Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-14-2003, 12:45 PM   #1
ikkainogakusei
Location: All over CA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 137
Offline
Control/kickingbutt/spirituality

Hello All

I probably could've put this into a few other categories, but I was hoping to catch the eye of all sorts of aikidoka, not just those in the spirituality forum, or the technique forum.

Okay here goes. I've gone through several stages in my aiki-path, or even my martial path for that matter, and I've had a different want from aikido at different times. I have gone from feeling a strong need to ensure that in an altercation I would come out on top, to just wanting to be the best performer/practicioner I could be. I have gone from being an athiest (childhood-teen) to having beliefs which fall in line with Buddhism (late-teens to today) though I run from dogma.

I understand that as a child I had a chaotic life and finding control in chaos became a paramount goal. This was my investment in martial arts. I have seen a few people who seem to be more invested in the aspect of exerting powerful/painful techniques on others. An over simplification would be to say they were more into hurting others than controlling the situation. I'm sure there are roots to this, but they are less clear to me.

What I have observed in some who are very high-ranked and have attained that place of skill which seems to be near mastery, or at least they could wind up the winner in 99% of altercations, is that they still have a need to seek more control. Not the control like that which a president or pope might want, but more that of their own safety or destiny. What I see in some is the greater interest in the more-enigmatic spiritual world.

Please note that I'm not saying that everyone who is interested in the spiritual (Eastern or Western) is doing so for dysfunctional reasons, or that the sure reason that every high ranked person who is spiritual is a control-addict, but rather it seems that some people I have observed follow a path like this.

So knowing that I have a tendency to want to ensure no personal chaos, and having a connection to both the physical and spiritual aspects of Aikido, I try to put into practice the idea that the the world is the world. Chaos is just that. Chaotic. Aikido becomes more a dance to me, though I still address the martial aspects, I don't feel a need to obsess about whether -=my=- aikido is good enough to kick butt. Though I feel my spiritual path is beneficial to me, I don't feel a need to predict my destiny, or answer why things happen through that spirituality.

So I put the questions to you. How do you feel about your life view and Aikido? Do you see the things I have mentioned in others? In yourself? Is it discomforting to think that there might be more than one person who could take you in a fight? Do you try to eliminate that possibility? If so, why is that so important to you? Are you okay with others having a different investment in Aikido than you? Do you feel that your spirituality allows you to affect change in your life? Would it be okay if it didn't?

Please try to put aside a need protect a rep. or a mindset more than how you truly feel. Reply anonymously if you must. Also, be open minded about the fact that just because someone does not have the same view doesn't mean that they think you are wrong.

thanks.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 01:40 PM   #2
shihonage
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 890
United_States
Offline
I don't care about your mindsets or investments, as long as you do things during class the way the instructor wants them done.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 01:41 PM   #3
Mike
Location: Kentucky
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5
Offline
Well, I think you have hit on a question that is at the core of everything. Why? I have only been studying Aikido for about 4 months, but befor that I spent 2 months of finding information about various activites driven by the basic thought that I needed to do "somthing". One reason I picked Aikido is physical activity. I wanted something that would move this body I live in and keep it in shape, seeing that I would be stuck with it for the rest of my life. The non-argesive philosophy also interested me, I thought it would help control my temper which can be rather explosive at times.

I admit that I want to be able to deal with a physical confrontation should one ever arise, or have some source of responsable and effective action. In my life I have been physicaly threatened once, which was resolved with words not fists thankfully. I think this is due to having the intimidation of a stout build. Even still I want to be prepaired do protect myself, not to beat the other person to a pulp.

What I'm finding in these 4 months is a deire to control the only think in this world I can control, myself. The ability to know what I want in life and follow that force of will (ki?).

Concerning others, I have trained with some uke's who may have resisted to much for someone with my level of experiance. Depending on the mood I'm in on that day I see it two diferent ways. First, "This guy is just showing off and gets kicks puting down the new guy." Second, "This guy is trying to show me how things would be in the real world and I would get hit in the face if I don't learn how to do this right." I can't read or control his thoughts about the situation, so I try to beleve the second.

I might have rambeled off subject somewhere in there, but that's my $0.02

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 02:04 PM   #4
MattRice
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Maryland
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 123
Offline
Wow. That's a lot of questions. I'll try and give my answers for the ones I understand or have answers for.

...life view and aikido

Jeez, you could have a thread just about this. How do I feel about it? I think they affect each other, that the ideals and principles have begun to absorb into my life. My dojo doesn't do a whole lot of talking about spirirtual stuff (every now and then you get a nugget) so I wonder what would happen if I didn't read all about O'sensei and his ideas. I wonder if it's possible for someone to take class, and go home for years without touching this philosphical side, or indeed without being made aware of it...anyway...

I haven't spent much time analyzing the motives or intentions of other folks practice I guess...

..take you in a fight?

Of course it's discomforting, but then I remember I haven't been in a fight since I was 12. No I don't try to eliminate the possibility, cuz that isn't possible. One can do what is possible to mitigate though...;-)

...different investment

Yeah, I'm OK with that. Frankly I don't give a hoot why other folks are into the art, if they enjoy themselves and don't hurt anybody...

..change in your life

Change in mySELF maybe. I can't change the jerk who just cut me off on the hiway, but I can change my reaction to it. Stupid example but that's all I've got.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 06:55 PM   #5
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Offline
Even the toughest, biggest, strongest, most skilled martial artist and/or bad guy in the world can be killed with a gunshot, or a tree falling on them, or a car hitting them, or whatever. Acknowledging that someone/something out there could take you down is just facing reality.

What I want from my training, I guess, is a sense of equality. Or of knowing what I can and cannot do, and having a sense of what a potential attacker can and cannot do.

Mostly (ideally, anyway), my training is about me; it's not about the potential attacker out there, it's not about proving I'm better than my kohai or impressing my sempai. That ties in with the spirituality aspect; since I started aikido, I've been learning more about myself and how I react to the world than I did since I was in kindergarten.

-LK
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 07:17 PM   #6
Qatana
 
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Offline
Change in mySELF maybe. I can't change the jerk who just cut me off on the hiway, but I can change my reaction to it. Stupid example but that's all I've got.

I don't think thats a stupid example. Its exactly why i started Aikido in December.control issues? Over Self over my body over my environment? I was a dancer for over twenty years. I have superb control of my body. Not only that, i've made a practice of falling down onstage since i turned 40.So in my third week of training i dislocated my shoulder doing a practice forward roll. From my knees.So my Aikido practice has been about letting go of my deep needs to be in control.I've been getting into altercatons all my adult life and have yet to be able to control one in the sense of coming to some kind of resolution without either "losing" or feeling guilty over my response, my lack of control of myself or of the situation. Since if i do have control of the situation, there is no need for altercation, is there? If i don't feel threatened, i won't attack.So i am here specifically to Not Fight.Not react. Not try to control. Which then gives me , ultimately, a greater measure of control over my self and of the situation.

We do a lot of spiritual work in our dojo, working with feeling the space and energy between techniques, seeing how it develops during the course of the class.Very different from sitting meditation but it feels just as effective & is a lot more fun-the techniques part anyway. Spiritual introspection is something else...

Exercise? Last week i finally broke a sweat in class. Granted everyone's been easy on me since my injury but now they're finally giving me some resistance where it is due.When my sensei takes ukemi from me, he is halfway across the room before i've even decided to throw him, which i imagine to let me know what its "supposed" to feel like, so i'm grateful that some of the black belts will make me work for it.I kinda don't like being left with the illusion that i can kick butt!

And here i've broken my policy against de-lurking. I have a bad habit of getting into arguments on other forums....so if i start up in here, see me on the mat.

Q

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2003, 08:12 PM   #7
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 225
Offline
An exam-question I put to my students in my college Aikido class:

"Dance, or martial art? Aikido has been descibed as both. Compare/contrast the elements of Aikido as a dance, or martial art, and give reasons for your answers."

I have seen many of the things you discussed, Jane: and it all comes down to what O Sensei said, IMO:

"The greatest triumph is triumph over oneself."

Conversely, you are your greatest enemy. Even Gandhi, apparently, was occasionally proud of his humility. I have witnessed sensei's who will loudly decry other sensei's for their shortcomings, yet do not see the trap they themselves are falling into.

As for me, I take a page out of Anno Sensei's book: when asked what he would ask O Sensei were he to come back to the living, he said, "Nothing. I'd be too embarassed to ask anything, as I still have all that 'homework' he left behind, for me to work on."

Here is a man who has spent 50 years working on his homework, and he still felt that he has a long way to go. It is a humbling lesson for a person travelling on a similar path.

P.S. I just posted a response to a similar question: "what is the aiki response to the recent political situation?" I welcome all (respectful) feedback:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...9984#post39984

P.P.S. In reponse to "is it discomforting to think that there might be more than one person who could take you in a fight," no: it isn't. Do firefighters expect to be able to put out all fires they fight, and live through them? No, there's always a risk.

We all train for different reasons, and no one walks the same Path.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2003, 08:47 AM   #8
PhilJ
 
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240
Offline
I concur with Mr. Embry, Jane, you have quite a few questions that are more like observations of the general differences between people.

Your needs will change as you get older, so you look to what you have to answer your new set of questions.

But they are good notes to observe as you go through training. My teacher asked me once, "When you see a giraffe at the zoo, acting like a giraffe, are you surprised?" The same for a lion, a pig, etc.

People will always be people, and as aikidoka (or buddhist), we try to have compassion and care for them, rather than analytically dissect them -- we will always find "faults".

As for the questions, I try to practice staying in the moment, not playing "what if" games. Sure, you can plan ahead, but it should not be at the expense of the "now", another good [buddhist] point.

Thanks Jane, those questions were excellent. I loved the responses, does anyone have more to add?

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2003, 10:58 AM   #9
mike lee
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 646
Offline
Quote:
So I put the questions to you. How do you feel about your life view and Aikido?
In the end, it's ALL spiritual — it just depends what you want to bring with you to the big dance.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2003, 03:49 PM   #10
Graff
Location: Columbus, OH
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 9
Offline
I practice Aikido for the same reason I practice/play music.

When I participate in a good Aikido technique (uke or nage), I get the same feeling that I do when I play in a band that sounds good (minus the pain ).

Aikido is also similar to practicing music. When I practice a new guitar lick, drum fill, etc., the learning process can take time and be frustrating. The moment I start to get it right however, I feel great! I live for those "light-bulb" moments!

I don't enjoy conflict win or lose, so for me to train to be an ass-kicker is somewhat futile.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2003, 07:24 PM   #11
ikkainogakusei
Location: All over CA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 137
Offline
Talking Great Variety in Response

Thanks so much everyone for giving your

replies to my questions!

It's nice to see such variety in

perspective.



  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2003, 07:35 AM   #12
one4k4
Location: Connecticut
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 37
Offline
Ki Symbol Great Post!

"How do you feel about your life view and Aikido? Do you see the things I have mentioned in others?"

Before I knew Aikido existed I considered myself spiritually 'in-tune' with Mother Earth. Pagan, if you will, but without the candles and screaming and everything else you see in the books and on tv. Anyway.. After I started training in Aikido, which has been a very short while, measured only in months, I've come to realize that some of the spiritual aspects seem to 'fit' with the way I've always dealt with the spiritual side of my life.

When I realized that, I knew Aikido was "for me", and I like that a lot. It sort of "qualifies" the spiritual theories I've created and makes me feel like I'm not alone in that way of thinking.

The dojo I train at is small, and quite honestly, it seems to be like a small family. Come to think of it, some of the members *are* family members with .. other .. members. I still find myself thinking very competitive thoughts, thinking about the wrongdoing of other people, thinking about simply being on top, but I've been able to notice this more and try my best to not let it frustrate me.

"Is it discomforting to think that there might be more than one person who could take you in a fight? Do you try to eliminate that possibility?"

It's not important, imho, to worry about somebody taking me in a fight. I think more about being able to stop an altercation before it gets physical. Granted, the only altercations I seem to get into are with myself, in my own head, but that's part of it too. It's been a long time since I've been in a fight where physical muscle has been thrown around.

"Are you okay with others having a different investment in Aikido than you?"

Everybody has their own path. I'm here to help them if they ask.

"Do you feel that your spirituality allows you to affect change in your life?"

Indeed it does.

"Would it be okay if it didn't?"

It wouldn't be my spirituality if it didn't affect change in my life. My spiritual side would grow and try to find a different path.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2003, 02:46 AM   #13
Kelly Allen
Dojo: Friends Dojo
Location: Winnipeg
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 190
Offline
I felt like Mike Embry and Thomas Sullivan were reading my mind. I couldn't have put it to words any better.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2003, 06:15 AM   #14
creinig
Dojo: Yoshinkan Würzburg
Location: Würzburg (de)
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 68
United Nations
Offline
Re: Control/kickingbutt/spirituality

Quote:
Jane Tao (ikkainogakusei) wrote:
So I put the questions to you. How do you ...
Hmm, big subject. Let me try...

"Physical/technical effectiveness": This is very important to me. Not the most important aspect, but very important. It's unlikely I'll ever need it, but, well, I'm the type who likes to be prepared. I e.g. always carry a leatherman and a swiss army knife when I go out - sometimes they're useful, and someday they might be very useful. The backback I use for my uni stuff contains, among other little things, a first aid kit. Never needed it, but who knows?

Also, if I am somewhere with friends / family / whatever, and we get into trouble, then I want to be a help to them (expr?), not someone needing help. I don't want to sound "holy" or something - it's just that IMHO it's often more difficult to avoid trouble when you're in a "pack" than when you're alone.

Ok, third reason for my search for physical effectiveness: It helps in defusing situations before they go physical. If you try to defuse something, knowing in the back of your head "if this gets physical, I'll have a serious problem" you will have a problem compared to when you know "if this gets physical, he'll have a serious problem". even if it's just because it's easier to stay calm in the second variant.

"your life view and Aikido": Well, I don't know. Aikido has become a part of my life. Training is great fun, I read the forums here daily, my book collection is steadily growing, I often think about aikido when I let my mind wander and I even often dream about it . I'm sure the art does transform me, but I don't really know in what ways. It often feels as if I'm having some kind of revelation caused by it, but I *very* rarely can put my finger on it and tell what I just discovered.

Maybe aikido is "simply" making me more mature, allowing me to see the world (and all things I approach) in a different light - or several different lights. I certainly learned much about myself since I started with it.

"others having a different investment": I think I'm perfectly fine with that. I do however care about what investment they have: I'm kind of "afraid" that some maybe are not aware of what aikido offers aside from the technical stuff. I'm "afraid" they will become disappointed with the art and abandon it, because they only see a narrow aspect of it. I don't care what part(s) of Aikido is/are important to them, and why, as long as they are aware of "all" parts.

Ok, this is the end of my post. Finally . It was good to talk (and think coherently) about this stuff. Thanks for asking the question
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2003, 08:00 AM   #15
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
I'd say, there will always be someone who can beat you in a fight. There is always someone faster, stronger, more skilled - even without that there is luck (suprise etc).

For me aikido isn't about 'duelling' - it is about conflict resolution. Aikido allows a graded response such that a fight rarely needs to occur - and even if it does escape and survival are possible.

As far as the disfunction of spiritual aims - I think you are right. I think we seek spiritual understanding in a way to compensate for our own difficulties with our personality. In that way it can be very healthy. For example I am very analytical, so I think zen is very refreshing for me. Thus religions may have similar purposes, but suit different people.

After many years of training I've given up trying to be the best, I just try and improve. In that respect I think a longer term commitment can be obtained.

I also believe that some people are 'naturals' and some people will never progress beyond a certain level. It takes a degree of accepting who you are, but still being willing to stretch yourself and train intently.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 03:00 PM   #16
ikkainogakusei
Location: All over CA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 137
Offline
Greetings Ian
Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
As far as the disfunction of spiritual aims - I think you are right. I think we seek spiritual understanding in a way to compensate for our own difficulties with our personality. In that way it can be very healthy. For example I am very analytical, so I think zen is very refreshing for me. Thus religions may have similar purposes, but suit different people.
I guess I was trying to state that I am unsure that everyone has this underlying reason. Really I'm not trying to be politically correct. I think some of us are born into a religion and might even keep to that spiritual path out of tradition or even that it is to them the true 'way', even without feeding their dysfunction. I see in some a serious preoccupation with it and I wonder if this (the control) is the reason, but I can't truly say that it is so.

I too am analytical, and I seek out things to learn if I feel unclear. I think after having surveyed a few religions and coming back to Buddhism, I find it appeals to my world view, but I don't feel that it is superior to any other belief. I guess the 'Middle Road' is one of those ideals which appeals to me. This path for me is still a work in progress.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
After many years of training I've given up trying to be the best, I just try and improve. In that respect I think a longer term commitment can be obtained..
Yes, I feel that way as well, though the little kid in me still nags about being the best.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
I also believe that some people are 'naturals' and some people will never progress beyond a certain level. It takes a degree of accepting who you are, but still being willing to stretch yourself and train intently.

Ian
<sigh> I've so wanted to attain the skill set of a friend who is vastly better that I could hope to be, this is where I must check myself. He's a Kinesthetic prodigy and really is happy doing nothing else but aikido, for no greater reason than it is fun. I've asked myself if he falls into any of the categories that I've mentioned (control/cruelty, etc.) and I don't see it. Me, I'm sure I'll top out soon, if I'm not there already.

  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:37 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2018 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2018 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate