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Old 02-02-2009, 10:18 PM   #26
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
We are not independent. We are totally dependent... on our teachers, on each other, on our environment... In fact it is not so much that we are dependent but that we are totally connected. Everything is connected. Virtually all of our problems as individuals and as members of the collective come from our ignorance of this fact and continued attempts to act as if it weren't true. The Founder saw Aikido as a practice that would lead us to a better understanding of this fundamental connection. Since we do not inherently understand this connection, the myth inspires us to go beyond our own limitations. The "myth" is how the reality of the great teacher lives on after his death to continue to teach and inspire.
George your a fountain, no a gusher of information and thought. There is allot you said worth discussing. But I would like to take a small part of what you said and expand on it.

Yes, we do depend on others and our environment but does it lead us to depend on a single human? A human that we default as having the right information and stuff. Faith, trust and myths, can be a tricky things, so are people who inspire us. That mixed cocktail can either be good or horribly bad.

For the bad, we see that make that cocktail in the likes of Jim Jones, common street con men etc. It is through out history that men like the Jim Jones lead people to their deaths. Those that followed Jim Jones and did drink the kool-aid willing did so because they believed he had the answers and they didn't question him. This has been happening through out history and yet people continue to follow people like Jim Jones, such as the Heaven's Gate. A suicide group who also thought their leader had the truth. In both cases the people where dependent upon someone else for guidance etc. If people where independent would they have ended their lives willingly?

Sure many people are searching for answers or something. I am included. But the question do we depend on another human like ourselves for answers or truth. Or, do we depend on our selves and own experiences.

Why can't we like O'Sensei find that connection why do we need him? How do we know he had the truth, the proper understanding or wisdom. George you came up with some ideas for that. Though stating it about O'Sensei's experiences, the purposeful myth, or faith answers why don't we question and just accept someone else telling us what things are. Things that they themselves discovered independently. When questioned I start to think how close am I to cult thinking about Aikido and O'Sensei.

That only happened, when I looked in the mirror, when I was questioned. If I hadn't been questioned, and then in turn questioned myself, would I know where I was heading or even if there is a line?

Once last thing. It is not a question of my faith being shaken, rather than the fact I impulse bought without question what O'Sensei said works and it was all that. Heck his skill was so impressive I figured he knew what he was talking about- like the connection thingy was correct, his writings being hard to understand and mystically poetic (metaphyics feel) meant it must be true, accurate, correct etc.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:57 AM   #27
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

George Sensei, thank you very much! It's great that you are writing a bit more again!
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:44 AM   #28
Alexandre Bull
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

As an Aikido practicioner, and this site is about basically Aikido, I would like to manifest that I felt a certain lack of respect when I saw this title in this thread , and I am participating to help avoid certain similar approaches in the future.

Of course, O Sensei was wise!!!! He was the Founder of AIkido.

If Aikido is the truth or not , this is another story cause it depends of perception and few have it. They misunderstand memory with real knowledge.

In essence Aikido teaches that we must grasp the laws of Nature and live our lifes following those laws, as part of it, accordingly. This is what O Sensei said all the time and this is his wisdon.
In a certain way this is what all religions says. There is one "O Omoto" a big origin...if one wants to call it God, Daishizen, Buda Nature, Yeowah, or Ala...neve minds these are just different names for the same thing expressed in diferente cultural ways.

It is a waste of time to keep arguiing using the mind and arguments to know if Aikido is wise or not!!!
Those that are using this process still did not grasped what Aikido is and are training wrong.

The thing is simple:

Or you feel that AIkido is true or not !!!

It is not with arguments, and phiolosophy that someone will really grasp what Aikido is.

Aikido is not a mental training , but the "Kokoro training" that envolves, mind, body, feelings and spiritual centers.

Forget logics and Classical Philosophy, in Aikido......it exists...but only after one grasps what Aikido is, not before. If one divide the truth using the mental process, the wisdon is lost cause it is unique.
Aikido can be understood by the mind only in the final of the process, when the truth becomes evident.
Kodotama let clear the the world of the truth is "I" dimension not "O" dimension (memory) in the way how this discussion is dealing of.
And "I" dimension only can be attained under training never discussing or arguing.
It is hard for people educated with the Aristotelican and Cartesian culture adopted in Western Universities, to undestand this, but Aikido practicioners must know that things is like that otherwise will never be really training AIkido.
Many people do not know why AIkido top masters says...just train , do not think.
I hope I helped those that are not well informed.
This is what I was taught by my sensei and I was lucky cause heard this since the first time I steped on the mat.
So I am in doubt if it is really a good idea that people without real mastery becomes a teacher. It can create many confusion.

Alexandre
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:11 AM   #29
Rick Berry
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Martial arts training is just that group or individual training. We are always bombarded with thoughts from others, whether they be verbalized or not. In the book "Conversations With God," a quote states: FATE, From All Thoughts Everywhere. I believe this. Have you ever had a crazy thought come to you that was so repulsive that you did not know how you could think such a thought?

The goal of martial arts training as I see it is to train your mind, control your ego and train your body in that order. In training your mind the goal should be to decide what is truth and usable and what is nonsense. Discarding nonsense. End of story!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:50 AM   #30
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Alexandre Bull wrote: View Post
As an Aikido practicioner, and this site is about basically Aikido, I would like to manifest that I felt a certain lack of respect when I saw this title in this thread , and I am participating to help avoid certain similar approaches in the future.

Of course, O Sensei was wise!!!! He was the Founder of AIkido.

If Aikido is the truth or not , this is another story cause it depends of perception and few have it. They misunderstand memory with real knowledge.

In essence Aikido teaches that we must grasp the laws of Nature and live our lifes following those laws, as part of it, accordingly. This is what O Sensei said all the time and this is his wisdon.
In a certain way this is what all religions says. There is one "O Omoto" a big origin...if one wants to call it God, Daishizen, Buda Nature, Yeowah, or Ala...neve minds these are just different names for the same thing expressed in diferente cultural ways.

It is a waste of time to keep arguiing using the mind and arguments to know if Aikido is wise or not!!!
Those that are using this process still did not grasped what Aikido is and are training wrong.

The thing is simple:

Or you feel that AIkido is true or not !!!

It is not with arguments, and phiolosophy that someone will really grasp what Aikido is.

Aikido is not a mental training , but the "Kokoro training" that envolves, mind, body, feelings and spiritual centers.

Forget logics and Classical Philosophy, in Aikido......it exists...but only after one grasps what Aikido is, not before. If one divide the truth using the mental process, the wisdon is lost cause it is unique.
Aikido can be understood by the mind only in the final of the process, when the truth becomes evident.
Kodotama let clear the the world of the truth is "I" dimension not "O" dimension (memory) in the way how this discussion is dealing of.
And "I" dimension only can be attained under training never discussing or arguing.
It is hard for people educated with the Aristotelican and Cartesian culture adopted in Western Universities, to undestand this, but Aikido practicioners must know that things is like that otherwise will never be really training AIkido.
Many people do not know why AIkido top masters says...just train , do not think.
I hope I helped those that are not well informed.
This is what I was taught by my sensei and I was lucky cause heard this since the first time I steped on the mat.
So I am in doubt if it is really a good idea that people without real mastery becomes a teacher. It can create many confusion.

Alexandre
Perfect. Beautiful. Thank You.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:23 AM   #31
Takuan
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Yes I agree. I would recommend everyone here train VERY hard for MANY years before questioning any of O-Senseis philosophies or myths. The beauty of aikido is that you learn by observing and "feeling" with your body, it's astonishing and wonderful that the art requires so little from our confused intellectual perception of life.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:40 AM   #32
JimCooper
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Comments like this just make me sigh. It is quite frustrating to read comments about "what science knows" from people who clearly misunderstand what science is.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The revolution of science, while great in many ways, caused us to throw out the baby with the bath water from the standpoint of traditional knowledge.
If you don't mind me saying so, that sounds very much like fuzzy "New Age" thinking. It results from a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is, and how the modern body of scientific thought got to be what it is today.

Science is a (rigourous) method of testing the truth of an hypothesis. That's all. All science started with "traditional knowledge". As people started to actually check whether all this supposed knowledge was true, they found that some of it wasn't. What was left was the basis of today's scientific knowledge.

Many people think that if science is to be believed, it must have an explanation for everything, but that is not true either. If it was, scientists would be out of a job. But what it does give, is a way of checking whether somebody's explanation of some observation is correct, to the limits of our current knowledge. It also therefore gives us a way of abandoning a poor explanation later if more evidence proves that it actually doesn't cover all the facts (which is significantly different from all of the world's religions - none of which admit to error in their dogma).

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I do not think that science has caused us to become independent individuals from a wisdom standpoint. Quite the opposite. From the Western scientific standpoint, if we can't find a way to measure something with a machine, it doesn't exist.
If you don't think that science has not helped us to become "independent individuals", you don't know your history very well. Perhaps you should consider the rubbish that people believed before the Enlightenment, much of which was foisted on them by the establishment (particularly the religious establishment).

And the idea that if something can't be measured by a machine then "science" thinks it doesn't exist is clearly wrong, as any psychologist would tell you. However, some things clearly should be capable of measurement, which is how we know ki is not a form of energy - it would be very easy to measure its effects.

And if anyone thinks I'm wrong about that, the Nobel Prize for physics is worth a few hundred thousand US dollars these days, and physicists would be ecstatic to find a new form of energy.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Science has no way to explain how Vladimir Vasiliev can mess with your nervous system to the point at which you can't stand up after he takes you down. Or how Mikhail Ryabko can merely touch you and you collapse into a heap. No explanation exists for how Okamoto Sensei can get you to shift balance from across the mat when you aren't even looking at him.

Science has no useful explanation for "enlightenment" or mystic union with God.
Actually, those are bad examples, as I suspect there are scientific explanations for each of those, although you may not like them (and of course, they may not be correct - feel free to disprove them). The Okamoto sensei one for example, I would think involves categorising the moved person as somewhat susceptible to suggestion (and yes, I've seen similar demos done by someone who explained that he did it that way).

But you are missing the point. There not being an explanation does not invalidate science in any way, it just means there is more to learn. However, "traditional knowledge" doesn't explain it either - if it did it would be part of modern scientific thought. Having an explanation is not the same as having a good explanation, let alone the correct one.

The process of advancement in science is pretty much the process of improving your explanation of particular phenomena. You get more evidence that throws the old explanation into doubt, you have to think of a new, improved one, and then prove that it's better.

To relate this back to the OP, the question of whether Ueshiba sensei was wise or not is easily settled. In some regards he was, and in some others, he was completely doolally (the Great Mongolian Adventure, for example).

And just because he was very good at performing a technique, does not mean his explanation of why it works is correct. There are some who think that anything a senior Japanese sensei says about his martial art must be correct. But that is also sadly not true (you should see the physics explanations in some of my karate textbooks - truly awe-inspiring in how wrong they are!)

You should always be sceptical, I think. This doesn't mean you don't believe anything, but it means you don't have to accept every theory or bit of "ancient wisdom" you get fed.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:13 PM   #33
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
it means you don't have to accept every theory or bit of "ancient wisdom" you get fed.
Em, ancient wisdom, yum!

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 02-03-2009 at 02:20 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:36 PM   #34
Mark Peckett
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

To quote Terry Dobson, who lived and practised with O'Sensei until his (O'Sensei's) death in 1969:

"What he (O'Sensei) did during [those] days was pray. That's what he did. He didn't go to the movies, or out on a date, or entertain a bunch of people. He just talked to God. His truth was that he believed what he was doing was the way to reconcile the world, to bring about peace."

That seems pretty damn wise to me, Philip; and following his path, Christine, has lead me to a life worth living.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:35 PM   #35
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post

Actually, those are bad examples, as I suspect there are scientific explanations for each of those, although you may not like them (and of course, they may not be correct - feel free to disprove them). The Okamoto sensei one for example, I would think involves categorising the moved person as somewhat susceptible to suggestion (and yes, I've seen similar demos done by someone who explained that he did it that way).
Actually, I think those examples are just fine. Your supposition that there are scientific explanations for each of the examples I mentioned is entirely unproven. If you want to provide the scientific explanation for what they are doing, I'd be pleased to hear it. But trying to disprove what I said by "supposing" that there is another answer doesn't cut it. And I don't need to disprove any theories about how things work, I am interested only in how to do them myself. If an explanation helps with that I am fine with it, even if it isn't scientific. And a scientific explanation that doesn't contribute to my being able to do it myself isn't useful for me.

When Okamoto Sensei did that to my friend, his back was turned and he was watching other students training. Saying that he was "susceptible to suggestion" isn't anything like a scientific explanation. And even if that was some sort of actual explanation as to what is occurring, it doesn't tell you one damned thing about how to go about doing it.

In many cases scientific knowledge simply lacks any explanation for how something works. Acupuncture has existed for a couple thousand years and modern medical science still has no adequate explanations for how the system works. It can be demonstrated to work, the Chinese had a systematic explanation of what they were doing that was effective but had nothing to do with modern scientific theories of how things work. For a long time Western doctors considered these things to be off limits for serious medical practitioners because they couldn't fit the system into their modern scientific paradigm. Now we accept that there is a realm of "alternative medicine" that medical doctors concede has validity even though we haven't a scientific, research based explanation for how it works.

It is the same with Homeopathy. The system has been around since the 1700's. There is an absolutely massive body of empirical validation for the system. But our current understanding of how biochemistry and physics works simply cannot explain how it works and, in fact, would predict that it shouldn't. But the system exists and persists because it works.

I am not anti scientific or anti rational. To the extent I can do so, I like to understand what the scientific basis is for things. But I deal all the time with things that have no scientific explanation. Not because science can't explain these things but because no one has bothered to study them using modern scientific methods and equipment. At some point I fully expect that someone will discover why these things work. What I am saying is that in the absence of that future explanation, there are other ways of talking about these things which, while perhaps being decidedly unscientific, can actually result in your being able to do something you couldn't do before; perhaps even didn't really believe anyone could do.

Scientists are no less dogmatic than anyone else. If you want pure science you'd better find a way to subtract out the human factor. Science is great for explaining how stuff works. It is not very good for explaining most of the stuff that matters most to us as human beings. In my opinion, trying to deal with Aikido from a rational and scientific standpoint would suck the life out of the art. It wouldn't be very interesting to me at all if that were all there is.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:37 PM   #36
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Perhaps a moment is needed to adjust things. With any good subject or topic it isn't without emotion. Hopefully it will not go down as a science vs. _______ thread.

I asked George, "do we depend on another human[in the case, O'Sensei] like ourselves for answers or truth. Or, do we depend on ourselves and own experiences [for that truth]." I said this because I wasn't sure if I was getting my concern across. I don't think O'Sensei "pushed' his beliefs on others or was fanatical like Jones, etc. But we tend to look to him for those answer rather than finding those answers out on our own. I don't think he was a spiritual leader as say the leaders of the omote religion, but people followed him as if he was. He was in fact, a spiritual man.

But with some posts I do find some people fighting to maintain the idea that he was a spiritual leader they insist to follow. I am not here to judge. Rather, it is about me not questioning my own actions of how I seen O'Sensei that are close to that of a cult follower seeing the leader. I depend on him for answers, answers that are just not there in that way. Am I turning O'Sensei into something he wasn't because of my impulse buying and not questioning myself? That is what I am asking. Nothing more or less.

I do have to agree with Cooper.

Last edited by Buck : 02-03-2009 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:38 PM   #37
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Perhaps a moment is needed to adjust things. With any good subject or topic it isn't without emotion. Hopefully it will not go down as a science vs. _______ thread.
I don't think it needs to. I straddle both camps. Science is many things but it cannot tell one how to be a good father, mother, son, brother, neighbor, or how to engage in conflict without surrendering one's humanity. Science tells us nothing of beauty -- and yet the hardest of hard mathematicians will tell you that beauty is an integral part of understanding the highest forms of math. There is no substitute for the elegant solution -- but one cannot describe elegance in quantitative terms. Aikido lives in both realms, quite happily.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I asked George, "do we depend on another human[in the case, O'Sensei] like ourselves for answers or truth. Or, do we depend on ourselves and own experiences [for that truth]." I said this because I wasn't sure if I was getting my concern across. ... But with some posts I do find some people fighting to maintain the idea that he was a spiritual leader they insist to follow. ... Am I turning O'Sensei into something he wasn't because of my impulse buying and not questioning myself? That is what I am asking. Nothing more or less.
O Sensei was very clear on these points, actually. He provided the chess board, the pieces and some rules, but the game is yours to play and make your own. He told Terry Dobson to "Find out for your self, " when Terry asked O Sensei his one and only question he ever asked about the metaphysical understanding. He told Andre Noquet, who was struggling with his own spiritual direction what he should do "You were born a Christian and raised a Christian. Remain a Christian. But if you practice my aikido a great deal, you will be a better Christian." He likened his art to Christ's teaching in their mutual basis in love, but plainly said that Jesus made a religion, while he had made an art.

"Train, train, train." was O Sensei's refrain. In fact, his visions tell us a few things themselves in this same vein. One, they occurred as a direct result of particularly intensive training. Second, they progressed from an image of identifying himself with another individual in spiritual form, to an identification with all mankind and all creation. This tracks the similar spiritual progression found in the Two Great Commandments "Love your neighbor as yourself" and the related but vastly enlarged sense of "Love God with all your heart, your mind and your soul." Consider them as stages of development and less as merely moral precepts.

Is that wise, then to emulate O Sensei, in what he sought and in what he says he found ? Each of us must respond in our own way. Each of us must fundamentally choose to be alone or to be connected. There is no other choice. There may be two (or more) stages, but there is no obvious permanent half-measure, either. The Way is no dwelling place. Ultimately, is there really any choice at all, or do we all just resist accepting it for a time? Maybe a longer time than necessary?

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-03-2009 at 11:44 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:45 AM   #38
JimCooper
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Actually, I think those examples are just fine.
Clearly, otherwise you wouldn't have chosen them :-)

However, there are explanations for why pressure points work (there are several, which one applies depends on the point).

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Saying that he was "susceptible to suggestion" isn't anything like a scientific explanation.
Actually, it is. If you want to know how suggestion works, then I can't tell you, because I don't know to any level of detail. But the information's out there if you want/need to look it up.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
And even if that was some sort of actual explanation as to what is occurring, it doesn't tell you one damned thing about how to go about doing it.
Well, it would if you learned how suggestion works :-)

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
In many cases scientific knowledge simply lacks any explanation for how something works.
I believe I already said that :-) There would be no further point to scientific research of everything was known.

But the "works" part is also a problem. Scientific proof is more rigourous than some people are prepared to accept. It is also quite strict about the difference between observation and explanation, which many people are not. So you get the "but I had accupuncture and I got better, therefore meridians and ki exist" thinking, which is quite clearly logically flawed.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Acupuncture has existed for a couple thousand years and modern medical science still has no adequate explanations for how the system works. It can be demonstrated to work
That's not strictly true. Some of it works, and some of it doesn't. Because one part of a system demonstrably works, does not mean you have to accept that all of it works.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
the Chinese had a systematic explanation of what they were doing that was effective but had nothing to do with modern scientific theories of how things work.
The Chinese explanation is nothing to do with modern scientific thought because the Chinese explanation is provably wrong. Like I said last time, any "traditional" explanations that are provably correct are now part of the scientific corpus (like the Archimedean Principle, for example).

Science didn't suddenly pop out of nowhere. It was (and is) a long process, and it developed in part out of what people now consider "traditional" or "ancient" knowledge (some of it isn't either, actually, but that's another topic).

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Now we accept that there is a realm of "alternative medicine" that medical doctors concede has validity even though we haven't a scientific, research based explanation for how it works.
You might accept "alternative" medicine, but that is certainly not the majority view of medical professionals. Certain aspects of certain treatments are effective, but most of any "alternative" medicine is not proven to be effective (often the reverse is true, they have been proven to be ineffective).

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
It is the same with Homeopathy. The system has been around since the 1700's. There is an absolutely massive body of empirical validation for the system.
There most certainly is not! Homeopathy is regarded as one of the worst of these "alternatives".

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
But the system exists and persists because it works.
There is a considerable body of scientific proof that it does not have any effect beyond the placebo effect (if people believe that it works, for some of them it will).

I'm sorry, but I still think you do not understand what science is about.

I have no issues with the rest of your post, just the section where you talk about science. I hear that sort of stuff so often (especially from Aikidoka - the art seems to attract woolly thinkers), and it just aggravates me when people get it so wrong.

It is especially troubling when it is presented by people who are respected for their knowledge in other areas (as you clearly are in this forum). Your influence is greater, therefore you need to be more careful than most with what you say.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:58 AM   #39
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
He told Terry Dobson to "Find out for your self, " ...
Thanks Erick, it was spot on. I have read so much from so many sources this one included, there is so much out there to read with all kinds of different views and opinions. I think it is easy to get lost. I think the worst thing to do is to turn O'Sensei into some kind of cult figure.

George, I understand your views on the importance on myth. I just see the misuse of myth as a way at not getting to the truth. I was schooled like many to see the world through science and not myth. FWIW
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:35 AM   #40
jwredel
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Curious, Is wisdom in questioning or answering?
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:44 AM   #41
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

I was also thinking, is there is too much weight placed on O'Sensei's mission. He was not a spiritual leader like Jesus, or a self styled spiritual leader like cult leaders. He did want change in society and in man kind. I don't think he organized followers like religion or cults do like that Japanese cult in Japan who used a deadly gas on a subway train. I think that came from those who followed him.

O'Sensei in the context of him being Japanese told of a spiritual experience he had. That experience changed his out look on life. It was metaphysical in nature and mystical. Maybe O'Sensei was more of a Japanese style mystic- his skill of Aikido mixed with that personal spiritual experience allowed him to believe he was a god.

I don't think that is too far out there considering many highly skilled rock musicans consider themselves guitar gods. And so do their fans, as we seen with Elvis, The Beatles, and as really pointed out by Jack Black, the actor, in his movies about rock and roll. Point is it is not uncommon universally to think of one's self as a god (have mystical powers, abilities beyond others), and than have that magnified by those who admire your skills and want to achieve that level of skill. Just as Jack Black worships who he calls the gods of rock and roll- his favorite bands. That in itself creates and perpetuates allot of misinformation, and damaging myths surrounding skilled people. I also think the term god is also used to say that someone has outstanding skill. The word god and super are interchangable in many occasion.

For me I when I think of O'Sensei being a god or referred to as that in anyway, it means super. I feel there is too much weight or seriousness put on O'Sensei's spiritual path and desires to where it creates a mindset where we don't question. He was a man, he was human, he changed is perspective on life. He was looking for something, and he looked to someone else, being dependent. Yet, he had an experience which was independent. None of that what O'Sensei said spiritually was unique or revolutionary thought. What it was, is that he had just come to that type of thought in his life.

Do we look to him for wisdom? I was watching a show with a "diet expert " talking head. While listening to her advice on losing weight, I looked at her thinking she had an eating disorder because she was sooooo skinny- skin on bones. Now I know allot of people took her advice because she was called a expert. And I thought dang, I almost impulse bought into what she was saying. If I want to diet I know what I need to do, don't I. Unless I don't have the ability in my mind and body that tells me to stop constantly eating so much because it is making me fat. I think in a round about way that is what happens with O'Sensei. I think really we all have the means to be independent, and O'Sensei should be an example of independence. Again, I don't think he said anything new, but rather showed that being martial isn't unchangable in the context of Japanese martial culture, it isn't a singluar dimensional thing as defined by past Japanese warrior culture. Instead of path to the after-life or a seat next to the divine.

Don't know for sure, it is my opinion, and own personal experience. Which I am not saying is wise.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:02 AM   #42
Mark Peckett
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Again to quote, this time O'Sensei:

"I want considerate people to listen to the voice of Aikido. It is not for correcting others, it is for correcting your own mind. This is the mission of Aikido and it should be your mission."

I don't consider O'Sensei to be a god, but a spiritual man, on a spiritual path and much of what he reported back from that path has been useful to me. Therefore I regard him as wise.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:15 AM   #43
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

I'd say one attribute I associate with wisdom is a certain pliabilty of thought and outlook, as opposed to a subsuming or polemic one often found in say, point-by-point refutations on the internet.

I'd say aikido generally has promoted a certain pliabilty in my outlook, for reasons I am not wise enough to fully articulate.

Guess O'Sensei was pretty smart that way.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:41 AM   #44
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I just see the misuse of myth as a way at not getting to the truth. I was schooled like many to see the world through science and not myth. FWIW
Do you think science can address the question of what wise behavior is?

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Old 02-04-2009, 04:29 PM   #45
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Curious, Is wisdom in questioning or answering?
It might have something to do with knowing nonsense when you see it. Both questions and answers :-)
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:32 PM   #46
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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I'd say one attribute I associate with wisdom is a certain pliabilty of thought and outlook, as opposed to a subsuming or polemic one often found in say, point-by-point refutations on the internet.
I'm afraid I can't resist refuting this point :-)
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:51 PM   #47
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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But the "works" part is also a problem. Scientific proof is more rigourous than some people are prepared to accept. It is also quite strict about the difference between observation and explanation, which many people are not. So you get the "but I had accupuncture and I got better, therefore meridians and ki exist" thinking, which is quite clearly logically flawed.
What we have here is a category problem. Chinese traditional knowledge is not science, but it knows things that science cannot yet prove and which nevertheless have efficacy and real effects. Chinese knowledge in its traditional form is a catalog of correlations. It understands the world in non-linear terms in which the effects are not proportional to causes, and processes are neither commutative, nor systemically isolable nor necessarily repeatable. As Twain said of the equally contingent processes of history -- things do not repeat -- but they rhyme. This is close to the Chinese sensibility of influences as a principle of understanding, vice logical "If A and B then C" causation. Japanese myth has a different function but a related mode of operation.

This is not to criticize the value of reduction, but to emphasize the value of whole systemic categories as a form of knowledge that science does not speak to. Scientific minds therefore occasionally tend, as you have done, to actively denigrate what they have failed to comprehend. It is not "non-sense" -- it is simply not "your sense." It is a prejudice, nothing more -- and we all have our own to deal with, of one sort or another. The result is to not take advantage of that rich body of knowledge and then use it to expand science.

You cannot say in terms of science that KI cannot be real unless you have first understood its traditional concept, and eliminated every category of Western understanding that might apply as being inadmissible. This has not been attempted, much less definitively shown. And, in fact, I KNOW what KI is is -- in traditional and in purely scientific formal terms -- and it is not what you think. I could tell you, but I am not an authority -- though science does not depend on authority anyway. Any good scientist requires his own satisfaction of the proof, not someone else's word for it. When you sort it out, let me know.

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The Chinese explanation is nothing to do with modern scientific thought because the Chinese explanation is provably wrong. Like I said last time, any "traditional" explanations that are provably correct are now part of the scientific corpus (like the Archimedean Principle, for example).

Science didn't suddenly pop out of nowhere. It was (and is) a long process, and it developed in part out of what people now consider "traditional" or "ancient" knowledge (some of it isn't either, actually, but that's another topic).
Science asserts evidentiary proof of linear causation to an acceptable degree of uncertainty. Chinese traditional knowledge does not do this -- therefore it is not capable of being "proved" "wrong" by science (and "probably wrong" is not a qualifier -- all scientific knowledge is, to various degrees only "probably right.") The only question about knowledge is whether it either true or useful. It can be either -- or both.

Like I said, it is a category problem -- your assertion that science proves this form of knowledge wrong only by first wrongly trying to assume it to be scientific. It isn't. That's OK. Please get over it. It has value in its own right. It can be placed in meaningful scientific terms if you so desire, but to deal with it scientifically you must first do this. To do this you have to carefully examine your categories and schemes of analysis, because they, too -- like the placebo effect -- can control the outcome.

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There is a considerable body of scientific proof that it does not have any effect beyond the placebo effect (if people believe that it works, for some of them it will).
See -- now placebo is one of those things that science labels only to dismiss, and yet cannot yet explain or understand, but it is an effect that can void the results of double blind tests because its effects CONTROL THE OUTCOME. You denigrate the power of suggestion as though it had no martial value. MArtial art is not about theoretic nicety but concrete action. To the contrary, suggestion is perhaps of supreme martial value because it provides access to defeat the mind of conflict -- without violence. That is supreme art in war -- or so the ancient Chinese guy once said, so what does HE know.

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Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
I'm sorry, but I still think you do not understand what science is about.
"Science" means knowledge, and while it is very keen form of knowing -- knowing is ultimately greater than proving linear causation -- which is all science attempts or purports to try to do.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-04-2009 at 06:02 PM.

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Old 02-04-2009, 06:09 PM   #48
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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George, I understand your views on the importance on myth. I just see the misuse of myth as a way at not getting to the truth. I was schooled like many to see the world through science and not myth. FWIW
A tool is only as good as it's user. "Science" has been used to justify all sorts of terrible behavior. The idea that by being scientific, one solves problems of ethics and morals or adequately addresses the need for spiritual meaning in human life just isn't true.

If you want to talk about Aikido from a science point of view, which is clearly the only one some folks are interested in, then you are talking about technique, and just basic physical technique at that.

That's why you have people subtracting the Founder out of his own art. They couldn't go there with him. But the Founder felt he had a mission, he created Aikido as a way to fulfill that mission. If someone doesn't wish to pursue that mission, that's fine. No one's going to make you. If you are happy doing the Aikido you are doing, just great.

But this issue of rational, scientific process vs spiritual, mythic, intuitive, values oriented process can't be resolved by simply coming down on the side of the "science" side of things. Science cannot provide meaning to my life, it has nothing to say about values, loyalty, honor, bravery, etc It simply does not address whether I feel connected or unconnected with others or even myself.

How does science address personal transformation? Certainly modern psychology has attempted to make scientific what previously was not approached in that manner but the success has been mixed. "Hard" scientists barely concede that psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy etc are even really science at heart.

Aikido isn't about becoming "objective" in the "rational" sense. It is about living in a non-resistant manner. It is about having an intuitive connection with the world around one, especially ones fellow human beings. It is about developing a set of values which through constant training become your default setting for the way you live your life. That's Budo.

"Connection" isn't a rational concept or a scientific principle. It can't be measured and quantified. It is a state of being, a feeling, something that exists both in the conscious mind and deeper on the intuitive level. Aikido is specifically about developing that intuitive level of understanding of things. The folks who think that this type of stuff is just a bunch of woo woo, New Age thinking are faced with the fact that the Founder fits the bill here. So you can subtract him out, as some have done. Some of his own students simply couldn't deal with the spiritual side of his teaching and they went off and created styles of the art which don't talk about it much. His son, on the other hand, tried to take the art in a direction that fulfilled the mission but didn't require folks to deal with the more obscure aspects of how his father looked at things.

I am not at all saying that you have to look at the whole art exactly as the Founder did. Shinto doesn't "travel" well in my opinion (not like Zen which made the jump to the West and was far more widely disseminated). But a bit of understanding of what the Founder believed can provide the basis for Western teachers to find ways to address the same principles through their Aikido that have meaning and benefit for their students.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 02-04-2009 at 06:12 PM.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:16 PM   #49
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Do you think science can address the question of what wise behavior is?
I don't know? I think there is a danger when people take a man then turn him into a myth that turns him into a deity. All of which is done in order to reflect their own beliefs and behaviors/themselves.

Wayne's world is another rock and roll movie that deals with rock gods. A movie where the fans make rock musicians into gods, and their music into religion.

Last edited by Buck : 02-04-2009 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:44 AM   #50
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Mr Burgess,

I have the thread and have a few questions & comments.

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Many of the people I talk to about Aikido and who are not involved with Aikido really throw this question at me often. After telling them superficially about the spiritual thoughts of O'Sensei they say, stuff like, who says O'Sensei knew what he was talking about. They are implying that I don't question him or his wisdom. They think I am make an assumption that his stuff is true and full of wisdom. I am a fool for not thinking he could be B.S.ing and I am fool for it.
Don't you think you were perhaps rather rash to tell them 'superficially' about the spiritual thoughts of O Sensei?

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That usually gets me thinking stuff like this. When we really get into Aikido do we just accept O'Sensei as being supremely wise, and he speaks the truth without question?
Well I have never done this and I have trained for 40 years now. I came to aikido after becoming fed up with competitive group sports like soccer and rugby and combined aikido training with long-distance running. I have always regarded aikido as an activity worth doing for itself and not for any further ends . So I have never regarded aikido as a 'way to the truth'. I have never accepted O Sensei as being supremely wise and that he speaks the truth without question.

Of course it is a 'way', not because it ends at a destination, which is 'the truth', but because it is completely open-ended, in the sense that you can become better or worse, but never reach the point when you can say, 'I have finished the journey: there is nothing more to learn'.

Actually, I used to argue about this with some of my teachers. You see, I have had a succession of teachers, all except one being direct deshi of O Sensei, and all different, and so I have never been taught to see the art through the eyes of only one teacher. This is sometimes regarded as anathema by those who think that aikido training consists in finding the right teacher and then entering a relationship of SHU-HA-RI. Are you familiar with these terms? They indicate possible stages in a training relationship with a teacher (not necessarily in aikido).

So, really, I can say that I have never been taught to see O Sensei as a fount of wisdom or truth. He was clearly a formidable martial arts expert, but also a man of his own time, and the way he expressed his vision for the world is quite alien to me. Of course, since living here I have the opportunity to talk to many people who knew him, but many of these, also, found the way he expressed his vision for the world quite alien, and they were Japanese--and much closer to him than me. I have only his discourses to read and ponder on, and supplement with as deep a study of the Japanese language and culture as I am capable of.

You can pose the questions that you have done of a whole load of Japanese founders of religions and martial arts, especially in Japan from the late Tokugawa period onwards? Was Onisaburo Deguchi supremely wise and did he always speak the truth? Morihei Ueshiba probably thought he was and did. Or Jigoro Kano? Or Sokaku Takeda?

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-05-2009 at 02:47 AM.

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