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Old 06-02-2004, 05:11 PM   #1
Don_Modesto
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Is aikido unique?

If so how?

My answer:

Ethically--no: Most martial arts--especially GENDAI BUDO--claim pretty much the same ethic.

As a blend of Buddhist/Kami spirituality--no: That pretty much defines the MICHI.

As a blend of DR and Omotokyo--yes, pretty much by definition unique. (But I don't know how Omotokyo differs from other branches of Jpn spirituality...)

What say you?

Thanks.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:25 PM   #2
Jordan Steele
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Wasn't this thread posted recently. Anyway, no I don't think Aikido is unique becuase it is relatiely modern in the martial arts world, however the person practicing it can make it unique. Aikido's techniques are not original or very complicated. A unique martial art would be something like Capoeira or some Kung Fu animal forms.
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:04 AM   #3
Mark Bilson
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Re: Is aikido unique?

The element that I believe makes Aikido unique is Takemusu Aiki............The concepts required to achieve Takemusu Aiki go beyond any thought process.................Once achieved it gives a person new eyes........

Mark Bilson
www.roleystoneaiki.com
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:23 AM   #4
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Mark Bilson wrote:
The element that I believe makes Aikido unique is Takemusu Aiki............The concepts required to achieve Takemusu Aiki go beyond any thought process.................Once achieved it gives a person new eyes........

Mark Bilson
www.roleystoneaiki.com
Hey, how about defining what you believe "Takemusu Aiki" to be so that the rest of us know what you are talking about.
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Old 06-03-2004, 08:58 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is aikido unique?

IMHO, when we view the uniqueness of things, we create separation and distinctions that prevent us from seeing the common denominators that unify. Uniqueness also often implies ego judgement, that my uniqueness is better than your uniqueness. I thought that part of the belief system inherent in Aikido is to connect, harmonize, and unify.

While I see differences in emphasis, there are probably a lot more similiarities than uniquenesses.

I don't think Aikido is unique, it only my choice of training.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:26 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
Hey, how about defining what you believe "Takemusu Aiki" to be so that the rest of us know what you are talking about.
Wynand,
This is a fundamental concept in Aikido. You should take the trouble to research this yourself. Virtually every good book on Aikido will have something about this.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:35 AM   #7
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Wynand,
This is a fundamental concept in Aikido. You should take the trouble to research this yourself. Virtually every good book on Aikido will have something about this.
I think Wynand was taking a poke at Mark re. this thread....but I might be wrong on that.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-03-2004, 05:39 PM   #8
Mark Bilson
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Wynand,
I have already defined Takemusu Aiki and how to achieve it on the thread "takemusu Aiki basics". But you did not understand or comprehend my beliefs which are the result of my own personal training and walk on the path. Instead you chose to cast off my words as "spiritual mumbo jumbo".............when in fact they clearly define the path of Takemusu.........Your cup is full........enjoy your search........

Mark Bilson
www.roleystoneaiki.com
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Old 06-05-2004, 03:43 PM   #9
senshincenter
 
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Re: Is aikido unique?

If I may say so: The reasonable man can always mark differences without the need to condemn any one difference under another. Therefore, noting the uniqueness of something should not be an act that we should a priori intimately link with being unreasonable.

That the Founder believed his practice to be unique is beyond dispute. For example, he writes:

"The ‘aiki' of which conventional martial artists spoke and the ‘aiki' of which I speak are fundamentally different in both essence and substance. It is my sincere hope that you will ponder this deeply." (Enlightenment Through Aikido, pp.29)

In my opinion, that difference, that which we are advised to ponder over deeply, is found within the last tenet of which Mr. Modesto wrote: the element of how Osensei's martial praxis (i.e. Daito Ryu, etc.) was combined with the religiosity of Omoto-kyo.

If this thread was titled, "Did Osensei believe his art to be unique in comparison to other martial arts?" The answer is "yes". If we answer "no" to the current question, "Is Aikido unique?," it would seem that we would then have to go on in proving how Osensei was mistaken/wrong, rather than just saying "oh, all arts have something to offer, etc." (no matter how true that may be). This is not to say that simply answering "yes" to these questions frees us from the Founder's call to ponder things more deeply. In fact, an affirmation to these questions requires more contemplative-practice than were we to answer them in the negative.

The Founder, at his time, was unique, quite alone, when he flavored his martial arts training not (solely) with the traditional Buddhist, Confucian, and Shinto elements that nearly every other art did -- when he spiced things greatly with Omoto-kyo theology. He, like the New Religion Omoto-kyo, and his art, were saying things and combining things in revolutionary ways. Borrowing heavily from Omoto-kyo, he marked his art and his training as completely distinct from what came before (at least in regards to what we are mostly aware of) when he said:

"Aikido is not the art of fighting using brute strength or deadly weapons, or the use of physical power or deadly weapons to destroy one's enemies, but a way of harmonizing the world and unifying the human race as one family. It is a path of service that works through the spirit of God's love and universal harmony by the fulfillment of each individual's respective role." (underline emphasis my own)

Most techniques of Aikido are found in other arts. Most arts can readily agree with what is said above but not underlined. However, when Osensei said the part I have underlined, well, no one was talking like that at that time (even today, few do -- even within Aikido). No one combined a given set of techniques, a given way of training, a universal deity whose primary characteristic is Love, with a sense of having a mission in one's life such that one is surrounded by divineness all around and within. Together, these elements mark Aikido's uniqueness. In the face of all the other divergent and various expressions of the art we see today (those things that one is able to do with Aikido's techniques, with the training, with the philosophy, etc., in apparently independent ways), an aikidoka must always return back to, reference back to, this combination of elements that truly mark Aikido as unique. For if not, the core message of Aikido, that from which its namesake is derived, will never be pondered over deeply enough -- never deeply enough to understand what is Aikido and what is not Aikido (whether it goes by a different name or by the same name).

Thank you,
dmv
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Old 06-05-2004, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: Is aikido unique?

I see that my emphasis did not come through in the paste. The part I think that makes Aikido unique as provided for in this last quote is the part of the quote that goes, "...but a way of harmonizing the world and unifying the human race as one family. It is a path of service that works through the spirit of God's love and universal harmony by the fulfillment of each individual's respective role."

sorry for the initial lacl of clarity.
dmv
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Old 06-06-2004, 01:42 AM   #11
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
If so how?

My answer:

Ethically--no: Most martial arts--especially GENDAI BUDO--claim pretty much the same ethic.
I would say what planet are you living on ?

Claim it maybe. Expressed through actions of their forms maybe NOT.

but the most unique part to me, as contentious as the family can be,
is the sense of community that often welcomes me wherever I travel.

When I describe that sort of thing, karate teachers and others look at me like I am crazy. Unimaginable in their world.

Craig
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Old 06-06-2004, 12:04 PM   #12
Don_Modesto
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
I would say what planet are you living on ?
...er, the one where Shioda Gozo drives the back of his UKE's into the fire hydrant, er, mat from a running attack;

...the one where Isoyama bounces his UKE's another 8 inches off his shoulders before dropping him onto the curb, er, mat.

Quote:
Claim it maybe. Expressed through actions of their forms maybe NOT.[/
Forms?

The devil can quote scripture to his ends. Thinking somehow that the way we READ OUT ethics from techniques implies that they are IN the techniques is mistaking the map for the terrain. Aikido can kill and stikers can modulate their strikes. There are no givens with form.

Watch the Aikikai's Saotome punch and kick his UKE in the Friendship Demo; some of those strikes would have broken a neck at UKE's velocity. Next, listen to folks who've seen the JKA's Oishi drive a punch into a man's throat reddening the skin above the carotic without hurting or even dazing him.

When Osensei said, "Aikido is the universe" he didn't footnote is with, "except for all that nasty kicking they do in the Ryukyus." If he created something new with aikido, I don't think it as in the ethical sphere.

But I agree on the congeniality of the aikido community.

Thanks for responding.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 06-06-2004, 01:52 PM   #13
Hanna B
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
However, when Osensei said the part I have underlined, well, no one was talking like that at that time (even today, few do -- even within Aikido). No one combined a given set of techniques, a given way of training, a universal deity whose primary characteristic is Love, with a sense of having a mission in one's life such that one is surrounded by divineness all around and within. Together, these elements mark Aikido's uniqueness. In the face of all the other divergent and various expressions of the art we see today (those things that one is able to do with Aikido's techniques, with the training, with the philosophy, etc., in apparently independent ways), an aikidoka must always return back to, reference back to, this combination of elements that truly mark Aikido as unique. For if not, the core message of Aikido, that from which its namesake is derived, will never be pondered over deeply enough -- never deeply enough to understand what is Aikido and what is not Aikido (whether it goes by a different name or by the same name).
What you are saying is that there hardly are any people who actually practise aikido...?
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Old 06-06-2004, 02:21 PM   #14
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Not trying to duck your question at all, and being as sincere as possible, I think that is a question that each of us have to answer only about ourselves. Though your question is interesting, I think it would be one that I would only entertain with a direct student - and then only so as to shine more light on our own perspectives and actions, etc., regarding our own practice in light of Osensei's. In other words, I think your question is a question for reflection, not necessarily for answering.

Sorry I couldn't be more help,
d
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Old 06-06-2004, 02:43 PM   #15
Hanna B
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Pardon me?



If I am practising ikkyo with an angry mind, trying to learn to get better than the others so that I feel proud of myself - either I am doing aikido, or I am not. I am not a hungry mind begging you to answer my questions and enlighten me. I am questioning your views on aikido and aikido training in general as this is what this thread is about. If you do not want this to be questioned - fine with me.

If aikido training (defined as doing aikido techniques) most of the time does not carry your hallmarks of aikido, then I do not think much of your beautiful "ethics" expressed in aikido training as a description of what is so special about aikido. Sorry!

I have ten years in aikido, but don't currently train in the art. When my current teacher told me and my training partner "Good! Now you look like two budoka who cooperate" I was shocked, because I thought cooperation was an aikido specific prestige word...

Last edited by Hanna B : 06-06-2004 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:26 AM   #16
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Re: Is aikido unique?

I think you need to re-read what I just wrote. I wasn't at all talking "down" to you by trying to enlighten you, etc. Saying your question is a question of reflection is not a rejection of your question - it is a contextualization of your question. After all, there is a big difference between the questions, "Was the Founder's Aikido unique?" (which I proposed we should and could be asking) and "Do hardly any people practice Aikido today?" The first one deals with history, the second one deals with a subjectivity - one that though may be based upon historiography is still a personal view. Personal views are not facts. What Aikido was for the Founder can be asked and aswered. What Aikido is now or is becoming cannot be addressed outside of personal viewpoints. If however you asked me, "Are hardly any folks practicing Aikido as the Founder understood that term?", the answer, which I already gave in the first post, is factually, "Hardly any people are practicing Aikido today as the Founder understood that term." But to go from there to a statement on the practice of other folks concerning the validity of that practice, which is what I assumed is at the heart of your question, assumes that the Founder as a person is the final authority on what Aikido is and/or is to become. This latter assumption I do not agree with. And I can also say that such a monopolization of form and content is not at all what the Founder would agree with either. Both his Omoto-kyo influences and his own personal insights (made known in his writings) allow for great change, evolution, transformation, and expression of the art. To say that one can and should use personal viewpoints as a point of reflection is to give them validity. To say that one should or even can use them as a philosophical bedrock for judgments which carry with them the air of being testament is to say a load of junk. In saying that your question is a question of reflection, and not a question to be answered objectively, is to provide it with the former while saving it from the latter.

dmv
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Old 06-08-2004, 01:54 PM   #17
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Re: Is aikido unique?

I think Aikido is quite unique. Much in the same manner as is jazz. Yes it has the ingredients of pre existing arts but the mix and results are revolutionary.
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:43 PM   #18
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Aikido is obviously unique as no practitioner of any other martial art will admit that they have anything in common with Aikido. 50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong!

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-09-2004, 01:03 AM   #19
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
...er, the one where Shioda Gozo drives the back of his UKE's into the fire hydrant, er, mat from a running attack;

...the one where Isoyama bounces his UKE's another 8 inches off his shoulders before dropping him onto the curb, er, mat.
...
Watch the Aikikai's Saotome punch and kick his UKE in the Friendship Demo; some of those strikes would have broken a neck at UKE's velocity. Next, listen to folks who've seen the JKA's Oishi drive a punch into a man's throat reddening the skin above the carotic without hurting or even dazing him.


You know, thanks for reminding me why I put up with some of the nonsense and still remain in Ki Society where there is actually some connection between our words and our actions.



Craig
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:17 AM   #20
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
You know, thanks for reminding me why I put up with some of the nonsense and still remain in Ki Society where there is actually some connection between our words and our actions.
Ha!

Cute rejoinder.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:56 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
You know, thanks for reminding me why I put up with some of the nonsense and still remain in Ki Society where there is actually some connection between our words and our actions.
Uh, I'm not sure how tongue in cheek you meant that...

From what little exposure I've had to Saotome Sensei's students, I'd have to say their words and actions match up pretty darn well. Even more so because Saotome Sensei is not afraid to push the boundries of technique. Safely.

Ron

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Old 06-09-2004, 01:39 PM   #22
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Uh, I'm not sure how tongue in cheek you meant that...
I was thinking something similar to Craig's post. I don't do Ki society but Seidokan which was started by Rod Kobayashi Sensei, a student of Tohei Sensei.

One of the founding ideas behind Seidokan is the protection of uke. All the techniques that I can think of are done in a way that someone with NO ukemi skill could receive the technique with no (or at least minimal) injury. The possibility to escalate to something more damaging is there but our baseline technique is gentle.

In pursuit of his goal of aikido that didn't harm an untrained attacker Kobayashi Sensei modified techniques to meet that goal or removed techniques from the Seidokan syllabus that he felt couldn't be modified to meet that goal. Some of these modified/removed techniques are staples of aikido around the world.

Examples:
  • We don't do head controls in the standard syllabus
  • koshi nage have been removed
  • our standard kotegaeshi sits uke down instead of putting them into a breakfall
  • irimi nage has been modified to sit uke down and roll them back
  • little if any atemi in most dojo

Now, the instructors in Seidokan are free to add to the standard syllabus as they desire. So you can find dojo with atemi and what not. I'm talking about the standard techniques the organization requires on rank testing....the "official" syllabus.

So my point of this long ramble is that I agree with Craig in that we try to keep our training congruent with our philosophy. If we were always spouting about protection of uke and loving protection for the attacker (which we do spout off about ) but then learned our techniques in a way that would injure somebody who wasn't trained for it....it wouldn't feel "right".

For quite a while I had a bit of a problem with the fact that standard techniques in other styles had been removed from ours. Mostly I thought the exclusion of koshi nage was unnecessary. I figured that thousands of people around the world learned to take ukemi from koshi nage without injury, we could too. Then I started reading more of Kobayashi Sensei's writings and talking to my sensei about the history of Seidokan and what Kobayashi Sensei was trying to do with it. I realized that it took a lot of guts on the part of Kobayashi Sensei to really look at those techniques under the magnifying glass of his philosophy and to remove the ones that couldn't be modified to fit with his goal.

Wow, where did all that come from

Bronson

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Old 06-09-2004, 01:52 PM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is aikido unique?

I guess I have a very different view of aikido..philosophically and on the mat (man, koshi is one of my favs! I don't do it very well...but it feels great to try!)

But thanks for sharing your views. I still haven't seen someone point out inconsistancies in what Saotome says and what he does. But I'll keep listening; I learn something new every day.

Ron

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Old 06-09-2004, 01:54 PM   #24
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Bronson,

Up front: I'm one of the opinion that Aikido's ideas of mutual benefit and/or non-violence is a matter of the heart-mind of the practitioner - not the architecture of one's waza. But I am very curious about what you have said. I do think that it is possible to develop an art that can address some self-defense situations without inflicting injury, etc., upon an attacker. The best I've seen at that, and perhaps outside of common sense, is Gracie BJJ - as far as their controlling of the opponent for the purposes of maintaining tactical dominance. You can hardly find a better balance of not injuring someone while defending yourself fully (preventing yourself from being injured). It's hard for me however to picture what you are saying concerning Aikido waza. I'm not sure I understand how you can make someone that doesn't want to sit down, sit down, without injuring them, with either kote-gaeshi and especially irimi nage. I can see it for someone that doesn't mind sitting down, and/or for someone that understands if they sit down things would stop hurting and the chance for injury would become very slim - but these are all ukemi skills. However, I can't see it for the person that is trying to "get you" and/or "stop you" (as in arrest and control situations for law enforcement agents) and has no knowledge whatsoever of ukemi, etc. Is there a video somewhere - on the net - where I could take a look at the modifications you are mentioning.

Also - what about techniques like Katagatame or Nikyo? Are these also left out of your curriculum (like koshi nage) or have they too been modified - and if so - in what way?

Please/thanks,
david
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Old 06-09-2004, 02:03 PM   #25
Joe Hansson
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Re: Is aikido unique?

Quote:
Examples:
We don't do head controls in the standard syllabus
koshi nage have been removed
our standard kotegaeshi sits uke down instead of putting them into a breakfall
irimi nage has been modified to sit uke down and roll them back
little if any atemi in most dojo
Did they leave any aikido in this art? And whats wrong with taking ukemi, Is not ukemi essential to learning techniques and through them also aikido?

IMO aikido is unique both regarding ethics and otherwise from other budo. I do however believe that the founders aikido was less unique than the mainstream aikido of today is.

Joe

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