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Old 03-09-2005, 03:30 PM   #76
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
David, I don't agree with this last post.

Aikido is a subset of Japanese Budo which is a subset of Zen Arts, which is a subset of ...
I think you are more describing aspects of some of the supersets.

Rob
Hi Robert,

Not sure which parts you disagree with, but I'm not advocating any particular (i.e. specific) method as a prescription. I'm certainly not saying we should all become disciples of Muso Soseki. I'm only bringing him up because he played a very big role in the whole idea of coordinating artistic pursuits with spiritual pursuits, and when we look at him, we see that he too, at the very beginning, was faced with the same issues we are dealing with. So, if we don't want to re-invent the wheel, or worse think that wheels should or could be square, I think it should be deemed worthwhile to look at what he said and did in regards to gardening. It's a mere matter of relevance, not proof.

My only position is that waza performance cannot be deemed transformative in and of itself. If you disagree with me, then you must be saying that the performance of waza is innately transformative (as far as the cultivation of virtue and the human spirit goes). Are you? If you are, I'm afraid you got an uphill battle to prove that one. History, current events, the life of the Founder, every religious thinker that ever employed mundane practices, etc., is going to say something contrary to that position.

David M. Valadez
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Old 03-09-2005, 04:30 PM   #77
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
If Aikido waza were so empowered with talismanic energy, such that we can justify the lack of actual practices (e.g. silence, meditation, prayer, vows, obedience, spiritual mentoring, etc.) shared by countless other traditions that also speak of things like compassion, conflict resolution, commitment, etc., then are we not forced to ask, if at least of our own person, why did the Founder balance his performance of waza with the performance of these other things.
Hello David,

My long post was in response to this question you asked. In so far as you answered it, you did so by an analysis of waza/talismanic energy vs, virtue. I answered it by placing the Founder in some sort of historical and cultural context. I think that placing him in such a context requires us to consider his own connection with an institution such as the Aikikai, which he created.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-09-2005, 04:39 PM   #78
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

David,

I didn't mean to say that. For example:
Without shugyo there is no Budo (and therefore no aikido).
Without the dynamic relationship between space and form there is no Zen (and therefore no aikido).

I think stripping away the aspects of your gardening post, removes some superset of aikido and only consequently aikido itself. If the exercise - as I understood it - was to strip things away to try to get at what aikido really is, then that's what I meant to disagree with. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

Rob
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Old 03-09-2005, 04:47 PM   #79
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
David,

I didn't mean to say that. For example:
Without shugyo there is no Budo (and therefore no aikido).
Without the dynamic relationship between space and form there is no Zen (and therefore no aikido).

I think stripping away the aspects of your gardening post, removes some superset of aikido and only consequently aikido itself. If the exercise - as I understood it - was to strip things away to try to get at what aikido really is, then that's what I meant to disagree with. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

Rob
Hi Robert,

I'm sorry, I know I'm missing something, but I can't seem to get what you are suggesting. Please assume I'm in need of more help. If you got any time, please feel free to offer more explanation - I would greatly appreciate it.

thanks,
d

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Old 03-09-2005, 04:49 PM   #80
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
(wanders tentatively onto this august thread, opens mouth in preparation for receiving foot..)

I've followed several threads like this very one with a lot of interest and self-reflection because I'd love to know what makes aikido special and/or unique, and I've come to one conclusion - aikido isn't special (there, I've finally said it).

When people were lyrically about the compassion and harmony of aikido, firstly I look at some of the chinese forms and then read (often the self-same people) waxing lyrically about how this or that technique can really hurt or kill man. In fact if aikido's effectiveness is every questioned, out goes the compassion and in come the atemi and wrist breaks with the gleeful abandon of ants to the picnic table.

Spirituality has oft been mentioned, but then the religious amongst us (from fundi to atheist) spring to the fray and normally an inconclusive battle is fought with tempers aroused and the flag of harmonious discourse a tattered rag flapping in the breeze.

So, it must be techniques and training methods - well here come the old guard of jujitsu and judo et all to bash that monolith and kendo's already nicked the hakama so again I'm lost.

So, aikido isn't special, except I'm lying here. It's special for one important factor in that something in it has made it special to most of us posting on this boards. For me, it's one of the few things that gives me back exactly as much as I put in and has yet to lose my interest. So I would have to answer that, without the interest in training, no aikido.
Ian, I liked your post very much. Thanks for replying.
david

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Old 03-09-2005, 05:23 PM   #81
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
David,

I didn't mean to say that. For example:
Without shugyo there is no Budo (and therefore no aikido).
Without the dynamic relationship between space and form there is no Zen (and therefore no aikido).

I think stripping away the aspects of your gardening post, removes some superset of aikido and only consequently aikido itself. If the exercise - as I understood it - was to strip things away to try to get at what aikido really is, then that's what I meant to disagree with. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

Rob
Hello Rob,

I'm not sure that this was David's idea. At least I did not understand it this way.

At present I am doing some research into why ordinary Japanese seem to treat leisure pursuits, like doing karaoke or visiting Disneyland, as a kind of training. One way of trying to answer is to look at the concept of shuygou and see its relationship with matsuri and asobi. The connections are striking in a way that does not appear in, e.g., Greek thought. The Zen arts are crucial here, both because of how they developed and also because of how they affected the martial arts. By the time we get to M Ueshiba, the cultural context has become much more complex. I am hugely simplifying, but seeing training as a DOU or michi has to share space with seeing it as being part of an 'ie' and the martial arts are seen as just another type of training one can do in one's spare time, However it is still shugyou and this is what the Founder called aikido. He also talked about keiko and about waza and people like Zeami also used these terms. Did he mean the same thing?

The Founder also did all kinds of other spiritual activities, as David has mentioned, but never made these activities mandatory for his disciples in Ayabe or at the Kobukan. Kisshomaru Ueshiba explains that this was because they were purely his own. Thus, either the waza are sufficient for whatever purpose aikido is meant to achieve, or they are not\and each person has to find the extra something.

For me this is not an issue, but this is probably due to the particular circumstances in which I encountered aikido and what I expect from training in the art.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:08 PM   #82
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
David, I don't agree with this last post.

Aikido is a subset of Japanese Budo which is a subset of Zen Arts, which is a subset of ...
I will agree with the first part - the second is totally false.

Zen has had an influence on some Budo but Aikido is not one of them.
There is a Buddhist influence on many Koryu but I would say Zen is in the minority.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:24 PM   #83
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

I realize that even now as we speak, at Aikido Journal, there is a blog that limits the influence of Zen on the martial arts and/or Aikido, etc. However, such a view is mistaken for two reasons. 1) It does not understand properly the history of culture and/or the dynamics of cultural influences. If one looks only at direct influences, for example, as one might when one says, "Was "x" a practitioner of Zen?," one may see few reasons why Zen should be understood as central to Budo and/or Aikido. However, because of the role Zen played, particularly during the Muromachi period, in formulating a discourse for what has been called "the secularization of Buddhism," such that artistic pursuits, and/or lay pursuits of any kind, could be understood as a Way, its role has to be considered central to Budo and thus Aikido. This remains true even if Osensei himself never practiced Zen and/or hated Zen or zazen. If a martial tradition, one that came through and/or existed after the Muromachi period can be shown to have little or no influence from the cultural influences of this Zen discourse, that tradition would be a historical anomaly. As such, it would be the focus of nearly ever scholar (in and out of Japanese studies) -- in that it would turn nearly every theory behind cultural studies and/or historiography on its ear.

A parallel example of this, that might make this point clear, is if we ask, "Were any of the founding fathers of the United States Greek?" We would have to answer "no." However, it would be incorrect to then go on to say, "Therefore, Greek philosophy had no impact on the formulation of modern democracy." Or another example: One might want to say that Judeo/Christian religious culture plays no part in the identity of the average American atheist -- this is because the United States allows for a separation of Church and State. However, one would be mistaken for such a leap in logic. For though the nation does allow for a separation of Church and State, that state was founded upon a bedrock of Judeo-Christian cultural assumptions. All Americans are touched by this culture whether they are atheist or not. In this way, Zen has to be understood as playing a role, even when that role is not as direct as we would like it (or not like it) to be.


2) The second reason that this view is mistaken is that it posits Zen's influence as something static. Zen's cultural influence, like any cultural influence, is dynamic and thus the Muromachi period does not capture the totality of Zen's discourse on the relationship between the Buddhist Way and the Layman's Way (my term). It does no good to posit that that which came before Zen remained untouched by Zen or that that which came after Zen remained untouched by Zen. In fact, one could rightly say that though the Muromachi period was the true beginning and end of Zen's connection to the powerhouse institutions of the political economy, Zen's greater cultural influence came in the 20th century -- when scholar's the world over, as well as monks, came to develop these relationships even further. It was at that time that Zen's cultural influence was sealed in Japan. Thus it may be true that Osensei's meditation and purification practices can be traced back to Esoteric Buddhism, and it may be true that he used a language that referred constantly to the kami of various folk and native traditions, and it may be true that through his Omoto-kyo he came to be influenced by various Christian mystics of Europe, etc., but when he talked about "Aikido" as "a Way" during the 20th century, he was dependent upon a discourse that like it or not was saturated by Zen culture.

I say this not to suggest that Zen is everything or that everything can be accounted for by looking at Zen. I say this only to suggest that Zen cannot so easily be taken out of the equation when one is looking for cultural understandings regarding Budo and/or Aikido, etc.

David M. Valadez
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:54 PM   #84
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

David - how does that make Budo a subset of Zen. There is a huge difference between influence and enveloping. I'd also point out that Zen historically and today is a relatively minor (at least not one of the major) sect of Buddhism in Japan. If you replaced Zen with Buddhism in your above discourse you would have more agreement from me although I still would not go so far to describe Budo as a subset of Buddhism.

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Old 03-09-2005, 09:08 PM   #85
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Hi Peter,

Well, as I said above, I didn't really understand Robert's point too well, so I'd rather not speak for him. However, under a literal understanding of what he was saying, yes, I would agree with you: Budo is not a subset of Zen. That would be going a bit too far and I know of know cultural historian worth his/her name that would use that term in this way (which is my way, taking what Robert said literally). I think that is one of your points. However, what I was saying was in reference to the part of your post that read, "Zen has had an influence on some Budo but Aikido is not one of them. There is a Buddhist influence on many Koryu but I would say Zen is in the minority."

As to the point of Zen being a relatively minor sect on Japan today, I think that is more of what I was being "cautious" about. Numbers aren't always going to show you degree of influence. Culture is more complicated than that - I am suggesting.

David M. Valadez
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:17 PM   #86
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

OK I'll go along with that.

I would say that the concepts most commonly regarded as Zen like (Mu for instance) are not unique to Zen Buddhism.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:17 AM   #87
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
. One of the things about budo that I love is the ability to have that choice that goes with superior control and strategy. Compassion may be there or it may not. I believe that the highest levels possible in strategy, speed, and timing that can match your intent only come with compassionate action. True compassion may involve doing harm at an appropriate level. Uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible.

Sorry for the length of this post.
Very well put. Good post, Chuck.

Nagababa

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Old 03-10-2005, 07:31 AM   #88
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

The thread is titled "Without this, No Aikido" and the original intention was to "gain more insight by posing things in the negative." The first half of my point is that aikido is a subset of a bigger concept, which is a subset of an even bigger concept, going back to being a subset of even a bigger concept. Each of the supersets has its own qualities which are inherited by the subsets they encompass.

Let's try this example: We can say that a critical element of Budo is to get to a place (in time and space) where the attacker can't hit you and where, optimally, you can strike them. Of course, without this element of strategy we have no aikido -- but that is because we eliminated a key element of Budo (aikido's superset). When you consider this in the scope of the thread's premise-- which is to gain more insight about what aikido is by posing the negative -- that example falls short of the goal. It simply gives more insight to what Budo is, and not anything unique about aikido (other than without Budo and its elements there is no aikido which should be a given).

I felt the gardening example more fit into a superset of Zen arts. My own sense of the ideas what David described so well led me to conclude that Budo is one of the Zen arts. I still think it is, and I don't understand the problem. If someone wants to help me understand and not take away from the thread, I'd love an email or PM.

Here are my notes on the qualities of all Zen arts:

1) Balance without symmetry
2) Simplicity (dynamic relationship between space and form)
3) Austere sublimity (no rank)
4) No mind (mu shin)
a. The mind of no mind
b. The action of non-action
c. Let it happen, get out of the way (The brush paints by itself)
d. No deliberate intent / No conscious effort (The expert archer does not aim to hit the bulls eye)
e. Not forced or strained
f. Respond to the moment in a way that is spontaneous and wholly in accord with the circumstances (Improv with the whole body and mind. Musical improv where 5 musicians become 1 - The "all is 1" cliché.)
5) No bottom
6) No attachment (no hindrance)
7) No steering

I think every Budo fits within this. What aspect of Zen arts doesn't Budo fit?

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:35 AM   #89
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
This means, for example, that as compassion is essential to Aikido, so too then is the means by which compassion is cultivated and practiced. Naturally, the same could be said about resolving conflict, commitment, etc. Yet, having trained all over, I have not seen such significance given to this "essence" of Aikido.

My own opinion, my own reflection,
dmv
probably only very small minority of aikidoka eventually arrive at the level of efficiency of techniques where compassion has a real meaning, as Chuck wrote. They have a choice and do right choice in right moment. They got it transmitted from their master and cultivate it by practice with their students.
That's how I see it.

Nagababa

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Old 03-10-2005, 07:51 AM   #90
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
So if you close all openings, but practice really slow, will uke get killed? I seriously doubt it. We practice slowly, so you can internalize all of the subtleties of the technique. If you go slowly, all of your openings become more apparent so you try to minimize them.

Uke is a training partner. It is obvious that you must work with him so no one gets hurt. This is true in almost all martial arts, and isn't unique to aikido. I don't believe it is compassion at work here, I think it is more of a respect for your training partner and others around you. Uke learns to give up control and put trust in tori. Is this compassion?

Aikido in the dojo is different than aikido for self protection. My comments were based on the application of aikido as a self defense, not as a training tool.

Compassion, if you want to call it that can be left at the dojo door and will not help you once someone threatens you or your families life.

I'm not saying you have to be a non compassionate self defense zombie. Once your attacker is immobilized and can not pose a threat to you, then maybe your compassion can come out. I'm sure that no one wants to kill anyone.
Yes, if you practice very slowly uke may not get hurt. But slow practice is to learn techniques at beginner level and in itself is "false". False cos there is way too much of restrictions and is not enough to develop spontaneous execution of techniques. Also mind is not trained in right way.
As nage you must be able to deal with any speed, any form of attack, counters, feints, etc.

I don't understand why you want to create dualism: aikido in the dojo and aikido for self defense. Outside of dojo techniques may have different external form, but intent is the same as in the dojo -- so can call it aikido. If not -- so can call it jujutsu, boxing, etc…There is nothing wrong with it. Preserving compassion outside of dojo may look for you almost impossible, but at certain level ppl do it for real.

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Old 03-10-2005, 08:38 AM   #91
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
---------------------------------------------------------------

Amir Krause: your quote "The way I am taught, the best reaction to an attack is to feel it before it actually started and react to the intention through some form of Irimi-Sabaki (the palm to the chin is an option, as well as an atemi). Would that make our practice Karate ? I think not."

If you moved off the line first to avoid the power instead of tightening up for a strong cross block, I wouldn't call that Karate either. Your first reaction was Irimi and was not to stand in front of the opponent and do a bone shattering block which is typical of most karate.

The earlier examples I gave were over generalized, but if you have done karate or seen karate, you will know the difference in your initial reaction.

It seems that you proved the initial reaction is more aikido than karate, judo BJJ etc.
I did not write it down since it seemed obvious to me: in Karate, the advanced practitioner response would be the same - no block, move out of line and strike (all simultaneously). The Karate strike might look slightly different, but the principles are the same ones.


Amir
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:47 AM   #92
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the explanation - I see what you were saying now.

Yes, that was the original intent of the post, but as I said in a following post, I didn't think I made that clear enough and opted to go then with how most folks started to answer the thread - such that uniqueness wasn't the key component of what was vital, etc.

I think an issue that Peter might have with seeing Aikido and/or Budo as one of the "Zen arts" is that it sort of misleads one into forgetting that there are other traditions that are also vital to the formation of both Aikido and Budo. For example, Esoteric Buddhism, Yin/Yang Theory, Confucianism, etc. In Aikido's case, one would also have to of course include Omoto-kyo, and all of its influences, etc. And, depending upon which line of thought you followed in Aikido, and several other martial arts, one would even have to include Muscular Christianity. This is not to say that the list you've come up with is "foreign" or "irrelevant" to Budo and/or Aikido - only there is a lot more and that that "lot more" is not all contained in Zen proper. I think that would be Peter's point.

david

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Old 03-10-2005, 09:02 AM   #93
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Well sorry for the confusion. I took it as a given that one subset could be a member of muiltple supersets (which by definition would mean that they are not mutually exclusive).

I would love some examples of any of that "lot more" to aikido and Budo which is not contained in Zen proper comapred to say tea ceremony. If you are willing and but feel that it would be taking away from this discussion, please send it to me at rob_liberti@hotmail.com.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:04 AM   #94
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
But slow practice is to learn techniques at beginner level and in itself is "false".
All dojo training is false. You can try to do all the drills you want at all speeds, but it is still false. You need to distinguish the difference between training and reality. Just because you can train at fast speed doesn't mean it's any more real.

Take Tai Chi for instance. It is based on Yin-Yang principles. Hard/Soft Slow/Fast etc. If you learn the slow techniques, going fast is really easy. If you only learned the fast methods only, it would be difficult for you to go slow. There must be an equal balance. (There is combative Tai Chi, so don't limit your thinking to old people in the park)

By going slow, your muscle memory is reinforced. It's like going fast in a car. You get there quick, but miss most of the scenery.
Try to see how slow you can actually go. It's harder than going as fast as you can. Musicians practice scales slowly to reinforce their finger positioning. They can also blaze through a scale if they wanted to.

To balance out slow training, we do a form of Randori (sparring) that is usually done at a moderate pace, but can be done really fast or really slow. My reactions are really really fast and totally spontaneous, and i can sense slight body shifts almost before they happen. This is all due to my slow training. I've trained slow and fast, so I can say with out a doubt that slow training is very effective.

I'm sure if your dojo doesn't train this way, you would have no idea as to what I am saying, but just because you are not sweating and running all over the place doesn't mean that it's not great training.

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
As nage you must be able to deal with any speed, any form of attack, counters, feints, etc.
You train like this at your dojo? How many boxers, taekwondo, judo, BJJ, shoot fighters, street brawlers, bottle wielding drunks did you have in your dojo to train against? Situation drills against a compliant uke hardly makes you able to deal with ALL types of attacks.
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:35 AM   #95
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote:
I did not write it down since it seemed obvious to me: in Karate, the advanced practitioner response would be the same - no block, move out of line and strike (all simultaneously). The Karate strike might look slightly different, but the principles are the same ones.
So are you saying Karate and Aikido have the same type of initial reactions? I guess our experiences and research is vastly different.
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:39 AM   #96
rob_liberti
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

I'm not an expert in either, but I've seen experts in both. I would say that at very high levels, the answer would probably be yes. - Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:31 AM   #97
senshincenter
 
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Hi Rob,

Perhaps this might be what you are looking for...? Here is a link to how Confucianism plays a role in Budo and in Aikido - it is from a group discussion we are currently having on the writings of Takuan Soho - we are using Wilson's translation:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/w...eshithree.html

This next link is to something I have written regarding the application of Yin/Yang Theory to Suwari Waza Shomenuchi:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/w...uchiikkyo.html

Hope that helps a bit,
thanks,
david

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:39 PM   #98
jester
 
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I'm not an expert in either, but I've seen experts in both. I would say that at very high levels, the answer would probably be yes. - Rob
If you don't mind me asking, who were the experts you saw?
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:47 PM   #99
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
All dojo training is false. .
??????? I don't understand. Aikido surly wasn't created to learn street fighting. That's why in O sensei dojo they didn't do any judo randori type of practice. Founder did also strictly forbidden use of judo techniques during aikido practice.
In this context, dojo training is all right and matches real goals of aikido.

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
You train like this at your dojo? How many boxers, taekwondo, judo, BJJ, shoot fighters, street brawlers, bottle wielding drunks did you have in your dojo to train against? Situation drills against a compliant uke hardly makes you able to deal with ALL types of attacks.
yes we have many ppl with different martial background in the dojo, but we practice together not against, they understand very well that we are here not to prove superiority on any particular MA.
Competitive spirit hides often real aikido goals.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:51 PM   #100
rob_liberti
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Re: Without this, No Aikido

I don't mind. I've seen William Gleason sensei's aikido when being attacked by strong karateka - after class practice. I've seen Saotome Sensei's aikido when being attacked by strong karateka. Both just moved and filled the opening. I saw Don Souci sensei of Sho shin ryu karate dealing with similarly strong attacks at their "Nationals" in CT. He pretty much just moved and filled the openings. I have some great tapes of kyokushin tournaments that looked similar as well. We are still talking about the initial movement right? I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but what are the differences you are expecting?

Rob
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