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Old 04-24-2004, 11:33 PM   #1
sceptoor
Dojo: http://ctr.usf.edu/aikido/
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Aikido and Tattoos

Forgive me if this has been brought up before. If not, I think this could strike up a good discussion.

If this has already been discussed, perhaps someone can direct me to that thread or threads.

Does anyone have any tattoos relating to aikido or other martial arts? If so, are there reasons for placing their tattoos where you did, or more interestingly, where you didn't?

The reason I am asking is because I have a local tattoo artist working on a design and I am having a tough time deciding where I should place it. Now, I am not asking for a suggestion on where to place it, but rather a little bit of insight that might aid me in choosing an appropriate spot out of consideration for any "martial art tattoo etiquette" that may exist.

Thanks for any help in this matter.

C. Martin

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Old 04-25-2004, 12:07 AM   #2
dion
Dojo: san diego aikikai
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

maybe not a direct awnser but really what it comes down to IMO is it's your body and it should go where you feel it's best placed.

I don't think there's a right or wrong place for a tattoo, martial related or not for any martial artist and I don't see how it would matter to your traing partner.

I myself have full sleeves, full back piece and others. I will say that Chiba Sensei did give me a few funny looks years ago but he or anybody else at our Dojo doesn't even notice them anymore. many people at our Dojo have tatttoos including women.

It's yours and it's very personal and I think it's great.

San Diego Aikikai
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Old 04-25-2004, 01:29 AM   #3
robbsims
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

I agree with Dion,

There are no rules about what it should be, or where it should go. A Tattoo is for your self.

That said, I have 2 tattoos. One is the kanji for aiki on my right calf. The other is a square circle triangle on my left shoulder.
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:07 AM   #4
Chad Sloman
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

All my tattoos, I can cover up. I haven't been brave enough to go below the elbow yet because I work in a pretty conservative industry. My next tattoo, I've already decided, is going to be the seven virtues of bushido on my right arm below the shoulder. Whatever it is, it should be personal. When I decide to get a new tattoo, I design it and think about it and look at it for a long time. My last one, I waited 18 months before doing it just to make sure. Some Japanese people may give you funny looks because if I am not mistaken, tattoos in previous centuries in Japan were reserved for criminals, yakuza and firemen. If I am not wrong, older, more conservative Japanese people still view tattoos in this regard, but the younger generation (wanting to be more American than American) is getting away from this mindset. They say in Japan, all the young Japanese people are getting tattoos of chevys and Elvis Presley instead of traditional Japanese tattoos that we think of.

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:55 AM   #5
Arianah
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

A couple previous threads:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3837

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1351

Sarah

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 04-25-2004, 11:00 AM   #6
sceptoor
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Thank you for posting those links Sarah, that was very helpful to me.

Some very cool ideas mentioned in there, like the AIKI tattoo on someone's calve, taken from Saotome's book - very cool!
I have that book right here and it took me 5 seconds to find the one I think he refers to. It is calligraphy done by Kisshomaru.

My personal take on tattoos in general: I am of the firm belief that tattoos are a personal decision and should first and foremost bear the individual's preferences and should always be carefully planned over time. I believe they should mean something to the individual so as to avoid any regret later in life, as they are indeed permanent. I am certain that Aikido will always be in my life, so therefore I am certain I will always be proud of it, in fact, it will likely become more important to me over the years as I train and grow. However, since I don't have any yet, and I have chosen a AIKIDO related tattoo as my first, I felt it best to ask those with many more years of training than I about how they came to the decision regarding 'where' on their body they are placed.

My initial idea was to place the design on my inside forearm amidst some traditional japanese crashing waves, maybe eventually a full sleeve with some koi in there. This is the design my artist is working on and so far looks good. Now, I am NOT one to worry about what 'others' think, if that were true then I wouldn't have made many of the major decisions that I have in my life. However, if having this on my forearm will inevitably lead to problems with any shihan I may train with in the future then I am unsure. If most people here feel that won't be an issue then I'll go ahead with it, otherwise, I may just place it on my leg where it will be generally hidden.
I don't mind strange looks or even shooting daggers from people or whatever, I just don't want to step on any shihan toes by placing tattoos in certain places that are considered 'disrespectful' if I can avoid it.

C. Martin

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Old 04-25-2004, 12:39 PM   #7
GrazZ
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

i've always wanted a tattoo but for one reason or another it hasnt happened. In this span of time however ppl kept telling me "dont just get a design for the sake of it looking good, get it cuz it means something" so i said, alright you all win hehe. After i started aikido and realized that it would take a miracle for me to stop training i told myself i'd get one if i ever reached black belt. So i think i'll either get one of 3 things: 1) i may go for the Yoshinkan crest myself, 2) a picture of a tsunami with aikido somewhere in there or 3) just the aikido kanji itself. All would on my shoulder if i were to get it anywhere, but whatever it is I still have like 4 years to decide
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Old 04-25-2004, 09:47 PM   #8
gasman
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

traditional tattoo restrictions say that they should be covered by normal dress. In the west, this means that a long sleeve shirt must cover it. The yakuza had rules that said the tattoos should be covered by underwear (aka the gi!)

According to muslim tradition, all tattoos are "haram" (forbidden) because permanently changing the surface of your body is an insult to creation.

I am still tempted to get one though.
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:01 PM   #9
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

People could always pick up a few of the temporary tattoos that I offer on this site and try it out for a while...

-- Jun

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Old 04-25-2004, 10:03 PM   #10
gasman
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

do you ship outside the US?
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:19 AM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
gasman wrote:
According to muslim tradition, all tattoos are "haram" (forbidden) because permanently changing the surface of your body is an insult to creation..
This is also true of Orthodox Judaism. IIRC, prevented Lenny Bruce being buried with rest of his family.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:32 AM   #12
batemanb
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

I was told many years back that having a tattoo will block the energy meridians under the tattoo. I don't know how true this is, and depending on what you believe about energy meridians, may not even bring this into contention, but thought I'd drop it in the pot.

Regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:47 AM   #13
cuguacuarana
Dojo: River Valley Aikido
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

I think tattoos are great. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get one on my left shoulder of a cougar. I love cougars, and have come to think of the cougar as a spirit animal of sorts. Anyway, I have read brief things here and there about left and right having different meanings in various philosophies and I believe O-sensei had his own lessons about left and right. I think John Stevens' book The Essence of Aikido talks about this a little. I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:57 AM   #14
PeterR
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Of course here if you want a tattoo you better resign yourself to being barred from public baths.

Or at least wearing bandages while you bathe.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:19 AM   #15
mantis
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
PeterR wrote:
Of course here if you want a tattoo you better resign yourself to being barred from public baths.

Or at least wearing bandages while you bathe.
Is this for anyone with a tattoo?
I heard Japan is more accepting of tattoos now.
I saw this on a National Geographics show on Japanese tattoo artists.
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:49 AM   #16
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Hi Sigurd,
Quote:
gasman wrote:
do you ship outside the US?
I'm guessing you're referring to the temporary tattoos that I offer... Yes, I have and do ship out of the United States. You'll see shipping information and such on the temporary tattoo page.

-- Jun

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Old 04-26-2004, 08:57 AM   #17
AsimHanif
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Hi Sigurd. I too am Muslim and reflected on this for years. I finally got a tatoo with the AI KI DO characters after resolving this internally. I work in a conservative industry so it's on my shoulder but now that I'm 40 I am more comfortable with where I'm at (in life) so I'm sure the next one will be more conspicuous.
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Old 04-26-2004, 06:20 PM   #18
PeterR
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
mantis wrote:
Is this for anyone with a tattoo?
I heard Japan is more accepting of tattoos now.
I saw this on a National Geographics show on Japanese tattoo artists.
Some public baths are stricter than others - but most have prominant signs banning them.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:24 PM   #19
sceptoor
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Ok everyone, thank you for taking the time to post in this thread. It really helped me make a decision as I am a very indecisive person as it is, so your help was terribly needed and it is also very appreciated. I went with my heart and chose my left forearm. Thank you again to everyone that contributed to this thread.
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C. Martin

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Old 04-26-2004, 11:48 PM   #20
Largo
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
PeterR wrote:
Some public baths are stricter than others - but most have prominant signs banning them.
Peter- just be glad you can get into the baths. The few times I've tried here in Toyama I've been turned down.
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Old 04-27-2004, 12:19 AM   #21
PeterR
 
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
Largo wrote:
Peter- just be glad you can get into the baths. The few times I've tried here in Toyama I've been turned down.
Wow - I've never been turned down.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-27-2004, 12:27 AM   #22
Largo
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Well, Toyama is inaka (not that it makes it better). By the way, did you hear about that guy in Hokkaido who sued over it? (he won, but the final ruling was that if the owner didn't feel sorry and change the policy, then there was nothing they could do)
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Old 04-27-2004, 06:04 AM   #23
Nick Simpson
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Cool tattoos! By the way, arent you the singer from Coldplay Chris Martin?
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:22 AM   #24
sceptoor
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
Cool tattoos! By the way, arent you the singer from Coldplay Chris Martin?
NO, LOL. but it wouldn't hurt to be Gwyneth Paltrow's other half.........

However, I AM the bassist of GNAW. I'm not on their latest recording though - as I just joined 3 weeks ago.
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/gnawmusic.htm

For the latest news on GNAW, visit http://gnawthis.20m.com

C. Martin

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Old 04-27-2004, 07:55 AM   #25
Nick Simpson
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Re: Aikido and Tattoos

She doesnt do anything for me Cool about the band, I thought your tattoo looked like a kind of sleeve tattoo someone in a metal or hardcore band might get. Ive been considering something similar for a while now, both the head of my organisation and my sensei have japanese style tattoos, full sleeve and shoulders. I was thinking about getting "the shape of punk to come" incorporated into a tattoo as a homage to Refused but im still mulling it over...
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