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Old 11-30-2009, 11:58 AM   #26
dps
 
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Mr Burgess,

Aikido paradox? Archer's paradox? Three aces and a pair of ducks, makes just as much sense...
One ace and two pairs of ducks?

dps

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:01 PM   #27
Walter Martindale
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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,
(snip)
My thoughts too.

I had a math prof who used the word "Obviously" instead of writing down the steps in a solution.

I had another professor in another area who said that "'Obviously' means 'I don't know how to explain it.' or 'I can't be bothered explaining it (to you).'"

Someone who REALLY understands something can explain it in terms that a 10-year-old can figure out.

IMO, of course.
Walter
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:02 PM   #28
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote:
Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you wish for peace, prepare for war.

It seems that O'Sensei was not such a genius after all. People allready knew this paradox many, many centuries before him. I think our founder was just a copycat who brought the message in a more exotic flaviour.

And this brings us to another paradox:
Quote:
Dieter Haffner wrote:
Gain great wisdom by playing video games
In this way I would like to thank "Rome: Total War" for not only offering a lot of hours of fun, but also for letting me study the words of great men of the past.
And also a little recognition to my PC for being so slow. It gave me plenty of time to read the displayed quotes while the game was loading.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:09 PM   #29
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I think that you also have to look at how their teachers taught them.

David
I understand the 'steal the technique' approach that was prevalent at that time, but be that as it may, a true teacher with the intent of passing something along would have seen that more needed to be done if their students were not getting it - just my opinion.

Now, there is a flip side to that environment as well - lets say that that the teacher placed all of the learning responsibility on the student. In that case, the student should have realized they were not getting it and looked for more specific instruction. This scenario would explain the many different level of skills in the students like we see today. However, if the teacher was truly intent on getting it all across, they would have needed to do more at their own motivation and not the students.


Greg

Last edited by gregstec : 11-30-2009 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:26 PM   #30
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
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
The O'sensei that we are most familiar with (from books, video, etc) had basically retired from active teaching. When he taught it wasn't about showing techniques and the like. He depended on his Shihan for that. Saito sensei and many of his deshi in the years immediately before and after the war seem to support the notion that his instruction was much more technical and technique based. I think even Tohei sensei has said he learned a lot of techniques from O'sensei, though he eventually cut out many of them himself.

It's still pretty much done the same way too, isn't it? The highest ranking instructor tends to teach less to the lower rank, reserving his instruction for the more senior students and allowing those senior students to teach the masses.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:01 PM   #31
C. David Henderson
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I think Mary clearly has a good point about getting the premises for a discussion clear at the outset, which the OP didn't really do. Still, it seems there are a few candidates out on the table from other posters -- the "life-giving sword," or the "reconciliation of violence through budo" -- which, if not "paradoxes" in a strict sense, at least show an apparent conceptual tension (how does a sword "give life"?).

Let's suppose one or more of these is what the OP intended to evoke -- I still have a problem with the "archer's paradox" and "the flexible spine" as having much to do with the resolution of this conceptual tension. I dont' really understand what this is intended to say, or how it relates to aikido.

FWIW

cdh
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:26 PM   #32
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
I think Mary clearly has a good point about getting the premises for a discussion clear at the outset, which the OP didn't really do. Still, it seems there are a few candidates out on the table from other posters -- the "life-giving sword," or the "reconciliation of violence through budo" -- which, if not "paradoxes" in a strict sense, at least show an apparent conceptual tension (how does a sword "give life"?).
Yup, off the top of my head I counted (I think) four different ones that different people articulated, and Buck hasn't spoken up to endorse any of them. Mind you, I don't know that this discussion has to be restricted to any of them -- it seems to be going along quite well -- but I think that various people saying, "Here's the paradox that I see (and what I think about it" has helped immeasurably, and that various good sub-discussions are now proceeding re: those various defined paradoxes.

Let's suppose one or more of these is what the OP intended to evoke -- I still have a problem with the "archer's paradox" and "the flexible spine" as having much to do with the resolution of this conceptual tension. I dont' really understand what this is intended to say, or how it relates to aikido.

FWIW

cdh[/quote]
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:35 PM   #33
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yup, off the top of my head I counted (I think) four different ones that different people articulated, and Buck hasn't spoken up to endorse any of them. Mind you, I don't know that this discussion has to be restricted to any of them -- it seems to be going along quite well -- but I think that various people saying, "Here's the paradox that I see (and what I think about it" has helped immeasurably, and that various good sub-discussions are now proceeding re: those various defined paradoxes.

Let's suppose one or more of these is what the OP intended to evoke -- I still have a problem with the "archer's paradox" and "the flexible spine" as having much to do with the resolution of this conceptual tension. I dont' really understand what this is intended to say, or how it relates to aikido.

FWIW

cdh
[/quote]

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...98&postcount=7

He expanded on his initial post here, the 7th in the thread.
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:29 PM   #34
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Okay, how about this, Buck. Please just tell me how the paradox you see of violence/non-violence (whatever that apparent paradox is to you) relates to the referenced Archer's Paradox. I mean other than you consider them both paradoxes that is. Or is that your point that you view violence/non-violence in aikido to be somehow paradoxical on one level but not on another (which is often the point of certain types of paradoxes)?

So are you saying it's not really a paradox and that's the connection to the Archer's paradox (which is explainable without paradox hence only an apparent paradox)?

I guess I'm missing the connection between whatever it is you see as the paradox in Aikido and the Archer thing. What's the connection/similarity/congruence? Or is it that you consider them both paradoxes and we could replace the archer's paradox with any old paradox? In which case I don't see why we're discussing that at all...

All those years of expensive liberal arts education were apparently wasted on me...

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Old 11-30-2009, 05:11 PM   #35
C. David Henderson
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

For example:

Suppose, referring to another archery story, I wanted to make an analogy between Zeno's paradox of motion and the form/formlessness "paradox" of Aikido. I would note that in Zeno's paradox, the arrow never reaches its target, it only becomes progressively closer as the time interval becomes infinitesimal. Similarly, practice of form cannot logically lead to formlessness.

Honestly, that comparison doesn't really do all that much for me, but its about as apt for me as the other archer's tale.

YMM(certainly)V

cdh
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:39 PM   #36
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
Suppose, referring to another archery story, I wanted to make an analogy between Zeno's paradox of motion and the form/formlessness "paradox" of Aikido...
Hey, it doesn't do much for me either as a deep thought, but at least I can see some relationship in yours... Buck's, on the other hand...

I must be getting slow...

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Old 11-30-2009, 08:55 PM   #37
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Dieter Haffner wrote: View Post
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote:
Si vis pacem, para bellum

If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


It seems that O'Sensei was not such a genius after all. People allready knew this paradox many, many centuries before him. I think our founder was just a copycat who brought the message in a more exotic flaviour.
In O'Sensei's defense, for what I know he was a bookworm, and I don't know what idea at this point in time isn't built, borrowed, or copied from another. People in his time where not as well read as say other countries, the Japanese where not too far out from their feudal period and where in the process of turning swords into plowshears. In a few short years at a blinding speed caught up with the 20th century. Education by western standards wasn't afforded widely to the people. It was O'Sensei 's first generation students (not all) I believe that were college educated. Meaning they were educated of what you point out, but not their parents.

You can see O'Sensei as a copycat or an educator, I prefer the latter.

Last edited by Buck : 11-30-2009 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:33 PM   #38
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Dieter Haffner

I realize and I am guessing English is not your first language, in my reply to you, I might have sounded put-off and being less that respectful, and that isn't my intention. I want to let you know that the word you used as "copycat" can have a negative connotation. I didn't assume that you where implying such a connotation when I read your reply or when I replied to you. I say this because my last sentence in my post to you may have sounded I was put off by what you said, I wasn't.


Last edited by Buck : 11-30-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:57 AM   #39
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
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.
Hm, didn't the founder consider peace and love and harmony to be the true purpose not only of aikido but of budo in total?
If "budo" means "to stop the spear" does it mean to lay down one's own weapon or does on the contrary mean to use it?

Didn't the founder speak of love and harmony in times when his art still was called aiki jujutsu or aiki budo and not yet aikido?
So if he spoke of budo being love in times when his technique still showed a final strike, is it likely that he meant the term the way we use it?

Is there a difference between the meanings or understanding of "love" or "harmony" in the US/Germany 2009 or in Japan 1925?
or:
Is there to state a difference in the understanding of "love" and "harmony" in a christian context or a shintoistic/duddhistic context?
i.e. did the founder speak about feelings between individuals or even between two people or did he speak of cosmological principles? And if so, could we then use his terms directly by interpreting them with our own understanding?

pointed remark:

Does

a universe which is the expression of god's own free will and the free will of the individuals
= love/harmony describing the relation between individuals

and

a universe which is the expression of the principles of yin and yang
= love and harmony as the balance between yin and yangs which is needed and must be preserverd to prevent the universe from collapsing

fit together?

No paradox, just a different understanding of terms and phrases.
Constructing a paradoxon only means to flatten these differences.

Greetings,
Carsten
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:02 AM   #40
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Well, I was out yesterday and saw a t-shirt that reminded me of this thread. It said...

"Non Sequiturs are like Bicycles. They don't bathe."

Seems relevant. And funny. But I'm a geek that way.

Violence/non-violence doesn't strike me as all that paradoxical. None of these things discussed in this thread seem all that paradoxical either.

And regardless, a comparison of any of these things with the so-called Archer's Paradox just doesn't follow unless I'm missing some super subtle, nuanced connection.

Or maybe I'm the dense one.

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:36 AM   #41
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

If you think of the world in terms of Venn diagrams, then violence and non-violence are exactly mutually exclusive, as "non-violence" would seem to be "all that which is not violence". I don't think, though, that that's really what we mean in human terms when we talk about "non-violence".
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:15 AM   #42
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

I believe the premise of the duality of Aikido is based upon the use of violence to achieve harmony. I don't think that duality qualifies as a paradox because it is contigent upon a couple of facts:
1. The practitioner instills into aikido a negative morality associated with the use of violence.
2. The practitioner creates a paradox of good v. bad. Good is the idea of non-violence (or more appropriately harmoy) and bad is the idea of violence.

Blenders are violent too, yet we do not discuss the paradox of a tasty smoothie created from the violent obliteration of innocent strawberries and bananas.The paradox in this discussion is a philosophical convention created by the declaration of morality (good v. bad). We are giving morality to an inanimate oject.

I think the "aikido paradox" relies upon philosophy that is fallible - Take out the leather couch discussion and you have a weak statement. I actually view the relationship of violence and harmony as a causal relationship more than a contrasted relationship. The perception of violence (real or imagined) is a causational factor in establishing harmony.

I agree with a couple of other posts. Aikido achieves harmony through violence, but that is part of nature. The morality of aikido is established by the practitioner, not the technique. You may argue that an immoral person could use aikido malevolently, which is paradoxical to the founder's declared wish that aikido be used to improve the world. However, I do not think you may argue aikido is or is not negative based on the role of violence in the application of technique.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:49 PM   #43
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I realize and I am guessing English is not your first language, in my reply to you, I might have sounded put-off and being less that respectful, and that isn't my intention. [...]I say this because my last sentence in my post to you may have sounded I was put off by what you said, I wasn't.
As my lack of understanding the nuances within the English language made you write a reply that might be taken as being disrespectful by me. I will use that same lack of understanding those little nuances to be not offended by what you wrote.

And because the nonverbal communication is so much more important in getting a message across, here is an emoticon to say it all:
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:59 PM   #44
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

<pendant mode>
Folks, most of what is being discussed are paradoxes. The major definition of a paradox is a seeming contradiction, that is not actually a contradiction. (The other major definition of a paradox is a statement that seems true but actually is a contradiction).

So to say, "such and such seem contradictory, but actually isn't" is to prove that it's a paradox.
</pendant mode>

In other words, "we achieve peace (or harmony) through the application of (ostensibly) violent techniques" is a paradoxical statement.


----
-Drew Ames
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:48 AM   #45
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
<pendant mode>
Folks, most of what is being discussed are paradoxes. The major definition of a paradox is a seeming contradiction, that is not actually a contradiction. (The other major definition of a paradox is a statement that seems true but actually is a contradiction).

So to say, "such and such seem contradictory, but actually isn't" is to prove that it's a paradox.
</pendant mode>

In other words, "we achieve peace (or harmony) through the application of (ostensibly) violent techniques" is a paradoxical statement.

Sure, but trivial and shallow. Paradoxes used to flesh out more complex things tend to have some substance to them, some "meat on their bones" so to speak. Zeno's paradox. Einstein's twin paradox. Both illustrate much deeper principles or a fault with our understanding of reality. Years ago I was visiting my wife's family in Hawaii and there was a group of guys on the beach who were stunned by the fact it was raining but the sun was out. As they sat there picking the pot resin out from under their fingernails they discussed the deep paradox of rain falling from the sky while the sun that was "just over there!" was still shining. "Whooooaaaaaaa!" Stoner thoughts. Apparently without smoking what they were smoking I wasn't able to see the deeply profound implications of a cloud *here* dropping rain while the clear sky *there* let the sun through... So maybe I'm the shallow one.

But all that said I really don't care how one defines a paradox or whether someone thinks violence/non-violence is a paradox in Aikido. The larger point for me is that I'm *totally* confused as to how the referenced Archer's Paradox related. It was discussed as if there was some tremendous insight gained by considering that particular paradox. I can see the Archer's paradox as a decent paradox. And while I personally think the whole notion of violence/non-violence as a paradox in Aikido is rather, well, trite, even if you decide it is a paradox I just don't see the connection.

I like logic stuff. I usually enjoy these conversations -- at least I get to use that extensive liberal arts edumacation for somethin!. I'm just baffled by this one.

Not that it matters. The entire point seems trite. I just keep thinking I'm missing something obvious. Maybe I do need to smoke what those kids were smoking... Lord knows there appears to be "medical pot" places popping up everywhere near me lately, maybe it is time I tried alternate medication for my sore back. Shrug.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:56 AM   #46
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Hmmm...(ponders).. ...what would peanut butter be without the jelly?
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:59 AM   #47
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

My daughter asked me one a few days ago. "Why do you call it a "tuna fish" sandwich, daddy? Tuna *is* a fish..."

Hmmmm..... Good question, Grasshopper...

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:46 AM   #48
David Board
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Sure, but trivial and shallow. Paradoxes used to flesh out more complex things tend to have some substance to them, some "meat on their bones" so to speak. Zeno's paradox. Einstein's twin paradox. Both illustrate much deeper principles or a fault with our understanding of reality. Years ago I was visiting my wife's family in Hawaii and there was a group of guys on the beach who were stunned by the fact it was raining but the sun was out. As they sat there picking the pot resin out from under their fingernails they discussed the deep paradox of rain falling from the sky while the sun that was "just over there!" was still shining. "Whooooaaaaaaa!" Stoner thoughts. Apparently without smoking what they were smoking I wasn't able to see the deeply profound implications of a cloud *here* dropping rain while the clear sky *there* let the sun through... So maybe I'm the shallow one.

But all that said I really don't care how one defines a paradox or whether someone thinks violence/non-violence is a paradox in Aikido. The larger point for me is that I'm *totally* confused as to how the referenced Archer's Paradox related. It was discussed as if there was some tremendous insight gained by considering that particular paradox. I can see the Archer's paradox as a decent paradox. And while I personally think the whole notion of violence/non-violence as a paradox in Aikido is rather, well, trite, even if you decide it is a paradox I just don't see the connection.

I like logic stuff. I usually enjoy these conversations -- at least I get to use that extensive liberal arts edumacation for somethin!. I'm just baffled by this one.

Not that it matters. The entire point seems trite. I just keep thinking I'm missing something obvious. Maybe I do need to smoke what those kids were smoking... Lord knows there appears to be "medical pot" places popping up everywhere near me lately, maybe it is time I tried alternate medication for my sore back. Shrug.
He tries here:
Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
From all that, the most apt connection to Aikido is that an Aikidoist should like an archer focus on the goal/ target and not worry about the fact that the arrow itself points off to the right. The arrow will flex and oscillate and if the archers aim is true will hit the target. But I'm projecting my own thoughts onto Buck.

Personally, I think the analogy is a bit forced. Perhaps this is because I see the archer's paradox being more analogous to a different Aikido paradox (and you thought there was only one). This other paradox would be based on the contradictory statements O'sensei made about techniques in Aikido. Without having my books at hand and being too lazy to google them I will paraphrase them and as such I may misrepresent them. But if I recall, O'sensei said that Aikido has no techniques and from every attack springs a new technique. On the other hand we practice technique over and over. We begin with static techniques that are very set, move to a more flowing style of those same techniques and then perhaps go onto a freestyle. In this case, the arrow/technique may seem rigid to a beginner or outside observer but for these techniques to work and hit their target they must flex and change. In this way an Aikidoist often begin aimed at their goal of free flowing formless but begin and repetitively train the set forms.

For me, the philosophical lesson of the archer's paradox is two fold. One, the arrow is not pointed at the target but still hits the target. Two, the arrow appears ridged but on closer inspection flexes. Anything that contains at least one and preferably both characteristics can be seen as analogous to the archer's paradox. One caution or additional point about the archer's paradox is that for the arrow to fly true it's flex (what was the technical word. span?) must match the bows. And to draw an analogy to far...
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:03 AM   #49
Keith Larman
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Well, okay, just seems like quite a stretch (so to speak). But, hey, whatever works...

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Old 12-02-2009, 09:09 AM   #50
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Re: The Aikido Paradox

Hi David,

That was a good effort. (I tried substituting "flexing" for "redirecting" and it didn't really seem to work).

Still, and this is where I stumbled in my effort too, what is the metaphorical "spine" in Aikido waza that, in "flexing" reaches it's target?

Regards,

cdh
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