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It Has to be Felt #0
It Has to be Felt #0
by Ross Robertson
08-21-2012
It Has to be Felt #0

Is what you are doing at this very moment the most worthwhile use of your time?

What is the difference between martial proficiency and thuggery?

In civilian self-defense, which is more important: damaging/apprehending the assailant, or liberating the prey and bystanders?

Are broken bones in the dojo a sign of realistic training, or unrealistic training? With what frequency?

In the hierarchy of rank and dominance, who is fittest for building a better world?

To what extent does your training make you feel invincible, and to what extent has it heightened your awareness of your vulnerabilities?

Do you know how to live? How to die? The difference between right and wrong? Real from unreal?

Is your training a commitment or an obsession? Is it a way of life, a hobby, a contingency, an art, a sport, a philosophy?

What is it that binds you to things you despise?

Is pain and discomfort a measure of seriousness?

What is aikido? What does it mean that the most senior practitioners cannot agree on meaning, purpose, or method?

Is O Sensei still relevant? Was he ever?

When was the last time someone said to you "My life is so much better because of your aikido experience?"

Again and again and again I ask, are you practicing self-defense or selfish defense? And what Self, anyway?

Are you still looking for magical powers? Esoteric knowledge? The world's most excruciating nikyo?

Who among us is heroic enough to break a cycle of abuse, even in a revered tradition?

Can you feel what cannot be felt?

Who are you, and where is your Art, once you've grasped the Void?

2012.08.02
Ross Robertson
Still Point Aikido Systems
Honmatsu Aikido
Austin TX, USA

www.stillpointaikido.com
www.rariora.org/writing/articles
@phospheros
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
Tom Verhoeven
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Seems to me to be all the right questions for anyone who takes his Budo practice serious.
Great column, thanks.
Tom
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:24 AM   #3
graham christian
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

As I commented on the last column I must comment on this. Brilliant title! Very Zen as is the whole column. Thankx.
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:40 PM   #4
NekVTAikido
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

To everyone I've ever trained with: My life is so much better because of your Aikido practice! Please continue!

My answers to any of these questions must vary from instant to instant. Any answer could be the right answer in a given moment, but I'm wrong if I hang onto any answer while the universe moves on. Sometimes (most times) hanging on long enough to put it into words is too long.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #5
piyush.kumar
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Thank you for the reminders sensei
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:27 AM   #6
R.A. Robertson
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

To anyone who has taken moments of their life-time to read my works, and especially to those who engage in this Great Conversation, my life is so much better because of you. Thank you.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

> Is what you are doing at this very moment the most worthwhile use of your time?
Its good enough.

> What is the difference between martial proficiency and thuggery?
Same as the difference between a surgeon and a butcher - no normal people confuse the two.

> In civilian self-defense, which is more important: damaging/apprehending the assailant, or liberating the prey and bystanders?
In order of importance: 1.liberating the prey and bystanders 2.apprehending the assailant. Damaging the the assailant - are you serious?

> Are broken bones in the dojo a sign of realistic training, or unrealistic training? With what frequency?
Not necessarily, but they may be a sign of sincerity.

> In the hierarchy of rank and dominance, who is fittest for building a better world?
The best world builder.

> To what extent does your training make you feel invincible, and to what extent has it heightened your awareness of your vulnerabilities?
To some extent.

> Do you know how to live? How to die? The difference between right and wrong? Real from unreal?
Will see about death, generally yes regarding the rest.

> Is your training a commitment or an obsession? Is it a way of life, a hobby, a contingency, an art, a sport, a philosophy?
Let's say that I can answer this question to my satisfaction.

> What is it that binds you to things you despise?
Is this one of those "have you stopped drinking whiskey in the mornings" questions?

> Is pain and discomfort a measure of seriousness?
Not necessarily, but they may be a sign of sincerity.

> What is aikido? What does it mean that the most senior practitioners cannot agree on meaning, purpose, or method?
It's a martial art - A general outline available on Wikipedia, details in training.

> Is O Sensei still relevant? Was he ever?
O Sensei was relevant to his students. I am a student of a student of a student - this is one way in which he is relevant to me.

> When was the last time someone said to you "My life is so much better because of your aikido experience?"
Never happened to me, but people are generally very happy with my miso soup.

> Again and again and again I ask, are you practicing self-defense or selfish defense? And what Self, anyway?
Don't get attached to words too much, its just about extracting yourself unharmed from situations where someone is trying to physically harm you.

> Are you still looking for magical powers? Esoteric knowledge? The world's most excruciating nikyo?
I am trying to improve my Aikido.

> Who among us is heroic enough to break a cycle of abuse, even in a revered tradition?
Who are us? What abuse? Which tradition? Will happy to try and answer if you provide more details.

> Can you feel what cannot be felt?
Only the unmovable mover can do that.

> Who are you, and where is your Art, once you've grasped the Void?
I am David, my Art is in me and void is a reserved word in the C-derived programming languages.

Last edited by sorokod : 09-07-2012 at 05:43 PM.

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Old 09-08-2012, 09:58 AM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
> Who are you, and where is your Art, once you've grasped the Void?
I am David, my Art is in me and void is a reserved word in the C-derived programming languages.
Or if you want to start a real discussion among C-derived programmers, get going on the internal representation of NULL pointers. So I try not to grasp the void (grasping what is not there?), instead, I embrace NULL, however it is implemented, and accept the fact that I will never know precisely what it is.

Seems like a good metaphor itself.

Sorry, old-time computer geek couldn't resist. Carry on...

I'll give a +1 to David's post.

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Old 09-08-2012, 12:07 PM   #9
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

++post

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Old 09-08-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
Keith Larman
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Should be:

++post;

Can't leave off the semi...

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Old 09-08-2012, 06:57 PM   #11
Mark Gibbons
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Should be:

++post;

Can't leave off the semi...
I'd probably code it post++; , read it before applauding.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:21 AM   #12
SteveTrinkle
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

ithink ththe above questions are a kind of insinuation and sophistry

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Old 09-09-2012, 08:34 AM   #13
SteveTrinkle
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

iwas told when istarted that aikido is a way of training the self that still resonates and holds true I'm stilltaking ukemi still from a recent stroke and Ican't yet practice my art back on the mats yeyet!

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Old 09-09-2012, 03:10 PM   #14
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

If self needs to be trained to make a practical and efficient martial art, then so be it.

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:30 AM   #15
Keith Larman
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
I'd probably code it post++; , read it before applauding.
I need a golf clap emoticon...

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Old 09-16-2012, 06:11 AM   #16
Tim Lee
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

What is being said here is, are we doing the right things for the right reasons, for the right people which includes ourselves and yes it is Zen. I don't really get the point of someone being somewhat rude in their answers to the open ended questions. Maybe they need to polish the mirror.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:14 AM   #17
Tim Lee
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Oh! and Sensei, nice column as always....
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:19 AM   #18
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Stephen Trinkle wrote: View Post
ithink ththe above questions are a kind of insinuation and sophistry
The level of intention behind that is debatable, but it is a shame that these questions have been pitched in connection with a series of Aikiweb columns that are intended to archive people's personal experiences of some important figures in aikido. If there were to be an "It Has to be Felt #0", I'd prefer a contemporary account of how Osensei felt by someone familiar with the current scene.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:57 AM   #19
Diana Frese
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

I have commitments to some people this morning, but would like to say briefly that I consider AikiWeb as a sort of spectrum of points of view on Aikido. I find Ross' column very valuable though I have only commented maybe once or twice and I will read this month's with the comments again when I return. Please do not take offense, but to the person who felt that using the It Has or Had to Be Felt format other than in its original format and content was inappropriate, then I also am guilty, because in my own blog I described being thrown by Kanai Sensei in a similar title, It Was Not Felt. Oh well, having said that, I do enjoy Ross' columns and the variety of comments they inspire. Thanks, everyone.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:37 AM   #20
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Please do not take offense, but to the person who felt that using the It Has or Had to Be Felt format other than in its original format and content was inappropriate, then I also am guilty, because in my own blog I described being thrown by Kanai Sensei in a similar title, It Was Not Felt.
Presumably I am that person. No offense taken.

Just to clarify, I'm not saying it is inappropriate to use the It Has to Be Felt format other than in its original form. In any case, this usage isn't an account of getting thrown by anyone as you described and even a spiritual "It Has To Be Felt" is not a problem here. Osensei did not just bring his hands together in the ceremonial claps to merge HI-dari (aka: fire or "KA" 火) and MI-gi (water 水) making KA-MI (God 神). HI-dari is also the spirit and MI is the body (the MI 身in Han-MI 半身 is 'body'). The wonders of kotodama also make this KA-kureteiru MI or the "hidden body" which cannot be seen, but which can be felt.

But Ross just wrote a list of rhetorical questions such as...

Quote:
Is O Sensei still relevant? Was he ever?
etc

...under a column title that uses a play on the title of another set of columns.

As I said, the level of intention behind any insinuation is debatable.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:54 AM   #21
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

I tried to give an example of a possible way these questions may be answered (modulo questions such as "Can you feel what cannot be felt") by a reasonable person. In that the answers are as open ended as the questions.

Quote:
Timothy Lee wrote: View Post
Oh! and Sensei, nice column as always....
Please, call me David :-)

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Old 09-17-2012, 02:17 PM   #22
R.A. Robertson
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Happy International Aiki Peace Week, everyone!

void ()

Programming languages use functions that often return an output. Some functions do important things, but do not return anything. Depending on the language, the syntax might looks something like

void someFunction() { // do really cool stuff here. }

It's a little hard to explain briefly why this matters.

However, it's not all that different in aikido. What we usually think of as techniques are little programs, or at least sub-routines. You put something in (the attack form) and you get something out (throw, pin, etc.).

Then there is a method which I've encountered less commonly. The attacker puts something in, but gets nothing back. There is neither push nor pull. A process is definitely happening, something significant is transpiring with the data input. But there is nothing really in the way of output. The attack may redirect, or not. The attacker may be unbalanced, or not. Whatever happens is not "done" in the regular sense of doing.

Such methods or functions can be said to be "void."
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:48 PM   #23
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
Then there is a method which I've encountered less commonly. The attacker puts something in, but gets nothing back. There is neither push nor pull. A process is definitely happening, something significant is transpiring with the data input. But there is nothing really in the way of output. The attack may redirect, or not. The attacker may be unbalanced, or not. Whatever happens is not "done" in the regular sense of doing.

Such methods or functions can be said to be "void."
If there is a punch to your face you can redirect it or not. You can unbalance the attacker or not.

If you redirect/unbalance - you do something and there is no "void" in the sense you suggested where the input - punch, causes an output - redirection/unbalancing.
If you didn't, you simply get a bloody nose.

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Old 09-19-2012, 06:43 AM   #24
Chris Knight
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Quote:
Then there is a method which I've encountered less commonly. The attacker puts something in, but gets nothing back. There is neither push nor pull. A process is definitely happening, something significant is transpiring with the data input. But there is nothing really in the way of output. The attack may redirect, or not. The attacker may be unbalanced, or not. Whatever happens is not "done" in the regular sense of doing.
Hi Ross, although I agree with much of what David is saying, I also agree with the above statement.

My own personal thoughts on this are that this is the yin/yang methodology - in which the the body is trained to be predominantly "physically" balanced, with opposing forces, thus when a force is "input"against you, there is no resistance, and no force can be applied. This is also reliant on various spirals.

I think the Aiki body has been discussed to death, but this is what we are talking about, in my eyes
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:22 AM   #25
sorokod
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Re: It Has to be Felt #0

I am totally for being balanced and if you developed the body mechanics to have this balance maintained under physical pressure - than thats brilliant. To put all this in a box labeled "VOID" looks inappropriate to me.

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