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Old 06-30-2004, 12:45 AM   #1
George S. Ledyard
 
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Ancillary Practices

As I was writing my contribution to the June columns I realized that I would be interested in collecting more information on excatly what folks do to augment their Aikido practice on the mat?

I am interested in both types of practice that people do along with their Aikido which they think is important in for their understanding of the spiritual side of the art (Zen, Vipassana, Yoga, whatever)... and also what events people host or know of which attempt to give people a more complete experience of this side of their Aikido practice (like the Zen / Aikido Retreat or the Aikido / Wilderness skills seminar).

I think it would be useful for folks to have a list of these practices / events from people with direct experience of them.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-30-2004, 01:06 AM   #2
xuzen
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Dear Mr. GS Ledyard,

To augment my aikido training; I...
1) Read more about this subject through forum like this, buy books, watch video etc
2) Do Buddhist Meditation
3) Iaido practice (Very peaceful, it is a moving meditation practice for me)

Truly,
Boon.
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Old 06-30-2004, 02:12 AM   #3
malc anderson
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Hi ya Xuzen, Have you experienced Kensho yet? malc anderson
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Old 06-30-2004, 02:43 AM   #4
xuzen
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Dear Malcolm,

I send a private message to you sometime back... Asking you what is kensho? Maybe you didn't get the message. Anyway sil vouz plait, pls tell me what is kensho, many thanks.

Boon
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Old 06-30-2004, 06:24 AM   #5
justMe
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Dear Mr. Ledyard,
One of the aspects of Aikido that I have taken to heart is the philosophy of unification of mind, body, and I personally throw into the mix Spirit. From this point of view, I never stop training in Aikido, on or off the mat.

If I am running or am in the gym I am training in Aikido. The same is true if I am reading a book, be it a mystery or the Bible. It is also true of my prayer or meditations. This is because of unification. It seems to me that the type of unification that O-Sensei spoke about is more that the joining of mind and body into one, but rather the pulling together of all the various strands of activities a person must keep running in order to function daily into one unified thread which is a presentation of ones identity.

This may seem very fuzzy. Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: I do not "do" Aikido. Aikido is part of who I am. I would not go so far as to say that Aikido defines who I am, but it is one of the myriad threads that contribute to who I am. Since I take me with me wherever I go, and Aikido is a part of me, my Aikido is augmented by everything that I encounter in life.

I hope this helps answer your question. It may not be what you were looking for, but it is how I personally look at things.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:15 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Shawn Warner wrote:
Dear Mr. Ledyard,
One of the aspects of Aikido that I have taken to heart is the philosophy of unification of mind, body, and I personally throw into the mix Spirit. From this point of view, I never stop training in Aikido, on or off the mat.

If I am running or am in the gym I am training in Aikido. The same is true if I am reading a book, be it a mystery or the Bible. It is also true of my prayer or meditations. This is because of unification. It seems to me that the type of unification that O-Sensei spoke about is more that the joining of mind and body into one, but rather the pulling together of all the various strands of activities a person must keep running in order to function daily into one unified thread which is a presentation of ones identity.

This may seem very fuzzy. Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: I do not "do" Aikido. Aikido is part of who I am. I would not go so far as to say that Aikido defines who I am, but it is one of the myriad threads that contribute to who I am. Since I take me with me wherever I go, and Aikido is a part of me, my Aikido is augmented by everything that I encounter in life.

I hope this helps answer your question. It may not be what you were looking for, but it is how I personally look at things.

Good luck with your search!
Hi!
This is a perfectly valid response... it fits in very well with the question of what people are doing to develop the spiritual side of their practice.

I am also interested to see how people combine other practices with their Aikido. This can be other arts, like iaido or T'ai Chi or it can be other spiritual practices like Zen meditation etc.

I am particularly interested in finding out what kinds of events, like the Zen / Aikido retreat various teachers around the country and perhaps around the world, conduct which focus on this side of Aikido. It would be nice if folks who are interested in this could go to one place and see a list of the different events available to them.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-30-2004, 03:30 PM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Zazen meditation daily.

Read.

Practice.

McGouirk Sensei holds an Aikido/Zen retreat at Mt Blady, CA every year. Haven't gone yet because he tends to start on my wife's birthday. And even though he has kindly offered to make sure she has a cake, there isn't a Zen lunatic alive that would leave on his wife's birthday. What's hot may be hot, but what's cold is certainly very cold. KWATZ!

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 06-30-2004, 09:10 PM   #8
jk
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Re: Ancillary Practices

A lot of my free time is spent playing with my kids, or recovering from playing with my kids...does that count? (1 toddler + 1 infant, BTW)

There were a lot of things I was considering taking up to augment my aikido, but such things do not hold a candle to someone shrieking "Daaaaddy!!!" Might be a bit different once they turn into teenagers.
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:20 PM   #9
AsimHanif
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Hi Mr. Ledyard.
Besides my pt (running and resistance), the main components I use to gain a deeper insight into my aikido are yoga and tai chi. I find that Yang style fits especially well into my aikido movements. Yoga helps all around with breathing, posture, and pliability.
I don't do any combined events or retreats although lately I have been trying to get to a Zendo.
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Old 07-01-2004, 01:23 PM   #10
Ghost Fox
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Hello Ledyard-Sensei,

You asked for it. For me my current ancillary practice mainly consist of the practice of Wicca with a Thelemic, Elemental, Norse/Saxon bent. Wicca (sometimes referred to as Witchcraft) is a neopagan religion in which we harmonize ourselves with the rhythms and cycles of the natural world. This idea is similar to those found in Taoism (which I have also studied), Shintoism and Aikido. I specifically was looking for a faith that would enhance my Aikido when I decided on Wicca. Before Wicca, I had studied, Christianity, Kundalini Yoga, Kabbalah trance working, Buddhism and Taoism. To be honest I was giving serious consideration to Shinto, I gave up that option for many of the reasons that George stated, as well as the Japanese tendencies to not readily accept outsiders into their fold.

Anyway to me Wicca was the most readily accessible path that filled my needs and I have not been disappointed. I'm not trying to convert anyone here (not a Wiccan concept), but I really want to establish an open dialog about this concept of ancillary practice. Wicca is a very organic, sensual, and psychosexual religion, and I strongly believe that Aikido should be practice the same way. Like sex, Aikido and Wicca are physical manifestations of the sacredness of life and the body as a tool to explore divinity.

To me casting a circle and calling the quarters have direct ties to the concepts of zanshin, the extension of ki, as well as the idea behind the term dojo. A dojo as well as the individual is a place held sacred to the energies and powers raised within it, a bastion and protector against all force malignant and maligning; as well as a preserver and container of the energies raised. These are the basis elements for the incantation for creating a circle. The calling of the quarters and four elemental powers ties to the Aikidoka ability to change the shape of their energies during a technique, with air being the idea of expansive, fire the will of irimi, water the feeling of yielding, while earth manifests as the principle of grounding and fudoshin. The fifth element Ether is expressed in the formlessness of the Zen concepts of mushin and zanshin at the same time.

I see Aikido as a form a magick, which Crowley defines as, "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with True (my addition for clarity) Will." Each waza is a spell, and act of personal will, which at higher level becomes an act of True or Divine Will. I only really began to understand the omote version of irminage when I saw it as instantaneous expression of personal will. Almost like the shockwave of an exploding or expanding star consuming a nearby planet. Crowley's creed of, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, Love is the Law, Love under Will," is not an open license to wreck havoc on the world, but a statement of ones right to exist, that as Crowley puts it, "Every man and every woman is a star" of one right to be a star." A lot of people have a problem being expansive in their Aikido, and a lot of their techniques collapse because of a lack of an extension of ki (will).
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Old 07-01-2004, 02:27 PM   #11
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

I try not to take the"spiritual side" too seriously, but i do try to be present in everything i do, when I am in the presence of others. My weekend job is working as a therapist on the rehab ward of a local hospital. I think of that as my real practice time for being present.
Other than that, Pilates and ChiGong.

Jeanne
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Old 07-03-2004, 01:33 AM   #12
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
Zazen meditation daily.

Read.

Practice.

McGouirk Sensei holds an Aikido/Zen retreat at Mt Blady, CA every year. Haven't gone yet because he tends to start on my wife's birthday. And even though he has kindly offered to make sure she has a cake, there isn't a Zen lunatic alive that would leave on his wife's birthday. What's hot may be hot, but what's cold is certainly very cold. KWATZ!
Thanks! This is very much what I had in mind. Although many folks have elements in their daily lives which they consider connected to their practice, what I am hoping to get at here is various, more formal practices, which they use to augment their Aikido. It would be especially nice of there were a clearing house for events such as this Zen / Akikido retreat so that folks could easily find out about them. Lynn, is there a link you could suggest where more info could be found about this?

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 07-03-2004, 05:18 AM   #13
matthew farina
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Hello...I like to climb mountains. It sounds physical (and it is), but it can inspire spiritual progess. I also tend to fall for those martial-arts ego fantacies (spl?), and climbing can be very humbling.
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Old 07-03-2004, 09:25 AM   #14
SeiserL
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
It would be especially nice of there were a clearing house for events such as this Zen / Akikido retreat so that folks could easily find out about them. Lynn, is there a link you could suggest where more info could be found about this?
http://www.AikidoAi.com (Sensei Frank McGouirk)
Its usally listed in the AikiWeb seminar section. While I haven't been to the retreat, I have worked out with Sensei McGouirk and found him excellent in skills an attitude. He has done excellent demonstrations at the Aiki Expos. Saw him again up at Doshu in Oakland.

I think Ikeda Sensei just did a local mountain retreat at a Zen Center. I'll check for information.

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 07-03-2004, 11:20 AM   #15
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

I think anything can be used as an ancillary practice, if you think about it.
Last night, in my swing dance class, I had a revelation. There weren't enough men, and I knew the woman's part in my sleep. so I practiced learning how to lead. What an eye opener! Some of the women I danced with had arms like wet noodles and were so poorly connected to themselves that they couldn't be led anywhere. It made me realize that being a follower is like being uke, and how critical connection is, in both dance and Aikido.

Jeanne

I like out of the blue lessons like that. I tried Zazen, but i've got ants in my pants.
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Old 07-04-2004, 09:43 AM   #16
daniel chong
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Re: Ancillary Practices

I practice what is known as evolutionary fitness, a fitness, nutritional and (for some) philosophical approach to health and wellness based on our evolutionary history as human beings. The basic idea is to stay as close as possible to what we ate and the type of physical activities we did for the thousands to millions of years before the rapid onset of agriculture and even more rapid onset of our current modern lifestyle. This would mean eating what paleolithic people eat, exercising in ways that are similar in function to what paleolithic people did (ie functional exercises, body weight exercises, plyometrics, wind sprints, light stretching, instead of nautilus or other gym weight machines, tread mills, stair masters, stationary bikes, etc.) and not forgetting about the importance of regular rest and social interaction. The general, bottom line rule is to try to not go against the laws of nature and the universe. Sound familiar? I think aikido, both the physical and the philosophical forms of it fit in as seemlessly with these ideas as any other single activity I have come across.

I also try to do various forms of misogi from a naturopathic perspective. These would include breathing exercises, hydrotherapy (usually involving the application of alternating hot and cold to the body either in a shower, or using wet towels), castor oil packs, seasonal cleanses (modified fasting), etc. I can't say I do all of those regularly, but I try.
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Old 07-04-2004, 01:35 PM   #17
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Like Jeanne, i see partner dancing, particularly tango, as complementary to aikido in terms of connection, lead& follow, and maintaining maai & extension. Tango has very clear definitions of partnering which can also translate to "when nage does this, uke does this...."
I practice vipassana meditation daily, and tai chi,also practice the energy work of Robert Nadeau Sensei, and intensive Concious Embodiment(www.conciousembodiment.com) with Wendy Palmer Sensei. Wendy is trying to offer a CE/meditation retreat for this summer which i cannot make, i used to do intensive meditation retreats regularly. Would really be interested in doing something extended involving all of these practices together!

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 07-04-2004, 02:20 PM   #18
dan guthrie
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Smile Re: Ancillary Practices

Beer.
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Old 07-04-2004, 07:13 PM   #19
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Daniel Chong wrote:
I practice what is known as evolutionary fitness, a fitness, nutritional and (for some) philosophical approach to health and wellness based on our evolutionary history as human beings. The basic idea is to stay as close as possible to what we ate and the type of physical activities we did for the thousands to millions of years before the rapid onset of agriculture and even more rapid onset of our current modern lifestyle. This would mean eating what paleolithic people eat, exercising in ways that are similar in function to what paleolithic people did (ie functional exercises, body weight exercises, plyometrics, wind sprints, light stretching, instead of nautilus or other gym weight machines, tread mills, stair masters, stationary bikes, etc.) and not forgetting about the importance of regular rest and social interaction. The general, bottom line rule is to try to not go against the laws of nature and the universe. Sound familiar? I think aikido, both the physical and the philosophical forms of it fit in as seemlessly with these ideas as any other single activity I have come across.

I also try to do various forms of misogi from a naturopathic perspective. These would include breathing exercises, hydrotherapy (usually involving the application of alternating hot and cold to the body either in a shower, or using wet towels), castor oil packs, seasonal cleanses (modified fasting), etc. I can't say I do all of those regularly, but I try.
Check out < www.goanimal.com>


Jeanne
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Old 07-05-2004, 08:50 AM   #20
daniel chong
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Re: Ancillary Practices

goanimal.com is a great site. you should also see evfit.com.
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Old 07-05-2004, 06:40 PM   #21
dan guthrie
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
Beer.
I actually do something, other than make smart-aleck comments. Throughout the day I find myself looking for my center and balancing on one foot. I used to be much clumsier, one or two seconds, but now I can stay almost motionless for quite a while, usually my leg just gets tired.
It's not something I practice anywhere. It's just an added side benefit of training, I guess.
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Old 07-06-2004, 12:17 AM   #22
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
I actually do something, other than make smart-aleck comments. Throughout the day I find myself looking for my center and balancing on one foot. I used to be much clumsier, one or two seconds, but now I can stay almost motionless for quite a while, usually my leg just gets tired.
It's not something I practice anywhere. It's just an added side benefit of training, I guess.
When you get to 10 seconds, try a wobble board.

Jeanne
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Old 07-06-2004, 04:33 AM   #23
john.burn
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

We have Reiki classes in our Dojo which (for me anyway) seems to have helped with my Aikido. When you need to think about extending ki etc. you can simply put Reiki into your hands and extend away. I'm actually the one who teaches it in the Dojo and the primary reason I started with Reiki was nothing to do with the healing side - it was purely to see what it would do for my Aikido. However, having said that I do use the more 'normal' side of Reiki for healing - a high percentage of people on the classes are Aikido students.

Best Regards,
John

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Old 07-06-2004, 06:18 AM   #24
Ghost Fox
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Daniel Chong wrote:
goanimal.com is a great site. you should also see evfit.com.
Thanxs for the sites. This sounds like a theory I've been working with on my own. Any other sites would be most welcomed. Thank you.
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:13 AM   #25
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ancillary Practices

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
Like Jeanne, i see partner dancing, particularly tango, as complementary to aikido in terms of connection, lead& follow, and maintaining maai & extension. Tango has very clear definitions of partnering which can also translate to "when nage does this, uke does this...."
I practice vipassana meditation daily, and tai chi,also practice the energy work of Robert Nadeau Sensei, and intensive Concious Embodiment(www.conciousembodiment.com) with Wendy Palmer Sensei. Wendy is trying to offer a CE/meditation retreat for this summer which i cannot make, i used to do intensive meditation retreats regularly. Would really be interested in doing something extended involving all of these practices together!
Thanks! I tried the link and it didn't work so here's the one you meant, I think:
Working Link

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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