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Old 11-28-2009, 04:22 PM   #1
Buck
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The Aikido Paradox

Down through the years in my Aikido experience, I have heard and read on pulp allot of stuff being said about Aikido being a paradox concerning violence. Having a round-table chat with a few of my fellows has resulted in new thoughts about Aikido and it's paradox.

The Aikido Paradox of non-violence and violence is workable when there is less spine (stiffness). Often our views and ideas of things have a great spine -less flexibility. The key here is having less spine, or more flexibility and not aiming right on the target. That is done if we look at Aikido in the same way as the Archer's Paradox. When we are able to understand that we realize there is a powerful truth to Aikido being paradoxical.

This truth then can also be applied to other areas of Aikido, such as Aikido's spiritual side, training and techniques. I think understanding the Aikido Paradox, much more to it than the Archer's Paradox.

Aikido's Paradox is very revealing and provides great insight to Aikido. And I think that is what sets Aikido apart from other martial arts; what is revealed, what insights are gained, and seeing there is a powerful truth to Aikido that in itself is a technique to discover.

Last edited by Buck : 11-28-2009 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:07 PM   #2
Michael Hackett
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

OK Buck, I've read your posting three times and the Archer's Paradox discussion twice and I'm still not sure what you are trying to define as the Aikido Paradox. I'm ashamed to be so dense, so would you pull out the crayons and draw me a picture?

Michael
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:31 PM   #3
Buck
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I apologize. Basically, what we might see as something of opposing forces that can't be true or possible can be. The Aikido Paradox is that Aikido can be non-violent and be violent as seen in the techniques. At the roots of Aikido techniques, are violent combative techniques that can harm and kill. With the model of the Archer's Paradox we see how Aikido can be a paradox. We can, therefore, make a resolve to this idea, where there maybe none before that Aikido can be violent without compromise to its philosophy of non-violence. There should be no conflict of any kind as a result of seeing Aikido in the model of the Archer's Paradox.

The Archer's Paradox is a model we can use to say Paradox's such as those in Aikido are true. We can observe the Archer's Paradox to reveal the physics at play that can apply and work in Aikido.

We can also take from the model that as Aikidoka to achieve our goal we should aim a bit off the target to hit the target. This can be applied to how we approach technique, how we preform technique, how we train, and how we see Aikido. Not being so precise (being a little off and acceptant and confident in that) to get us precise, is the idea of aiming a bit off to hit the target. That takes time to learn when thinking and perceptions are very stiff and where they are not at all flexible.

There are many things that the Aikido's Paradox, based on the Archer's Paradox, can teach us. Those who study this deeper will see the importance of Aikido's paradox as it permeates deeply and resounds even more deeply the workings and lessons of Aikido. That is something very powerful and revealing to understand that Aikido is a powerful paradox that works, and is nota martial art simply composed of poetry and sets of mechanical techniques. It shows us the complexity of the art and the forces that shape it.

Last edited by Buck : 11-28-2009 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:17 AM   #4
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Hi,

please excuse me, but I don't see the point you seem to be talking about.

Where do you see a contradiction or even a paradox of violence and non-violence in aikido?

It sounds a little bit as if you think about technique versus "philosopie of aikido" (whatever this would be)? Do I get that right?

Carsten
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:30 AM   #5
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
OK Buck, I've read your posting three times and the Archer's Paradox discussion twice and I'm still not sure what you are trying to define as the Aikido Paradox. I'm ashamed to be so dense, so would you pull out the crayons and draw me a picture?
I think we need to look at Buck's signature line for clues as to were he is coming from.

Quote:
"Phil "Buck" Burgess

"Yea, I'm from Ann Arbor, Michigan, man. I was there in the 60's when the universe meant something" -Ashley Roachclip. LOL!"
Maybe if we all lit up a few joints, the picture may become clearer, or maybe not - but at that point, who would care

Greg Steckel
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I see no paradox or contradiction. Aikido is, first and foremost, a martial art. One can study the philosophy of the art and all the other non-technical aspects of it, but without the techniques (and in my opinion, effective technique) you're not doing Aikido. What separates it from other arts or styles (especially at the time of its creation) is that it's designed to work without a great deal of physical strength and it gives you a far greater level of control over the amount of damage that is handed out. It's through the practice and perfection of those techniques that we gain a greater understanding of that core philosophy.

In my opinion the only contradiction is when it's viewed from the other side of the fence. When one puts that philosophy above and ahead of the technique itself.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I must apologize. I guess, I should have put a disclaimer in my post saying that I am being assumptive that the reader is well versed on the background information on the topic am posting. And it is also due to me being lazy and not writing it all out in one big monster long post; and the purpose of the links in the post.

I realize not everyone sees a conflict in Aikido being a paradox concerning violence and non-violence. We than can take this paradox (being possible modeled by the Archer's paradox, which is already proven, written out and well explained) and apply it to the physical techniques of Aikido, as well as other applications within Aikido. Therefore, what we see as conflicts of thought, ideas and perceptions in Aikido (in training and stuff) to be impossibilities (being the action of the arrow) can be revealed as harmonious actions of possibilities and truths. Such revelations and their importance and stuff is an individual experience that has its own value in degree and depth to the individual.

Now to focus on the Aikido Paradox of being non-violent, yet preforming violence via technique. We understand that like the arrow's compressing and flexing forces work together to achieve flight of the arrow on a forward path and not (to take a golfing term) slicing off to the right or left. The arrow situation parallels the ideas of violence and non-violence forces working together to achieve the goal of not injuring or killing an opponent, but rather controlling the opponent's spirit (will and intent) to continue to be violent. Of course this would mean when being attacked the the spirit is to stop the violence being paramount to success of Aikido.

Therefore, this doesn't mean individual becomes completely passive when attacked. The attacked individual tempers their violence allowing it to compress and flex- having adjustable degree of spine. The purpose is to be like the oscillating arrow. Rather then being the opposite of having a solid mind set of having an determinant unwavering spirit. A mind set that is focused on one goal, and that is of attacking without the bothersome and fretted thoughts of consequence. That of which is seen in ancient Japanese warriors and warrior culture. This isn't to say there is no validity in such a mind set and should be discarded that it too can be part of the Aikido Paradox .

And that is the point of the Aikido Paradox moving/oscillating withing the range of polar opposites. Not discarding one thing for the other, but instead using each to achieve the desired goal. Often we do that, we discard things when things don't seem to logically fit. But, in this case we can see things that don't seemingly fit can and do. They do fit, because these forces can share and occupy the same space; the Aikido Paradox.

* Jason says it in his post pretty nicely

**Greg, let's not and say you did. It is Chong's genius comedic insight and intelligence is what makes that line work. That is why I think it is so witty. I see his witt and comedic genius paralleling Mark Twain in regard to this line - my sig line. It's funny, note the LOL at the end of it

Last edited by Buck : 11-29-2009 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #8
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

In order to claim that a paradox exists, you must first state what the paradox is and then explain how it is a paradox: that is, how its parts are mutually exclusive. The confusion you're getting is that you didn't explicitly state the paradox: the closest you came was in the post above in which you said:

Quote:
...the Aikido Paradox of being non-violent, yet preforming violence via technique.
The paradox, according to you, is that aikido is "non-violent", yet violence is committed when aikido techniques are performed. I think that either of those statements can be refuted fairly easily. If any part of the statement of a paradox is not true or complete, the paradox fails. I think that may be what some posters are getting at.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:36 PM   #9
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I'm not convinced there's a paradox. I think a more descriptive term would be contrast. There are diverse aspects to Aikido, and blending them together into a homogeneous practice is partly where the "harmony" comes in.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:40 PM   #10
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Katsujinken/Setsujinken-life giving sword/life taking sword

Sometimes it is necassary to strike down the one to save the many.

This in my opinion is where the paradox in Aikido lies. If you have a proper understanding of the philosophy behind Aikido, and a good grasp of the techniques, then you can make the right decision of what to do when the time comes. You can choose to be merciful, or you can choose to be unmerciful.

Sometimes the most merciful thing to do is to end a life, if it means saving many lives. Here is where the paradox begins and ends.

Last edited by aikishrine : 11-29-2009 at 05:41 PM. Reason: wrong word
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:35 PM   #11
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In order to claim that a paradox exists, you must first state what the paradox is and then explain how it is a paradox: that is, how its parts are mutually exclusive. The confusion you're getting is that you didn't explicitly state the paradox: the closest you came was in the post above in which you said:

The paradox, according to you, is that aikido is "non-violent", yet violence is committed when aikido techniques are performed. I think that either of those statements can be refuted fairly easily. If any part of the statement of a paradox is not true or complete, the paradox fails. I think that may be what some posters are getting at.
Well you'd have to take that up with O'Sensei if he were alive. I didn't created the paradox, I didn't create Aikido. All am doing is observing and commenting on the Aikido Paradox in my way. I see the Archer's Paradox as a way to explore the Aikido Paradox further than with common conventions. Again, I think your concerns are really best addressed to O'Sensei, if he where alive.

Where our energies maybe best placed is in discussing the Aikido Paradox, the Archer's Paradox and Katsujinken/Setsujinken-life giving sword/life taking sword. Like are they similar or different in regard to Aikido and violence and all that stuff. In all sincerity, I invite you to join and develop this discussion into a fine and noteworty discussion.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:50 PM   #12
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Well you'd have to take that up with O'Sensei if he were alive. I didn't created the paradox, I didn't create Aikido.
..and O-Sensei didn't create the definition of a paradox. Even if he were alive, and even if he had asserted, "Wow, check this out! The Aikido Paradox! Here it is!", I still wouldn't have to "take it up" with him. If O-Sensei had said "2+2=5", his saying it wouldn't make it true.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
All am doing is observing and commenting on the Aikido Paradox in my way. I see the Archer's Paradox as a way to explore the Aikido Paradox further than with common conventions. Again, I think your concerns are really best addressed to O'Sensei, if he where alive.
And I think that you are dodging a very simple question with, "But O-Sensei said!" -- without, of course, saying what he said or how it constitutes a paradox. So, please produce the statement, and we can go from there.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
In all sincerity, I invite you to join and develop this discussion into a fine and noteworty discussion.
I invite you to do the same. Begin, please, with a clear statement of what exactly the "aikido paradox" is, and how it constitutes a paradox.
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:09 AM   #13
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

The article by Paul Linden titled "THE NON-VIOLENCE IN AIKIDO" seems to be relevant.

http://traditionalaikido.eu/doc/non_violence.pdf

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Old 11-30-2009, 06:17 AM   #14
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
..and O-Sensei didn't create the definition of a paradox. Even if he were alive, and even if he had asserted, "Wow, check this out! The Aikido Paradox! Here it is!", I still wouldn't have to "take it up" with him. If O-Sensei had said "2+2=5", his saying it wouldn't make it true.

And I think that you are dodging a very simple question with, "But O-Sensei said!" -- without, of course, saying what he said or how it constitutes a paradox. So, please produce the statement, and we can go from there.

I invite you to do the same. Begin, please, with a clear statement of what exactly the "aikido paradox" is, and how it constitutes a paradox.
I'm not sure what the point of your questions are? One only has to spend a few minutes studying the history of Aikido and its founder to understand the paradox he's speaking of.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:18 AM   #15
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
The article by Paul Linden titled "THE NON-VIOLENCE IN AIKIDO" seems to be relevant.

http://traditionalaikido.eu/doc/non_violence.pdf
I disagree with the author's premise.
Aikido is violent.

I Googled American Heritage Dictionary and this is the sight that I got.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/violence

vi⋅o⋅lence
1. swift and intense force: the violence of a storm.
2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment: to die by violence.
3. an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws: to take over a government by violence.
4. a violent act or proceeding.
5. rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language: the violence of his hatred.
6. damage through distortion or unwarranted alteration: to do editorial violence to a text.

The first two definitions apply to Aikido because it uses the "swift and intense force" of the attacker.

The third, fourth and fifth definition implies intention which also comes from the attacker.

The Aikidoist intention and movement are not violent.

Aikido is as violent as the attacker's intention and movement.

There is no paradox.

dps

Last edited by dps : 11-30-2009 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:00 AM   #16
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Hi

Thank you Mary, you got exactly the point:
Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In order to claim that a paradox exists, you must first state what the paradox is and then explain how it is a paradox:
This is indeed exactly an alternative formulation of the question I posted.

Quote:
The paradox, according to you, is that aikido is "non-violent", yet violence is committed when aikido techniques are performed.
... If any part of the statement of a paradox is not true or complete, the paradox fails.
Again this expresses exactly my "inquiery" of the initial post.

Quote:
I think that either of those statements can be refuted fairly easily.
I practice for over 15 years now and Aikido never was referred to in another way than "budo". This ist also true concerning the literature about Aikido I know.

And "budo" has nothing to do with what is normally understood when using the term "non-violence". "Non-violence" more refers to what e.g. Gandhi or Martin Luther King did.

Greetings,
Carsten
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:07 AM   #17
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
One only has to spend a few minutes studying the history of Aikido and its founder to understand the paradox he's speaking of.
?
Could you please elaborate this?

I don't see such a paradox an I spend a big amount of time studying the history of Aikido and the life and words of the founder.
I don't see any paradox but a completely different understanding of specific phrases, terms and worldview.

Carsten
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:26 AM   #18
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Mr Burgess,

Aikido paradox? Archer's paradox? Three aces and a pair of ducks, makes just as much sense...
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:56 AM   #19
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what the point of your questions are? One only has to spend a few minutes studying the history of Aikido and its founder to understand the paradox he's speaking of.
So pretend I'm an idiot and articulate it for me. If one "only has to spend a few minutes" to understand it, it should take little more to write it down. Oblige me, if you would, and then Buck can confirm whether or not this is the paradox that he's talking about.

FWIW, I'm not an idiot. What I am, is cognizant of the ways that things that "everybody knows" are often actually not "known" by "everybody"; thus, I prefer to have terms defined rather than assume that they all mean the same things to everyone. It seems like a reasonable basis for a discussion.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:21 AM   #20
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I disagree with the author's premise.
Aikido is violent.
...
Yet you seem to agree with the author's conclusions.

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Old 11-30-2009, 08:54 AM   #21
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I've always been drawn to the thoughtline of paradox being the last obscuring of truth on the path of discovery. In other words, when one sees paradox, they have traveled long and far to be able to understand at least two sides of a thoughtline and may know they are close to understanding the truth.

Maybe paradox is really nothing more than a resting point, a point at which to gather oneself for the final leap into realizing all they knew before, in a given area, was false.

In the case of aikido...violence and non-violence...what if, in fact, there is never any violence? If the goal is to become entirely non-violent? Would that seem paradoxical?

I would guess so. Using tools of seeming violence to become non-violent...but in fact, how may one ever overcome an obstacle if they are never even aware of the existance of the obstacle?

For me, when I see paradox, I know I'm on a good path; heading the right way.

Fun topic. Thank you for the discussion.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:08 AM   #22
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
So pretend I'm an idiot and articulate it for me. If one "only has to spend a few minutes" to understand it, it should take little more to write it down. Oblige me, if you would, and then Buck can confirm whether or not this is the paradox that he's talking about.

FWIW, I'm not an idiot. What I am, is cognizant of the ways that things that "everybody knows" are often actually not "known" by "everybody"; thus, I prefer to have terms defined rather than assume that they all mean the same things to everyone. It seems like a reasonable basis for a discussion.
ok.

Aikido, per the founders own words is a Budo, a martial way. Not a sport, not a dance, but a fighting art.

Aikido, also per the founders words, is a peaceful, loving art designed not to destroy, but to embrace the world in harmony and love.

Thus you have the common paradox of Aikido.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:21 AM   #23
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Wow, Buck is getting skewered!

I think I get what he's saying, or at least this is my understanding of an aikido paradox.

A paradox is a seeming contradiction that is nevertheless true or, (alternatively) a statement that seems true but is in fact self-contradictory.

The common understanding of aikido (as published in works like The Spirit of Aikido and The magic of conflict is that O Sensei developed his art as a way of unifying the universe. Therefore the art is expressed through techniques that deal with violent attacks in a way that practitioners can defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

So far, so good.

Now the contradictory part: we practice defending ourselves against violent attacks by studying violent techniques that have a very real possibility of injuring our killing the attacker.

What makes this a seeming contradiction is the way we perform the techniques. We usually choose the "nice guy (or gal)" way of finishing a technique so that the risk of injury to the attacker is minimized.

Having written all of that, there's a lot of scholarship going on right now examining just exactly what O Sensei meant when taking about an art that unifies the universe. If anything, the new scholarship show even more paradoxes in the aikido world. I'll quote from the first of Peter Goldsbury's excellent series of articles on Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12008):

Quote:
Transmission

(a) Morihei Ueshiba made no attempt to ‘teach' the knowledge and skills he possessed to his deshi.

(b) The latter all gained profound knowledge and skills during their time as deshi, but it is by no means clear that they gained all the knowledge or that all gained the same knowledge.

(c) Morihei Ueshiba appears to have made no specific attempt to check whether his deshi had understood what they had learned from him.

Inheritance

(d) On the other hand, all the evidence indicates that Morihei Ueshiba worried very much about passing on the art to future generations and finally designated his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba as heir and inheritor of the art.

(e) Kisshomaru Ueshiba seems to have changed the inheritance he received quite radically, again, with no clear reaction from his father, such that it has been stated that the aikido taught by him and by his successors nowadays is no longer Morihei Ueshiba's aikido.

Emulation

(f) Just as the heirs of Morihei Ueshiba have passed on their knowledge and skill to their deshi, so also have the deshi of Morihei Ueshiba passed on their knowledge and skill to their own deshi, but with very varying degrees of success, such that the knowledge and skills of present and future generations are becoming and will become increasingly varied in quality, in proportion as they become more distant from the source.

(g) The fact that many of these deshi live outside Japan and that aikido has become a Japanese art practiced more outside Japan than in Japan has profoundly affected and is profoundly affecting its essential character.
So, O Sensei cared very deeply about his art and its continuation, but did not attempt to teach those skills to his students or check that they understood what they learned from him.

If that's not a paradox, I'm not sure what is.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:49 AM   #24
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
So, O Sensei cared very deeply about his art and its continuation, but did not attempt to teach those skills to his students or check that they understood what they learned from him.

If that's not a paradox, I'm not sure what is.

Regards,
Hi Drew,

IMO, I think O Sensei and Takeda were more focused on developing their art for their own sake and really did not have too much of an interest in ensuring that their students got it to pass on. If that was not the case, why is there not an abundance of Shihans out there with the skills of Ueshiba and Takeda?

The true paradox of Aiki is that these two are regarded as teachers, but in reality they were not - they mostly shared their knowledge with their students so they could use them as learning tools for themselves. if they truly wanted to ensure their stuff was passed on, they would have categorized and documented their teachings better as well as made sure their students were getting it all, etc.

Greg Steckel
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:57 AM   #25
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
if they truly wanted to ensure their stuff was passed on, they would have categorized and documented their teachings better as well as made sure their students were getting it all, etc.

Greg Steckel
I think that you also have to look at how their teachers taught them.

David
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