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Old 02-23-2006, 06:33 AM   #1
Alec Corper
 
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Exclamation Aikido as Budo

I've been a poster and lurker on at least three different e-sites over the last7 years or so, and I'm aware that there are waves of ideas and feelings that sweep back and forth, and we tend to cover the same ground often. One thing sticks out for me which I want to post and see how many others out there feel the same way,

To me Aikido is a Budo. How I understand that is as a warrior path, one which requires moral and ethical development to go hand in hand with the actual ability to fight. When I read many of the posts on the net, here and elsewhere, I see levels of rudeness, disrespect, hostility, flippant assumption, aggressive assertion, and a host of other, what I would consider to be, unfortunate human charcteristics.
Where is the respect and courtesy we should have for each other?
Where is the willingness to listen, and perhaps, sometimes to learn. There are very few occasions where you will see anyone actually changing their original position (opinion), so what is the point of dialogue.
Does care and kindness imply weakness? Sometimes it appears to me that the macho posturing that we indulge in from the safety of the keyboard is very dangerous for who we will become. And those who say they would be as rude and offensive in person, because they can "kick anyone's ass" are missing the point even more.
We offer each other resistance on the mat, not to endulge our own egos with how tough we are, but to enable our partner to develop, in the knowledge they will do the same for us. If not practise becomes impossible, only fighting to see who is the strongest, fastest, most skillful, good ego growing food, instead of a steady diet of the right kind of humility.
Then the magic of faceless, disembodied communication becomes available, and "Mr.Hyde" swims up to the surface spitting and snarling. Sarcasm and condescension become safe, acceptable weapons, casual opinions become valid expressions of "liberated" self, opinions are formed about others without real knowledge or facts, and identities become targets.

Now, it could be that I'm an oversensitive New Age, tree-hugging Aiki love bunny, or then again maybe not. There are some people out there who do know me, but most only know the image they form based upon what they think of what I write. Please consider this honestly. If you are one of those who agree, please say so, I know you're out there. If you disagree, feel free to say so, but please don't try to offend me in the process. Then, at least, if I do get offended, I'm the one who needs to grow up.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:01 AM   #2
Jorge Garcia
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Wink Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote:
I've been a poster and lurker on at least three different e-sites over the last7 years or so, and I'm aware that there are waves of ideas and feelings that sweep back and forth, and we tend to cover the same ground often. One thing sticks out for me which I want to post and see how many others out there feel the same way,

To me Aikido is a Budo. How I understand that is as a warrior path, one which requires moral and ethical development to go hand in hand with the actual ability to fight. When I read many of the posts on the net, here and elsewhere, I see levels of rudeness, disrespect, hostility, flippant assumption, aggressive assertion, and a host of other, what I would consider to be, unfortunate human characteristics.
Where is the respect and courtesy we should have for each other?
Where is the willingness to listen, and perhaps, sometimes to learn. There are very few occasions where you will see anyone actually changing their original position (opinion), so what is the point of dialogue.
Does care and kindness imply weakness? Sometimes it appears to me that the macho posturing that we indulge in from the safety of the keyboard is very dangerous for who we will become. And those who say they would be as rude and offensive in person, because they can "kick anyone's ass" are missing the point even more.
We offer each other resistance on the mat, not to indulge our own egos with how tough we are, but to enable our partner to develop, in the knowledge they will do the same for us. If not practice becomes impossible, only fighting to see who is the strongest, fastest, most skillful, good ego growing food, instead of a steady diet of the right kind of humility.
Then the magic of faceless, disembodied communication becomes available, and "Mr.Hyde" swims up to the surface spitting and snarling. Sarcasm and condescension become safe, acceptable weapons, casual opinions become valid expressions of "liberated" self, opinions are formed about others without real knowledge or facts, and identities become targets.

Now, it could be that I'm an oversensitive New Age, tree-hugging Aiki love bunny, or then again maybe not. There are some people out there who do know me, but most only know the image they form based upon what they think of what I write. Please consider this honestly. If you are one of those who agree, please say so, I know you're out there. If you disagree, feel free to say so, but please don't try to offend me in the process. Then, at least, if I do get offended, I'm the one who needs to grow up.
Alec,
This is a very insightful and interesting post. I identified with your feelings and I resembled a couple of them although I try not to.

1) Just the concept of Aikido as budo is something I don't see a lot of on this forum. I think the reason is because most people haven't studied that enough to know what that means. Concerns about martial effectiveness peppered with comments that you need to add TKD for kicking and BJJ for groundwork are indications of the problem to me. Many have a concept of self defense alone. Then they see limitations to Aikido, then they construct an hodgepodge of arts to be the solution. O Sensei came from that kind of an art (Daito ryu) where they learned almost everything there was to learn but of course, they may have needed BJJ some would say. The Founder saw the futility of spending decades trying to become invincible as a fighter only to be defeated by someone bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled. I like the question once posed once by a Sensei to such a seeker when he asked, "What problems are you having in your life right now that requires you to have such a need for personal invincibility?"

2) The attitudes of the posters is a problem that will never be solved because people come here with only what they know, plus their human imperfections. Add personal ego and you have an unsolvable problem.

This statement you made is extremely insightful.
You wrote," Sometimes it appears to me that the macho posturing that we indulge in from the safety of the keyboard is very dangerous for who we will become." The Internet provides a kind of safety shield that allows all kinds of people to say all kinds of things they would never say to someone face to face. There are some who would counter what I am saying by stating they would be glad to talk that way to anyone's face but that is also a problem because in real life, we don't like people like that and most don't need friends like that. Many consider it part of a Bill of Rights of Internet forums to be rude, trash talk and have fun mouthing off. We will never solve that problem here.
There is also the problem of people privatizing the forum with throwaway lines and inane flippancy's that degrade the forum to where people that are smart enough to do what you are suggesting go elsewhere. The only hope is for the marketplace itself to solve this by letting things take their natural course and let everything become what it will. That makes our choices easier. If we continually run in circles and if the concentric circles keep spiraling downward, we will eventually have an Internet crash and that will be the end of that. I have seen that on private forums where they tried to use moderators and things got so restrictive that everyone abandoned the forum. That probably can't happen in a public forum but what can happen is that only the most negative and immature will dominate what would be left of a once good place.

In conclusion, we live in an age of technology where people can see their own words in print instantly and they love to see that. Ego rises and we joust in an imaginary world and "win" over others. Our words became important in our own minds as we gain Internet "fame". Some people then enjoy life on this plane. Some become addicted to what they are saying. I know someone who has posted about 270 times in 5 years. There are folks who have done more than that in the last month. What drives anyone to virtually live on a forum is a mystery that cannot be solved here but it may point to what you termed as the danger of what we are becoming.
With some failures myself, all one person can do is to really practice Aikido both on and off the mat, be temperate on this forum, always try to respect others, be helpful and leave the games and ego for another place.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:14 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Nice post Alec. I've been posting way too much on these boards for way too long. I finally left RMA many years ago because I outgrew the petty sniping that took place there. When the aikido journal board got kind of lame for the same reasons, I ended up leaving there for a time. Maybe I just need to leave posting period. In spite of the good posts/posters, sometimes the chaff just get's too annoying. Maybe it's just a weakness in my character...

Hang in there...I know how you feel. It's one reason I like boards that require posting under your real name. Without that, there is just too much fiction. At least with a name, there is a modicum of accountabiltity. I don't lose any sleep over it, but I do wonder sometimes about what happens if I meet someone that I ticked off one of these days. It has actually happened...but as in most cases, things look quite different up close and personal. And it's much more fun to train, swap stories, and drink beer than fight.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:42 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
I have seen that on private forums where they tried to use moderators and things got so restrictive that everyone abandoned the forum. That probably can't happen in a public forum but what can happen is that only the most negative and immature will dominate what would be left of a once good place.
That is basically what happened to the AJ bbs. It's getting better again. There can be a recovery after the moderation is turned on, but it often takes about six months to a year for the quality to recover. Patience is a what?

Best,
Ron (VIRTUE)

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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:08 AM   #5
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Hi Alec,
Quote:
If you are one of those who agree, please say so, I know you're out there.
I'll nail my colours to the pole, I'm absolutely with you on this one, great post Alec, and Jorge also.
I sometimes feel slightly 'inadequate' when I see how many arts some are managing to mix with their aikido, then I go to the dojo and practice, and realise that there is no need to, it is a cyber induced anxiety and ultimately 'daft'.
Aikido is enough of a complete mind/body/spirit art to keep me happy for the rest of my active days.
I find the endless discussions about the martial effectiveness of aikido seem to me to be missing the point. It is a practice in and of itself. It is much more than an effective 'fighting' system. I'm not sure I even like writing the term, but it seems that that is how some people view it. Yes, there has to be room for that view, but why confine yourself to just one segment of such a tasty fruit?
If I ever happen to get into a fight at some point I'll find out what happens then, it's not happened in the last 40 or so years, so it is possible that it won't happen in the next 40! So preparing for something that may never happen seems to me to be an anomily.

I do have to admit to chucking in a few throw away lines, where there not needed ( I used to do this as a kid in school and it used to amuse some of the class and annoy the teacher, old habits die hard )

I was on the mat practicing last night, it was a fast paced and focused workout, followed by a trip to our local 'fluid replacement centre' and a pleasant social time. This is what 'floats my boat'.
For all of us, the internet is a chronically defficient replacement for the real stuff of aikido, mat time and putting the priciples into our daily lives. It is however, a great place to realise how large, diverse, and dynamic the world of aikido is, and there 'is' some good reading to be done.
I wonder if anyone has improved their aikido by engaging in a forum discussion?? Not their 'understanding' of aikido as I believe that that is an entirely different thing to their 'practice' of aikido.
The lid is off the box, it cannot be closed, we have to deal with it as it is.
Jorge wrote:
Quote:
With some failures myself, all one person can do is to really practice Aikido both on and off the mat, be temperate on this forum, always try to respect others, be helpful and leave the games and ego for another place.
that about says it for me too.

Anyway thanks again guy's for the above insights, I will certainly think more about what you've both said.
Computers are very addictive, and many of us are easily 'hooked' by what can be done....now if I could just find that old copy of Tetris, you may not see me for a while.

In the time it has taken me to type this out (I'm quite slow..) Ron has posted and his last sentence:
Quote:
And it's much more fun to train, swap stories, and drink beer than fight.
seems to sum up my feelings in a nutshell.
Cheers Ron!!

Regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:20 AM   #6
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Hi Mark,

Quote:
wonder if anyone has improved their aikido by engaging in a forum discussion?? Not their 'understanding' of aikido as I believe that that is an entirely different thing to their 'practice' of aikido.
I'd have to say that reading other points of view has given me areas to focus on in my practice. Sometimes just to check out the truth of a statement, sometimes because I had ceased to focus on something my teachers had told me, sometimes a totally new perspective, that had benefits when I tried it out on the mat for myself. So I do believe that these fora can provide fodder for our keiko.

They have also provided a way for me to meet people and train with them on the mat. There are several people I have yet to meet that way, but I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity. You are one of them.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-23-2006, 10:49 AM   #7
James Davis
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I don't lose any sleep over it, but I do wonder sometimes about what happens if I meet someone that I ticked off one of these days. It has actually happened...but as in most cases, things look quite different up close and personal. And it's much more fun to train, swap stories, and drink beer than fight.

Best,
Ron
I can't imagine anyone from these forums wanting to hurt you, Ron. If you do get snarky with someone, it's usually because they said something dumb and they aren't cool enough to just admit they were wrong.

So much can be fixed with a simple apology; I don't know why they aren't utilized more! Egos are running wild, I suppose. I'm glad that there are people that value respect and courtesy so please, folks, don't ever change!

Admittedly, there are some subjects discussed here that are very close to people's hearts. Some people are quick to rail against enemies real or imagined when someone makes a snide remark or sarcastic observation about things they hold dear. We also need to remember that it's not readily apparent what someone's age is when they post, so lets just remember how we used to be. (I was a real jerk when I still had a full head of hair. )

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:11 AM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Snarky...I like that word, may I borrow it?

I have noticed how hard it is to appologize sincerely. Not just online, but anywhere.

Full head of hair? In high school I had an afro...today it would be an afro with a rather large hole in it...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:40 AM   #9
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

I hope that my post is not misleading. I am not concerned that we might hurt each others feelings. That is a matter of emotional maturity that each individual needs to attend to. After all we get hurt on the mat sometimes, it goes with the territory. What I am asking us all to remember is that Budo is about improving the quality of our lives, and therefore what we bring to the world we live in. Our inner reality is shaped by a thousand small daily actions until eventually the truth of these actions is revealed to us, and anyone close to us. So even something apparently inconsequential, if repeated often enough, becomes, just like faults in our waza, inextricably bound to our character, and as one of my teachers once said, "Easier to fix now, harder later."
Most people will forget the things we say and do, unless they are especially hurtful. We, on the other hand, are preparing ourselves to meet our future self. I'd like to hope that I won't be too disappointed with me. I have enough problems without trying to be morally responsible for others, just me, that was always the deal. Budo is a solitary path that we share with others who also walk it alone.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:44 AM   #10
senshincenter
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Great post Alec. Thanks for making it.

d

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:48 AM   #11
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hi Mark,
I'd have to say that reading other points of view has given me areas to focus on in my practice. Sometimes just to check out the truth of a statement, sometimes because I had ceased to focus on something my teachers had told me, sometimes a totally new perspective, that had benefits when I tried it out on the mat for myself. So I do believe that these fora can provide fodder for our keiko.
They have also provided a way for me to meet people and train with them on the mat. There are several people I have yet to meet that way, but I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity. You are one of them.
Best,
Ron
Points taken Ron, one thing I have learned from your post is that the plural of forum is 'fora' I like that alot
I also look forward to a possible future practice, and just as much to the beer afterwards

Cheers,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:54 AM   #12
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
Budo is a solitary path that we share with others who also walk it alone.
Very profound and true, maybe one reason that we gather together on these fora (thank's Ron! ), we all feel a bit 'safer' in a crowd who think like ourelves? To be truely alone ( which ultimately we all are) is a scary thing, it is no surprise that we huddle together for comfort.

regards,
Mark

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Old 02-23-2006, 01:45 PM   #13
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Points taken Ron, one thing I have learned from your post is that the plural of forum is 'fora' I like that alot
In Latin, "forum" is a 2nd declension neuter noun, like "medium" (pl. "media") and "datum" (pl. "data").

I, myself, can't help but agree with Mr. Corper, but I perhaps come at it from a different point of view. The ideals of budo are fine, but it's a truism that the actual samurai and early budoka hardly lived up to those ideals. Likewise in the West, chivalry was a wonderful ideal that had very little to do with the behavior of actual knights. We don't need the "budo" mindset, really; what Alec says is true for every board/forum on the Internet, MA related or not.

The complexities of human nature, why we fight and war, were figured out centuries ago, even millenia ago. And yet we keep repeating the same crap over and over again. The Internet is simply a new shovel. "You gather more flies with honey than vinegar." A simple truth, but irrelevant when some people just seem hardwired to desire conflict. The desire for verbal dominance out weighs the desire for actual persuasion or discussion.

I don't think budo is the only path to self-cultivation. Religion, in its way, also serves this purpose. So does education. But throughout their history all three have proven to be horrible at achieving their goals of resolving man's desire for conflict. Men devoted themselves to the self-cultivation of budo, and set Japan on the road of a devestating war. I don't know really how much we can expect on an Internet forum.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 02-23-2006, 01:52 PM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Joshua...sad, but so true.

I guess we just keep slogging on through the mud, no matter what vehicle we choose.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:42 PM   #15
tarik
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Hear, hear, and here!

Alec, we cannot ever control what others choose to say or do and we can but lead by example. It is not even desirable to control others.

The very nature of the inclusiveness of most Aikido dojo will bring in all sorts of people with conflicting opinions and values.

Even the goal of budo as a cultivation of the spirit is not universally sought. We study violence and violent interactions and we study our emotional and intellectual reactions to these things and we hope that they will cultivate our sense of responsibility, respect, and understanding of the fragility of our existence, and therefore enhance our desire to preserve all existence.

Yet the very nature of studying violence will draw many people who do not seek or have interest in the same thing.

A pure interest in martial effectiveness is common and there will always be an element that enters Aikido searching to perfect their model of the 'perfect fighting machine'. Yet many of the people whom I respect the deepest study Aikido as a way to heal themselves from the killing machines they had become in an earlier life, or to prevent themselves from going down a path of self-destruction.

I, personally, have learned and gained much through my online interactions and would never trade them for the world. It has at times been difficult to not get emotionally drawn into discussions or arguments about aspects of budo, life, or otherwise, but that is the nature of human discourse.

Now, at my current stage of training, much of my interest in participating in discussions is to put ideas forward, develop them, have them challenged, and then to refine and/or even change them. I do get passionately involved, but hopefully not emotionally out of control.

I hope that I offer those who disagree with me the same respect I am frequently offered and would certainly apologize if I did not.

Your post is an excellent reminder to all on the board that Aikido IS Budo, and that Budo begins with respect. Check out this article: Respect and Plastic Figurines

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

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Old 02-23-2006, 04:55 PM   #16
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Maybe you can start a new hair craze Ron call it the "fro-hole"

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Old 02-23-2006, 05:51 PM   #17
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Good posts, gentlemen. I've been around these discussion lists and boards since day one and have seen the cycles more than once. As many of you have said, I've learned some good lessons from what I've experienced in them and made quite a number of acquaintances and a few real friends that I continue to enjoy.

Let's do our best to keep communicating and sharing ... we all have much to learn from each other.

I received a birthday card today with a photo of the Iwo Jima flag raising on the front (it happened on the 23rd) and it reminded me of something important... Semper Fidelis!

Gambatte!

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 02-23-2006 at 05:54 PM.

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Old 02-23-2006, 06:56 PM   #18
crbateman
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Each of us has "our own" Aikido. Mine is different from yours, yours is different from his, etc. But there may be elements of yours that I would choose to add to mine, and vice versa. Fora such as this one give us a chance to discuss those facets of Aikido that can be put into words, to get new ideas and grow. We don't have to agree on everything, because even the notion that I don't agree on something can affect my ideas, and therefore my Aikido. We are all looking for ideas, like we are shopping in a market. You pick out what you can use, and leave the rest. I find it invaluable, even if sometimes frustrating. After all, you don't always find what you are looking for when you go to the market, but as long as you don't start throwing eggs and oranges at the other shoppers, it's all good...
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Old 02-24-2006, 02:33 AM   #19
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Tarik,
Thanks for the link to the article. I would have written it that way if I'd a thought of it,
To Josh,
Thank you also for your reminder about the real history of the violent aspects of the Bushi. Perhaps it is precisely because some of us have some understanding of this aspect that the practice of Budo allows us the continual confrontation within our selves, and that the shugyo of years grinds away some of this dross leaving something finer behind. I can't see much more point as the years go by, it is definitely to late for me to turn into a martial arts "Master", and even they return to dust.
To all, It was great to see that so many others know what we are about, let's not lose it.
with respect, Alec

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:11 AM   #20
Mato-san
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Interesting thread Alec, wordy and quiet deep, very broad and open on your opinions of peoples personal characters and displaying a knowledge of the topic. Respected opinions.
I have made a promise to myself to discuss technique, spiritual journeys and other unoffensive material here. I find it hard to put out an opinion here without someone being overbearing and pushing character on me aside from rudeness, disrespect and whatever you already covered.
Its a journey of self and I will continue it without being imposed. No matter my character or beliefs. But I highly respect your opinions.

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:18 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
William Oakes wrote:
Maybe you can start a new hair craze Ron call it the "fro-hole"
Nah, I'll just shave my head and save myself the embarrassment!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:52 AM   #22
RobertBrass
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: Gardiner, NY
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Nice posts. I notice these problems on subjects having nothing to do w/ martial arts as well. In fact i was reading a different budo forum the other day and didn't register because it was so sad. This seems to be one of the best fora I've come across on any subject. Thanks Jun and everyone.

Bob
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:17 AM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

You are what you train...
If you truely throw yourself into your training, put in the maximum effort, make the sacrifices... it will change you. That's why the choice of the art is so important.

Not long ago I went to a mixed martial arts match. I was astounded by the difference between the atmosphere of that venue and any traditional stryle dojo I have been in. High testoserone, hot chicks on the arms of the guys, fast cars in the parking lot... This was a completely different group of folks than you'd encounter in an Aikido dojo.

O-Sensei was once asked why there wasn't any ground fighting in Aikido? He replied that rolling around on the ground with another human being was "unseemly" (or whatever the Japanese equivalent was). I think this reflects his view of what the point of Aikido traiing actually is. It's not about fighting... it's about shaping who you are. This is true of virtually all of the modern budo.

This is why the techniques of the art are structured in the manner they are. Aikido is about meeting conflict expansively in a non-oppositional and relaxed fashion. It's about transforming the fear we all carry into something better, something that allows us to approach our lives creatively, elegantly, with style and class.

Saotome Sensei has often said that when we are doing technique we should strive to look "regal". Regal means you have elegance. Regal means you have presence. It means you move through life with "style", even under adversity... or perhaps, especially under adversity.

If you wanted to see what the goal of Budo training might be, you could have seen it in the person of Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the Nidai Doshu. That man was every inch the gentleman, a totally "class act". There were others who had more technical wizardry, some who were far more martial, some who went much farther into the spiritual side of the art as taught by the Founder. But no one outdid the Ni Dai Doshu in simple stature as a human being.

That's why we are training... that's the whole point of Budo training in general and Aikido in particular. So many people spend their entire lives preparing for that one life and death self defense encounter. They're essential world view is one of fear. They are obsessed with surviving in a violent and esentially unfriendly world.

If that is your outlook on the world, then that is the world you create for yourself. It will be your reality. People like this spend their daily lives watching out for that next threat. They pride themselves on being on guard. They are constantly armed against the various and sundry threats that abound in their world. Then they die in car crashes, from cancer, in hurricanes or floods, in all the ways that the everybody else dies...

It's not that Aikido doesn't contain some elements that would serve one in that rare self defense encounter. If one is training properly, one should be able to handle oneself. It's just that Aikido is an art for your daily life. It should make you a better citizen, a better friend, a better partner, a better parent.

A friend of mine once described the difference between being in the military and being in law enforcement this way: "being in the military means you train constantly for a job you might never have to do. In law enforcement you train pretty much not at all for a job you have to do constantly."

Many martial artists approach their training as if they were in the military. They train for that rare moment, which might never come, when they are facing the "enemy". Well, "we have met the enemy and they are us". Most folks are more like the folks in law enforcement who train not at all for a job they do constantly, namely live their daily lives. Budo is about training for your daily life. Aikido is about shaping how you choose to live and about helping you learn to move through your life in a way that leaves those around you better off than they were before they met you. It's about confronting all those elements of ourselves that serve to keep us from being great human beings. Surviving the next mugging might be a by-product of Budo training but it certainly isn't the point.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:41 AM   #24
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Aikido as Budo

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei was once asked why there wasn't any ground fighting in Aikido? He replied that rolling around on the ground with another human being was "unseemly" (or whatever the Japanese equivalent was). I think this reflects his view of what the point of Aikido training actually is. It's not about fighting... it's about shaping who you are. This is true of virtually all of the modern budo.
Hey George, hope to see you when I'm at the Shinbukan soon. Aaron really enjoyed spending a bit of time with you.

As to the quote above... I agree with most all of what you said in the post except this part quoted.

I have grown up doing newaza with some really "elegant, 'seemly', and highly skilled" folks. The principles of aiki don't disappear by going from tachiwaza to newaza. Whether someone does it with elegance and the other criteria you describe is a matter of intent and training.

I suspect there was some prejudice we don't know about that would explain Ueshiba Morihei's dislike for ground work. To the best of my knowledge, he never really trained in newaza under a skillful teacher. Too bad it wasn't possible to question him about things such as this.

I do agree with the last two sentences in the above quote. That is the larger meaning. It's good to be able to take and keep the sente in any situation though along with the cultivation of self and our ability to get along together. It's all part of the package in this journey.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:45 AM   #25
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Re: Aikido as Budo

"Not long ago I went to a mixed martial arts match. I was astounded by the difference between the atmosphere of that venue and any traditional stryle dojo I have been in. High testoserone, hot chicks on the arms of the guys, fast cars in the parking lot... This was a completely different group of folks than you'd encounter in an Aikido dojo."

Can't I be both the guy that goes to aikido practice and the dude who gets hyped at a fight and like fast cars and boobs, depending on my enviroment?

I think both are best taken in moderation. Neither "way" is a superior state.
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