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 > Voices of Experience

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 08-11-2002, 06:31 AM   #1
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,035
United_States
Online
Mysterious Action of Kotodama

OK, I guess that I'll start things out, since nobody seems to be posting here...

In the beginning of "Take Musu Aiki" Morihei Ueshiba attempts to explain what "Aikido" is - one of the examples given is "Aikido is the mysterious action of kotodama, the great way of universal misogi.", which explains the title of the thread. He gives a number of other examples, along more or less similar lines. Now of course, he was speaking to a very specific audience in this case (the "Byakko Shinko Kai" - "White Light Association"). Still, it is clear, even from the testimony of his students at the Kobukan, that this kind of thinking dominated his mind even before the war.

He gives these explanations, apparently, in response to a request made to begin the lectures with an explanation of what "Aikido" is. My question is this - if someone made a similar request of you, what would you say?

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2002, 08:09 AM   #2
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
Hi Chris,

This is a good question. Its early Sunday morning and I'm just about ready to leave for the dojo (plus I'd like a bit of time to "think" about this).

Later,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2002, 12:54 PM   #3
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
Chris,

I thought about this and here is the short version. (thankfully)

What is the meaning of aikido?

Of course the answer is going to be different from every person that practices aikido. There are many that answer with the standard party line that the seniors in whatever organization they belong to put forth. I think it is important for each one of us to really come to our own original answer to this if we are ever to develop real authority in our practice.

First of all, I think we really begin the practice of aiki jutsu. The artful or efficient practice of aiki is what I mean. Then, at some point, we begin to develop and see the "MICHI" or WAY of living our practice. The way we perceive and treat our self and others. Then for some of us it may go further and have something to do with the way we perceive and relate to the Universe. We may talk about and practice all of this in ways that often appear different and at odds with each other. That is the practice…we must all eventually come to our own answer. The rock solid knowing of what the meaning of aikido is for us.

The artful side of this practice is what I think of as "defending against aggression" and the discipline that this practice provides can be used to look within our self and begin to understand the human condition and our relationship with the Universe and each other.

The conclusions you come up with ultimately must be your own. The founder of what we think of as aikido, Morihei Ueshiba found his answer and told us all to find our own. It takes great courage and perseverance to even stay on the path. In my opinion, we will never complete the journey. Each step along the way is what is important.

Someone asked me, some time ago, to summarize this. All I could come up with is -- "Make your outsides match your insides, uplift all beings, and do as little harm as possible."

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2002, 05:25 PM   #4
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,035
United_States
Online
Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
Someone asked me, some time ago, to summarize this. All I could come up with is "Make your outsides match your insides, uplift all beings, and do as little harm as possible."
The "make your outsides match your insides" part reminds me of "Aikido Jinsei" - Gozo Shioda commented on how M. Ueshiba was always telling him to become "sunao".

Anyway, your answer made me think of another issue, which is the way in which such concepts are expressed. Your statement isn't materially all that different from what M. Ueshiba was saying - even the things that Kano and Funakoshi said were, in essence, very similar to M. Ueshiba's statements. The main difference, I suppose, is that his method of expression was couched in heavy spiritual/religious terminology, while Kano and Funakoshi where much more down to earth.

In "Aikido Ichiro" K. Ueshiba recommends that you subsitute "shizen" ("nature") for "kami" when reading M. Ueshiba's writings in order to make them more understandable/accessible. How much do you think M. Ueshiba's method of expression has helped Aikido? How much do you think that it has hurt Aikido? Ought that method of expression be altered to suit the more modern/western world? And if so, how much?

It seems to me that M. Ueshiba's method of expression has been one of the major deterring factors in a slide towards a commercial approach (that you often see in strip-mall Karate) or a sports oriented approach (that you often see in sport Judo or Kendo). On the other hand, I often think that people get a little too caught up in the philosophical aspects and start sliding away from the Budo oriented aspects. Also many people find (and have found) M. Ueshiba's language dense or inaccessible. Still I worry about altering things too much - sliding too far away from the center concepts that M. Ueshiba expressed...

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2002, 08:28 PM   #5
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
I think Ueshiba-sensei's doka and other writings are difficult to understand. They are often very poetic and leave lots of room for those translating them to add their own slant.

One of the great mistakes I made many years ago was to decide not to really become fluent in Japanese. I would love to be able to read the originals.

I think lots of people have taken his words and used them to bolster their own needs.

I really am not a "die hard" follower of Ueshiba-sensei. I believe all teachers should not only be a model for students to copy, but they also need to teach the students how to really learn and take the art further than their teachers and develop their own authority.

I am a student of budo. My goal is to realize the paradox of having the ability to do great harm but choosing the way of peace (while doing as little harm as possible). As you said, all of the great teachers have given us very similar philosophies.

Many other students of aikido have different ideas and ways of practice. That's fine. Everyone must find their own way. Hopefully many teachers will teach kihon in ways that give students the tools to practice well and inspire them to develop their own practice.

I have great respect for what Ueshiba-sensei did and tried to pass on to others. He was not the only person saying similar things and doing serious budo practice.

Budo is really about our relationship with our self and others. Skill in throwing people down is extremely important until it becomes the practice of NOT throwing people down.

Paradox is such fun!!

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 12:48 AM   #6
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,035
United_States
Online
Hi Chuck,

Is there anybody else on this forum? Not that I mind talking to you, but it would be nice to get a larger group going.

I think that Peter Goldsbury is out for O-bon, but I'd hoped that George Ledyard would join in sometime...
Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
I think Ueshiba-sensei's doka and other writings are difficult to understand. They are often very poetic and leave lots of room for those translating them to add their own slant.

One of the great mistakes I made many years ago was to decide not to really become fluent in Japanese. I would love to be able to read the originals.
It's pretty tough even for Japanese folks - a lot of people just shake their heads when I ask them about obscure passages .

Most of the translations that I've seen aren't bad - I think that it's mostly that the people reading them are reading them out of context. Since most of what's floating around is individual sentence length quotes and short poems it's a little bit like taking a few choice sentences from the bible, and translating them into a foreign language where the people reading them have very little knowledge of christianity and the bible as a whole.

It wasn't until I started reading M. Ueshiba discussing these things at length and in detail that the shorter quotes that usually float around started making sense to me.
Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
I really am not a "die hard" follower of Ueshiba-sensei. I believe all teachers should not only be a model for students to copy, but they also need to teach the students how to really learn and take the art further than their teachers and develop their own authority.

I am a student of budo. My goal is to realize the paradox of having the ability to do great harm but choosing the way of peace (while doing as little harm as possible). As you said, all of the great teachers have given us very similar philosophies.
It's all ice-cream, 31 flavors no waiting . Still, I have to admit that the flavor of Ueshiba's dream is what captures me, for all that, technically, I tend to be fairly eclectic.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 07:43 AM   #7
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
I'm pretty sure that Dennis Hooker and George Ledyard will chime in soon. Hope so anyway.

I must admit that I also am caught by Ueshiba's dream. I think that dream was shared my many ... quite a few of them came before Ueshiba Morihei. Humans all have "feet of clay." Its the dream itself that captured me many years ago. In fact, I sort of grew up with it and it seemed like hearing the echo of my own heartbeat.

I know several people that are still with us that I think live as examples of that dream in action. Tsuneo Nishioka-sensei (menkyo kaiden of Shinto Muso Ryu) for one. I won't list the others as they would scold me for being presumptuous. Nishioka-sensei would just think I'm too full of tea.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 07:46 AM   #8
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Offline
This certainly has been an eye opening and revealing discussion, and for the greater part a civil one. We have had personal opinion, casual speculation and well educated discourse. I am not a very literate nor well educated man myself, nether am I well traveled and schooled in the Japanese language. My education comes more as an act of God and the GI Bill than of my scholastic ability. Though I have studied it's budo arts for the better part of a lifetime I do not read and write the Japanese language. I have been told by people I trust, that were students of M. Ueshiba Sensei, that he often chastised his students who sought to parrot, in words and action, his religious activities without the corresponding faith and or knowledge of what they were seeking. In fact I am told that he got very angry. However he must have felt that these students had a chance to realize their full potential as human beings through using his art of being human. If not I believe such a zealot man as he would have cast them out quickly. So perhaps it was not his religious path that he wanted them to walk. Perhaps he pointed to no particular path at all except the one of our own making or choosing, one we could each without measure hold as true. Perhaps it is pure faith in a godhead that he felt was needed. I believe as I am told that he was a very pious man. Aikido is an extension of him and being so how could it not be principally founded upon the development of a persons spiritual nature. Perhaps Aikido is the tool that is there for likeminded folks. A tool that helps us develop the phases of human existence from seed, sprout, flower, fruit and death. Perhaps it's the hoe that helps us do the weeding. Perhaps it is the literal plowshare beaten from the sword. You ever walk behind plow. There is not much left at the end of the day except to be thankful, and war sure is the last thing on your mind.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 09:00 AM   #9
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Offline
I edited a previous post to fit here but my edit did not take so when I posted it was the original. Most of the subject matter got through anyway so I will not repost.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 09:13 AM   #10
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
This original post by Dennis was on a discussion about religion at the Aikido Journal site. I thought it spoke to Chris' thoughts about Ueshiba-sensei's philosophy and writings. I asked Dennis to post it here.

I like it.

I'll add one of my favorite Ueshiba quotes:

"The true victory of shobu aiki is to strike down and destroy the mind of doubt and conflict within yourself. It is to realize and carry out the destiny you have received from divine providence."
— M. Ueshiba

Regards,

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 08-13-2002 at 09:17 AM.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 12:58 PM   #11
Steven
 
Steven's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
Location: Orangevale, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 602
United_States
Offline
In Aikido Shugyo, Gozo Shioda states, at that time, that after 50 years and serving a long time at O'Sensei's side, he still ended up indiffernet to the religious aspects of Aikido. He goes as far to say he is an atheist. Yet O'Sensei had great trust in him despite this.

He further goes on to say that one of the greatest things about O'Sensei was that he never forced his religious beliefs on his students. Shioda also mentions going to church with O'Sensei many times despite his lack of faith in a god.

I've read and heard many students of O'Sensei say they had no idea as to what he said when he started rambling on about such things as Kotodama. It was pretty much up to the individual to really figure out what he meant. I guess you never asked him to explain himself ...

Now with that said, Aikido to me is the unification of the Mind, body and spirit. It is the masterey of balance, at all levels. Physical, mental, etc (I got a long way to go on this) When asked about how one Harmonizes with the Universe, I usually respond, first you must learn to harmonize with yourself and those things that offend or dictate your life in a negative way. Once that's accomplished, then MAYBE one will start harmonizing with the universe. For me, this starts with YOSHIN, as in YOSHINKAN. Bringing the mind, body and spirit together. As I begin to see my physical techniques grow not just in power, but in balance and flow, I find that effecting how I deal with everyday life. Yes, I fall off the band wagon from time to time which draws the conclusion that after 20 years, I need more practice. I've also found this practice has help me become a bit more patient, especially since I now run my own school. I always practice with my students.

This is what Aikido means to me. I always liked the comment "Practice technique to learn Aikido, not Aikido to learn Technique."

I also think one can drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what O'Sensei really meant.

Not sure how this relates to this topic .. but thought I'd chime in. Didn't want Chris and Chuck thinking they were all alone.

Heiwa ...
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 04:09 PM   #12
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,631
Offline
O-Sensei's Aikido

The person to talk to here would be Gleason Sensei but he is busy trying to relocate his dojo I believe.

Anyway, I'll take a brief shot at the question. Asian spiritual systems are based on the essential unity of everything. Most systems for developing a direct awareness of this unity attempt to bypass the thinking / logical Mind in order to get to a more fundamental level of Consciousness that includes the thinking mind but goes well beyond in to the realm of direct perception of the Truth.

If you look at the Hindu / Buddhist systems that went from India through Tibet, then China, then to Japan picking up elements of the local archaic syatems as they went, you will see that they have practice methodologies that strive to use the senses rather than ignore the senses in their meditation practice.

In Sanskrit there are the terms are mantra, mudra, and mandala. Mantra practice is the repitition of a particular sound or phrase which serves to give direction to the senasation of speech. Mudra are the handsigns which you see on various statues but are incorpoarted into living practice as a sort of macro which directs the Mind (the older Classical Japanese martial arts like Katori Shinto Ryu and Ninjutsu have these in their training).

Mandala are the spiritual geometric designs which symbolically represent Reality and utilize the visual perception to aid in meditation. A mandala is created sequentially and is meant to be a symbolic creation of the Universe. When it has served its purpose in ritual or meditation it is destroyed symbolizing the cycle of creation and destruction which all of Creation goes through. This is the same thing done with Native American sand paintings.

As far as I can tell O-Sensei viewed Aikido practice as something combining elements of these traditions. Certainly we know he did chanting every day but when he was on the mat you could see elements of each of these threepractices in his Aikido. Physical technique to O-sensei was a symbolic creation of the world. The differing energetic elements are brought into harmony within a technique. Each physical movement represented an element like fire, water, earth, etc. In the Kotodama each element (based on the old Chinese Five Elements theory) is associated with various other characteristics such as color, sound (vibration), etc. Each of these energetic characterizations has a divine being or Kami associated with it as well.

Originally, the Universe was one undifferentiated whole. Then at the moment of creation you got a split into yin and yang. This differentiation continues in to the Five Elements which in turn combine in various ways to give rise to further levels of differentiation.

O-sensei's Aikido was a form of moving meditation which combined these elements. He utilized kiai to manifest the power of sound or vibration, also kokyu or breath also has certain sounds associated with it. The techniques of Aikido each contain very specific combinations of the elements and from a meditation standpoint they take on the function of mudra or physical representations of of the process of Creation. The phrase "Take Musu Aiki" contains this creative or procreative principle.

Further, there is the larger movement of Aikido. O-Sensei referred to Aikido as containing the movements of the Universe. In that sense when you are executing the movements of Aikido you are using your own body to create a mandala of sorts. It is a form of Scared Geometry in a sense.

This was the way O-sensei thought about what he did. Only a very few teachers have tried to duplicate his understanding of Aikido. Sunadomari Sensei was an Omotokyo follower if I am not mistaken as was Inoue Sensei (O-sensei's nephew). Hikitsuchi Sesnei is a Shinto priest and has this basic frame of refernce in his Aikido as well. In the postwar period most of the deshi did not have a classical education containing exposure to the great Shinto works. They simply did not have the knowledge of the Shinto symbology to understand what O-sensei was talking about.

A few, like Saotome Sensei, had spiritual expereinces through their training which gave them acess to some of the insight which O-Senseireferred to on a daily basis but they had to work backwards towards a description of what they had experienced rather than the other way around in which the description shaped their exeperience. Saotome sensei's book, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, is a good example of how this process worked for him. He took his own direct experience (developed during physical training with O-Sensei and solo misogi exercises learned from the Founder, combined it with his understanding of what O-Sensei had been saying and created his own description of what is inside Aikido practice. It is not Shinto but is more directed to a modern students with general scientific backgrounds.

For myself, I continue to develop myself as an Aikidoka, putting a strong emphasis on the martial side of the practice. But I am always aware of the various ways in which the teachers who went before me viewed what they did. It enriches every moment of my practice to understand that even the simplest of movements and exercises could be seen to contain the most esoteric and profound truths. I think it is this awareness that goes a long way towards ensuring that Aikido doesn't devolve in to mere fighting technique. It is clearly far more than that. But each of us coming from a different culture and generation from O-Sensei has to work out his own way of describing what is really happening within the physical techniques.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 08-13-2002 at 04:15 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2002, 04:55 PM   #13
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,035
United_States
Online
Quote:
Steven Miranda (Steven) wrote:
In Aikido Shugyo, Gozo Shioda states, at that time, that after 50 years and serving a long time at O'Sensei's side, he still ended up indiffernet to the religious aspects of Aikido. He goes as far to say he is an atheist. Yet O'Sensei had great trust in him despite this.
Interestingly, one of the things that struck me about both "Aikido Shugyo" and "Aikido Jinsei" was that, if you stripped away the religious imagery from Ueshiba's writings, he and M. Ueshiba were both saying pretty much the same things.
Quote:
Steven Miranda (Steven) wrote:
Not sure how this relates to this topic .. but thought I'd chime in. Didn't want Chris and Chuck thinking they were all alone.
Great!

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2002, 06:47 AM   #14
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 159
Offline
I like that, George. I am probably the least interested in the religious aspect of anyone I know with 30+ years of Aikido experience.

I don't talk about it on the mat at all. If someone asks, I refer to a number of books on various topics and ask them to read them and if they have questions, then come ask me.

It doesn't mean I'm not a spiritual person, just that I think Aikido is a complete study without the mystic. And yet I am about the only person I know who has experienced a truly profound mystical experience on the mat.

I see Aikido as a system of experience which teaches us all the various possible attack and defense situations. The more we learn, the more comfortable we are applying the concepts of maximized human potential.

I once saw Michael Jordan look at Larry Bird and Larry's left knee turned out... Jordan blew right past him. Pure Aikido. He 'looked him' off the ball. I've seen Koichi Tohei Sensei do the same thing.

It's about all the things that the human animal is capable of... all the ways we can turn and stretch, and lift, push , pull, see, hear, and move. Aikido teaches what is possible, and eventually you become centered and solid and sound and can no longer be surprised,

Even the mystical aspects of kotodama are explainable with the new research in nose breathing/ mouth breathing/, but that is another complete topic.

As always, I like your take, George.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2002, 07:13 AM   #15
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,035
United_States
Online
Quote:
Daniel Linden (DGLinden) wrote:
I like that, George. I am probably the least interested in the religious aspect of anyone I know with 30+ years of Aikido experience.

I don't talk about it on the mat at all. If someone asks, I refer to a number of books on various topics and ask them to read them and if they have questions, then come ask me.
I agree with that, I have limited mat time, and I prefer to do it training. On the other hand, I can (and do) read and study on my own time, and I think that it is important to do so, not only to understand the history of what we are doing, but to understand the thinking and reasoning of the people who created these arts. "Bunbu Ichi", if you will.

When I first started training in Aikido most people knew little about the history or the philosophy of the art - and even much of that was either inaccurate or (in some ways) misrepresented. The general level of Aikido knowledge today is much much higher, and I think that's a good thing, for all that it sometimes raises uncomfortable questions.
Quote:
Daniel Linden (DGLinden) wrote:
It doesn't mean I'm not a spiritual person, just that I think Aikido is a complete study without the mystic.
In contrast, here's John Stevens' take on the matter:

"Based on the teachings and inspiration of O'Sensei and Shirata Sensei, I have created a style - I call Classical Aikido. It presents Aikido as a complete system - - with Aikido based meditation, Aikido based kototama chanting, Aikido based book learning, and the classical techniques taught by O'Sensei and Shirata Sensei."

While I don't alway agree with him, I appreciate his point. I wonder what weight people place on study of the more academic/philosophical aspects of the art - either in the dojo or through self-study? For the record, nowhere I train currently teaches such things formally, or even talks about them much during training time, basically I get it through self-study or out of class (or after-class) discussion.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2002, 03:03 PM   #16
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 159
Offline
Chris, I agree to a certain extent. Where I hold back is the place where I deeply believe that aikido is an evolving art that daily discovers more and more about the human condition.

Ancient mysticism and esoterica are great for appealing to certain minds. When I was a thesophist I couldn't get enough of James, and the whole phenomenological movement. When I first studied aikido, I sat zazen and studied koans.

But now, well, like you said, I have limited mat time and I learn as much aikido from the world around me as I do on the mat. My students are mostly engineers and physicists and I see aikido developing in people all around me who have never heard of most of what has been discussed here already. Thanks.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2002, 10:54 AM   #17
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Offline
What little I know of the true spiritual aspects of Aikido come from second, third and even further removed sources. As I neither speak nor read Japanese I must depend on what I am told and what I read in English interpretations of O-Sensei's work. I admit this aspect of Aikido is extremely interesting to me and I may find something during the physical training that stimulates a thought and I may stop class to explore it a little. After all I'm not really on the mat for those other people, I am out there for me. As I learn and grow they absorb my past experience in the process. There thereby learn. It dose not matter if there is one person or thirty on the mat I will do the same thing and I will be there because I am training me, and the spiritual side of life has always fascinated me so naturally I am drawn to that aspect of Aikido. Being a Christian and a Mason a sociologist and a working engineer I find many of M. Ueshiba Sensei's symbols and exotic writings hold to universal geomantic patterns. Now perhaps it is the interpreters I have listened to and their understanding of his teachings that skew it, I don't know. Quite frankly I don't care. It does what I need it to do in my life. It fill out the fabric of my spiritual believes rather nicely. Kind of fits in.

I don't find anything wrong with this spiritual quest in Aikido in myself or others. I don't find anything thing wrong with a lack of it either. I can't imagine how hollow I would feel without it, but some folks seem to get along just fine without it and that is just fine with me. I believe the essence, the universality, and the cultural commonality of the Circle, the Square and the Triangle are the root of his teaching and spirituality is the path to realizing their true power be it through Aikido, Christianity, Masonic symbolism, Shinto or geometry.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2002, 03:35 PM   #18
DGLinden
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 159
Offline
I don't know Dennis, You don't usually get the last word, but you can come over and sit zazen anytime you can put down your banjo. I'll even break out the incense and bells.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2002, 06:56 AM   #19
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Offline
Nope, won't do that Dan, them damn pony's you call dogs play hell with meditation. Considering the spiritual nature of things does not necessarily mean that a person sets around sucking up incense and humming. No, it is much more work that, beside I never quite figured out were zazen fits into Aikido. I would rather contemplate the nature of the universe and god while smoking a good Cuban cigar. Some might say these are mutually exclusive activities. I say not so. After all I can contemplate my kinder humanity while throwing, hitting or pining someone. Mutually exclusive? No, Aikido! Sometimes I do pray but very seldom just set. I should do more I suppose. Clean the skin through sweat, the muscles through exercise, the internal organs through deep breathing, the spirit through prayer and the soul through meditation. I approach Aikido as a holistic art. I truly believe this approach has kept me alive this long while many of my contemporizes have succumbed.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2002, 02:43 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
I have been away in Europe and am still coping with jet lag and the tender mercies of KLM. The best contribution I cam make at the moment is to give a few comments paragraph by paragraph.
Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
The "make your outsides match your insides" part reminds me of "Aikido Jinsei" - Gozo Shioda commented on how M. Ueshiba was always telling him to become "sunao".

Anyway, your answer made me think of another issue, which is the way in which such concepts are expressed. Your statement isn't materially all that different from what M. Ueshiba was saying - even the things that Kano and Funakoshi said were, in essence, very similar to M. Ueshiba's statements. The main difference, I suppose, is that his method of expression was couched in heavy spiritual/religious terminology, while Kano and Funakoshi where much more down to earth.

PAG. I think there is a huge gap between M Ueshiba and his successors. With K Ueshiba, we have a large collection of books (and, even though there was quite a lot of ghost-writing, the result is what K Ueshiba actually thought). With M Ueshiba there are the 'doka', the edited lectures like "Takemusu Aiki" and a large number of individual saying, making sense of which is like trying to make sense of someone like Heraclitus.

M Ueshiba read the Kojiki, but apparently had his own interpretation of this work. Considering the history of the Kojiki and the uses to which it has been put, this would not be difficult. A hint of what this might mean lies in the fact that he also read Reikai Monogatari, the 90-odd volume opus of Onisaburo Deguchi. Now you and I might treat both works as objects of scholarly interest, worthy of study for the light they cast on Japanese language, history and religion. I think, however, that M Ueshiba did not do this. Rather, he treated them as we would read e.g., Thomas a Kempis, or Manga comics: graphic depictions of a reality with which he felt in constant tangible contact. It is interesting that M Ueshiba thought that kotodama quintessentially Japanese. John Stevens believes that Ueshiba made a simple linguistic mistake, but I myself do not think so. Mysticism and sounds have always had a very close association, but if one is going to call this association kotodama and then generalise it, I think that this is mistaking the part for the whole. K Ueshiba pretty firmly relegates kotodama to his father's private spirituality and is very clear that it is an optional extra.

----------

In "Aikido Ichiro" K. Ueshiba recommends that you subsitute "shizen" ("nature") for "kami" when reading M. Ueshiba's writings in order to make them more understandable/accessible. How much do you think M. Ueshiba's method of expression has helped Aikido? How much do you think that it has hurt Aikido? Ought that method of expression be altered to suit the more modern/western world? And if so, how much?

PAG. I was led to the study of Japanese culture and the language, as a means of penetrating more deeply the cultural roots of aikido, as a result of talking to teachers like Chiba. Like Mr Saotome, whom I have met only once, K Chiba was profoundly influenced by M Ueshiba and also had some deep spiritual experiences as a result of training. But, what Chiba and others say needs some sort of 'cultural' context. Misunderstanding, or misquoting, statements about aikido made by M Ueshiba and his immediate disciples has, in my opinion, contributed much to 'the present discontents' in Aikido. K Chiba and others constantly refer to the Founder and I have often wondered why they do this. Overawed by his 'charisma'? Feelings of insecurity and the need for reassurance? In any case, I was led back to what M Ueshiba himself had written and am finding that there is very little that stands up to serious analysis, with the intellectual rigour which one would give to, say, an important manuscript archive. Of course, this does not mean that M Ueshiba was a charlatan: it means that the bulk of what we know about M Ueshiba and his aikido rests on hearsay, to put it bluntly.

K Ueshiba's preference for 'shizen' over 'kami' was not a bad choice, given the later history of Shinto and Kisshomaru's desire to (a) maintain aikido as a martial art, and (b) make it available to everybody as a martial art that everyone can, and in fact should, practise.

---------

It seems to me that M. Ueshiba's method of expression has been one of the major deterring factors in a slide towards a commercial approach (that you often see in strip-mall Karate) or a sports oriented approach (that you often see in sport Judo or Kendo). On the other hand, I often think that people get a little too caught up in the philosophical aspects and start sliding away from the Budo oriented aspects. Also many people find (and have found) M. Ueshiba's language dense or inaccessible. Still I worry about altering things too much - sliding too far away from the center concepts that M. Ueshiba expressed...

PAG. Well, I occasionally find the commercial approach pursued by the Aikikai somewhat distasteful. I think the emphasis on sheer numbers of practitioners (with no adequate attempt at accuracy) and the recent publication of "Best Aikido", by Moriteru Ueshiba, are small examples of this.

However, what K Ueshiba and his son Moriteru have done is to focus on a set of core techniques, unchanging in essence (as a matter of doctrine) but adaptable to some extent. For M Ueshiba there was no question that the techniques really worked and were potentially lethal, despite the heady mixture of theory and fantasy in which he presented them.

Best,

Chris
I could go on at much greater length--and might well do so later, but I need to sleep...

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2002, 02:59 AM   #21
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
I seem to have made you write much more than you originally did. But I should add two more supplementary comments on the earlier post. The comments really go hand in hand.

(a) Since we cannot find out much about M Ueshiba's philosophical / cosmological views from his writings, or from his disciples, we shall probably never know what he really thought about the world. But we do know what he did, how he lived his life. I know that this also depends on hearsay, but M Ueshiba did not appear to have any major problems or angst about the effectiveness of aikido, whether in earlier or later incarnations.

(b) Thus the core techniques have to be continuously refined. In my opinion there will always be a tension between e.g., Aikikai reluctance to deviate from some norm of what is 'classical' and the need to subject this core to constant testing.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2002, 09:38 AM   #22
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Offline
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not an authority on this subject. However, working with Saotome Sensei for a long period of time to overcome or control Myasthenia Gravis I use kotodama at a physical too not necessarily a spiritual one. I did not become an authority or a teacher of the subject but a journeyman. I will not discuss the talks or methods we used but will off this little snippet out of 300 page book I did for my grandchildren to help them and me understand what went on and my understanding of why.

From "A Collage of Poppy's Life"

by Dennis Hooler

In Japan there is an age-old belief that sounds invoke action on the physical and spiritual plane. This use of sounds is called "kotodama" and the sounds are used to elicit a response from the body, mind and spirit. There are sounds that soothe, disturb, calm, agitate, and even kill. Sounds produce a physical vibration that is felt in the body and they invoke an image in the mind. Sound waves are powerful but many people take them for granted and do not understand their value in the healing process.

The scientific use of sound is only recently being discovered and used in Western medicine. A dentist may use headphones to produce sound for your relaxation as he drills your teeth without the use of pain medicine. A doctor may use sound waves to look into a mothers abdomen to check the progress and development of her baby. Or, as in my case the sound waves may be used to locate kidney disorders that would not show up on an x-ray. In the past I have encountered people that, because of their particular religious convictions, flatly refused to use the sound accompanying certain movements. They believed chants and certain other vocalizations were designed to conger up goblins and summon demons, or in some way violate their beliefs. When we look at sounds from an objective standpoint we begin to see their use as rational and important to our physical and spiritual well being.



From our first shout at birth announcing our arrival into this world, to a mother's gentle lullaby to calm the mind and body of her child, we are involved with sound. Only as we become older and more suppressed by our environment do we repress the need to producing certain sounds. Many people find it very unconvertible to shout for joy or scream in rage, even in the privacy of their own home, or in a controlled environment where such activity is encouraged. They are repressed by their sense of social values and so this beneficial tool used to restore harmony and create well being is not used. Emotion that was meant to be released is kept within the body and so it dies. This adds to the internal stress and degeneration of the physical and spiritual self. Not all emotion should be released at the time it is evoked but at your discretion, that emotion should be brought out and dealt with. Your grandma (Nana) will testify I am not the best example in the world of holding out for the right time, but I try still. I understand it and I rationalize it and know it's the right thing to do, but sometimes I just can't hold it back.



The use of sounds in the restoration of harmony and in creation is not new, neither is it strictly Japanese in nature. In science there is the Big Bang Theory. This is an attempt to explain the creation of the universe as it exists. We also find the use of sound in the Old Testament when at the sound of trumpets the marching feet and shouts the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. In the New Testament we find reference to creation being linked to sound in the Gospel of St. John " In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Nowadays sound is being used for everything from relieving pain to cleaning drapes. Nana and I had a fellow come to the house in a van with big tanks in the back. He took the drapes out of the house and put them in the van and cleaned them with ultra sound. I know I know, it sounds like science fiction to me too but it worked. No, really it worked. They were as clean as the day we put them up. So it should not be surprising that the use of sounds will assist us in our quest to find health and happiness. If sounds can clean drapes it ought to be able to help me out some. Don't you think? After all I think I got a little more going for me than a strip of cloth.

The use of vocalized sound to reduce mental and physical stress is not new to western culture. We whistle while we work, and we may hum a tune when nervous or frightened. The physical act of laughing has been known to cure people of terminal illness. When a group of people laugh together social stress is lessened and there is greater harmony in the group. A mother may take a frightened child to her breast and gently hum to soothe the fear away. The reverberation of the sound made deep within the throat travels through the body of the mother into the body of the child making a physical connection beyond that of merely touching head to breast. The use of sound in meditation is much the same as that of a mother soothing her child. The sound may be designed to stimulate or soothe, it may be used to adjust the mind to a particular state of consciousness more consistent with the specific exercise your involved with.

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2004, 06:38 PM   #23
bobmaxine
Location: toronto
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6
Canada
Offline
Re: Mysterious Action of Kotodama

Aikido is what it is.

In this it is like a perfect sculpture. It is like life. It is like us, or God. Period.

To inquire further is, I think, to miss the point
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2004, 10:44 PM   #24
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
Re: Mysterious Action of Kotodama

Quote:
robert maxine wrote:
Aikido is what it is.

In this it is like a perfect sculpture. It is like life. It is like us, or God. Period.

To inquire further is, I think, to miss the point
Well, since you have put it so baldly, perhaps an equally bald reply is called for. I do not think that a perfect scuplure, life, us, or God, are similar kinds of thing at all. Thus, your simile is unilluminating.

Ultimately, aikido is training or practice, but, as with other types of human activity, we can indeed reflect both on the fact that we train and also the questions what and why.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2004, 04:20 AM   #25
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: Mysterious Action of Kotodama

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
OK, I guess that I'll start things out, since nobody seems to be posting here...

In the beginning of "Take Musu Aiki" Morihei Ueshiba attempts to explain what "Aikido" is - one of the examples given is "Aikido is the mysterious action of kotodama, the great way of universal misogi."
The mysterious universal application of the laws of thermodynamics and probability on which the interaction of bodies in space depend. And when viewing all the activity in all the universe, each activity becomes improbable, unique, and a miracle since the probability of a particle being in any one spot at a specific point in time is improbable. We must simply accept that it is. Once we can accept that and work with it, everything becomes possible.

Yeah, I've gone off the deep end. That's what you get when you mix Zen with Physics.

Rock
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



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 Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kotodama shinei Training 3 10-08-2006 06:05 AM
Mysterious Action of Kotodama Lite Don_Modesto General 2 11-17-2004 02:16 PM
Hip Throw? Thor's Hammer General 20 06-05-2003 04:41 PM
Sounds and Kotodama Bruce Baker General 29 08-24-2002 04:03 PM
kotodama books Bronson General 2 07-12-2002 08:36 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:16 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 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