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Old 09-04-2015, 02:08 AM   #1
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
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What is your misconception of aikido?

Is it nice?

Is it love?

Is it friendly?

Is your aikido deadly?

Could you shut things down, if need be?

Could you get knocked on your ass, and still find a way to be OK?

Do you need a teacher?

What is your most forward, progressive, discovery of aikido?

Are you inventing your own aikido?

Aikido is a gift. It's not a school.

Something called you deep inside to study.

How are things going?
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:38 PM   #2
rugwithlegs
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

I started in a small dojo, and the only dojo for hundreds of miles in any direction. I had a great introduction, but I was insulated from the larger community.

In traveling around - We are often not as ready to promote peace and good will as we say. We have an ugly political side. We don't train in ethics, and we don't train in spirituality (at least many of us don't, we pick and chose our beliefs). Nothing about Aikido makes us inherently better people than other martial artists, nothing inherent about our techniques makes us kinder or less damaging - we have options, and we make our own choices.

Movements that look strange and someone says will not work...just maybe will. I saw a WWII clip of marines training with a rifle and bayonet - classical Jo Dori technique, Hanmi Handachi practice. We are closer to the reality of combat than we might think.

I've trained for over 25 years, and I made a point to meet an 8th Dan in Yoshinkan, an 8th Dan from Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, Doshu, and Shodokan instructors. All this time, and a relatively broad exposure and there is so very much more. I have heard we only have a dozen techniques, but the Koryu no Kata or the Taigi, or Yoshinkan demonstrations, the Aiki Taiso, or clips of Saito Sensei and Aiki Jo and Aiki Ken have things I have never ever seen before. I am just beginning to realize the horizon is so much further off than I thought.
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:02 PM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Is it nice?

Is it love?

Is it friendly?

Is your aikido deadly?
It can be all of those things or none of them. I'm too wishy washy.

Quote:
Could you shut things down, if need be?

Could you get knocked on your ass, and still find a way to be OK?
Not sure; probably depends on who's doing the knocking.

Quote:
Do you need a teacher?
As many as I can get, but I have a primary teacher and I learn things that seem profoundly useful in a variety of ways.

Quote:
What is your most forward, progressive, discovery of aikido?
Wholeness has many interrelated parts; it takes sustained effort to keep them running smoothly.

Quote:
Are you inventing your own aikido?
Yes and no.

Quote:
Aikido is a gift. It's not a school.

Something called you deep inside to study.
Perhaps so.
Quote:
How are things going?
I don't know. They seem good and well, more or less.

Same questions: How 'bout you?

Last edited by mathewjgano : 09-05-2015 at 04:04 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:47 PM   #4
JP3
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Is it nice?

A: It can be, but usually is not.

Is it love?

A: It can be, but usually isn't.

Is it friendly?

A: It can be, but usually isn't.

Is your aikido deadly?

A: It can be, but usually isn't.

Could you shut things down, if need be?

A: Yes, but I doubt it would then appear to be Aikido. And, it depends who turned it on, as with all such things... say, if J.J. Watt suddenly was in a bad mood which he though I somehow caused.... There's training for all body tuypes and situations, but hey.

Could you get knocked on your ass, and still find a way to be OK?

A: I train for this every class, and you should be, too. But again, see above J.J. hypothetical as a reason to avoid absolute answers. FOr you non sportsmen, think Chewbacca.

Do you need a teacher?

A: Everyone needs a teacher. If you are the head instructor of your dojo/school/hall... your teachers are out there in front of you, learning from you. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you, too, will learn.

What is your most forward, progressive, discovery of aikido?

A: People learn better/easier/faster when they are laughing during class.

Are you inventing your own aikido?

A: Inventing, no. Is it growning from something that my instructors gave to me, sure. I do things now that they look at and go, Whoa, that's cool. How did you do that, and I show them. Much the same way that they showed me and I went, Whoa, that's cool. How did you do that?

Aikido is a gift. It's not a school.

A: Too philosophical a question for me. Aikido is what goes on IN the school, it's not THE school, that part is right. And, sometimes I don't feel like it's a gift, more like a virus.

Something called you deep inside to study.

A: Nope. Getting my bottom handed to me in a fight with 3 other schoolyard kids when I was 8. Started training and have never stopped, almost 40 years later.

How are things going?

A: Like life does. Ups & downs, hills and valleys. Like that. It's all been fun, though. If it wasn't, I'd not be doing it I don't think.
There ya go.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 09-14-2015, 02:21 AM   #5
T. Mike
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
In traveling around - We are often not as ready to promote peace and good will as we say. We have an ugly political side. We don't train in ethics, and we don't train in spirituality (at least many of us don't, we pick and chose our beliefs). Nothing about Aikido makes us inherently better people than other martial artists, nothing inherent about our techniques makes us kinder or less damaging - we have options, and we make our own choices.
I disagree. I do believe that the way we train with our hands and bodies directly affects our philosophy, behavior and personality. I believe that those who train to attack their attacker with overwhelming aggression and devastating attacks create a certain mindset that is not prone to conflict resolution. Aikido does a lot of accepting of the attackers energy and redirecting which does in fact lead to resolution. I believe that subconsciously through physically training in aikido we are changing the way we perceive the world and how we interact within it differently than the way most other martial arts affect us.
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Old 09-14-2015, 03:43 AM   #6
Alec Corper
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Michael, I appreciate where you are coming from but my long experience says something else. I have had more injuries from passive/ aggressive aikido folk than from any of the professional military or LEO types I have trained with. In fact some of the most deadly people I have met are inconspicuous to the point of invisibility. They radiate no threat when in off mode but their go buttons are close at hand. In the world of aikido politics and Internet discussions you will find ample examples of how little the so called " spiritual" philosophy actually manifests through the path of ohysical practice. There is no demonstrable correlation between physical skills and morality, ethics, wisdom, or any of these suggested profundities in Aikido. We do not have a moral superiority to other arts, the true depths of aikido are not in the movements but in the way of using mind to direct energy to direct body with a greater sophistication.
This may lead to a greater calm and a more focussed mind simply due to the levels of concentration required to actually train in a more intelligent manner, but again nothing guaranteed.
Concerning the idea of "overwhelming" and "devastating", O Sensei often referred to instant victory as the path to peace. This can be viewed metaphorically but I believe that being energetically overwhelming with the capacity to follow thorough in a devestating manner can produce the "freeze" that prevents escalation. Of course only when all others resolution attempts have failed, in other words, very rarely indeed. I may be a dinosaur but I am still of the mind of Tacitus, " those who love peace prepare for war". Readiness is not a state of paranoia or a fantasy desire to fight heroically, it is a condition of consciousness that allows us to interact with the world without losing our neutral point, mentally, emotionally or physically.
With respect to your obviously good intentions and heart,

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:36 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Michael, I appreciate where you are coming from but my long experience says something else. I have had more injuries from passive/ aggressive aikido folk than from any of the professional military or LEO types I have trained with. In fact some of the most deadly people I have met are inconspicuous to the point of invisibility. They radiate no threat when in off mode but their go buttons are close at hand. In the world of aikido politics and Internet discussions you will find ample examples of how little the so called " spiritual" philosophy actually manifests through the path of ohysical practice. There is no demonstrable correlation between physical skills and morality, ethics, wisdom, or any of these suggested profundities in Aikido. We do not have a moral superiority to other arts, the true depths of aikido are not in the movements but in the way of using mind to direct energy to direct body with a greater sophistication.
This may lead to a greater calm and a more focussed mind simply due to the levels of concentration required to actually train in a more intelligent manner, but again nothing guaranteed.
Concerning the idea of "overwhelming" and "devastating", O Sensei often referred to instant victory as the path to peace. This can be viewed metaphorically but I believe that being energetically overwhelming with the capacity to follow thorough in a devestating manner can produce the "freeze" that prevents escalation. Of course only when all others resolution attempts have failed, in other words, very rarely indeed. I may be a dinosaur but I am still of the mind of Tacitus, " those who love peace prepare for war". Readiness is not a state of paranoia or a fantasy desire to fight heroically, it is a condition of consciousness that allows us to interact with the world without losing our neutral point, mentally, emotionally or physically.
With respect to your obviously good intentions and heart,
Hello Alec,

I hope you are well. It is sometimes forgotten that the original myth that yielded the 'instant victory' slogan actually issued from a competition between two deities, two of a trio that occupied a major place in the Japanese pantheon. The competition consisted of 'swearing oaths and bearing children' and the first offspring (one of five) of Susa-no-O was himself a deity. In the latest English translation I have, his name was 'Truly Winning Have I Won with Rushing Might Ruling Grand Rice Ears of Heaven.' The 'true victory is victory over self' interpretation seems to me to be a postwar gloss and I would like to see an example of Morihei Ueshiba actually giving this interpretation in Japanese. I am not stating categorically that he never meant it, simply that his published discourses were edited and put together by others.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:40 AM   #8
jdm4life
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Why misconception?
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:08 AM   #9
Alec Corper
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Hello Alec,

I hope you are well. It is sometimes forgotten that the original myth that yielded the 'instant victory' slogan actually issued from a competition between two deities, two of a trio that occupied a major place in the Japanese pantheon. The competition consisted of 'swearing oaths and bearing children' and the first offspring (one of five) of Susa-no-O was himself a deity. In the latest English translation I have, his name was 'Truly Winning Have I Won with Rushing Might Ruling Grand Rice Ears of Heaven.' The 'true victory is victory over self' interpretation seems to me to be a postwar gloss and I would like to see an example of Morihei Ueshiba actually giving this interpretation in Japanese. I am not stating categorically that he never meant it, simply that his published discourses were edited and put together by others.
Hello Peter,
Yes indeed I am well, I hope you are too. Every year with good health is a bonus.
I do understand that we are always paddling in a sea of mistranslations and half remembered stories.
I have, as you know, been busy with internal trainings over the last 10 years or so, firstly with Akuzawa, then Dan Harden, and now GM Sam Chin who i heartily recommend you meet if you ever can, As a result of this I have definitely changed my views on Aikido and the training process. I was also fortunate enough to train with Hiroshi Kato for the last 7 years of his life which also gave me some glimpses into an aikido that I believe is fast vanishing. Coupling this with some of Chris Li's translations and interpretations, which are also possibly wrong I know, I believe I have some inklings about the source of Ueshiba's reported skills and power. Of course I cannot claim objective knowledge about this, nor do I feel the need to do so. I have always valued and respected your ability to wear both the academic hat, seeking facts and evidence, and the empirical view of the martial artist.
I myself do not feel constrained by the need for proofs since I view myself as the laboratory where historical anecdotes are interesting but never conclusive or limiting. I try to build an intuitive picture from those stories, translations, and supposed facts. I look for threads which tally with my experience. I run the risk knowingly of building a self fulfilling world view which I try to counter by touching hands with people from many disciplines and arts, constantly assessing results against theory. I am too old now to test in all the ways I would wish to, nor do I see appropriate models of testing beyond those which we are both familiar with. Almost 25 years of training to get to a point of beginning!
The Sufis have 2 sayings, "a thing does not have to be true to be true", and "there would be no such things as fool's gold if real gold did not exist", which, when added together encompass my view about the aikido conundrum.

thank you for your patience in reading my blathering,

wish good wishes,
Alec

Last edited by Alec Corper : 09-14-2015 at 06:12 AM.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:43 AM   #10
Edgecrusher
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

This does not make sense. Questions like these should not have to be asked but, internally through each individual. I am too far along in my training to think of any misconceptions and certainly believe what I am being taught is practical.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:46 AM   #11
PeterR
 
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Aikido people think too much.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:15 PM   #12
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Aikido people think too much.
Love It!

I approached the question as, what did I first think was true about Aikido that I eventually found challenged/needed revision. So, while I am always (over)thinking, for this entry I was more remembering what were the little crisis of faith moments I had.

It is hard to compare schools though. So many lineages, all quite divorced from each other - one "misconception" would have been that I expected the art to be homogenous! I learned arm breaks and strikes, I have other Aikido students say that is "not Aikido."

Part of allowing myself a sense of a misconception - if I didn't, then I would have to decide I was Right and the others were Wrong, and then I would have to defend my limited unspderstanding, maybe even refuse to try to grow because that would mean maybe I wasn't right.

I have no problem with saying I didn't understand all this perfectly on my first class.

Time to think some more...
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:12 AM   #13
dps
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Re: What is your misconception of aikido?

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
What is your misconception of aikido?
I will answer that questions as soon as I am done making a list of the things I don't know.

dps
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