Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb System

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-22-2005, 04:31 PM   #1
AikiWeb System
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,318
Offline
Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Discuss the article, "Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain" by George S. Ledyard here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2005_12.html
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2005, 06:02 PM   #2
JO
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
Location: Sainte-Catherine-de-la-J.-C., Québec
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 292
Canada
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

I agree with most of this article, with the exception that I don't view the path as going up a mountain. I don't believe that there is a pinnacle. O-sensei was a martial arts genious that had the kind of reputation and recognition from his peers few martial artists ever achieve. However, I don't think he died having achieved the end of the road he was on. I don't really think any of us ever does. That is one of the reason's I don't really think the concept of goals is truly relevent in a "do". Which is my main problem with your earlier article. I view my path as unending and lifelong. I also view my path as wider than aikido, but that is another issue altogether.

When it comes to aikido specifically, I feel I weigh my priorities (family being always first, aikido somewhere close behind usually behind work, after all without a job how would I pay my dojo and seminar fees?), and put the effort I can in my training. I fully agree with the need to be realistic as to what you can hope to achieve in relation to your commitment. But one should also remember that in a lifelong path, one's commitment will change with time. I once was a simple grad student that could go to the dojo 5 or 6 days a week, I now have one child, a second on the way and a mortgage. My commitment to aikido is not any lesser but the energy to put into is. Later in life that may change again. Of coarse, I do agree about being realistic about one's degree of training, and while I think it is natural to feel a little resentment that others can do more than yourself, this is something a mature person should be able to get through.

As to instructor's, I wholeheartedly agree with just about everything in your article. Teaching is a true responsibility, and if anything the commitment of a teacher is probably more important than their actual skill level. I have been lucky to have teachers that were both skilled and committed. Teachers who chose to put more time and energy into aikido than I can hope to at this time in my life. Their example has molded my image of what an instructor should be when it comes to commitment to the art. I would like to someday, I don't consider myself quite skilled enough yet, have a class to teach. An opportunity to delve into things in my own way and focus on issues that my own instructor's may not give the attention I would like. But the responsilbility of dojo-cho (never mind anything beyond that) is something I would not take on unless given no choice (for example moving into a area without anybody more qualified) or without increasing my level of training (especially outside seminars, after all, how far can one really advance if surrounded by those behind them and without going out to meet those of greater and similar level?).

Jonathan Olson
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2005, 01:53 PM   #3
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
One of the analogies describing Aikido, or any other Michi (Do, Path or Way) is that it is like a path up a mountain. In the case of Aikido there are many paths, some of which stop far short of the pinnacle but which offer incredible scenic vistas nevertheless. Our teachers are on the path we have chosen, up ahead of us, sometimes far ahead, and often only a ways up the path beyond us. O-Sensei made it to the top, in fact he blazed a trail himself. Most of his journey up the mountain was made when the majority of his deshi weren't there to observe him; he was already at the top calling back to them when they started at the bottom. These students all agree that they are on the path far down the mountain from their teacher. Most of us are even farther down the mountain, so far in fact that we actually can't see the path which our own teachers have taken to get to where they are.
That's one viewpoint, but here's another.

From This is Aikido revised edition preface
Quote:
Koichi Tohei wrote:
He (the founder) often said to us, " I founded Aikido after realizing something significant for reasons of my own while training in Omotokyo. Then I came to believe that the deity being preached about in the teachings of Omotokyo came into my body and for the first time I obtained the power of Aikido. This is the reason why I can perform Aikido techniques freely." Therefore, in his lectures there were many religious terms and names of gods, and literally no one could understand his lecture. He sometimes said, "Whatever wisdom one may have, he cannot understand my lectures because even I cannot understand what I mean, too."

Some of his students believed and followed him that there might be something in his story although they could not understand his lectures. Most of his students, however, simply ignored his lectures and resorted to learning only Aikido techniques. Therefore, after his death only Aikido techniques remained and the teachings of the spirit which were the ultimate objectives of his quest, and which he found so difficult to explain, disappeared completely from the minds of his devotees."
Not as successful an evaluation as the first.




crbateman, see what questions your book brings.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2005, 04:54 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Therefore, after his death only Aikido techniques remained and the teachings of the spirit which were the ultimate objectives of his quest, and which he found so difficult to explain, disappeared completely from the minds of his devotees."
This is simply not the case... Sunadomari Sensei, Abe Sensei, and Hikitsuchi Sensei were quite serious about understanding Aikido as it was outlined by the Founder. Each created a training system which was designed to pass on this knowledge to his senior students.

Yamaguchi Sensei, for example, looked for other ways to understand the spiritual side of Aikido and while not involved directly in the Omotokyo practice was involved with George Osawa as were many of Yamaguchi Sensei's students. These spiritual investigations were certainly inspired by the Founder's teachings about Aikido.

Imaizumi Sensei and Chiba Sensei chose to pursue Zen training as the way to develop their spiritual understanding. While not the same Path as outlined by the Founder himself, they were inspired by those teaching enough to develop this spiritual practice for themselves.

Saotome Sensei's first big project when he got to the United States was to write Aikido and the Harmony of Nature in order to make the spiritual teachings of the Founder comprehensible to modern people lacking in the Shinto foundation which the Founder had. His experience of the spiritual aspects of O-sensei's teachings effected him very deeply.

These are only the folks with whom I am familiar. I would venture to say that, regardless of what form their transmission of Aikido eventually took, the teachings of the Founder were NEVER out of the minds of these devotees. It isn't just about the physical technique for any of these teachers.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2006, 04:01 PM   #5
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

In the founder's writings, there are numerous places where he attributes learning directly from the kami. Although he didn't mention kami, Minamoto Yoshitsune learned sword fighting from the tengu king Sojobo. Musician and poets ascribe their inspiration to their Muse. In all these cases the creative person describes a spiritual persona outside of themselves. Today these inspirations might be described as the product of the subconscious revealing itself to the conscious mind.

When the founder writes about the kami entering his body, he is describing possession. Shinto is a primal, shamanistic religious practice. Learning through spiritual possession could be one aspect of spiritual practice.

Now we have two sources of knowledge from O Sensei's spiritual practice:
  1. Learning directly from a kami and/or other spiritual persona.
  2. Possession by a kami and/or other spiritual persona.

When we take your list of names that are described as following the founder's spiritual practice, we need to eliminate everyone who is not devoted to Omotokyo. This is not to discount any other spiritual practice, but to acknowledge O Sensei's devotion to this particular Shinto sect.

From this shorter list we need to see who has followed the core of the founder's practice of learning directly from a kami and/or other spiritual persona. To my knowledge no one has made such a public declaration. Additionally I have not heard of one person on the short list, who has been possessed by a kami and/or other spiritual persona.

This leaves us nobody whose spiritual practice matches that of the founder. Aikido already has one founder, why be greedy and want more?

Last edited by tedehara : 01-01-2006 at 04:07 PM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2006, 08:59 AM   #6
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 335
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

George

Thanks for visiting this topic again. Your position has become much clearer to me. I have a question. You write:

"Find one of [the teachers] and show them you are hungry, be so serious that they can't ignore your search for the answers as they pursue their own. Make them want to help you, don't sit around expecting them to."

Do you think that, in addition, a teacher should be scouting for promising students, approaching them and inviting them to come study with the teacher?

Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2006, 01:10 AM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote:
George

Thanks for visiting this topic again. Your position has become much clearer to me. I have a question. You write:

"Find one of [the teachers] and show them you are hungry, be so serious that they can't ignore your search for the answers as they pursue their own. Make them want to help you, don't sit around expecting them to."

Do you think that, in addition, a teacher should be scouting for promising students, approaching them and inviting them to come study with the teacher?

Dan
Hi Dan,
There's an etiquette that functions here... it's considered bad form to go after the students of another teacher. I know of this happening and there was quite a bit of bad blood afterwards. I think that it's really the job of the student to find a teacher. I would mistrust a teacher who actively solicited my joining up... although it would depend on some other factors, how I'd be inclined to take it...

There are a number of teachers who built quite large organizations in this manner, often you could get a Dan rank out of it if you played your cards right when you joined.

I would certainly never try to entice a student to come train with me unless he wasn't training at the time ot he had already decided to leave the person he had been training with and was actively looking for another teacher. Even then I would be quite careful because most of the folks I've run into who left their teachers over some set of dissatisfactions turned out to be problem children who weren't happy wherever they ended up.

In the past, most of the folks that have come to me from other teachers were looking for someone to acknowledge them when they felt the previous teacher had not. I welcoms them in and they typically last about three weeks or so. Then they leave because they discover that they must actually train to get the acknowledgement they want. On the other hand, a student just moved to our area from the East Coast just so he could train at our dojo. I met him at Summer camp in DC, he liked what I was doing, he came out to visit and liked that so he has moved out to train with us. He hasn't asked for anything and is training hard. He definitely gets my attention. Looks like he'll be a great asset to the dojo. But I would never have suggested that he move out to train with me. People need to make their own decisions; that way they can be clear about their commitment.
- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2006, 01:30 AM   #8
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
When we take your list of names that are described as following the founder's spiritual practice, we need to eliminate everyone who is not devoted to Omotokyo. This is not to discount any other spiritual practice, but to acknowledge O Sensei's devotion to this particular Shinto sect.

From this shorter list we need to see who has followed the core of the founder's practice of learning directly from a kami and/or other spiritual persona. To my knowledge no one has made such a public declaration. Additionally I have not heard of one person on the short list, who has been possessed by a kami and/or other spiritual persona.
First of all, I have no interest in splitting hairs about the differences between Omotokyo and more orthodox Shinto practice of the type pursued by someone like Hikitsuchi Sensei. It is the spirit of what O-sensei had in mind for Aikido, not the letter so to speak...

Second, the issue of being possed by a kami or other spiritual persona... it is the height of ridiculousness to say that one must use an identical descrptive set of references if one is to pursue some sort of Spiritual Path via Aikido. I believe that there are many alternatives available that would have been quite acceptable to the Founder and the wouldn't have had to be identical to his. The Omotokyo / Shinto set of references were his particular way of thinking about the world, he never imposed that set of views on his students.

If O-Sensei had expected that every student duplicate his spiritual practice he would have insisted that they do so and he clearly didn't do that. I think that it was his expectation that his students pursue a type of Aikido that was beyond mere physical practice and many of the deshi failed to do this... But I see no evidence whatever that he tried to make his students duplicate his practices; rather he modeled a form of Aikido, in his art and in his life, for them to see. He expected them to find their own process in all of this.

Thirdly, no one is talking about another Founder... when I talk about reinventing Aikido, my stated intention is to get back to an Aikido that has more of the Founder in it, both in terms of the technique itself and in terms of the art having an active spiritual, transformative aspect. I don't see that as "greedy" myself but if others do, then I will admit that I am very greedy indeed.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2006, 06:01 AM   #9
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

When I read what others write about the founder, I wonder if they are writing about Morihei Ueshiba. Your viewpoint is almost totally foreign to the way I understand him to be.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
It is the spirit of what O-sensei had in mind for Aikido, not the letter so to speak...
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...rather he modeled a form of Aikido, in his art and in his life, for them to see.
O Sensei had nothing in mind for Aikido and he did not model a form of Aikido. I fail to see how you can make those assumptions.

Many people believe that O Sensei was a Wizard of Oz who thought up and created aikido. Somehow students have always ignored "the man behind the curtain" pulling levers and pushing the buttons of various techniques. Perhaps if you looked closely at his art, you could find what he was pursuing. This is an false belief.

The founder did not create aikido, he discovered it. And the reason he discovered it was because of the gods. He never calls himself a god or even a demi-god. He does call himself a servant of the gods, because it is through him that the gods are able to deliver aikido techniques to mankind.

Because these techniques came from the gods, he had to discover what this aikido thing was all about, just like the rest of us. You constantly read about this in his writings and in conversations he had with those around him.

Perhaps you don't believe in the gods (kami). But you might believe in the Tengu like the samurai Yoshitsune. Today poets and musicians call upon their Muse for inspiration. People have always credited achievements to spiritual beings. O Sensei appears to be no different.

I certainly don't fault anyone for not doing the shamanistic practices that the founder did. To my way of thinking that type of spiritual practice is not something that you chose, but something that chooses you. Living in a modern society, it would be hard to develop the type of character that is needed for that spiritual path.

The one thing I do fault are people who try to use the founder as a focus for a charismatic cult. Of course, since the person "knows" what Morihei Ueshiba concept of Aikido is, you need to buy their book, DVD, CD, go to their seminar, attend their style/school, etc., etc. This is not aikido. This is marketing.

Another thing that focusing on Ueshiba's concept of aikido does, is to lose the individual. If we spend our time chasing after the spirit of the founder, then we can't effectively discover what we have to offer. All of us from the highest ranked instructor to the first day student, has something to offer. If we are responsible, we will discover that gift and share it with others. Like Morihei Ueshiba did.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2006, 11:13 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
The one thing I do fault are people who try to use the founder as a focus for a charismatic cult. Of course, since the person "knows" what Morihei Ueshiba concept of Aikido is, you need to buy their book, DVD, CD, go to their seminar, attend their style/school, etc., etc. This is not aikido. This is marketing.
I'm trying to figure out who you'd be talking about in this statement... I don't know anyone who is using O-Sensei to form a "charismatic cult" ... in fact the people I know who are most passionate about keeping O-Sensei's take on Aikido alive in their own interpretation of the art have a small to moderate following and make an inconsequential amount of money doing their Aikido. If you were indirectly referring to myself, I can tell you that my seminars that I teach and the videos I sell have, as of this last year (my 29th in Aikido) didn't quite cover what I spend on my own training
and my Federal Taxes (which I typically can't cover through my Aikido and Defensive Tactics teaching). Maybe someone else is making some real money doing this but I don't know who they are...


Quote:
Another thing that focusing on Ueshiba's concept of aikido does, is to lose the individual. If we spend our time chasing after the spirit of the founder, then we can't effectively discover what we have to offer. All of us from the highest ranked instructor to the first day student, has something to offer. If we are responsible, we will discover that gift and share it with others. Like Morihei Ueshiba did.
I fail to see how having anyone more advanced in an art than oneself as a model causes one to "lose the individual"... It is not the case that we chase the Spirit of the Founder... it is the case that we use his example as one of the best ones we have to guide us as we train ourselves. That doesn't mean we are exclusive about this, we should train with anyone who has something good to offer, but ultimately it always comes back to the individual and his own hours of hard work. But hard work alone does not guarentee anything. There are plenty of people who are working very hard but are not receiving good direction. The idea that, simply because they are sincere and are putting time and effort in, they will get to a high level simply doesn't hold up. Most people doing Aikido do not have the benefit of training with any regularity under a Shihan level instructor. That means that most of the "Transmission" of the art is being handled by people of only moderate understanding. The only way to get past this is for people to set their sights high and go out of their way to get exposure to teachers of a high level... not all highly ranked teachers are the same so in picking who one wishes to spend ones very limited resources pursuing, my preferabce is to use O-Sensei as my model. Those teachers who seem to be pursuing a form of Aikido, either technically, or spiritually, that fits with my own understanding of what the Founder was doing are the people I want to train with. Whereas, I know that I, myself, will not attain the level attained by the Founder, I have no interest whatever in pursuing a style of training which will never, no matter how much time one puts in, result in either technical skill even remotely of the type he had or any notion of the spiritual understanding he had. If that was all that was available to me as Aikido, I'd be doing Katori Shinto Ryu with Relnick Sensei instead.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-24-2006 at 11:16 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2006, 02:12 PM   #11
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 335
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

George

Thank you for your reply to my post, it sort of closes the circle for me. I especially appreciate the last sentence: "People need to make their own decisions; that way they can be clear about their commitment." I assume that you mean that the commitment will be clear to both the teacher and to the student him/herself.

In the last few weeks I've started looking around the dojo a little differently, thanks to you. I've started taking notice of the many students who are talented, the several students who are serious (serious enough for me to imagine them with their own dojos someday), and the very few students who are truly devoted to aikido, physically, intellectually and philosophically. The latter are not only fortunate to have Ikeda sensei as a teacher, but travel to seminars of teachers within and without our organization.

Perhaps these devoted students will be among the future leaders that you are hoping for.

Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2006, 11:42 AM   #12
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I'm trying to figure out who you'd be talking about in this statement... I don't know anyone who is using O-Sensei to form a "charismatic cult" ...
I actually was referring to John Stevens. He is a qualified instructor who studied under Shirata Rinjiro Sensei. Yet he sells his style as Classical Aikido in which you use his translations to understand O Sensei. During his lifetime the founder was continually developing his aikido and he really did not have a particular style. This was a person who was constantly innovating, yet traditionalists try and teach his aikido as a particular style that fits their level of understanding.

A traditional martial artist learns by good example, therefore you find the need for high-level instructors. However you can also learn from mistakes and people usually have more mistakes than successes. The hard thing about learning this way is that you need to know why it is a mistake and what needs to be done to correct it. But once you set-up a feedback structure that recognizes and corrects mistakes, there is less reliance on an instructor.

As far as transmission goes, this might sound heretical for organized martial arts, but people can learn even if there is no one to teach them. Mushashi became a top duelist even though he never formally studied sword. Tai Chi was done by thousands when suddenly Chen Man-Ching got it and the art flowered under his practice.

Perhaps it's the different areas we live in, but I'm finding experienced instructors more and more. Maybe it's because I see everyone as carrying a piece of a puzzle I would like to solve, that is why I find myself more open to learning. While I go to seminars to learn from high-ranked instructors, I do it out of curiosity not necessity.

There is a story told in various cultures throughout history. It's about a wise man who goes into the forest and returns with a pile of gold. As the years pass, the wise man eventually dies and the gold is given to his disciples. However when they receive it, the gold turns to ashes.

Maybe a way to stop this transformation is to simply recognize it as gold and treat it as such. Or as some say, "The martial arts begins and ends with respect."

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2006, 12:44 PM   #13
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
I actually was referring to John Stevens. He is a qualified instructor who studied under Shirata Rinjiro Sensei. Yet he sells his style as Classical Aikido in which you use his translations to understand O Sensei. During his lifetime the founder was continually developing his aikido and he really did not have a particular style. This was a person who was constantly innovating, yet traditionalists try and teach his aikido as a particular style that fits their level of understanding.

A traditional martial artist learns by good example, therefore you find the need for high-level instructors. However you can also learn from mistakes and people usually have more mistakes than successes. The hard thing about learning this way is that you need to know why it is a mistake and what needs to be done to correct it. But once you set-up a feedback structure that recognizes and corrects mistakes, there is less reliance on an instructor.

As far as transmission goes, this might sound heretical for organized martial arts, but people can learn even if there is no one to teach them. Mushashi became a top duelist even though he never formally studied sword. Tai Chi was done by thousands when suddenly Chen Man-Ching got it and the art flowered under his practice.

Perhaps it's the different areas we live in, but I'm finding experienced instructors more and more. Maybe it's because I see everyone as carrying a piece of a puzzle I would like to solve, that is why I find myself more open to learning. While I go to seminars to learn from high-ranked instructors, I do it out of curiosity not necessity.

There is a story told in various cultures throughout history. It's about a wise man who goes into the forest and returns with a pile of gold. As the years pass, the wise man eventually dies and the gold is given to his disciples. However when they receive it, the gold turns to ashes.

Maybe a way to stop this transformation is to simply recognize it as gold and treat it as such. Or as some say, "The martial arts begins and ends with respect."
Ted,

I don't disagree with anything you've said. I don't think we are in disagreement but I think we have different ways of talking about it. I suspect that the manner in which we describe our ideas triggers reactions which we already have to other problems and issues we see in Aikido.

My own experience has been that, in almost all cases, the folks that I have debated with turn out to have remarkably similiar ideas once we get together and train. The only folks that I bother to get into "debates" with are folks who are both passionate and knowledgeable about Aikido or martial arts... no point wasting time with people who either just want to cause trouble or don't have a clue what they are talking about. Just this fact alone seems to account for the fact that, even when we seem to have disagreements, in the end we have far more in common than we do with those who don't care as much or haven't put as much time and effort into their training.

I do agree on some level with your comments about Stevens Sensei... if he had just combined his last six or so publications you'd have actually had a book... but his promotion of "Classical Aikido" is something I iunderstand although it is certainly not my own path. The New Year's letter by Patrick Auge Sensei to his students which was published on Aikido Journal made alot of sense to me. He said that the Aikido that he learned from his teacher, Mochizuki Sensei, is really an "endagered species" in a sense. He feels that it is his mission, as one who was given the great gift of this teaching, to preserve it and pass it on. In the sense that Shirata Sensei was certainly one of the giants of Aikido, it's a valuable service to us all that Stevens Sensei has chosen to preserve what he was taught and put it into an organized form so that we can benefit from it. The same thing can be said about Saito Sensei and the "Iwama Ryu" or the different styles of Aikido like Yoshinkan, Shudokan, etc.

I do part company from the folks that would maintain that any of these "styles" is the real or authentic Aikido as presented by O-Sensei as opposed to the other styles. We are in total agreement that O-Sensei a) O-Sensei spent his whole life looking at all sorts of arts, both martial and spiritual, and was constantly changing what he did and b) that he never created a "Style" called Aikido in the sense that there was a set curriculum or a set of techniques that had to be done a certain way. The various "styles" of Aikido are merely the differing "approaches" taken by the students over the years. At most they might represent a temporal snapshot of O-Sensei's Aikido at one point in time and more often they represent the personal interpretation created by O-Sensei's instruction coupled with the other martial and spiritual experiences on the part of that particular deshi who later created that "style".

Saotome Sensei has vehemently maintained that there are no "styles" of Aikido, only the varied approaches of the different students of the Founder. For this reason he has always encouraged his students to get the widest possible exposure to both other Aikido teachers and other martial arts. From a personal training standpoint it is rather ironic that the students of the Uchi-Deshi turn around and try to freeze their teacher's approaches into something unchangeable and static. It might be nice for the rest of us to have the opportunity to train in a way that is sort of a museum piece but it isn't what was modeled by our teachers. Every one of us has to dsicover his own Aikido... When I say that we should look to O-Sensei as the model for what we do, I don't mean that we freeze something in place or try to duplicate the exact elements of his personal training. He represents a model for how we might proceed, how the spritual can be balanced with the martial, etc. We have to find our own ways of working out how to do that for ourselves.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2006, 02:36 PM   #14
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I don't think we are in disagreement but I think we have different ways of talking about it. I suspect that the manner in which we describe our ideas triggers reactions which we already have to other problems and issues we see in Aikido.
--in precis, 99% of internet altercations. Nice economy of words, George.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2006, 03:14 PM   #15
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
As far as transmission goes, this might sound heretical for organized martial arts, but people can learn even if there is no one to teach them. Mushashi became a top duelist even though he never formally studied sword.
Ah, myth and reality....although I don't have the book at hand, the most recent edition of Budo Perspectives has a solidly researched article on Musashi and the GoRin no Sho which makes a strong case that, far from being an untrained swordsman whose genius sprung, fully blown, Musashi actually received extensive training from an early age under the supervision of his adoptive or step-father, himself a licensed swordsman and instructor of some note.

The article further contends that many of Musashi's "innovations" are more recastings of that material than new creations from whole cloth.

There are always exceptional individuals, and it is always observed that exceptions prove the rule.

Given the reference to Chen Man-Ching suddenly getting it and the result being a flowering of his art.....I'm not conversant enough with CMA to do much more than observe that there is considerable difference of opinion about the extent to which he "got it" and all the rest, although I have been favorably impressed with what his student William C.C. Chen has managed to get and transmit.

Two cents for what it's worth.

FL
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2006, 08:56 PM   #16
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
I actually was referring to John Stevens.
Thank the kami you ferreted this cultist out, Ted. Next thing you know, he`ll be selling rocks infused with miraculous ki power to gullible students. Oh, wait... Hasn`t that already been done?

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2006, 01:57 PM   #17
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Ah, myth and reality....although I don't have the book at hand, the most recent edition of Budo Perspectives has a solidly researched article on Musashi and the GoRin no Sho which makes a strong case that, far from being an untrained swordsman whose genius sprung, fully blown, Musashi actually received extensive training from an early age under the supervision of his adoptive or step-father, himself a licensed swordsman and instructor of some note.

The article further contends that many of Musashi's "innovations" are more recastings of that material than new creations from whole cloth.

There are always exceptional individuals, and it is always observed that exceptions prove the rule.

Given the reference to Chen Man-Ching suddenly getting it and the result being a flowering of his art.....I'm not conversant enough with CMA to do much more than observe that there is considerable difference of opinion about the extent to which he "got it" and all the rest, although I have been favorably impressed with what his student William C.C. Chen has managed to get and transmit.

Two cents for what it's worth.

FL
Mushashi was thirteen when he beat a swordsman to death with a stick, if what I've been reading is correct. That doesn't seem like the act of a polished swordsman. However in a duel you don't need to be the best swordsman, just the best prepared. That maybe why he kept under the radar for so long.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2006, 02:03 PM   #18
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Thank the kami you ferreted this cultist out, Ted. Next thing you know, he`ll be selling rocks infused with miraculous ki power to gullible students. Oh, wait... Hasn`t that already been done?

Charles
I violently agree with you.
This attitude helps nobody in the long run.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2006, 02:57 PM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Mushashi was thirteen when he beat a swordsman to death with a stick, if what I've been reading is correct. That doesn't seem like the act of a polished swordsman. However in a duel you don't need to be the best swordsman, just the best prepared. That maybe why he kept under the radar for so long.
Actually, the best research contradicts the story that Musashi was some kind of untrained sword tough who sprang out of no where to beat a trained samurai at the age of thirteen. It turns out that Musashi's father was a sword teacher and he learned from early childhood. His father was also a teacher of shuriken jutsu, which is the throwing of edged and pointed weapons... One current theory is that he developed the two sword style specifically so he could throw his short sword at an opportune moment in the fight. Anyway, he was trained from childhood and didn't just pick up a stick and crush an adult trained warrior. That never really made sense to me and the latest biography of Musashi, which is far more detailed than anything I've seen before, talked about this at length.
The title is:
Miyamoto Musashi : His Life and Writings by Kenji Tokitsu

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2006, 11:47 PM   #20
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Ted,

I must admit I don`t understand your last statement to me. It is clear to me that your statements about John Stevens are based on little or no direct knowledge of the man. (God, I feel like Shaun Ravens here)

As for the idea that Musashi was an untrained/self trained martial artist, that comes from the man himself. "I have never had a teacher while studying the Ways of the various arts and accomplishments, or in anything at all." (trans. W. S. Wilson) Of course, what did he really mean by that?

Charles Hill
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Aikido in Amsterdam, Terry Lax style... tiyler_durden General 11 11-03-2008 08:31 AM
Omoto-kyo Theology senshincenter Spiritual 77 12-04-2005 09:50 PM
Randori Seminar with George Ledyard Sensei aikibaka131 Seminars 11 10-24-2003 12:30 AM
Two things. Veers General 8 04-04-2003 01:54 PM
Article: Aikido as Budo by George S. Ledyard AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 8 07-03-2002 12:27 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:14 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate