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Old 07-15-2005, 03:10 PM   #1
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
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Are you practicing Aikido?

~~You are observing a class: Empty hand practice, both partners working their taijutsu henkiwaza. Their execution looks identical but for minute personal expression. One is training in Aikido, one in aikijujitsu. How do you tell?
~~Two partners going through their bokken paired forms. Parring, cutting, hakama swirling. You know that one is practicing Aikido sword, one kenjutsu. Which is which?
~~Technically and principly, Aikido has nothing new to offer from its root arts of aikijujitsu and kenjutsu. To my mind, only its philosophical foundation separates it from other martial arts. A question I've been wrestling with since the new year (perhaps longer subconciously) is: If there is no discussion during a very robust, martial seeming practice about how all waza is not to throw or subdue you partner but to find your own center and improve yourself; if no reminder is given that kokyu is about opening and joining with your partner--seeing through another's eyes--instead of what great timing/position you have snapping your hand at partner's face to send them flying; if a cut is simply how well you can clear your partners bokken to take center with no comment about cutting through one's own crap and nonscense; if there's no mention of how this or that practice can be used in daily life or that Aikido is to build a better world and that practice is to refine oneself so that a better world might come out of that...Well, is what you're training in Aikido? Even if it's high powered, technally and proficiently? If yudansha drop terms like 'come from your center' or 'use your breath' or 'don't just throw uke', without every expounding on or having practices to really understand what those concepts mean, is that dojo truely practicing Aikido? Honestly?
~~Probably thinking too much once again Hope everyone's have a great summer!

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-15-2005, 05:52 PM   #2
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 659
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

Hi Paula,
So many different approaches to aikido and it's image in each individuals mind....
The moral issues are a part of the art. Definitely. The main variation to my way of thinking is in the goals of each persons approach to what is basically a very free-form and HUGELY varied art. All tucked under the umbrella of a single name.
Philosophically, most if not all of the dojos embrace the concept of Harmony as a basic precept of this art.The difference is that the definition of harmony is very different from person to person. "You" might feel that harmony encompasses the universe, life, and all contained in a huge interactive -all-encompassing blend of energy and ...etc. etc. "I" may feel that harmony is achieved just through the actual, physical, blending movements as opposed to blocking/opposing with force.
Who is correct? Both I believe, just different angles of view.
Both aikido? Yes definitely. Just one feels right to me, and one feels better to you, and the next guy has HIS agenda....The umbrella is large with lots of variation in the form, but they all strive for harmony.

>...Well, is what you're training in Aikido? Even if it's high powered, technically and proficiently? If yudansha drop terms like 'come from your center' or 'use your breath' or 'don't just throw uke', without every expounding on or having practices to really understand what those concepts mean, is that dojo truly practicing Aikido? Honestly? <

It would depend on what you mean by not expounding on the meanings of the concepts.
We discuss the meanings of these things at each class. We deal with the physical manifestations of the ideas. Very seldom do we discuss the universe in general. Blending with the universal flow,"feeling the....etc. etc. Do we practice aikido? I think so. Don't you?
The approach is different, but we both strive to achieve harmony...Aikido in two perhaps not-so-different forms.

Peace
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 07-17-2005, 05:48 AM   #3
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

Quote:
If there is no discussion during a very robust, martial seeming practice about how all waza is not to throw or subdue you partner but to find your own center and improve yourself; if no reminder is given that kokyu is about opening and joining with your partner--seeing through another's eyes--instead of what great timing/position you have snapping your hand at partner's face to send them flying; if a cut is simply how well you can clear your partners bokken to take center with no comment about cutting through one's own crap and nonscense; if there's no mention of how this or that practice can be used in daily life or that Aikido is to build a better world and that practice is to refine oneself so that a better world might come out of that
Hate to make it even more complicated
But one should look for his center, learn to open and feel Uke position.
One should also learn to cut through all his personal crap
And one must learn to face his own Ego

All are true for any M.A. I know.
In my opinion, the differences are in the importance one attributes to these:
Are they the goals one strives for
Or are they tools for achieving Martial proficiency ?

Amir
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:55 AM   #4
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

Thanks for the input, fellas. I guess this stemmed from my wondering what the art of Aikido was since, as you mentioned Lan, there are so many folks training in their own way. Even at my own dojo: Sensei's doing his thing and most of the mid- to senior students seem to all have their own personal training agenda. I almost quit Aikido this past winter (hard winter, that) because I suddenly couldn't answer my own questions of why I was there, what I was working on, what did any of it mean? After 8 years of Aikido and 18 years of MA, I struggled with motivation. Something very new for me. An hour's drive in the cold and snow to go flop on a mat, dance with uke...it just didn't make sense suddenly.

Now I've mostly found reason to train again. I origionally came to Aikido, while still practicing and teaching jujitsu, as a misogi practice. I have returned to that base again and have found peace with it on those terms. No longer concerned if Aikido is martially effective, if Aikidoka know how to really attack or all the other questions wrestled with here along those lines--certainly don't care what S. Segal is up to! I think Aikido really is an avenue, a spiritual path, to change onself and hence the world, for the better. That is the new aspect this art brings to the table. Other arts do, yes, as a secondary benefit after martial ability; I think it's the living core of Aikido. The bodily training as a conduit for spiritual growth, so many arguments and concerns (like on this site) fall away. So now I train in a new dojo that reminds me of these things and my old one that does not. Are they both teaching Aikido? I'm still not certain, only that I know what I'm there for once more

Thanks again and take care.

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:58 AM   #5
bkedelen
 
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Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 446
United_States
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

I agree 100%, Paula. I think everyone should take some time to emphasize to themselves the importance of Aikido's brand of introspection, conscience, discipline, and self improvement. These are an important part of what makes Aikido so unique. There are some who troll on and on about how Aikido utilizes the same ki and kokyu powers that Chinese martial artists have been using for thousands of years, and that is completely true. Often these discussions can lead to greater understanding about Aikido's technical roots. The problem with such folks, and what makes it obvious that they do not participate in Aikido training, is that they always seem to gloss over the important teachings that you have just pointed out. Thread after thread comes up about which arts are related, which techniques work, who invented what, and who thinks they know more about ki power, but as I have stated before, battle skill is just death magic without the heart and soul that Aikido provides. What made Osensei so such a beautiful man was not that he could fell his training partners with ease, but that he stood under cold waterfalls and begged the gods for the opportunity to make the world a better place. His gift to the world is misogi, keiko shugyo, and a means for self victory and connection with nature (not a rehash of body mechanics and Chinese energy powers). Aikido is not the only way to make the world a better place, but like the campsite rule developed ages ago by conscientious outdoorsmen, Aikido provides a powerful method to leave yourself and others better than you found them.
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:07 AM   #6
bkedelen
 
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Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
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Posts: 446
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

Many Aikidoka (myself) sometimes wonder if we are "real" martial artists despite knowing better than to bother with such inquiries. Paula, one of the great reasons why you should always come and train with me is that you are a real martial artist, and even if you do not know it, your spirit seeps into the dojo and makes all of us rethink a thing or two. If the dojo did not have people like you who inspire me to train in so many different directions and improve on so many different levels, I would only be half the man I am today.
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:17 PM   #7
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
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Re: Are you practicing Aikido?

Well said Paula, I have grappled, and am grappling with many of the same thoughts, ideas, and issues. Glad to see I am not alone!

My reasons for studying MA have varied over the years and come and go...including the thoughts of "why I am doing this?"

Sometimes I do not know why...only that I enjoy it. Other times I find it very frustrating and want to quit.

That said...what is a "real martial artist" anyway? and how do you define a "real martial art". I find this a interesting question since most of the techniques we practice anyway, are not really as martially effective/relevant in society today as they were 200 years ago. Why practice something that is practically useless as a tool in our modern society today?

Why are so many drawn to it? Why are we concerned about with our art being "effective", when it really is not effective in society? Why the interest? What calls us to practice? Fear?, Love?

if it is fear..why not just study self defense? How to use a handgun, mace, sticks, pepper spray?

These are the questions I ask myself.
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