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Old 08-19-2011, 12:32 PM   #1
Allen Beebe
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O-sensei rules

Or, O-sensei's rules . . .

On another thread Dan Harden wrote:

"Interestingly enough, the good methods seem to leave adepts with very healthy bodies and outlooks on life."

I found myself thinking, "Well, there is an indicator. Regardless of what one wants from their art martially and/or spiritually (those being a primary reason individuals are attracted to Aikido I suppose), one can check for "adepts with very healthy bodies and outlooks on life." If that is missing, it is time to keep looking."

Then I thought, "Ah, well this has been said before!" I was recalling the rules written down by O-sensei. If I remember correctly, his students came to him and asked for him to set some rules. His response was, "Oh! It has come to this then!" And wrote down the following:

1) One blow in AIKIDO is capable of killing an opponent. In practice, obey your instructor, and do not make practice a time for needless testing of strength.

2) AIKIDO is an art in which one man learns to face many opponents simultaneously and requires therefore that you polish and perfect your execution of each movement so that you can take on not only the one directly before you but also those in every direction around you.

3) Practice at all times with a feeling of pleasurable exhilaration.

4) The teachings of your instructor constitute only a small fraction of what you will learn. Your mastery of each movement will depend almost completely on your earnest practice.

5) The daily practice begins with light movements of the body, gradually increasing in intensity and strength, but there must be no overexertion. That is why even elderly an elderly man can continue to practice without bodily harm but with pleasure and profit and will attain the purpose of his training.

6) The purpose of AIKIDO is to train both body and mind and to make a man sincere. All AIKIDO arts are secret in nature and are not to be revealed publicly nor taught to rogues who will use them for evil purposes.

"Of the foregoing rules, that which prohibits revealing the arts to others without good reason was enforced until World War II. After the War, the founder wished to introduce AIKIDO to all the world and allowed public demonstration of the arts."

The above was taken from, "AIKIDO, The Arts of Self-Defense" by Koichi Tohei Edited by Morihei Uyeshiba, revised edition 1961. As we know, Ueshiba actually was initially angrily opposed to the idea of "public demonstration of the arts" when it was first proposed by his son. Obviously he changed his mind.

Here is another version copied from AikiWeb. It would be nice to see the original Japanese. Does anyone recall where that might be found?

1. Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor's teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.

2. Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front, but to all sides and the back.

3. Training should always be conducted in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.

4. The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training.

5. In daily practice first begin by moving your body and then progress to more intensive practice. Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.

6. The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and to produce sincere, earnest people. Since all the techniques are to be transmitted person-to-person, do not randomly reveal them to others, for this might lead to their being used by hoodlums.

Here O-sensei seems to first lay down essential attributes of Aikido and how they are to be attained:

Attributes of Aikido:

1) One blow/strike is capable of killing -- follow directions of your instructor (the guy/gal who's one blow is capable of killing) and don't needlessly test strength (testing strength does not develop Aikido's strength)

2) The ability to face multiple opponents -- develop awareness (and consequently the aforementioned power) towards all sides

Next he lays out the manner in which these attributes are to be obtained:

3) Training atmosphere should be pleasant and joyful

4) Solo practice (partner practice implied?) is the primary means to achieve mastery.

5) Training should be natural and reasonable. When this is followed even elderly individuals can develop Aikido's attributes.

Finally, he states the purpose of Aikido, but also reflects back on the primary attributes, which he obviously takes seriously cautioning against sharing such power with individuals that would use them destructively.

6) The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and make an individual sincere. (Sincerity is the key word here that is often overlooked. It would be important to read the original Japanese to find the exact word he used and its probable implications.) Obviously, if one can (and O-sensei seems to indicate that in Aikido one should) have the power to "kill with one blow and deliver that power in any direction" it does no one good to give that kind of power to "hoodlums."

I think the list of rules is quite compelling and thought provoking (and have consequently used the list from the inception of my dojo) and have used it as a guide passed down from O-sensei for my students and myself. Rule one alone, along with the myriad quotes saying that Aikido is 90% (and other figures) atemi is quite provocative.

Where is this 90% Atemi Aikido where one blow can kill developed through the avoidance of needless testing of strength? This Aikido that extends power in all directions? This Aikido who's practice is reasonable, healthy, and takes place in an atmosphere that is pleasant and joyful? This Aikido where the individual is primarily responsible through their individual practice to achieve and manifest the attributes of Aikido? This Aikido where as individuals become older they become MORE powerful? This Aikido where one trains the mind and body such that they (the mind/body) become sincere?

O-sensei, supposedly, laid this out for Aikido students in writing (I think it was post-war BTW, but I'd have to check.) . . . and it is about as clear as one could hope for . . .

What don't you know?

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: O-sensei rules

Hi Al,

Intriguing as always.

In John Stevens's translation of "Budo "(Kodansha 1991) on page 38 the "Precautions for Training" are included. It doesn't seem to say whether these originally where included in "Budo", however, I recalled (that's why I checked) that point #6 coins the term yamato-damashi which I think was translated as "sincere" in the translations you offered. Stevens adds in the notes that "nowadays [it is] best interpreted as the manifestation of all that is good and treu in human nature."
OTOH I also recall in Peter Goldsbury's series he tackled yamato damashi to some extent...
FWIW

Ernesto
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:04 PM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: O-sensei rules

I had completely forgotten about that set of rules. Thank you very much for posting this! It (re)sets a lot of things into perspective.

Number 4 and 6 seem to say a lot of the transmission discussions.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 08-19-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
Cliff Judge
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Re: O-sensei rules

Didn't Budo Renshu have a verse about how there are no secret teachings? Or at least that you shouldn't bother with them?

(In recent years I have come to think of that as a "don't pay toothless old men for secret teachings, just work on what I have taught you from the first scroll" kind of statement.)
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:21 PM   #5
Diana Frese
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Re: O-sensei rules

Thanks, Allen. Koichi Tohei Sensei's book was lent to me by my judo instructor at college. ( I had missed the Waseda University Aikido Club's demo due to being in the infirmary with German measles or something.) It had amazing quotes from O Sensei, probably what are called "doka" on Aiki Web, plus the list.

Then the instructor's cousin taught judo in town, in Ithaca NY and my friend Linda and I attended there too our last term at Cornell. This cousin also taught Aikido.

The Cornell judo teacher also coached the fencing teams, he was Moroccan, I think his cousin was French.

That was the early days, and Peter Goldsbury mentioned that at the time that book and Second Doshu (Kisshomaru Ueshiba)'s book were available ; he read them in Boston, we read them in New York, I found them fascinating :fortunately New York was just a train ride from my house so I took some courses at Columbia and moved in with my grandmother .... but enough about me!

Some things that I remember about the list:

Shuji Maruyama Sensei, who attended the early summer camps with his students may have said "Muri Shinai" the short slogan meaning what he explained as "don't do unreasonable things." This seems to symbolize point number five.

Point six, about hoodlums. The concern was at the back of my mind, from reading those points years ago, but I also knew Aikido was now open to the general public. I may have kidded to a few friends that with me teaching at the Y, I taught at a pretty basic level, even though people from other martial arts stuck with the classes for quite some time, actual hoodlums would get so bored with the way I taught that they would not be around long enough to become dangerous at it.

I was at a Y, so geared it to the intro level, nevertheless some students who persevered got quite good at it. My senpai Cassandra whose job transferred her to only two towns away, viewed the class and said "Daian has good students" At the time,
I wondered if she thought I was any good.... But then I realized she had paid me a very good compliment.

Well, enough about me, I just wanted to start the comments with a few thoughts about the list we kept in the back of our minds if not posted at the dojo, back in what people call the early days.

You will see a reflection of point number three in Yamada Sensei's editorials in recent years, that practice should be fun.

Yes, Aikido can be lethal, so we have to be extremely careful. Imagine reacting instinctively with a throw on the street, if someone hit the back or top of their head on the pavement....

Well, there's an intro, I imagine there will be lots of discussion on these points, and I look forward to reading the following posts.
Thanks, Allen
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
Diana Frese
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Re: O-sensei rules

cool. a lot of people already posted while I was still typing. Now I can read them
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:26 PM   #7
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
Hi Al,

Intriguing as always.

In John Stevens's translation of "Budo "(Kodansha 1991) on page 38 the "Precautions for Training" are included. It doesn't seem to say whether these originally where included in "Budo", however, I recalled (that's why I checked) that point #6 coins the term yamato-damashi which I think was translated as "sincere" in the translations you offered. Stevens adds in the notes that "nowadays [it is] best interpreted as the manifestation of all that is good and treu in human nature."
OTOH I also recall in Peter Goldsbury's series he tackled yamato damashi to some extent...
FWIW
Oh fine!,

Aren't you the smarty pants?!! So, since it is in John Stevens' translation of "Budo" I went and looked at Shirata's copy of "Budo" and lo and behold, there it is in Japanese for me to read.

Obviously it is very much a pre-war writing in date and in contextual feel. I'll have to report back later as I am supposed to be doing other things right now.

Thanks for telling me where to look though!



Allen

(I'll tell you right now though that Yamato Damashii is used but there were further translation modifications. Maybe I can scan that one page and post the original.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:32 PM   #8
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

John Stevens translation certainly appears to be the most comprehensive translation of the one's posted. The translation change I noted immediately upon looking at the original was noted in John Stevens foot notes.

Okay, I have to stop this and do what I'm supposed to be doing.

You are evil Ernesto!



Allen

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:53 PM   #9
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Aren't you the smarty pants?!!
Funny you should say that. I think I heard someone pointing that out to me several times quite recently at a seminar. I guess after that point I sorta shut up but the guy kept nagging me to give him feedback cause he wasn't sure I got it. Geez...



Oh, you shouldn't respond btw, there is a roof that needs...eh...well, what does a roof need anyway?
Keep up the good work!

Ernesto
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:36 AM   #10
Michael Varin
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Re: O-sensei rules

Allen,

Interesting thread. Thank for posting.

I remember reading these rules several years ago.

You've made some interpretations/extrapolations from the rules that I'm not sure I would make.

I'm looking forward to additional input about the translation from the original Japanese.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:16 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Then I thought, "Ah, well this has been said before!" I was recalling the rules written down by O-sensei. If I remember correctly, his students came to him and asked for him to set some rules. His response was, "Oh! It has come to this then!" And wrote down the following:

1) One blow in AIKIDO is capable of killing an opponent. In practice, obey your instructor, and do not make practice a time for needless testing of strength.

2) AIKIDO is an art in which one man learns to face many opponents simultaneously and requires therefore that you polish and perfect your execution of each movement so that you can take on not only the one directly before you but also those in every direction around you.

3) Practice at all times with a feeling of pleasurable exhilaration.

4) The teachings of your instructor constitute only a small fraction of what you will learn. Your mastery of each movement will depend almost completely on your earnest practice.

5) The daily practice begins with light movements of the body, gradually increasing in intensity and strength, but there must be no overexertion. That is why even elderly an elderly man can continue to practice without bodily harm but with pleasure and profit and will attain the purpose of his training.

6) The purpose of AIKIDO is to train both body and mind and to make a man sincere. All AIKIDO arts are secret in nature and are not to be revealed publicly nor taught to rogues who will use them for evil purposes.

"Of the foregoing rules, that which prohibits revealing the arts to others without good reason was enforced until World War II. After the War, the founder wished to introduce AIKIDO to all the world and allowed public demonstration of the arts."

The above was taken from, "AIKIDO, The Arts of Self-Defense" by Koichi Tohei Edited by Morihei Uyeshiba, revised edition 1961. As we know, Ueshiba actually was initially angrily opposed to the idea of "public demonstration of the arts" when it was first proposed by his son. Obviously he changed his mind.
This version of the rules also appears in Aikido, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who also adds a very detailed commentary of the rules on pp. 174-176. The Japanese text can be found in 規範合気道基本編, by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, p 12. There is also an explanation of how the rules came to be written. I am pretty sure I have reproduced the Japanese version of these rules somewhere on AikiWeb. There is a translation of this book by John Stevens, called Best Aikido, but I gave away my copy, so I cannot check the translation.

The text translated by John Stevens in Budo is somewhat different and the Japanese original appears on p. 8 of the book. Stevens states in Note 20 (p. 72) that the text of No. 6 actually states, "create sincere Japanese people". In his main text he leaves Yamato-damashii as it is, but "create sincere Japanese people" becomes "to build one's character".

The Japanese text translated by John Stevens actually states:
六、本部術ハ大和魂ヲ鍛錬シ誠ノ日本人ヲ作ルヲ目的トシ業ハ委ク秘傳ナルヲ以テ從ニ他人ニ公開シテ流義ノ秘法ヲ暴露シ或ハ市井無類ノ徒ノ悪用ヲ避クベシ

The text that appears in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido book, translated above, is somewhat different:
六、合気道は心身を鍛錬し至誠の人を作ルるを目的とし、また技はことごとく秘伝なるを以て徒に他人に公開し或は市井無頼の徒の悪用を避くべし。

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:19 AM   #12
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
This version of the rules also appears in Aikido, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who also adds a very detailed commentary of the rules on pp. 174-176. The Japanese text can be found in 規範合気道基本編, by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, p 12. There is also an explanation of how the rules came to be written. I am pretty sure I have reproduced the Japanese version of these rules somewhere on AikiWeb. There is a translation of this book by John Stevens, called Best Aikido, but I gave away my copy, so I cannot check the translation.

The text translated by John Stevens in Budo is somewhat different and the Japanese original appears on p. 8 of the book. Stevens states in Note 20 (p. 72) that the text of No. 6 actually states, "create sincere Japanese people". In his main text he leaves Yamato-damashii as it is, but "create sincere Japanese people" becomes "to build one's character".

The Japanese text translated by John Stevens actually states:
六、本部術ハ大和魂ヲ鍛錬シ誠ノ日本人ヲ作ルヲ目的トシ業ハ委ク秘傳ナルヲ以テ從ニ他人ニ公開シテ流義ノ秘法ヲ暴露シ或ハ市井無類ノ徒ノ悪用ヲ避クベシ

The text that appears in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido book, translated above, is somewhat different:
六、合気道は心身を鍛錬し至誠の人を作ルるを目的とし、また技はことごとく秘伝なるを以て徒に他人に公開し或は市井無頼の徒の悪用を避くべし。

Best wishes,
Hi Peter,

Yes, the Japanese text translated by John Stevens (with the modified translation and explanatory note as you described) is as you wrote. I assume, like me, you are checking this from an original copy of Budo? So we know that much as least.

Next you provide the original Japanese for the differing translation. This gives one good explanation for how the translations can vary so greatly.

Here is my question, I assume that the translation using the word "AIKIDO" postdates the "Budo" version. I assume this based on the idea that Aikido wasn't used regularly at the time of the publishing of "Budo." (Although it is within years of becoming adopted as the official nomenclature of the Butokukai for what Ueshiba was teaching.) Do we know who made the adaptation and how that came about? Obviously in Tohei's book almost 20 years later some of the history is "smoothed out" and this is while Ueshiba Sr., KIsshomaru and Tohei sensei's are all still together.

Can you think of a problem with me attaching a PDF of the original page from Budo here? It might be nice for people, but I don't want to step on any toes or find myself in legal trouble.

If you recall where you addressed the rules I'd love to read over that again. BTW, if I prompted that conversation and am being redundant, I apologize in advance. I'm perfectly capable of doing something like that I know!

I have "Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba but do not have " 規範合気道基本編," by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba. I'll look in the former for the details you describe. That is probably where I got the, "It has come to this." idea. (Now I can test my memory. It hasn't been pretty so far. But I guessed post-war for the rules because of the use of the word "Aikido" not realizing that a modification had been made.

So, once again, which is the original? Was the original modified for inclusion in "Budo" or was "Budo" modified later? Can we assume that the modification was approved by Ueshiba Sr. because the rules were supposedly posted in the Hombu Dojo?

Thank you for writing here Peter! I'm sorry that we missed each other this year, maybe next year? Perhaps we could have our respective parties begin communicating earlier and then we might not run into as many obstacles.

Sincerely,
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:16 AM   #13
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Allen,

Interesting thread. Thank for posting.

I remember reading these rules several years ago.

You've made some interpretations/extrapolations from the rules that I'm not sure I would make.

I'm looking forward to additional input about the translation from the original Japanese.
Hi Michael,

I think it is the nature of communication that differentiation in interpretation and extrapolation should occur. As is, I think, obvious here, I wished to "hedge" my interpretation/extrapolation until I could read the original text in Japanese (knowing that even then the interpretation/extrapolation would go through my language/cultural/experiential filters). Turns out there are (at least) two sources of Japanese text, one of which I was already in possession of (duh!). And, yes, my interpretation/extrapolation has been modified yet again.

Nevertheless, I still think that either version are pretty provocative and compelling, not only in content but in their conciseness. On the other hand I am not at all surprised that others (not necessarily you BTW) don't find them compelling or provocative at all. After all, they were first presented and firmly placed contextually and conceptually into to the Western (and to a large extent Eastern) public's mind by sensei's Tohei and Kisshomaru, rather than by Ueshiba Morihei who's original text was for an exclusive and limited audience. The Tohei/Kisshomaru history and contextual understanding was the undisputed "truth" for for more than one generation and decades later it should come as no surprise that these rules are naturally viewed in a particular way. No surprise there.

I think there is a parallel to established religion. Religious scholarship has made huge progress in recent history and actually calls some of religious tradition into question. The rub comes when the newly discovered (thousands of years old) "old stuff" comes into conflict with the predominantly understood and practiced (hundreds of years old) "old stuff."

What is a world wide, tradition rich, culturally embedded, politically established, church to do? Turn on a dime? The people wouldn't have it! The establishment wouldn't have it! The church would likely fall apart. It might be easier to hush up, or otherwise influence the scholars, but today we live in an age where it is culturally and practically less likely to do so. It is troublesome. On the other hand, the rolls of the church are dramatically down. The church finds its self less and less relevant to a changing populace and so finds its very existence threatened.

Pandering to a popular trend calls into question the original veracity of the church itself. Staying the course seemingly threatens its very existence. Transformation based on recent scholarship, while popular in certain niches, seems like the least expedient decision to make. Besides, how do we do justify the change while retaining authority and not expose the fact that we covered up some of the facts that have just come to light. Tricky! What to do? What to do?

Anyway, yeah, I'm weird!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:31 AM   #14
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

BTW, I have witnessed more than one Japanese traditional establishment willfully, and seemingly knowingly, march itself down the path of extinction rather than to change itself to what it formerly was (during its Japanese adoption) in order to survive, opting instead to maintain (a fairly recent) Japanese tradition that assured obsolescence.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:38 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: O-sensei rules

Hello Allen,

I am pretty sure that the Budo version was the original one. As you can see from p. 8 of the book, the rules constituted Part One, entitled 「練習上ノ心得」. The revised rules, given in 規範合気道基本編, are called 「合気道練習上の心得」. Judging from the discussion in this book, it is clear that the rules were posted in the dojo with Morihei Ueshiba's approval.

Since the Budo volume has never been published (and, as a coincidence, the rules were not generally known), I would think there are no problems in making a PDF file of the page. I have noticed one avoidable and one unavoidable mistake in my transcription, so it would be good for people to see the entire set of rules exactly as they were written in 1938.

I am sorry we were not able to meet in the Netherlands. Actually, I returned to Japan earlier than I intended and cut short my visit to the UK.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:52 AM   #16
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Here is an interesting thought (and I am hijacking my own thread I am aware):

Of the "voices" one reads on these various subjects (here and in books, etc.) is there a general trend of interpretation and feel?

In other words, if one were to group individuals into "Japanese voices" (usually published or teachers.), "Foreign voices" (individuals that have history, cultural immersion and a certain linguistic ability from some extended time in Japan) and "Foreign voices" that have limited, or no time in Japan but extensive time outside of Japan.

Do these voices tend to group themselves in their tone, and feel for the various topics discussed?

In other words, do these groups speak with seemingly different understandings and interpretations and if so why? What is the implication if any?

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #17
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Allen,

I am pretty sure that the Budo version was the original one. As you can see from p. 8 of the book, the rules constituted Part One, entitled 「練習上ノ心得」. The revised rules, given in 規範合気道基本編, are called 「合気道練習上の心得」. Judging from the discussion in this book, it is clear that the rules were posted in the dojo with Morihei Ueshiba's approval.

Since the Budo volume has never been published (and, as a coincidence, the rules were not generally known), I would think there are no problems in making a PDF file of the page. I have noticed one avoidable and one unavoidable mistake in my transcription, so it would be good for people to see the entire set of rules exactly as they were written in 1938.

I am sorry we were not able to meet in the Netherlands. Actually, I returned to Japan earlier than I intended and cut short my visit to the UK.

Best wishes,

PAG
Dear Peter,

Okay, well that makes sense to me, but I'm much more comfortable knowing that you think so too. So we have two related sets of rules both approved of (if not written by) Ueshiba Morihei.

I'll see what I can do about scanning and posting page 8. of Budo. BTW, I just noticed that my copy has a few written notes in it (not on page 8) which I assume come from Shirata sensei. I wonder if John Stevens has a copy of sensei's Budo Renshu. I'd bet he does! I wonder if there are hand written notes in that as well.

Thanks again,
Allen
(p.s. You are always welcome to visit beautiful Portland Oregon USA!!! I know a nice place to stay! )

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:30 PM   #18
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Alrighty! Here are the rules written on page 8. of of Morihei Ueshiba's "Budo."

Thanks to the help of my friends!

Allen
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Scan 2.pdf (127.2 KB, 84 views)

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Old 08-20-2011, 05:19 PM   #19
David Orange
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Re: O-sensei rules

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Or, O-sensei's rules . . .
1) One blow in AIKIDO is capable of killing an opponent. In practice, obey your instructor, and do not make practice a time for needless testing of strength.
I wonder why I always get such blowback when I say that aikido is based on a killing strike?

Anyway, thanks for the excellent thread.

I think there are some great things here, especially considering that they come from 1938. That was the year Shioda began training with Ueshiba, I believe.

As for Yamato Damashi, I was told that it meant Japanese Heart. And from the kind of training that was going on at the moment, it meant something I would hesitate to try to translate. But it seemed to have a sort of tribal initiation element to it, creating a modification of kokoro to a yamato (Japanese) heart. And this seemed to imply a kind of wildness and realness that I had never encountered among them, like a hidden spirit within a very pure appearance. A seemed to be both extreme ijimeru and extreme fighting spirit. Imagine the treatment of recruits in the wartime Japanese army.

This training of which I speak was not conducted by Mochizuki Sensei but by one of his students who was conducting special training for junior college students.

I could understand calling it "sincere" but it was not really much on the sweetness and light.

Still, O Sensei's call for a joyous atmosphere is refreshing and his sequence for light to intense movement is great.

I like this:

"4) The teachings of your instructor constitute only a small fraction of what you will learn. Your mastery of each movement will depend almost completely on your earnest practice.

I'd say #4 really implies constant practice, both with and without partners or adversaries.

Think of all the martial arts movies where the young man who practices his moves day and night, walking, working, alone and in class, becomes the best. He also gets in the most trouble. Sometimes he overcomes it and sometimes he gets killed. But the answer is always more practice!

They sure come back easy from brutal beatings in those flicks.

But solo practice is where you can ponder and absorb lessons from classes. And it's where you can think about other arts and approaches you've heard of. You can cross-train and recognize related principles.

And I no longer doubt that the IP workers are onto some core principles that were lost from mainstream aikido but have been re-discovered.

Of course, I was never mainstream aikido, but I found some great things from meeting Minoru Akuzawa, Rob John and Dan Harden, and reading Mike Sigman.

") The daily practice begins with light movements of the body, gradually increasing in intensity and strength, but there must be no overexertion. That is why even elderly an elderly man can continue to practice without bodily harm but with pleasure and profit and will attain the purpose of his training."

Thanks for posting.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:05 PM   #20
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I wonder why I always get such blowback when I say that aikido is based on a killing strike?

Anyway, thanks for the excellent thread.

I think there are some great things here, especially considering that they come from 1938. That was the year Shioda began training with Ueshiba, I believe.

As for Yamato Damashi, I was told that it meant Japanese Heart. And from the kind of training that was going on at the moment, it meant something I would hesitate to try to translate. But it seemed to have a sort of tribal initiation element to it, creating a modification of kokoro to a yamato (Japanese) heart. And this seemed to imply a kind of wildness and realness that I had never encountered among them, like a hidden spirit within a very pure appearance. A seemed to be both extreme ijimeru and extreme fighting spirit. Imagine the treatment of recruits in the wartime Japanese army.

This training of which I speak was not conducted by Mochizuki Sensei but by one of his students who was conducting special training for junior college students.

I could understand calling it "sincere" but it was not really much on the sweetness and light.

Still, O Sensei's call for a joyous atmosphere is refreshing and his sequence for light to intense movement is great.

I like this:

"4) The teachings of your instructor constitute only a small fraction of what you will learn. Your mastery of each movement will depend almost completely on your earnest practice.

I'd say #4 really implies constant practice, both with and without partners or adversaries.

Think of all the martial arts movies where the young man who practices his moves day and night, walking, working, alone and in class, becomes the best. He also gets in the most trouble. Sometimes he overcomes it and sometimes he gets killed. But the answer is always more practice!

They sure come back easy from brutal beatings in those flicks.

But solo practice is where you can ponder and absorb lessons from classes. And it's where you can think about other arts and approaches you've heard of. You can cross-train and recognize related principles.

And I no longer doubt that the IP workers are onto some core principles that were lost from mainstream aikido but have been re-discovered.

Of course, I was never mainstream aikido, but I found some great things from meeting Minoru Akuzawa, Rob John and Dan Harden, and reading Mike Sigman.

") The daily practice begins with light movements of the body, gradually increasing in intensity and strength, but there must be no overexertion. That is why even elderly an elderly man can continue to practice without bodily harm but with pleasure and profit and will attain the purpose of his training."

Thanks for posting.

David
Hi David,

With regards to Yamato Damashi, "soul or spirit" is probably a closer and more common translation. That having been said, I would quickly refer you to Prof. Goldsbury's much more thorough handling of the term in his column here on AikiWeb.

I believe Shioda sensei joined the Kobukan in 1932. (I'm familiar with the date because Shirata joined in 1931.) As an aside, I believe Budo Renshu was published in 1935, and along with Budo (1938), are the only published books "by" Ueshiba Morihei. Isn't it telling that the only two published works by O-sensei are routinely discounted as anachronisms when, and if, they are ever considered at all?

As far as "blow back" is concerned, I would venture to guess that it is largely because the idea is antithetical to how most folks fundimentally conceive of Aikido. However, consider this, what if he was pointing to a fundamental attribute rather than a fundamental value (the rest of the rules would seem to indicate this) - namely power so great that one blow could kill. (Recall a certain "tap" by Ueshiba to certain Judoka's hip that shattered it. I don't think he was being metaphorical!) If this attribute were present, then the admonition against needless testing of strength could be taken a couple of different ways, one might be "that is dangerous," but the other could be "power like THAT isn't developed via needless testing of strength." In fact it has little if anything to do with "strength" as normally conceived of. THAT, to my mind, sounds like O-sensei's (for the most part un-reproduced) Aikido with its persistent strange stories of incredible (abnormal) power only regularly paralleled in recent Japanese history by . . . Daito Ryu! Why would this be so hard to believe? Because, I surmise, most people are aware of no evidence that such power exists . . . most particularly not within an any Aikido context that they are familiar with. It is perfectly rational for most individuals NOT to believe . . . unless of course they have felt what you have undoubtedly felt for yourself.

I agree completely that the both the atmosphere and type of regimen called for by O-sensei are descriptive of the best and most (IMHO only) effect means of transmission.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:09 PM   #21
David Orange
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Hi David,

With regards to Yamato Damashi, "soul or spirit" is probably a closer and more common translation. That having been said, I would quickly refer you to Prof. Goldsbury's much more thorough handling of the term in his column here on AikiWeb.
OK. I'll have to read that. But doesn't it refer specifically to "Japanese" soul--setting it apart from the common human soul?

That was my sense of it.

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I believe Shioda sensei joined the Kobukan in 1932. (I'm familiar with the date because Shirata joined in 1931.)
Maybe he left in 1938?

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
As an aside, I believe Budo Renshu was published in 1935, and along with Budo (1938), are the only published books "by" Ueshiba Morihei. Isn't it telling that the only two published works by O-sensei are routinely discounted as anachronisms when, and if, they are ever considered at all?
It's a shame I don't have either.

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
As far as "blow back" is concerned, I would venture to guess that it is largely because the idea is antithetical to how most folks fundimentally conceive of Aikido.
That and the doubt that it can be done.

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
However, consider this, what if he was pointing to a fundamental attribute rather than a fundamental value (the rest of the rules would seem to indicate this) - namely power so great that one blow could kill. (Recall a certain "tap" by Ueshiba to certain Judoka's hip that shattered it. I don't think he was being metaphorical!) If this attribute were present, then the admonition against needless testing of strength could be taken a couple of different ways, one might be "that is dangerous," but the other could be "power like THAT isn't developed via needless testing of strength." In fact it has little if anything to do with "strength" as normally conceived of. THAT, to my mind, sounds like O-sensei's (for the most part un-reproduced) Aikido with its persistent strange stories of incredible (abnormal) power only regularly paralleled in recent Japanese history by . . . Daito Ryu!
I agree. But technically, I see aikido as being organized from a single deadly strike and descending into a body of technique that springs from that and allows for less deadly results, though remaining terribly convincing.

And I agree that it's sad to watch people struggle sometimes...though he did specify "needless" testing of strength. That does not preclude resistance by uke and I think that only if uke resists whenever he can (at advanced levels), nage will not realize that he is doing techniques wrong and correct himself. When he says "There is no resistance in aikido," I think he means in nage. By handling any resistance without resisting it, nage can become truly irresistible.

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Why would this be so hard to believe? Because, I surmise, most people are aware of no evidence that such power exists . . . most particularly not within an any Aikido context that they are familiar with. It is perfectly rational for most individuals NOT to believe . . . unless of course they have felt what you have undoubtedly felt for yourself.
I think there's a general awareness that O Sensei did a lot of strange stuff like the immovability, but I think people who haven't felt it discount those things as tricks or only indirectly related to aikido. Mochizuki Sensei never emphasized any of that in regular aikido training, either. So I never put much thought to it until I started arguing with Mike and Dan and Rob John here and on e-budo.

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I agree completely that the both the atmosphere and type of regimen called for by O-sensei are descriptive of the best and most (IMHO only) effect means of transmission.
Just to let that be said again.

Thanks.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 08-20-2011 at 08:12 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:23 AM   #22
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
OK. I'll have to read that. But doesn't it refer specifically to "Japanese" soul--setting it apart from the common human soul?

That was my sense of it.
Yes, in brief, Yamato would be "Japanese" and Tamashi would be "soul/spirit." Perhaps it is a bit akin to the "Pioneer Spirit," and/or "Spirit of America" that most assuredly will increasingly be bantered about by presidential candidates as they assure us that we are certainly the "Greatest country the world has ever known" and therefore certainly must be populated by the "Greatest people," that consequently must have a uniquely superior "American spirit!" Which of course proves that God loves us and that we should spread that blessing with the rest of the world through our military, economic and moral superiority. See the rhetorical parallel? (Oh, and don't forget to wear a lapel pin. Apparently that is just as important in America as it is in Japan.)

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
It's a shame I don't have either.
I think that Saito sensei's commentary on Budo may include the original Japanese. I don't own a copy, so I can't be certain. Budo Renshu was translated and published in a very rare and expensive form, but then republished later in a paperback form that can sometimes be found at a reasonable price at used book stores, or for more, on line.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I agree. But technically, I see aikido as being organized from a single deadly strike and descending into a body of technique that springs from that and allows for less deadly results, though remaining terribly convincing.
I learned "strike the many with the one" but "the one" isn't what most people conceive of. It is the same with the ken. My experience with waza was a bit different than yours it seems. I started Aikido hoping for an alternative (more moderate) alternative to the kicking and punching I had learned and trained in Karate. In time I began realize the just how horrible the techniques I learned were, punching and kicking began to seem like a much "kinder, gentler" response. On the other hand, my understanding is that the techniques aren't Aikido, so in learning Aikido one isn't wed at all to a set of technical patterned responses.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
And I agree that it's sad to watch people struggle sometimes...though he did specify "needless" testing of strength. That does not preclude resistance by uke and I think that only if uke resists whenever he can (at advanced levels), nage will not realize that he is doing techniques wrong and correct himself. When he says "There is no resistance in aikido," I think he means in nage. By handling any resistance without resisting it, nage can become truly irresistible.
Yes, in my experience, Aikido truly is the art of non-resistance. Although I think it might better be said that Aikido is "the art of non-resistance, non-retreat." This is, of course, a tall order. One is not allowed to resist or retreat with the body/mind, rather one maintains balance. In order that this be learned and developed one must obviously work within one's self, which initially is best done alone. [True Victory is Self Victory, Right Now. There is no opponent in Aikido. (If there were an opponent, one would be inclined to resist or retreat.) Therefore, as soon as one has the mind to attack (this applies equally to self and/or other) one is defeated.) However, as you pointed out, a partner can be quite invaluable in providing assistance and feedback. They necessarily need to be cooperative by providing enough force to make practice productive and yet not present so much so much force as to guarantee failure (returning to bad habits, i.e. resistance or retreat). Uke is collaborates in the production of real power, rather than collaborating in in a production of the appearance of real power. All this before even one technique has been practiced! With this in mind, "tests of strength" are surely needless. In fact, they are counter productive. Rather one can productively test one's non-resistance/non-retreat or ability to maintain balance, but the results (feedback), if successful, will most probably be not of the normal variety for either party. The whole affair is completely unusual, hence the misunderstandings surrounding even strait forward explanations.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I think there's a general awareness that O Sensei did a lot of strange stuff like the immovability, but I think people who haven't felt it discount those things as tricks or only indirectly related to aikido. Mochizuki Sensei never emphasized any of that in regular aikido training, either. So I never put much thought to it until I started arguing with Mike and Dan and Rob John here and on e-budo.
I suspect some individuals were too busy training (to become as strong as their teacher) to be bothered to "show off." Why bother, THEY know that THEY are not there (equal to their teacher) yet. Who cares how many others are impressed by their present limited ability? On the other hand, I suspect that some of the better known, and consequently more often challenged, individuals may have become bored and/or wished to have a more create means of dispelling doubt other than "blowing away" those that physically questioned their ability, hence the performance of "tricks." The fact that individuals thought that these "tricks" were not directly related to Aikido was simply a misunderstanding on the part of the individuals. They mistook the trappings (techniques) for the art, even when told explicitly that they (techniques) are NOT the art.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Just to let that be said again.
Right! (Allen's quick remix)

1) Aikido produces the power to kill with one blow. (Not that killing with one blow is promoted or valued.) Therefore do not make practice a time of needless testing of strength. (First off, if you have "real strength" you won't be testing it in that manner, and if you are testing strength, you won't be developing the "real strength" {the strength of non-resistance, non-retreat} that is Aikido.)

2) One must be able to deal with "opponents" on all sides. (This is a tactical admonition, but more importantly, a technical one as well. If one is "one sided" how can one be balanced? If one isn't balanced one is either resisting or retreating out of proportion in a single direction.

3) Training should be conducted in a pleasant and joyful manner. (It is the best way that humans learn. Besides if the atmosphere isn't "pleasant and joyful" one is likely to be mentally (and therefore physically) either resistant or retreating, in other words, they won't be practicing Aikido.

4) The instructor can shares only a small aspect of the Art. (Aikido is True Victory is Self Victory! Sensei can't do that for you. You will likely have a hell of a time doing that yourself, so you better get started! And Sagawa would remind us that once one thinks they have "arrived" they can always do less! (resistance/retreat)

5) Training should progress incrementally in a reasonable fashion. In this way one can train productively into old age. (This is a matter of course. Aikido is the art of non-resistance. If there is no resistance there should be no stress. If there is no stress there should be no risk of injury. At the same time, one can begin to discover "real strength" which is a strength that should increase with age rather than decrease in the manner of normal strength.)

6) The purpose of Aikido is to train mind and body and (updated generic version) make individuals sincere. This is best done person to person (do we know of any Aiki greats that learned Aiki in a large seminar????) and has the potential to give an individual tremendous power. Therefore one should be careful with whom one teaches. (Aikido is the art of non-resistance/non-retreat, the art of balance, the art of peace. Such a balance will be evidenced by a tremendous power, power so great that one blow is capable of killing. (Not some silly secret "killing blow." Don't chase after silly secrets!) In order to do this one must train ones mind/body incessantly such that one becomes a *sincere* individual. Here *sincere* means that the mind/body reflect each other perfectly and without any delay or discordance whatsoever. (I'd like to go on to talk about how this relates to the "Three Jewels" but I can see my students are beginning to nod off.) So don't go teaching this to rogues who will probably think that all Aikido is is just a bunch of techniques and that "being strong" is the goal of Aikido rather than just an attribute and will predictably end up needing to go around proving how "strong" they are either with their technique (body) or personality (mind). That is not my Aikido!

BTW, which rule in which translation address the "spiritual" thing? O-sensei said Aikido wasn't a religion, rather it helps to complete religions. Most folks attribute the "ability to complete religions" to some spiritual factor contained in Aikido. Can we assume that that factor isn't contained in a technique? Can we assume that, since these rules were apparently laid down more than once with O-sensei's approval, they would necessarily help to assure that one be able to achieve that essential factor? Therefore, even though spirituality may not be directly addressed in the rules, can we assume that a following of the rules would produce conditions that would lead one to better be able to complete religion? In other words, could a non-resistant, non-retreating (balanced) mind/body that is in complete accordance (sincere) with itself and therefore its surroundings (we don't live in a vacuum) be "the thing" that would enable one to complete religion (truly and completely live up to the religious ideal)?

If this were so, I can also see where a cautionary note might be in order, and, indeed, was included. Such an alignment could truly be awful, in either the positive or negative sense.

Oh what whacky webs weave in the mind of Allen on a Sunday morning!

Thanks again for writing David!

Sincerely,
Allen

(I'm tired of writing now, so I'm going to post this "as is" sorry for whatever mistakes lie there in.)

((BTW, the rules are cool unto themselves without my input. So please feel free to respond to them rather than feeling obliged to respond to my diarrhea of the fingers! )

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:11 AM   #23
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Looky looky what doka is up today!:

Aiki is the power of harmony between all things.
Polish it ceaselessly,
Everyone of the Way.
- Morihei Ueshiba

O sensei rules!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:11 PM   #24
Diana Frese
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Re: O-sensei rules

Hi, Allen, this is Daian who mentioned the mists of time earlier in this thread. I just want to say that anytime you feel like mentioning the three treasures, the mirror, the jewel and the sword I will not nod off! You also mentioned those "foreign voices" who spent little or no time in Japan, I think I read the Manyoshu in translation decades ago, before even going to Japan, at least before living there for a year and a half (we had a tour in 1971 for three or four weeks) I intend to look up the three treasures in Prof Goldsbury's writings, but would be interested in what you, or anyone else have to say on these too. I seem to remember in Saotome Sensei and Peter Shapiro's class the sword referred to power or strength, the mirror to the public eye, or other people, and the magatama jewel to the soul, but often the discussion went too fast for me to keep up, since it was mostly in Japanese. I also seem to remember reading in a translation of the Kojiki that the beads were chewed and spat out and that is how some of the Kami were created by Izanami and Izanagi in a sort of rivalry or competition....

Wow, that is a huge digression if anyone chooses to follow it, or maybe start another thread. Anyway, I feel pretty secure I can look up Prof Goldsbury's articles. I just wondered if anyone else was curious about the three treasures, now that we have the subject of Yamato Damashii opened ....

Having read the Manyoshu and parts of the Kojiki in translation years ago, having read some of the Manyoshu in the romaji in the back of the book, I feel that there is an emotional content to the word Yamato to Japanese, and even to myself when I see scenery in hills or shore that reminds me of those poems.

For those who study kototama, I read somewhere on Aiki Web that the Manyoshu has many examples of kototama, but I'll plan to dive into the archives until someone here picks up on the topic.

No intent to hijack, just picking up on a topic.... As you all probably noticed, I am an elderly person gingerly trying various ways to get back into training, but I also love to read.

Thanks everyone, this thread is well worth studying.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:14 PM   #25
Allen Beebe
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Re: O-sensei rules

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Hi, Allen, this is Daian who mentioned the mists of time earlier in this thread. I just want to say that anytime you feel like mentioning the three treasures, the mirror, the jewel and the sword I will not nod off! You also mentioned those "foreign voices" who spent little or no time in Japan, I think I read the Manyoshu in translation decades ago, before even going to Japan, at least before living there for a year and a half (we had a tour in 1971 for three or four weeks) I intend to look up the three treasures in Prof Goldsbury's writings, but would be interested in what you, or anyone else have to say on these too. I seem to remember in Saotome Sensei and Peter Shapiro's class the sword referred to power or strength, the mirror to the public eye, or other people, and the magatama jewel to the soul, but often the discussion went too fast for me to keep up, since it was mostly in Japanese. I also seem to remember reading in a translation of the Kojiki that the beads were chewed and spat out and that is how some of the Kami were created by Izanami and Izanagi in a sort of rivalry or competition....

Wow, that is a huge digression if anyone chooses to follow it, or maybe start another thread. Anyway, I feel pretty secure I can look up Prof Goldsbury's articles. I just wondered if anyone else was curious about the three treasures, now that we have the subject of Yamato Damashii opened ....

Having read the Manyoshu and parts of the Kojiki in translation years ago, having read some of the Manyoshu in the romaji in the back of the book, I feel that there is an emotional content to the word Yamato to Japanese, and even to myself when I see scenery in hills or shore that reminds me of those poems.

For those who study kototama, I read somewhere on Aiki Web that the Manyoshu has many examples of kototama, but I'll plan to dive into the archives until someone here picks up on the topic.

No intent to hijack, just picking up on a topic.... As you all probably noticed, I am an elderly person gingerly trying various ways to get back into training, but I also love to read.

Thanks everyone, this thread is well worth studying.
Hi Diana,

As "an elderly person gingerly trying various ways to get back into training, but also loving to read" you have my deepest sympathy and respect!

(BTW I was just enjoying the '70's channel on Pandora when I read your message. Far out!)

As far as the Three Jewels are concerned, I am under the impression that there is no "one truth" as to their meaning. Hence, finding out about them generally, even in a deeply scholarly way, while edifying (Nothing wrong with that!) would not necessarily indicate how O-sensei viewed them specifically. Personally, I hold almost anybody that definitively tells me what "O-sensei meant" with deep suspicion, as I find such individuals usually under the influence of deep arrogance, ignorance or both. Conversely, that rather opens up the field of possibility as well since I hold no one as the quintessential holder of "the truth." To my mind the "truth" is the truth. Truth needs no quintessential holder.

Shingon Mikkyo is jam packed with symbolism and there are certain texts jam packed with explanations, vague to detailed, by authorities (both sages and scholars) itemizing what the symbols, sub-symbols, etc. all represent and mean . . . and they don't' all agree.

That is not the point of Shingon though. All of that symbolism, while important relatively to scholars, historians and such, is only important to practitioners to the degree that they are acting as expedient means towards leading one away from delusion. When they are no longer expedient, they are no longer necessary.

Take my words for example, if they lead to greater clarity and realization, in the case of Aikido, if they aid one to understand the process of training mind/body to become sincere, then they are serving their purpose. If they instead lead to increased confusion and delusion, in the case of Aikido, if they impede one from understanding the process of training mind/body to become sincere, then they are not serving their (or at least that) purpose.

In a way it is paradoxical, the symbols (in this case words) are not the process, but they can be useful tools in the process. On the other hand, Symbols ARE our mind (outside of that what are they?) and therefore our body, so they ARE the process too . . . which is why they are useful!



If a Three Jewels discussion would truly be of benefit why not start a new thread?! Just click on the New Thread button and fill out the form like you do when you respond to a thread. If I can do it anybody can!

Thanks for posting again. Please keep us up to date on your path of "getting back into training."

Sincerely,
Allen

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