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Old 03-21-2005, 09:29 AM   #26
CaseyD
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Re: Defining Aikido

You contradict yourself. Doshu "makes the call" but you can "call a spade a spade"
I notice a pattern with you, after a few posts to get people sucked in to a discussion you start arguments. I dont see you citing any of your sources whenever you want to throw out an opinion. Would it have been ok with you if I had ended my post with "IMHO"?
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Old 03-21-2005, 10:37 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Casey Darwin wrote:
You contradict yourself. Doshu "makes the call" but you can "call a spade a spade"
I notice a pattern with you, .... (snip)
I noticed a pattern with you immediately, but since personalities aren't the subject of the discussion I overcame the impulse to drag the conversation to that level. Shall we agree to dispense with the personal observations?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-21-2005, 10:52 AM   #28
CaseyD
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Re: Defining Aikido

What's the matter? Truth hurt?
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Old 03-21-2005, 12:15 PM   #29
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

Does the Ueshiba family (or the Doshu) have any sort of copyright or legal documentation giving them the legal right to ownership of the term "Aikido" and therefore determine its usage? If not this is a moot point. The Doshu's only real power then would be the ability to say what is "Aikikai" Aikido or the Aikido of Ueshiba Morihei's Hombu Dojo and those who follow that particular training method. He would have no place in trying to define what "Aikido" is across the various training systems and methodologies that exist. All he could define is his own Aikido, which is that of the Aikikai Hombu I guess.

Even the term "traditional" Aikido may not be as set in stone as some may think. Since it depends on who is the person teaching the tradition in many ways. For example, had Tomiki's ideas been viewed favourably by those at the Kobukan during the time that he was an Instructor there, it is very possible that what is seen as a different style today may have become "traditional" Aikido when Tomiki was a teacher at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

In the end I think it's important for each individual to know what their Aikido is, regardless of the politics. Is the name so important, or the connection one has with the word? If tomorrow our Shihan and Directors decided to change the name of what we do to something else, I'd gladly concur. In the end it depends on if what you are studying is working for you. If it doesn't, then no amount of "tradition" will change the fact that you may be happier doing something else.

Just 2 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-21-2005, 12:32 PM   #30
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Does the Ueshiba family (or the Doshu) have any sort of copyright or legal documentation giving them the legal right to ownership of the term "Aikido" and therefore determine its usage? If not this is a moot point.
In moral relativism, everything is a moot point. There is no right or wrong.

Moral relativism is the consequence of accepting Moore's "naturalistic fallacy" as true, for if good is indefinable and inexplicable in the objective terms of natural science, it is meaningless to base actions on anything but subjective or cultural preferences
Quote:
In the end it depends on if what you are studying is working for you.
The problem with these sorts of arguments is that they never acknowledge the side of the argument that there are things that are wrong, incorrect, etc. In fact, no definition of anything really works in relativism because there are no definitions. There is no such thing as ethics, either. If anything is Aikido, why dress up and pretend to do anything, Larry? No one can do any wrong movement in your dojo, as far as I can tell, and have it not be Aikido.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-21-2005, 12:34 PM   #31
Chris Li
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Does the Ueshiba family (or the Doshu) have any sort of copyright or legal documentation giving them the legal right to ownership of the term "Aikido" and therefore determine its usage? If not this is a moot point.
Trademark rights arise from prior usage and don't require any type of registration or legal documentation. What registration does do is help you to establish prior usage if it comes to a conflict. Some arts in Japan have actually gotten legally registered because of court disputes (Kyokushinkai Karate and Daito-ryu come to mind), but so far as I know the Aikikai has neither gone to court over that kind of thing nor formally registered the name "Aikido". Now, what happens once you get into a courtroom is often hard to predict, but it seems to me that the Aikikai would likely have a strong case, if they ever went to court, which doesn't seem very likely to me. In any case, simple politeness in the Japanese martial arts usually calls for some kind of a name change - ie, it's impolite to teach Billy-Bob Ryu if you're not actually Billy-Bob, but it's usually acceptable to teach Bubba-Ha Billy-Bob Ryu if you go out on your own.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-21-2005, 02:07 PM   #32
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
In moral relativism, everything is a moot point. There is no right or wrong.
Just wanted to advance this idea and see how it stands up in the light of day:

IMHO, (yes, I do qualify every statement I make this way) If an act is selfish in it's nature or intention, this defines it as morally wrong. If it's selfless or unselfish, it is moral. ??
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:53 PM   #33
Brion Toss
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Sorry, but you haven't made any case to support your idea that you "know" what Aikido is. At best, you're going down the logic-path of "Acceptable Aikido is what people want it to be" without acknowledging that some things are not Aikido. Not everything is Aikido; you have shown no support in credentials, acknowledgement from experts, etc., that you are qualified to make your assertions, Brion. Do me a favor and address the basic idea of why anyone should accept your assertions... I.e., using some factual support and not your feelings.

I am not prudish about the definition of what is Aikido or any other martial art, but there must be some beginning definition and that beginning definition is taken into account in Asia by the lineage and the acknowledged standard-bearer of a specific martial art (the "Do-shu", in the case of Aikido). It is not determined by what every wannabe decides it to be.

I am also not nitpicky enough to want to break the rice-bowl of every wannabe-teacher who makes an income from teaching their take on what a particular martial art is.... but on the other hand, I think that sincere, dues-paying students who are paying for a particular "name-brand" martial art should rightfully expect that a "teacher" is honest enough to make clear the differences, how much personal take is in what they teach, etc. You may not think that it is important to be really clear with students that there may be differences in a school from the original art, but I do. I am not prudish, but I do have a bottom-line definition that starts with complete honesty.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Hello again,
I believe we are talking about at least two things here: transmission of lineage; and definition. The former is, by tradition, at least, only possible by way of the Doshu. I like and accept that tradition, as it gives me a formal basis for relating to the art, as well as to other practitioners of the art. My own teacher, for example, is certified through Hombu, was taught primarily by teachers (some of them shihans) who studied directly with O-Sensei, as well as by others (some also shihans) who studied with his deshi. My place in the formal hierarchy is well-defined enough for me, at least.
Definition, however, is another matter entirely. Just because some people go down the path of saying, "Acceptable Aikido is what people want it to be" doesn't mean that all speculation is invalid, and I certainly don't recall implying or stating anything of the sort. I am not writing definitions for the Doshu's consideration (Dear Mr. Ueshiba, thought you might like to get straight on the stuff your grandad put together, so I'll lay it all out for you...); I am working to come to a personal realization on the nature of an art that I am only marginally qualified to claim comprehension of, and am doing so, in part, by having instigated a conversation on this web site. I did not title the thread, "Here is a formal definition of Aikido, no matter what the Doshu might think". For you to indicate, based on the entries thus far, that I should keep quiet unless the Doshu says it's okay reeks of the worst excesses of orthodoxy.
Why do you assume that I want, as you put it, that "anyone should accept [my] assertions"? For that matter, what assertions have I made? And even if I were to hazard anything like a definitive statement, for crying out loud this is an Internet discussion, not the Council at Nicea.You keep saying that you are "not prudish", but everthing else you say tends to belie that statement (Prude: One who is excessively concerned with being or appearing to be proper, modest, or righteous).
On what basis, by what credentials, do you take it upon yourself to attempt to stifle open discussion? On what basis, by what credentials, do you seek to impugn my ethics ("You may not think that it is important to be really clear with students that there may be differences in a school from the original art, but I do"), in the absence of any evidence supporting your words?
I agree that formal transmission of lineage is important. I agree that, as you noted, "...there are basic principles that you cannot really change." I am asking, "What are those principles?" At the outset, I said, "I know that there are a lot of descriptions of what constitutes Aikido, but at the moment they don't seem sufficient." If you disagree, I can relate to that; I cannot and will not refuse to ask the question.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:05 PM   #34
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Defining Aikido

How 'pure' does aikido have to be to still be called aikido?
(rhetorical).
If someone learned for years from O'Sensei, or from O'Sensei's uchi deshi, and was formally authorized to teach aikido, and remains true to what they were taught as best they can, I would say that they are doing aikido regardless of whom they pay or do not pay fees for recognition.
If that person's students can go to Japan to train and be recognized as doing aikido, then I think that the teacher has been succesful at teaching aikido regardless of who signed their dan certificates. When that person's students are frequently chosen as ukes when they go to Japan, or when they visit other dojos in the states, I think that person has been succesful at teaching aikido.

I am reminded of Protestants saying that Catholics aren't 'real Christians' because they regard Mary too highly, or Mahayana Buddhists saying that Theravada Buddhists aren't really Buddhists because they don't take the boddhisattva vow.

As for dojos where everyone 'takes a dive,' I have no idea; I've never been in one.

Question for Mike: given your emphasis on 'tradition,' do you consider non-aikikai organizations to be teaching aikido in any form or none at all?

-LK
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:31 PM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote:
How 'pure' does aikido have to be to still be called aikido?
(rhetorical).
Would you posit that Aikido has a certain number of basic principles? Would you agree that if the basic principles of a discipline are missing, it is not correct? If so, I easily agree that if the basic principles are there, THEN variations don't matter much. It is when the basic principles are not there (and way of movement is one of them) and people claim they have met the requirements for the discipline that I object. And I think that's what many other people also object to, even within the Aikido community.
Quote:
I am reminded of Protestants saying that Catholics aren't 'real Christians' because they regard Mary too highly, or Mahayana Buddhists saying that Theravada Buddhists aren't really Buddhists because they don't take the boddhisattva vow.
Perhaps you think along these lines of "belief" because your Aikido is based more on belief than on substance?
Quote:
As for dojos where everyone 'takes a dive,' I have no idea; I've never been in one.
Then you just impressed a lot of people with your naivete'.
Quote:
Question for Mike: given your emphasis on 'tradition,' do you consider non-aikikai organizations to be teaching aikido in any form or none at all? -LK
I have never paid any attention to "organizations"... I follow the art. If the basics are there, I appreciate a dojo. If not, I don't call it Aikido (or whatever art). I'm all for dojo equality.

Mike
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:36 PM   #36
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
For that matter, what assertions have I made? And even if I were to hazard anything like a definitive statement, for crying out loud this is an Internet discussion, not the Council at Nicea.
Go back and look for the declarative sentences in your posts, Brion, if you're not sure what an assertion is. I pointed out a couple, like in what you "know". And yes... this is an internet discussion forum, hence both you and I are commenting.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:44 PM   #37
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
No one can do any wrong movement in your dojo, as far as I can tell, and have it not be Aikido.
Well that depends. What is your definition of Aikido?

I know what mine is and what I am looking for when I say so and what is done by me and others who train with me conform to our organisation's view of what it is. Beyond that, I could not care what others believe or say it to be or not be, if it resembles what I think it is we have a good time training and I stay around, if not, you never see me again. I don't pretend to know anything about anything, but if there is something to learn, regardless of what it is called, I am there.

This is why I think it is up to the individual to define what the general term "Aikido" is to his or her self, the particular "Aikido" however can be specifically defined, qualified and quantified and by extension one can determine what it is and is not. The thing is, the particular definition of what constitutes Aikido practice is not the same across the board, hence the various styles and methods.

As I indicated in my last post, it really does not matter to me at all who believes what is "traditional" or "true" etc. When you step on the mat and get to the training all that fades away. In the end either you stay or go. If the name of what I do changed tomorrow I'd still be doing it the way we do it until instructed to do otherwise from those higher up within the system.

Gambatte.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
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Old 03-21-2005, 07:19 PM   #38
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
This is why I think it is up to the individual to define what the general term "Aikido" is to his or her self, the particular "Aikido" however can be specifically defined, qualified and quantified and by extension one can determine what it is and is not.
Ah. So I assume that you can specifically define, qualify, and quantify what "Aikido" is, since you are using the name and claim to teach it? How about defining it for me?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-21-2005, 07:47 PM   #39
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Ah. So I assume that you can specifically define, qualify, and quantify what "Aikido" is, since you are using the name and claim to teach it? How about defining it for me?
Quote:
Well that depends. What is your definition of Aikido?

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
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Old 03-22-2005, 02:30 PM   #40
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Defining Aikido

It seems like there would be a scale of credibility decending from the current Doshu, on down through the rankings of the Uchi deshi, including well-reviewed authors, the accredited instructors and so on. At some point on that scale, most individuals will find a point where their faith wavers.

A general consensus could probably be reached and may already be established. In Yoshinkan Aikido, for instance, this is a pretty strict and formalized list.
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:42 AM   #41
rob_liberti
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Re: Defining Aikido

By the way, about taking a dive:

According to Henry Kono, when he was at Hombu dojo (O-sensei was there at that time) if people resisted a technique in anyway before they were 3rd degree black belts they would be sent to the side of the mat to practice rolling.

I've heard directly and indirectly from several sources, including uchi deshi of O-sensei, that O-sensei said that you should not resist techniques before sandan. So, I can see where someone might get confused about how to practice - as they might take that to mean total evasion and just falling for people. It should be noted that those same teachers have some students who are beyond sandan that do not seem to have suffered from that methodology.

Rob
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:15 PM   #42
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Then you just impressed a lot of people with your naivete'.
Oh, wow, Mike. I didn't know that when I said 'I have no idea,I've never been in a dive dojo' that no one but you would recognize that that meant that I'm naieve to dive dojos. Thank you so much for clearing that up for everyone. I would hate for my point not to come across for lack of clarity.

Quote:
Mike wrote:
I have never paid any attention to "organizations"... I follow the art. If the basics are there, I appreciate a dojo. If not, I don't call it Aikido (or whatever art).
That's not what you said in post #8: "Until they have the go-ahead from the Do-Shu, they have no legitimacy and are just assumptive amateurs..."

So which is it? Formal recognition from the head of Aikikai makes aikido, or basic elements makes aikdo? Is everyone in the Ki Society, and everyone in an unaffiliated dojo, etc. an assumptive amateur who shouldn't say that they are doing aikido? Just asking for an opinion.

-LK
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:34 PM   #43
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote:
That's not what you said in post #8: "Until they have the go-ahead from the Do-Shu, they have no legitimacy and are just assumptive amateurs..."

So which is it? Formal recognition from the head of Aikikai makes aikido, or basic elements makes aikdo? Is everyone in the Ki Society, and everyone in an unaffiliated dojo, etc. an assumptive amateur who shouldn't say that they are doing aikido? Just asking for an opinion.
Er, what has the fact that I don't get involved in organizations (Ki Society, Aikikai, Yoshinkan, etc.), keeping my eye on the essences, got to do with people making up their own arts and calling them "Aikido"? Certainly I believe in basic elements and I don't think a name should be used for an art if the art you practice has different elements. If the practice of a martial art has the basics, then I don't care whose organization it belongs to... I don't do organizations.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:39 AM   #44
rob_liberti
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Re: Defining Aikido

I'll bite. What do you think the basics are?

(I don't mind "personal observations" becuase I'm standing on solid ground. I say a forum is a forum, and if you call attention to something about your personality, someone might comment on it. If you want to avoid it, stop trying to make an arbitrary rule about it, and try not calling attention to such things in the first place. Just my 2 cents - because it is in fact a forum. )

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-25-2005 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:24 AM   #45
Ketsan
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Re: Defining Aikido

Is it not also the case that each Doshu has subtly changed how Aikido is done. I know, for example, that we're taught two different ways of taking ukemi for nikkyo which apparently come from the 2nd and 3rd Doshu.
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Old 03-27-2005, 12:23 PM   #46
Aristeia
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Er, what has the fact that I don't get involved in organizations (Ki Society, Aikikai, Yoshinkan, etc.), keeping my eye on the essences, got to do with people making up their own arts and calling them "Aikido"?
You've nicely sidestepped Lorien's point, so let me make it again. You've previously indicated that to be Aikido, you need to be recognised by the Doshu as doing such. This is an organisational matter. How do yo explain that apparent contradiction.
How about a hypothetical, what if after the current Doshu's death, his son on taking office issues notice that he no longer considers Ki Society to be doing Aikido? Does that make it stop being Aikido or would that make the Doshu wrong?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:41 PM   #47
DustinC
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Re: Defining Aikido

There is a quote on the back of John Stevens Invincible Warrior...
"The secret to Aikido is not how you move your feet it is how you move your mind. I'm not teaching you martial techniques, I'm teaching nonviolence." -Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:29 PM   #48
MM
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Re: Defining Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Granted, that's true. But if someone wants permission to teach lineage Aikido, they don't go to those uchideshi, they go to the Doshu, don't they? In other words, the idea of orderliness in order to preserve a line is entrusted to the Doshu for a reason going back a long, long way. Wouldn't you agree?

Mike Sigman
Guess I don't agree here. Especially since at this point in time, there are various schools that have legitimacy with Hombu. In other words, people are studying under those uchideshi and are learning Aikido. They have different grading syllabus but Hombu recognizes their ranks.

Mark
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Old 04-26-2005, 08:48 AM   #49
jss
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Re: Defining Aikido

I get the impression this thread suffers from the two different perspectives of the participants: some are speaking from a practical/technical/... perspective and others from the philosophical/emlightened/... perspective.

Example:
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
No one can do any wrong movement in your dojo, as far as I can tell, and have it not be Aikido.
When I have the intention to practice aikido, everything I do is aikido. It might be good aikido, bad aikido, deluded aikido, but it IS aikido, it is part of my aikido-path. From this follows that no matter what I do on the mat, it won't be aikido, because with my limited experience in aikido, the principles that make up aikido will be not be sufficiently present in what I do. And since for all of us there is some room for improvement, no one does aikido.

So everybody is right. Rejoice!
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