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Old 08-17-2002, 09:28 PM   #1
virginia_kyu
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Misuse of Aikido Philosophy

Is anyone else irritated about how often O'Sensei's philosophy is taken out of context and used to promote political agendas?

-- Michael Neal
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Old 08-17-2002, 09:36 PM   #2
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Especially when they disagree with my own view of the world - not nearly so bad when they don't.

But yeah. I am.

Still Omoto-kyo which is the other half of Ueshiba M.'s vision sees its vision as utopian. If you consider that source an important part of Aikido than discussion of politics is fair game.

Personally I don't see Aikido as a path to world peace.

Last edited by PeterR : 08-17-2002 at 09:42 PM.

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Old 08-18-2002, 12:11 AM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Especially when they disagree with my own view of the world - not nearly so bad when they don't.

But yeah. I am.

Still Omoto-kyo which is the other half of Ueshiba M.'s vision sees its vision as utopian. If you consider that source an important part of Aikido than discussion of politics is fair game.

Personally I don't see Aikido as a path to world peace.
I think that M. Ueshiba saw it as path to world peace. But (and this is a big but), I believe that he saw it as a path to world peace through development of the individual, as a way of individual, personal training. In other words, that he believed that the way to create world peace was to first create a world of peaceful people (this in contrast to, say, applying "Aikido principles" on relations with Saddam Hussein). Now, I agree with that sentiment in principle, but I'm not sure that such a thing could ever (practically speaking) come to pass. Still, it doesn't hurt to try, and it might even help, on a small scale if not a large one.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-18-2002, 12:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
I believe that he saw it as a path to world peace through development of the individual, as a way of individual, personal training.
Agree - change comes from within. I often wonder how much better place the world would be if we all concentrated more on our own shortcomings rather than looking for and trying to fix everyone elses.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-18-2002, 03:33 AM   #5
Kami
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Cool WORLD PEACE...

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Agree - change comes from within. I often wonder how much better place the world would be if we all concentrated more on our own shortcomings rather than looking for and trying to fix everyone elses.
KAMI : Indeed. And also I think that Ueshiba's idea of "world peace" was suffused with his religious Omoto Kyo based world vision. For people of other religions or of no religion at all things may be different.

OTOH, no religion ever was able, by itself, to bring peace to the world. That, as you rightly stressed MUST come from within as a result of our own PERSONAL training.

Ganbatte

"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 08-18-2002, 08:33 AM   #6
Bruce Baker
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Sometimes religious ideals are not enough, we must cultivate our moral fiber as well. There is no society, or religion for that matter, that has not been subverted for personal gain, or certain persons personal agenda.

It is those with the moral fiber to live your life within those ideals, not in shadows, that becomes one of the life long challenges of not only world peace, but strength through peace from practice in Aikido and other martial arts. Keep living your practice of Aikido ... is a start to change the wworld by the silent examples for peace.
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Old 08-18-2002, 01:37 PM   #7
Brian H
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This is also a lesson of history. A thousand years ago sacking an entire city and killing everyone in it was sound military tactics. Throw a baby into a bonfire, no big deal.

Now it is called a "war crime" when a bomb is accidently dropped onto a Chinese Embasy or the odd wedding party.

The lesson of history is not that we have reached any high peak, but instead that we have climbed a long way.

Slavery was considered a legal and justifiable thing just one hundred and forty years ago in the US. How will killing unborn children be considered in one hundred and forty years? ("while I would never own anyone, we have to fight for every woman's right to enslave someone if she chooses to.")

Now that I have kicked a hornet's nest . . .

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing
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Old 08-18-2002, 04:12 PM   #8
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What is an example of how O'Sensei's philosophy is taken out of context for a political agenda? Not sure i am following.

I have seen several assumptions made by other posters above, but need an example!

I think several of you hit the nail on the head. Peter in two post kinda contradicted himself, but had a good recover.

In first post he didn't see aikido as a path to world peace. Then he stated in second post that people should concentrate on their own shortcomings! BINGO

that is the point of aikido, IMHO. We improve ourselves which has an impact on others, which begets more!

I am moderating a 86 response thread on righteousness versus peace, and that seems to be the outcome so far.

Peace is hard to define and acheive. The path to peace is very, very difficult. There is no one "silver bullet". It is a long path and may take more than our lifetimes to solve.

While I do think Aikido is a path to peace, it is not the only one. I don't think I ever saw a quote from O'Sensei professing that either!

He also didn't say it was easy or that is was clear cut and paved. In our modern society of GPS and large interstates, we all come to expect a clear cut definable route to the "big city". Unfortunately, there are many paths, and many people, some choose different ones....some choose not to walk it at all!

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Old 08-18-2002, 11:51 PM   #9
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If you are going to take your Buddhism REALLY seriously, of course, then it is not world peace that is the goal because the world, after all, doesn't really exist. World peace would be an amusing, or perhaps pleasant, side effect of each being being committed to the path through which it will find its Truth.

Reading that again, I wonder if I'm not saying exactly the same thing as the other posters. I probably am.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-19-2002, 01:14 AM   #10
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buddhism isn't so much about world peace..but about personal peace or reaching enlightment. It is possible within buddhist tenants for a person to become enlightened without requiring the rest of the world to do the same!

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Old 08-19-2002, 02:14 AM   #11
ian
 
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Lets face it, there are always ruthless people who will manipulate other peoples attatchment to any beliefs or ideas, to their own ends; that's one reason why attatchment to any particular fixed ethos is dangerous without a real understanding of the underlying experience/reasons. Ueshiba came to his beliefs through his experience and training - though its a nice sentiment, I think things have changed since he died, and I have to adapt to the world through my experience and the current situation (refer to todays doka).

Ian

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Old 08-19-2002, 07:47 AM   #12
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I decided to copy it in so tomorrow people would know. It sure is apt:

Enlightement or delusion?

Who is to say which person has which?

Like the evening moon they appear and fade.

Not one knows exactly when.

- Morihei Ueshiba

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-19-2002, 09:37 AM   #13
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Ian,

What do you see has changed in the world situation relevant to the concepts of peace that change the concepts that O'Sensei set forth?

I see good things in many ways. Technology in many ways is improving communications between nations. We are moving slowly toward a global economy (read global interdependence).

There are many growing pains we are experiencing, but I don't think all is lost and I find O'Sensei's philosophy to be timeless and as relevant today as it was 30 or 40 or 50 years ago.

FWIW, he really proposed nothing new philosophically, just a different methodology using aikido as a means to the same end Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed and others have professed over 2000 years ago!

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Old 08-19-2002, 09:44 AM   #14
virginia_kyu
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Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
What is an example of how O'Sensei's philosophy is taken out of context for a political agenda? Not sure i am following.

I have seen several assumptions made by other posters above, but need an example!

I think several of you hit the nail on the head. Peter in two post kinda contradicted himself, but had a good recover.

In first post he didn't see aikido as a path to world peace. Then he stated in second post that people should concentrate on their own shortcomings! BINGO

that is the point of aikido, IMHO. We improve ourselves which has an impact on others, which begets more!

I am moderating a 86 response thread on righteousness versus peace, and that seems to be the outcome so far.

Peace is hard to define and acheive. The path to peace is very, very difficult. There is no one "silver bullet". It is a long path and may take more than our lifetimes to solve.

While I do think Aikido is a path to peace, it is not the only one. I don't think I ever saw a quote from O'Sensei professing that either!

He also didn't say it was easy or that is was clear cut and paved. In our modern society of GPS and large interstates, we all come to expect a clear cut definable route to the "big city". Unfortunately, there are many paths, and many people, some choose different ones....some choose not to walk it at all!
As others have stated above I believe that Ueshiba was concerned with the individual not world politics. For example, people who try to use Aikido solutions for situations in Iraq & Israel I think are stretching it.

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Old 08-19-2002, 09:48 AM   #15
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Good point Michael.

In theory, if we were all doing the "right things" on an individual level...then basic logic would follow that all would be well on the macro level.

So I see your point now!

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Old 08-19-2002, 10:36 AM   #16
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the warriors and the peacemakers

I think the genius of O'Sensei's aikido is that it basically admits that some people just love to fight, while others don't.

Now aikido gets both kinds of people together in a kind of crucible called a dojo, along with all these other different kinds of people -- men and women of different ages and nationalities and religions -- and teaches them to harmonize.

It seems to me that the aikido dojo is one of the most rudimentary building blocks for creating peace in the world.

When we walk into the dojo, there is one major unifying force -- training in aikido.

Why be fatalistic when so many possibilities exist?
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Old 08-19-2002, 09:08 PM   #17
virginia_kyu
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Re: the warriors and the peacemakers

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
I think the genius of O'Sensei's aikido is that it basically admits that some people just love to fight, while others don't.

Now aikido gets both kinds of people together in a kind of crucible called a dojo, along with all these other different kinds of people -- men and women of different ages and nationalities and religions -- and teaches them to harmonize.

It seems to me that the aikido dojo is one of the most rudimentary building blocks for creating peace in the world.

When we walk into the dojo, there is one major unifying force -- training in aikido.

Why be fatalistic when so many possibilities exist?
I don't think I am being fatalistic, just realistic.

If you can get Saddam Hussein to a dojo and then he decides he does not want to be a dictator anymore and then makes up for his past actions etc. then I might see your point.

Being nice to very bad people does not usually make them nice. It may work with individuals occasionally but with dictators, I don't think so. They need to be dealt with in an un-aiki way.

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Old 08-19-2002, 09:32 PM   #18
Neil Mick
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Re: Re: the warriors and the peacemakers

Quote:
Michael Neal (virginia_kyu) wrote:
I don't think I am being fatalistic, just realistic.

If you can get Saddam Hussein to a dojo and then he decides he does not want to be a dictator anymore and then makes up for his past actions etc. then I might see your point.

Being nice to very bad people does not usually make them nice. It may work with individuals occasionally but with dictators, I don't think so. They need to be dealt with in an un-aiki way.
To be nice, is not Aiki. Aikido can be quite aggressive. Would an Aikidoist President ever use military force? Maybe, but it would be a measure of last resort.

Aikido is not about making ppl all nice to each other. Its about making ppl see the reason to live harmoniously.

BTW, Michael, I see that you train in Virginia...you're affiliated with ASU, correct? Why don't you ask Saotame Sensei's ideas on world affairs and Aikido, if you feel that the two are incompatible?
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Old 08-20-2002, 06:07 AM   #19
ian
 
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Hi Kevin,

I would agree that there are great things in communication which is changing the way we think as well as the way we work. In the past (pre WWII) I think other nations were often seen as the enemy, whereas, especially for Ueshiba, Japans devestating defeat signalled a change. With a global economy we now realise our inter-dependence.

However stability is not always a good thing. The police and military capabilities of governments (partly through increased national wealth and a reliance of the population on stability) have resulted in a much greater ability of governments to repress the population. For example there was the Cultural Revolution in China. Maybe this is not new, and maybe there will always be something to moan about. Although discussion now tends to take over the role of violence, the manipulation of those with less power is still widespread, with law and deception becoming a more prominant way of exploiting people, and maybe one harder to deal with than war - fear is replaced by resentment.

I'd agree with Michael also, about using aiki on a personal level. I haven't done great deeds from doing aikido, however I have gained a respect for everyone, no matter how nasty they initially appear. I'd also agree that being nice to nasty people does not make them better. In aikido we try to show them that their actions are of no consequence. On a world stage I don't think that has become possible (maybe Ghandi was the closest you can come to aiki in world politics, but bizzarly, that involved pacifism).

P.S. As far as I know Saddam Hussein received military training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst (training centre for British Army Officers).

Ian

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Old 08-20-2002, 06:43 AM   #20
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I don't think it is "un-aiki" to use force. It is not the use of force or non-use of force that defines it as "aiki" or "un-aiki" it is the intent that defines it.

If we use force in anger or without compassion toward our enemies, then that would be "un-aiki" to me.

In another thread I am moderating...we are finding out that most everyone agrees that fighting itself will not bring about "True Peace" so in the end, it is important to "clean up the mess" and pick your enemy up off the ground once he is "controlled" and help him out.

Of course, unfortunately, they don't want to listen to you and you must dispose of them. The "aiki" part is in your heart, if you feel revenge or anger you are un-aiki. If you feel sorrow and compassion, then your are aiki.

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Old 08-20-2002, 06:45 AM   #21
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cool Ian. You are hitting upon a point I was trying to make in another thread.

There is a difference between "Peace" and "True Peace". Stability or "cease fire" does not define peace.

It is possible for a repressive regime to have it's people inslaved out of fear and profess that they have peace and harmony!

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Old 08-20-2002, 07:13 AM   #22
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Here's a little something for you to think about related to my other post. It is a zen Koan.

Don't do harm, but stop harm

Have fun.

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Old 08-20-2002, 12:46 PM   #23
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Re: Re: Re: the warriors and the peacemakers

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
To be nice, is not Aiki. Aikido can be quite aggressive. Would an Aikidoist President ever use military force? Maybe, but it would be a measure of last resort.

Aikido is not about making ppl all nice to each other. Its about making ppl see the reason to live harmoniously.

BTW, Michael, I see that you train in Virginia...you're affiliated with ASU, correct? Why don't you ask Saotame Sensei's ideas on world affairs and Aikido, if you feel that the two are incompatible?
Ok, tell me how to learn to live harmoniously with people who are flying planes into your buildings.

Yes I am with the ASU, I respect Saotome Sensei immensely but I have no idea what his views on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict are? Do you?

Also, there is a diffence between world affairs and world politics.

Last edited by virginia_kyu : 08-20-2002 at 09:43 PM.

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Old 08-20-2002, 05:26 PM   #24
Deb Fisher
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Don't Do Harm, But Stop Harm:

I have been watching both the Palestine/Israel thread and this one and trying not to respond because I have very very strong feelings about the incredible harm that Ariel Sharon, Arafat, and GW Bush et al are doing to so many people. And I have been unsure that an aikido forum is the best place to discuss the political situations here and in the middle east, which I can only describe as truly horrific.

I have omitted from my post a huge exposition about everything that I find deeply wrong - and instead I'd rather attempt to shove aside my own views that Bush is acting like a villan in a comic book, that Sharon is (in a truly macabre ironic twist) acting more like Hitler every day, and that Arafat... well that Arafat is an enormous jerk who has sold his people utterly down the river at the worst possible time with his own weak, selfish pandering and general inability to govern...



Because this is an aikido forum, and the real question is whether or not it's legit to discuss political messes in terms of aikido. So here's my $.02:

1. aikido, in my limited experience, revolves often around Kevin's harm/no harm paradox (nice choice).

2. I don't like the way America is resolving the harm/no harm paradox.

3. We live, ostensibly, in a democracy, in which political discourse and the free exchange of ideas is critical to maintaining the people's power.

4. Dissent and debate is being actively discouraged within the Bush administration - every proposal for an inquiry into 9/11 is met with a General Terror Scare, the war on Iraq is being decided in the media; so many war plans have been "leaked" that it's impossible to debate whether or not to fight.

5. We learn a lot about how conflict works in aikido, and we are gathered here to discuss this common experience of enacting and dissecting and creating for ourselves an art of conflict.

Therefore, even though we all have very different political views, we are all nurturing a similar set of experiences surrounding conflict. The world is chockablock with conflict right now. Even though aikido is not expressly about world peace, I think aikido is an effective vehicle for discussing a particularly distressing set of conflicts that will affect us all and that are wreaking some major havoc all over that Koan.

I vote that it's imparative to discuss what is happening in this world with whatever set of common experiences and tools for understanding you've got! Because it is absolutely imparative to live harmoniously with people who fly planes into our buildings... lest it happen again!

Deb Fisher
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Old 08-20-2002, 07:13 PM   #25
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I'll tell you how you live in harmony with people who fly airplanes into buildings.

You don't let them do it.

There are many ways to prevent it from happening. Some ways require us in the western world to make some sacrifices. Some ways require force.

There is no way to live in harmony with those that wish to hurt or destroy you. You must look deep within yourself and your society and really try to understand their motivation to begin with.

Most of it you will find centers around several basic things...ideaological differences, religion, and economic reasons. By understanding their motivation you may actually gain some insight to why they want to do these things. From that point you can try and get to the root of the real underlying problem.

Yes, you may find that their are things in your world that need to be changed. And yes, it may require a strong stance in the form of force.

I have thought about this fact a great deal in the past year. I have made some profound changes in my own personal life in attempt to reach out to others around me, even to those that are not americans.

I lost two very close friends and six co-workers in the Pentagon. I am very sad about that. Yes, I felt anger, rage, and all the other emotions associated with that.

I am also a soldier, an Army Ranger actually by training. I have been trained heavily in the art of modern combat and warfare and have had the priviledge of leading troops, many who went over to Afghanistan to fight.

So I tend to take the issue of flying planes in to buildings some what serious and close to my heart.

You don't "harmonize" with terrorist. The answer is to stop them from wanting to be terrorist in the first place.

This is simply an ideal. There are not easy,clear cut solutions.

But, it is an ideal we must as a world we start moving towards. We really only have three choices. Move towards it, move away from it, or stand still.

The opposite of harmony, is discord. Not something we want to move toward.

standing still is apathy. Again not something we should strive for either.

So, you have one choice. Move towards harmony.

Moving toward harmony starts on the individual level. Each person must do his/her own soul searching to find the things that they think are important.

Here are a few things you should do though:

1. Set a good example as a human being.

2. Hold your leaders and yourself accountable.

Some of the things I've done in my personal life since 9/11.

1. Became a vegetarian.

2. Reduced my dependency on materialism.

3. Reduced my wasteful consumption of "stuff".

4. Ride my bike to work as much as possible.

5. Got involved in a community project helping the underpriviledged.

6. Got more active in politics.

7. Tried to understand the world poltical and economic climate.

8. Tried to learn about terrorism and what motivates people to do it.

The list goes on. Again, it is something you personally must do and their are really no right answers.

It is frustrating at best to look at such an overwhelming thing in the times we are facing.

Think about what O'Sensei saw in his life time. I bet he was struggling with the exact same issues we are today. He gave aikido as a way to resolve it. He never said it was easy.

I will leave you with this thought....

How to you eat an elephant? On piece at a time.

That is how you must approach this situation. it is the small things that you do that create the ripples in the pond!

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