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Old 06-08-2005, 11:50 AM   #51
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
He awarded a woman dance teacher a 10th dan in Aikido and was seen in public demonstrations with her... notice how it's very difficult to find any mention of this in the literature. In other words, there was a certain amount of behavior and pronouncements that most of the Japanese surrounding O-Sensei sort of studiously avoid talking about.
Mike:

Having talked with at least senior practitioner who saw the woman in question perform a piece in which (I am told) she danced an entire life cycle from youth through old age, and despite her advanced age at the time, managed to precisely convey the qualities of emotional affect and movement of her character at each of those stages, I don't find this particular story terribly baffling.

In the context of Japanese society, it seems unlikely that there was any risk of her opening her own martial arts school on the basis of the certificate, a kind of abuse of honorary rankings we have seen too often here in the States.

One can also think of such an award as a slap upside the head of those of his students at the time that were under the impression that all they were studying was a body of martial arts technique.

None of which means that he was the easiest man in the world to be around. At the end of the day, even an incarnate god is human, and the limits of being human are evident all around us.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:11 PM   #52
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Michael Neal has some good points I believe.

I am a buddhist basically which is really interesting, cause I don't know how you claim that as a religion since it is basically anti-dogmatic, and a philosophy..so how could you "be" it....but in the west we tend to like things in neat little boxes with labels.

I personally have a problem when you start becoming dogmatic with anything simply because it means you stop thinking for yourself and allow the group or authority to think for you. I have experienced this to a small degree in aikido with sensei worship and O'Sensei worship for sure.

As far as separation of religion from aikido. Well If I had to choose, i'd say that aikido tends to be a part of my personal spiritual practice...and if you had to use the western concept of religion, then I guess you could say it was a part of my religious rites. For me it is inseparatable. That said, does not make it a religion.

Really my problem with the world as a whole is dogmatic practices. Once you stop thinking and questioning things for yourself, or start stating ultimatiums, or judging others, well there will be something contrary to that view. That is when you have conflict!

This is why we study aikido I believe and what the founder wanted us to take away from it. We can never acheive his goals unless we "GET IT".

You can never GET IT unless you have the spiritual aspects integrated. As far as I am concerned, why waste your time studying the art if this is not your goal...there are much more fun martial arts out there that focus on techniques, dominating and winning.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:26 PM   #53
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Having talked with at least senior practitioner who saw the woman in question perform a piece in which (I am told) she danced an entire life cycle from youth through old age, and despite her advanced age at the time, managed to precisely convey the qualities of emotional affect and movement of her character at each of those stages, I don't find this particular story terribly baffling.

In the context of Japanese society, it seems unlikely that there was any risk of her opening her own martial arts school on the basis of the certificate, a kind of abuse of honorary rankings we have seen too often here in the States.

One can also think of such an award as a slap upside the head of those of his students at the time that were under the impression that all they were studying was a body of martial arts technique.

None of which means that he was the easiest man in the world to be around. At the end of the day, even an incarnate god is human, and the limits of being human are evident all around us.
Hi Fred:

My comment was more in the way that as O-Sensei got older he did and said some unusual things which arguably may have been related simply to the fact that his body and mind were aging. There's nothing wrong with that; it's a natural process. The point is that if the "Aikido is Love" stuff came near the end of his life, there is a viable reason to not place too much weight on it. Looking at what the Aikido the uchi-deshi wound up teaching and how few of them engage in any remarks resembling "Aikido is Love", the inclination is to go the route of not putting much weight to the comment seems probably correct. My opinion. I'm not a god, myself, although many people have told me I have the body of a god. Unfortunately, they point out that it's Hotei, the "Laughing Buddha".

Mike
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:32 PM   #54
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
You can never GET IT unless you have the spiritual aspects integrated. As far as I am concerned, why waste your time studying the art if this is not your goal...there are much more fun martial arts out there that focus on techniques, dominating and winning.
That is one reason why I know Aikido is not for me, I already have firm religious/spiritual beliefs. While I do still believe Aikido teaches many worthwhile martial principles, to me it is not worth all the other aspects (including but not limited to religion) that do not interest me.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:41 PM   #55
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
While I do still believe Aikido teaches many worthwhile martial principles, to me it is not worth all the other aspects (including but not limited to religion) that do not interest me.
You've never trained in an aikido dojo that did not include spiritual and/or religious trappings?

-- Jun

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Old 06-08-2005, 01:09 PM   #56
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Jun, as I said above my reasons were "including but not limited to religion."

The instructor had no religious trappings whatsoever. Again it was not the leadership of my former Aikido dojo that turned me away from Aikido, I will sing praises to them until the end of time. I have said over and over here that Jim is a superb instructor and his Aikido is amazing, and he is a great person as well. It was Jim's talent and personality alone that made me join the dojo and kept me training there for as long as I did.

But as we all know, a dojo consists more of just the instructor, it is a group of people who all bring something of their own to the table.

But I found that the way the leadership of my dojo approached Aikido was relatively unique and I would basically have to remain isolated there to be insulated from the spirituality stuff. As you know, Aikido is a large community that cross trains frequently at seminars and other dojos and such, and the ANV is lead by Saotome who is quite a spiritual guy. In Judo I don't feel as isolated and can comfortably go from dojo to dojo and not worry about dealing with that stuff. I can not and will not suffer it.

And as i said it was not only the spirituality stuff that I did not like about Aikido. After taking some Judo I learned I liked lots of randori, I do not like suwariwaza or bokken practice, I dislike many of the Aikido techniques, I do not like some of the formality, and I was uncomforatable practicing with several members of the dojo for a variety of reasons, including a few that always wanted to talk about ki, argh!

Last edited by Michael Neal : 06-08-2005 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:12 PM   #57
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
That is one reason why I know Aikido is not for me, I already have firm religious/spiritual beliefs. While I do still believe Aikido teaches many worthwhile martial principles, to me it is not worth all the other aspects (including but not limited to religion) that do not interest me.
Then I cannot fathom why you even spend your time here???

Maybe you and I view spirituality in religion in different ways??? ....That is the issue???

I have never experienced outwardly practice of dogmatic religion in ANY aikido dojo. It just is not a part of it. Is it a religious practice for me...well yes....but that is my issue and would never affect our interaction or training....it is personal in nature.

I have had spiritual experiences in the most non-relgious environments. In fact probably the biggest one for me occurred about 10 years ago in U.S. Army Ranger School. Now what does THAT have to do with ANY religous or spiritual practice!

Having 5 friends killed in the Pentagon on 9-11 was a religous/spiritual experience for me that affected me deeply!

There are many, many people out there that do not box up there religion and spirituality in a box only to be opened on Sunday mornings during service. Many Western Christians that believe that every action they take, thought they think, and practice they take is a part of their religous and spiritual practice.

While aikido may be a part of many peoples relgious or spiritual journey....it doesn't mean that the training focus is on that, it is simply a benefit to be gained.

Jun already split the thread...i'd too would be very interested in discussing how you see religion blatantly integrated and practiced in aikido.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:19 PM   #58
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Kevin you said it yourself

"You can never GET IT unless you have the spiritual aspects integrated. As far as I am concerned, why waste your time studying the art if this is not your goal...there are much more fun martial arts out there that focus on techniques, dominating and winning."

To me that is religious regardless if it is dogmatic or not. And I also see Ki as a religious concept as well.

Quote:
Then I cannot fathom why you even spend your time here???
Because some Aikidoka keep throwing chum in the water by starting threads about judo, I will keep swimming around awhile until i know there is no more blood in the water. Then i will go peacefully back to judoinfo.com.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 06-08-2005 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:27 PM   #59
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Sure, I suppose KI could be a religous concept for some. But it is not necessary to believe or accept it in order to fully experience aikido and have it work for you.

Many will argue that you would still experience it and it would still be there even if you don't accept it.

Sort of like the world being round or flat. It never was too important to your ability to survive and live on the planet to accept/state belief in or the other on a basic level.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:28 PM   #60
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Well, you could just ask Jun to post a red neon sign that says www.judoinfo.com and lights up every time the chum hits the water....

Ron

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Old 06-08-2005, 01:29 PM   #61
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

So are you saying that not believing in Ki is like believing the world is still flat
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:32 PM   #62
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Michael,

Wanted to add this as well. Not to be disrespectful to KI society folks out there by any means...

But, I could see how KI Society may not be your cup of tea since they might tend to emphasize this aspect a little more than you feel is necessary.

I think the middle road is key. You have to have balance and keep things in perspective.

If you spend all your time focusing on KI...you DON"T GET IT.
If you spend all your time wearing Hakama and Placing flowers on the Kamiza you DON"T GET IT.
If you spend all your time on perfecting the perfect combat speed nikkyo against a fully resistant opponent you DON'T GET IT.
If you spend all your time practicing smiling, blending, and going slow you DON'T GET IT.

However, if you spend a little time doing ALL those things, balanced and in perspective...well you MIGHT GET IT
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:35 PM   #63
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
So are you saying that not believing in Ki is like believing the world is still flat
Yea good one

No, just that belief in the existence or theory is not necessarily essential to understanding or studying aikido principles....you can label KI however you want...physics, mystics..whatever..
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:36 PM   #64
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Well, you could just ask Jun to post a red neon sign that says www.judoinfo.com and lights up every time the chum hits the water....

Ron
yes, I think some of you guys should go over to judoinfo.com and post how you beat up some judoka or whatever. You will at least get another perspective.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:42 PM   #65
Don_Modesto
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Mike, last fall I attended an anual seminar here in CNY with an Okimura Sensei, who started training under O Sensei in the 1950s and is also a Buddhist priest. So he should know whether Aikido is relgious or not. He said flat out, no ifs, ands, or buts, "Aikido is not religion." That's a quote. Make of that what you will.
Osensei said this himself, right?

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:17 PM   #66
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Osensei said this himself, right?
This olive is not a martini. It is the completion of all martinis.

FL
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:36 PM   #67
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
.... some Aikidoka keep throwing chum in the water by starting threads about judo, I will keep swimming around awhile until i know there is no more blood in the water. Then i will go peacefully back to judoinfo.com.
I think there are plenty of Aikido people who cross-train in Judo (and vise versa) that they have no illusions about either one. In fact, I remember visiting this Judo forum you go to and recognizing people from Aikiweb.

I think it's already covered. So you don't have to be here if you don't want to be.
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:39 PM   #68
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Osensei said this himself, right?
I have no idea. I do know what someone who is a Buddhist priest with 50 years of training said, and with that background, maybe, just maybe, he just might know what he's talking about.
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:43 PM   #69
Red Beetle
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Keven Leavitt wrote:

Quote:
I personally have a problem when you start becoming dogmatic with anything simply because it means you stop thinking for yourself
Quote:
Really my problem with the world as a whole is dogmatic practices. Once you stop thinking and questioning things for yourself, or start stating ultimatiums, or judging others, well there will be something contrary to that view. That is when you have conflict!


Keven,
Not becoming dogmatic with anything is itself a dogmatic practice.
The dogma you are teaching is that we must always question and think for ourselves.
You are being what you what you wish others would not, that is, you are being dogmatic.
Your position is absurd.

Red Beetle
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:57 PM   #70
DaveO
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

'Lo all!
Well; I think it's time I threw my own 2 cents into the fray; but before we get on to the subject of ki; I want to address a point that has not yet been touched on.
It's the initial poster's opening remarks:
Quote:
When considering how to improve any Martial System it is necessary to take inventory, and examine if what is being taught is logically consistent and beneficial to the system as a whole.

Take for example the teaching of "Ki."

Lots of Aikido people run around talking about "ki", but the fact of the matter is that the teaching of "ki" is simply a mystical/magical teaching which conjures belief in superstitious nonsense.
And indeed; the title of the thread itself:
Quote:
Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward
Now; this is not simply the opening line of one who wishes to create a discussion/constructive argument. It's a deliberate; outright antagonistic statement.
I notice that mr...er..."beetle" has not responded since the initial post.

I don't know about the rest of the folks and of course I defer to Jun's judgement; but where I come from this is considered rude behaviour. I therefore charge Mr. "Beetle" to return to this thread and answer some questions.

First - by what argument and methodology do you make the claim that aikido without mysticism is a 'step forward'? Without - I might add - no clear attempt at describing your definition of mysticism?

Second - how do you - one who has no aikido training - have the ability, knowledge or moral right to not only determine aikido needs improving; but also to identify precisely where such improvement should happen?
I am very curious - and demand answers.

Now - on to Ki.

As one who started with the ki society; I was initially extremely skeptical of the 'ki' aspect found in shin shin toitsu. With my background as a combat veteran; and as one who's been required to use physical skills on a number of occasions; I didn't see the point - not at all. Technique was what was important, right?

But as I learned; I began to understand a little of what the 'ki' aspects involve. However you wish to define ki; the common concensus is that it is a focussing of will/intent/energy along a given direction. Whether it is a spiritual matter, a physiological phenomenon, or whatever; it works, essentially, by directing your will in a specific manner.

In my experience; there are few of the techniques we practice which would be of vaalue as they are practiced in a real-life encounter. That is not - I submit - the intent of kumi-waza. Rather; the techniques are there to teach the mind and body to move unconciously in particular ways - ways that are stable, fluid, effective and constructed of a minimum of body movements.
Ki training does the same thing in a different manner - as the techniques teach us to use the body in specific ways; so ki training teaches us to use the mind in similar ways.
The end result - assuming for the moment the student learns correctly and can apply what he learned; which is a huge assumption - is that in a critical situation; the practicioner will be able to move his mind and body together; as a single unit in ways which are stable, smooth and effective.
In other words; the techniques and ki training are not final goals in and of themselves; they are there to teach effective defensive movement.

It's good movement - not fancy techniques - which helps someone escape a dangerous situation.

Now; obviously people sometimes go (in my opinion) overboard and start looking at aikido as something other than what it is - a defensive, internal art. They swoon over peace/love; make happytalk about spiritual happiness, feeling the ki of the little birds, etc. We occasionally get E-mails from people wanting to learn how to throw ki-balls. Lots of people want to believe in greater things and unfortunately some folks let their enthusiasm exceed their common sense - heck; just look at Yellow Bamboo.
So IMO ki training is a fascinating and integral part of my aikido training. However anyone else feels; that's cool with me.

Eh - whatever turns their crank; IMO. IMO; they're confusing the goal with the tools needed to reach the goal but as long as they're happy, I'm happy.

Cheers!

Last edited by DaveO : 06-08-2005 at 09:01 PM.

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Old 06-08-2005, 09:19 PM   #71
Red Beetle
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Paige wrote:
Quote:
I think Aikido fights fire w/fire, which isnt necessarily a bad thing.
Well Paige, if Aikido is fighting fire with fire, then Aikido attempts to stop violence with violence. To you, Aikido is simply violence. You even say, "...it is somewhat violent" So now do the math.
You claim Aikido is love.
You claim that Aikido is violence.
Would you claim that violence is love?

Are you saying that when someone comes to harm you they are simply showing you their love?

I thought violence was a form of coercion.




Quote:
You cant effectively stop fighting w/out knowing how to fight. I think this is the main idea of aikido.
A New York city mugger could jump on some poor housewife who has never had one boxing lesson, one Aikido lesson, nor one Judo lesson, and begin to beat the crap out of her. He may then stop momentarily to say to her, "If you want me to stop fighting you, then give me your money!) The poor housewife then hands him her money. The mugger stops fighting her and leaves. The woman has effectively stopped the fight and without knowing how to fight. This counter-example demonstrates two things. First, that you do NOT have to know how to fight in order to be effective at stopping a fight. Second, fighting is just a form of coercion. Fighting is an attempt to physically force a person into doing what you want them to do. Fighting is an attempt to force a person to: 1) stop flirting with my girlfriend, 2) never cut me off in traffic again, 3) stop calling me names, 4) give me your money, 5) leave my family alone, and so.


Quote:
Although it is somewhat violent to learn aikido, it really IS love because it teaches you to use your skills to stop violence, and that shows love for other people
Stalin violently took over Russia. He then used his skills to stop future violent uprisings by killing anyone who might disagree with him (genocide). According to you, these violent murders of Stalin would have to be considered acts of love. Your position is absurd.
Aikido is coercion, not love.


Aikido attempts to force a person, whose goal is to hurt you, not to hurt you. It is forcing a person to do something against their will. Their will is to harm you. Your will is that they do not harm you. You try to force them to not harm you. You use Aikido as a means to accomplish this. Coercion.

Red Beetle
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:21 PM   #72
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
even,
Not becoming dogmatic with anything is itself a dogmatic practice.
The dogma you are teaching is that we must always question and think for ourselves.
You are being what you what you wish others would not, that is, you are being dogmatic.
Your position is absurd.

Red Beetle
Thinking for yourself, not judging others, not accepting things at face value....is absurd????

Kinda contrary to the whole thread. If you believe this is absurd, then why do you bother to say "removing mysticism from aikido is a step forward". That in itself is a step away from the dogma of aikido in your argument. Which in your above statement about my beliefs , would make your argument absurd.

I am confused. Can you clarify your contradiction?
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:28 PM   #73
Red Beetle
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Paige wrote:
Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
Keith kolb. You just like "red beetle" do not take aikido, therefore you also dont know what you are talking about. People who dont take aikido have no business coming on an AIKIDO website and posting nonsense.
paige
I am not taking any classes in philosophy right now, but I could tell you that epistemology is the study of how we know what we know.

What makes you think that I do not know what I am talking about when it comes to Aikido just because I am not currently taking any Aikido classes? I don't take Aikido, I can teach it. I choose not to at this time.

Red Beetle

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Old 06-08-2005, 09:38 PM   #74
Red Beetle
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

[quote=Nick Pittson]

Quote:
Aikido is nothing but an expression of the spirit of Love for all living things. &
The secret of aikido is to cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things.
WRONG
AIKIDO IS COERCION
Quote:
How does this relate to a sankyo that makes your eyes water, or an irimi-nage that feels like, well, nothing at all? I have no idea,
You don't know how it relates, because it does not relate. You have no logical connection. It does not relate, because love is not coercion. Aikido is not love.

Quote:
but I am drawn to these ideals and embrace them as a fundamental under-pinning of Aikido.
You embrace these ideals irrationally, that is mystically, like so many others do.

RED BEETLE

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Old 06-08-2005, 09:46 PM   #75
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Quote:
What makes you think that I do not know what I am talking about when it comes to Aikido just because I am not currently taking any Aikido classes? I don't take Aikido, I can teach it. I choose not to at this time.

Red Beetle
What is your current rank? From where do you draw your lineage from? That is who awarded you yor rank?

Aikido is COERCION??? Please explain your position on this, and give examples.
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