“The phone call was a welcome one, and not unexpected. An old friend of mine, a fellow aikido instructor, was on the other end of the phone. I had been trying to reach him to see if he was able to come to a seminar I was hosting, and if I could provide any assistance to ensure he had a comfortable (read: economical) trip. The voice that greeted me on the other end of the line was filled with that calm resignation that comes only from someone who has made a difficult decision, and now must share the results of that decision.”
“In Misogi no Jo, O-Sensei claimed to perform a “purification” of the mat from “evil spirits” and it is clear that he did that through spiral movements!”
Finding empirically such a geometry in the world around us is rather natural: in nature, spirals are very common. Draining water in bathtubs, tornados, and whirlpools are all clear examples of the spiral form that arises from these phenomena.
But there are spirals almost everywhere, even where we wouldn’t expect to find them. If we take the image of a match just lit, we can spot in the early moments the natural geometric behaviour of smoke around it and we can see that it assumes clearly a spiral shape!
But that’s not all! Galaxies are spiral-shaped too, which suggests that we find this occurrence both in the infinitely big as the infinitely small. There are spirals formed by the pistils in the crown of a sunflower, as well as in shells or in the arrangement of the petals of a rose.
Again… we intuitively know that the human body is full of spiral forms. The ear lobe, the lines of our hands, etc. We have even found that there are spirals which approximate quite well the spontaneous nature of human profiles. In the specific case, spirals derived from the logarithmic function that makes them, in turn, the geometric shape more similar to the numbers of the convergent and famous Fibonacci sequence, containing the equally famous “golden ratio” which our entire universe seems to be built upon.
But this is a different story and for our purposes we should look beyond. The key question is: why is this ubiquitous geometry so important?
In physics, it seems that the energy might have been transformed into matter through a spiral shape in the first instants of the Big Bang as it now appears that matter goes back to its energy state (and possibly has been ejected in some other dimension?) through the well-known phenomenon of black holes.
Therefore, there are essentially two kinds of spirals, each of them with a different pole. The first kind is able to focus a dense critical energy built around its center and throw it to the periphery (Big Bang), while the other is able to attract the energy from the outside and concentrate it around its center (as in the black holes).
And this is something more than a theory. It is in fact well known and accepted by everyone! Hurricanes are formed by spirals of “positive polarity” and can lift objects they encounter on the ground and throw them in the air, tangentially to their rotation.
On the other hand, whirlpools do exactly the opposite: they attract boats or whatever floats in the surface of the water and sink them. This is an example of a receptive spiral motion that we could call of “negative polarity”.
In Aikido partner kata training where a single technique or set of combined techniques or counters are practiced, who controls the technique? Uke or Nage?
The word “throws” is used a lot, by many, but if this were the case it would no longer be Aikido, but a form of judo expressing the same-old-same-old bully-victim paradigm of one person “doing something” to someone else following a contest of some kind.
In such case, not only is it not Aikido, but nothing has been learned of the Founder’s paradigm of transcending violence. “Throwing” someone or pushing “them” over plays into the very illness true Aikido was formulated to transcend!
The interview below with Seiseki Abe Sensei of Osaka, 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 first met Ueshiba Sensei at the Osaka Dojo of Bansen Tanaka Sensei. At that time I had no idea that it was the opening ceremony for the dojo. I was just passing by when I suddenly noticed a sign that read Morihei Ueshiba. I guess that it was some kind of (mysterious) guidance from O-Sensei; anyway, I went right in. That’s when I realized that the dojo had been open only the day before, and that the display, at the misogi-kai, was given by the same Ueshiba Sensei. When I mentioned it, I was immediately taken upstairs. There I asked Ueshiba Sensei, “How did you ever learn such a wonderful budo?” He answered, “Through misogi” Now, I had been doing misogi since 1941 and when I heard that Aikido came from misogi, suddenly, “snap” the two came together. Then and there, I made up my mind that I had to dedicate myself to learning Aikido and stick with O-Sensei to the bitter end.
Thank you for coming to the San Francisco Aikido Project website. We will be hosting the 5th Annual San Francisco Aikido Project on June 22-26, 2011.
Our featured guests this year will be Christian Tissier Sensei 7dan, from Paris, France and Bruce Bookman Sensei, Tenzan Aikido Kai-cho from Seattle. The seminar is hosted by James Friedman Sensei. The seminar will be held at Suginami Aikikai in San Francisco, California. Aikidoists of all styles are welcome.
For a complete list of instructors, please click here
For registration information, please click here.
The interview below with Paolo Corallini Sensei of Italy, one of the closest students and supporters of Morihiro Saito Shihan, 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.
Toward the end of my first stay in Iwama, Saito Sensei handed me a letter containing several questions, which thanks to the help of Mr. Pranin I succeeded in understanding. He wanted to know what I thought of his teaching method, the Iwama-style, and my experiences with this form of aikido. In addition, he requested that if my response was positive that I talk about Iwama aikido upon my return to Italy. I realized at that point that I must do something and that it was not fair that I was the only one to have the good fortune of such a marvelous experience. One evening after explaining the aikido situation in Italy and central Europe to Saito Sensei, I sincerely invited him to come to my country to conduct a seminar. After a long silence, Saito Sensei accepted my invitation. This event determined my future. From that moment on I dedicated myself completely to him, in order to make his technical and spiritual genius known to all of those with whom I would come into contact.
Our special for this week is a DVD by Menkyo Kaiden Katsuyuki Kondo titled “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, Part 2.” This video is the second of a 2-DVD set providing expert instruction in the fundamental techniques of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the art that forms the basis for the majority of Morihei Ueshiba’s techniques. The second video is a DVD showcasing one of the most significant aiki-related arts events ever held, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Sokaku Takeda Sensei’s death. Held at the Nippon Budokan, this unforgettable exhibition includes performances by some of the top practitioners of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, aikido, and classical Japanese martial arts. We offer this set at the special price of $24.95 for both DVDs, your chance to expand your martial arts video collection.