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Old 06-05-2003, 11:57 AM   #51
Jeff R.
Dojo: River Valley
Location: New Hampshire
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 93
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Re: I'm back

Quote:
Terje Theiss (Bussho) wrote:
I'm back. It's a girl, and her name will proabaly be Marie. She weighed 3880 grams, and was 52 cm.
Congratulations! Tea parties and boyfriends who will be afraid to knock on the door.
Quote:
You stated in a later "mail" that you didn't know who I am. I presented my self. Just to add, I've Doen MA for nearly 25 years, and Aikido for nearly 15. Do you need more to feel that I'm valid? How about your self? Who are you and your credentials?
It's not a question of validity on a personal level, for me. I just like to know that the people who offer info have some vested interest and time to back up their thoughts. Armchair philosophy and rudimentary perspective warrants more listening and less offering on the part of the offerer. Regardless, check out my profile. I've been studying bioecology and martial arts as a system (actually living in/with the wilderness for over a year, primitively), combined as a "trinity" with the third element being philosophy or spirit. All three come together seamlessly, and compliment one another in any direction. Movement, spirit, nature--all form the foundation of balance and living in harmony with all of creation.
Quote:
The word Universal means everwere. What your saying is that the only truth would exsist everwere. That is an assumption, since nobody has been everwere.
I've not been to Jupiter, the center of the Earth, the Horse-head nebula, a black hole, but they exist. I've not seen love, save for its manifestation, and I've not been to the edges of the Universe (if there are any), but none of it matters. We are all created from the same stuff. We are part of the earth, part of the solar system, part of the Universe. It's all connected. Love can be felt, expressed anywhere in the Universe, but gravity and time can be altered or even omitted. Spirit is a Universal truth. A circle is a circle no matter where in the universe one travels, although it may be named differently. Anywhere in the Universe there exists somethingness, even in the realization of void. By its nothingness, it is a relative something. Spirit is boundless, everywhere, and we are all part of it; we embody it, and we can all tap into it and connect Universally.

For example, there was an experiment performed (and I apologize because I don't have the text present, but I will search) in which case two elementary particles [electrons?] that existed together around a shared nucleus, were separated by some distance [a physical distance relative to our common frame of reference, i.e., several feet, meters, miles, etc.]. An influence was applied to one of the particles. It responded in a certain way. But the cool thing was that the other particle also responded symmetrically, but had no influence applied upon it. It portrayed a connection on a level beyond measurement, beyond common apprehension. An example of how fundamentally connected all things are by spirit.

Quote:
Beside that I belive there are many truths, and that initself is two belifes and truths, thus your assumption cannot exsist.
There are definitely many truths, but few are applicable universally. If the truth is subjective, then it can be a falsehood to another.
Quote:
Indisputable? You said it, prove it. You can't, and I can't disprove it. There for it becaomes an assumption. You can belive it, and that is OK. But to be indisputable you have to prove it, or everbody has to belive it, and I don't belive it, so it's not everbody.
Do you breathe? Are you made of the same things as the rest of us? Do you depend upon the bounty of the earth, to survive? Does the life on earth depend upon the sun? Do you have thoughts? Do your thoughts exist on a level beyond the physical? When someone smiles at you, or smacks you, do you feel anything beyond the physical sensations?

If you can answer "no" to any of these questions, then it is up to you to prove the reasoning behind your answer. I may have phrased them poorly, but in essence they are not disputable. The Universe exists. Energy exists. We are part of it. Indisputable.
Quote:
From Webters: unnatural is something either not from the wild, or manufactured. Is has nothing to do with being destructive.
Show me something manufactured, and I'll show you something destructive.

Quote:
I belive that everthing in life is natural. But from the Webters definition I'm wrong. But that's because I define natural as things are.
Even things that come from nature--fossil fuels, for example--when applied in an unnatural way, are destructive to nature, and, therefore, to all life.

For example, over ten-billion gallons of oil are deposited into the oceans about every eight months. This is due to run-off not only from vehicles, but just from the asphalt that is laid for parking lots and roads. This is destructive, and therefore, unnatural. Why would anyone want to argue in favor of pollution and destruction?


Quote:
If we keep to Webters definition, everthing that is made would be unnatural:

A toothbrush

Soap

beds

houses

roads

maps

cars

heating

alot of foods (they are manufactured, as even farming is)

and so on.
Precisely. Although there are fundamental things that are perfectly natural, and assist in the caretaking of Nature. Fire, for example, in its purest form has been utilized for heat. In nature, fire literally cleans out an environment, releases crucial nutrients from soil, charcoal, debris, opens some seed containers--pine cones--and fosters a thriving ecosystem. When the indigenous people of north america took responsibility for taking care of nature (as they depended upon it for their very surival) they actually burned the forest twice per year. The ecosystem stayed healthy, open, and mast trees were productive, animals thrived. And they could do this effectively because they were linked to the cycles of nature in an intimate way. Now, we are not. Now, even the manufacture of a toothbrush is destructive. It boils down to being a society that craves material wants instead of natural needs, and money.
Quote:
The trickey part is are ideas manufactured? Are the from the wild? If yes then one thought is no more natural than the other. If no, then there is nothing wrong in the though it self.
Ideas are natural. It's what we do with them that counts. If we were connected with nature, we would make responsible choices and know that creation is better left to whatever created the world before we got here. Again, it's indisputable that the world was in an active equilibrium before we got here, and that humans have done more damage in the past one hundred years than has been done in the past ten thousand.
Quote:
SAo when you state that thoughts of humans are dream works your stating that human thought is unnatural. Then anythought even that they are dream works is wrong. That kinda bits itself in the tail, right? So from this you can't say that human thoughts are dreamworks(unnatural).No if all thoughts are natural, then the ideas an concepts we make should be natural. They have consequences, as you point out, and some of them sever, but they are still natural.
No. I'm saying that the manufactured house you live in, the car you drive, the toothbrush, deoderant, television, etc. are all created from the human imagination. Therefore, we live in a dreamworld. The only real world is the world that existed before our dreams had an impact. Would you really say that nature isn't real? Sure, your television is made of real things, derived from nature, but they are synthesized, bastardized, altered and processed, and televisions have no natural purpose; they only cater our own laziness, boredom--spiritual voids.
Quote:
In a later part of the thread you stated that there is only logic and chaos. I challenge that, since they are the same, and at the same time have nothing to do with each other.Logic is a way of thinking. Chaos is a situation. But you might be meaning system contra chaos?? But to that I would have to say that there is a third , and that is in between system and chaos.
I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said logic, so much as order.

When a maple tree loses its samara, the winged seed drops because of gravity from some random height. It may be sunny, it may be rainy. A gust of wind from the east moves the seed to the west; a blue jay flies by and alters the course of the seed by a couiple of inches. The seed lands in a random spot, and a hawk flies overhead. The rabbit that sees the hawk scurries for cover and inadvertedly steps on the seed, pushing it into the soil. Over time, rain and sun randomly exchange positions, temperature and water change randomly. Eventually, if the conditions are favorable, the seeds takes root, and forth springs another maple. This is the process of altruism, a function of nature, and subject to order that forms from chaotic events. And in its own way, the tree is part of other chaotic processes that ripple from its existence. This is life; it is nature. Chaos and order is the function of "the Great Spirit." But chaos and order are in equilibrium. What we are doing is blatant destruction. And for the sake of your daughter's, my three sons', and everyone else's childrens' children, it needs to stop.

Best wishes to you and yours, my friend.

Jeff

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 06-05-2003, 12:29 PM   #52
Jeff R.
Dojo: River Valley
Location: New Hampshire
Join Date: Apr 2003
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What Mr. Ledyard says is an unfortunate truth. I have been victim to subscribing to the untempered release of my passion for finding spiritual connection and harmony in living with nature. I may be a sap, I guess, but I am really one of those people who strives for finding those connections and passing them on to the grandchildren, as it is their birthright to live with nature and one another without bias and destruction.

Once again, I have to say that I believe one of the shortcomings of forums, and a reason that many discussions turn into argument and sarcasm, is based upon our interpretations of cold, digital communication. We don't have the advantage of getting the "vibe" from each other without the personal contact. You don't see my posture, my smile, my questioning expression behind my words, and perhaps my writing is simply lacking, but incomplete reception can lead to harsh interpretation.

And I think it may be relevant to question why this happens. I believe that ego is a pressing factor. When things are presented on screen, I may take them personally or with criticism if I don't release ego. I think it is vital that we all establish a common ground, a common thread, so that ego can be excused and all interpretations are objective. The only common thread I have learned is spirit.

For example, if someone attacks me, and I take it personally, then my response will be based upon my own morality, ethic, justice. But in a pure sense, ego dismissed, the attack becomes an action--nothing more. As we are all bound together by spirit, if someone hurts me, they hurt themselves, and if I hurt them, I hurt myself. With that in mind, their attack being an action, I strive to blend with the attack and it becomes a simple, harmonious movement toward resolution with nobody being harmed. When the self is invested, we may harm another because of emotional impetus. Unconditional love is another way of explaining the connection.

I do have to apologize, as well. I have literally experienced and felt the effects of destruction and pollution on a primitive level. I have seen firsthand what biomagnification does. I am vehemently anxious about opening doors and avenues of education and options that may help us to bring the pursuit of balance beyond human relation, and back to all of creation. It seems that whenever we do something harmful to the earth, we try to remedy the effects but still keep the initial problem. With every "solution" more problems are created, and we've gotten ourselves into a rather large snowball on the downward side of a steep mountain.

So, I'm sorry if I seem crude, harsh, or frustrated. I do not intend to attack personally or otherwise, but it is important that we really think about what it is we choose to debate, and whether debate is appropriate, or instead, positive action toward a common goal of total prosperity.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 06-06-2003, 05:30 PM   #53
Alan
Dojo: The Universe Within
Location: 1770
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Keeping it simple.

To give something a name is to create separation. We are not seperate from anything from which we create.We are GOD in all his glory.We are... and that is all, accept it! Your mind will try to name, explain, figure out ie.(chi/ki/qi/prana/energy/bioelectricity etc..) Yet it is only a part of us.

Words are only a part, so that which I write cannot fully explain to us the meaning and purpose...? is there any reason for an answer? Is this not a beautiful way to express yourself(GOD)? Are you not happy within yourself?, ask yourself be within yourself peace already exists, acknowledge this!

Ego...another seperation, not acknowledging that small part of yourself...The mind..another seperation not acknowledging a small part of yourself....The Body...another seperation not acknowledging a small part of yourself...Love....another seperation not acknowledging a small part of yourself..etc. etc. How many do we wish to create and talk about? Use your Emotional intelligence! Stop AAAH

Peace
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:57 AM   #54
Bussho
Dojo: Aarhus Shobukan
Location: Denmark
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Re: Re: I'm back

Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
Congratulations! Tea parties and boyfriends who will be afraid to knock on the door.
Thank you!
Quote:
Show me something manufactured, and I'll show you something destructive.
A walking stick

An apple

A dog

You could even argument that a human is manufactured...

;-)

Don't get me wrong. I dont belive in pollution, and I belive in taking care of natur. And I belive in love also. But with love follows respect and tolerance. Which are porbably some of the hardest lessons.

Our discussion is great. I will not follow it more, since I think we'll stand our own grounds, but none of them are destructive for us, so peace with it. T
Quote:
Best wishes to you and yours, my friend.

Jeff
You too.

/Terje
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Old 06-07-2003, 09:00 AM   #55
Bussho
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
One of the things I have noticed over the years is that many of the people who are most inclined to champion the spiritual side of Aikido, who seem most entranced with what they see as O-Sensei's vision of Peace and Love etc. are often the most contentious, have little respect for other people's views and manage to be in a state on coflict with their fellows much of the time. I think this is fairly ironic. There are folks posting here who do very martial versions of this art, don't have a tremendous interest in the spiritual side and yet seem to better embody the values that these other folks say are so important to them.
Yes, I agree.

It's a strong light needed to look into ones own "soul", and see if that is what one is doing. I hope not I'm just doing the talk, but living it also.

Take care

Terje
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Old 06-07-2003, 10:36 AM   #56
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
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In the quote in Terje's post, Mr. Ledyard divides most Aikidoists into two groups; those interested in the spiritual side and those into the martial side. This concurs with what I have seen, too. For those interested in integrating the two sides, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Mary Heiny. She was a student of the Founder, and (in my opinion) one of the most interesting and effective teachers around. I attended a seminar of her's years back and also took a private lesson. I also have her video which I've probably watched a hundred times. Through her, I have come to realize that the spiritual and martial sides of Aikido are not just complimentary but are essential to progress far in either one.

Charles
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Old 06-08-2003, 07:20 AM   #57
Tijmen Ramakers
Location: The Netherlands
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
Love can be felt, expressed anywhere in the Universe, but gravity and time can be altered or even omitted.
Care to explain this for us humble armchair philosophers?
Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
A circle is a circle no matter where in the universe one travels, although it may be named differently.
Ofcourse, but depending on your point of view, you may see it as a straight line. Or maybe you're seeing a circle, when it is in fact a sphere. So, how do you know it's a circle?
Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
For example, there was an experiment performed (and I apologize because I don't have the text present, but I will search)

(...) An example of how fundamentally connected all things are by spirit.
If you can find the url, I would appreciate it. To see if the people who came up with, and performed the experiment, also think it can be explained by some "Spirit" that "we embody, and we can all tap into and connect Universally".
Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
If you can answer "no" to any of these questions, then it is up to you to prove the reasoning behind your answer. I may have phrased them poorly, but in essence they are not disputable. The Universe exists. Energy exists. We are part of it. Indisputable.
Nobody is disputing the fact that we breathe, or are part of the universe.

Anybody can come up with hundreds of other such 'universal truths'. I don't see how this has anything to do with, let alone proves, your statement that "Spirit is a Universal truth".
Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
Again, it's indisputable that the world was in an active equilibrium before we got here, and that humans have done more damage in the past one hundred years than has been done in the past ten thousand.
In my view, there still is an 'active equilibrium'. Only, it's a lot more active right now, than ever before.

I think nature isn't so much about the 'preservation of all life', but rather 'survival of the fittest' (and since there are no rules, we're not breaking any by using 'technology'). Species have arised and became extinct ever since life began. I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to minimize pollution or destruction, but the goal isn't to protect all life, just our own long-term existence. And I don't think we'll reach that goal by giving up on technology and returning to life in huts again.

Although you may argue that, in your view, using your definitions, we're living in a world that is not 'real', a 'dreamworld', it doesn't change anything.

(Come to think of it, you're using one of the highlights, one of the most unnatural things of this 'dreamworld', a thing that's even eliminating the need for people to have 'real' contact, 'real' interaction, the internet, to communicate your ideas (and as you said, ideas are 'natural'). Interesting.)

Tijmen
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Old 06-08-2003, 06:10 PM   #58
Thalib
 
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KI does exist.

It is just how one defines it.

Strength is KI.

Speed is KI.

Focus is KI.

.

.

.

the list goes on

.

.

.

Knowledge is KI

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
--------
http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:24 AM   #59
Alan
Dojo: The Universe Within
Location: 1770
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What?..... will die by the sword?

Who?..... will do so with honor?

Peace
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Old 06-09-2003, 03:33 AM   #60
George S. Ledyard
 
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Integrating the Two

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
In the quote in Terje's post, Mr. Ledyard divides most Aikidoists into two groups; those interested in the spiritual side and those into the martial side. This concurs with what I have seen, too. For those interested in integrating the two sides, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Mary Heiny. She was a student of the Founder, and (in my opinion) one of the most interesting and effective teachers around. I attended a seminar of her's years back and also took a private lesson. I also have her video which I've probably watched a hundred times. Through her, I have come to realize that the spiritual and martial sides of Aikido are not just complimentary but are essential to progress far in either one.

Charles
Hi! Since I trained under Mary Sensei for many years I'll make a quick comment here. First, she wasn't a student of the Founder. He was alive only for a short time after she first got to Japan and not when she had started Aikido. She was a student, fisrt at the Aikikai Honbu dojo where she trained under a variety of teachers, my own teacher included, but she found what she was looking for when she found the training at Shingu under Hikitsuchi Sensei and the talented instructors he had trained there (Anno, Yanase, and Tojima Senseis).

Mary's technique is very advanced. She is an outstanding Aikidoka and one of the most inspiring teachers you could come across in terms of giving you a take on the Spiritual side of the art. But I wouldn't say that she is particularly interested in the martial side of the art at all. She does virtually no weapons (although she can do some bo when she is of a mind). I think she would be completely unconcerned with the issue of how to handle a boxer's jab or non-traditional attacks in general. She is completely uninterested in any martial skills from other arts to complement her Aikido. Her personal practice led her to a very serious practice of Tibetan Buddhism and she is now engaged in getting trained in a system of non-violent communication. She has used her Aikido to direct her own personal development as much or more than any other person I know but I don't think she is interested in fighting in the least. Masakatsu Agatsu. True victory is self victory. Mary Sensei lives that but she's not someone I'd take with me if I had to fight. I'd be more likely to pick Bookman Sensei.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-09-2003, 04:07 AM   #61
George S. Ledyard
 
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More

Well the software wouldn't let me add this to my original so here are some additional thoughts...

The teachers I have had who most seemed to embody the Spiritual side and the martial side in equal measure have been Saotome Sensei, first and foremost, followed by William Gleason Sensei and Tom Read Sensei. I put Ikeda Sensei in a different class since he rarely talks about spiritual matters but walks it in his life every day.

Gleason Sensei, the author of the Spiritual Foundations of Aikido, did some classical sword while in Japan and can really walk his talk on the mat yet he has a very developed spiritual outlook, much informed by his Zen practice. He teaches in Boston.

Tom Read Sensei is less accessible. He teaches out of Arcata, CA but over the years has become something of a yamabushi. His stuff is arcane, eccentric and some of the most inspiring Aikido I have ever seen. He hardly goes anywhere to teach and isn't well known but he is definitely worth taking the time to seek out. (He and Mary Heiny Sensei are great friends and have had a great influence on each other's practice; they both trained at Shingu under Hikitsuchi Sensei).

One other friend comes to mind here as well and that is Clint George Sensei in Helena, MT. Another student of Hikitsuchi Sensei, he was given all of the spiritual training that is an essential part of training in Shingu. But he has a more martial set of interests than some of the other Shingu folks and has become a police defensive tactics instructor in addition to teaching Aikido. A top notch martial artist whose aikido is wonderful (his demo at the Expo last year was outstanding).

There are certainly others one might mention, like Bruce Bookman Sensei, Dennis Hooker Sensei and Chuck Clark Sensei, but these are the people I have trained with a fair amount. I have also trained with people who seemed only interested in effective technique and still others who only wanted to do a form of moving meditation. That's one thing about Aikido, you shouldn't have to look too far to find a teacher who fits your own predisposition.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-09-2003 at 04:10 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-09-2003, 05:06 AM   #62
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Spirituality

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
One of the things I have noticed over the years is that many of the people who are most inclined to champion the spiritual side of Aikido, who seem most entranced with what they see as O-Sensei's vision of Peace and Love etc. are often the most contentious, have little respect for other people's views and manage to be in a state on coflict with their fellows much of the time. I think this is fairly ironic. There are folks posting here who do very martial versions of this art, don't have a tremendous interest in the spiritual side and yet seem to better embody the values that these other folks say are so important to them.
Absolutely.
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:39 AM   #63
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
One of the things I have noticed over the years is that many of the people who are most inclined to champion the spiritual side of Aikido, who seem most entranced with what they see as O-Sensei's vision of Peace and Love etc. are often the most contentious, have little respect for other people's views and manage to be in a state on coflict with their fellows much of the time. I think this is fairly ironic. There are folks posting here who do very martial versions of this art, don't have a tremendous interest in the spiritual side and yet seem to better embody the values that these other folks say are so important to them.
Unless you count yourself in the 'spiritual' group, George, I would suggest that this is self-aggrandizing and represents a poor example for the point you are trying to make.

In any case, I'm sorry if you've been disappointed with us 'spiritually seeking' Aikidoka. If we ever meet, I will do my best to be uncontentious, respectful, and conflict-free. I suppose one good example, even if I can manage it, would do little to change the general impression accumulated over the years, but I will, honestly, do my best.

Of course, there is always the possibility that we are 'spiritual seekers' because we come to Aikido less spiritually full than others. Certainly it makes sense that each person will seek in Aikido what he feels he needs most to learn. The physically insecure will seek strenth and physical power; the spiritually weak will seek spiritual answers.

Still, when I think about what you said again I am left feeling that it is just a silly generalization that is unlikely to have much substance.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 06-09-2003, 09:53 AM   #64
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Opher,

I think it is important to note that Mr. Ledyard uses the words, "many" and "often" in his post, not "all" and "always." With that, I don't see any self-aggrandizing. If you look at his later posts it is clear that he holds a number of instructors who emphasize the spiritual aspect of Aikido in very high regard. The disappointment that I read in his posts is not that people emphasize one thing or another, it is that there are too many people who don't walk their talk.

Charles
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Old 06-09-2003, 10:24 AM   #65
Charles Hill
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Mr. Ledyard,

I'd like to make some comments on your comments to my comments on Mary Heiny. I get the feeling that you have been careful to associate with Aikidoists of a certain level of quality. It seems to me that you are unaware of the general low quality of Aikido that exists from a martial arts standpoint. I was taught good basic Aikido technique by very kind, good people. However, the first time I heard of being aware of openings and using atemi was from Mary Heiny. I see now that this is the best basis to approach Aikido as both a martial and a spiritual art.

You have written about the number of people who approach Aikido as a spiritual art yet fail to let it allow them to become better people. I think, however, that the number of people who practice it as a martial art, yet fail to let the art allow them to become better skilled on a physical conflict level is much greater.

This is how I practiced for a number of years before encountering Mary Heiny. I think there are a large number of people reading these posts who practice as I used to. I think a very good thing for them to do would be to expose themselves to her teachings, namely buy her video. I also think that the people whom it would help the most probably aren't even aware of it.

As an example, I recently read your article on atemi. I am completely convinced that I would not have been able to understand and appreciate it to the degree that I did without having seen Mary Heiny's video and attending her seminar.

Charles
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:07 AM   #66
George S. Ledyard
 
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Spirituality

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Mr. Ledyard,

I'd like to make some comments on your comments to my comments on Mary Heiny. I get the feeling that you have been careful to associate with Aikidoists of a certain level of quality. It seems to me that you are unaware of the general low quality of Aikido that exists from a martial arts standpoint. I was taught good basic Aikido technique by very kind, good people. However, the first time I heard of being aware of openings and using atemi was from Mary Heiny. I see now that this is the best basis to approach Aikido as both a martial and a spiritual art.

You have written about the number of people who approach Aikido as a spiritual art yet fail to let it allow them to become better people. I think, however, that the number of people who practice it as a martial art, yet fail to let the art allow them to become better skilled on a physical conflict level is much greater.

This is how I practiced for a number of years before encountering Mary Heiny. I think there are a large number of people reading these posts who practice as I used to. I think a very good thing for them to do would be to expose themselves to her teachings, namely buy her video. I also think that the people whom it would help the most probably aren't even aware of it.

As an example, I recently read your article on atemi. I am completely convinced that I would not have been able to understand and appreciate it to the degree that I did without having seen Mary Heiny's video and attending her seminar.

Charles
Yes, I have been extremely fortunate in the teachers to whom I have been exposed. When I left DC for Seattle way back in the '80s, Saotome Sensei told me to train with Mary Heiny Sensei. When I got to her dojo I found the training was of very high caliber. The training Mary Heny sensei and the other Shingu folks received in Japan was definitely a balance of the spiritual and the martial. So the concepts that Mary Sensei put forth were quite familiar to me after training with Saotome Sensei.

But the emphasis generally here in the Northwest is different than in the East. There is much more interest in Aikido as a personal process, an internal art than there is in the overtly martial side of things. In Saotome Sensei's we had an array of folks who had substantial backgrounds in other martial arts: karate, boxing, judo, etc. It was a place where people who saw themselves as martial artists went when they became dissatisfied with what they were getting out of their previous arts. I think they went there because of the Spiritual side but they stayed because of the fact that the training made sense to them martially. Saotome Sensei could definitely walk his talk on the mat.

Aikido in the Northwest is not generally someplace that you find ex-high level karate folks or judo practitioners etc. It has more of a slant towards the Spiritual side and most (not all) the instructors have much more interest in that side of things. I would venture to say that in the Seattle area the majority of the dojos are run by people who have not done any other martial arts, have never looked at a UFC, and are not at all interested in the issues involved with applying Aikido technique against folks who know other martial systems. It is simply a matter of individual preference.

I could contrast this with a number of dojos I have encountered on the East Coast which are quite the opposite. There the practice tends to be much more martial in content, the teachers often have other martial arts background, there is a lot of interest in how Aikido techniques apply outside the controlled atmosphere of the dojo. But in many areas the Spiritual side is being lost. As Saotome Sensei is apt to say "Where is O-Sensei?" In a lot of Aikido folks are perhaps reacting against what they see as too much New Age influence and they are going the other way. In some sense they are devolving Aikido from what O-Sensei arrived at towards the end of his life back to something that they see as more martial. This can even show itself in the number of folks who have actually left Aikido and are doing Daito Ryu because the see it as more martially effective.

When I talk about the split between the martial and the spiritual which I see taking place GENERALLY but NOT UNIVERSALLY, it is not meant as a value judgment. I have my own preference. My students train with me because they have that same preference. Each person must find the Teacher that represents the kind of training which they wish to do. My only problem is that people need to understand exactly what they are and are not doing.

There are folks out there who think they are doing something martially effective and they are not. There are folks out there who are persuaded that the Teacher they are training with is some sort of Spiritual guru simply because he can break arms at will. The people who can bring it all together are rare. And I guess I must say that if I had to train someplace which didn't have what I see as the perfect balance between the spiritual and the martial, I'd go for the spiritually inclined teacher every time. That may not be evident from the tone of my posts since I happen to think that Aikido is in danger from the martial standpoint, but it's true. Fortunately I never had to choose. I've always been able to find the balance.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:43 AM   #67
George S. Ledyard
 
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Unless you count yourself in the 'spiritual' group, George, I would suggest that this is self-aggrandizing and represents a poor example for the point you are trying to make.

In any case, I'm sorry if you've been disappointed with us 'spiritually seeking' Aikidoka. If we ever meet, I will do my best to be un-contentious, respectful, and conflict-free. I suppose one good example, even if I can manage it, would do little to change the general impression accumulated over the years, but I will, honestly, do my best.

Of course, there is always the possibility that we are 'spiritual seekers' because we come to Aikido less spiritually full than others. Certainly it makes sense that each person will seek in Aikido what he feels he needs most to learn. The physically insecure will seek strength and physical power; the spiritually weak will seek spiritual answers.

Still, when I think about what you said again I am left feeling that it is just a silly generalization that is unlikely to have much substance.
Actually, Opher, I count myself in the group of spiritually seeking Aikidoka. When I used the term in the context which you quoted I merely meant that there are folks who make a big deal about the fact that they feel that the Spiritual side of the art is getting lost or they champion the side of the art that has to do with personal growth, the more spiritual side of the art. These folks are very often quite committed to O-Sensei's vision of world peace etc. My comment was merely that, in my experience, MANY but not all, of these folks tend to defeat the very values they are championing by fighting against what they see as tre opposite point of view. Their desire to have people see the values they are espousing ends up putting them in precisely the place which they don't wish to be in, namely, in conflict with others.

I am sorry that I give the impression at times that I am denigrating the folks that are pursuing Aikido primarily as a spiritual pursuit. That is not my view actually. In the public forums I tend to focus on the technique side of things and especially the martial side of our art since that is where I think Aikido is in trouble. I do not think it is in trouble from the spiritual standpoint. There are a vast number of teachers who are taking the lessons from their Aikido and applying them to every aspect of daily life. The work being done by the Aiki Extensions people is a good example.

But having been blessed by the good fortune to train with amazing martial artists like Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei along with the many others I have encountered over the years, I feel that is something of a mission for those who have had such training to share what they have been taught to the widest possible number of people. In the same way that the uchi deshi like Saotome Sensei feel a huge debt of gratitude towards O-Sensei for what they received from him, I have that same feeling towards my own teachers. The only way I can pay them back is to keep what they taught me alive. The forums are one way of doing that. I think that many of the other contributors with their tremendous body of experience in the different styles of Aikido and the different teachers are motivated in a similar manner.

So I point out that there is in fact something of a divide taking place between the spiritual seekers and the fighters, so to speak, in Aikido. I do not think that that is what O-Sensei's Aikido was about. In fact I think that Aikido is like a great big Koan (those Zen questions used to tie up the logical functions of the monks). At the heart of the art is the fact that it is both a martial art and a spiritual path. Holding both of these things simultaneously and trying to master both is difficult but represents one of the things that make aikido unique in many ways. But none of us can figure it out, solve the Koan so to speak, if we split up the art into pieces and remove seeming contradiction. O-Sensei said that Budo is Love. That is a truly radical notion. I don't think that that can be understood by focusing on one aspect or the other but in trying to reconcile the seeming contradiction for oneself through training that maintains the balance between the martial and the spiritual.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-09-2003 at 11:45 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:26 PM   #68
opherdonchin
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Wow. Very nicely said. Thanks.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 06-10-2003, 05:43 AM   #69
Bussho
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Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
At the heart of the art is the fact that it is both a martial art and a spiritual path. Holding both of these things simultaneously and trying to master both is difficult but represents one of the things that make aikido unique in many ways. But none of us can figure it out, solve the Koan so to speak, if we split up the art into pieces and remove seeming contradiction. O-Sensei said that Budo is Love. That is a truly radical notion. I don't think that that can be understood by focusing on one aspect or the other but in trying to reconcile the seeming contradiction for oneself through training that maintains the balance between the martial and the spiritual.
I agree totally.

/Terje
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Old 06-10-2003, 10:19 AM   #70
andrew
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So what will the third be?
Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
P.S. for all you Matrix freaks - did you realise that the first film is based (loosely!) on the old testament, and this next one is based on the new testemant.

(re; Neo, Zion etc)
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Old 06-11-2003, 09:07 PM   #71
Jean-David
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I find the subjet of discution between Bussho and Jeff R. interesting.

Here is the way I see things:

I believe that the central question in this discution is probably one of the most important philosophical questions : How should I act? How should I live my life?

I believe that there are no right and wrong, no good and bad answers to these questions for the simple reason that values are not truths just as truths are not values. Good and bad are not objects of knowledge but objects of desire. It is not because something is good that you want it, on the contrary, its because you want it that it is good.

Why shoud I act a certain way and not the other? because I want to act one way and not the other way... but why? Because of my education, experience, parents, philosophy class, a book, etc. How you want to live your life and the way you think others should live there lives is not based on the truth, or on reason but on your will. Sad to say but that is what I believe to be the truth. Since the world is made up of mater, I dont see how values could fit in. Plato understood this too and that is why he had to invent another world. Personaly I dont believe in that other world (but who knows I could be wrong).

Yes, I can just here your reply : that means people can do what they want, kill, rape, genocide, etc. Yes they can and no truths have ever stoped them from doing so... What's the truth against a tank? Try to convince a racist that he is wrong to be a racist by telling him how the concept of race is not scientific... what if he replies that you're probably right but that it doesnt stop him from hating black people.

There are no garanties, or justifications(proofs), only our will and our power to defend it.

But I dont need a proof, or a garanty to save a drowning child, or to fight racism, murder. I havn't turned in to a serial killer either. The only thing we have to oppose to other's is our will.

Bussho and Jeff R. disagree on how things are: about the simple facts and the philosophical ideas (much more complicated) that try to explain (descriptive point of view) the world. But even if they finaly agreed on those ideas they whould still have to agree on what should be done. And on this I'm afraid they will not agree, because it's not a question of being right or wrong, but of being able to impose ones views by force of will. Jeff R. has a alot of work to do if he wants to radicaly change todays society. That's a plus for Bussho

What was never told me what should be done. What is never does and never will.
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Old 06-11-2003, 09:51 PM   #72
John Boswell
 
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Quote:
So I point out that there is in fact something of a divide taking place between the spiritual seekers and the fighters, so to speak, in Aikido. I do not think that that is what O-Sensei's Aikido was about. In fact I think that Aikido is like a great big Koan (those Zen questions used to tie up the logical functions of the monks). At the heart of the art is the fact that it is both a martial art and a spiritual path. Holding both of these things simultaneously and trying to master both is difficult but represents one of the things that make aikido unique in many ways. But none of us can figure it out, solve the Koan so to speak, if we split up the art into pieces and remove seeming contradiction. O-Sensei said that Budo is Love. That is a truly radical notion. I don't think that that can be understood by focusing on one aspect or the other but in trying to reconcile the seeming contradiction for oneself through training that maintains the balance between the martial and the spiritual.
Sensei Ledyard,

This was so very well written, I had to quote the whole paragraph. And I see it too. I try not to laugh when I see or hear someone explain Aikido in a purely technical fashion so as not to walk on the "spiritual" side of it (to avoid any potential contraversy) only to then lean heavily on the spiritual aspect of Aikido to explain the technique.

Reminds me of the M.C. Escher drawing ( http://www.worldofescher.com/gallery/A13.html ) of a hand, holding a pencil that is drawing a hand holding a pencil... drawing the first hand.

Can't have one without the other.

Aikido is Martial. Aikido is Spiritual. The GOOD news is Aikido transends the realm of speech in that you can teach and learn visually and everyone... eventually, will come to know Aikido as O'Sensei intended. I believe this about Aikido above all other philisophical ideas I may have regarding the art.

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