Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-20-2010, 03:23 PM   #26
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,058
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Just a question to generate thought and discussion.

Not necessarily an unanswerable question. Is that your answer, that it is unanswerable?
Absolutely. Why not discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Because it's unanswerable, that's why.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Are you better than O'Sensei? Are you better than your sensei? Are any of your students past or present better than you?
...and at this point, it starts to sound kind of like a feces-agitating question. Why are you asking people whether they're "better" than someone else? I don't buy that it's to "generate thought and discussion"; what "thought and discussion" would it generate?
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010, 03:56 PM   #27
Rabih Shanshiry
 
Rabih Shanshiry's Avatar
Location: Boston/MA
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 197
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

It's easy enough to say one person's aikido is better than another's if the difference in skill level is apparent:

My instructor's aikido is better than mine. His sensei's aikido is better than his.

I'm not sure why so many on this forum seem to talk around the issue. It's bizarre. We're not passing judgement on individuals as a whole - we're making assessments about a skill set. Whether it is polite to name names and compare individuals of similar rank/experience is another matter. In most cases, it is not.

Regarding the OP, is there anyone who's "aikido" is better than O'Sensei's?

If we use the term "aikido" loosely, then perhaps an argument could be made that Sokaku Takeda's aikibudo was superior (perhaps Sagawa's as well?). But this is pure conjecture, and I don't think there is anyway to truly know.

...rab
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2010, 04:13 PM   #28
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 711
Canada
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

It's so hard to judge such a thing without practicing with the people involved, and having a pretty high level of skill yourself. I've seen a few videos of O-Sensei but although they're interesting, for me a few videos weren't enough to really see much. Instead I believe he was extremely good basically because people whose judgment I respect tell me that people whose judgment THEY respect thought he was extremely good. But comparing people who are dead who you've never trained with, with people in other countries that you've also never trained with and who may have never trained with the dead person either, etc...

I think it would be a pretty hard question to answer. Even neglecting all the subjectivity issues and how we judge this (I think it might be easier to tell a good person from a bad person than to distinguish the level of skill of two already quite excellent people).
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 04:40 AM   #29
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,282
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Sensei Takahashi,

The people who were the best at teaching or instructing that I have known were the selfless ones that wanted their students to become better than they were. They were foundations to build upon not summits that were unreachable.

If we view our senseis as standards that we can never best, then our personal best will always be less than we can achieve. We have limited our growth before we get started.

David
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 05:06 AM   #30
Adam Huss
 
Adam Huss's Avatar
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 699
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I, too, have often heard the phrase "the indication of a great teacher is someone who can teach their students to be better than they are."

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 06:22 AM   #31
Carl Thompson
 
Carl Thompson's Avatar
Location: Kasama
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 473
Japan
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I think the Founder was well aware that "good" and "bad" are merely relative terms. The "self" of the observer is an inherent part of either adjectival usage. Consider "big" and "small". It really depends on your experience of a phenomenon to say where it is big or small and in an infinite universe you will always get trumped by something bigger or smaller than what you have experienced.
Quote:
Osensei wrote:
Both good and bad people are part of the family of World Harmony.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 12:31 PM   #32
aikishihan
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 371
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Hello David,

Thank you for this ongoing discussion, which I find informative, invigorating and inspiring.

Your obvious respect and high regard for the role of an instructor or teacher is to be commended and honored.

Yet, do we have the right, or even the rationale to judge them so absolutely and with such unintentional arrogance? Do we dare to state that we know their "summits" , or that they really wanted their students "to be better than they were"?

I could never remotely fathom considering a fallible and flawed human being, however accomplished and deserving of high respect, to be a "foundation" for anything or for anyone.The world's history is too full of examples of extraordinary human achievement, with new ones occurring as I write, to seriously consider any one having more impact than another. Such a judgement would be subjective indeed. To label any such a person as a "standard" would be a grave injustice, and dismissive of that individual's true impact.

I do not believe that the Founder, the late Doshu, or any of the fine former uchideshi become shihans that I have had the privilege to know, would ever limit themselves as either "summits" or "foundations" in regards to their respective students,. Rather, I consistently saw them preoccupied with their own ongoing research and development in improving their craft and understanding of the principles of Aiki. Their level of constant growth trumped any notion that another person could adequately judge where they were at any given moment, or where they would eventually arrive when their respective journeys were at an end.

No, I do not buy the argument that a teacher's primary goal is to have his/her student surpass them. In What? How? and Why? Isn't the teacher likewise dedicated to constant growth and improvement without considering any "cap" on their own ambitions for excellence? Why would we even think that they would!

My mentors never quit in their individual quests. I could never reach the levels where they are, nor do I have any desire or reason to attempt to do so. I am preoccupied myself with my own definitions of excellence and ambitions for accomplishing my goals, which change constantly as my knowledge and wisdom grows.

Let us not limit the memory or legacy of our worthy mentors by unintentionally placing artificial and arbitrary prejudgments on their worth and relevance, to us and to history.

Let us also resolve not to limit our individual goals, our private ambitions, and the constantly improving images of ourselves as well.

Last edited by aikishihan : 05-21-2010 at 12:41 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 02:30 PM   #33
Aiki1
 
Aiki1's Avatar
Dojo: ACE Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 346
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
.......I do not buy the argument that a teacher's primary goal is to have his/her student surpass them. In What? How? and Why? Isn't the teacher likewise dedicated to constant growth and improvement without considering any "cap" on their own ambitions for excellence? Why would we even think that they would!
Hi Francis - I don't think continuing one's own growth and process of exploration, and desiring to pass on to one's students one's Aikido to the extent that they become at least as proficient in skill and understanding, are mutually exclusive. After 28 years, I continue to learn from every class I teach, every interaction I have. At the same time, if I don't strive to induct and impart everything I have to my students, the art of Aikido that I teach will never be fully passed on. Aikido is a huge part of my life, on and off the mat, and, I also want my style to be passed on fully, so I try to embody both.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #34
aikishihan
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 371
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Hello Larry,

I am in full and enthusiastic agreement with your viewpoint!

It seems that there appears from time to time, a kind of passive abjugation of personal responsibility to strive for more. My response is intended, in part, to remind everyone, myself foremost, that individual accountability cannot be delegated, dismissed, or denigrated by simply claiming to be a student of an icon.

I am glad that you are finding the balance of teaching and being taught, not only by your avowed mentors, but by every opportunity that the Aiki gods present to you.

This is my path as I see it today.

In Oneness,

Last edited by aikishihan : 05-21-2010 at 02:43 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 02:53 PM   #35
Aiki1
 
Aiki1's Avatar
Dojo: ACE Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 346
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Hello Larry,

I am in full and enthusiastic agreement with your viewpoint!

It seems that there appears from time to time, a kind of passive abjugation of personal responsibility to strive for more. My response is intended, in part, to remind everyone, myself foremost, that individual accountability cannot be delegated, dismissed, or denigrated by simply claiming to be a student of an icon.
Ah, I completely agree.

Quote:
I am glad that you are finding the balance of teaching and being taught, not only by your avowed mentors, but by every opportunity that the Aiki gods present to you.

This is my path as I see it today.
That is my path as well. I have no embodied mentors anymore, but I again completely agree, as the opportunities, teachings, and guidance are truly abundant.

Quote:
In Oneness,
Truly, my friend.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2010, 03:37 PM   #36
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,212
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Not counting the spiritual side of Aikido, do think that there is anyone who was or is better at Aikido then O'Sensei was?

David
My short answer is that it's impossible to know.
Speaking purely in terms of technical ability, I think it's probably very difficult to attain the level of mastery O Sensei likely had so his peers would probably be somewhat few and far between.
Talking about the possibility of surpassing him in that regard, then I think it's almost certain that it will happen if it hasn't yet. Hard to say though. Maybe that little old fellow was some kind of perfect storm of aiki genius, we have no way to know...that I know of! Also, it's hard for me to know exactly what the ceiling is for human potential in physical aiki prowess. I'm guessing we have physical limits which implies a cap on ability, but I have no idea what that might be.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #37
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 359
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

David

You must be a fan of the Spike TV show, "Deadliest Warrior." Who do you think was the deadlier warrior: a Nazi SS or a Viet Cong? Jesse James or Al Capone? William Wallace or Shaka Zulu? An Apache or a Gladiator?

Evidently these questions can be answered, because the show does so with science!! So surely the question you pose must be answerable.

Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2010, 06:37 PM   #38
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 909
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
David

You must be a fan of the Spike TV show, "Deadliest Warrior." Who do you think was the deadlier warrior: a Nazi SS or a Viet Cong? Jesse James or Al Capone? William Wallace or Shaka Zulu? An Apache or a Gladiator?

Evidently these questions can be answered, because the show does so with science!! So surely the question you pose must be answerable.

Dan
Without ballistic-jelly we'll never know.

MM
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2010, 06:49 PM   #39
ChrisHein
 
ChrisHein's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Location: Fresno , CA
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,645
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Depends.

I think Ueshiba understood what he was doing. I think that perhaps no one has gotten the full picture as to what he was up too. So he's the best at that: understanding his direction and what Aikido is.

Movement wise, several of his students were pretty close to moving like him. And I think there are several Aikidoka alive today who move better then Ueshiba.

Application of technique, I couldn't say, I never felt his technique.

Ueshiba was FAR better then anyone since at creating an aire of mystery around what he was doing. He had an ability to get people super interested in what he was doing. He had a charisma, that has, likely to date, not been matched.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2010, 05:53 AM   #40
Anita Dacanay
Dojo: Cleveland Aikikai, Cleveland, Ohio
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 80
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Hi David,

Thank you for responding to my rather terse statements.

It is my perspective that, while imminently human and fallible, the Founder of Aikido represented a most unique example of individual effort and accomplishment in his lifetime. He never apologized, or rationalized his "work in progress" that lasted until he died. Rather, it was for the very reason you gave that he "was human, and a mere misguided mortal like the rest of us" that drove him to excellence.

In life, there is no lack of competition for anything we seek to attain or accomplish. It verily appears to be a constant scenario of "survival of the fittest", where the victor gets to write history.

I see no need to artificially invent "competition" where, for me, it is not needed or appropriate, nor when it is beneficial to no one except one who is in desperate need of a "win". I believe that we can use our powers of judgement for far better uses, such as who our elected leaders should be, and be doing for us.

The Founder made it abundantly clear that he himself was on a personal journey towards excellence, and that he remained woefully behind in his quest. Nonetheless, he fought the good fight, and did not go gently into that good night.

HIs, along with other great mortals we can name, was a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, not for us to attempt to 'better", but to honor by doing our own level best as we see fit to do. It was always his wish that his students would reach their own respective levels of achievement, not in competition against one another, but in competition for the betterment of themselves, and of manknd.

Yes, you are correct in your viewpoints regarding fallibiity, ambition and opportunity. Perhaps we would all would do better by comparing our own respective progress, not against an eminent and enigmatic historical figure, but with that unlimited potential that lies dormant within ourselves, needing only the courage, vision and energy to try.
Such a well-written post, and rings very true to me.

For the OP - I do not really understand how one takes the spiritual aspect out of the equation where Aikido and O Sensei are concerned. After just reading "A Life in Aikido", it seems pretty clear to me that Aikido was, to the Founder, by definition a spiritual path. If you take that away, it is not Aikido anymore. It may be some sort of martial art or sport, but it is not his Aikido - according to O Sensei's own definition.

Then again, I'm not even 6th kyu yet so what do I know?
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2010, 06:21 AM   #41
Anita Dacanay
Dojo: Cleveland Aikikai, Cleveland, Ohio
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 80
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Sorry for the double post, but I thought maybe I should provide a quote. To underscore my point, here is a passage from "A Life in Aikido" by the second Doshu quoting O Sensei's writings:

"Aikido is a path to truth, and Aikido training should be understood to have the goal of finding that truth. In the discipline of Aikido, when you train hard, practice wisely, and analyze what you are doing, kami-waza will arise.

In Aikido, when one trains in the following manner, one's body will absorb the power of unchanging truth:

1. Train to harmonize one's mind with the movements of the universe.

2. Train to harmonize one's body with the movements of the universe.

3. Train to harmonize the ki that connects mind and body with the movements of the universe.

Only those who are able to train in these three ways at the same time, not as a theory but in the dojo and in their daily life, can be called practioners of Aikido."

So... how can we have a hypothetical discussion regarding O Sensei's finesse as a martial artist removed from or aside from his spiritual development? It seems to me that the two were so totally intertwined as to be inseparable.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2010, 05:07 PM   #42
Gorgeous George
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 464
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Ueshiba was FAR better then anyone since at creating an aire of mystery around what he was doing. He had an ability to get people super interested in what he was doing. He had a charisma, that has, likely to date, not been matched.
O rly?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tib2Urowsdc
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 10:37 AM   #43
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,282
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Sensei Takahashi,

We don't need to know their summits to learn from them, just that they are better and know something we don't.

Did O'Sensei know Takeda's summit. Did he need to in order to learn. He knew that he was better then he was after challenging him and losing which is what he did throughout his life to learn from those who knew something he didn't. He used Takeda and the others as foundation for his Aikido.

David

Last edited by dps : 05-24-2010 at 10:43 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 10:40 AM   #44
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,282
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Hello Anita,

Quote:
Anita Dacanay wrote: View Post
....with the movements of the universe.
What does this mean?

Does it mean the physical laws of the universe?

David

Last edited by dps : 05-24-2010 at 10:42 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 10:47 AM   #45
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,282
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Absolutely. Why not discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Because it's unanswerable, that's why.

...and at this point, it starts to sound kind of like a feces-agitating question. Why are you asking people whether they're "better" than someone else? I don't buy that it's to "generate thought and discussion"; what "thought and discussion" would it generate?
No,

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Just a question to generate thought and discussion.
David
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 11:51 AM   #46
aikishihan
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 371
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Hi David,

In full agreement that "we don't need to know their summits in order to learn from them,.....". It is also important to be open to learn from anyone at anytime the lessons that enrich our lives, and help us with our improved behavior and more efficient performance.

The Founder's life stream of accomplishments dovetailed inseparably with his intake and assimilation of instructions, inspirations and input from his environment and peers.

We can and should do no less.

Frankly, I would not have the faintest idea of how to determine another person's "summit", nor would I care to if I could. For me, it is the journey itself that is invaluable, and not merely any rest stops or scenic points along the way.

In Oneness,

Last edited by aikishihan : 05-24-2010 at 11:54 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 12:52 PM   #47
Anita Dacanay
Dojo: Cleveland Aikikai, Cleveland, Ohio
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 80
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Hello Anita,

What does this mean?

Does it mean the physical laws of the universe?

David
Hi David,

I will not presume to know precisely what O Sensei meant by these statements, but I think I can ascertain that he was talking about achieving a greater consciousness. My guess is that this would include expanded awareness and greater understanding of both physical and spiritual laws of the universe.

When I reach my own enlightenment, I'll let you know!

Best,
Anita
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #48
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,282
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Hi David,

In full agreement that "we don't need to know their summits in order to learn from them,.....". It is also important to be open to learn from anyone at anytime the lessons that enrich our lives, and help us with our improved behavior and more efficient performance.

The Founder's life stream of accomplishments dovetailed inseparably with his intake and assimilation of instructions, inspirations and input from his environment and peers.

We can and should do no less.

Frankly, I would not have the faintest idea of how to determine another person's "summit", nor would I care to if I could. For me, it is the journey itself that is invaluable, and not merely any rest stops or scenic points along the way.

In Oneness,
We are on common ground.

One of the main purposes of our existence is to learn.
What you learn or who you learn from is not as important as the process of learning.
You should always be prepared to learn.
One could argue that there is no summit to learning.

David
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 06:28 PM   #49
Gorgeous George
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 464
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Hello Anita,

What does this mean?

Does it mean the physical laws of the universe?

David
Hello,

not presuming to answer for Anita...but i think this whole 'Aikido means the way of harmony with the universe' thing, means that we should become what we are meant to be.
You should probably read some Zen philosophy, as that has this has its focus.
It talks of us having a nature, just as a fish and a bird have - 'The bird flying as a bird, the fish going as a fish' - and that we should look to realise:

'Water, when exposed to cold, freezes, hardens, and becomes ice, and though its nature does not change, it loses complete freedom of movement.
So through illusion of ignorance, the human neing sets and hardens, and although his Buddha-nature does not change, he is debarred from the limitless freedom of the Buddha.'.

I hope that makes sense.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 05:26 AM   #50
Anita Dacanay
Dojo: Cleveland Aikikai, Cleveland, Ohio
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 80
United_States
Offline
Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Please, George - go ahead and presume to answer for me, as when I answered for myself, I got no response! (I am smiling here - please don't take offense, David.) I like your answer, George: "we should become what we are meant to be."

In any event, the only point I was trying to make with that quote was that, to my understanding, one cannot take the spiritual aspect of Ueshiba's Aikido out of the equation and still call it Aikido. It seems to me that that would be rather like taking the ice cream out of an ice cream sundae!

However, trying to understand and articulate precisely what O Sensei meant by "the movements of the universe" might make for a compelling discussion.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:12 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2016 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2016 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate