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Old 05-10-2004, 01:48 PM   #26
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

I believe Mark is correct in what he's presented...I wish that I had something more than a few fictional movies I've seen to back it up, though.

I do remember that the name 'aikido' was originally discussed as a general category of arts rather than a specific art. Kind of interesting actually. There are some articles on this on Aikido Journal, Stanley's series on the kobukan dojo I believe.
RT

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Old 05-10-2004, 03:13 PM   #27
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Mr. Peling began this post by saying:

"I was struck by several thoughts. First, many things that I have read in my growing interest about Japanese history are described here as "myths." Second, that people discounted or dismissed the connection between Aikido and the Samurai."

At first it seemed strange to me, as I'm sure it did to Mr. Peling, to some degree, that one would have to so "cautiously" approach the topic of the relationship between the warrior class of feudal Japan, bushido, and Aikido. But if you look at the following responses taken from the various posts thus offered, one could indeed understand where Mr. Peling was coming from and why he had to do it in the way that he did. Folks had the following to say:

a. That Aikido and the samurai have no relation to each other.
b. That samurai did not seek spiritual awakening.
c. That all samurai were bisexual.
d. That bushido had a tenet that proposed or demanded bisexuality.
e. That bushido did not exist until the 20th century.
f. That bushido was about piracy and brigandage.
g. That bushido is merely a justification for the political machinations of thugs.
h. That bushido is a formula for violence.
i. That bushido is only about fighting and killing.
j. That budo and bushido are in total contrast to each other.

Respectfully, I have to say that none of these statements are accurate. While one's decision to outright reject bushido (either in total or in parts) is of course one's prerogative, reinforcing one's personal decision with the weight of historical accuracy is an option that should remain open only to those that do not hold such positions as the ones listed above -- in this case.

It will always be hard to say what bushido is and/or is not. I think we will always have to accept that. Of course, we will have to also accept the fact that works like the "Hagakure" and "Bushido" played a huge part in the formulation of such notions. But we would be wiser to say that these works played a huge part in formulation of such notions such that they can speak to our own modern minds than if we said that they invented bushido outright. Rather there was long, slow, and random process by which the warrior of Japan came to build a link between what he did on the battlefield and what he did off of that field. In general, and especially for our purposes, he drew a relation between ethical ("proper") behavior and military practice. This long, slow, and random process is itself connected to another long, slow, and random process -- the one whereby "Japan" was unified and brought into Modernity. All this, I believe, has to be kept in mind.

Thus, I think one would be pressured to say that the bushido of the samurai came to an end with the end of feudalism, or soon there about -- this is because a class mentality was so much at the center of it, etc. However, that other part, small as it may be, of bushido that connected ethical (by today's standards) behavior to military practice, and vice versa, has indeed continued on past feudalism and even into today. It is this part that I think Mr. Ledyard is referring to in his post. I would only like to say that such personnel (i.e. military) cannot, like we cannot, choose the bushido of the samurai because of the elements contained therein that were central to things like the social system of feudalism. On the other hand, we, like military personnel, can indeed choose to foster a relationship between ethical behavior and our various military practices. I do not think that law enforcement agents or the various military agents of state governments have a monopoly or even an upper hand in this regard.

Budo on the other hand, I believe, is not solely a concern for ethical behavior in one's life and/or in relation to one's military practice. It is the way of spiritual awakening via the means of martial practice. Thus, bushido and budo are not the same things -- true. But they are not in opposition to each other either. In my opinion, it is not too fair to think of one as the evolution or devolution of the other. They are just different things -- even if a normal cultural overlap is present.

dmv
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Old 05-10-2004, 03:17 PM   #28
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

George wrote

"Now, Budo is another issue. If you train in the martial arts seriously there are certain values that inform that world. When those values begin to form the basis for your values system, when training is at the heart of how you structure your life, then you could be said to be following the path of Budo. I think Budo assumes that you have decided to live your life as a warrior even though you might not be a professional military person."

George, since we are talking about Aikido and its relationship to budo let me go in just a little different direction. Your feed back is always welcome.


Ueshiba O' Sensei would often say "Aikido is true budo". Did that mean the other stuff was not? I believe through his training and development process he came to a new understanding of what budo was. Indeed, I believe as the old concepts and moirés were filtered through him they changed a great deal and changed him a great deal. He was not your typical Japanese group submissive or even group follower; although he was a fierce Nationalist and an Imperialist of the old school he was also a mover and shaker. He seemed to be quite a contradiction of old and new. Personally I believe just as he redefined the meaning of Aiki to incorporate benevolence and love he redefined budo to fit his physical, spiritual and philosophical understanding of the art he was creating. It is significantly different from the old school thinking. Even his concept of what he was developing was dramatically different post and pre WWII. Read his daka and see the change in his understanding of what he was developing and how he viewed its place in world. I believe we Americans have defined for ourselves (if not redefined for many Japanese) the meaning of that enigmatic word Budo. We have changes Aikido just as it has changed us and in so doing we no longer hold onto the old ways but embrace the new. I believe this is true if our Aikido is alive and vibrant and we let that show through us. Just as he did we take what we like and add to it our own experiences and believes and we change, and are changed by the process. Budo as defined by the Aikidoka should be flexible and ever-changing to reflect the changing humanity of the practitioner.

Dennis Hooker
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Old 05-10-2004, 03:18 PM   #29
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hmmm. I really didn't get most of those statements you made from these posts...not the ones I took anywhere near seriously anyway...

RT

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Old 05-10-2004, 03:30 PM   #30
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Ron,

None? Really? Humbly, I still hold they are there - even starting with the very first reply. Granted I did not draw a line between serious and non-serious posts or anything akin to that since I was merely trying to show how Mr. Peling was indeed right for first issuing his post and for issuing it in the manner that he did. That is to say that there is indeed a lot of assumed bits and pieces that folks do indeed use to separate Aikido from its feudal roots while at the same time denoucing those roots. I was also suggesting that these "bit and pieces," which I did not feel it necessary to attribute to any one personality (hence why I did not directly cite anyone), since they do indeed seem to relate to a general consensus on this web site, are not historically accurate.

But maybe I just made things more confusing. Apologies.

dmv
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Old 05-10-2004, 03:46 PM   #31
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Exclamation Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Just a suggestion on how you can research your own answer. I am reading a book called "Secrets of the Samurai- The Martial Arts of Fuedal Japan" by Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook. They also wrote "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere".

It is lengthy (almost 500 pages). It is divided into 3 sections.

Part I is a study on the class structure of fuedal Japan (long and really more than I really needed to know).

Part II is about the different martial arts used in fuedal Japan including those used by people other than the Samurai. It includes armed and unarmed arts and shows links between them and modern arts, including Aikijutsu to Aikido, in solid scholarly way.

Part III (I have not read this section yet) is about the philisophical aspects such as the difference between Budo arts, such as Aikido, and Bujutsu arts.

I think you will find most of your answers in the book.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-10-2004, 03:51 PM   #32
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi all,

See, the problem is that there are many books like the one quoted above...written by a couple of shodan, years ago, before much accurate information was out. If you search on the web for reviews by people familiar with japanese history, you'll find that book does not get good reviews for accuracy. Great pictures...but filled with misconceptions. That kind of research will lead you astray on this topic.

For what its worth,
Ron

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Old 05-10-2004, 04:01 PM   #33
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi David,

Lets take a look at that first reply:

Quote:
I am definitely not a qaualified expert to credit or discredit Japanese history,
First a disclaimer.

Quote:
but I do know for a fact that Aikido and the Samurai are not directly related.
Now a pretty strong statement...that is actually true. The two are not DIRECTLY related. Daito ryu might certainly have been practiced by 'samurai' (or someone in the bushi class), but aikido certainly wasn't. The class had been abolished by that time. Since the techniques of aikido come from Daito ryu, there could certainly be an INDIRECT relationship. As the poster goes on to say...

Quote:
Aikido was created after feudal Japan. It is a realtively new martial art. I doubt any true Samurai learned Aikido. And besides, Samurai fought for their lives, not spiritual enlightenment
Now here in the last sentance, is something people could quibble with, since (as you say) how would we know WHAT they fought for, since we can't interview them. But the poster is not saying any of the statements that you had in your post. Not one of them. Read them carefully, then read his post, and you will see that. I have to say that your items strike me as an exageration of the various positions here, especially if you look at the posts by Don Modesto, Peter Goldsburry, George Ledyard, and a few others (hopefully myself thrown in there too).

Ron

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Old 05-10-2004, 04:39 PM   #34
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

I got 2 entries on David's list!

Some people may wonder why I have chosen to make mention of the contorversial fact that the Samurai, and other Japanese were non-specific about sexuality, where men had loving sexual relationships with other men, not just women. Remember also that some women were Samurai too having relationships with men and women too!

Well, wouldn't you believe it, they were human! Some of them loved the opposite sex and some loved the same sex, and some both! People romance about the Samurai and have this macho image, but they were people, just like you and I, and I think people should realise that.

I am all for shattering the almighty image of the Samurai for what they really were. Some good, some bad, some gay, some straight, some honest, some dishonest, some brave, some cowards, some skilled, some unskilled,....... Just like your slice of any society.


Last edited by Doka : 05-10-2004 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 05-10-2004, 05:08 PM   #35
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hi all,

See, the problem is that there are many books like the one quoted above...written by a couple of shodan, years ago, before much accurate information was out. If you search on the web for reviews by people familiar with japanese history, you'll find that book does not get good reviews for accuracy. Great pictures...but filled with misconceptions. That kind of research will lead you astray on this topic.

For what its worth,
Ron
Unfortuantely much that was written early on during the development of Aikido about Japanese martial arts and culture was really just popularization but but not reliable at all. These days there is much better stuff around.

Don Dreager, both Skoss's, Dave Lowry, Ellis Amdur, Dr. Karl Friday, Serge Mol, and Stan Pranin would be authors you could count on for better info. Just remember that they debate many issues with each other so nothing is written in stone.

See Koryu Books
This is a place where you can get great books that are top notch and reviews of many other books that they might not carry. I always check this site before I buy a new book onthe subject to see what they think of it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-10-2004, 06:00 PM   #36
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
George wrote

"Now, Budo is another issue. If you train in the martial arts seriously there are certain values that inform that world. When those values begin to form the basis for your values system, when training is at the heart of how you structure your life, then you could be said to be following the path of Budo. I think Budo assumes that you have decided to live your life as a warrior even though you might not be a professional military person."

George, since we are talking about Aikido and its relationship to budo let me go in just a little different direction. Your feed back is always welcome.


Ueshiba O' Sensei would often say "Aikido is true budo". Did that mean the other stuff was not? I believe through his training and development process he came to a new understanding of what budo was. Indeed, I believe as the old concepts and moirés were filtered through him they changed a great deal and changed him a great deal. He was not your typical Japanese group submissive or even group follower; although he was a fierce Nationalist and an Imperialist of the old school he was also a mover and shaker. He seemed to be quite a contradiction of old and new. Personally I believe just as he redefined the meaning of Aiki to incorporate benevolence and love he redefined budo to fit his physical, spiritual and philosophical understanding of the art he was creating. It is significantly different from the old school thinking. Even his concept of what he was developing was dramatically different post and pre WWII. Read his daka and see the change in his understanding of what he was developing and how he viewed its place in world. I believe we Americans have defined for ourselves (if not redefined for many Japanese) the meaning of that enigmatic word Budo. We have changes Aikido just as it has changed us and in so doing we no longer hold onto the old ways but embrace the new. I believe this is true if our Aikido is alive and vibrant and we let that show through us. Just as he did we take what we like and add to it our own experiences and believes and we change, and are changed by the process. Budo as defined by the Aikidoka should be flexible and ever-changing to reflect the changing humanity of the practitioner.

Dennis Hooker
www.shindai.com
Hi Dennis,
I think that Ueshiba Morihei saw what he was doing from an evolutionary standpoint but was certainly aware that it was revolutionary as well. When he made statements like "Aikido is True Budo" I do not believe that he necessarily meant that everything that went before was not. Rather I think he saw what he did rather like the founder of the B'hai Faith saw his new religion, namely as one that superseded but was still based on, the teachings of the past.

As far as O-sensei was concerned, all that was positive about the Budo traditions of the past are contained within Aikido but he felt that his teachings offered a brand new way to view them and practice them. By changing the assumptions underlying the practice we get a new outcome, something creative rather than destructive, an art which is designed to create peace, not by destroying an enemy but rather by destroying the illusions upon which conflict is based in the first place.

I would absolutely agree with you that we are in the process of redefining Budo. We started with an understanding of that word as it was taught to us by Japanese instructors. Now we have our own understanding of what we each mean by it. Although it won't be exactly a Japanese understanding, it won't be a typical American understanding either. And that is good. Some people say that if Aikido is going to become a truly American art, we should dispense with all Japanese terms, etiquette, anything which is Japanese in flavor. I totally disagree with this.

There is a reason that so many people look outside their own cultures for spiritual inspiration. Often it is difficult to see the truths in ones own traditions because one is too close to them and has grown up being too familiar with how their own traditions have failed to live up to their own ideals. But traditions from outside have the advantage of helping us shift our perspective and this is always helpful when working on spiritual issues. That why one often finds people from outside our own culture looking to our traditions for inspiration at the same moment we are looking to theirs.

So Budo has come to America. We will make something of it that is uniquely our own. I think we are more likely to make something really deep and creative out of the art than the Japanese themselves. Then it will be interesting to see if the teaching starts to go the other direction, from here back to Japan (somehow I suspect not without some resistance).

One can see this on the brink of happening in other arts, not just in Aikido. In many martial arts, especially the Koryu, and also many of the cultural arts like tea ceremony, etc. the senior students of these arts are in foreigners from N. America, S. America or Europe. When the Japanese sit up and realize that this has happened it is a shock for them. It will be interesting to see what they end up doing about it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-10-2004, 06:24 PM   #37
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Ron,

Again, I wasn't meaning to exaggerate, just generalize. In that sense, I didn't mean to suggest that the list I came up with should be seen in any kind of numerical fashion. It is not suggesting that this line went with that post, etc., directly. I.E. The first line on my list does not refer to the first post on the thread.

As for the second reply, the post you are referring to as an example of my misapplication and exaggeration, I think do see that it contains the idea that samurai were about war, fighting, violence, etc., and that whatever came after was about spiritual enlightenment. That is to say, as the poster says, "…the samurai fought for their lives, not spiritual enlightenment." Naturally I took this to mean that the samurai "struggled" toward victory and surviving the battle, not struggling toward spiritual awakening. I understood the words "fight for" metaphorically, and since the poster is demarcating a line between the past and the present -- such that he can use the word "indirect" -- I understood him to be suggesting a kind of definitive. For me this would correspond to my entry on this list: "The samurai did not seek spiritual awakening." In this same sentence, along with sentences from other posts, I think you can also gain a sense, because of what the original post was about, that the poster here also holds the positions that bushido was about violence, fighting, and killing -- two other elements on my list. Again, I do not think I am exaggerating.

The short way of doing this is to note that the Ratti book, which was also mentioned, can be dissected according to the list I put together -- but for the entries concerning sexual behaviors and/or critical history. For me, it's worth noting: the rejection of the samurai and the samurai traditions is carried forth at the cost of some great historical inaccuracies, for the sake of holding up Aikido as something totally different and something totally "better" (however each person wants to define that). This is one way, my way, of understanding what all is in the initial post. I did not wish to say what is "better," or anything like that. I was merely trying to note the room a fellow historian was trying to make in "(re)considering bushido in today's context.

I do not feel that I made any attempt to summarize Mr. Ledyard's post. I only gave a different opinion which was: If one understands bushido as the connection of ethical practices with military practices, then civilians who practice the martial arts can also adopt that aspect of bushido. I was not wholly in agreement with Mr. Ledyard's position that only military personnel had access (or had more access) to bushido. Just a different opinion -- that's all.

And as far as Mr. Modesto's post went I tried to address it as accurately as I could with the main theme being one of proposing caution not conclusion. I did not set out to say more than he did.

I did not even see a post by Mr. Goldsbury on this thread so I don't know how I could have been exaggerating it.

And I do not remember making any reference to your posts either.

Either I'm way off base, which can of course be possible, or I think I must be rubbing you the wrong way. If the latter is the case, I'm sorry. In attempt to keep the thread together through two pages worth of posting, and in attempt to allow the initial post to keep its voice, I have written what I have written. I have no intention to upset, discredit, insult, or disrespect -- none whatsoever -- by what I have written down. For me, respectfully, the Mr. Goldsbury comment stands out as a hint that for some reason I'm not being looked at too fairly. So I must be doing something wrong if not at least different. Again, apologies. My own experience with academic forums has led me a bit off kilter it seems - at least in regards to you and this post.

Thanks,
dmv
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Old 05-10-2004, 09:56 PM   #38
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

"I got 2 entries on David's list!"

lol - thanks Mark.

And thanks for the elaboration. Yes - I would agree. I too am not in favor of the romanticizing of the samurai. I also agree with your elaboration concerning the multiplicity of society - any society.


dmv
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Old 05-10-2004, 09:57 PM   #39
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Everyone,
First, let me thank everyone who offered up some possible readings for me to consider and add to my "Budo Library." This has become a very interesting thread for me, especially as a relative newbie, with much to think about and digest. I think in my reading I will focus on three questions to start with:
1. What was Bushido as the Samurai knew it?
2. How did this code change over time?
3. What is the application of Budo to our modern lives? (this one interests me the most)

The Books that have been suggested include the following:
Noel : The Changing nature of Bushido by Don Draeger
He also suggested looking at Koryu Books
Don J Modesto: Antiquity and Anarchromism in Japanese History by Jeffrey Mass
as well as 3 books by Karl Friday, including : Bushido or Bull? A Medieval Historian's Perspective on the Imperial Army and the Warrior Tradition, The Historical Foundations of Bushido, and Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan.
Also Harold Bolitho, "The Myth of the Samurai" in Japan's Impact on the World and The Culture of Force and Farce: 14th Cent. Japanese Warfare by Thomas Conlan
Mark Dobro suggests Cartographies of Desire: Male to Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse 1600-1950 by Jeffrey Plugfelder
George Marx suggests Secrets of the Samurai- The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan by Ratti and Westbrook
Finally, George Ledyard suggests books in general by Don Draeger, "Both Skoss's" Dave Lowry, Ellis Amdur, Karl Friday, Serge Mol, and Stan Pranin.
Again, thanks for the suggestions.
Dave
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Old 05-10-2004, 10:59 PM   #40
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi Dave,

Here are some other books you can look up if you got more time -- they will definitely give you a grounding concerning the debate going on. They are all kind of basic material books. I separated them into your breakdowns but of course they can be moved around a bit:

(Note: Some books I had in my library, some I had to remember off of the top of my head -- you should be able to find these things with your university librarian helping you. I'm not that far off on any of them I would think.)

1. What was Bushido as the Samurai knew it?

See the following:

by Neil McMullin: "Oda Nobunaga and the Buddhist Institutions", and "Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan"

by Karl Friday: "Hired Swords -- The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan", and "Legacies of the Sword"

by Jeffrey Mass: "The Bakufu in Japanese History", and "Antiquity and Anachronism in Japanese History"

by Eiko Ikegami: "The Taming of the Samurai -- Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan"

by Allan Grapard: "The Protocol of the Gods" (this book lets you understand how the aristocrats saw Japan -- politics, religion, and culture, etc.)

by Herman Ooms: "Tokugawa Ideology"

by George Sansom: any of his cultural histories -- particularly the one in three volumes "A History of Japan". While today these works are considered to be outdated, they will get your foot in the door concerning the debates and disagreements taking place in the latest research.


2. How did this code change over time?

See the following:

by James Ketelaar: "Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan"

by Helen Hardacre: "Shinto and the State: 1868-1988"

by Donald Keene: "The Japanese Discovery of Europe, 1720-1830"

by Stefan Tanaka: "Japan's Orient: Rendering Pasts into History"

by Naoki Sakai: "Voice of the Past: The Status of Language in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Discourse"

by Allan Grapard: (I think its in the History of Religions Journal -- or maybe -- Japanese Journal of Religious Studies) "Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution: The Separation of Shinto and Buddhist Divinities (trans. "shinbutsu bunri") in Meiji"


3. What is the application of Budo to our modern lives?

See the following:

(for common points of reference you might want to read)

by Takuan Soho: "The Unfettered Mind"

by Musashi Miyamoto: "The Book of Five Rings"

by Yamamoto Tsunetomo: "The Hagakure"

by Inazo Nitobe: "Bushido"

by Yagyu Munenori: (I think it's called something like) "The Sword and Mind"

(the next one is a must read)

by Confucius (Kung Tzu): "The Analects"

(here's a good survey book)

by Daigan Matsunaga: "Foundation of Japanese Buddhism: Vol. 1 and 2"

(a good entry book to Zen for Westerners)

by Thomas Merton: "Zen and the Birds of Appetite"

by Morihei Ueshiba (Osensei): Read everything you can get your hands on while remaining cautious about the translations.

Also read any original texts by renowned Zen masters (as opposed to folks writing about said masters). Some favorites of mine are Ikkyu, Dogen, and Ryokan. Some modern masters to look into are Sawaki and Suzuki. If you want to get into China -- oh boy! Great Ch'an masters abound! Go for it.

Well, hope that helps in a sort of general way. Good luck.

Yours,
dmv
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Old 05-11-2004, 12:17 AM   #41
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

So my new question is, to what degree of contact with the past is necessary for Aikido to claim a link to the samurai, if not Aikido then can any thing? Of course Osensei was not Samurai, but He was in the since of Pursuit of Perfection in Aiki. Samurai is not merely a title at this point in History, it is a Legacy, A Phoenix if you will, a MODE of being that has many expressions. But the idea of being a Servant to the universe is where we stand now, after Ueshiba. Can i claim to be a soldier if i am not in the army?NO. can i claim to carry the mantel of a solder?YES I Can. Obviously none of us live the life of the Ancient Samurai, but I do Live the Best Ideals that i can from all genres of the past, does that make me Samurai, i will let the universe decide that. As for the past will any one every really know the truth that is not in front of them or the universe if they do not know their own body?

in Aiki
Agatsu!!
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Old 05-11-2004, 04:34 AM   #42
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

For those interested in a good author on Samurai then I strongly suggest Stephen Turnbull. He's an expert in the field. Link goes to Amazon's list of his books.
Stephen Turnbull

BTW, the Bushido as described in Bushido Shoshinsu by Taira Shigesuke was written in the Tokugawa Shogunate where Samurai did not fight any longer. In the Sengoku (the civil war and what most of us think of as the golden days of the Samurai) there was no such code. After all, Oda used firearms after the Sohei used them against him and he saw their power on the battlefield.

As with everything, read one book on a subject and you're an expert. read ten books on that subject and you start seeing shades of grey everywhere. Read a hundred books on that said subject and you start doubting everything!

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:30 AM   #43
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi David,

No, absolutely no umbrage taken at your posts at all. When I referenced Dr. Goldsbury, it was simply his posts on this and similar topics in other threads. I do think we have slightly different viewpoints, but that is simply what makes us human! I for one, am glad for those differences...it would be boring without them.

If nothing else you've given me a lot to think about, trying to get clarity around a difficult issue.

Thanks, and
Best Regards,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 05-11-2004, 09:30 AM   #44
Dario Rosati
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Jordan Steele wrote:
I am definitely not a qaualified expert to credit or discredit Japanese history, but I do know for a fact that Aikido and the Samurai are not directly related. Aikido was created after feudal Japan. It is a realtively new martial art. I doubt any true Samurai learned Aikido. And besides, Samurai fought for their lives, not spiritual enlightenment.
The difference shows clearly if you compare the "soft" Aikido sword with more traditional (and combat-oriented) kenjutsu schools with medieval/military roots, like Kashima or Tenshin Shoden KSR.
If you have the chance to look (and even better, train) at both, you will probably come to the conclusion that the former is an evolution of the latter, and that the former (Aikido sword) clearly doesn't fit a potential real battle situation; the latter are surely more geared toward effectiveness (and even brutality) rather than armony and circularity.
A 14-15th century samurai on the battlefield wouldn't handle a sword like a modern aikidoist does... he would have died as fast as he raised (too much) the sword to do shomen against the first decent trained enemy

Just my 2c as an Aikido/TSKSR cross-trainer.

Bye!

--
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Old 05-11-2004, 02:24 PM   #45
senshincenter
 
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Dave,

That brought two more basic books to mind:

"Heavenly Warriors" by William Farris, which is a general survey of the bushi from 500 to 1300, and "Zen at War" by Brian Victoria, which is a book on the role Zen played in the rise of Japanese fascism in the first half of the 20th century.

dmv
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Old 05-11-2004, 05:15 PM   #46
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Excellent reference list.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
by Allan Grapard: "The Protocol of the Gods" (this book lets you understand how the aristocrats saw Japan -- politics, religion, and culture, etc.)

by Allan Grapard: (I think its in the History of Religions Journal -- or maybe -- Japanese Journal of Religious Studies) "Japan's Ignored Cultural Revolution: The Separation of Shinto and Buddhist Divinities (trans. "shinbutsu bunri") in Meiji"
If your library subscribes to the service, the former is available online at: http://www.netlibrary.com/. Do a search on the title.

The latter is quite a good read too, as well as
the Hardacre piece: "Shinto and the State: 1868-1988". They cover the same territory, Hardacre, having more space, in more detail. She provides interesting perspective on what it means to call Omotokyo "Shinto".

Regarding Mr. Valadez' earlier post:

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
DMV: The 1000 years sited by Mr. Peling does have to be qualified a bit but so too does some of the information Mr. Modesto is offering. Of importance is: a. The scholarship containing the position referenced here has been in academic circles for over 20 years now -- it's not "the current thing" that has just now shed light on a darkness long held;
Technically, I suppose, but twenty years is a short time for academic truths to reach popular consciousness. Just see how painfully scholars lament at the common separation of Shinto from Buddhism (Grapard above) in supposedly technical literature or the common association of Zen and the martial arts (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/show...t+total+dearth).

Quote:
b. The idea of a unified Japan is plaguing the conclusions offered. Each segment of Japanese culture, and even segments of competing cultures, had pockets of power all over the area we today know as "Japan". Thus, while it is not wholly accurate to suggest that the warrior class (i.e. samurai) ruled Japan up to 1000 years before the Meiji Restoration, it is also not accurate to say that courtiers and clerics ruled Japan in their stead and/or held more power.
This is put well but I'm not sure it contradicts what I said. I was discussing common conceptions.

Quote:
[DJM]: Until Edo (1600-1877) when the BUSHI became administrators and bureaucrats infamously inept with their weaponry (as demonstrated in the story of the 47 Ronin , e.g.)

DMV: Again, I think we have to be cautious about using general terms like the term "samurai" -- using them as if we could ever capture the multiplicity of human action and/or behavior by nomenclature alone. Plain and simple -- we can't. Some members of the samurai class became bureaucrats, some didn't. Some were always and/or became inept with weaponry during the Edo period and some didn't ever -- some stayed highly skilled and/or became more skilled. When warriors became politicians, they were not the only class to work in politics for the Bakufu, nor did another class fulfill all of the ranks of their military.
Yes. My post was long enough without splitting hairs, but I did overgeneralize, perhaps. I agree with your points here.

Quote:
3. [Big Dave] That they also functioned as local "law and order."

DJM: And as pirates and brigands.
[and from another post:
f. That bushido was about piracy and brigandage.]
It's a small point, but I think it was this sort of leap that Ron spoke of. It interpolated enough to qualify as a straw man argument. Examining the original point, as Mr. Valadez put it--"we have to be cautious about using general terms like the term 'samurai' -- using them as if we could ever capture the multiplicity of human action"--samurai have the vaunted reputation of being some sort of do-gooders. As many commentators (Friday, Bolitho, etc) note, this is unfair to their memory. Kyushu samurai, especially, were suspected of being WAKO, pirates, and plundering coastal Korea, putting a thorn in the side of the diplomacy of the time.

Quote:
DMV: ....we can look beyond the ailments of Feudalism -- look to the skill and the philosophy of the samurai, etc. If members of the samurai class, in the face of the ailments of Feudalism, turned antithetical to certain philosophical positions that came to be associated with bushido, this does not mean that the underlying philosophy does not exists. In fact, it proves that philosophy existed more than it did not -- by way of the antithesis. In other words, while some samurai did become brigands, pirates, smugglers, mercenaries, rapists, and terrorists, etc., robbing, pillaging, piracy, smuggling, raping, and terrorizing were never held up as a social ideal for the samurai class. There ideals were other -- and it is that other that Mr. Peling is wishing to talk about here.
Point taken.

Quote:
[DJM]: No. Bushido was a 20th century phenomenon. This is rather like a yoeman in Merry Olde England claiming the right to free speech: He could put the words together, but there was no legal concept supporting him. Similarly, Bushido was actually codified until the militarists of the 20's and 30's exploited it to unify the nation. See Karl Friday's The Historical Foundations of Bushido. Also, read his Bushidó or Bull? A Medieval Historian's Perspective on the Imperial Army and the Japanese Warrior Tradition.

DMV: In Mr. Peling's post, the words "they" and "governed" are problematic. So too is the word "code". It is very easy to answer "yes" and "no" to questions using such words, but that would be no answer at all -- which means this is no question at all. Dates, regions, contexts, etc., all are needed here to determine anything relative to whether or not we should ourselves idealize the ideals of bushido. It is most difficult to refer to the samurai as a unified group, singular in action and thought. They were not. Also, "governed" and "code" is by far too concrete a term to use for how the ideals of bushido affected members of the samurai class.

This is very well said and very clear. Mr. Valadez is very careful, at times, with his language and this is an example put to good use.

Quote:
For Mr. Modesto's post, I have to say, Bushido is NOT a 20th century phenomenon. Nor does Friday suggest this in the works cited. Most obviously: Friday himself is citing Nitobe's book as being instrumental in the modern development of the term and concept of Bushido and that book is from the 19th century. Also Friday, knowing he would be hard-pressed to prove otherwise, does not suggest that Nitobe, and/or others like him, was not referencing things older and/or much older than themselves. Friday's works in question have to do with the gap that exists between medieval samurai practices and political ideals held by the Imperial military of Japan at the beginning of the Modern era. While that gap undoubtedly has to do with the revisionist practices of that (or any) fascist government, they also have to do with the gap that exists between any concrete action and it's accompanying ideal. Since we are dealing here with various samurai ideals, it is hard to say how relative these articles (Friday's) truly are, but I would propose, not very. It is also not accurate to say that bushido was codified in the 20's and 30's. Bushido has never been codified.
Ironically, here I was being careful with MY language: Bushido before Uchimura and Nitobe was just one term among many: samuraido, budo, etc. I referred to that term: "Bushido". In quotation marks. The nebulous concepts antedating it certainly bear some influence, but both Uchimura and Nitobe were Christian apologists, not practicing Bushi. They first settled on the term and Nitobe in particular, writing in English, created the consciousness of this...code, as they called it. (Being careful again, I called it a phenomenon, not a codification.) It wasn't until the book was translated into Jpn that the Jpn began using the term in its current meaning. The book was first published in 1900; I will grant that that's the 19th century, but the effect dates from 1909 when it appeared in Jpn for the first time.

Quote:
DMV: Again, I think the context is way too general here to do anyone any good. But if Mr. Peling is suggesting that the various ideals of bushido had to do with a particular technology of self that would have warrior "learn" more than simply how to fight and/or kill -- the answer is undeniable "yes".
We'll have to agree to disagree. Some were cannon fodder, pure and simple. The marriage of BUN/BU was for leaders, not foot soldiers.

Quote:
7. [Big Dave] That while O'Sensei was not of course a Samurai, he studied sword fighting and aiki-ju-jitsu and then modified them to create aikido, a less lethal form of the former arts.

[DJM]: Many would take issue with the lethality part, starting with the founder.

DMV: Yes, personally I would take issue with the words "less lethal", same thing with "modified" and "create", but maybe that is another thread.
Pertinent points. I missed them.

Quote:
8. [Big Dave] Certainly many Samurai abused their power and authority, just as those who have great authority today often do. But I think it's important to keep our eye on their ideals, as these ideals are important.

[DJM]: As well as their transgressions. Remember Fuerbach's contention that we invest our higher values (God) with precisely the virtues we...lack.

DMV: Well, Mr. Modesto, how about some of that "as well" now? Seems like your whole post is dedicated to just the transgressions. ;-) True, they are important, but they are not the whole picture, and maybe not all the relevant to what Mr. Peling is suggesting.
Busted! And I may have done Mr. Peling injustice, if so, apologies to him. But I think the litanies of samurai nobility, blah, blah, blah are far more prevalent than the realities of their existence and behavior which usually receive scant attention.

Quote:
DMV: ....I think Mr. Peling's post is strongest here, and perhaps it is here that we could discuss the issue at hand. I suggest this because references to history, if we desire for those references to be accurate, are just going to make this thread way too complicated. Japanese history will not offer us here the "proof" we need here to reject or accept the ideals of bushido. Here is what I think is best in Mr. Peling's post -- what I think readers should make room for but are apparently not:

[Big Dave]

"Would I like to have embrace Bushido as a life style? Honor, discipline, Integrity, loyalty, why wouldn't I? It's an ideal after all - something we try to live up to, just as the Samurai did. Certainly many Samurai abused their power and authority, just as those who have great authority today often do. But I think it's important to keep our eye on […] these ideals -- [they] are important.
Abused? According to whom? When Lt. Calley slaughtered innocents in My Lai, would that be an abuse of those values? He did as he was ordered. Absolute obedience was part of what we call bushido, after all. The values we like, we have no need to call bushido. And if we leave out those we don't, it's no longer bushido, is it. With caveats, Mr. Valadez' constant wariness of anachronism, e.g., taking only those values of which we do approve from this artificial construct of bushido, changes the thing and the result need not/cannot even be called bushido. Lots of other times, folk, and circumstances have valued, discipline, loyalty, etc.

Thanks for the stimulating discussion.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 05-11-2004, 09:16 PM   #47
aubrey bannah
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Another worthy primer is The Unfettered Mind, Takuan Soho, trans by William Scott Wilson.

Such powers I poccess for working in the political field have been derived from the spiritual field. Mahatma Gandhi.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:00 PM   #48
senshincenter
 
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Dear Mr. Modesto,

Please call me Dave.

May I say, wow, I'm impressed and pleased by your response -- especially that you are familiar with Professor Grapard's work and its importance. Thank you very much for taking the time to post and to post with such attention. Professor Grapard was actually my mentor through my undergraduate, master's, and doctorate work. I'm wondering if you have come know him personally, that we may have actually ran into each other somewhere or some-when??? What a small world that would be (again)!

Yes, I would agree, the bigger problem does seem to be the romanticizing of the samurai when one considers the larger sub-culture of martial arts. No doubt that is something that has to be addressed -- as I agreed earlier to in a reply to a post by Mr. Dobro.
And, looking back now, I can see that I undoubtedly ran into such a process, one that had long been taking place before I arrived on this forum. And most likely before that there was the process of folks trying to build the samurai and bushido up and into something they are not and/or could never be. Please excuse some of the naiveté that came my way for not realizing all of this until now.

I was in fact trying to ally myself with your end but in doing so I opted for the "weapon" of, will you allow me to say, "measured" discourse. That is to say that I do not feel that anything more is actually required to show how many understandings of the samurai and bushido are either modern invention and/or mythical in nature; etc. I was also suggesting that nothing more than this type of discourse, that still does fully allow for Mr. Peling's post, is required to demonstrate that the bushido of the samurai is not open to us as a citizen of Modernity; etc. - all things I'm sure you would agree with, and things which I ended up posting later in this thread. However, in the same process, I saw tinges of Aikido's own tendency to romanticize itself while attempting to de-romanticize the samurai. I felt measured discourse could address all of these problems.

Treating your last post with the respect and courtesy it deserves, please allow me to address some points you made.

* I have to say that I was not out to contradict you, etc. So I do not feel that much of what I said negated what you were saying. If anything it was more of a "Yes, that is true, but so is this." It was in the "so is this" that I thought Mr. Peling could find some space for his original post - space it deserves but which I did not think was being granted by the thread as a whole. I did completely understand your use of common conceptions, etc., but felt that others in the thread did not -- at least not completely. As such, I saw a relation, even if it was an indirect one, between some of the factual statements you were saying and some of the outright dismissals that others were offering to stop Mr. Peling's post right in its tracks. Of course, I am not Mr. Peling's champion, and he would hardly pick me even if he needed one, but being a bit knowledgeable on the topic I felt a "push" to reply with my opinion.

Understanding you were using common conceptions as a root to your post, I made use of that same tool when I summarized that part of the thread that was closing off room for Mr. Peling's reply. In reference to a point from you latest post: I did not say that you were saying, or that anyone else was saying, "bushido was about piracy and brigandage." In answer again to the charge of "exaggeration," and in line with my ensuing defenses and/or all of the other following posts that ending up lending credence to my summary, allow me to note that the thread elsewhere contained the idea that bushido was used as a justification for an abuse of power - an abuse of power which can be understood both in terms of our own understanding, and in the historical evidence as far as what some samurai actually did (which does include piracy and brigandage - as you noted - and a whole lot more - as I noted. )

The polemics of the thread that were used against Mr. Peling's post, in attempt to end the romanticizing of the samurai and bushido, were making use of this relationship (i.e. bushido was a justification for the abuse of power, and samurai practiced piracy and brigandage) to say, "Get over it, stop trying to be a samurai." Hence my summary point.

Had I wanted to cite anyone, I would have. While some posts could be directly, almost word for word, connected to lines from my summary, even then it was not my intention to cite a person. That came about solely by the singularity of the topic summarized. Again, and totally different from the reading leveled against me, I wanted to say that there was a (growing) relationship here in this thread between the ideas that bushido was used as a political justification for an abuse of power, that the samurai were pirates and brigands, and that therefore one should not make space for Mr. Peling's post because it can be deemed "romantic" (and thereby based in falsehood).

In the end, my attempt, as was stated over and over again, was to make discursive space for the original post, in this case, by saying the obvious: "You know, you can't judge something in total by what some are doing in subtotal. Nor can you judge an ideal by the failure of those to live up to that ideal." After my post, many folks made these exact same points. Respectfully, what I did was no leap, small or large. It is was not an insertion of something that was not there. And it was not the setting up of your position in order to "knock it down". If anything the charge of exaggeration is an exaggeration itself. After all, though the attempt has been made, no one has been able to demonstrate this charge. As one academic to another, and not to inspire some sort of sympathy, it is unfair to use the phrase, "the sort of leap" in addressing my point. The thread does in fact hold my summary accurate, and this point here is not outside of that accuracy.

* When I read your section on Bushido being a 20th century phenomenon, I noted that the word "bushido" was not in quotation marks. This, as you can understand, led me to the position that you were not merely referring to the word itself. Your usage of the word "phenomenon" also led me to this understanding. I figured since you had made points elsewhere concerning the relationship between Nitobe and the word "bushido," you would have said "the word ‘bushido'" if you wanted us to understand that that was all you were talking about in this paragraph.

I agree with most everything you say in your latest post concerning this point. However, I would say that while one might hold that Nitobe was instrumental in coining the term, this should not lead us to the conclusion that it was Nitobe himself, and other thinkers like him at the turn of the 20th century, who invented the idea that military practice can and/or should be related to ethical behavior -- which is one of the aspects that Mr. Peling was most interested in discussing.

Nebulous or not, which I agree it was (and still is), I hold it to not be too fair to close off Mr. Peling's post by saying or suggesting that folks like Nitobe invented, started, or even sealed bushido. One man, nor all the men of one generation do not in total make an ethic. In agreement with you, undoubtedly the genesis of a nomenclature is relevant to our understanding, as is the noting of a tendency for revisionist historiography that plagued Japan at this time, but I still hold that it is not wholly accurate to suggest that "bushido is a 20th century phenomenon" (as you first posted). Perhaps we will have to disagree to disagree here, but I imagine we are just coming at the same thing with different ways of describing it.

* I agree with your point on how some samurai were just "cannon fodder". I don't think I'm saying anything different, especially after I had made the suggestion that we should not over-generalize and allow for human multiplicity. Bushido was an ideal, as an "ideal" I am saying that not everyone followed it. Being a samurai didn't make you a follower of bushido. That was your point -- a point I concurred with then. And that has been my point all along -- and my reason for why one cannot denounce bushido based on the actions of some samurai, etc.

What I was saying "yes" to had to do with how a particular technology of the self allowed for a particular person to carry out a particular set of practices. I was not saying "yes" to the idea that all samurai were proponents of bushido -- especially right after I disagreed with Mr. Peling assumption in this regards.

* It is true, the ideals that we may appear to hold in common with the samurai, such as honor, a sense of shame, loyalty, responsibility, courage, etc., are so intimately connected to a class mentality that is so thoroughly entrenched in feudalism that it is next to impossible to suggest that our honor is the honor of the samurai, that our loyalty is their loyalty, etc. I agree. Knowing the history, as you do as well, I have to admit that Mr. Ledyard' suggestion about the military and the police adopting bushido as a code of conduct made me more nervous than not. But, I can understand his point if I consider him to merely be suggesting that one can and perhaps should draw a relationship between ethical behavior and military practice. When I considered what he was saying from that perspective, I deemed it possible for all of us (as martial artists) to do the same -- not just the military or the police. After all, it seems one sure way of curbing power in the hands of the powerful -- which was indeed one of the reasons behind the effort to set a manner of conduct as an ideal for the samurai.

* As historians, especially historians born in the post-modern era of the Academy, we sometimes fail to apply our own insights to our own lives. In particular, we accept the notion that things develop, that they have their genesis and their demise, we understand the gap that exists between will and effort on the part of agents and institutions, etc., but often we fail to recognize how our own time is subject to these very same forces. We tend to consider our own time "settled, once and for all." We tend to consider our own time outside of history.

It is true that the samurai's honor cannot be our honor. But is it true that we cannot connect our sense of honor to our military and/or martial practices and call it "bushido"? Earlier in this thread I was critical of this. Now I'm wondering. Is it true that we cannot by connecting our honor to our marital practices thereby have our own time follow in line with the rest of history - that long duration that has played a part in the development of this term "bushido"? Is it true that we as society or as a culture cannot share in the same social aim of the samurai, to temper the power to kill with a responsibility toward the social?

If we can as historians but see the agency and the subjectivity in our own times, I think we can and perhaps should allow for these things. I have no conclusions to offer. I can say we cannot allow for a romanticism to take place and/or any revisionist history to reign supreme. That is always a dangerous thing. But aren't these things achievable outside of exercising the historian's supposed privilege to Truth? Are we truly working toward the end of romanticism when we hold that "bushido" is long gone and cannot ever be again, or are we just claiming and spending the cultural capital society affords to us, the historian? I am beginning to believe the latter. And I'm beginning to believe the latter is founded in non-reflexive stance, one that holds the historian's own time period outside of history, holding it in a realm of supposed objectivity by which he/she can utter down the Truth from his/her ivory tower.

In short, have you thought about why we as historians are so quick to say things like "you can't name it that," "you will have to name it something different." After all, we know things have histories, and we know histories involve many continuities and discontinuities. We know histories are alive. Why is our own time not afforded the right to have a say in such things, to add its input, to make its own continuities and discontinuities? It seems to be because we would then lose our right to objectivity over all other times.

So for our time, Time has ended, evolution is unwanted, and development is an out of date idea. We say, "you can't name it that", "you will have to name it something different", etc. Of course the right to nomenclature is one of the ways that we gain our various forms of capital within our own halls, but under what privilege do we seek to enforce such things upon others, upon our time as a whole?

Have you thought about that?

I am beginning to see no reason behind such an extension of privilege.

Let me know what you think -- when you get a chance.

Again, and in return, thank you for the stimulating reading.

Yours,
david
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:34 PM   #49
Big Dave
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Hi all,
In my original post I said that conventional wisdom held several ideas or concepts to be "facts." I thought it might be useful to know from where I came to these conclusions about these so-called facts, which many of you have since disputed on the basis of your own reading and knowledge. What a great discussion.....anyway, my primary source is a book called The Making of Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen. He is a professor emeritus from Princeton University and has authored a number of books on Japanese history. This book is well annotated and uses substantial documents to argue its main points. I really like this book and would recommend it. Maybe there is some merit in looking at some of these questions in a broader context beyond the world of martial arts?

1. That for nearly a thousand years Japan was ruled by warlords - Daimyo and Shoguns who were supported by a warrior class called Samurai. The Samuari protected the interests of the lords in a feudal society.
and
3. That they also functioned as local "law and order."

Here, Jansen writes that the original Samurai emerged during the Heian period of Japanese histroy in the 11th and 12th centuries. He writes that the origin of the world "samurai" comes from the word "Subarau" meaning "to serve." He goes on to say that these Samurai, "...emerged as the keepers of the peace in areas where government lands had never been transferred to the private estates." (Jansen 8)

2. That these warriors were extremely skilled in swordfighting and hand to hand combat.
This was just my own conclusion, having read a few histories of the period.


4. They were governed by a code of conduct called "Bushido."
This code called for absolute loyalty to their lord and that they were expected to be courageous in combat. Honor and discipline were also emphasized.

According to Premodern Japan: A Historical Survey by Mikso Hane, The ideals of the Bushi first emerged during the Kamakura period and was known as " the way of the bow and arrow." Hane goes onto write," The Ethos of the Samurai demanded that the warrior live by the principles of duty, loyalty, integrity, honor, justice, and courage." (71)
He also writes that the more formalized code of Bushido is articulated later during the Tokugawa period. He goes on to describe how the interests of the family guided the Samurai's system of values and the relationship between a Samuari and his lord was often a familial one.
Jansen, see above, writes that " It was in the Tokugawa years that the articulation of Bushido was perfected" (103). He cites the Hagakure, which is apparently considered to be "the classic exposition of the Samuari value system." (102) The brief citation cited in this text seems to suggest that a Samuari needs to accept his fate of death in order to live, must be completely subordinate to his lord, and be discreet in his dealings. Jansen then goes on to point on how the Hagakure enjoyed a revival during the prewar years and then again in the 1970's following the suicide of a famous author, Mishima Yukio. Finally, Jansen points out that by the end of the Meiji government, a census of the Samurai families puts the number at over 400,000 households, over 1.8 million people total, or about 5 to 6 percent of the population of Japan (105). (This does not directly realte to my point but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.)

At first glance, without having read any of the books that have been suggested, there certainly seems to be some solid evidence, in the form of documented history, hat the Code of the Bushido existed long before 20th century.

5. Ideally, Samurai were expected to be more than warriors.

I need more time on this one....I did read somewhere that Samuari were often expected to embrace things like poetry, calligraphy, gardening, tea ceremony, etc...in other words , be more than just a warrior per se, but I may be mistaken.

6. Those who failed or otherwise disgraced themselves were expected to commit suicide.
Most of the accounts of this have been anecdotal...like Nobunaga, a famous unifier of Japan who in 1582 commits seppuku after having been defeated in battle...Jansen 16
I could cite many other examples of this from any number of texts. Cleary there was some expectation of this in Japanese culture, even if it was not always done when one might have expected it.

7. That while O'Sensei was not of course a Samurai, he studied sword fighting and aiki-ju-jitsu and then modified them to create aikido, a less lethal form of the former arts.

Everybook I have read on Aikido points how O"sensei studied aiki-jujitsu, Judo and the Sword arts extensively...

Ok, enough for now...back to reading and a trip to Barnes and Noble shortly....
Good night all....
Dave
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Old 05-12-2004, 05:00 AM   #50
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
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Re: Aikido and Samurai: a few questions

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Charles are you sure about this .
Hi Peter,

Both the John Stevens` biography and William Gleason`s Spiritual Foundations of Aikido say the family was samurai. They both cite Kisshomaru Ueshiba`s Aikido Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei Den, so I assume it is written there. I believe my local library has a copy so I`ll take a look. Where did you read the bit about Takeda?

Charles Hill
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