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Old 06-16-2005, 12:46 AM   #301
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Phillip Kirkan wrote:
Right, because we all know kendo is realistic self defense training.
Your exact words were, "Wearing a hakama has nothing to do with sport of self defense." Admittedly, I thought the "of" was an "or." But you still said, "sport," and Kendo is a sport and they wear hakimas.

Quote:
Have you ever heard of senshido?
No.
Quote:
.....Now I've heard plenty of stories about how invincibles Ueshiba and other aikido 'masters' are, but I've never seen them fight. I've never seen them spar. I've never seen them do anything with a resisting opponent .....
Well, DUH, most branches of Aikido don't do freestyle sparring. That goes all the way to O Sensie. You might as well complain about the music Thai Boxers play.


Quote:
A part of it yes, but the entire culture? .....
I never said it was the whole thing -- just part of it refracted through O Sensei's ideas. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Quote:
Martial arts didn't get wrapped in culture. Boxing has very little culture around in. Wrestling has very little culture around it ....
Language, dress, rules, sportsmanship. You're right -- nothing of western culture inolved, just two guys wailing on each other. Yeah, right!

Last edited by CNYMike : 06-16-2005 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:13 AM   #302
Pankration90
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
tupelo1308 wrote:
Using a "fighting technique" is exactly the way to teach people that there in fact is not a winner and a loser. It is not about winning or about defeating. That is the whole point of aikido - to understand that there is no fight and therefore no winner or loser. IMHO.
It seems to me like the guy who doesn't flop on the ground or have his arm twisted gets the better end of the deal.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Your exact words were, "Wearing a hakama has nothing to do with sport of self defense." Admittedly, I thought the "of" was an "or." But you still said, "sport," and Kendo is a sport and they wear hakimas.
My mistake, that was supposed to be an "or". I guess you're right about that, but how does kendo justify the fact that aikidoka wear hakama?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Language, dress, rules, sportsmanship. You're right -- nothing of western culture inolved, just two guys wailing on each other. Yeah, right!
I don't think simply speaking my native language is an attempt to preserve American culture. Rules don't have much to do with culture either, and sportsmanship varies from person to person. If anything, those arts are surrounded by modern culture, not culture from 50 or more years ago. They aren't preserving a culture, they are simply existing during it.
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:22 AM   #303
PeterR
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Phillip Kirkan wrote:
how does kendo justify the fact that aikidoka wear hakama?
My guess is they don't - why should they.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-16-2005, 05:26 AM   #304
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Phillip Wrote:

Quote:
Long term interest isn't the hard part, hence the success of mcdojos.
Good point, you have to be careful about what your are studying and why. Certainly it is possible to fill someone with "warm and fuzzies" and send them home feelling good about themselves and positive about the world, and with very little actual tools or experience without the abiity to solve problems or sustain themselve. There are lots of rah, rah seminars of the "you CAN do it" type that people spend millions on. Sort of like diet and exercise trends. Not for me, but...okay.

I like to think that the founders of the martial systems of karatedo, aikido, and judo, have proven themselves long term and were not "trendy McDojos". I don't think they ever professed to be able to make you a black belt in 10 days. The term "Cavet Emptor" comes to mind. Everyone is responsible for themselves, there actions, and there training. If they recieve benefit out of a McDojo, did it accomplish there goal??? I think yes.

One thing I like about martial arts is it is concrete and quantifiable, either your good or your not. It takes me about 2 minutes of working with someone to tell if they earned their rank or have the experience they profess. (refer back to my vignette on Saotome sensei.).

The point is, that everyone is responsible for their own path. The founders of the arts had a concept in mind and adopted things that they felt lead people down a path that would make them better people.

As far as fighting and competition. We discuss that alot on aikiweb it seems. I think it has to do with Yin and Yang. You have to understand both sides of it in order to acheive the balance between the two. Most eastern philosophy stresses balance, moderation, and harmony/peace. In order to resolve violence, you have to understand it. Aikido is a wonderful allegory for that. You take a violent attack and you control it, redirect it, and resolve it with as little violence as possible. It demostrates in the most extreme physical and emotional states, you still have options available if you want to take time to understand. I think our world leaders could learn alot from this allegory, but that is politics and I don't like to discuss them!

Other arts such as judo seem to embrace competition. Sure their is a winner and a loser, but not really. I love doing BJJ tournaments. Wow, what a brotherhood. I never leave the mat without a hug, smile, or a pat on the back. There is a mutual respect and a bond between "competitors". So I too think that competition can serve a purpose towards peace framed the right way. Why do you think we have the Olympics? Promoting peace is a huge part of it.

About understanding KI. Okay, I respect you say "no you must explicity know what KI is in order to use it." I so "no you do not". No need to argue further on this point.

I kinda follow the philosophy of Yoda, "do, not think". I certainly enjoy discussing KI, while I agree no one can probably really empirically define it, or no two people will ever agree, it is wonderful to talk about and explore the possibilities. Sure, plenty of people can talk about it, a good example of "talk not do" seems to be the issue with Mr. Tennenhouse from what I have been reading. What diffference does it make if you cannot do "it".

One of my old Aikido Sensei's would agree with you on "I just think it is a good way to pin." I have no problem with that.

My old karate instructor used to talk about the concepts of GI and RI. I always get them confused, but one had to do with technical knowledge, being able to walk and talk through the mechanics, the other does with inate, or instinctual understanding. while instinctual understanding is vital to being a good martial artist. It helps to have the technical understanding (explicit) knowledge to get there some times. That is why I think KI discussions are good, regardless of the outcome of proving/disproving. I always learn something new!

Sonja, thanks for the nice comment!
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:06 AM   #305
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Phillip Kirkan wrote:
My mistake, that was supposed to be an "or". I guess you're right about that, but how does kendo justify the fact that aikidoka wear hakama?
You didn't specify "aikidoka" either, and I assumed the field was wide open.

Quote:
I don't think simply speaking my native language is an attempt to preserve American culture .....
You're doing it anyway.

Quote:
Rules don't have much to do with culture either, and sportsmanship varies from person to person. If anything, those arts are surrounded by modern culture, not culture from 50 or more years ago. They aren't preserving a culture, they are simply existing during it.

That's not too far off from what I said -- you don't notice the cultural side of Boxing or Wrestling because it's our culture; we're not removed from it in time (50/100 years ago) or space (another country). Could it be we finally agree on something?

That said, I am perfectly happy with agreeing to disagree and letting this thread -- or at least my particpation in it -- die. I've expressed my views and where I got them as thuroughly as I could more than once. You don't want to agree with me, fine. You want to think I'm a "nut" for not understanding that martial arts are all about fighting and this cultural stuff is for the birds, also fine. I don't care. We're not going to change each other's minds here, so why not let the thing drop?
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:51 AM   #306
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Ian,

Glad you posted. I was hoping someone would answer the question truthfully. As I read the thread, my confusion increased because I was having trouble processing the reasoning behind posted comments. I have trouble understanding why anything should be excluded from general aikido training. Rather, I have the opinion that the people practicing should have the option to exclude the components of training that they choose, not the instructor. I personally believe there is benefit to spiritual understanding, but who am I to force it upon my students? Conversely, who am I to exclude any aspects of training from my general curriculum?

As I am bowing out of this conversation, I can honestly say that the only experiences I have ever had resulting from aikido falling too strongly on promoting "mysticism" or spirituality has been the fault of the instructor, because they were poor instructors. My intent was to demonstrate moderation and education as response to the initial threat question.

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:29 PM   #307
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I like to think that the founders of the martial systems of karatedo, aikido, and judo, have proven themselves long term and were not "trendy McDojos". I don't think they ever professed to be able to make you a black belt in 10 days. The term "Cavet Emptor" comes to mind. Everyone is responsible for themselves, there actions, and there training. If they recieve benefit out of a McDojo, did it accomplish there goal??? I think yes.
I wasn't suggesting that Kano, Ueshiba, or Funakoshi started mcdojos. I just meant that there will always be people who are interested in something.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Could it be we finally agree on something?
Yep, I just think that other martial arts could be taken out of their culture, put into ours, and we would still have the same results.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
That said, I am perfectly happy with agreeing to disagree and letting this thread -- or at least my particpation in it -- die. I've expressed my views and where I got them as thuroughly as I could more than once. You don't want to agree with me, fine. You want to think I'm a "nut" for not understanding that martial arts are all about fighting and this cultural stuff is for the birds, also fine. I don't care. We're not going to change each other's minds here, so why not let the thing drop?
I don't think you're a "nut" at all, we just train for different reasons. Thanks for the discussion.
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Old 06-16-2005, 08:21 PM   #308
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Phillip Kirkan wrote:
Yep, I just think that other martial arts could be taken out of their culture, put into ours, and we would still have the same results.
But what is "our" culture? Beyond "predominanatly white and English speaking," it's all over the map. Unlike plenty of other places around the world, the US doesn't have it's roots in one ehtnic group but has been built by many. That's how an Italian-American Roman Catholic could send out for Chinese food and date a polish-American girl (as an example) and not think twice about it. Would any of that have been possible in Italy 200 years ago? So with our culture being a melting pot anyway, MA could be left in "their culture" and work quite well.

Quote:
I don't think you're a "nut" at all, we just train for different reasons. Thanks for the discussion.
You're welcome.
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Old 09-21-2005, 09:28 PM   #309
Shannon Frye
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I gotta say, I love that part about the amish! It's enough to drive a perspective student away to keep hearing how this art will teach you to avoid fighting. Anger management classes and conflict resolution courses will do that, without all that falling down stuff.
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:42 PM   #310
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
I don't believe in the concept of "ki." The idea that there is some form of energy inside us and all around us that we can project from our bellies to our fingertips is a bit mystical to me. I may be wrong, but I think the idea of "ki" is integral to Aikido. "Ki" being a mystical concept, mysticism is integral to Aikido. IMHO of course.
I believe it's possible you've bought into the idea that "ki" is mystical without intending to.

IME, "ki" is a very real phenomenon that can look very mystical, but is grounded in some very non-mystical roots. It isn't as simple as energy transfer and alignment, but those are important parts of it. There is, IMO, also timing and a bit of (for lack of a better word, 'cause this one doesn't really cut it) "psychology".

Ki is like a lot of human experience. The word exists to describe a phenomenon that isn't that tough to understand, but as soon as you try to explain it you get bogged down in details.

I tell my students that if you understand the explanation you don't need it. The "mystical visualizations" are just tricks to get your mind and body to do the right thing. Often, your subconscious mind is happy to do the right thing, but your conscious mind gets in the way.

This being said, it's also been my experience that the wrong attitude when doing Aikido pretty much precludes letting your mind and body get it right. My current teacher had a student that said, "Aikido with the wrong attitude is nothing but bad jiujitsu."

I think he had a point.

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Old 07-05-2006, 09:02 PM   #311
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
The word exists to describe a phenomenon that isn't that tough to understand, but as soon as you try to explain it you get bogged down in details..
Or the word is a general term for many phenomenon.
Remember the "ether".

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
The "mystical visualizations" are just tricks to get your mind and body to do the right thing. Often, your subconscious mind is happy to do the right thing, but your conscious mind gets in the way.
Amen and Hallelujah.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:10 PM   #312
DonMagee
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I read a good majority of this thread because I can't seem to get to sleep tonight. I wanted to pose some questions and make some statements.

Is culture not meant to evolve? Should the teachings, training methods, philosophy, etc remain static? Will This allow the art to stay relevant forever?

Is forcing someone to learn another language just to learn a martial art all about preserving heritage, or is it that the teachers know students expect to learn funky words? Seriously, how many of you would of been disappointed if you weren't told a few Japanese words when you started training? It adds mystery and excitement to the training.

I for one choose to not use the Japanese, Brazilian, or Korean words related to my training. I do this for two reasons, for one, in bjj there are at least a half a dozen names for every technique. Second, I hate explaining what I mean to people I talk to, third, I really have no desire to learn parts of a language usually used and pronounced incorrectly. I already speak a few languages, I don't care to learn anymore. Thus I will say armbar, hip toss, shoulder throw, rolling shoulder lock, etc. The only time I will use Japanese words is when I feel someone will only understand me if I use those terms. I believe that martial arts were meant to evolve. They were meant to change. Now that I think about it, this is the Brazilian philosophy behind bjj. They intend for you to build your own bjj. They want you to learn, and change the way you use bjj to be the most effective it can be. In fact, the whole reason bjj really evolved is because the standup judo/jujitsu (depending on who you ask) did not work for the Gracie's and they were willing to break from tradition and make their own. Its still changing, now we have a focus on no-gi competition, a focus on less playing from the back (because mma has evolved to a level where you can't hang out like Royce anymore). Its constantly changing and evolving. Some changes are major, some are minor. I don't think loosing Japanese words is a major change that will impact anything. In fact, I've never actually heard a good reason why to keep the words. I don't think knowing how to say words you may or may not understand really helps preserve a culture. There is a philosophy behind every martial art. I have never heard of that philosophy being teach Japanese to people. I think the most important parts to preserve are the philosophy and techniques. But I also feel that these will and should be allowed to change with time.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:58 AM   #313
Upyu
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
I believe it's possible you've bought into the idea that "ki" is mystical without intending to.

IME, "ki" is a very real phenomenon that can look very mystical, but is grounded in some very non-mystical roots. It isn't as simple as energy transfer and alignment, but those are important parts of it. There is, IMO, also timing and a bit of (for lack of a better word, 'cause this one doesn't really cut it) "psychology".

Ki is like a lot of human experience. The word exists to describe a phenomenon that isn't that tough to understand, but as soon as you try to explain it you get bogged down in details.

I tell my students that if you understand the explanation you don't need it. The "mystical visualizations" are just tricks to get your mind and body to do the right thing. Often, your subconscious mind is happy to do the right thing, but your conscious mind gets in the way.

This being said, it's also been my experience that the wrong attitude when doing Aikido pretty much precludes letting your mind and body get it right. My current teacher had a student that said, "Aikido with the wrong attitude is nothing but bad jiujitsu."

I think he had a point.
Mata ka yo?? www

Go look at the "Jo trick" thread. It's been done to death there.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:00 AM   #314
early rub up
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Monty Collier you talk as if you are the leading authority on aikido and what you say is gospel according to monty and every one else is wrong but in truth old boy this is just your oppinion, just because you like many others havent been able to have your own personal experience of such matters dosnt for one single second mean that your right.
you are entitled to your oppinion but remember thats all it is
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:37 AM   #315
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

My two Canadian cents- Some people enjoy the pure physical aspect of aikido. "ki" is nothing more than kinetic energy transfered from one moving body to another. On the other side of the fence you have people wrapped up in the mysticism of the art or even aikido/O'sensei as a religion. Some of these people may not even practice physical aikido.

Then there are the people in the middle who mix physical with spiritual (I'd use comment from another thread about the possibility of being spiritual without being religious). As much as I love the physical aspect of Aikido I feel I'm learning and using the spiritual side of it 10 times more. FAR less stressed. Don't get angry. Don't do things to piss off or criticize people.

I find it interesting how people can scoff at spiritual debates or arguments yet are perfectly fine with swallowing what religion teaches. I find the word mysticism has a lot of negative connections to it. I know when I hear the word I think of some weirdo preaching something far out and weird, like one of the political parties up here wanting to make a bubble of good feelings to protect against missiles and yoga flying....
It's easy to laugh at or dismiss something you're physical mind doesn't think is possible.

I think the whole mysticism/spirituality thing in aikido a matter of becoming more aware.

More aware about you're surroundings-
You get a feeling that an area is a shady part of town. Someone is watching you but you can't see them. Maybe it's going to storm or something heh

More aware about people-
how you can tell (feel) someone is trouble when you meet them, you can tell when their upset or something is bugging them. How often have you picked up the phone to call someone and they are calling you at that exact second? I bet a lot more than times you've picked up the phone to call someone and a different person is calling you.

More aware about yourself-how you react (and can control) your emotions when someone bad happens. When you're faced with stress. Catching yourself in a bad mood and making yourself cheer up. How your body reacts and moves when physically touched (IE through physical aikido).

Here's an example of a big personal experience for me (which puts me on a pedestal to be mocked or disbelieved ),a bit off topic but it helps to explain my point of view of gut feelings/being aware.

I was giving a friend a ride to drop money off at her parents. I was taking back roads and when I turned down one road it was like I felt her get upset without a word being said. Asked what was wrong and she said nothing, she seemed a little nervous but nothing bad.
As we drove by an old farmhouse I got a huge sinking feeling in my stomach and the house just seemed dark (for lack of a better word) to me. I turned to her and said wow thats ***ked up, I just got the weirdest feeling, there's something wrong with that house and she immediately broke into tears. Once we were a ways away from the house she broke down and started to tell me about how she used to live on that road and she was molested as a kid at that house when dropped off there to be babysat. She never even asked how I knew or seemed to care, she just seemed relieved to vent and get it off her chest.

I'm sure her body language played a huge role but I know I defiantly had some kind of feeling. First from her then the house, I can't explain the feeling I just know it was there. Like when you get a gut feeling from whatever, I know it happens to everyone. I think most people just ignore it.

I think we often get gut feelings on things but our logical mind works against it and tries to dismiss unexplained feelings.
I feel aikido (among other things of course) helps us become more aware of ourselves surroundings and other people though a path other than our physical or logical mind.
The spirituality or mysticism angle of aikido for me translates to opening ourselves up to feeling and not just thinking. Being more aware.

Last edited by Guilty Spark : 07-06-2006 at 08:39 AM.

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If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 07-06-2006, 08:52 AM   #316
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
I'm sure her body language played a huge role but I know I defiantly had some kind of feeling. First from her then the house, I can't explain the feeling I just know it was there. Like when you get a gut feeling from whatever, I know it happens to everyone. I think most people just ignore it.
You smelled her fear.

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Old 07-06-2006, 09:53 AM   #317
Tim Olds
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Check out Gavin de Becker's book "The Gift of Fear"

Most of have feelings which would tell us things, if we would learn to listen to them.
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:46 PM   #318
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Mata ka yo?? www

Go look at the "Jo trick" thread. It's been done to death there.
Ya. I know. Been there, done that. Won't do it again.

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Old 07-06-2006, 02:27 PM   #319
mriehle
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:
If some nut, like Kano, wanted to pretend it was something more, then he was just fooling himself. You don't have that sport-turned-religion-problem in America, because in the United States we have the Bible which is far greater Spiritually and philosophically than anything the Asians have ever produced. They are so starved for any type of spiritual or philosophical enlightenment, that they would worship ping-pong if they thought it would help (in china many of their ping-pong champions actually have stated that ping-pong is a "way" (do) of life.)

But, what can we expect. When nuts like Ueshiba and Kano get so drunk on their own ego, and on that which they think they conjured up (which we all know neither one invented either system, but eclectically combined what they thought was important.)
Right. Well. My father has found Judo to be very valuable on a personal level. He just turned 70. He goes to Japan on an annual basis to train at the Kodokan. He'd take exception, I think to calling Kano a nut.

You know, beetles come in many forms. Cockroaches, for instance.

Not that I'm saying anything here, I'm just saying...

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Old 07-06-2006, 02:39 PM   #320
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

That gave me a good chuckle. Please remember though...this is an OLD thread, and dear old Monty probably doesn't even read the posts here anymore.

Best,
Ron (cracks me up though...)

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:10 PM   #321
statisticool
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Monty Collier wrote:
Students and Teachers would do better spending their time in the examination of, and actual practice of technical skills, rather than pretending to direct a make believe power from their bowels to their fingers.
You're welcome to start your own martial art, have your own training methods and philosophies and see if you can reach 1/1000th of the popularity and effectiveness as aikido.

If you want.

I don't think you're in any position to appeal to change entire existing arts though for everyone else.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:35 PM   #322
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
..... Is forcing someone to learn another language just to learn a martial art all about preserving heritage, or is it that the teachers know students expect to learn funky words? Seriously, how many of you would of been disappointed if you weren't told a few Japanese words when you started training? It adds mystery and excitement to the training.
If you were in a restaurant and you overheard saying something like, "I will not call it LaSagna! I'm not Italian; why should I speak Italian? I will call it meat and cheese covered with tomato sauce. What difference does it make?" would you approve of that or think "What a jerk?" Every day, who knows how many millions of people eat Japanese, Chinese, Italian food, and along the way use words from those languages and don't give it a second thought. Know what a "rendez-vous" is? Our culture is peppered with "forieng" influences. In fact, our dominat language didn't originate on these shores if it comes down to it. So why must martial arts be "cleansed" of any trace of their countries of origin?

Nor can I ever recall being "forced" to use Japanese terms in Aikido. I don't recall any big deal about it either way: Sensei uses the term and you pick it up. Big deal.

Martial arts have a cultural context. They are a snapshot of their founder's thinking, and to understand what's going on, you need some hint of the culture it's coming from, and that includes language. It's not about "pretending" or "making it exciting." It's part of the package. Where did that thought come from? Sifu Dan Inosanto. Yes, the same Dan Inosanto who was Bruce Lee's friend and one of the luminaries of eclectic martial arts, and he's talking about the cultural context.

You don't agree with that? Fine. Don't. That's your business. But there are valid reasons for the way the arts are the way they are that have nothing to do with an instructor just "making things exciting."
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:29 PM   #323
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

I do recall being forced to learn and use japanese in my training. I was forced in judo and in aikido. Sure I could call it a hip toss, but I better know its called O goshi when I test or I'm not going to pass. That requirement is just stupid in my opinion. It adds nothing and helps no one. Its called a hip toss, I learned in in wrestling, I learned it in judo, I learned it in bjj. Its a hip toss. I dont care if you call it monkey throws the log, its still a hip toss. Its not the terms that bother me, its being forced to use that and being told I'm disrespectfull and ruining the system and not learning aikido or judo when I dont use a japaneese word that I have the problem with.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:29 PM   #324
crickel
Dojo: Manabi Dojo, KCMO
Location: Kansas City
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

It's funny, I actually had this same discussion with another student at my dojo earlier tonight - he wasn't too keen on learning Japanese himself.

So. Are you ruining the system by not using Japanese? I'd have to say... no. I have seen different kinds of terminology at different dojos, especially when referring to kokyunage. Many dojos are much more specific then ours about which kokyunage is being performed.

Are you being disrespectful? ... Yes. Your sensei has a particular way that he wants to teach the class. If you don't learn what he's trying to teach, be it Japanese words, the proper way to do nikkyo, meditation, or underwater basket weaving-waza, you are not showing respect for his teachings. You aren't allowing him to fully function as a teacher, and it's likely that you're interfering with other students trying to learn, too.

Does Japanese add anything to Aikido as a system? Yes. What it adds is the ability to communicate effectively with other Aikidoka, who are also using the Japanese terms, and thus practice techniques with a minimum of confusion, which is important if you want to avoid injuries. Why Japanese? Well, probably because the martial art originated in Japan. I'm sure that changing the words into another language wouldn't change the actual technique in the slightest - but you wouldn't be able to understand anyone still using the Japanese terms. And if you don't know what technique is being practiced on you, well, I hope you have good reflexes for the breakfalls. I'm not that skilled yet.

Seriously, though, if you're not comfortable with learning the Japanese terms, I'm sure that if you look hard enough, you can find a dojo that doesn't use them, or at least doesn't mind if you don't. Every Aikido dojo I've visited so far has been quite different in terms of formality, protocol, use of language, and culture. I find it very curious that such a traditional art has some very untraditional practices entering into it in the U.S. Are these breaks from tradition good or bad? I don't know. Who can tell? Probably the teacher. That's why I follow what sensei says.

As a mostly irrelevant side note: Only Americans could steal a language and then have the audacity to claim the original speakers have an accent.

Craig
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:32 PM   #325
RebeccaM
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

At some point though the Japanese terminology is just more efficient. What's easier and faster to say? "Sankkyo" or "Dance with me or I'll break your wrist"? Especially since "Dance with me or I'll break your wrist" could be the name of several other techniques...
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