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#426562 - 04/22/10 03:42 AM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Ames]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Great post Ames, glad to hear from you again!
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#426586 - 04/23/10 08:52 AM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Prizewriter]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: Prizewriter
Maybe I should put it another way: For a person, is the "Spritual/DO" of Aikido more important than the "martial" skill? Can the pursuit of "martial" skill be a hinderance to "the way of peace and harmony"?


It might help if you thought through it in these terms: Two samurai warriors are in a face-off, each has his sword drawn. Only one, however, has put in the grueling hours to hone his skills. Does it really matter at that point if the weaker opponent has a lot of compassion? In this situation, who is exercising the greater degree of compassion -- the weaker warrior who must back down, or the stronger opponent who shows a lot of strength in the hopes that he can face down the weaker man and avoid having to kill him? Is untested compassion worth anything?

Originally Posted By: Prizewriter
I never trained in Japan, much less the Honbu, so as to what went on and what was taught, well, like most folks I hear all that 2nd, 3rd, 4th hand.... I have no doubt that the training was demanding. However, if martial skill and spiritual growth were of equal merit and non-distinct from each other, why did a lot of the martial material that Ueshiba learn in Daito Ryu get discarded? Why did some of his senior students decide to follow their own way of Aikido, and not his? Did they have different goals with their Aikido than Ueshiba did with his?


I trained with a student of Ueshiba's and never for one minute felt that I was receiving watered-down training. In fact, the US Secret Service trained at that very same dojo. I went on to use my training in the real world.

I think, however, that a good sensei trains from the heart, and to be true to oneself a teacher has to develop their own style. It's probably the same in every martial art.

-- Kathryn
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Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

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#426672 - 04/27/10 03:44 PM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Kathryn]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Kathryn, I like the metaphor of the two warriors, and your concept of "untested compassion". This is pretty much what I was talking about...for any of these ideals to work there needs to be some level of martial efficacy.

The only thing I would like to point out regards this:
Quote:
I trained with a student of Ueshiba's and never for one minute felt that I was receiving watered-down training.


There seems to a be a big difference between "hombu Aikido" and Ueshiba's Aikido. Hombu Aikido, for the most part, been known to historically lack much in the way of martial efficacy. Meanwhile, the Iwama period of Ueshiba did not: there was still atemi, and training was in many ways similar to the early "Hell Dojo" days.

Also, I think prizewriter (if I may speak for him) is saying 'watered down' in terms of Aikido's divergence from Daito Ryu, not that Ueshiba himself "watered down" Aikido.

I would say however, following Ueshiba's own thoughts on the matter, that most of his students emphasized the spiritual aspects of Aikido while deemphasizing the martial/fighting aspect, as well as dramatically altering the methodology Ueshiba created for the dessemination the art.


--Chris

p.s. Prizewriter: nice to be heard from again...it's been a crazy year!


Edited by Ames (04/27/10 03:45 PM)
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#431010 - 12/01/10 09:38 PM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Prizewriter]
Th3_Pun1sH3R Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Prizewriter
I wondered about that myself re the distinction of "martial" and "spiritual". However, some things like the gradual removal/demise of atemi in traditional Aikido made me wonder if certain "martial" aspects had been phased out (by accident or design) over time to try and make traditional Aikido about something more than possessing martial skill.

Maybe I should put it another way: For a person, is the "Spritual/DO" of Aikido more important than the "martial" skill? Can the pursuit of "martial" skill be a hinderance to "the way of peace and harmony"?
By posing the question as an either/or, you've demarcated the distinction as a black/white thing. The truth is, it isn't always black and white - there are many shades of grey.

If you look at the yin-yang (inyo) symbol, there is a seed of the yang in the yin aspect, and vice versa. It is not two separate things, but part of the whole.

The "do" aspect of JMA has always existed as a counterpoint to the "jitsu" aspect. Devotees of bugei sought spiritual guidance - thru the vehicles of Shintoism, Buddhism and Zen - as a counter-balance to the study of the killing arts.

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#431013 - 12/02/10 05:35 AM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Th3_Pun1sH3R]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Hello and welcome.

I offered two perspectives on the problem. I did not intend for that to be read as some Boolean conditional statement "If the first condition isn't true then the second condition must be true!" I merely wanted to offer different perspectives because, as you rightly say, it's not a straightforward matter. The people who contributed to the thread offered different answers.

It's something I like to do in my threads. I like to set out different views to try and generate discussion. I also normally finish with "Or is it something else?". I didn't do it in this case (why, I can't tell you), but as I said it wasn't the intention to make it an "either/or" thread and I have enough faith in the intelligence of the regular members here for them to be able to discern the topic(s) of a thread and for them to offer their own opinion on it. If I truly thought it was a black and white issue, why would I want to hear what other people have to say on the matter? I'm all about the shades of grey or else I wouldn't post here!

Apologies for any confusion though.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#431026 - 12/02/10 06:06 PM Re: Alternative criticism of Aikido [Re: Prizewriter]
Th3_Pun1sH3R Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Earth
My apologies if I misread you. To borrow your analogy, and confuse things even further, both conditions are equally true, equally false, and neither true or false. The paradox is something akin to a koan... a riddle... that every journeyman must resolve in their own way, and in their own time.

The more you understand how martial techniques function, the less inclined you will be to actually use them, perhaps opting for a less fatalistic response - which may or may not be the appropriate response. It depends... there is no right or wrong answer. And it varies from person to person, depending on their own value system and moral compass.

Ultimately, it is a personal choice. It can be both martial and spiritual, one or the other, or, if you take the view that in the end, there is only the training - then it is neither.

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