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Old 11-19-2004, 02:45 PM   #1
Jory Boling
 
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Dedication and Skill Level

Hi group,
My sensei was talking about training with high level aikidoka, such as Saotome Sensei. He was describing how when working with him, it's as if Saotome Sensei reads his mind. He moves to where you are going to be almost as if he knew before you did. He mentioned Saotome Sensei can generate a lot of power but rarely needs to since his timing is so superb. He added that sensei like Saotome deserve that skill level, after all, they've dedicated their lives to aikido. Rhetorically, my sensei asked "Can any of us here make that claim?" Of course, none of us could. We all have other jobs, bills to pay, etc. My question: Do we have to be able to dedicate every iota of energy of our life to aikido in order to gain true skill in aikido? I ask as someone who attends class twice a week when not on the road traveling for work. I appreciate the romantic notion of giving up everything, working for and living on crumbs within walking distance of the dojo so i can funnel my being into the practice. I'm just curious what other aikidoka think. Arigatou!
Jory
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Old 11-19-2004, 03:36 PM   #2
Michael Young
 
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

I too wish I could give up everything and do Aikido full time! Do I think it takes all of one's energy to gain a high skill level in Aikido, or mastery of it (whatever that is)? No..but it does take a helluva lot of it...O'Sensei didn't spend every minute of his life on the mat did he? He still found time to raise a family, farm, pray, etc. I think that he saw every part of his life as training though, and maybe that is what it takes. I think it takes a full commitment of energy to whatever it is you choose to do...when practicing Aikido, focus everything you have into it...when spending time with loved ones, focus everything you have into it...when pursuing your profession, focus everything you have into it. It is the when that makes the difference, and yes, realistically speaking it is the "whens" that you have to prioritize. Does that make any sense? I'm not sure I expressed myself very well there.
I think also, who your teacher is makes a big difference...some teachers can get you there in shorter term than others by offering the right example and the right "short cuts".

Mike
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Old 11-19-2004, 03:54 PM   #3
tedehara
 
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

We can all contribute to aikido. We will all receive something different from it. You don't have to seclude yourself on a mountain to discover how the world works.
kool!

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 11-19-2004, 04:12 PM   #4
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Some have achieved a high level of skill while working normal jobs-Kato sensei (8th dan) is one for example that was a soto deshi and never an uchi deshi.
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Old 11-19-2004, 04:27 PM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

IMHO, your level of skill has some correlation to your dedication. There are a lot of highly skilled and highly dedicated practitioners who do not dedicate their whole life to Aikido.

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 11-19-2004, 11:17 PM   #6
mugen
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

If you have attended Master Saotome's classes or seminar, you must have heard a Japanese word "heijoshin". It means on the mat off the mat you must be thinking as if you are on the same training ground. If you think yourself that you are practicing Aikido when you are not on the mat, you could make yourself training for Aikido 7 days a week 24 hours a day. That's a lot of Aikido training. I know a Sensei, his name is Yamane sensei also happend to be a high school "Kohai" of Sotome shihan, who has been working full time but he teaches Aikido on Sundays - that's dedication. Needless to say he is a "Honmono".
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:29 AM   #7
rachel
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Quote:
My question: Do we have to be able to dedicate every iota of energy of our life to aikido in order to gain true skill in aikido?
Certainly not. It's true that perhaps if you dedicate your entire life to Aikido, you will likely learn and improve much faster, but it's not necessary or possible for everyone to do that. My father for example, is godan. During the daytime he is a doctor, but at night, he has magical Aikido powers! What I mean is that he is an Aikido instructor in the evenings. Every time I see my father on the mat, he amazes me, and he is certainly more instinctive in Aikido than I am, he's trained longer and has more experience.
Long story short: The principles of Aikido can go with you through your daily life, whether you meditate in the forest, are a doctor, a student, or whatever. You don't need to be constantly on the mat to be practicing your Aikido. There's more to work on than technique.

Last edited by rachel : 11-20-2004 at 12:31 AM. Reason: incorrect quote
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:41 AM   #8
emceul
Dojo: Scoala de Ki Mircea Eliade
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

I don`t know if you read "Ki din Daily Life"... but the title speaks for itself...
You can extend Ki while eating, breathing, walking,etc... You can try to keep your point while seating in front of a computer...etc,etc...
In other words you can practice (at least a part) aikido 24h a day even if you are not on the mat... It all about armony (Ai) ... about being ready ... and not about fighting...

At least that`s how i see it
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Old 11-20-2004, 03:29 AM   #9
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Quote:
In other words you can practice (at least a part) aikido 24h a day even if you are not on the mat... It all about armony (Ai) ... about being ready ... and not about fighting...
"One does not need buildings, money, power or status to practice the art of peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - morihei ueshiba

Not entirely related, but the thread made me think of this quote.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 11-20-2004, 05:23 AM   #10
bob_stra
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

O/T ??

In her wonderful Zen books (what....don't give me that look) Charlotte Joko Beck
writes (words to the effect of) - In the West, 'chop wood, carry water' must become 'drive freeway, make love.' IOW, our daily practice - while daily - is different.

I can't why you'd want to do "Japanese Aikido" when "American Aikido" is just as
good. While I have nothing against anyone who want to go that route, I would think is unnecessarily foolhardy to ignore your "culture".

Besides - like with plants - some things just don't work that great together. 'Pseduo-Japanese-Martial-Artism" is the path to aiki fruitiness.

There's a (derogatory) saying in Judo, coined by Geesink (one of the greatest judoka of all time) that sums it up - "More Japanese than Japan".

Last edited by bob_stra : 11-20-2004 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 11-20-2004, 06:33 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich wrote:
O/T ??

I can't why you'd want to do "Japanese Aikido" when "American Aikido" is just as
good. While I have nothing against anyone who want to go that route, I would think is unnecessarily foolhardy to ignore your "culture".

Besides - like with plants - some things just don't work that great together. 'Pseduo-Japanese-Martial-Artism" is the path to aiki fruitiness.

There's a (derogatory) saying in Judo, coined by Geesink (one of the greatest judoka of all time) that sums it up - "More Japanese than Japan".
On the other hand, the 'sempai/kohai' distinction is taken much more seriously in the US than in Japan and there are probably more places in the US than in Japan where one can be an aikido 'uchi-deshi'. There have been no postwar uchi-deshi in the Aikikai Hombu and the system in Iwama has also changed very much since the time of O Sensei.

So American aikido is very strong in my opinion, but in some respects it seems more 'Japanese' than in Japan.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:50 PM   #12
Jory Boling
 
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Wow. Thanks fellow listers! My comment stems from frustration at having to hold a steady job, pay bills, etc., as opposed to becoming an aikido monk. Thanks for all the words.
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Old 11-21-2004, 09:48 AM   #13
bob_stra
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
On the other hand, the 'sempai/kohai' distinction is taken much more seriously in the US than in Japan and there are probably more places in the US than in Japan where one can be an aikido 'uchi-deshi'. There have been no postwar uchi-deshi in the Aikikai Hombu and the system in Iwama has also changed very much since the time of O Sensei.

So American aikido is very strong in my opinion, but in some respects it seems more 'Japanese' than in Japan.

Best regards,
That's exactly the point I was trying to get across - we are more Japanese than the Japanese themselves with our m.arts. I think this sometimes can be to our detriment?
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Old 11-23-2004, 07:08 AM   #14
Chad Scott
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai
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Re: Dedication and Skill Level

I can't give all my time to practicing aikido.... I have a demanding job, a family at home, other interests and hobbies, etc. But I CAN give every part of myself when I AM at the dojo.

Some single westerners that I have met at my dojo have moved to Japan solely for the purpose of practicing aikido, and I think that's great. Since that is not the case with me, I try to practice twice a week (some weeks more, some weeks less).

I would love to go to the dojo every night, but that just isn't possible. But I still consider myself dedicated to the practice of aikido, on the mat as well as off.
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