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Old 05-10-2009, 11:17 AM   #26
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I have pointed to this in many threads talking about original Aikido, and finding the origins of Aikido. I don't think it is dead, just purposely shoved under the rug and lost in the face of egos and gaining fame of others (the old pay-off in being samurai and samurai culture - to gain fame as being the champion - that still underpins Japanese martial arts).
WOW! That is a strongly prejudicial, insensitive and mean spirited thing to say about Japanese. Talk about a bizarre stereotype that seems to be alive and well. Don't you agree Philip.

David
 
Old 05-10-2009, 07:02 PM   #27
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
WOW! That is a strongly prejudicial, insensitive and mean spirited thing to say about men, it is insultive to me. It doesn't have anything to do with the discussion. Maybe it does, as it shows maybe Aikido did die with him.

Talk about a bizarre unhealthy fundamentalist streak or should I say stereotype that seems to be alive and well. Don't you agree Mary.
I'm thinking if she agreed she wouldn't have said it in the first place. I don't think it was about men per se. It was about people who, like you've pointed out, take superficial qualities and make them central to the practice itself...and since women can't grow beards (well, for the most part ), the subject had to be, "men."
As for Aikido ceasing to exist after O Sensei's death: I think it is alive and well. It may or may not be in as concentrated a form, but it's there for each of us to discover through practice if we take the opportunity to do so. I think Aikido is a generic term and while we usually mean Ueshiba Ryu here on Aikiweb, there are non-Ueshiba traditions called Aikido if I'm not mistaken (e.g. Nihon Goshin Ryu?). So I would guess that Aikido refers to a way based on aiki, which is a well-developed concept in and of itself. The thing the concept refers to exists regardless of how well the current people alive are practicing it. So to my mind the question isn't, "did it die?" It's, "how well is it being practiced today?" And it's a great point that's already been made which describes the fact that very few people today dedicate their lives in a similar way as O Sensei did. O Sensei practiced in a way most Aikidoka (i.e. aikido-ist, whatever) will never approach. Is that Aikido? In my mind, yes, but it's "same same, but different."
...The Aikido World According to Gano.
P.S. Happy mom's day to the moms out there!

Gambarimashyo!
 
Old 05-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #28
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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WOW! That is a strongly prejudicial, insensitive and mean spirited thing to say about men, it is insultive to me.
Oh really? How so?
 
Old 05-10-2009, 10:04 PM   #29
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

[QUOTE = I said] I have pointed to this in many threads talking about original Aikido, and finding the origins of Aikido. I don't think it is dead, just purposely shoved under the rug and lost in the face of egos and gaining fame of others (the old pay-off in being samurai and samurai culture - to gain fame as being the champion - that still underpins Japanese martial arts).[/quote]

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
WOW! That is a strongly prejudicial, insensitive and mean spirited thing to say about Japanese. Talk about a bizarre stereotype that seems to be alive and well. Don't you agree Philip.

David
I am not being anti-Japanese or xenophobic, or negative toward the Japanese. If you read about Japanese culture and history and how the samurai culture influenced modern Japan, if you have ever watch Japanese anime, and other stuff, you should see clearly what I am talking about. Knowing this stuff and how in relates, accurately answers the topic question in the proper context.
 
Old 05-10-2009, 10:10 PM   #30
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
As for Aikido ceasing to exist after O Sensei's death: I think it is alive and well.
Matt, you explained that very well. I do enjoy reading your posts and you have good insight, and lots for me to think about.
 
Old 05-10-2009, 10:59 PM   #31
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Oh really? How so?
Why the focus on men being so.... You said, I think you're right -- aikido has this bizarre and IMO unhealthy fundamentalist streak a mile wide. I'm just waiting for all the male aikidoka to decide that they need to that wispy O-Sensei facial hair to be doing real aikido.

Why choose that type of example, that type of analogy, that connotation, that connection to. The last part is pretty insulting. So unhealthy fundamentalist men then are the ones responsible for the unhealthy fundamentalist streak that is a mile wide, as you see it? Is your reasoning based on the fact that more men choose to practice Aikido than women, that men generally stay longer in aikido then women too? Why mention men in the first place, unless...! It is pretty clear to me it is a personal prejudice against men in Aikido. Men that you stereotype here very negatively and who for some reason are responsible for a predominately unhealthy fundamentalist Aikido as you see it. Something that is not the way you want it. Is Aikido too fundamental, too male? Something you wish to subvert, and say replace it with something more healthy and liberal say your pro-feminist ideals? Established in your words are underpinnings of prejudicial slighting all Aikido men.

The criticism reflects there is a double standard here, a reverse double standard. That in its self is pretty self-slighting. What? I can’t be offended by such slights and offending references that would be equal or greater in offensive to women, if said about women? Say Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima or Martha Stewart was used instead of O’Sensei. Or if not women, say color or race. Would it not be racist if you stated instead of all men, but “all black men” and used a well known stereotype of black men to replace O’Sensei? And instead of facial hair you referenced a facial feature or characteristic of the African-American race, say the shape of the nose, or design of the lips. Just because the details are different, the framework remains the same.

Please reconsider what you said and how you said it. PLS. provide me the same respect that you as a female on this board is awarded.

Last edited by Buck : 05-10-2009 at 11:05 PM.
 
Old 05-11-2009, 07:18 AM   #32
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Why the focus on men being so.... You said, I think you're right -- aikido has this bizarre and IMO unhealthy fundamentalist streak a mile wide. I'm just waiting for all the male aikidoka to decide that they need to that wispy O-Sensei facial hair to be doing real aikido.
You missed the point, Philip. Reread Matthew's comment above. If, after that, you still feel the need to feel insulted, I'm sorry but I can't oblige you, because there isn't anything in what I said to be insulted about.
 
Old 05-11-2009, 07:47 AM   #33
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Back to the topic for a second:

Helio Gracie gets (and deserves) as great deal of reverence for his contribution to martial arts. And while you have a great deal of disagreement in the bjj community regarding the sportification of bjj it ususally has more to do with current direction than with Helio's bjj or Helio's vision.

At any rate, it usualy does not end up as serious as the discussions around Ueshiba.

melior est canis vivus leone mortuo
Bog svsami!!!
 
Old 05-11-2009, 04:34 PM   #34
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Joe, I don't really get your point. And then I reread my post and thought maybe my point wasn't clear.

I think wondering "if" all the time in regards to what should be and should not be aikido, especially in relation to Ueshiba is a waste of time.

You basically get out of aikido part of what you put in. If we found out tomorrow what Ueshiba did some horrible deed, we wouldn't just reject everything he had ever done. So, for that, I think there is way too much hand wringing worrying about intentions we can never know.
[Sorry---I haven't been checking in as much as I'd like to...]

To the mystically inclined, I suspect Aikido is both an expression of their understanding as well as a path (or entry, or gate, or whatever) to find that understanding.

To these same folks, the understanding transcends culture, time, and so forth. This is to say that it is not locked-in to some old Japanese dude's WWII-era circumstances; you can find his understanding today, and you don't have to live like he did to find it.

It is unfortunate---from one point of view---that there does not seem to be a certified "you got it"-type transmission from O-Sensei to any of his students, though. That does leave things open-ended.

From another point of view, though, it's quite fortunate: There's nothing so dissatisfying as understanding. Satisfaction with your understanding often leads to no more learning, while continuous questioning of your understanding often leads to growth.

 
Old 05-11-2009, 07:41 PM   #35
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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It is unfortunate---from one point of view---that there does not seem to be a certified "you got it"-type transmission from O-Sensei to any of his students, though. That does leave things open-ended.

From another point of view, though, it's quite fortunate: There's nothing so dissatisfying as understanding. Satisfaction with your understanding often leads to no more learning, while continuous questioning of your understanding often leads to growth.
...and satisfaction that you do understand usually leads to not realizing why you still feel that there's something missing, and then to externalizing the reason why. If you feel that you get it (for any value of "it"), but you still feel something missing, it's easy to conclude that the fault is outside yourself, with the "it" in question -- so then you charge off looking for some other "it".

I remember a conversation I had once with a manager who told me, in a very confessional manner, that she hadn't really figured out "what I want to do with my life", and she was tremendously troubled by that. As I told her at the time, you never figure it out, at least not on the level she was looking for. Some people deliberately choose to live very simple lives: they devote themselves to one thing, and that's what they do, day in day out for their whole lives. The wise ones do so realizing that their one thing is not, and never will be, all that there is, that there will always be answers beyond it, and worthwhile things that they are giving up in order to devote themselves to this one thing. The wise ones know the tradeoffs and accept them willingly, and so can be content with a life spent in meditation, or on an island playing drums, or in any focused life. It seems to me that any "way" involves abnegation to at least some degree, and understanding and embracing that is critical to following any "way". I see value in that. I really don't see a whole lot of value in trying to endlessly interpret what someone said and extrapolate from it -- that's how you get from "thou shalt not boil a calf in its mother's milk" to "cheese is not allowed to touch the plate that has had meat on it".
 
Old 05-11-2009, 10:41 PM   #36
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Nope. Many of my thoughts on the matter have already been posted here.

But I was wondering...someone brought it up...what is the deal with the continual honoring of O'Sensei? His picture is on every shomen and he is spoken of regularly as the...I don't know, the ultimate master?

While of course I have great respect for his abilities and his teachings I never knew the man. And like millions and millions of great men and women over the eons, I never met them either.

I wonder if it serves a useful purpose to discuss a person at such length after their death? Once in awhile, of course seems fine. Or to help one grieve the loss of someone close who has passed.

But to foster and perpetuate a reverance for one who today's younger generation never knew and never even lived during said person's lifetime...I don't know what purpose it serves.

Today is now. I am now. My aikido and everything else in my life is now.

What is not now? Memories? I suppose.

I don't think I want a freeway or a bridge named after me. I would guess O'Sensei wouldn't want that either but then how would I know? I never knew him.

Why do we so revere folks who are gone? Why not revere so folks who are here?

Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Quiet Hank, my most revered friend in the right now, says the only reason he thinks he's going to die is based on being told he was born.

The shomen...maybe a better picture would be that of the chief instructor's teacher and if that person had passed then maybe a rotating photo of every dojo member or maybe nothing but the calligraphy or a cool photo of a mountain stream or whatever.

Did Aikido die with O'Sensei? I never knew the man but from what I've heard O'Sensei died with aikido. And maybe that's a legacy we can all share. Equally. And with reverance.
 
Old 05-12-2009, 12:04 AM   #37
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Nope. Many of my thoughts on the matter have already been posted here.

But I was wondering...someone brought it up...what is the deal with the continual honoring of O'Sensei? His picture is on every shomen and he is spoken of regularly as the...I don't know, the ultimate master?

While of course I have great respect for his abilities and his teachings I never knew the man. And like millions and millions of great men and women over the eons, I never met them either.

I wonder if it serves a useful purpose to discuss a person at such length after their death? Once in awhile, of course seems fine. Or to help one grieve the loss of someone close who has passed.

But to foster and perpetuate a reverance for one who today's younger generation never knew and never even lived during said person's lifetime...I don't know what purpose it serves.

Today is now. I am now. My aikido and everything else in my life is now.

What is not now? Memories? I suppose.

I don't think I want a freeway or a bridge named after me. I would guess O'Sensei wouldn't want that either but then how would I know? I never knew him.

Why do we so revere folks who are gone? Why not revere so folks who are here?

Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Quiet Hank, my most revered friend in the right now, says the only reason he thinks he's going to die is based on being told he was born.

The shomen...maybe a better picture would be that of the chief instructor's teacher and if that person had passed then maybe a rotating photo of every dojo member or maybe nothing but the calligraphy or a cool photo of a mountain stream or whatever.

Did Aikido die with O'Sensei? I never knew the man but from what I've heard O'Sensei died with aikido. And maybe that's a legacy we can all share. Equally. And with reverance.
I am not saying that Aikido is a religion or that O'SENSEI was a religious figure, but by your post you might as well place Jesus or Buddha or Muhammad, in the same light. They are gone so why do we revere them. Also Elvis is gone and he is highly revered as well
 
Old 05-12-2009, 12:11 AM   #38
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

If it does not matter if there is a picture or not, then let there be a picture... which, of course applies to anything in life, not just pictures of dead folks.

The single-minded study of doctrine and the single-minded pursuit of simplicity: are these things the same or different?

Abnegation... When you finally dispell all doctrines and dogmas, what do you do with the policy of abnegation itself?

I've heard that all "paths" are round-trips. Some aikido students work to perfect form, others the formless; some follow hard styles, others soft styles; some study the esoteric, some the exoteric. Some would say that the concern with the questions and the pursuit itself are the surest indicators that the student us still lost right where he is. So, if you're lost, choose the path that works for you.

 
Old 05-12-2009, 08:28 AM   #39
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Abnegation... When you finally dispell all doctrines and dogmas, what do you do with the policy of abnegation itself?
There is no "policy of abnegation" outside of doctrine or dogma. There is abnegation as a necessary practice, giving something up in order to get something else. There's a difference.
 
Old 05-12-2009, 10:42 PM   #40
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Howdy Joe, I've never been big on the "this or that" postion.

You know...the, "if it ain't this, it must be that" type of deal.

If one states,"Capitalism kills", does that mean they are a communist or a socialist or some other "ist"?

Maybe that person is simply saying, "Capitalism kills".

Abnegation...had to look that one up. To negate, the Webster's book reads. Especially in self denial, it goes on to say.

So your question regarding the dispelling of dogma and doctrine and then what does one do with the abnegation...whoa...Lots of presumptions, there.

Lots and lots. Zoned 40 units to the acre those lots are. Pack 'em right next to each other. No yards for the kids to run in, no windows to see the sky and the moving clouds 'cause the window of the building which looks just like yours and is a few feet away shows a view of pretty much what you see when you aren't looking out the window.

Nope. Never been a fan of the this or that. The yin and yang, the circle, the square, pentagram, the triangle...none of those closed up spaces. Maybe all of 'em trying to say one thing while resoundingly unable to say a thing at all except for, "This or That".

Of course I may have misinterpreted what you wrote.

But regarding doctrine...dogma...don't care much for it. It's all stuff designed to disempower people so that they may be subjugated by others.

Now mentorship...guidance...helping one access their own power to find their own way...whole 'nother ballgame. And the mentor or guide becoming mentored and guided by the whole process...yep...that's when we're rockin and we're way out beyond Thisorthatland.
 
Old 05-12-2009, 11:05 PM   #41
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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There is no "policy of abnegation" outside of doctrine or dogma. There is abnegation as a necessary practice, giving something up in order to get something else. There's a difference.
The belief that abnegation is necessary practice is a doctrine of one (type of) path.

 
Old 05-12-2009, 11:09 PM   #42
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Dan-

Your beliefs are this-es and your preferences are that-s.

 
Old 05-13-2009, 12:05 AM   #43
Janet Rosen
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Interesting thread.
I don't mind having a picture of OSensei up there and I don't revere him or ascribe anything supernatural to him; he is the founder of the art in which I train so it seems quite appropriate to have his picture on the wall. Any other significance is, well, in each of our heads and not implicit in the presence of the picture.
I was thinking about aikido as a living art since last night's class and may as well post relevent parts from my blog post :

There was a dojo in San Francisco, now gone, where I trained for a couple of months some years ago. It was not a good fit.The thing that really got me was that they had fossilized the art exactly where the black belt who had started the dojo left it. They were going to emulate forever exactly what he had laid down. So it didn't feel like a dojo to me, it felt like one of those houses where the kid moved away or died and the room was going to be left JUST SO forever. Their aikido was a museum piece.

When I was briefly able to train in Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo, one thing that impressed me was finding out that the current Soke (15th in the lineage) continues to puzzle over and explore the kata and periodically makes some revisions to them. This art is over 400 years old and continues to be a living art, thanks to the integrity of its headmaster.

This has been on my mind since last night's aikido class. Our instructor demonstrated some changes in how Sensei wished to see us do a basic shihonage. It was fun to play with and I left class appreciating a couple of things:

One was that there was a solid reason behind the change; that is, (as I understand it) an application of energy and of weighting that Sensei felt better exemplified the art and made it work more effectively. Another is that underlying the change is a continuing exploration on her part, and that in the process we the students were part of the feedback loop, that how we embody her teaching is closely observed and is part of the process.

This is aikido as a living art.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 05-13-2009 at 12:06 AM. Reason: remove extraneous formatting

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Old 05-13-2009, 10:26 AM   #44
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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Dan-

Your beliefs are this-es and your preferences are that-s.
Okey Dokey. I guess that sums it up.

Our discussion, that is.
 
Old 05-13-2009, 10:29 AM   #45
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

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The belief that abnegation is necessary practice is a doctrine of one (type of) path.
Please read what I wrote and speak to that, Joe. I didn't say that abnegation is a necessary practice; however, it is a fact -- not a belief, not dogma, not doctrine -- that you can't have some things without giving up other things. Many people nowadays want to believe that that's not true, but not liking the truth doesn't make it false.
 
Old 05-13-2009, 10:49 AM   #46
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Hi Mary,

Nice post.

B,
R

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Old 05-13-2009, 11:20 AM   #47
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Respectfully, Mary, I spoke to your point.

Cling to and want for nothing and you will have nothing either to gain or to lose.

 
Old 05-13-2009, 11:24 AM   #48
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From the movie I had on in the workshop last night... Blazing Saddles

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

Is everyone offended yet? Good. Now that *that's* out of the way...

Go train in whatever it is that you do. What you do is what you do. The rest is semantics. And even if you do care to try to answer the question, it seems to me each person's context within which the question is asked is so varied that it makes each answer wholly irrelevant to anyone else.

Now for those into epistemological trivia, a truly genius website worthy of intense study...

And on that note I need to make a decision. More intense navel gazing or go get some work done... Hmmm... What is that? Lint? Hmmm... Hmmmm. hmmmzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......

edit: Why, "yes", I was forced to read St. Thomas Aquinas in my undergraduate days. Can you tell?

Last edited by Keith Larman : 05-13-2009 at 11:38 AM.

 
Old 05-13-2009, 11:40 AM   #49
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Janet, I like your post, and I too prefer something of a more alive practice. When I was in the Army, though, we were trained via perfection of form. Wisdom, skills, and so forth can be found on either path. Moreover, each path has its trappings, especially if one is prone to "this & that" / "right & wrong" thinking; such a person may develop the thought that only this path is right, and that path in particular is wrong.

Not an accusation, BTW - just shamelessly using your post as a launch to clarify my earlier comments :-)

 
Old 05-13-2009, 12:37 PM   #50
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Re: Did Aikido die with O'Sensei?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
From the movie I had on in the workshop last night... Blazing Saddles

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

Is everyone offended yet? Good. Now that *that's* out of the way...
Keith, I already like you from your past posts, but now you're assured a spot in my personal pantheon under the classification, Righteous Hombre. It's a rare honor only topped by folks who quote Kung Fu Panda (until a cooler movie comes out of course).

Quote:
What is that? Lint?
All I can say is I'm glad my navel isn't normally under water or I'd have gone the way of Narcissus years ago.
And on that note, back to work.

Gambarimashyo!
 

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