“The drill we were looking at involved one student throwing a punch of some description at his partner, the defender covered and then closed in to blitz the attacker with these multiple slaps causing him to retreat and at the same time deal with this overload the best way he could. As I said earlier the shut down to my system was within a few seconds, dealing with this stinging pain was very hard indeed.”
“All martial arts have the same inherent conflict: Art is about beauty / Self defense is about survival – and real survival is rarely pretty or easy.”
In re-reading the 1992 article by Stan Pranin “An End to the Collusion,” I was struck by the timeliness and increasing relevance of his honest comments about the choreographed nature and artificiality of most aikido demonstrations and much of our aikido practice. Stan also has us confront the casual and sloppy manner in which aikido is often practiced. This increasingly popular “aikido light” with lots of eye candy and sorry imitations of the Founder is supposed to be expressing harmony and non-violence.
I love the art of aikido as I know Stan does, and when lax, casual practice passes for harmony, and when training with effort and intensity is considered “violent” then we have surely lost the Founder’s Way. We have trivialized what is profound, and made superficial that which should have depth, the Founder’s earnest struggle to learn and understand, and find new possibilities in conflict. Our modern culture attempts to make everything light and easy, even O’Sensei’s work of a lifetime.
We have all seen the cooperative choreography Stan described in which uke does what is expected of him, and when in doubt – falls down. I am often (sadly) amused when old training pals who are now Senseis perform ultra subtle-seemingly effortless movements that send the uke flying! Their first attempt often does not work well or at all – but after that (when uke knows what he is expected to do) – it works like magic! Our capacity for self deception seems to have no bounds. If these fellows would admit what they are doing has nothing to do with self protection and is purely fun, play, art, and performance that would be fine. But it is presented as “traditional aikido,” which is dishonest and demeaning to both aikido and to the Founder.
There is none..
The words “according to” give the game away. It’s easy to put a convincing argument on paper. Because something is written does not make it gospel at all, merely words on paper (or now pixels as well).
If it were that easy we could all become invincible, enlightened, all knowing, merely by reading; and then return back to our home planet all fixed.. or whatever it is that happens.
The written word, is mostly opinion and conjecture. Mostly, but not all.
Whilst some opinion comes out of vivid imaginings, much can also come from hard experience. That’s for the reader to discern, to match with his or her opinion and to test to REFINE THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE OF LIFE AND SKILL.
Although I have read O’Sensei’s doka (songs / poems of The Way) in many places online and in books, these are verbatim from The Aikido FAQ. I especially enjoy analyzing the metaphorical ones that don’t make sense to me right away. Here are just two such doka, along with how my mind deciphers them.
“His sword raised to the attack
The enemy flies at the man he thinks before him
But from the very start
I was standing behind him”
The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
I have described the circumstances of how Morihei and his family moved to Ayabe from Hokkaido in the previous chapter. The area at the foot of Mt. Mountain where Morihei’s house was located was quite different from the newly developed land in Shirataki in Hokkaido where the air was full of wild vigor. His new shrubbery-fronted house was in very quiet surroundings. Although Morihei had conquered the wilderness of Hokkaido by cultivating the land, he still was not satisfied. His search for spiritual nourishment led him to the Omoto religion.