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Old 11-14-2011, 11:00 AM   #26
kewms
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Re: why do people outside Aikido for IS?

We all know people who have dabbled in half a dozen different arts and don't actually know much about any of them. Specialization is essential to mastery, I think.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I can think of a single top teacher who began in aikido and trained only in aikido for his entire career. Multiple perspectives are good.

Katherine
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #27
vjw
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come.
Mary, Do you visit other dojos? How many seminars have you been to in the last two years? Do you think it is possible that there are things on other peoples path that might help you on yours?
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:20 PM   #28
BWells
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

This whole going outside thing confuses me. My own aikido teacher has 50 years in the art and I can feel IS in him. However what he has he learned from years of training but didn't totally have the language to explain. By going outside to arts like Xing Yi and to training in Aiki such as the Aiki Connections Seminar in Seattle in Aug and training with Dan, (both my teacher and I attended the session in Seattle and a seminar with Dan) we are finding a more precise language and exercises to hopefully really expand the IS in our Aikido as we focus on this part. In none of this do I feel like I'm going outside of Aikido, I'm just making more mature parts of my aikido.

thanks
Bruce
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:34 PM   #29
Amassus
 
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
In none of this do I feel like I'm going outside of Aikido, I'm just making more mature parts of my aikido.
This sums it up for me. I started training in a koryu at the start of this year, IS exercises are part of the training there. My aikido has never been better and I haven't looked back.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:35 PM   #30
Davis
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

I do not know Dan or the controversy discussed here but I can comment on my own experience trying to teach karate in an aikido dojo. I was asked by my teacher who had been my karate instructor who now is godan in aikido, to offer karate classes to help finance the aiki dojo.

To make a long story short, I quit after a year of butting my head against the wall. I found personally, that aikidoka all seem to feel that they have figured it all out and that there is no other martial art, or spiritual practice they need. Across many dojos over the years I have encountered an attitude of open mindedness, from karate, to BJJ, to Krav Maga, to TKD. Nowhere in my travels as a karate teacher have I encountered such rigidity and opposition to anything outside the parent martial art. Aikodoka, it seems, are a somewhat fixated group, who desire to learn nothing from other arts. Why is this so?

This is to me because Aikido is not a martial art, but a religion. It has a close minded intolerance for almost all other martial arts, and a feeling of superiority. This is because when a practice ceases to be practice and becomes a faith, there is no questioning. There is no room for debate or for revision of beliefs, there are articles of faith, of dogma that prevail.

This is why it is exceedingly rare for aikidoka to seek out other martial arts and to learn from them. For the aikidoka, at least the modern type, they have all the answers and other martial arts are brutish, inconsequential forms of gymnastics. I have never seen a single aikidoka seek out cross training or working alongside other martial artists. This is rare in martial arts, modern thinking is about being open minded and letting go of rigidity in practice.

Had Ueshiba been as rigid and as certain of his way as much of what I have seen, there would be no aikido. Ueshiba dared to step out from the pack to find his own way. He saw the Buddha on the road and killed him. And a great treasure was born. Aiki practice. I have a great love for this art but I know that I cannot associate with aikidoka in the dojo, because they are always correct and not willing to learn from other ways.

I know this is a generalization and that many many aikodoka do strive for learning. But what I experienced was rigidity, dogmatism and one upsmanship, all in the guise of sprituality.

So I would say that when a martial arts practice becomes a religion, that innovation and progress are hampered and I am certain that this is not a way to grow as a martial artist.

That was just my experience and I had to leave the dojo, ultimately losing a 25 year friendship with my former Sensai. Dogmatism hurts and I left the dojo feeling like aikido, in its modern form, is based largely on building a dynasty for each Sensai and ensuring that students never find their own way, but attempt to copy others.

So why am I on here at all? Because I love the message in aikido and embracing of the internal arts. There is much good in aikido, but its very hard to work with aikidoka when you are always one down and in their minds, they are always one up.

I hope this makes sense and doesnt offend. We all suffer from dogmatism and self righteousness, but I have seen its negative effect in the martial arts community and urge folks to get off the high horse and become open, like children to new things. Aikido is only ONE of many internal forms of martial art, it is good to remember that.

Thanks for listening. I was pretty traumatized by this experience and hope to view aikido with a positive light again one day. For the record, my Sensai was very open minded, but even his open-ness could not penetrate the dogmatism of his students.

Last edited by Davis : 11-14-2011 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:58 PM   #31
Janet Rosen
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Davis, I accept your generalization based on your experience and want to say that you may take some flak from folks in aikido who, like me, ARE very open about getting out and exploring.
You note your experience happened many yrs ago. The good news is that there have been fresher breezes as it were since then...in the late 90s a bunch of aikido folks from different styles started getting together to train, starting to break down some old barriers. Then there were some big seminars with folks leading workshops from outside of aikido altogether. I know many aikido folks who either crosstrain seriously in a second art or have dabbled a bit for a finite time where they felt a specific skill was lacking or who simply get together with friends in other arts to play informally.
The bad news is that, yeah, there are still a lot of very parochial folks out there. Some are not so much narrow-minded in a bad way but just very contentedly narrow-focus and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
Bottom line, yeah some dojo cultures still fit your description, but IME it's not as pervasive as in the past.

Janet Rosen
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:10 AM   #32
kewms
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Davis, you should come to Seattle. At our dojo, I would say the serious students who *don't* have some sort of background in other arts are in the minority, and are trying very hard to remedy that gap in their education.

Katherine
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:09 AM   #33
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: why do people outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
... Tohei went "outside" as well, to Tempu Nakamura. ...
... and didn't he state, that Ueshibas influence on what he teaches was just about 30% ...?

@ Mary,
here in Germany Ki-aikido explicitely distinguishes itself from the aikido that follows Ueshiba Morihei. Yoshigasaki Kenjiro (who is in charge of ki aikido in Europe, South America and Africa as far as I know) holds the titel doshu and there are no connections on a regular base.

Movements, thinking about ki, ethics, reishiki, body structure, thinking about effectivity ... are all very different. I learn a lot about what is shin shin toitsu do. But I do not learn something (or very little) which I could invcorporate into the aikido I myself learn, practice, teach.

So the name "aikido" is the same, but when I privately visit a dojo of Ki-aikido it is kind of going outside.

On the other hand:
I never had to leave the aikido dojo of my "aikido-setting" (Our federation, befriended dojo ...) to learn things which may come near to what Dan and others seem to teach. Or at least to find and work on the same questions he and others ask (and seem to answer in his seminars).
Therefore I would like very much to practice with him or with someone who can pass on what he teaches (or even pieces of that). Because I think what I may learn there would fit in what Iknow as aikido.
So thinking about this was never thinking about "going outside".

And at last:
My aikido teacher works with in and yo. There is influence of the koryu he practices and teaches.
We often cut rigth through the attack, instead of letting it through and merge with it. There is influence of a certain school of kenjutsu. (Which is not the one, my teacher is sturnde of.)
When working on body structure, internal movements, breathing ... friends who do tai chi quite often state that they know this work.
When using the ki-meridians to understand details of waza there is the connection to shiatsu.
...
And so much more.

Allt this was part of my life in aikido from the first moment on. And I never considered it to be "outside".
Like you Mary, I think wouldn't consider the Shin shin toitsu do of Tempu to be "outside"?

The lemming thing is simple I think:
I experience it as a common question of a certain part of students of aikido to understand aikido not in terms of the outward movements but as a matter of one's own body. (Sorry: Can't explain this better in english.)
This can mean not to rely on the movements of uke, but to be able to create a contact as tori without ukes "help". Not to throw uke by leading his movement on untill he falls but to affect the organisation of his body in a way that he collapses where he is and down.
And so on ...

When I met Endo sensei for the first time it was like an "awakening": There it is! It is all there! He does it, he teaches it! The things I was dreaming of actually exist! And I can learn them!
When I came home, I told everybody. All the time. And there where other "bellievers". We also might have looked like (or better sounded) lemmings. Because we where exited, enthusiastic. And I am sure we often said - or at least thought - things like: Only he got it. That's the one and only way ...

... this was some years ago ...
(But he really has a lot to give ... )
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:49 AM   #34
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Hi Davis,

Quote:
I was pretty traumatized by this experience and hope to view aikido with a positive light again one day
I understand your feelings about the cultish attitude you found in Aikido (and yes, there are exceptions), but belonging to a cult is what a lot of people wants and needs.

Aikido gives these people what they're looking for, and that's good.

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Old 11-15-2011, 07:17 AM   #35
chillzATL
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

I'm one of those that doesn't feel there's anything wrong with our aikido or how we practice it. Our instructor was a student of Ueshiba, Tohei and host of martial arts greats from that era and someone who fought with what he knew many times. He would learn from anyone who could prove they had something to teach. Considering that, I'd be a fool if I did not do the same when the opportunity is there. For me, "going outside" has been internal training. The funny thing is that after doing it for a while now, it doesn't feel "outside" at all. It's been like shining a light on everything I've heard, read and done for years now. I find that refreshing and fun. Especially when after putting in enough time with it, the difference is obvious.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:14 PM   #36
vjw
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Victor Williams wrote: View Post
Mary, Do you visit other dojos? How many seminars have you been to in the last two years? Do you think it is possible that there are things on other peoples path that might help you on yours?
The reason I ask Mary, is that I get the impression you never leave your house to experience aspects of aikido that you may not ever have experienced before. You say you are puzzled why nobody comes to your seminars yet you seem not to see the need to go to seminars held by anyone else. How do you explain this?
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:06 PM   #37
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Re: why do people outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, its not a crisis only an opportunity.

Its is not what is lacking/missing (implied that it was there or should be there) only that there may be more.

In FMA we often say that the art is complete but not finished.

But, I have been a cross-trainer and perpetual-student my whole life.

Each person gives/shares what they have; some will appreciate it, some will reject it, and most will complete ignore it.

So it goes.

Thoughts?

Yes...to practice Aikido on the mat is much easier than to practice it on here. I will keep at it.
Mary

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Old 11-15-2011, 07:39 PM   #38
jonreading
 
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
There seems to be a crisis on some people's path that they they are trying to fix. Its seems like some people having been training for a long time and have not grown strong. That must be disconcerting and discouraging. Maybe it is what causes the level of nastiness that seems to rise up on these threads. Are you angry because your Aikido is lacking something? Are you feeling cheated?

When the spiritual part of Aikido is missed, could it be that the internal part is missed also. Maybe there is more connection than you have been led to believe.

Every one of these threads turns into a discussion about Dan (no disrespect intended just an observation). I hear that Dan understands internal strength and can convey it. I am sure he can.

Does that make it okay for you (not you, Dan, others that speak for you) to disparage others' ways? With great strength comes great responsibility. Internal practice could cause internal inspection and responsibility for one's own thoughts and process.

Maybe as individuals you all think that you are expressing yourselves. But to me it comes across on here as lemmings repeating doctrine.

One of the reasons I am not interested in what Dan has to offer is because of how some people that train with him talk to others on here. Why would anyone want that? Real internal strength helps us think for ourselves. It helps us develop compassion and appreciation of diversity.

Ron and I trained with a man who was very strong. He taught us well. Now we are on our own path.

Our Path involves Ki development, Aikido waza and internal responsibility. We talk about it all the time on here. Yet when we have a seminar not one person from the Aikido world other than our own students come. And then on here we are told we don't know what we are talking about. Only Mike and Dan have the "goods". How could anyone possibly know because none has come to our dojo to find out.

I not writing for sympathy or empathy. I really want to know. Please try not to write back if you have nasty things to say. Let's discuss these ideas without being mean.
Aiki is not exclusive to aikido. In many respects, other Japanese arts do a better job of defining, identifying and implementing aiki that aikido does. Aikido is not the authority on aiki. I do not consider this to be going outside aikido because I am not studying another martial art, just how another martial art defines aiki. I once heard a aikido person I respect say that learning aikido is kinda like assembling something from China - The instructions are in another language, you usually skip a few steps and you always end up with extra parts. I still chuckle when I think about this saying.

Several years ago I began to realize that aikido did not possess the lexicon to fully transmit the curriculum from one generation to the next. Dr. Goldsbury and others like Stan Pranin and Chris Li have spent so much time and effort on this point and we really can not thank them enough. Why the lexicon is incomplete is probably a myriad of answers. The catalyst for me was that I was reading a judo book Donn Draeger helped write and I thought "geez, these guys know their s*$t - the points were well-written and organized and they did an admirable job of keeping the points straight-forward. So I got another book, on karate, then Daito Ryu, then the koryu systems, etc. These books all presented well-written thoughts and straight-forward concepts. Compared to aikido, where everyone is right and nobody can capture the definition of aiki in less that 100 words, these other sources of information helped me to better understand my aikido.

I think many aikido people who want to elevate their training extend their experience into collaborative efforts with sister arts. I do not believe I would call the vocalization of this activity a "crisis"; although I believe (from my experience) the correlation between aikido people with competent skills and a knowledge of sister arts is pretty high. Many of the aikido people I know who are making this educational journey say "man, if I had started this x years earlier, my aikido would be through the roof." It is possible the exasperation you witness is the frustration many experience when they are exposed to something that revolutionizes their training (and they could have been doing it sooner). I do not believe this frustration is anger.

I cannot speak to some of the venom spat in threads, only to say that let he who has no sin... I have read as many (or more) negative comments against IS guys as they have made. I need only point to the current Ueshiba aiki thread. I won't speak for the internal guys. There's an old saying about doing something to messengers that bring bad news and I think some of the IS folks get that treatment. Internal strength training is contesting some serious concepts in aikido, some of which have become strong beliefs... and we all know how well people take to challenging their belief system. I think aikido needs to wrestle with why some spiritual and philosophical concepts have transformed into such entrenched beliefs that we can not tolerate attacks upon them.

The best way to resolve some of these discussions is simple to get on the mat with each other. You will either do or do not.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:01 PM   #39
Keith Larman
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Jon, nice post.

Beware: Long Joycian stream of consciousness post to follow... And no, I"m not going to edit it. I'll just let it fly...

I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing. Then you have the deshi who picked up at least some of it, maybe even most of it, but did so through their own formulations. Tohei developing his principles and teaching method but with great inspiration from Nakamura Tempū. And the list goes on.

Then you need to consider the idea that developing these skills isn't just about choreography assuming this "revisionist" (or maybe "originalist?") view is correct. You need to develop the body in a specific way through a certain type of training. Tanren. So when the sensei who has spent 30 years developing these skills feels his "ki flowing" in a certain way he cannot understand why the new student doesn't feel the same. So students relax more, they emulate the "outer" appearances, and gain none of the inner. And lacking the hard, long practice to develop the foundational body they are never able to demonstrate the skills at the higher level of the sensei. "Just relax" but it doesn't help...

So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!

But with new research and also with the benefit of the passing of time, things can be reassessed and reconsidered. We all owe people like Professor Goldsbury a case of cold, frosty beverages because it allows us to look back and see things more clearly.

And there is no reason why those practicing what I would probably call "modern" aikido can't be perfectly happy and content in their practice. I certainly have no problem with it. It is a valid practice, worthy, and wonderful. Just because the focus has changed doesn't invalidate anything on either side.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"

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Old 11-15-2011, 09:37 PM   #40
gregstec
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Jon, nice post.

Beware: Long Joycian stream of consciousness post to follow... And no, I"m not going to edit it. I'll just let it fly...

I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing. Then you have the deshi who picked up at least some of it, maybe even most of it, but did so through their own formulations. Tohei developing his principles and teaching method but with great inspiration from Nakamura Tempū. And the list goes on.

Then you need to consider the idea that developing these skills isn't just about choreography assuming this "revisionist" (or maybe "originalist?") view is correct. You need to develop the body in a specific way through a certain type of training. Tanren. So when the sensei who has spent 30 years developing these skills feels his "ki flowing" in a certain way he cannot understand why the new student doesn't feel the same. So students relax more, they emulate the "outer" appearances, and gain none of the inner. And lacking the hard, long practice to develop the foundational body they are never able to demonstrate the skills at the higher level of the sensei. "Just relax" but it doesn't help...

So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!

But with new research and also with the benefit of the passing of time, things can be reassessed and reconsidered. We all owe people like Professor Goldsbury a case of cold, frosty beverages because it allows us to look back and see things more clearly.

And there is no reason why those practicing what I would probably call "modern" aikido can't be perfectly happy and content in their practice. I certainly have no problem with it. It is a valid practice, worthy, and wonderful. Just because the focus has changed doesn't invalidate anything on either side.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"
ditto

Greg
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #41
MM
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I've long argued that the problem wasn't that aiki wasn't there, but that the transmission of the knowledge and skill was difficult and sporadic at best due to a lack of a proper framework within which to understand how it worked. There was a great quote by Wittgenstein that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." ("Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" I believe). You have Ueshiba M speaking in highly poetic terms and if Dan and Chris Li are correct in the interpretation of his original words then it seems that even Ueshiba M. had relied on less than precise vocabulary while he was actually actively trying to communicate what he was experiencing.
Hi Keith,
Yes, reading his words *after* training aiki for a little while, Ueshiba starts to make sense. However, we (aikido world) have to realize that Ueshiba was rambling spiritual while the pre-war students were training. Both pre-war and post-war students stated that they didn't understand what he was saying. When we compare pre-war students with post-war students, there is a remarkable difference in skill and abilities. I think it is fairly safe to say that:

1. The training environment was vastly different.
2. Ueshiba's spiritual speeches/talks really didn't matter for training aiki.

Ueshiba's speeches/lectures/whatever are only a validation of the concepts behind the martial skill of aiki. So, again, Morihei Ueshiba, was telling us all the truth ... you didn't have to follow his spiritual path to do aikido. While he had found a spiritual vehicle to house the core principles of aiki, he only had to look at his peers to see that it wasn't a requirement. But, aiki made it all work better.

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
So I see some of the work of guys like Dan, Mike, Ark, Ushiro, et al as helping us better focus on how it is the old guy did some of the stuff he did. Sure, Aikido evolved considerably after his passing. And maybe the aikido of the second doshu is what attracts many to aikido today. In which case *that* aikido may be the one some want to practice instead of the aikido some of us are trying to "rediscover". And I see no problem with both coexisting.

And heck, maybe a lot of us are wrong, but I must say as people develop skills faster and with vastly more power it is harder and harder to deny that this is what was driving the founders of these things. That does not diminish the subsequent evolution, however. It just becomes a question of what it is you want to practice.

Yeah, I"m rambling, but I got a high powered vicoden in me at the moment due to a pinched nerve and I'm chatty. And I wanted to get this off my chest.

I truly wish people would quit arguing about this stuff and just freaking train. I think there is a huge amount of value in the Aikido people are doing today. It gives so many a happy place to go, all sorts of good things about harmony and cooperation. However, it might be the case that this wasn't exactly what O-Sensei had in mind. That does not mean it isn't perfectly valid since it obviously speaks to a lot of people!
It's kind of funny, in a non-funny way. You see, off the top of my head I remember that I've said it. Dan has said it. Ellis has said it. What is "it"? "It" is that Modern Aikido is valid, worth studying, we have no problem if people want to study it, etc.

The point where the arguments start is when we say that Modern Aikido isn't doing Morihei Ueshiba's aikido because it lacks his aiki. Yes, it's a hard pill to swallow. A rough truth to digest. And it will be contested at every turn until we reach a turning point.

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
The biggest problem, as I see it, is that each side looks at the other and says "why don't you see the value of what we're doing compared to what you're doing?" I'd really like to change that vibe to "Hey, enjoy your practice and I'll enjoy mine. Isn't this a remarkably flexible art?"
Not sure about the others, but I don't see it like that. I'm fairly sure by Ellis and Dan's post that they don't see it like that. The three of us have posted here on Aikiweb, the value of Modern Aikido. The sticking point is the truth that they are not doing what Morihei Ueshiba did but rather what Kisshomaru Ueshiba wanted done. And, yes, in that, "aikido" is a remarkably flexible art.

So, back to Mary Eastland's original post ... Personally, I don't have any issues with her aikido. From her posts, I think she's found a great place to be for training with some wonderful people around her. I don't think it isn't valid. Where we would disagree is that, in my opinion, her aikido is not Morhei Ueshiba's aikido but rather Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido. In the context of the difference between Morihei Ueshiba's aiki and Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, how could we not disagree?

And in that disagreement, lies the root of the problem. For in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, there is no need to go outside for "internal strength" or "ai(love)ki". It is inherently attributed to the practice and training of the spiritual side of Modern Aikido. It can be a bit hard to understand why people would go "outside" to get that. And in Modern Aikido, they shouldn't need to. However, for Morihei Ueshiba's aikido, they must. There are fundamental and foundational differences between the two. It is there in those differences where the conflict begins. However, I don't think I've ever said that Modern Aikido is invalid, not worth training, etc. Different, yes. In a martial sense, Ueshiba's aiki is better overall. Doesn't mean it's the best for everyone. In a spiritual sense ... ugh, I tend to stay away from all the spiritual conversations. If I actually had to make a determination, I'd have to say Modern Aikido has a better spiritual sense/overview/outlook/whatever than Morihei Ueshiba's. (Which, if you think about that, Kisshomaru Ueshiba gave the world something very profound. How can you then say the changes he made were bad?)

Hopefully, in the end, Mary Eastland, Ron Ragusa, etc and I can laugh about it over good food and drink.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #42
Keith Larman
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

Mark, I'm not saying that any of the folk out in front are criticizing where aikido went. I'm simply saying it is taken that way and often the way of talking about it leaves that impression.

I was going to follow up on my post now that I'm feeling a bit better and less hazy but you posted first.

Really I think that a greater understanding of things always makes a difference when you go back and reread classic material. I have a habit of rereading Wittgenstein every few years and I must say each time I get new insights and understanding of what is a really rather difficult philosopher. What I see is that he is actually quite clear in many ways, it just requires the reader to have a deeper understanding to allow them to understand. The same is true of my Aikido training. I still have moments where something said to me 15 years ago flashes back in my brain and I say "Ohhhhhhhh." Geez, missed that completely.

Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs...

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Old 11-16-2011, 11:44 AM   #43
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
For in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's view of aikido, there is no need to go outside for "internal strength" or "ai(love)ki". It is inherently attributed to the practice and training of the spiritual side of Modern Aikido.
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #44
Keith Larman
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.
The inheritor of an art in an iemoto based system obviously starts with what they inherit. They can then take it where ever they wish. Whether that is practically possible in an organization as large and diverse as Aikikai is another issue entirely. I'd say the Aikikai's biggest strength is its size and diversity. It is also its greatest weakness. Shrug. I'm not sure what your point is here.

Some define aiki a bit differently than the current standard pedagogy seems to suggest. Many of those people believe there were some subtle and not so subtle changes made over the years for any number of reasons. For those who are comfortable and happy with the way things are I suppose they have little reason to look outside for anything else. Great, they're in the right place. For others who have played with some folk outside of Aikido and found things they felt were valuable to *their* training, well, how is that bad?

I'm just going to quit posting on these issues. In another thread I get told that I'm tossing poo around simply because I disagree about some things. Others seem to want to stir up things just to stir them up. Me, I've got a permanently damaged spine and my time on the mat has an expiration date. And I guess it is time for me to realize that sitting behind a computer debating these things is just time away from the little time I have left to train.

Answer the questions for yourself. That's all we can all hope for. Shrug.

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:04 PM   #45
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Mark, I'm not saying that any of the folk out in front are criticizing where aikido went. I'm simply saying it is taken that way and often the way of talking about it leaves that impression.

I was going to follow up on my post now that I'm feeling a bit better and less hazy but you posted first.

Really I think that a greater understanding of things always makes a difference when you go back and reread classic material. I have a habit of rereading Wittgenstein every few years and I must say each time I get new insights and understanding of what is a really rather difficult philosopher. What I see is that he is actually quite clear in many ways, it just requires the reader to have a deeper understanding to allow them to understand. The same is true of my Aikido training. I still have moments where something said to me 15 years ago flashes back in my brain and I say "Ohhhhhhhh." Geez, missed that completely.

Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs...
I agree with most of what you're saying. But, look at it from my view. I'm not the one taking things as an insult where none was intended. I'm not the one saying Modern Aikido is invalid. So when there are arguments over supposed insults, isn't it kind of wrong to say that one side isn't viewing the other correctly? I mean, c'mon, we've had 10-40 years of training in Modern Aikido. We know the value. If anything, one could say that the level of description and word choice could be better on one side, but it isn't looking at the other side as invalid or valueless.

As to Morihei Ueshiba's "Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions" ... another can of worms. I don't think it did evolve in a variety of directions. I think his vision of aikido when he had pre-war students and his vision of aikido after the war were fairly close. But, that's a different topic and thread... instead (back to the subject at hand), when aikido became something else, something more for many people, all that can be attributed back to Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Diverging paths from father to son.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #46
Chris Li
 
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.
Fortunately, Doshu doesn't mandate or dictate any specific system or curriculum except in the most general sense. If it's allowed then it's not going astray.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:12 PM   #47
kewms
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Then, being Doshu the inheritor of the art in an iemoto based system, going outside for IS/IP/Aiki is going astray.
*shrug* How many Western students have ever even met Doshu? How many of those would he recognize if he saw them again?

These discussions can be interesting, but fundamentally, aikido is what my teacher says it is.

Katherine
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:22 PM   #48
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Fortunately, Doshu doesn't mandate or dictate any specific system or curriculum except in the most general sense. If it's allowed then it's not going astray.

Best,

Chris
Ok. Understood.

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote:
These discussions can be interesting, but fundamentally, aikido is what my teacher says it is.
But he (yes, I know who he is) could be wrong, unintentionally of course.

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:25 PM   #49
kewms
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
But he (yes, I know who he is) could be wrong, unintentionally of course.
But my point was that I don't feel any particular obligation to accept Doshu's definition, especially if it conflicts with my teacher's.

Katherine
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:35 PM   #50
Lee Salzman
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Re: why do people search outside Aikido for IS?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Anyway, I think my point is that if someone says "you're not doing Ueshiba M's aiki!" they take it as an insult. And you guys *do* say that rather often, you said it up above. I understand completely what you're saying (and I agree with what *you mean by it* FWIW). But we could have a long and lovely philosophical discussion about what that *really* means since the reality is that Ueshiba M's Aikido was a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that itself evolved in a variety of directions. They're all Ueshiba M's aikido. The exact nature of the aiki aspect is one part of it (and you and I may think it is the absolutely most important part, but others who went a different direction may disagree). So depending on how the statement is read it could be taken innocently or with a great deal of insult. In that *other* thread going on right now you can see a great example of someone arguing about what they *think* people are saying rather than what people mean. It ain't always easy to make that clear. And it does require a receptive listener as well.

Take a comparison to dogs. My wife and I raise and train Australian Shepherds. Lots of experience in that world and my wife makes extra cash on the side as a person who trains other people how to train their own dogs. Personally I don't care for extreme breeds. But I still know that a pug is a dog. So is a Chinese Crested (blech!). But they're still dogs but since I come from the world of "they should be useful, they should have instincts, they should be this or that, etc." they just don't seem like "real" dogs to me. But... as much as I don't care for them they are still dogs. And people love their own breeds for their own reasons and idiosyncrasies. So as much as I don't care for toy and "vanity" breeds, well, they're still dogs. But put a Chinese Crested next to an Australian Shepherd and you'll wonder how on earth they could possibly be the same species...

So I try to avoid saying "that's not Ueshiba M's aiki". Yes and no. It depends, and I don't think it's worth the angst of arguing over. Let the work and abilities speak for themselves. And let those who want to pursue the version as presented by his son's understanding (which is the version that "took hold" and became incredibly popular) continue in its own path. I know you don't disagree with this, but they all have their own value to those who find value in them. And it *is* Ueshiba M's "Aikido" in many ways. Just like nobody really can do *his* exactly.

No, I don't disagree that the understanding of "aiki" vs. "ai" and "ki" is important to understanding Ueshiba M's teachings. But I also understand that his art also became something else, something more for many people. And I leave it at that. It ain't for me, but there's a lot of stuff that ain't for me. Like pugs...
I emphatically agree with this point, no wait, let's add some bold, itallics, underline, and caps, EMPHATICALLY AGREE. I can't read the statements of "Ueshiba's aikido" without getting a little queasy. The message needs to be more: we think this was an integral part of Ueshiba's aikido, and that without it modern aikido can never be complete. It should not detract from what is already understood, it should rather fill in the blanks we never realized were there. So instead of, "ur 100% rong n i m 100% rite", we need to be more "there are grievous gaps in our understanding that threaten everything aikido stands for". No throwing the baby out with the bathwater, just rather realizing there was only ever a baby there, and neither bath nor water, and here we've got some handy new methods for giving a proper bath to show you...
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