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Old 01-07-2011, 02:24 PM   #26
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well, to use an example from the real "internal martial arts" (the "neijia" styles), there is no competition for some years because you can't honestly re-train the body to use internal strength while at the same time you're using your old-style of movement to do techniques, applications, sparring, etc. I have no doubt this was the reason why Ueshiba blocked competitions... it just means that you'll never really learn internal strength.

I personally tend to focus mostly on how to do basic kokyu/jin and ki/body-breath-training for that same reason. Doing dramatic demonstrations or focusing on applications that require internal-strength basics that the students don't really have yet is counter-productive. It's a good debate, but I'll stick with Ueshiba and traditional CMA that say that competition is counterproductive for the reasons I stated.

YMMV

Mike Sigman
This is the problem I think .... because one man and a few other say that competition is bad or forbidden seems a little strange and even more so when it come from those who prefer to believe in spirits, demons, ghosts, aliens, whatever you like from the imagination and so forth, as with all those who believe in woo woo.
To me it's a kind of crutch to fall back upon when people lose their physical and mental strength..... either through trauma or otherwise....
Reality for most sucks, that is why many "need" religion woo woo and all the delusion that goes with it.....
Sorry but I'm free of all that.... My only faith is in myself 'cause all the reality I have is within me, my life experience.... It's been pretty rough at times and sometimes it's been good, but I'm still here and most likely to be here for quite some time, that's if I don't get knocked over by a bus tomorrow 'cause I wasn't looking where I was going.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:42 PM   #27
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
This is the problem I think .... because one man and a few other say that competition is bad or forbidden seems a little strange and even more so when it come from those who prefer to believe in spirits, demons, ghosts, aliens, whatever you like from the imagination and so forth, as with all those who believe in woo woo.
Well, this is the same misunderstanding as the "don't lift weights" admonition. Nobody says you never compete or that you never lift weights... it's while you're trying to learn this method of movement/strength that uses the hara/dantien that you don't unproductively cross-train. Of course, you already knew this since you teach Aikido.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:52 PM   #28
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
I have also seen top karateka who could not punch there way through a paper bag....? Iiado "experts" who cannot cut through a tatami straw mat.....?
Competition does not mean we have to compete against some "body" to measure.....
Shiai in the way Tomiki Shihan saw it was as a laboratory on the tatami to experiment and improve with our technique, not to destroy one another....
Once again you're mixing "competition" in the general sense and sports competition which is a specific type of training.

In either case, I'm not arguing for or against competition, sport based or otherwise - I'm just relating the opinions of Ueshiba and the others. To agree with them or not is up to everybody to decide for themselves.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #29
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
I think it is a pity that for our children there is so much competition, they must go the the best university, finish one or two carrers, and if they can do even a master to compete with others, very stressful.. Also in technology you buy a computer today and tomorrow it is already old. Where are we going to ? I must not compete at work, I'll do my job as good as ever. So no competition at work, not in aikido, maybe a simple life, but I like it.
So what do we do Carina, what is the alternative? It would be great to live in a perfect world, but it doesn't exist.... To wrap children up in cotton wool would be even more harmful to their development, it's how we learn, by trail and error..... It's how we develop mental and physical strength.....
When we get older we don't want it as much, that's a fact of life and the reality of it all it wears us down.... Some are stronger than others by genetics, luck and undetermined fate...... To deny our children to not grow by trial and error would, in my mind, be disastrous
I think aikido is a way of relieving stress , but so is yoga or any form of physical exercise, but foremost in my mind aikido is a martial art to defend your body and mind through challenging practice which is a form of competition against yourself.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:04 PM   #30
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well, this is the same misunderstanding as the "don't lift weights" admonition. Nobody says you never compete or that you never lift weights... it's while you're trying to learn this method of movement/strength that uses the hara/dantien that you don't unproductively cross-train. Of course, you already knew this since you teach Aikido.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
I prefer to lift and pull my own weight Mike, but I don't say to others don't weight train..... it works for some and not others
When some say to me what is the best form of exercise I say one that suits you...
It's why I like to do press ups on the backs of my wrists, but I don't force others to do it, but I say just try before condemning it.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:08 PM   #31
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Once again you're mixing "competition" in the general sense and sports competition which is a specific type of training.

In either case, I'm not arguing for or against competition, sport based or otherwise - I'm just relating the opinions of Ueshiba and the others. To agree with them or not is up to everybody to decide for themselves.

Best,

Chris
That's fine for you, but not for me, it's not enough.... I have to, for myself know it works...... not hope it works.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:11 PM   #32
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
That's fine for you, but not for me, it's not enough.... I have to, for myself know it works...... not hope it works.....
Again, you're confusing things. I never said that I don't compete or that other people ought not to compete.

What I said was that Ueshiba, quite clearly, made statements against competition. Are you saying that he didn't?

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:14 PM   #33
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
This is the problem I think .... because one man and a few other say that competition is bad or forbidden seems a little strange and even more so when it come from those who prefer to believe in spirits, demons, ghosts, aliens, whatever you like from the imagination and so forth, as with all those who believe in woo woo.
To me it's a kind of crutch to fall back upon when people lose their physical and mental strength..... either through trauma or otherwise....
Reality for most sucks, that is why many "need" religion woo woo and all the delusion that goes with it.....
Sorry but I'm free of all that.... My only faith is in myself 'cause all the reality I have is within me, my life experience.... It's been pretty rough at times and sometimes it's been good, but I'm still here and most likely to be here for quite some time, that's if I don't get knocked over by a bus tomorrow 'cause I wasn't looking where I was going.....
Anthony:
It seems as if you don't hold people like O'sensei and his skills in very high regard? He was indeed spriritual, and to my knowledge, he was also very spritual in his physical prime?

I might have misunderstood something, if that is the case please clarify.

In general:
It's a very touchy subject, I know. But how far from its core can a martial art develop before it is no longer the same from which it derived? In this case, O'sensei had strictly forbidden sports aikido. In doing so he clearly underlined the fact that sport had nothing to do in aikido training.
This was clearly not to be discussed and then we must conclude that non sport training is a very central element of his aikido practice and therefore most aikido practice. This is not to say that sport aikido is not good, only that it might be far from what O'sensei had in mind.
I do not agree that different training leeds to the same result and spirituality which many imply.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:16 PM   #34
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Again, you're confusing things. I never said that I don't compete or that other people ought not to compete.

What I said was that Ueshiba, quite clearly, made statements against competition. Are you saying that he didn't?

Best,

Chris
Were you there?
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:34 PM   #35
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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What I said was that Ueshiba, quite clearly, made statements against competition. Are you saying that he didn't?
The Devil's advocate here!
In different biographies, as in Suenaka Sensei's book if i remember correctly, it is stated as historic fact that Ueshiba himself accepted numerous challenges and fought with practitioners of different martial arts, a kick boxer, a boxer etc. Ueshiba himself is said to have tested his awareness skills against a firing squad (!).
Is that not competition? (at least in the everyday form of use of the term)
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:34 PM   #36
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Simon Kirk Sørensen wrote: View Post
Anthony:
It seems as if you don't hold people like O'sensei and his skills in very high regard? He was indeed spriritual, and to my knowledge, he was also very spritual in his physical prime?

I might have misunderstood something, if that is the case please clarify.

In general:
It's a very touchy subject, I know. But how far from its core can a martial art develop before it is no longer the same from which it derived? In this case, O'sensei had strictly forbidden sports aikido. In doing so he clearly underlined the fact that sport had nothing to do in aikido training.
This was clearly not to be discussed and then we must conclude that non sport training is a very central element of his aikido practice and therefore most aikido practice. This is not to say that sport aikido is not good, only that it might be far from what O'sensei had in mind.
I do not agree that different training leeds to the same result and spirituality which many imply.
Simon,
I am going by my own experience, not by somebody I do not even know, have never met , so how can I make my mind up on that one?
Have you met Mr Ueshiba? No of course not , so you go by what you are told or read, not what you have experienced...?
I not saying that Mr Ueshiba is talking all nonsense, but I don't have to believe in what he chose to believe in..... spirits, woo woo and the like.....
I do believe that he had real ability in that he trained his body and mind to a high level, through hard work sweat and tears, not by thinking about it, or by non resistant practice.. That is what it is I admire him for.
I don't bow to photo's or "worship" humans or believe in "god" but I am a humanist and expect others to do to me as I would expect to have them do to myself, that is respect live and let live.... but at least be rational. I find this to be a small commodity these days.....

Last edited by Tony Wagstaffe : 01-07-2011 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #37
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
The Devil's advocate here!
In different biographies, as in Suenaka Sensei's book if i remember correctly, it is stated as historic fact that Ueshiba himself accepted numerous challenges and fought with practitioners of different martial arts, a kick boxer, a boxer etc. Ueshiba himself is said to have tested his awareness skills against a firing squad (!).
Is that not competition? (at least in the everyday form of use of the term)
Ding dong!!
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:47 PM   #38
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
The Devil's advocate here!
In different biographies, as in Suenaka Sensei's book if i remember correctly, it is stated as historic fact that Ueshiba himself accepted numerous challenges and fought with practitioners of different martial arts, a kick boxer, a boxer etc. Ueshiba himself is said to have tested his awareness skills against a firing squad (!).
Is that not competition? (at least in the everyday form of use of the term)
Were you there? Was Suenaka there?
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:49 PM   #39
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Were you there?
No, but I can read, and he wrote it quite clearly. I can hear too, and I've heard him make the same statements in his own voice in recorded interviews.

It's all a matter of public record.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #40
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Ding dong!!
Again, the confusion of "any kind of competition" with the specific form of competition in the form of a sport.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:55 PM   #41
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Simon,
I am going by my own experience, not by somebody I do not even know, have never met , so how can I make my mind up on that one?
Have you met Mr Ueshiba? No of course not , so you go by what you are told or read, not what you have experienced...?
I not saying that Mr Ueshiba is talking all nonsense, but I don't have to believe in what he chose to believe in..... spirits, woo woo and the like.....
I do believe that he had real ability in that he trained his body and mind to a high level, through hard work sweat and tears, not by thinking about it, or by non resistant practice.. That is what it is I admire him for.
I don't bow to photo's or "worship" humans or believe in "god" but I am a humanist and expect others to do to me as I would expect to have them do to myself, that is respect live and let live.... but at least be rational. I find this to be a small commodity these days.....
That is fair enough I do respect that. But I was referring to this you mentioned:

"(...)because one man and a few other say that competition is bad or forbidden seems a little strange and even more so when it come from those who prefer to believe in spirits, demons, ghosts, aliens, whatever you like from the imagination and so forth, as with all those who believe in woo woo.
To me it's a kind of crutch to fall back upon when people lose their physical and mental strength..... either through trauma or otherwise...."

O'sensei did say that competetion should be banned from aikido practice (at least until someone manages to prove the people who said this wrong). He was also VERY spritual and did believe in spirits.
By linking this together i cannot help but understand it as if you don't hold spiritual peoples (O'sensei in particular) martial ability in very high esteem?
Maybe the reason why O'senei did not aprove of competition was that he wanted people to train as if their lives were at stake and that real life has no rules?
I don't se a link between lack of competition, spirituality and and bad martial arts. Sport has its pros and cons and so do non sport training.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:01 PM   #42
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Were you there? Was Suenaka there?
Me? No.
Suenaka Sensei? I think he was at least in one occasion.


Me, myself, do not believe in competition in Aikido. Not at all.
But it might also be true that by finding himself in competing situations, O' Sensei might have eventually reached the point of
not finding any point in competing for anything.

Last edited by SteliosPapadakis : 01-07-2011 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:16 PM   #43
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
Me? No.
Suenaka Sensei? I think he was at least in one occasion.


Me, myself, do not believe in competition in Aikido. Not at all.
But it might also be true that by finding himself in competing situations, O' Sensei might have eventually reached the point of
not finding any point in competing for anything.
It's all guesses, but I think you're right that O'sensei didn't see any point in competing. I believe he found a state of inner peace and freedom.

A question to those people who know more than me: Did O'sensei ever participate in any competition in one of the arts he studied?

Last edited by Aikirk : 01-07-2011 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #44
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
To compete in battle is to live or die.... win or lose....
To compete in "sport" shiai is to experiment and find out something within the bounds of humanitarian boundaries....
How do you know if your "technique works" in "reality" ?
We cannot if we do not have something to measure it by....
We would not have the Olympics if was not for competition....
I think this planet/world would be a very boring place if we did not have competition......

But many prefer woo woo instead.......
I've never seen a dojo without competition. Even the most aiki-fluffy groups have it, though they would deny it to their last breath.

But what are the stakes? In a formalized sport, winning and losing have on the one hand, very low stakes: no one is going to die. On the other hand, the stakes are very high: prestige, "face," standing among one's peers. IMO, that atmosphere is not necessarily conducive to learning: you can't learn if you aren't willing to fail.

If no one is keeping score, it's easier to try stuff that might not work.

Katherine
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:18 PM   #45
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
Me? No.
Suenaka Sensei? I think he was at least in one occasion.
Well...
Suenaka Sensei began his aikido study upon Koichi Tohei's 1953 visit to Hawaii, and continued his study directly under Founder Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei at the Aikikai Hombu for eight years, beginning in 1961. That same year, Suenaka Sensei received an aikido menkyo kaiden (master-level proficiency) teaching certificate from O'Sensei, and became the first person to open a successful aikido dojo in Okinawa.
http://www.suenaka.com/biography.php

So we have a timeframe (1961-1969). What event are you talking about? Citation please.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #46
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
To compete in battle is to live or die.... win or lose....
To compete in "sport" shiai is to experiment and find out something within the bounds of humanitarian boundaries....
How do you know if your "technique works" in "reality" ?
We cannot if we do not have something to measure it by....
We would not have the Olympics if was not for competition....
I think this planet/world would be a very boring place if we did not have competition......

But many prefer woo woo instead.......
Dear Tony,
Who are we competing against- ourselves or others? Do you feel that the strong survive?You may well be a prime specimen today but an accident or illness could take away all you power.
Would you then feel that society should allow you to suffer or pass away?As far as winning in the Olympics -Ben Johnson and others won gold medals taking drugs.Johnson was one minute a hero, lauded by all, next he was rated a cheat.
I believe that the aims of Aikido , Judo and related arts are
fundamentally about such concepts as honour, discipline , fortitude.
loyalty and the building of character.Like the alchemist of old we should try and turn base metal into gold .Polish yourself and your waza through diligent training with respect for others. Winning is ok , and we all like a winner but not someone who wins by any means . Tiger Woods may well be a top golfer , but as a husband and father I think he is zero.
Happy New Year to You,and all our readers, Joe.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:19 PM   #47
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Tony,
Who are we competing against- ourselves or others? Do you feel that the strong survive?You may well be a prime specimen today but an accident or illness could take away all you power.
Would you then feel that society should allow you to suffer or pass away?As far as winning in the Olympics -Ben Johnson and others won gold medals taking drugs.Johnson was one minute a hero, lauded by all, next he was rated a cheat.
I believe that the aims of Aikido , Judo and related arts are
fundamentally about such concepts as honour, discipline , fortitude.
loyalty and the building of character.Like the alchemist of old we should try and turn base metal into gold .Polish yourself and your waza through diligent training with respect for others. Winning is ok , and we all like a winner but not someone who wins by any means . Tiger Woods may well be a top golfer , but as a husband and father I think he is zero.
Happy New Year to You,and all our readers, Joe.
Wow: excellent.
Thanks a lot, Joe.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:28 PM   #48
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
I'd like to introduce a sidebar to this thread. Not only did O Sensei have this view of aikido and sport - even Jigoro Kano the founder of judo had a similar view about judo and sport...

http://ejmas.com/jcs/2004jcs/jcsart_svinth_0504.htm
Interesting. Thank you.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:39 PM   #49
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I've never seen a dojo without competition. Even the most aiki-fluffy groups have it, though they would deny it to their last breath.

But what are the stakes? In a formalized sport, winning and losing have on the one hand, very low stakes: no one is going to die. On the other hand, the stakes are very high: prestige, "face," standing among one's peers. IMO, that atmosphere is not necessarily conducive to learning: you can't learn if you aren't willing to fail.

If no one is keeping score, it's easier to try stuff that might not work.

Katherine
There are always stakes. What you are talking about is ego maybe....all of us have that....
In battle, war, it is more beneficial to win although the cost makes it somewhat pointless. The vanquished don't have a say, they are dead, gone, sad as that is.....The survivors rise as a phoenix to reclaim what they believe to be their right, so they compete to become better. It has happened throughout human history and it's unlikely to change until we rise above it mentally? Then what would we do? Almost everything we do is a kind of competition even if it's against yourself ..... I would suspect the human race will go beyond this planet, that through necessitation because it is inherent even in the genes. Even they compete to become the strongest, we are hard wired for it.... It maybe that we will eventually meet other civilisations who knows? The odds are favourite for it I would say... Then there will be competition there I would hazard a guess.....
To deny competition is like denying your very existence.....
We strive to become better, that is competing against the odds....
Just because someone "spiritual" (whatever that means?) says it's not doesn't necessarily mean they are right.... No one is perfect.....
If that was the case would we not live forever? There are problems attached to that as well if we do not transcend this tiny speck we inhabit at present.....
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:41 PM   #50
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
So I know that this has been discussed - quite heatedly - in the past, here.
And I know that there have always been people saying that there is ambiguity, on account of translation from Japanese to English, about O'Sensei's opinion.

But I got this book for Christmas:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Aikido...4343973&sr=8-1

...it's the translation, and organisation of a series of lectures O'Sensei gave to a religious organisation, and while I understand the author (John Stevens) has no doubt got his own interpretation, and outlook, etc., there is a passage which is very detailed, and so, I think, near-impossible to be mistaken about:

'True budo can never be a sport. In budo we strive to refine and perfect our characters. If we can perfect our characters, we can accomplish anything; in that spirit we as human beings can protect the environment from harm.

Our country never developed Western-style competitive sports, but these days there are those among us who are glad that martial arts are becoming sports. That, however, is a gross misunderstanding of the true nature of budo. Sports are games and a form of play, They are games played by physical entities, not matters of the spirit. In other words, they involve mere competition. Budo, however, is a means to maintain and promote harmony'


(Morihei Ueshiba and John Stevens, The Heart of Aikido: The Philosophy of Takemusu Aiki (Kodansha International Ltd, 2010), p. 52)

Opinions, interpretations, insights...?
Hello Graham, Happy New Year!

I believe that it is always good to begin with what Morihei Ueshiba actually stated, then look at the translations. I have two points to make.

First, if you read further on in The Heart of Aikido, there is another section, on pp. 98-103, where Ueshiba recounts his wartime experiences and his so-called ‘mystical' experience, when he was called upon to build the Iwama dojo. On pp.99-100, there is an explicit reference to ‘competitive matches' in aikido. The Japanese original appears on p. 128 of Takemusu Aiki. For those who can read Japanese, Here are the relevant paragraphs:

 一国を侵略して一人を殺すことではなく、みなそれぞれに処を得させて生かし、世界大家族としての集いとなって、一元の営みの分身分業として働けるようにするのが、合気道 の目標であり、宇宙建国の大精神であります。これが明治大帝の大み心であったと、今日なお迎いでおります。
 絶えずこの祈り争いをせさんようにする。だから合気道は試合を厳禁している。がその実は大なる愛の攻撃精神、和合、平和への精神である。

The closest John Stevens gets to a translation of part of this is the following paragraph:

"The purpose of Aikido is to help us fulfill our mission to bring peace and harmony to this world. That is why there are no competitive matches in Aikido, no contests. We attack with the power of Love, and we wield the weapons of harmony and peace." (The Heart of Aikido, pp. 99-100.)

The Takamusu Aiki passage is quoted in another place. This is Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of Morihei Ueshiba, which was translated into English only recently. This translation is much closer than what Mr Stevens manages to achieve above. Kisshomaru does not reproduce the Takamusu Aiki passage exactly. Here is Kisshomaru's version:

 他の国を侵略して人を殺して勝ったなどと錯覚するのは愚かです。みなそれぞれ、処を得つつ生きてゆき、世界大家族としての集いとなって、一元の営みの分身分業として働け るようにするのが、合気道の目標であり、宇宙建国の大精神であります。これが明治大帝の大み心であったと、今日なお迎いでおります。
 絶えずこの祈りによって、争いをせさんようにする。だから合気道は試合を厳禁している。がその実は大いなる愛の攻撃精神、和合、平和への精神です。

Here is a translation of the above passage:

"It is foolish to invade someone else's country, killing people and achieving the illusion of victory. The objective of Aikido mirrors that of the spirit at the foundation of the universe: for all to have a place to call home, to be part of the same family, to work as children of the same creative source. Even today, I truly believe that this was what Emperor Meiji had in mind. It is for this that we always pray, avoiding conflict at all cost. For this reason, I prohibit competition in Aikido. However, the love which is part of Aikido actively seeks concord and peace." (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, A Life in Aikido, p. 43.)

Secondly, here is a closer translation of the passage that you quoted in your opening post, plus some essential context. The translation is by Sonoko Tanaka and was published by Stan Pranin. It can be found on Stan's Aikido Journal website.

"Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the three Worlds—Appearance, Subconscious and Divine—and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish. We call it "takemusu aiki" when we clarify the true meaning of God's works, purify the Great Way and dedicate ourselves to assist the Great Way to become wholesome. This is my firm belief.
Therefore, the martial arts (budo) of our country are not called sports. The purpose of martial arts is to shape and perfect ourselves. Once we build ourselves up, we have to realize everything successfully and, first of all, we, as human beings, must protect all nature.
In our country, originally, we do not have such sports as people have in Western countries. Some people are delighted to say that the Japanese martial arts have gained in popularity since they became sports. However, this is a gross misunderstanding that shows they do not know at all what the Japanese martial arts really are.
Sports are games and pastimes that do not involve the spirit. They are competitions only between physical bodies and not between souls. Thus, they are competitions merely for the sake of pleasure. The Japanese martial arts are a competition in how we can express and realize love that unites and protects everything in harmony and helps this world to prosper.
The Way that preserves this world is a competition to protect the spirit and also the physical world. It is a competition to completely guard the Way of birth and growth of all nature, and to lovingly cultivate the Way of flourishing of all, through the breath of A-UM (breathing out and in) in which the spirit and physical body are balanced in harmony. This competition was exactly the same activity of the creation of today's world engaged in by the Great God through the two deities of Izanagi and Izanami. It is the Way to daily thank the Great God for His work and thus it is a prayer. There is nothing better than a prayer. Even when we feel ill or unpleasant, we can become refreshed and get well by offering prayers. I have experienced this through my prayers. I stand on the platform of Heaven and worship God facing to the east and heavenward. I offer my gratitude in prayer standing in the center of the Earth together with everything existing between Heaven and Earth. This is the true aikido and takemusu. This is the source of harmonious interaction between the breath of fire and water."

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-07-2011 at 09:46 PM.

P A Goldsbury
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