“A piece of paper, a coloured piece of cloth
and a long list of names is proof of nothing.”
Imagine this: You commission a builder to build you a house. He does not put foundations in. Even before you move in, the building starts to tilt and properly accredited, duly experienced builders make comments and ask questions.
You question the guy who built it. He replies, “Well, I believe it has a good chance of standing in the event the wind may come up, but we really can’t tell because I’ve never really had to build a house. But look, I don’t really build so that people can live in houses. I have a philosophy, and I dabble in building for spiritual reasons and because I really love architecture and shapes…”
Of course, you move in after paying him double because of the nice shape and what he says are his spiritual aspirations.
Then you need a security guard. He tells you his brother is one.
After the house falls on you, you would definitely hire this man’s brother to conduct your security. It really warms your heart when he tells you, he’s never really had to confront anyone, and he’s in favour of Gandhi’s approach of sending hundreds of people in to get beaten up, in the name of “passive resistance.”
You would pay him double too. Of course. And when he asks you for that amount for each of the hundreds he proposes to send in, in the event of a real situation happening, to get beaten over the heads with clubs, you would cheer and wish you had a money tree. As you do.
Of course you would.
Well, I would not!
As far as I’m concerned, before you can live safely in a building, it has to pass all the regulations, be built to a PROVEN AND TESTED STANDARDS, and not fall over.
You would want to inspect the builder’s previous work and question his previous customer’s satisfaction rating.
Would you not?
As for security, you likewise would hire the proven competent.
But we live in a strange world. Who checks the track record of any professional whose services they wish to retain?
Many are incompetent, inept and have a record of abusive practices. They are dismissed and placed on notice.
If someone refuses to reveal a proud past record of success and accolades, he has already told you who he is. Why else would he want to hide it?
Would you pay money to a lawyer who would lose your cases? Thousands do.
To an accountant who embezzles and overcharges? Thousands do.
Would you pay money and place your trust in a doctor who has a track record of dispensing unnecessary toxins? Or a surgeon, that of either killing or crippling his patients through incompetence or negligence? Thousands do.
Would you permit an incompetent tyrant to rule over you? Millions have. Repeatedly.
And in the aftermath of the disasters we bring upon ourselves, we whine, blame and want compensation. For our own negligent complacency and stupidity.
Because you know someone who once knew someone who had a brother who knew someone else related to someone who could build a house, does not make you a builder. It doesn’t even make you a good gossiper. It is not a qualification. Period.
Qualification carries the burden of proof. A piece of paper, a coloured piece of cloth and a long list of names is proof of nothing. It merely indicates that you have practiced somewhat and that someone has formally acknowledged that you have.
As a species we are good and working too hard to fail; and bring disaster upon ourselves.. and many people tend to work many times harder avoiding a task than simply doing it.
In all things where a skill is involved there is a STANDARD.
Budo is the skill of diminishing violence. You either do or you don’t. You either can or you can not. You can’t just think you can… maybe.. and hope you never have to find out. That’s a feeble attitude and a dishonest one. Dishonest to yourself and whoever you flaunt your tissue paper, cloths and lists of names.
Usually STANDARDS are based on COMMON SENSE. However, common sense is not common.
Some people prefer to put the roof up before they have the walls in place. Or set windows where there are no walls.
Well, it can’t be done.
Why is it that people avoid foundational work?
If you’ve ever had to lay the foundations for a building by means of manual labour, you will know. It is hard, back-breaking work. Good for you because there is sweat involved. Real work where you learn FOUNDATIONAL LESSONS.
So, along comes pencil necked geeks and academics with UNTESTED theories that live only in their wishful thinking. And in their executive wisdom, these buffoons decree that, “foundations are not necessary.”
What they are really saying is that they are LAZY and don’t want to go through the discomfort of the work involved in establishing sound foundations. This, in part may come from living in the lack of real and pressing, imminent survival necessity. In other cases it’s merely lackadaisicalness.
In a feudal era, in the realm of Budo skill, this problem easily resolves itself. The theorists make themselves useful as manure after speaking it in life. They help plant growth when the worth of their theories are tested in the field of battle. But, that is useful too. Make no mistake of it. Good for the environment. The fertile, life bearing top-soil layer of the planet is the result of millions of years of blood and bone. And theories that don’t work. Perhaps the dinosaurs had theories too. They are extinct. But we still have some measure of fertile soil to, in our current consummate wisdom, turn into desert, yet to go.
In the feudal era, the battlefield survivors went on to teach what works. The litmus test and qualification being, not a certificate, not a piece of cloth, or a long list of name droppings, but THE FACT THE GUY SURVIVED REAL LIFE AND DEATH EXPERIENCE BY MEANS OF REAL SKILL, REAL EFFORT, REAL EXTENDING OF HIS SPIRIT.
He had something to impart because he had a foundation based on SOMETHING. Something real.
Then something happened which perverted the course of history. Somehow, academic theorists overruled reality (because they were well protected and other people went to war to die in their place). The burden of proof was no longer necessary. A piece of tissue was all the proof they need. A colored piece of cloth made them important people. And when all else failed, the long list of names going all the way back to someone who could actually do a day’s work. The tissue, proof of all this, was handed down by other people who also had a tissue hanging on their wall, going back all the way back to someone who actually had ABILITY and proved it by surviving real battle.
Suddenly, windows began appearing everywhere, suspended in mid air, and roofs as well. Levitation became possible. Where were the walls? Who knows? Where were the FOUNDATIONS to hold this up? Somewhere in the distant mists of the past.
And as we now see on so many videos compliant UKES began LEVITATING as well. Wow! Wonders never cease.
Because you’ve done a course means nothing. You know the theory. Learning does not begin until you start building; and after putting into practice the school theories, you develop the ability to learn from practical expertise. This takes about twenty years and then you will have become a beginner, able to start refining the art. Until then you are pretty much a gofer, an apprentice.
Art appreciation is fine, but can you paint?
Music appreciation is good as well, but can you play or sing?
Architectural appreciation does not mean you can build.
Budo appreciation, a vague form of voyeurism, or rubbing lightly up against a floating window that remotely resembles the forms of Budo, does not mean you can STOP VIOLENCE.
The primary of Budo skill is HONESTY. Honesty with oneself and honesty with everyone else. In fact honesty is critical because to be able to stop violence you require understanding of predispositions, and the clarity which comes from honesty.
The Founder of Aikido was not just soliloquizing when he urged how important it is for training to consist of :”Honest attack and honest defence..”, for this is the basis behind even the foundations. Absolute clarity.
Honesty means QUESTIONING, EVALUATING and MODIFYING.
But man, to get there requires an obscene four letter word: WORK
Speaking of work, what percentage of those purporting to teach any Budo, have actually WORKED in field related to their skill placing their lives at risk, professionally protecting anything at all?
I rest my case. Most so called budo is a crock, with most “aikido,” being the worst offender!
This is not the fault of either Aikido, or the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Rather that of those who chose to water Aikido down by removing, ignoring, or failing to notice the essentials of Aikido.
Aikido has been advertised by such ridiculous words as, “The non-fighting martial art.” Aside from being an oxymoron, this is a nonsense. By definition. Other have used, “Gentle Self-Defense.” Really? I mean, what can one say? Gentle training practice for office workers, perhaps? If someone attacks you at 100kph and you “defend” at 3kph you will not succeed. Simple physics.
Some make the claim that, “Ueshiba’s Aikido is a highly weakened form of hand-to-hand combat.”
I disagree. I’m not sure which Ueshiba he may have been referring to, but it certainly was not Morihei’s Aikido.
The basic techniques and principles of Aikido are a valid training tool. Extremely valid, relevant and central to all Budo arts.
They are solid and foundational; and when practiced properly, will lead on to develop authentic essential attributes that are indeed functional, and can be applied with effect, in daily life and also in instances of real survival.
Aikido come from a good source. The best.
After the basics, where the individual takes it, if anywhere at all, is a choice.