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Old 05-18-2004, 05:08 PM   #76
Tadhg Bird
 
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Erik Haselhofer wrote:
Just picking on one specific point.

In 1891, James Naismith created basketball. I'd say there are hundreds of thousands of people who know more than him about his creation. I'd say virtually every basketball player today, at the high school level or higher, is better than what he was doing.

It is, however, a different game today.
This stuck with me as I read it many many moons ago, and I happened upon it again today. I don't think basketball is an apt comparison. Aikido is not just a collection of physical techniques, it is the study of the spirit.

Better anologies IMOSHO would be,

Who is a better Confucian than Confucious?
Who is a better Buddhist than the Buddha?
Who is a better Christian than Jesus?
Who is a better Freudian Psychoanalysist than Freud?
Who is a better Jungian than Jung?

Ueshiba was an example of enlightenment that we are trying to emulate. Even if someone became as "good" as O Sensei, it would be different Aikido than that of the founder's.

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
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Old 05-18-2004, 07:52 PM   #77
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Tadhg Bird wrote:
This stuck with me as I read it many many moons ago, and I happened upon it again today. I don't think basketball is an apt comparison. Aikido is not just a collection of physical techniques, it is the study of the spirit.

Better anologies IMOSHO would be,

Who is a better Confucian than Confucious?
Who is a better Buddhist than the Buddha?
Who is a better Christian than Jesus?
Who is a better Freudian Psychoanalysist than Freud?
Who is a better Jungian than Jung?

Ueshiba was an example of enlightenment that we are trying to emulate. Even if someone became as "good" as O Sensei, it would be different Aikido than that of the founder's.
I beg to disagree.

Your way of putting the question depends on what you think Morihei Ueshiba created.

Your question would better be put as, Was Confucius more enlightened than, say, Jesus? We have no means of knowing.

I myself am not trying to emulate Morihei Ueshiba insofar as he was enlightened, for this question does not interest me. I am trying to practise the budo he created: not his own aikido precisely, but something new, of my own.

Whether anyone can equal or surpass the Founder of an art depends to the extent that one can see the art as a self-contained structure, with a set of principles, in abstraction from the various individuals who practise it.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-18-2004, 09:59 PM   #78
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Did anyone stop to think that maybe O'Sensei didn't have a "teaching Style?" Aikido was like a revelation to him. His level of understanding might not have been easily put into words or explanations. But all of those students of his, who are now great instructors, trained with O'Sensei for years and have been preacticing for many, many years. Through all of these years, they have come to understand what they were "shown" by O'Sensei, and have tried to teach it to us through words, explanations, and breaking down the techniques so that we can see those suttle things that make the techniques so effective. And what? Most of us, although we spend so much time training and going to seminars and listening attentively, are not even close to being on their level of understanding or close to being able to execute technique at their level. And we are actually being taught! Chiba Sensei once said at a seminar, "Never get stuck doing a technique one way. Always look for a better way." I believe that is what O'Sensei did throughout his life. He was still O'Sensei. That cannot be denied.

I once read where Tohei Sensei said that when he got to Hawaii, he found that many of the Founders techniques didn't work (I believe he may have meant on Americans, who were bigger and stronger) and that his aikido after that, had become only 30% of the Founders, and 70% of his own. Could it be that he didn't perceive many of O'Sensei's techniques on O'Sensei's level? Or maybe he didn't comprehend them completely. I mean no disrespect to Tohei Sensei, but I found that statement odd, coming from someone who was given 10th dan by O'Sensei. But the point is, that all of the students who trained under O'Sensei, perceived his art differently. I beleive O'Sensei may not have taught it one way, because there was more than one way and that the art was beyond any one particular way.

Remember, Saito (Sr.) even changed techniques and weapons over the years for various reasons. But he did change things. But all of it comes from the foundation laid by whom? O'Sensei!

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Old 05-18-2004, 11:06 PM   #79
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

My guess is that it would depend on your opinion. If you think aikido is a great thing, then yes, Ueshiba could be called O-sensei. If you think that aikido is crap and it's about running around in skirts, then no, adding the honorific "O" would be inappropriate.
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Old 05-19-2004, 06:02 AM   #80
ian
 
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

I found Ted's comments very pertinent and very encouraging. I think it is important to believe we can be better than Ueshiba. Ueshiba did not become a good martial artist by copying one person. He worked relentlessly towards the goal of becoming a good martial artist, and that was it. I don't feel fit to judge Ueshiba's aikido because I haven't trained or been thrown by him. But I have been thrown by Yamada, who I think is amazing, and I have seen video footage of Ueshiba where I would question whether he is really blending and also be suscpicious of uke over-compliance.

Lets chuck the reverance for positions out of the window and just appreciate people for who they really are. I think a problem with martial arts being Japanese is that there is often a hierarchy that doesn't truly reflect the ability of the people in question. I also know this will be herecy to many people, but I think Saito would have been a better person to have been the official head of aikido rather than it going through Ueshiba's decendants. Partly for technical ability, but I also think that some people are predisposed (and may just have a real drive) for certain things and others don't.

Ian
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:01 AM   #81
Charles Hill
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think a problem with martial arts being Japanese is that there is often a hierarchy that doesn't truly reflect the ability of the people in question.
I agree with this except for the word "problem." As I understand it, in Japan there is no need for the leader to be the most technically competent. In Daito Ryu, Shorinji Kenpo and Katori Shinto Ryu, the leaders are non-practicing relatives of former heads and the primary teaching is left to shihan and other teachers.

In the case of the Aikikai, we are lucky that the current Doshu is quite skilled. (I have been thrown by him and I think he is amazing.) However, the Doshu does not accept personal students like the other Shihan. His responsibilities go far beyond teaching, and I feel that if another Shihan (like Saito Sensei) had been made Doshu, it would have interferred with that teacher`s own growth thus limiting what we could learn from him.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:32 AM   #82
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Jesus Is Everything //the Way The Truth And The Life////theres A Big Difference Between Enlightment And Being Saved.
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:33 AM   #83
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

I'm always a little surprised to hear people 'run down' the 2nd Doshu. I've heard this both inside and outside of aikido. Being a member of the yoshinkan myself, I'm a little outside of the discussion, but I have heard from people I respect *very* much that a lot of what he could do on the mat he reserved for very personal reasons...and he was not into self promotion. Yet they all tell me his technique was top notch. Just gotta wonder...

RT

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Old 06-11-2004, 09:54 AM   #84
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I'm always a little surprised to hear people 'run down' the 2nd Doshu. I've heard this both inside and outside of aikido. Being a member of the yoshinkan myself, I'm a little outside of the discussion, but I have heard from people I respect *very* much that a lot of what he could do on the mat he reserved for very personal reasons...and he was not into self promotion. Yet they all tell me his technique was top notch. Just gotta wonder...

RT
The times I had a chance to take his UKEMI, he was very strong. It quite surprised me because even then, in the early 80's, he looked quite fragile. He had a very giving presence on the mat.

I think Peter Goldsbury has gone a long way in dispelling some of the criticism on Kisshomaru. People accused him of softening aikido and dispensing with ATEMI, but if you look, the ATEMI is always there in his techniques and books. Being the Doshu, his books would seem to define the curriculum of aikido, but (famously excepting Tohei K.) allowed other SHIHAN to teach as they saw fit.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-11-2004, 01:16 PM   #85
kironin
 
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
If you felt that what I, or any of the other folks who posted about Systema, had to say could have been augmented with information about areas in which Tohei Sensei's system accomplished the same things within a traditional Aikido structure it would have been great to hear from you. You act like I was attacking you in some way I can't fathom. In fact, from what little I know about what you guys do, there may be some very interesting areas to explore that would benefit Aikido folks in general. If I had happened to have experienced them myself I would certainly be telling others about it.

Well as Ki Society teacher, I certainly felt at least what Vladimir was teaching at the Aiki Expo last year to be very much in tune with my training in Ki-Aikido. It was very compatible in terms of what felt like many of the same things and I have even borrowed some of the exercises especially like the ones he did for dealing with kicks and knives. It just fits right in with what our regular curriculum. More breathing exercises always good.

and for the record, if I am traveling and no Ki Society dojos are around, I certainly like to visit ASU ones.

as to the topic of this thread, Tohei Sensei considers O'Sensei his teacher and that's good enough for me. but we all have to surpass O'Sensei in some way or aikido will die. Change is inevitable. Even koryu arts face this problem. To me KS at it's best is about change and growth.

YMMV,
Craig
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Old 06-27-2004, 11:17 PM   #86
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

My understanding limited as it is tells me that "Aikido" as seen by "O Sensei" existed prior to his finding it. It was not his "Aikido" nor is it ours.Yet it waits for us to take it but we can never own it yet it will sustain us. Like the air we breath. It is obviously ineffable as it is difficult to explain that which passes in and out of the material world and is part of that which is material and not. There is an essence which is true and and full of love that may be the glue which holds together, us. That is my impression as silly as it may sound.

John G
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Old 06-28-2004, 12:55 AM   #87
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
WHAT! O Sensei wasn't a god! Next thing you'll tell me is there is no Santa Claws. Sorry I couldn't resist. ;D
Hey! dont compared this to santa claus this is not for kiddies. choco, candies,etc,etc. this is for real. and I truely believed that we must understand the concept of this thread. we must try to open our mind to accept the fact the O'sensei is not God. but we must accept the without limitation and aggression "O'Sensei Morehei". was a man of full of heart and happiness. We(practitioner of the Aiki) connot practice the art of Aikido without his creation"AIKIDO". that its, and thats final.
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:24 AM   #88
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
richard manabat wrote:
Hey! dont compared this to santa claus this is not for kiddies. choco, candies,etc,etc. this is for real. and I truely believed that we must understand the concept of this thread. we must try to open our mind to accept the fact the O'sensei is not God. but we must accept the without limitation and aggression "O'Sensei Morehei". was a man of full of heart and happiness. We(practitioner of the Aiki) connot practice the art of Aikido without his creation"AIKIDO". that its, and thats final.
On the one hand, one can understand why folks would feel the need to de-mystify the figure of Morihei Ueshiba. But on the other, much of what people are doing when they "de-construct" him is giving themselves an excuse to not aspire to more in their Aikido. O-Sensei was not a God, in the way that we would mean it. But in the way term is used in the East he may have been. The term in Sanskrit is avatar, a Divine Being who has taken human form to help us progress spiritually. Krishna was the most famous of these. O-Sensei described himself as a Kami in human form. He felt that it was his mission to help mankind by revealing the Truth as his own spiritual experiences had shown him.

If you de-mystify the figure of O-Sensei, as many have, it makes it easier not to challenge yourself to try to understand his message and to look at how his Spiritual understanding informed the physical expression of his art. So, no he wasn't a God in the sense the we use the term. But he was a Sage and it was his direct expereince of certain Spiritual truth that caused him to create Aikido as an art. Without that element, I don't think it really qualifies as Aikido in the way that O-Sensei meant the term to be used.

George S. Ledyard
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Bellevue, WA
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:01 PM   #89
David Yap
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...<snipped> ... is giving themselves an excuse to not aspire to more in their Aikido. O-Sensei was not a God, in the way that we would mean it. But in the way term is used in the East he may have been. The term in Sanskrit is avatar, a Divine Being who has taken human form to help us progress spiritually. Krishna was the most famous of these. O-Sensei described himself as a Kami in human form. He felt that it was his mission to help mankind by revealing the Truth as his own spiritual experiences had shown him...

If you de-mystify the figure of O-Sensei, as many have, it makes it easier not to challenge yourself to try to understand his message and to look at how his Spiritual understanding informed the physical expression of his art. So, no he wasn't a God in the sense the we use the term. But he was a Sage and it was his direct expereince of certain Spiritual truth that caused him to create Aikido as an art. Without that element, I don't think it really qualifies as Aikido in the way that O-Sensei meant the term to be used.
George sensei,

May I add to your post?

There is an oriental saying, "If you meet a Buddha on the path, kill the Buddha and become a Buddha yourself". "Kill" in this context means "to aspire".

Regards

David Y
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:33 AM   #90
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Smile Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Imho this really is an unanswerable question in many ways because I expect the term "O-Sensei" holds many meanings for different people in the East or West. For some it may mean "The" teacher for some it may mean something approaching a Godhead figure...for others maybe something else...

Really I think what we have to accept is that Morihei Ueshiba was an exceptional human being who for many reasons..environment etc was somehow able to create something "new" or rather a "new way" of doing something.

The art of fighting is not new but arguably Aikido has taken it to a different level in terms of approach...

One thing I find interesting here in Japan is that although every Dojo has a picture and we pay homage and respect to his memories he really isn`t discussed..we practise Aikido...aikido is simply aikido...and again people have different understandings of what "Aikido" actually is..but, I know of no one here who appears to attach any great symbolism to it...or perhaps I am missing something?.

I think that possibly in the States somehow, some kind of romantic notion has been attached to the whole aspect of O-Sensei..who he was..what he could do...perhaps fuelled by books they have read, or have been written about a place and time that seems so different to what they know.

While I think it`s important to hold dearly and respect him for what he gave us, I question the need to analyse so closely this figure that very few ever knew..should we be looking forward or backwards?..

Last edited by wxyzabc : 06-29-2004 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:14 PM   #91
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Perhaps James and George need to hug

Sorry, couldn't resist.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:52 AM   #92
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote:
Perhaps James and George need to hug

Sorry, couldn't resist.
Don't worry, James and George already "hugged" via e-mail. Next comes a rousing Kumbaya!

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-06-2004, 12:32 PM   #93
Michael Neal
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba has often been refered to as O Sensei. But is he really?
I think you should be burned at the stake or stoned to death for making such heretical statements.
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Old 07-06-2004, 01:47 PM   #94
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba has often been refered to as O Sensei. But is he really?
Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
I think you should be burned at the stake or stoned to death for making such heretical statements.
No smilies.

Don't much like 'em myself, but they do convey a certain nuance. Absent the graphs and any hint of irony then, I'll take your post as a denunciation. I think, in general, Mr. Neal, I have agreed with your posts. This one, though, I've got to take issue with.

Most would agree that it's healthy to question. I think beyond health, it's something of a duty to question someone who was so charismatic as to become an icon. There have been, and are ongoing, barefaced attempts to mythologize the founder while sanitizing his militarist past and millenarian adventures. Whether it fits into the New Age pigion-hole we'd like to reserve for him, it is important to situate him firmly in his time and place and to question received knowledge concerning him. In this, we owe a great debt to seekers such as Stanley Pranin, Ellis Amdur, and Peter Goldsbury who have had the integrity and courage to uncover uncomfortable facts, relate them, and question. Over and against such issues, the question as to whether or not he was a good teacher seems small indeed.

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Old 07-06-2004, 02:05 PM   #95
TexV2
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

My goodness....This is one of those threads that reminds me of competing in the Special Olympics. When or lose your still retarded. Oh oh....that wasn't very PC now was it? When am I ever going to learn?
Respects (Especially to all the Special Olympians out there) *enthusiastic thumbs up*
Marc

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Old 07-06-2004, 02:28 PM   #96
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

MN was definately joking...lately he has been particularly irascible...

Well, maybe that is not quite the right word for it...lets just say the judoka have been throwing him on his head too much...
RT

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 07-06-2004 at 02:30 PM.

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Old 07-06-2004, 02:32 PM   #97
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
When or lose
Its not good to mention the special olympics, and then mis-spell *win*...

Ron

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Old 07-06-2004, 03:06 PM   #98
TexV2
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

I guess you got a point there. *Mental note* "Make sure to spell check smart ass replies. Other-wise you tend to look like a jack-ass!"

Thanks,

Marc

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Old 07-07-2004, 07:04 AM   #99
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

I was definateley kidding. And as Mr. Tisdale pointed out, I also have been getting thrown on my head alot.

I was just poking a little fun at those who see Aikido as some sort of unquestionable dogma and that everyone should just follow without question, there are a few people like that in Aikido.

I have enormous respect for Ueshiba and personally think he deserves the title "O Sensei"
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Old 07-07-2004, 02:21 PM   #100
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Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
I think you should be burned at the stake or stoned to death for making such heretical statements.
How very biblical of you. Of course, this is the source of the problem.

Some people are bringing their Christian attitutes to their training and believe it to be a show of reverance, when it is actually a poor excuse for Aikido and a bad use of Christianity.

Morihei Ueshiba stated Aikido is not a religion. For people who want to turn him into some Christ-like Yoda figure, they are going directly against his own teachings. Aikido is a matter of learning, not some mindless attendance of a dojo.

Of course, this is not helped by "miracle" stories created by writers who should know better. While these stories are denied by Aikikai and people who trained directly with the founder, they booster this attitude.

This attitude is also a violation of a fundamental Christian axiom. You are saved through Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ because of his divinity. You are not saved through Jesus and other people. He has the exclusive francise as Savior. If you doubt my understanding of Christian theology, ask your priest, pastor or minister.

The Japanese don't have this problem, since they do not live in a predominately Christian society. This is basically because of the samurai. For those who like to believe the samurai as a honorable group of killers, read up on their treatment of the Japanese Christians.

Finally Mr. Neal, what you wrote is called a Death Threat. It doesn't matter why you wrote or said what you did, what matters is you did it. This type of threat has certain legal ramifications.

If you said what you wrote to someone and they killed you on the spot, there is a possibility they would be found not guilty of murder because of that death threat. It doesn't get more serious than that.

Of course, it would be un-Christian of me not to find some way to forgive you.

Last edited by tedehara : 07-07-2004 at 02:24 PM.

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