always have told inspirational stories around their hearth-stones.

FWIW I personally feel my understanding of Aikido has benefited a great deal from the time I've taken to read about Ueshiba as a historical person. But I think that reflects my own peculiarities as an individual and the pathways I feel comfortable going down (for better and for worse). I'm not so convinced that it's necessary for other people to understand things that way in the context of their lives and practice.

My guess about the question I asked remains, "yes," BTW.

Regards,

David
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #264
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
WAIT! Wait. On Sunday the Pope was German. I keep missing stuff.
And from 1978-2005 the Pope was Polish..

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:34 PM   #265
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Dave,

Wow, I mean, yea, you can't force a horse to drink. That kind of stuff about people you said, are for me, the things for the philosophers to wrestle. I just want to share information I have come across and stuff. Like show the horse where the water is.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:28 PM   #266
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

OK.

Is the answer "maybe?"
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:30 PM   #267
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Sorry Dave,

The answer to your question is....(drum roll) ......it depends upon the person, as you said. But, first they have to question. Something I think should be as common as bowing into the dojo.

FWIW-
Getting informed on the essentials of Japanese culture, philosophy, and stuff isn't that difficult. Once that is done then we will have a better understanding of O'Sensei and Aikido, the path we choose to walk.

Now for those wondering if I think O'Sensei is wise? Yea, in the knowledge of the Japanese things he used to build Aikido.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:46 PM   #268
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:20 AM   #269
Mark Peckett
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

I think we now have to be careful about any myths that Mr. Burgess is now perpetrating, question his reasons for everything he says, the roots and culture from which he draws his opinions, in order that we can analyse the filter through which he makes his a priori judgements.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:11 AM   #270
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Mark Peckett wrote: View Post
I think we now have to be careful about any myths that Mr. Burgess is now perpetrating, question his reasons for everything he says, the roots and culture from which he draws his opinions, in order that we can analyse the filter through which he makes his a priori judgements.
I'm really sadden and disappointed by your response. Gee, I not good at the old child's game of King Of The Hill here on the internet, am not good at all. In America, and being an American, we don't have a King.

Matt, if we are not allowed the freedom to question, then what is the use? Do I believe the sky is falling? Should I believe O'Sensei had supernatural mystic powers? Should I believe O'Sensei wore flowers in his hair? All based on someone telling me so? Should I understand how others interpret it for me, or how I think it should be or want it to be- to reflect myself? Of course not, Matt. But if you would like to believe what you are told about O'Sensei without question, interpret Aikido as you think it should be, well I can't stop you.

I know now it really makes you uncomfortable what I am talking about. Like the discussing the Japanese things that are use to build Aikido, and making sure they are the right things. Like the Japanese language and it's purpose, and all its layers. Like Shinto from start to finish, what it means and how it functions in Japan. The political and social times that surrounded O'Sensei. All these things that where a part of O'Sensei as a Japanese. And all the those things that had a bearing on O'Sensei and Aikido.

I put the ways of science (as poorly as am at it) over the ways of folklore and tall tales. I don't want to see O'Sensei in a ridiculous and unrealistic mystical fantasy. O'Sensei isn't Harry Potter. And I don't want to be fooling myself and think I understand the path of Aikido and O'Senei when in reality I don't. I don't want to be thinking foolishness or buying snake oil. I don't need myth to inspire me. What truly is inspiring is the the truth. O'Sensei's actual life, his craftsmenship, his drive and inspiration. All those types of real things. Then I get a deeper appreciation and understanding, and I am not hung up a fiction life that has no nutritional value. I don't want the junk-food, I want substance that is nourishing to my proper understanding and growth in Aikido. Should I be attacked for that?

I want to understand the essentials of Japanese thought and culture so I have more of an accurate picture of the message of O'Sensei and Aikido.

Matt, maybe your the type to just accept what you hear and are told, and get uncomfortable when that is questioned. I don't judge you for that. I want to be able to know if personally if the information I am told about Aikido, is or isn't leading me on a wild goose chase. Similarly, it is like my training. I want to keep learning and growing in what I study, question and testing to find the real stuff. I don't want to think pyrite is gold. I don't want to waste my time or energy investing in falsies of any kind.

If you want to trash me for that some more, I can't stop you. But what I can do is offer you is knowledge.

Last edited by Buck : 03-14-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:36 AM   #271
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I'm really sadden and disappointed by your response. Gee, I not good at the old child's game of King Of The Hill here on the internet, am not good at all. In America, and being an American, we don't have a King.

Matt, if we are not allowed the freedom to question, then what is the use?
I know you mean "Mark" here, but I'm surprised your response isn't "yes! question what I'm saying and look to the contexts to understand my meaning." Without knowing the purpose to Mark's statement, to me he basically seems to be agreeing with your approach, though probably not certain aspects that might be attached to it. How is that different from what you're saying about the stories/messages about/from O Sensei?

Last edited by mathewjgano : 03-14-2009 at 10:41 AM.

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Old 03-14-2009, 10:47 AM   #272
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

First off, Phil, my name's Mark, not Matt.
Secondly, I'm not trashing you ... I'm trying to point out that as soon as you start questioning other people's myths, you start generating myths of your own. Science is a myth; it's an approximate understanding of reality which is constantly changing; an Science teacher I used to work with said "the trouble with Science is that you can always disprove it, whereas you can't disprove the existence of God." Of course, she was being ironic - as was I in my all too brief posting. But she knew enough to realise that Science also doesn't have all the answers - otherwise we'd all still be insisting the sun revolved round the earth, and doctors would be treating our humours.
Your questioning itself is being filtered through a priori judgments which are a creation of your own culture; so even your questions have not appeared mysteriously from nowhere, but are the product of everything you have seen, heard and experienced within your own culture.
Ultimately, everything could be interpreted as mythical as we are not seeing directly, which I believe is something O'Sensei was trying to lead people towards, but rather filtering what we see through all our past experiences and language.
So please don't take my ironical response to your stated position as an attack on you personally, rather as a broadening of the enquiry into the nature of the enquiry itself - rather in the nature of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."
Speaking for myself, nothing you have said makes me uncomfortable. Given my age and life experiences I'm not prepared to swallow any load of mysticism without question, but I would say that there comes a time when you must choose to say "This makes sense to me. I choose to accept it as an explanation of reality to defines the world as I see it."
Of course, something else may come along, as with Science a Copernicus might appear who says "Actually, the earth revolves around the sun" who will make me want to change my interpretation of reality, but you have to stand somewhere at some point.
As a sidebar, Copernicus himself is of course a myth, because it wasn't he who realised that the earth revolved round the sun, but 13th century Islamic scholars whose books Copernicus studied.
You are right to question myths, Phil, but it's also important to recognise that sometimes myths are what we have to use in order to define ourselves and understand the world we live in. As you point out, you live in America, and your politicians are past masters at drawing on the myths of your country in order to convince the electorate of their suitability, just in the same way as politicians in my country when they want to demonstrate their gravitas invoke Winston Churchill by imitating his particular, peculiar style of speech.
If you're going to question everything, then one of the things you have to question is yourself.

I
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:05 PM   #273
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Good stuff, Mark (Sorry Matt all the "M" names are look the same, I need to stop posting ...opps). In a nutshell Mark. 1. Yes, science isn't perfect and it creates myths. But those myths are challenged. Those myths are expected to be challenged. 2. It isn't about me. It is about approach to Aikido and O'Sensei. If I create myths I expect them to be challenged. But, I am not intending to create a myth through my search for the truth. No more then mapping the correct route to a destination. No more then playing a sports or a card game and wanting to know exactly how the game is played properly ( no house rules, etc.) of the game are. No more than that. Myth interferes with that. Myth was a primitive means of explanation that by extension has other powerful functions and means. Myth in the abstract (and as in science) is again the result of trying to explain what is not fully understood. Science doesn't stop questioning, right? Myth is accepted at its face.

Again, I just don't accept what I am told as the truth. I want to understand, I want to go farther, I want to dig, I want to discuss, I want to think!

I don't really want to get into a discussion on myth that drifts outside of the discussion topic that it is important to question, and see what the real stuff was that O'Sensei used to build Aikido. To include myth would be identify what Japanese myths O'Sensei used either intentionally or not. And among other related things. I am not really interested in discussing the importance or unimportance of myth and people's hyper-sensitivity regarding myth.

Can we now put this validation of myth stuff to rest. Because it would be more interesting to discuss how myth plays a role in Aikido, or how Shinto played a role in O'Sensei's vision and in Aikido.

Last edited by Buck : 03-14-2009 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:26 AM   #274
Mark Peckett
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

The point I'm trying to make is that although discussion of myth, particularly as it affects Aikido, is important, we must also remember all the myths that we bring to the subject ourselves, because those filter what we see. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and in cases such as Nelson Mandela, the myth can be changed to turn the terrorist into a freedom fighter. So by all means look at the myths of Aikido, but beware of the spectacles we are "analysing" them through.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:11 AM   #275
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Truth

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I don't really want to get into a discussion on myth that drifts outside of the discussion topic that it is important to question, and see what the real stuff was that O'Sensei used to build Aikido.
I'm not sure what you mean by "real stuff." Would you be willing to elaborate? It sounds like you're suggesting we parse myths into fact or fiction and I'm not sure how possible that is. It doesn't seem too far off from saying you want to take a koan and find the "real" answer.
Quote:
it would be more interesting to discuss how myth plays a role in Aikido, or how Shinto played a role in O'Sensei's vision and in Aikido.
For me myth is brain candy (Kids in the Hall refrence: it's not made from Monkeys!). I sit and think about the various stories I've heard and I process possible reasons for this and that. They're like all hypotheticals to me: fodder for my mind's "what if" function.
As Shinto relates to O Sensei's vision the only thing that comes to mind is that divinity is manifest through the material world and that a positive attitude and whole-system consideration is the ultimate goal. Taking that in conjunction with some remarks I heard translated as "put yourself in order; then your house; then your neighborhood; then your country; etc." to me means meta-cognitive efforts are the first step toward wisdom.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 03-15-2009 at 11:14 AM.

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