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Old 07-11-2001, 03:10 PM   #1
akiy
 
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"Competition"

Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun

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Old 07-12-2001, 03:45 AM   #2
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Did O Sensei actually say there must be no Competition

Jamie Fearon
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Old 07-12-2001, 04:30 AM   #3
ian
 
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snippets

From AikidoFaqs web pages:

"One of the other big breaks in Aikido history occured during O Sensei's life when Kenji Tomiki proposed "rationalizing" Aikido training using Kata and Competition. Since that time, there has been little commonality between the Tomiki schools and the mainline Aikido schools."

"In addition, he [Tomiki] believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice since it was no longer tested in real combat. This latter view was the cause of a split with O Sensei who firmly believed that there was no place for competition in Aikido training."

"Tomiki wished to obtain the blessings of the founder for his efforts. Exchanges of views took place between Tomiki and the Aikikai with Shigenobu Okumura often acting as intermediary. However, the founder was very firm on this issue and adamantly insisted that aikido did not include competition. A rift between Tomiki and the Aikikai consequently developed and Tomiki continued on his own."

"There is no competition in Aikido because it would eliminate a lot of people from the training. The purpose of Aikido is to allow as many different people as possible - men and women, young and old, weak and strong - to develop their potential through practice together." (Chiba sensei)


so it seems that it may have been an informal disagreement between Tomiki and Ueshiba. There is a brief section on Tomiki's approach to competition at:

http://www.aikidofaq.com//essays/n_section24.html

Also, while I was trawling these pages I found an amazing story about Ueshiba which I'm not sure whether to believe - have a read yourself!

http://www.aikidofaq.com/history/story.html

Sorry I can't help any further,

Ian
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:57 AM   #4
andrew
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I can't help with the decree, but I found an awfully good article about the matter....
http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articlei.htm

andrew
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Old 07-12-2001, 08:56 AM   #5
Richard Harnack
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Re: "Competition"

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun
Jun -
I think you will find it in his "rules" in Budo.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 07-12-2001, 09:33 AM   #6
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Re: Re: "Competition"

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


Jun -
I think you will find it in his "rules" in Budo.
In the English translation which I have in front of me, the first "precaution for training" says this:
"The original intent of bujutsu was to kill a enemy with one blow; since all techniques can be lethal, observe the instructor's directions and do not engage in contests of strength."

I don't think that's really addressing the issue of competition per se so much as attitude on the mats, although you could certainly extrapulate from the statement.

andrew
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Old 07-15-2001, 03:04 AM   #7
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Cool Re: "Competition"

Quote:
Originally posted by andrew
In the English translation which I have in front of me, the first "precaution for training" says this:
"The original intent of bujutsu was to kill a enemy with one blow; since all techniques can be lethal, observe the instructor's directions and do not engage in contests of strength."
andrew
KAMI : I guess that's why Jun was asking for the original japanese writings. There are always problems with translating ideograms to the english language.
Anyway, I guess the Kaiso didn't stop there. In John Stevens' translation (THE ART OF PEACE - Shamballah, 1992), there's another poem by the Founder :
"As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with and criticizing others weaken and defeat you".
You may interpret it as you wish. Jun's request is still unanswered.
Best

"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".
Unknown author

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Old 07-15-2001, 02:58 PM   #8
Richard Harnack
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Do symbol Re: "Competition" Again

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
Does anyone have the original, Japanese wording of the founder's decree that "there shall be no competition in aikido"?

-- Jun
Jun-
I still think you will find it in Budo, and in a variant form in Kissomaru Ueshiba's books, and finally, why not contact Stan Pranin. I am certain he probably has access to the passage you are looking for.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 07-16-2001, 01:30 AM   #9
Kami
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Re: Re: "Competition" Again

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack
Jun-
I still think you will find it in Budo, and in a variant form in Kissomaru Ueshiba's books, and finally, why not contact Stan Pranin. I am certain he probably has access to the passage you are looking for.
KAMI : Since Jun's question interests me very much, I have asked the help of Peter Goldsbury Sensei, Chairman of the International Aikido Federation and Professor of Comparative Religions and Mythologies at Hiroshima University, in Japan. He asked me for some time to do some research and I'm waiting for it.
I don't hold to that opinion but some people have used the argument "ad hominem" (O-Sensei's recomendation) for use against competition in Aikido. So, I guess Jun's question is very pertinent.
Best

"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".
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Old 07-16-2001, 10:22 AM   #10
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Just so that people know where I'm coming from (or where I'm heading), I'm wondering because the word "competition" can be translated as both "shiai" as in a judo tournament kind of competition or "arasoiai" which can mean stuff like rivalry, non-physical fighting, and such.

I don't want to get into a discussion of whether competition is good/bad for aikido here as this is the "language" forum...

In any case, thanks, Ubaldo, for checking in with Peter. Let me/us know if you find anything out!

-- Jun

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Old 07-16-2001, 09:20 PM   #11
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Hi Jun;

I've been staying out of this - actually waiting to see what Peter G. has to say.

I can't help with what Ueshiba exactly said but since you mention kanji - from the Shodokan FAQ


It is often argued that Aikido is "The Budo of Love" and therefore there shouldn't be any form of competition in Aikido. This argument is a good one and arises from the very important Aikido and Budo concept that fighting and aggression are wrong.

We do not think of Shiai (competition) as aggression or fighting against an opponent. If we really think about it the (Japanese Kanji) word 'Shiai' (competition) is made up of two parts. The first part 'Shi' means to test and the second part 'Ai' means together with someone.

Thus we view Shiai as a valuable opportunity to test ourselves whilst working together, and as a useful aid for studying our 'Waza' (art) and our 'Do' (way).

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
I'm wondering because the word "competition" can be translated as both "shiai" as in a judo tournament kind of competition or "arasoiai" which can mean stuff like rivalry, non-physical fighting, and such.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-16-2001, 10:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
I can't help with what Ueshiba exactly said but since you mention kanji - from the Shodokan FAQ
[snip]
We do not think of Shiai (competition) as aggression or fighting against an opponent. If we really think about it the (Japanese Kanji) word 'Shiai' (competition) is made up of two parts. The first part 'Shi' means to test and the second part 'Ai' means together with someone.
Sticking with the language part of this discussion (as this is the language forum), it's basically the same in English, too. The term "compete" comes from the Latin competere or com- together + petere to seek.

-- Jun

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Old 07-17-2001, 02:13 AM   #13
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Which is always the problem of translation. Words have different connotations in the same language, a problem which only compounds across the language barrier.

It is important to understand what is meant by the word in a particular context.

For some competition means to win at all costs. For others, it does not.

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

Sticking with the language part of this discussion (as this is the language forum), it's basically the same in English, too. The term "compete" comes from the Latin competere or com- together + petere to seek.

-- Jun

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Old 07-17-2001, 10:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
Which is always the problem of translation. Words have different connotations in the same language, a problem which only compounds across the language barrier.

It is important to understand what is meant by the word in a particular context.
I agree with all of the points above, of course (having been a linguist in a "previous life")...

-- Jun

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Old 07-21-2001, 06:42 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re. Competition

Hello, Everybody,

This is my first post in this forum (so please be nice!). Cyber-shihan Ubaldo Alcantara first asked me for information on this topic and it took me some time to realise that it was in connection with Jun Akiyama's web site. I sent Ubaldo a reply, but then realised it was better to contribute to the forum myself. So here is what I have discovered in O Sensei's writings about competition.

1. The word which O Sensei uses for 'competition' is 競争 (きょうそう: KYOU-SOU). The first character is composed of the Radials 117 (standing) and the character (344 in Nelson's dictionary) for 'ani' (brother). The second character is also read as 'araso' and the meaning of the compound is basically 'rivalry'.

The word 試合 (しあい SHI-ai) has the sense of two teams meeting for a game or match and is not used by O Sensei.

2. Where does O Sensei discuss competition in Aikido? I have seen no evidence for any general declaration made by O Sensei against competition. There is a reference to sports understood by O Sensei in a western sense on Page 50 of Hideo Takahashi's book, "Takemusu Aiki", which records lectures given by the Founder. A translation of O Sensei's ideas is given on Page 21 of Issue 117 of Aikido Journal. There O Sensei does talk about competition as applied to aikido, always using the Chinese character I explained above. His views are clearly old-fashioned and he makes statements about Japan and western sports which are no longer true.

3. The reference to Tomiki Sensei and competition appears on pp.184-188 of "Aikido Ichiro", by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Doshu explains that Tomiki Sensei became a professor at Waseda University in 1954 but often came to visit the Founder in Iwama and Tokyo. Tomiki Sensei was a POW in Siberia and developed a system of aiki-taiso, probably to stay alive, and explained his system to O Sensei. In Kisshomaru Doshu's words,

"On seeing this (sc. Tomiki Sensei's system), my father said,

そのよおうなものを 合気 と称されて困る

"If you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems."

Kisshomaru Doshu then goes on to discuss what happened afterwards. I muself have had lengthy conversations with Kisshomaru Doshu and with Okumura Shigenobu Sensei (9th dan), who first learned aikido at the hands of Tomiki Sensei and was later deputed to negotiate over whether Tomiki Sensei should use 'aikido' for his art. Okumura Sensei was clearly torn between loyalty to his sensei and loyalty to the Founder.

Best regrds to all,

Peter Goldsbury

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Old 07-22-2001, 03:14 AM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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On rereading my last post, I see I should add a couple of points.

1. The character 競 is also used by the Founder in his rules for practice, but in the context it clearly means 'contests of strength'.

2. In recounting the meeting between the Founder and Tomiki Sensei, cited above, Kisshomaru Doshu also adds that the Founder responded angrily to Tomiki Sensei's ideas (the Japanese word used is "{る おこる okoru), but also that Tomiki stood his ground and stuck to his position. I would think that this would have required some courage, considering Tomiki Sensei's long association with the Founder.

Best regards to all,

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Old 07-23-2001, 12:08 AM   #17
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Hi Peter,

Thank you very much for your detailed and researched answer! It's pretty much what I suspected, although the phrase "kyousou" slipped my mind when I formulated my original question.

Thanks, too, for the pointer to the relevant pages in "Aikido Ichiro." I've gone and reread the chapter including the interview with Doshu and the Kodokan 9th dan practitioner -- it'd been a while since I've read the book. Good stuff in there, too.

I hope you can find the time to peruse these Forums every so often! Your participation om the future would be greatly appreciated.

I hope to meet you next May at the Aiki Expo...

-- Jun

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Old 07-23-2001, 01:47 AM   #18
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I would also like to thank Peter G. for that - it puts a lot into perspective.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-23-2001, 09:00 AM   #19
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Thumbs down Re: Competition

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
Hello, Everybody,
This is my first post in this forum (so please be nice!). Cyber-shihan Ubaldo Alcantara first asked me for information on this topic and it took me some time to realise that it was in connection with Jun Akiyama's web site. I sent Ubaldo a reply, but then realised it was better to contribute to the forum myself. So here is what I have discovered in O Sensei's writings about competition.
Best regrds to all,
Peter Goldsbury
KAMI : Thank you very much, Goldsbury Sama!
As so accurately explained by Peter G., we may, from now on, agree or disagree with competition, but no longer on the grounds of "The Master said so..." (I never did like that!)
Best

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Old 08-03-2001, 10:04 AM   #20
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I seem to remember a qoute such like that if one did shiai in aikido, it would become shiai (with shi = death), but are currently disconnected from my sources. The far end of my mind soehow relates this quotation to O Sensei. As Peter stated, that

Quote:
The word 試合 (し い SHI-ai) has the sense of two teams
meeting for a game or match and is not used by O Sensei.
it seems to be very unlikely. Does anyone recognize the quotation I have in mind and can trace a source?

Markus
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Old 08-03-2001, 12:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

I agree with all of the points above, of course (having been a linguist in a "previous life")...

-- Jun
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I was a pedant. (sic)

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Old 06-27-2013, 09:36 AM   #22
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Re: Competition

Quote:
Ubaldo Alcantara wrote: View Post
KAMI : Thank you very much, Goldsbury Sama!
As so accurately explained by Peter G., we may, from now on, agree or disagree with competition, but no longer on the grounds of "The Master said so..." (I never did like that!)
Best
Actually, in the book Aikido (Kisshomaru Ueshiba, 1958, under the direction of Morihei Ueshiba), translated by Kaz Tanahashi quotes Osensei in the back of the book under the chapter heading "Memoirs of the Master":

We ceaselessly pray that fights should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido.

That seems pretty clear, says he doesn't want "matches in Aikido" which I would call competition, and gives a reason, but if you want to go straight to the horse's mouth, contact Tanahashi Sensei in Berkeley. I'm sure he would, as the scholar he is, be able to tell you exactly what wording Osensei used.

Also among the memoirs, same book, Then how can you straighten your warped mind, purify your heart, and be harmonized with the activities of all things in Nature? You should first make God's heart yours. It is a Great Love. Omnipresent in all quarters and in all times of the universe. "There is no discord in love. There is no enemy in love." A mind of discord, thinking of the existence of an enemy is no more consistent with the will of God.

Those who do not agree with this cannot be in harmony with the universe. Their budo is that of destruction. It is not constructive budo.

Therefore, to compete in techniques, winning and losing, is not true budo. True budo knows no defeat. "Never defeated" means "never fighting."


Second reason, from my interpretation. I doubt that he means you shouldn't compete because you might lose. My take is, in context with everything else he says in his memoir, is that in an aikido interaction should never end with anyone defeated.

Other than that I take from it that those interested in competing are not interested in what Osensei called "true budo."
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #23
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Re: Competition

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post

Other than that I take from it that those interested in competing are not interested in what Osensei called "true budo."
I think that it's fairly clear that he was opposed to competitive matches for a number of reasons.

OTOH, there are a lot of things that he said and did that people don't really pay much attention to, and even Ueshiba can certainly be mistaken in his reasoning, so I don't think it follows that people who are involved in competitive matches are necessarily uninterested in "true budo".

I think that they are making an argument for a different methodology, perhaps, but that doesn't make them oblivious to his goals.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2013, 11:20 AM   #24
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Competition

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
We ceaselessly pray that fights should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido.
I think there was a problem with the translation. The original statement was probably "We ceaselessly pray that fires should not occur. For this reason we strictly prohibit matches in Aikido"

Makes more sense this way.

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Old 06-27-2013, 11:36 AM   #25
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Re: "Competition"

I'd also note that Corky cited the "Rendezvous with Adventure" video in another thread, in which Koichi Tohei participates in a "match". Since that "match" was officially sanctioned by Morihei Ueshiba, doesn't that cause a problem for an absolute prohibition on competition?

I don't think that the issue is all that simple.

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Chris

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