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Old 03-02-2003, 01:00 PM   #1
tedehara
 
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Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
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Aikido as Escapism

While some people support the samurai tradition in the aikido dojo, I've been wondering if this isn't a type of escapism.

Have some of us stopped learning Aikido and started playing samurai?

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
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Old 03-02-2003, 05:23 PM   #2
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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I've always felt that there are too many people who like to 'play swords' and dress up like the samurai. consequently I have always admired those shihans who taught Aikido in coat and tie instead of gi. If I could find an outfit that fit the activity better than a gi I would probably change to it...nah, it would cost me too many students who want to dress up like samurai and play swords.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
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Old 03-02-2003, 06:55 PM   #3
Bogeyman
Dojo: UW-La Crosse Aikido
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I don't feel like this is the case in our dojo. People are there because of the fun and learning as well to get away from problems at work/school/home. Occasionally we get someone who wants to play samurai but they don't tend to last long.

E
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:03 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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Escapism sounds pretty valid to me.

The dojo is a wonderful escape from my worldly troubles.

Hard day at work - escape to the dojo.

If its accompanied with a little bit more escapist fantasy - no problem. Too much of course and it starts becoming weird.

Even in modern Western sports there is a fantasy element. Playing goal on the pond - I became Ken Dryden. Then I went home and did my homework.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-02-2003, 08:27 PM   #5
Qatana
 
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For five years I was an Elizabethan corpse. For seven years I was a Victorian streetwalker.For two years I have ben a Persian caravan queen.I have been a bird, a boy and a jazz baby.

Yesterday I got to do sword work in the dojo for the first time and i was nobody but me.

Whuch is not to say I didn't know every Errol Flynn movie backwards before I was 16...
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Old 03-02-2003, 10:10 PM   #6
Choku Tsuki
 
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escaping

If I'm lucky there's a interval in class when time has no meaning and I am happily exhausted and my mind is empty. I've escaped for a moment. I can't even tell you how long this lasts.

This is probably not what you had in mind.

--Chuck
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Old 03-02-2003, 10:16 PM   #7
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
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One nice thing about aikido is that, since it is indeed a /do/, it urges people to change themselves somehow - perhaps making themselves more likely to seek harmony rather than competition, or awareness of others rather than nervous obsession with the self. Thus I find that aikido tends not to be "a separate world" (an escapist hideaway)that doesn't help with the rest of your life, but rather a Way by which you can strengthen/improve yourself so as to be a better person in general.

On the flip side, escapism is making a new sphere of existence that just helps you not think about other issues. It could be that this break is extremely important to your life; in this case it's not really "escapism" in the usual negative sense.

As I believe Robert Nadeau-sensei put it, "What you do with aikido off the mat is a lot more important than what you do with it on the mat." (Paraphrased.)

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 03-02-2003 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 03-02-2003, 10:58 PM   #8
Edward
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I find nothing wrong in escapism, same as Peter.

I feel it is wonderful to be able to step on the mats wearing an attire several hundred years old, and repeat a series of exercices which are as old as the attire.

Of course, aikido is not the most ideal scenario for such escapades. I would rather recemmend ancient Koryu styles. Unfortunately, none is available in my residence country.
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Old 03-03-2003, 05:23 AM   #9
mike lee
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Cool unreal!

Sitting in front of the TV all night and becoming a couch potato is pure escapism. Having a student incorrectly apply nikkyo on my arm with way too much strength is pure reality.

If aikido begins to feel escapist, then there's something wrong with the training routine. The pace should be fast and intense whenever possible, and students should be made aware that what we're learning may be needed immediately after leaving the dojo. This is not escapist.
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Old 03-03-2003, 08:40 AM   #10
paul keessen
Dojo: Takemusu Aikido Hilversum
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aikido teaches us also how to "be" in daily live! so you are not escaping, you are trying to change yourself and alway be "aikido" to be in harmony with everything around you...

or something like that...
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Old 03-03-2003, 09:51 AM   #11
Joseph Huebner
 
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Escapism! From the lights, sirens, and stress of being a street paramedic Youbetcha! Sure beats sitting on the couch eating microwave burritos and watching "Trauma, Life and Death in the ER"

Joseph

www.jhuebner.net

If you think you can, you will. If you think you won't, you're right.
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Old 03-03-2003, 12:22 PM   #12
Michael Owen
Dojo: Richmond Aikido Kai
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AMEN !
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:43 PM   #13
SeiserL
 
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There are worse places to escape to. ;-)

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-04-2003, 01:46 AM   #14
gi_grrl
Dojo: Institute of Aikido Australia
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For my first few years of training, I consistently thought of aikido as a meditation, by which I mean that I thought only about aikido and no outside thoughts (home / work / study) entered my mind. Not escapism from life, but a clearing of the mind from life's details.

Now I strive to achieve the same meditative state.
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Old 03-04-2003, 03:08 AM   #15
JJF
 
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Re: Aikido as Escapism

Hi Ted!

I think your original post need to be devided into two sections/questions:
Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
While some people support the samurai tradition in the aikido dojo, I've been wondering if this isn't a type of escapism.
It very well might be a chance to escape from parts of your reality. As long as what you escape into isn't pure fiction, but more of an alternate reality, then I see nothing wrong with it. I go to the dojo to allow my self to get lost in the wonders of Aikido and yes! even in sword-practicing I am fascinated by doing the iaido-movements and by the japanese sword in iteself with all it's inherited air of history and symbolism. However I don't become a samurai or a new 'Anjin San' (from the book 'Shogun' right ?), but I do loose myself in the moment.
Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
Have some of us stopped learning Aikido and started playing samurai?
Some most certainly have. I have seen a few examples. Eventually they either leave or change their attitude though. I don't think I have ever encountered a dojo-cho or a senior member in any martial arts dojo, that where 'playing samurai'. I'm a traditionalist in some ways myself, and I like a certain degree of 'japanese feeling' to the whole thing. We have a simple dojo with wooden pannels on the wall, we have a few rituals borrowed from the japanese sensei's we have met, we name the techiques in japanese and we bow to each other before, under and after practice, and to the shomen before and after the session. I don't see that as an indication of us 'playing samurai', but it IS, i admit, a (light) form of escapism where we allow our self to indulge into a different world that'll teach us valuable lessons for how to deal with the 'real' world that we spend most of our time in while 'playing house' or 'playing work'

Now I better shut up and go back to work in the real world

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-04-2003, 11:13 AM   #16
Jappzz
 
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If taking a break in a controlled, harmonious place where we most actively practice ways of diffusing hostile situations is escapistic... then i'm guilty.

If we mature inside that dojo and apply it to our everyday lives then maybe we can also create a world outside safe enough to the extent that no-one feel's the need to escape from it...

Jesper
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Old 03-05-2003, 05:36 AM   #17
Kelly Allen
Dojo: Friends Dojo
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I'm not trying to escape. I'm merely training to prepare myself for the day Luke Skywalker comes to earth looking for Jedi knights to help fight against the Imperial Army. The force be with you.
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Old 03-05-2003, 06:19 AM   #18
erikmenzel
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Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
I'm not trying to escape. I'm merely training to prepare myself for the day Luke Skywalker comes to earth looking for Jedi knights to help fight against the Imperial Army. The force be with you.
You got me there I am not a samurai wannabe, I am a Jedi knight wannabe

I wonder how many aikidoka are willing to admit that at one point they imagined to be a Jedi knight

May the force be with you

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:49 PM   #19
ikkainogakusei
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Ahh memories

Quote:
Joseph Huebner wrote:
Sure beats sitting on the couch eating microwave burritos and watching "Trauma, Life and Death in the ER"

Joseph

www.jhuebner.net
Wow! did -=that=- take me back! I so remember scarfing down micro-burritos (Tinas?) on some junker of a couch in a lul between calls. Except for me, it was watching Jonny and Roy in Squad 51 (no I'm not -=that=- old, it was in sindication).

Yeah, I'm happy to escape as well. I don't even mind keeping some traditional etiquette as it were, but not so much that opressive dogma overtakes the tone of the dojo.

I think the ceremony can help some of us throw off the trappings of everyday stresses so that we can concentrate on the energy/harmony thing along with our martial training.

Though I find it interesting when we go out to a park and train (no worries, no high falls). The change in environment is also good keiko.

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Old 03-13-2003, 12:08 PM   #20
Joseph Huebner
 
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Question

I like the Jedi association! Has anyone figured out where the dark side resides?
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Old 03-13-2003, 12:52 PM   #21
erikmenzel
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Quote:
Joseph Huebner wrote:
I like the Jedi association! Has anyone figured out where the dark side resides?
Shodokan

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 03-13-2003, 01:47 PM   #22
John Boswell
 
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I'm not trying to be a Jedi Knight. I just am one... trying to remember all my skills!

The Force will be with you. Always...

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Old 03-15-2003, 02:43 AM   #23
mike lee
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Quote:
I like the Jedi association! Has anyone figured out where the dark side resides?
At the edge of a black hole.
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Old 03-15-2003, 03:03 AM   #24
dezire
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Weather we use the jedi association, or a samurai association, we are all escaping somewhere. Even those who are not saying so. And there is nothing bad in that. Everybody needs and has some place of his own, and for some people that is the dojo. All things taken if the atmosphere in there is as it is supposed to be (harmonious, leasurely, fun, and discipline) there aren't many other places better than to escape to.

Crnjakovic Zeljko, nikyu
AK "Yami Yaburu Hikari"
Subotica, Yugoslavia

http://www.geocities.com/clubhikari
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Old 03-16-2003, 02:14 AM   #25
Olga Mihailova
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If Aikidoka are escapists than I am glad to be one! Honestly I don't think there is such a serious problem like escapism. If you run away from something you automatically run to something. From that point of view it is not an escape. The key word is "run" - you keep moving wherever you go and whatever happens to you. A continous ceaseless moving, back and forward, up and down, sometimes in circles, sometimes in spirals. Like in Aikido.

I don't see how using Japanese language and etiquette may help to lose the sense of reality (the result of escapism, right?). Learning all terms in Japanese is just useful, but things like Domo Arigato...isn't it good to know at least few words in other language? We here use certain English words (sorry, please, thanks, oh my God etc.) all the time. It is not escapism. Sometimes it is a bad habit, of course, when people say them instead of using their language, but it is a knowledge. Anyway.

Etiquette doesn't look for me like escapism either. A certain number of bows per week won't help you forget your troubles, but there is a chance it will decrease your pride and egoism a bit. What I find an exceptionally good thing.

Well, maybe I am all wrong and have already lost any connection with reality.

Good luck to you all,

Olga
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