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Old 05-19-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
mathewjgano
 
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Essential Qualities

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, no. If you transform aikido, it isn't aikido any more. That's what the word "transform" means, after all.
This doesn't seem right. You can transform a flower in ways that allow it to remain a flower.
Perhaps I should ask:
what are the non-transferable qualities of Aikido? I'm not aware of any apart from historical happenstance. I don't see Aikido as quite so fixed or discrete a thing.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:15 PM   #2
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Re: Essential Qualities

I've interpreted it as said that using one tool for everything isn't good, but I think that makes some preconceptions on the nature of the tool. Aikido is, in a sense, formless...or so I've taken it into my head as being true. In this sense "it" isn't constrained by the obvious constrains of the usual analogies; for example, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Which also presupposes a lack of creativity on the part of the individual, or that a hammer can only hit nails...when clearly it also makes for a lovely little bit trellis.

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Old 05-19-2011, 01:57 PM   #3
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
This doesn't seem right. You can transform a flower in ways that allow it to remain a flower.
And you can transform it in something that is not a flower anymore, for instance: eating the flower.

Even if a flower is not very nutritious, something of the flower will become part of you while something will be err.... "discarded". After this transformation we don't have this flower anymore.

Maybe we should be cautious about using flowers to feed us, we can end malnourished and the flowers transformed in poo.

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Old 05-19-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Essential Qualities

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
And you can transform it in something that is not a flower anymore, for instance: eating the flower.

Even if a flower is not very nutritious, something of the flower will become part of you while something will be err.... "discarded". After this transformation we don't have this flower anymore.

Maybe we should be cautious about using flowers to feed us, we can end malnourished and the flowers transformed in poo.
Caution is definately a good course...of action, at least. So it depends on the nature of the transformation for whether or not it's good for the flower. What then are Aikido's essential qualities so we know what not to affect in our transformations?
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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Re: Essential Qualities

What gets transformed in the practice of aikido? The art or the student? My thought is that the art remains fairly intact even given the various styles and myriad ways of doing things while the students are changed in many ways.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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Re: Essential Qualities

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
What then are Aikido's essential qualities so we know what not to affect in our transformations?
I don't know for sure but I think the column written this month by Lynn, and this T.K. Chiba Sensei interview are worth reading.

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Old 05-19-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Essential Qualities

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Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
What gets transformed in the practice of aikido? The art or the student? My thought is that the art remains fairly intact even given the various styles and myriad ways of doing things while the students are changed in many ways.
I would argue both, though I agree the student generally changes more rapidly.
What are the key parts that remain the same then, if we can think of Aikido practice as mostly the parts that stay around?

I tend to think of "Aikido" as denoting the way of connecting to things as inspired by Ueshiba O Sensei. We can choose to do exactly like he did, assuming he was the living embodiment of what "doing Aikido" is; or we can deviate to some degree based on whatever seems to still fit the bill. Right now I have no real idea where the bill is apart from some kind of spiritual/mindful wrestling.
That it's mindful implies to me it can apply to any situation. If Mochizuki sensei can do Aikido with artillary or with his fist, why can't you also operate garden equipment with Aikido, or watch TV? This was my thinking in response to Mary's thoughts on another thread. So I guess I should also ask: was Mochizuki just talking about using the knobs and dials, or the loading of shells? Or was he talking about something broader?
Take care, Michael!
P.S.
Quote:
I don't know for sure but I think the column written this month by Lynn, and this T.K. Chiba Sensei interview are worth reading.
Thanks Demetrio!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-19-2011 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:05 PM   #8
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I don't know for sure but I think the column written this month by Lynn, and this T.K. Chiba Sensei interview are worth reading.
Thanks for the mention.

Since transformation is a process, the question remain who or what is transformed?

IMHO, the essential qualities of transformation are in the person, not the opportunity.

Aikido is just an opportunity (invitation) to do the work.

Thoughts?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:25 PM   #9
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

Hi Matthew.
I like the title and that is the harder thing to answer.

The transformation question for me is a bit of a non-question really though. Transformation is basically change so of course Aikido along with anything else anyone does leads to change.

In fact change is one of the self evident truths of the universe in that everything you ever come across is changing. Nothing remains the same. Thus we have growth or decay etc.etc.

Maybe we could ask rather how it changes individuals who do Aikido. Generally does it make them better people, more amenable, more aggressive, more....????

I read Demetrios link to Chiba Senseis views and they were very interesting. I liked his analogy to a tree and branches and leaves. I can just see now though everyone wanting to say they are the trunk and the roots and all those others are just the branches and the leaves. (ego's such a wonderful thing)

However, a tree grows and has branches and leaves and thus developes into a mature tree and gives 'fruits' Change in action. It has transformed from a seed into a little tree and then into a full flourishing tree. Then it would give seeds would it not and so other trees would spring up.

Those who don't like change are going against the laws of the universe therefore and causing their own suffering.

Therefore I say the process as Lynn puts it is indeed a process of continual transformation which improves us to the degree that we are hungry to understand more.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:37 PM   #10
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

With regards to the essential qualities of Aikido I will only say this:

Check out those qualities that O'Sensei communicated as essential and find whether he said they relate to life or not.

There are many he seemed to emphasize on numerous occasions but unfortunately they seem to be the hardest ones to fully understand.

So in taking such statements as 'true budo is love' for example and finding someone who can demonstrate that then you would find someone keeping one part of the essence, one essential part alive no?

This is how I view it.

Given by a mere leaf. G.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:08 AM   #11
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
With regards to the essential qualities of Aikido I will only say this:

Check out those qualities that O'Sensei communicated as essential and find whether he said they relate to life or not.

There are many he seemed to emphasize on numerous occasions but unfortunately they seem to be the hardest ones to fully understand.

So in taking such statements as 'true budo is love' for example and finding someone who can demonstrate that then you would find someone keeping one part of the essence, one essential part alive no?

This is how I view it.

Given by a mere leaf. G.
Hi Graham,

The quote which inspired this thread speaks to attempts to transform aikido. Matthew, in his OP, asks the question "what are the non-transferable qualities of Aikido?" which for me moved the topic to a discussion of transfer as opposed to transformability or transformation. The thread however, has the title "Essential Qualities" suggesting that certain qualities or aspects of aikido are changeable (transformable, transferrable) while others are not. Further discussion touches on what or who is transformed, transferred, or changed, and who can teach us essential and unchangeable elements of the art as OSensei originally intended.

However, appealing to OSensei for the unchangeable or essential elements of aikido doesn't always answer as many questions as we would like. During his long personal history he was not unchangeable, was transformed more than once by his experience, and emphasized different "essential elements" of aikido to different disciples at various stages in his life, and theirs. i.e. the essential quaities OSensei emphasized when he transfered his teachings were very likey transformed over time by his own development and experience.

Looking in Wikipedia for some help with this you find very different discussions regarding the terms transform and transfer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_of_learning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_transform
and these entries do not immediately apply although they are both well done and interesting in themselves.

Like many of y'all, I feel learning aikido's essential elements is personal, variable, and dependent on one's own physical practice and development; the essential elements of it are likely to prove highly resistant to what we call verbal discussion or description and questions about these essentials are only answerable through physical discussion in the form of actual practice.

Best regards,

Rudy

Last edited by abraxis : 05-20-2011 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:15 PM   #12
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Rudy Ternbach wrote: View Post
Hi Graham,

The quote which inspired this thread speaks to attempts to transform aikido. Matthew, in his OP, asks the question "what are the non-transferable qualities of Aikido?" which for me moved the topic to a discussion of transfer as opposed to transformability or transformation. The thread however, has the title "Essential Qualities" suggesting that certain qualities or aspects of aikido are changeable (transformable, transferrable) while others are not. Further discussion touches on what or who is transformed, transferred, or changed, and who can teach us essential and unchangeable elements of the art as OSensei originally intended.

However, appealing to OSensei for the unchangeable or essential elements of aikido doesn't always answer as many questions as we would like. During his long personal history he was not unchangeable, was transformed more than once by his experience, and emphasized different "essential elements" of aikido to different disciples at various stages in his life, and theirs. i.e. the essential quaities OSensei emphasized when he transfered his teachings were very likey transformed over time by his own development and experience.

Looking in Wikipedia for some help with this you find very different discussions regarding the terms transform and transfer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_of_learning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_transform
and these entries do not immediately apply although they are both well done and interesting in themselves.

Like many of y'all, I feel learning aikido's essential elements is personal, variable, and dependent on one's own physical practice and development; the essential elements of it are likely to prove highly resistant to what we call verbal discussion or description and questions about these essentials are only answerable through physical discussion in the form of actual practice.

Best regards,

Rudy
Hi Rudy.
So you feel it's not applicable to state an essential quality then on a forum such as this? O.K.

I too will not do so without further study of What O'Sensei said to whom and when and in what context. However, if on doing so I come across one then I will call it one of the essences of Aikido according to O'Sensei.

In fact from my line of reasoning it's not reasonable to say he changed many times and therefore whatever.

The one I plucked out of the air was 'True budo is love' I would thus try to find if he was consistent in that view, if he ever contradicted that view or if he maintained that view. If so then it IS one of the essences of Aikido, one of the unchangeable, non-transferable elements of Aikido. Nothing to do with personal experience or otherwise.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:46 PM   #13
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
This doesn't seem right. You can transform a flower in ways that allow it to remain a flower.
Think of Aikido as a tulip!

The tulip is Aikido and I think all the various styles of Aikido are like the petals. Each petal overlaps part of another petal but it is unique to itself even though they look quite similar.

The pedals also give the flower color.

-
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:11 PM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: Essential Qualities

Ah....Yes and the pretty petals are not the essential of the tulip, but merely the external trappings for the stuff that counts: stamen, pistil, ovary! :-)

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #15
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Maybe we could ask rather how it changes individuals who do Aikido. Generally does it make them better people, more amenable, more aggressive, more....????

I
Aikido, not unlike any other martial art, don't change the person into something they are not. Aikdo, as every other art or activity can only chip away at the exterior to bring forth what may have been dormant. This could be good or bad.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:28 PM   #16
aikishihan
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Re: Essential Qualities

Great post and great contributions! I am truly learning so much.

Thank you all, the faithful of Aiki Web!

I beg to ask, did O Sensei create his Aikido in one day, and thereafter repeat the discovery until his demise? Or did he not, as most believe, continually transform his Aikido on a daily basis, as a living and malleable monument to his dreams, visions and boundless creativity?

It is this characterization of the Founder that sits best with me. It is this example by the Prime Mentor that I emulate on my journey.

in oneness,
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:30 PM   #17
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote: View Post
Aikido, not unlike any other martial art, don't change the person into something they are not. Aikdo, as every other art or activity can only chip away at the exterior to bring forth what may have been dormant. This could be good or bad.
Really? Not in my experience.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:38 PM   #18
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Re: Essential Qualities

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi Rudy.
So you feel it's not applicable to state an essential quality then on a forum such as this? O.K.,,,,Regards.G.
Graham,
I don't believe your giving in that easily, and I didn't mean to imply that this forum wasn't appropriate for discussions such as these. I wanted to emphasize my view that "....questions about these essentials are only answerable through physical discussion in the form of actual practice." You can raise all the questions you can think of for discussion on this forum but regarding the real answers -- they only come from the practice of the art.
___________________________

Janet,
Spoken like a true biologist.

____________________________

Jester,
I like the tulip analogy but I also like to think that aikido is an onion with innumerable concentric layers. Analysis and discussion peel away one layer then another then another until they are all removed and the onion is gone.

Have a great practice y'all,

Rudy
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:42 PM   #19
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Essential Qualities

Hi Graham,
Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
In fact change is one of the self evident truths of the universe in that everything you ever come across is changing. Nothing remains the same. Thus we have growth or decay etc.etc.
Change is good in part because it creates differentiation, which gives us options to consider. In maintaining the whole picture of what Aikido was probably meant to be, I think it's natural to have specialization, which will further add to the differentiation, probably until we see things that look nothing alike. But I think that's ok, as long as there is open interaction I think we'll be fine regarding whatever essential elements might be said to compose Aikido or any other system of interaction.

Quote:
Maybe we could ask rather how it changes individuals who do Aikido. Generally does it make them better people, more amenable, more aggressive, more....????
I wonder if this can be described as the living side of Aikido. I would argue that as the practice changes people, the people will also change the practice because the practice doesn't exist on its own...it is manifest through the behaviors of people. Those things which stand out as essential to their practice tend to be focused on, and particularly as those people in turn teach, they impart an emphasis. It might be slight, but added to other slight additions and you can get some pretty big shifts. And we can see radically different takes on "Aikido." From that, like you I think, I'm far more interested in how that applies to quality of living. Perhaps higher aggression when balanced with other factors creates a more assertive and self-posesseed person who gets things done in such a way as to get a good job, protect their loved ones, etc. Perhaps lower aggression when balanced by other factors causes one to be less of a thorn which leads to a good job and better relationships, etc.

So my current thinking is that an essential element of Aikido might be said to relate to mindful interaction. My sense of Aikido has come largely through the concept of musubi, which pertains to connection; not just having a connection (which we might argue already exists by virtue of sharing proximity), but on the nature of that connection. We can look at how we're intraconnected and interconnected and, in studying that, we also learn (hopefully) the particulars of a situation and see past preconceived notions of form to learn new notions (probably to later get caught up on). But the key, I think, is to keep going; to keep trying to maintain positive growth. Beyond that it's a matter of trying to stand the shoulders of giants. We keep going, learning from as many of the "bigger" folks we happen across, doing our best to be our best.
This is the essence of my training. I haven't been very good at it, but lately feel like I'm making some positive steps forward. The Aiki Taisai at my dojo really rekindled my passion (i.e. changed me for the better).

Quote:
..as Lynn puts it is indeed a process of continual transformation which improves us to the degree that we are hungry to understand more.
As usual, someone said it better than I could. He does have a way with words!

Quote:
Rudy wrote:
the essential elements of it are likely to prove highly resistant to what we call verbal discussion or description and questions about these essentials are only answerable through physical discussion in the form of actual practice.
I really like this because I think it reflects the ultimate nature of why the mat/training is so important in Aikido. I do think we can learn something through talk, but it's not the same, being based more on mind than mindbody. Similarly, I think people can take an approach that is more "body" than mindbody, and not talk at all about it, for example.

My two-bits.
Thanks for the good food for thought!
Take care folks,
Matt
p.s. thank you to everyone for posting! I spent too much time juggling this post and my 2-year-old to respond right now, but great stuff, thank you!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-20-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:33 PM   #20
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

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Rudy Ternbach wrote: View Post
Graham,
I don't believe your giving in that easily, and I didn't mean to imply that this forum wasn't appropriate for discussions such as these. I wanted to emphasize my view that "....questions about these essentials are only answerable through physical discussion in the form of actual practice." You can raise all the questions you can think of for discussion on this forum but regarding the real answers -- they only come from the practice of the art.
___________________________

Janet,
Spoken like a true biologist.

____________________________

Jester,
I like the tulip analogy but I also like to think that aikido is an onion with innumerable concentric layers. Analysis and discussion peel away one layer then another then another until they are all removed and the onion is gone.

Have a great practice y'all,

Rudy
Rudy. Giving in? Real answers? You have for sure emphasized you view, well done. Your view implies that this is not a place to find those answers therefore you do imply this forum is not appropriate.

Real answers come from both on and off the mat my friend. From inside and outside.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:35 PM   #21
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

By the way, well done Matthew for posting the thread.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:13 PM   #22
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Ah....Yes and the pretty petals are not the essential of the tulip, but merely the external trappings for the stuff that counts: stamen, pistil, ovary! :-)
Dup! I didn't want to mention reproduction!!
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:15 PM   #23
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
.... Real answers come from both on and off the mat my friend. From inside and outside. Regards.G.
Graham,

What we disagree on I have unfortunately overemphasized for the sake of argument: the differences between our points of view are really much smaller than the similarities. I agree with your statement quoted above, and I agree that this forum is an appropriate platform for raising questions about aikido and discussing answers to those questions, and I agree that we should look to OSensei's teachings when looking for the essential elements of our art. But every day is Monty Python's Day at some point.

Have a great weekend,

Rudy

Last edited by abraxis : 05-20-2011 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:18 PM   #24
graham christian
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Re: Essential Qualities

Quote:
Rudy Ternbach wrote: View Post
Graham,

What we disagree on I have unfortunately overemphasized for the sake of argument: the differences between our points of view are really much smaller than the similarities. I agree with your statement quoted above, and I agree that this forum is an appropriate platform for raising questions about aikido and discussing answers to those questions, and I agree that we should look to OSensei's teachings when looking for the essential elements of our art. But every day is Monty Python's Day at some point

Have a great weekend,

Rudy
Ha, ha. Brilliant answer. You've already made my weekend. Have a good one yourself.

Regards.G.
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