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Old 07-01-2012, 06:21 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Today's new blog article:

More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven - Ansai Yamazaki and Ama-no-ukihashi-den

Enjoy!

Chris

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Old 07-02-2012, 05:54 AM   #2
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Bam! Another great blog Chris! Thanks.

Ernesto
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Excellent work Chris
All that is left is for people who want to actually practice Aikido the way the founder did is to first:

1. Embrace what he actually said (now that proper translations are available) instead of the low level uneducated material that was offered to us.
2. Find out what all of this technology is in its proper context.
3. Find people who not only know it but can demonstrate "unusual power" based on it, in a non-cooperative, non aikido setting.
(the above is a critical requirement since it disqualifies most everyone I have ever seen or felt in the art of aikido, including the Ueshiba family and most of the entire senior Staff )
4. Find people who can teach it.
(Rarer still, since many of those left who do have something...apparently cannot teach it, which explains the rest)

We have to fix ourselves. The Japanese will not (or in the more sincere ones) are incapable of helping much. The Japanese teachers who are willing and can teach are apparently very rare. We need to fully examine where the Western Staff is and where the Eastern Staff is and make critical assessments. I think it is obvious that the Westerners are going to obliterate the Japanese at both internal power/aiki development and the ability to cross train, test fight with aiki far past the cooperative model.
I don't mean this in any elitist, or racist view, rather it is a better ability to communciate with each other and to test without all the "Sensei" and "toe the line" requirements.
Thankfully, there are more and more Aikido teachers learning what Ueshiba's material was and where he got it from (it was not his), and are learning to manifest power that is going to surpass anything being produced in Japan. Moreover the the teachers training this way are even more in love with their akido ...now that they see how it was all supposed to actualy work in the first place.
As Gleason said at a recent seminar, when asked about IP/aiki development and its use in Aikido:
"How do you make this work in AIkido? There isn't anything in aikido that isn't this! You'r not really doing akido without it!"

Dan
"Standing on the floating bridge of Heaven" and wondering why everyone else isn't as well.

Last edited by DH : 07-02-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Looking for the "Like" button!

Jon

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Excellent work Chris
All that is left is for people who want to actually practice Aikido the way the founder did is to first:

1. Embrace what he actually said (now that proper translations are available) instead of the low level uneducated material that was offered to us.
2. Find out what all of this technology is in its proper context.
3. Find people who not only know it but can demonstrate "unusual power" based on it, in a non-cooperative, non aikido setting.
(the above is a critical requirement since it disqualifies most everyone I have ever seen or felt in the art of aikido, including the Ueshiba family and most of the entire senior Staff )
4. Find people who can teach it.
(Rarer still, since many of those left who do have something...apparently cannot teach it, which explains the rest)

We have to fix ourselves. The Japanese will not (or in the more sincere ones) are incapable of helping much. The Japanese teachers who are willing and can teach are apparently very rare. We need to fully examine where the Western Staff is and where the Eastern Staff is and make critical assessments. I think it is obvious that the Westerners are going to obliterate the Japanese at both internal power/aiki development and the ability to cross train, test fight with aiki far past the cooperative model.
I don't mean this in any elitist, or racist view, rather it is a better ability to communciate with each other and to test without all the "Sensei" and "toe the line" requirements.
Thankfully, there are more and more Aikido teachers learning what Ueshiba's material was and where he got it from (it was not his), and are learning to manifest power that is going to surpass anything being produced in Japan. Moreover the the teachers training this way are even more in love with their akido ...now that they see how it was all supposed to actualy work in the first place.
As Gleason said at a recent seminar, when asked about IP/aiki development and its use in Aikido:
"How do you make this work in AIkido? There isn't anything in aikido that isn't this! You'r not really doing akido without it!"

Dan
"Standing on the floating bridge of Heaven" and wondering why everyone else isn't as well.

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Old 07-09-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
califax
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

To really understand just what kind of martial and spiritual dynamite this wonderful series of articles delivers, I recommend everyone to read
Eva Wong: Taoism, An Essential Guide
or some comparably good introduction into taoist language.

Now, if I only had a similar guide for mikkyo sects I bet this all could become even clearer yet...
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Hi

I meant to post these 2 links on the thread as background about the way of the cross but they fit well here. They are discussion of Chinese qigong but seem to have a lot of similarity to what Ueshiba was saying. They discuss qigong as a path of "destiny". There seems to be two components, acting in accordance with the will of heaven and internal alchemy. Uniting heaven, earth and man (being a bridge between heaven and earth) is to act in accordance with the will of heaven and thereby act out one's will (actually heaven's will) in the world. In turn, practice of inner alchemy (qigong) will enable one to develop the will that creates changes in the world (or others) ie to be the sage that changes the world through non-action.

I think the second link is probably only readable after reading the first:

http://www.willmountain.com/v/Clinic...en-Dantian.pdf

http://www.spiritpathpress.com/chine...guilingweb.pdf

Chris, I am a little confused. You talk about standing on the bridge as being in the centre of the spiral between In and Yo but is that more a description of what happens when the two gods step down off the bridge and descend to earth? It doesn't seem to matter much, the way they circle around the land they have created seems a strong echo if not a direct retelling of the events on the bridge.

David McNamara
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
David McNamara wrote: View Post
Hi

I meant to post these 2 links on the thread as background about the way of the cross but they fit well here. They are discussion of Chinese qigong but seem to have a lot of similarity to what Ueshiba was saying. They discuss qigong as a path of "destiny". There seems to be two components, acting in accordance with the will of heaven and internal alchemy. Uniting heaven, earth and man (being a bridge between heaven and earth) is to act in accordance with the will of heaven and thereby act out one's will (actually heaven's will) in the world. In turn, practice of inner alchemy (qigong) will enable one to develop the will that creates changes in the world (or others) ie to be the sage that changes the world through non-action.

I think the second link is probably only readable after reading the first:

http://www.willmountain.com/v/Clinic...en-Dantian.pdf

http://www.spiritpathpress.com/chine...guilingweb.pdf

Chris, I am a little confused. You talk about standing on the bridge as being in the centre of the spiral between In and Yo but is that more a description of what happens when the two gods step down off the bridge and descend to earth? It doesn't seem to matter much, the way they circle around the land they have created seems a strong echo if not a direct retelling of the events on the bridge.
Hey David,

It might be clearer if you remember this passage from the first Floating Bridge of Heaven article:

Quote:
It is said that Aikido is "Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven". The Floating Bridge of Heaven is the turning of fire and water bound together. Fire moves water, water is moved by fire. Fire and water are one thing. They turn in a spiral. They are entwined through Ki. That is something that is enacted through the breath ("iki"). This breath ("iki") is Aiki.
So...Izanagi and Izanami are In and Yo, fire and water turn in an interchanging spiral that forms the connection between heaven and earth - in other words, they're not quite synonymous, although they are closely related (if you think of it that way the diagram in Morihei Ueshiba and the Way of the Cross may make more sense). Also, there's a pretty good basic summary here of the basic concepts:

http://www.internalartsinternational...-internal-art/

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-13-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Hi Chris

thank you for the link. I think I am getting stuck on semantics. Ueshiba talks of standing on the floating bridge of heaven but what he describes is more like after Izanagi and Izanami have descended to earth and are circling the pole, procreating and creating (takemusu, if you will). I was strongly reminded of this by the youtube video of Mifune performing judo kata that David Orange posted on the Way of the cross thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBv2lJdH7vc (see third and fourth forms)

As I say, I think I am getting caught up in semantics and looking for distinctions that aren't there, and Ueshiba is referring to the whole story (or that this second part of the story is a metaphorical repitition of the first).

David McNamara
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
David McNamara wrote: View Post
Hi Chris

thank you for the link. I think I am getting stuck on semantics. Ueshiba talks of standing on the floating bridge of heaven but what he describes is more like after Izanagi and Izanami have descended to earth and are circling the pole, procreating and creating (takemusu, if you will). I was strongly reminded of this by the youtube video of Mifune performing judo kata that David Orange posted on the Way of the cross thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBv2lJdH7vc (see third and fourth forms)

As I say, I think I am getting caught up in semantics and looking for distinctions that aren't there, and Ueshiba is referring to the whole story (or that this second part of the story is a metaphorical repitition of the first).
Yes, it's easy to get too literal, and you have to remember that this is all a creation myth used by Ueshiba to explain something that it probably wasn't intended to explain originally (although he gets most things to fit pretty nicely).

Best,

Chris

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Old 10-02-2012, 11:10 AM   #10
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

http://ejmas.com/jalt/2007jalt/jcsar...wski_0711.html

While this article lacks the specific IS background, its probably helpful in a general context of disucssion of martial arts and translation for those who may disagree with Chris's translations.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:01 PM   #11
David Orange
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post

It might be clearer if you remember this passage from the first Floating Bridge of Heaven article:

It is said that Aikido is "Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven". The Floating Bridge of Heaven is the turning of fire and water bound together. Fire moves water, water is moved by fire. Fire and water are one thing. They turn in a spiral. They are entwined through Ki. That is something that is enacted through the breath ("iki"). This breath ("iki") is Aiki.
I have been worried, though, by the idea that yin is on the left and yang is on the right and I was wondering about methods of combining them. I thought of O Sensei doing furitama, or "soul-shaking," where you hold the hands together at the hara and lightly bounce up and down. And I thought that's what he's doing there, balancing yin and yang in the two hands and spreading the energy through his body.

So I went looking for examples of furitama and found this article, which reads exactly right, but only if you understand the precise meanings of some gloss-over phrases:

http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm

Furitama is practiced standing with the legs shoulder-width apart. The hands are placed together with the left hand over the right. A small space is left between the hands. The hands are placed in front of the abdomen and shaken vigorously up and down. Inhale to the top of the head rising up naturally. Then exhale to the bottom of your feet as you continue shaking your hands up and down. The exercise if finished in silent and still meditative kishin.

This chinkon exercise was intended to gather the spirits of the divine into ones center (added emphasis DO)... calming the spirit... vibrating the soul. It's an effective way to gather your thoughts, center your mind and focus your intention.

END OF QUOTE

This is the kind of statement that is easy for the mind to skip right off of and simply provide a meaning based on the image of "the spirits of the divine." And that, clearly is where so many people have gone tangent to the actual art.

Not only does it not say which spirits, given as plural. It doesn't say how many spirits. And since we know that Japan has kami all over the place, we might think it means "all the gods of Japan," as I think it's actually phrased in the story of Morihei at the well after surviving the Naval officer's sword attacks. There was a purple cloud and all the gods of Japan entered his body...I think.

But if we look at furitama as gathering the specific "spirits" of in and yo into our body and vibrating them along with the body and breath, then it really means aligning the body with the "principles" of in and yo to harmonize and energize it.

So suddenly that exercise looks like it has a lot more meaning than I ever imagined and I'm adding it to my research right away.

Thanks again.

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 10-03-2012, 07:32 AM   #12
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I have been worried, though, by the idea that yin is on the left and yang is on the right and I was wondering about methods of combining them. I thought of O Sensei doing furitama, or "soul-shaking," where you hold the hands together at the hara and lightly bounce up and down. And I thought that's what he's doing there, balancing yin and yang in the two hands and spreading the energy through his body.

So I went looking for examples of furitama and found this article, which reads exactly right, but only if you understand the precise meanings of some gloss-over phrases:

http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm

Furitama is practiced standing with the legs shoulder-width apart. The hands are placed together with the left hand over the right. A small space is left between the hands. The hands are placed in front of the abdomen and shaken vigorously up and down. Inhale to the top of the head rising up naturally. Then exhale to the bottom of your feet as you continue shaking your hands up and down. The exercise if finished in silent and still meditative kishin.

This chinkon exercise was intended to gather the spirits of the divine into ones center (added emphasis DO)... calming the spirit... vibrating the soul. It's an effective way to gather your thoughts, center your mind and focus your intention.

END OF QUOTE

This is the kind of statement that is easy for the mind to skip right off of and simply provide a meaning based on the image of "the spirits of the divine." And that, clearly is where so many people have gone tangent to the actual art.

Not only does it not say which spirits, given as plural. It doesn't say how many spirits. And since we know that Japan has kami all over the place, we might think it means "all the gods of Japan," as I think it's actually phrased in the story of Morihei at the well after surviving the Naval officer's sword attacks. There was a purple cloud and all the gods of Japan entered his body...I think.

But if we look at furitama as gathering the specific "spirits" of in and yo into our body and vibrating them along with the body and breath, then it really means aligning the body with the "principles" of in and yo to harmonize and energize it.

So suddenly that exercise looks like it has a lot more meaning than I ever imagined and I'm adding it to my research right away.

Thanks again.

David
Hi David,

IMO, it sounds like you're going in a different direction. If the floating bridge of heaven is the turning of fire and water together, think of in/yo. Think of contradictory forces moving around each other. You get something like the yin/yang symbol. Standing on the bridge is to be in the middle of all that.

No disrespect, but I personally wouldn't go by the article's explanations. If you're thinking that you're shaking your hands up and down, you're not doing what Ueshiba did. Again, all IMO. But, looking at millions of people who have trained aikido for 10-40 years who think that it's shaking their hands up and down to calm the spirit ... well, how far has it gotten any of them to Ueshiba's level?

So, it is something completely different. If you read some of Ueshiba's translated works (mostly by Chris), you find talk about how in was on one side while yo was on the other. Correlate that to some of the Chinese works and you find it very similar, sometimes identical. So, when you read about that "purple cloud", I would research some of the Chinese texts because there is mention of a purple light as a stage in internal training. Ueshiba was merely echoing many known martial things, just in his own spiritual way.

Ueshiba was training in/yo when he did all those exercises. Which explains why he gave the answer to Kono. Find inyoho. Train IP/aiki. Change the body. Then, when you move, techniques will be born.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

David
This article is another example of missing the correct body parts, the correct sequence of those parts and more is the point- how intent makes in/yo even possible. Without knowing all of it, none of it has any real value or meaning to make anyone have unusual power of any kind.

None of the information on the site is helpful at all. Actually, much of the information on how these things are done is flat out wrong and will actually lead you astray. The descriptions will not help in any meaningful way to gain the type of power people are looking for. The descriptions offered are an overview of the obvious movement that in no way leads to real power. Why? It is no different from the way any typical external oriented martial arts school would do the exercises and results will be to feel like ...well, every other external oriented martial artist.
Is that what we are after?
Is that what Ueshiba felt like? Wasn't one of his trademarks was that he felt different?
Why was that?
How was that-if he was moving like the average person?
The answer is that he wasn't. His power building methods are along the lines of classical models.

The actual method Ueshiba used poduced power. It is evident and testable in any person who dares claim they know.

Since these things are specific, known, and taught to "insiders" and they have gotten -and are getting- real results to this day. Since those teachings actually do work to produce soft power-and they have nothing to do with the descriptions offered-what does that say- I find it very odd that I have never, (not anywhere) read an actual description of these exercises coming out of Japan or western sources that had any value. The only sources are with certain new teachers coming out of the closet and really teaching from sources in Japan and China.
At least Ueshiba was pointing to and using more correct historical models and terminology so the recent work can be vetted among Budo-ka who know the pedagogy of the terms and concepts.

In the end, I suggest once again that people get very critical with these things.
If teachers want to write these things....fine
Go touch them and do not allow them to defend with waza. If they feel like any other Tom, Dick, or Harry...what does that tell you about their real level of understanding?

If they DO feel very different from ordinary folks...fine.
Ask to meet their students who have unusual power.

Only then will you know:
If they actually have something...
If they can and will teach it.
It's the only real chance we've got to get useful information.

Dan
P.S. There is a reason that the floating bridge can also be considered the void, and the essense of in/yo.

Last edited by DH : 10-03-2012 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:20 AM   #14
Fred Little
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Early Japanese definitions of the mitama, developed later by many thinkers like Motoori Norinaga, maintain it consists of several "souls", relatively independent one from the other.[3] The most developed is the ichirei shikon (一霊四魂?), a Shinto theory according to which the spirit (霊魂 reikon?) of both kami and human beings consists of one spirit and four souls.

As the quote above notes, the "four souls" construction applies to both kami and humans. How it applies in this or that individual's practice would depend greatly on whether the practitioner was working solely to unify his or her own "four souls," or to unify his or her own "four souls" with those of one or more deities, and if the latter, the particular attributes of those deities which the practitioner seeks to invoke. At its most extreme, the practice is used precisely to induce spirit possession, much in the manner of the Vodun practice of drawing down the loa to "ride" the worshipper. For a fuller discussion of chinkon-kishin in the context of Omoto practice, see Chinkon Kishin: Mediated Spirit Possession in Japanese New Religions, By Birgit Staemmler.

This construct is distinct from the Chinese In/Yo filter; Ueshiba used both, which would seem to suggest that he felt each had distinct strengths and weaknesses as principles by which either understanding or training might be ordered. One crude analogy would be that of the use of two lens filters on a camera or other optical instrument, each of which makes different aspects of the same scene visible.

For my own part, I'm quite skeptical of any effort to develop a quasi-mathematical relationship between In/Yo doctrine and Ichirei Shikon doctrine in which the four factors down neatly to the two, not that there's been any shortage of attempts to assert such a relationship over the past couple of centuries.....

YMMV,

FL

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
No disrespect, but I personally wouldn't go by the article's explanations. If you're thinking that you're shaking your hands up and down, you're not doing what Ueshiba did. Again, all IMO. But, looking at millions of people who have trained aikido for 10-40 years who think that it's shaking their hands up and down to calm the spirit ... well, how far has it gotten any of them to Ueshiba's level?
Thanks, Mark.

I guess I'm not writing as clearly as I thought. I was trying to say more or less what you said.

My point is that this article is a great example of the commonly seen explanations of these strange exercises O Sensei did, emphasizing the vaguely general "gods" of Japan when the subject is much more precise: the "gods" are specifically two--Izanagi and Izanami, or yin and yang, in and yo, and they are really principles of nature simply described as "gods" or "spirits." Furitama is about balancing those two principles specifically, rather than the general "calming the spirit and centering the mind."

Explanations like in the article allow people to believe the exercise is impenetrable because they don't know which "gods" they're calling into their bodies, how many "gods," or much else about it. Also, most people in the West don't really want to call unknown "gods" into their being, so they just skip that part and do the outer form as they can see from examples.

I was going to say, myself, that from the many teachers I've met who do that exercise, none has really impressed me with skill. Even before I started feeling the internals.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
If you read some of Ueshiba's translated works (mostly by Chris), you find talk about how in was on one side while yo was on the other. Correlate that to some of the Chinese works and you find it very similar, sometimes identical. So, when you read about that "purple cloud", I would research some of the Chinese texts because there is mention of a purple light as a stage in internal training. Ueshiba was merely echoing many known martial things, just in his own spiritual way.
My post really wasn't very clear, was it?

I've been devouring Chris' translations on the floating bridge. Finally someone is telling us in clear language and with detailed meta-physical context, what Ueshiba said, what it meant and how it translated into what he was doing with his body.

The part that led me to furitama was the specific assignment of in to one hand and yo to the other when I know that this has to reverse almost constantly. Doesn't it? You don't always leave the left hand as in, do you?

That was the question that made me think of joining the hands at the hara for furitama.

I'm thinking that it's related to in on the left and yo on the right.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Find inyoho. Train IP/aiki. Change the body. Then, when you move, techniques will be born.
Which is takemusu aiki.

I never understood or even had much idea of what "takemusu aiki" meant except as a vague, general reference to harmony, which explains how aikido got in the shape it's in today--generally vague and general.

Thanks to Chris, Dan, you and many others, it's going to get a lot more specific from now on. And that's a tremendous help for me.

Thanks.

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 10-03-2012, 11:21 AM   #16
David Orange
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
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None of the information on the site is helpful at all. Actually, much of the information on how these things are done is flat out wrong and will actually lead you astray.
Yes. I posted that to show what people run into when they try to get deeper information on these things. Balancing in and yo in the body is translated as "gathering the spirits of the divine" into oneself, which is not helpful at all, even though it's true that Ueshiba describes in and yo as specifically two divine spirits, which are actually principles of nature--in and yo. The article makes it sound like some bizarre entourage of all kinds of sprites and goblins come out of nowhere and enter your body to make you a fighting dervish. People were willing to believe that because of the way Ueshiba whirled about flinging big men everywhere at will! No wonder he was always smiling. Also, you know, they used to call Takeda "little goblin," so articles like the one I posted leave the door open to interpreting a clear idea in a bizarre and useless form.

Chris Li's translations have just knocked that foolishness out of the picture (not speaking of the budodojo thing specifically, because it is sourced in the general ocean of standard aikido teaching as I've always heard it). I think we'll find that almost all of Ueshiba's references to "the gods" entering his body are specifically references to in-yo ho.

The thing about the purple clouds and "all the gods of Japan" was probably mistaken when O Sensei tried to explain what he meant about Izanagi and Izanami. To do that, he had to tell about all the other elements of that cosmology and left the listener unable to clearly understand that he was talking about embodying only in and yo.

Also, he used to tell Mochizuki things that got translated to us as "I just got that technique suddenly from God." Again--spontaneous generation of technique by the budo body balancing in and yo internally, which he talked about all the time as takemusu aikido, but passed to us as a very general reference to God or gods...or...what?.

It makes O Sensei more like a scientist than a religionist, when he can physically express the dynamic power of the principles of yin and yang in his body and movement. That's an art, but it is very precise and now we are finding that it's replicable! By ordinary humans! With no imps, sprites or demons required!

Wahoo!

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The descriptions will not help in any meaningful way to gain the type of power people are looking for. The descriptions offered are an overview of the obvious movement that in no way leads to real power. Why? It is no different from the way any typical external oriented martial arts school would do the exercises and results will be to feel like ...well, every other external oriented martial artist.
Yes. I have always disdained that simple furitama exercise because I never met anyone who knew anything more about it than the external form and none of them had technique that could move me if I didn't just fall for them on purpose.

But when I began to feel the in/yo balance through work with the three dantiens, the arch in the legs and so on, I began to suspect that furitama was involved with Izanagi on the left and Izanami on the right...or vice versa...as I haven't yet memorized it that way....

And looking for information on furitama, I found this article as an example of how the lack of precise information on "the gods" simply made the explanations meaningless.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Is that what we are after?
Is that what Ueshiba felt like? Wasn't one of his trademarks was that he felt different?
Why was that?
How was that-if he was moving like the average person?
The answer is that he wasn't. His power building methods are along the lines of classical models.
I so wish this information had been available to me thirty years ago, that I'd had some of this knowledge when I lived with Mochizuki and trained with Washizu, Tezuka and Murai Senseis.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The actual method Ueshiba used poduced power. It is evident and testable in any person who dares claim they know.
And the sad, sad fact is that most teachers will pretty much tell you they don't know.

And on the other hand, they also have accepted that it's not knowable, that what they have is the deepest that can be learned or understood because Ueshiba was a religious man and a lot of what he did was "metaphysical." So they believe that only the kata of the standard aikido waza is all that is left and the only avenue to whatever improvement they can still make is a matter of doing those waza kata over and over until they can't do them anymore, and whatever they get from that, they have accepted as the best that can be gotten.

Their poor students...

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Since these things are specific, known, and taught to "insiders" and they have gotten -and are getting- real results to this day. Since those teachings actually do work to produce soft power-and they have nothing to do with the descriptions offered-what does that say- I find it very odd that I have never, (not anywhere) read an actual description of these exercises coming out of Japan or western sources that had any value. The only sources are with certain new teachers coming out of the closet and really teaching from sources in Japan and China.
Well, thank God (specifically) for Chris Li's fantastic translations! And you were the one who motivated him to do it! So thank you, too!

And speaking of insiders, I'm fascinated every time I see William Gleason on vids. He's a great baseline example of what you say. You can't get much more impeccably mainstream in aikido than him. Aikikai hombu under Saotome's teacher???

But watching his recent videos, I can just feel the ukes sticking to him and the effortlessness of his movement.

I'm only making very incremental progress in this but I can do much more interesting stuff than I could just over two years ago, before I met Ark and Rob, then you, and felt the potentials of the soft power.... And it doesn't conflict with anything I learned in yoseikan. You can do the outer forms of yoseikan the same with or without it (actually not the same, though) and the performance with the internals will be softer but crisper, more effective but less exerting. If there is a conflict in this with yoseikan waza, it might be in the karate punching. I've almost completely quit that in favor of a xingyi approach, which does remain consistent with the in/yo ho as I'm coming to feel it.

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P.S. There is a reason that the floating bridge can also be considered the void, and the essense of in/yo.
Yeah. I think that's what I was trying to describe in the thing on "crossing" the floating bridge of heaven. For most martial artists, it doesn't have a name. They know it only as the "chance" spot in the middle of their attack, where the opponent's unpredictable movement could spoil their technique. They must count on timing to aim a technique where the other guy is going to be when the attack arrives--knowing that he may not be there or may respond somehow to spoil it.

The thing is, they need to get through that "chance" moment as fast as possible, so they're trying to rush across this nameless void that Ueshiba and the ancients called The Floating Bridge of Heaven. And Ueshiba et al chose to stand right there in the middle of it as a way of life. So no wonder they were impossible for ordinary people to understand!

It's in the nature of the movement, but teachers often teach one further from it as they go.

Thanks for keeping on target on this. You're sort of like a table saw, cutting a clear, straight line. That's called "true," yeah?

The screams of protest also sound like wood becoming straight...

Thanks.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 10-03-2012 at 11:33 AM.

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Old 10-03-2012, 11:32 AM   #17
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

An interesting thing about Ueshiba is that he had peers in both Kodo Horikawa and Yukiyoshi Sagawa. There is video showing Horikawa doing the exact same push test, sitting on the mat cross legged, as Ueshiba. All three men stated similar things like their art was formless, that aiki changed the body, etc. Everyone who met them all said that they were very different and that what they were doing was not able to be understood. It was mysterious. All three did Daito ryu techniques the rest of their life.

Now, if we go by Sesame Street, which one of these three is not like the others? Morihei Ueshiba.
He adapted a unique spiritual ideology that the other two didn't.

If we look at this spiritual ideology and Omoto kyo, we cannot find other pure Omoto kyo followers who stood out like Ueshiba. Only those people who studied Daito ryu aiki as Ueshiba was taught, as Ueshiba taught, stood out. Even Abe, who had studied misogi for years before meeting Ueshiba, never stood out ... until after training with Ueshiba. Taking all these things with the fact that both Sagawa and Horikawa could do what Ueshiba could do, the only real conclusion is that it was their Daito ryu aiki training. Not the spiritual ideology given by Ueshiba.

So, when looking at all Ueshiba's talk of misogi, chinkon kishon, kami, Shinto Deities, etc, it must be a requirement to view them through the lens that is Daito ryu aiki to understand the concepts behind how to stand out in the aikido world like Morihei Ueshiba.

OR you could do just like the millions... let me repeat that, the millions (aikidoka, omoto kyo followers, misogi adherents, etc) who have yet to stand out like Ueshiba in over 40 years.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:40 AM   #18
David Orange
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Early Japanese definitions of the mitama, developed later by many thinkers like Motoori Norinaga, maintain it consists of several "souls", relatively independent one from the other.[3] The most developed is the ichirei shikon (一霊四魂?), a Shinto theory according to which the spirit (霊魂 reikon?) of both kami and human beings consists of one spirit and four souls.

As the quote above notes, the "four souls" construction applies to both kami and humans. How it applies in this or that individual's practice would depend greatly on whether the practitioner was working solely to unify his or her own "four souls," or to unify his or her own "four souls" with those of one or more deities, and if the latter, the particular attributes of those deities which the practitioner seeks to invoke. At its most extreme, the practice is used precisely to induce spirit possession, much in the manner of the Vodun practice of drawing down the loa to "ride" the worshipper. For a fuller discussion of chinkon-kishin in the context of Omoto practice, see Chinkon Kishin: Mediated Spirit Possession in Japanese New Religions, By Birgit Staemmler.
Nice touch of perspective depth. It's no simple context, is it?

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
This construct is distinct from the Chinese In/Yo filter; Ueshiba used both, which would seem to suggest that he felt each had distinct strengths and weaknesses as principles by which either understanding or training might be ordered. One crude analogy would be that of the use of two lens filters on a camera or other optical instrument, each of which makes different aspects of the same scene visible.
Still a good analogy.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
For my own part, I'm quite skeptical of any effort to develop a quasi-mathematical relationship between In/Yo doctrine and Ichirei Shikon doctrine in which the four factors down neatly to the two, not that there's been any shortage of attempts to assert such a relationship over the past couple of centuries.....
I wouldn't factor them down to in and yo, but I would wonder if it could be reduced to Heaven and Earth?

Gassho.

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Lao Tzu

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Old 10-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #19
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
An interesting thing about Ueshiba is that he had peers in both Kodo Horikawa and Yukiyoshi Sagawa. There is video showing Horikawa doing the exact same push test, sitting on the mat cross legged, as Ueshiba. All three men stated similar things like their art was formless, that aiki changed the body, etc. Everyone who met them all said that they were very different and that what they were doing was not able to be understood. It was mysterious. All three did Daito ryu techniques the rest of their life.
Also, they were described as "emitting" or "issuing" aiki. They had it in themselves and it shocked other people on contact and lifted them.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
...the only real conclusion is that it was their Daito ryu aiki training. Not the spiritual ideology given by Ueshiba.

So, when looking at all Ueshiba's talk of misogi, chinkon kishon, kami, Shinto Deities, etc, it must be a requirement to view them through the lens that is Daito ryu aiki to understand the concepts behind how to stand out in the aikido world like Morihei Ueshiba.
I think his references to Izanagi and Izanami were probably standard to in/yo ho as it had come down from Yoshimitsu Minamoto. Others may not have been standard in/yo ho, but were possibly shared by Sokaku Takeda, who was also deeply influenced by Shinto. Yet other beliefs and practices would have come from Omotokyo. And I don't know enough to delineate the differences...but I think Izanagi and Izanami may have been how all in/yo practitioners thought of it and only Ueshiba gave out so many hints. Also, Horikawa and Sagawa may have given out lots of such hints but not many people heard of them, compared to Ueshiba, who got so much attention. I don't think it was because he was really superior to them (and may not have been better at aiki), but he was a real promoter and he was really a missionary for Omoto Kyo, as well, so he built a kind of missionary art, filled with followers who, like so many missionaries, don't understand what they're selling.

Anyway, I'm guessing Izanagi and Izanami are almost always what he refers to when he mentions "gods" in relation to takemusu aiki.

Thanks.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 10-03-2012 at 12:20 PM. Reason: name correction from "Munenori" to "Yoshimitsu Minamoto"

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Old 10-03-2012, 12:17 PM   #20
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

I am interested in the self-claimed "spiritual pursuits" only when and if it produced the power Ueshiba had...in others! When allowed to run it's course and it leads to a dead end, we have some other considerations to review;
Did everyone else but Ueshiba miss it?
No? Okay?
If they got it...where are they?
Or maybe, just maybe, the Kami, and souls and other things that lie outside of the known standard internal practices actually were worthless as far as his...or anyone's power and aiki were concerned. Sure there are overlaps. Breath power is one of them. There are certain practices that produce good -although far from complete -results. It is practiced in different ways, some with breath, pressurized or not, others in chanting. But we can chant all day long, and chant in accordance with waza or movement patterns and miss an incredible amount of needed work to produce a bujutsu body. In fact that has and is happening right now.

For other concerns, people in the arts are always going to embrace the social, cooperative, community building aspects they attach to their budo pursuits. Which is fine, it just doesn't have anything to do with his soft power or aiki. There is a discussion to be had regarding a mental/physical state that involves the spirit in this kind of training. It is transformative and it is discussed in Koryu, in the ICMA as well as in Indian arts. I just don't think it is worth discussing with those who have no power to begin with. Although it seems like it on the surface, we would not be having the same discussion.

So, what I'm concerned with is;
Who has power from their practice?
What practice is it?
Is it singular genius? A "one-off?" Or, is it the same model, utilizing the same terminology used cross culturally and spanning eras. That pedagogy is irrefutable and telling. It not only produce power in Ueshiba, but Takeda before him, and others before him. As stated elsewhere we see the same terminology being used in India and China and being noted for power building methods.

It is the use of the same terminology in and of itself that blows up any idea of convergent evolution of similar models in agrarian cultures and instead points to the sharing of information, partly through shared cosmology, partly through labor, partly through a warrior cultures acquisition and pursuit of power. It is no coincidence to read of a shinto ryu adept describing heaven/earth/man and six direction theory...to produce power in 1451, then Ueshiba pointing to the same terminology for the same goals.

At this stage in the game, when it comes to this topic; from Shodan to Shihan, mokuroku to menkyo, I dismiss rank entirely. Instead, I look for results in the physical form of those claiming any understanding whatsoever...demonstrated in their own hands. It was NOT an academic exercise in the past when it mattered and it shouldn't be to us today. That said, we can judge degrees of accomplishment, skill and depth of understanding in results that can be tested. Cool waza is cool waza, fighting is fighting, weapons are weapons, and rank is rank- it doesn't mean people have any inkling whatever of this higher level material, even when they publicly claim otherwise. I think we have all heard enough clanging symbols and empty promises. We need to focus on absorbing the material, improving ourselves and our arts and heling each other move forward.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 10-03-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:35 PM   #21
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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David Orange wrote: View Post
I think his references to Izanagi and Izanami were probably standard to in/yo ho as it had come down from Yoshimitsu Minamoto. Others may not have been standard in/yo ho, but were possibly shared by Sokaku Takeda, who was also deeply influenced by Shinto. Yet other beliefs and practices would have come from Omotokyo. And I don't know enough to delineate the differences...but I think Izanagi and Izanami may have been how all in/yo practitioners thought of it and only Ueshiba gave out so many hints. Also, Horikawa and Sagawa may have given out lots of such hints but not many people heard of them, compared to Ueshiba, who got so much attention. I don't think it was because he was really superior to them (and may not have been better at aiki), but he was a real promoter and he was really a missionary for Omoto Kyo, as well, so he built a kind of missionary art, filled with followers who, like so many missionaries, don't understand what they're selling.

Anyway, I'm guessing Izanagi and Izanami are almost always what he refers to when he mentions "gods" in relation to takemusu aiki.

Thanks.

David
In the Kojiki they are called Izanagi and Izanami - but in the Nihongi (published just shortly after) they are called the gods of "in" and "yo", which seems fairly explicit to me.

It's also interesting to look at Ueshiba's rewriting of "kami" to "fire" and "water".

Best,

Chris

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Old 10-03-2012, 12:51 PM   #22
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
In the Kojiki they are called Izanagi and Izanami - but in the Nihongi (published just shortly after) they are called the gods of "in" and "yo", which seems fairly explicit to me.

It's also interesting to look at Ueshiba's rewriting of "kami" to "fire" and "water".

Best,

Chris
It is also incredibly relevant to understand that it is in the midst of these that we find power. And very few martial art teachers know how to do it. It is evident in their movement.
I mentioned a quote here from a personal discussion and push hands testing of a powerful ICMA teacher who arrived in Japan and taught Aikido and Daito ryu people. His comment about ki was interesting. He asked some heavy hitters in Japan; "Where is Yin (In)? Where is yang (yo)? Where then is this Ai-ki. You cannot pretend dantian. You will be found out."

His experiences echo my own. What does it mean when people "extend ki" or use "aik-ki" and yet you can knock em all over the place at will. They asked Ueshiba this. "Very simple" he said "You do not understand in and yo"....Ueshiba

Standing in the midst is a state where the mind gives out first in your training. You can have people stand in a room and have their bodies heat up to the point that you feel it in the room. This can be done in one way without specific breath patterning, and in another with breath patterning. This was supposed to be the state in various forms of Solo training, and in arts like yoga (which now substitutes EXTERNAL heat sources for what used to be internal in some systems) and was clearly demonstrated by Wang Chushin when his students would place their hands on his body in the winter to warm their fingers.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 10-03-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:46 PM   #23
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

I have a small question about this part.

Quote:
If you are standing in the center, and In and Yo are spiraling around you, then this process must represent something that is happening in yourself, that is being created within yourself. I make the distinction because this is a very different thing than a process that occurs between yourself and another person.
If you are standing in the center, and In and Yo are spiraling around you. How is that process happening within you? isn't In and Yo spiraling outside if you- because they are spiraling around you?

I also have a question about this quote.
Quote:
The second Doshu interpreted Aikido as "the Way of fitting in with another person's Ki". However, it seems to me that Aikido is "Uniting body and mind and becoming one with heaven and earth. Specifically, the Way of fitting together the Ki of heaven and earth."
How do you take Tohei to mean this? Because to me, Tohei is saying that Aikido is a way of fitting with the force(ki) of the universe (heaven and earth), and not simply another person's ki. Saying that Aikido is about the big picture, and not just about fitting with a single person. That is, he means you shouldn't just use your Aikido to win a fight, or overcome a single person, but instead to fit yourself to the whole universe.

However to me, it seems like you are saying that Tohei means Aikido happens inside of yourself. To me Tohei is saying anything but that, he's saying that Aikido is a very big concept, and must be done with the whole of the universe- it's bigger then just me, or just them, but deals with everything.

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Old 10-03-2012, 03:04 PM   #24
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I have a small question about this part.

Quote:
If you are standing in the center, and In and Yo are spiraling around you, then this process must represent something that is happening in yourself, that is being created within yourself. I make the distinction because this is a very different thing than a process that occurs between yourself and another person.
If you are standing in the center, and In and Yo are spiraling around you. How is that process happening within you? isn't In and Yo spiraling outside if you- because they are spiraling around you?
By "around you" I meant "around in you" - maybe that would have been clearer. Note that the original "This is standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven and turning in a spiral. " doesn't say anything about accommodating outside forces.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I also have a question about this quote.

Quote:
The second Doshu interpreted Aikido as "the Way of fitting in with another person's Ki". However, it seems to me that Aikido is "Uniting body and mind and becoming one with heaven and earth. Specifically, the Way of fitting together the Ki of heaven and earth."
How do you take Tohei to mean this? Because to me, Tohei is saying that Aikido is a way of fitting with the force(ki) of the universe (heaven and earth), and not simply another person's ki. Saying that Aikido is about the big picture, and not just about fitting with a single person. That is, he means you shouldn't just use your Aikido to win a fight, or overcome a single person, but instead to fit yourself to the whole universe.

However to me, it seems like you are saying that Tohei means Aikido happens inside of yourself. To me Tohei is saying anything but that, he's saying that Aikido is a very big concept, and must be done with the whole of the universe- it's bigger then just me, or just them, but deals with everything.
I read it that way because it fits with the classical model, which Tohei often cites, and because in this case Tohei is specifically contrasting these two ideas. Kisshomaru often spoke about the Universe, in other contexts, and Tohei would be aware of that.

I can see how you might read it that way in English - but I don't think that idiom works so well in the original. That's one of the tricky parts about reading deep meaning into a translation, where you are, by default, working in a different context.

Best,

Chris

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Old 10-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #25
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Re: More on Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I have a small question about this part.
If you are standing in the center, and In and Yo are spiraling around you. How is that process happening within you? isn't In and Yo spiraling outside if you- because they are spiraling around you?
This is a main tenent of all the internal arts Chris.
They are about using and manipulating your own forces within you so that other forces automatically get neutralized and managed along with yours.
It is where the tried and true axiums of:
"Motion in stillness and stillness in motion"
"Six harmonies" -three internal, three external
"When one thing moves, everything moves"...
all come from

Contrary to all thought to the contrary it is THEE definition of what aiki is.
Ai-ki in me before ai-ki between theen and me. The source of the jins in ICMA.
Everything else is just external, everyday martial arts. Nothing special, and nothing out of the ordinary that would have impressed most anyone.
It is also why they didn't teach it to everyone who went to Japan or China to learn. They still don't. I have met "Internal art teachers" who spent over a decade in China and have no internal power to speak of.

Quote:
Quote:
I also have a question about this quote:
The second Doshu interpreted Aikido as "the Way of fitting in with another person's Ki". However, it seems to me that Aikido is "Uniting body and mind and becoming one with heaven and earth. Specifically, the Way of fitting together the Ki of heaven and earth."
How do you take Tohei to mean this? Because to me, Tohei is saying that Aikido is a way of fitting with the force(ki) of the universe (heaven and earth), and not simply another person's ki. Saying that Aikido is about the big picture, and not just about fitting with a single person. That is, he means you shouldn't just use your Aikido to win a fight, or overcome a single person, but instead to fit yourself to the whole universe.

However to me, it seems like you are saying that Tohei means Aikido happens inside of yourself. To me Tohei is saying anything but that, he's saying that Aikido is a very big concept, and must be done with the whole of the universe- it's bigger then just me, or just them, but deals with everything.
Tohei had models which clearly demonstrate Aiki is within yourself first. But Ueshiba was better and more sophisticated in his movement than Tohei.
Ueshiba had it right when he said "I...am the universe" It all happens in you first. Managing forces within you. Which...can be complicated. and becomes automatic on touch with other forces.
It feels different
People continue to testify over and over and over..... good God over and over for a thousand years to last week on Aikiweb; THAT IT FEELS DIFFERENT.
Most everyone I meet?
They feel like everyone else.
Do you remember all those people who said "Ueshiba? Bah...he felt like everyone else!!!"
Nope. first words out of their mouth on contact was that he was different.
Aiki within me... before aiki between thee and me
Nothing has changed. Its an age old, well known internal martial art process that people who got to actually train in the internal aspects of the Chinese Internal arts, understand.
Dan
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