Aug
03

“Descending from Mt. Olympus (or Mt. Kumano),” by Nev Sagiba

The Detailed Universe

The Detailed Universe

This old man must still practice.

“When Susanou died, his body buried atop Mt.Kumano, his spirit became Kami and he sometimes appeared as a big bear..”

“..The Founder would often remark: “This old man must still practice.” He never skipped early morning, afternoon or evening practice with his uchideshi, such sessions lasting two hours each.

In 1953, when he had already reached 70 years of age, his training was so severe as to put the young men to shame. According to those who were with the Founder a great deal in those days, he would be absorbed in reading during every free moment. I think that he mainly read the “Kojiki” (Chronicle of Ancient Events) as well as books concerning Shinto, the Kotodama (study of the spirit of language) and the study of the Divine Spirit..”
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=354

When you embrace the non-competitive dojo life and practice budo daily as a way of life, you partake of a higher dimension than is available to the non-trainee. More so if Aikido is your main art.

However there will be periods in life where you will be forced by necessity, injury, circumstance and responsibility to descend this holy mount and “mingle with mortals again.” Too much immersion with the mundane, the trivial and the necessary may sometime cause your skill and fitness to decline somewhat.

Make this your training too.

Well may you somewhat lose, “the edge.” Well may you somewhat appear to lose that finely honed warrior’s intuitive awareness to some degree.

Make this your training too.

If dire necessity should demand, you’ll find that you have in fact lost nothing and that the accrued credit of your input of years of training will emerge as if by magic to save you. But for purposes of training, when you do return or make a comeback or find opportunity to occasionally resume training, you’ll feel, “all thumbs and left feet.”
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Jul
21

“After an Event – REGROUP!”, by Nev Sagiba

Napoleon Bonaparte would severely punish any of his troops found celebrating a victory.

The reaction you have reading this statement defines you and determines whether you will survive a real emergency requiring the output of skill.

Think for a moment. Did you think this was unfair?

Or did you know?

If you thought it unfair, you are unprepared, ego driven, blinded by it and not likely not survive a real emergency event, be this violence, natural disaster or other.

If you understood, you either have experience or insight or both.

Wasting time feeding ego makes you most vulnerable. Any enemy worth his salt will conduct an assault while your guard is down. In real survival the seeking of accolades would be a distraction. Survival is the reward in and of itself. The only one you really need.

Regrouping, recovering and making yourself prepared again is vital. Otherwise you risk squandering mind and energy, which you will need later. Increments can make the difference.

The fact is this: When it’s over, it’s usually not over. Any war of attrition is composed of many battles. Any goal sought requires many steps.

Sometimes, in life as in battle, the only rest and recovery you are going to get is that which you can catch on the hop. When you learn to identify and to claim those brief moments that appear in the aiki of life’s circumstances and extract a brief breath, nourishment and meditation, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
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Jul
16

“On Whose Terms?,” by Nev Sagiba

“Looking at the fate of empires it would appear that this ideal of a peaceful warrior, a protector of life, is still a way off arriving to this planet.”

When you have accrued experience in a subject sufficient to be capable of imparting more than an idea but real function, on whose terms do you teach? Yours or the student’s?

When you rescue someone, on whose terms do you effect the save? Yours or the person whose flawed judgement got them into the trouble they are in?

Self-evident, one would suppose. And yet, stereotypical expectations tend to muddy the waters.

When you rescue some drowning people they try to drag you under and there are techniques for rendering them submissive to the rescue process.

When you rescue people from fire there are those who will want to risk death to run back into the fire to save trivial items such as jewellery, certificates, trophies and no doubt their black belt. There are means for detaining such as these as well.

When you guide people along the safest mountain trails, desert or deep forest as understood by the experienced, there are those who, because of opinions held only in their mind, will in ignorance argue vexatiously and seek to place themselves at risk.

When navigating the high seas, if you let the passengers dictate, you would place the boat and all lives on the vessel at risk. At sea, as in combat, increments make the difference.

Increments and seconds. Spacing and timing. Maai and deai. The fine tuning of these is gained by a questioning mind engaged in daily practice to refine skill at first hand understanding.
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Jul
10

“The Magic Bullet and A Veneer of Silliness,” by Nev Sagiba

“The proven and surviving real life masters of their craft accepted apprentices. You qualified by proving yourself, live or die, not random guesses of multiple choice questions.”

Before I indulge my diatribe let me qualify it by saying that I first began training 55 years ago. Judo.

After that it was chopping wood, more judo, swimming, weights, cycling, running athletics and anything else that was accessible.

At 14 I was manually cutting sugar cane. At 16 rounding up cows on horseback and after that it was hauling nets, rowing and diving all the daylight hours, interspersed with growing food manually.

It did me good! Each activity taught me much.

In between I continued my other studies. I had discovered I could make better pace by wagging school and cycling to the National Library than listen to people claiming to be teachers boringly repeat what they had already told us over and over for weeks before.

Really, they must think kids are stupid or something. Short attention span my.. foot!
WE GET IT THE FIRST TIME! Thank you very much.

Then that’s trained out of us in case we learn HOW TO THINK, but no, they want us to “learn” what to think so we can become office and cannon fodder for the world’s mismanagers who like to imagine they are “gods.” Just look at the state of the world and there is you answer.

I think the diatribe has already begun.

Anyhow, today (I’m presently in transit.) I went to a gym to enquire about times, fees and equipment.

The lady in attendance was “out of brochures” and asked me to phone or go online! Extraordinary! I was there in person!!

I had to almost beg for a business card or something with those points of reference.

So, imagining some immense mystery, I went online but could not find them. After getting inventive I did but the website, whilst containing lots and lots and lots of WORDS, failed to provide the salient information I was seeking.
[Read more...]

Jul
05

“Harmonize and Keep on Harmonizing, No Matter What!” by Nev Sagiba

“The best skill is to arrange the environment, your relationship to it and whatever else necessary in advance so that no violence can occur. This is the true and ultimate Aikido.”

Algorithmic Distillation

Long, long before the notion of the googol (a number equal to 10 to the 100th power, or a number with 100 zeros from which the word googlebot is derived) had arrived in the mind of man, a form of algorithmic distillation was already taking place in Nature.

The memetic bots were out searching for the most energy efficient genetic functionality and pushing these to the top. The other 90% of our DNA is not “junk” but survival adaptation stored reference DNA which has to be accessed and rewoven in order to adjust to new conditions. But it takes frequent and manageable exposure to the new adaptation stresses to take effect.

The inefficient, the obdurate and the unadaptive became, or made themselves extinct. It is the nature of entropy that Universal trajectory seeks out the optimizing of efficiency.

That the most viable energy efficient models tend to rise in the food chain and the less efficient get eaten or broken down to be recycled as raw substance is the nature of existence.

It was only natural that physical combat methods gravitate towards jujitsu or a modality of increased efficiency since these work better, conserve energy, are less predictable and tend to capture the energy output of the opponent. They tend to match the universal model of optimization to survive. While intense energy is natural, overt destructiveness that attacks and threatens the holist integration of life and its support systems therefore constitutes a disease. Harmony is the nature of the existence, the Universe and the preferred outcome as described in the statement, “The meek shall inherit the world.” Matthew 5:5 But not the weak meek, or the fake meek, rather the dynamic and wise meek with the long term good for all as the primary goal.

The T Rex defeated itself in its inability to adapt to new conditions. Perhaps something very small such as a virus put paid to the big lizard/birds. Otherwise, it did adapt and is now found as the humble chicken. (The arrogant one became extinct.)

How Did The Aikido Techniques Come About?

One thing is most certain: They are not the result of an arbitrary opinion, but hard tested experience in the attrition of the killing fields.

What gives the Aikido techniques their distinct difference?
[Read more...]

Jun
29

“Centripetal and Centrifugal Aikido,” by Nev Sagiba

centrifugal-force

“The unskilled tend to bend over to achieve a ‘throw.’ This behavioural habit will render you at risk in the battlefield”

Navigating energy requires no attack. To remain stuck in the quagmires of aggression in the seeking of resolution is a primitive reptilian brain disposition that somehow failed to become extinct along with the dinosaurs. This approach is doomed to eventual failure each time. There is nothing more disgusting that Aikido techniques badly mimicked with a mind of a primitive lizard at work. It’s not Aikido.

Kuzushi, the refinement of it, requires no strength. No expenditures. No forcing. No gratuitous aggression.

Aikido relies on the natural forces inherent in the universe instead of headstrong wilfulness. Aikido seeks a resolution of conflict, not the repeated escalation of it which is the spiritual malaise that has haunted humankind for far too long.

Aikido deploys centered mind and natural predispositions such as the proper leveraging of centripetal and centrifugal force.

Centripetal force – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centripetal_force
Centripetal force (from Latin centrum “centre” and petere “to seek” is a force that makes a body follow a curved path: it is always directed orthogonal to the velocity of the body, toward the instantaneous centre of curvature of the path.

In simple terms, centripetal force is defined as a force which keeps a body moving with a uniform speed along a circular path and is directed along the radius towards the centre. The mathematical description was derived in 1659 by Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens. Isaac Newton’s description was: “A centripetal force is that by which bodies are drawn or impelled, or in any way tend, towards a point as to a centre.”

Aikido seeks the centre of the centre of the centre. To this end training. The rest is details which come and go.

But this finding of centre accrues other gains. Gains useful in meeting all the challenges that life can throw at you. It gives you the ability to respond instead of react.
[Read more...]

Jun
21

“Doing Things the Hard Way,” by Nev Sagiba

“To the spiritual warrior, it is evident that all beginnings
are uncomfortable and pain is the result of change”

The majority of humanity make the choice to be too lazy to overcome inertia or to take risks towards achieving a worthwhile goal that will make the world a better place. They mainly want to eat and indulge. These are not goals but necessities. That’s why people end up doing things the hard way for aeons until they GET IT! That’s the only “suffering” you are going to get. The one you make.

The Buddha was interpreted wrongly. “All life” is not “suffering.” That depends on attitudes and our skill in harmonising or the lack of it. All life is CHANGE. Probably because he got shell-shocked after witnessing reality, following a life of cotton wool over-protection as a spoiled princeling, it took him a while to learn to accommodate the inevitability of change. When you stop resisting change and learn to navigate it, it changes into something else.

The Universe contains every variable possibility. To navigate It’s variables safely, efficiently, effectively and harmlessly is tegoi. The skill to dance with change from an immutable centre.

Let me explain. To the lazy, alcoholic, drug riddled, self-indulgent couch potato with entitlement issues, jogging, or any other athletic activity is a no-no. Such would rather waste his life early in preference to self victory.

Whilst most people are not alcoholic, drug riddled, self indulgent couch potatoes with entitlement issues or criminal tendencies, they still want to cheat the Universe as-it-is and hide behind imaginary safety blankets instead of meeting the real and dynamically dangerous Universal life. Such people are easy to deceive and to exploit. And they are. There is a predator to accommodate them at every street corner. Except these are no longer sabre toothed but are in appearance just like you and I.

To the spiritual warrior, it is evident that all beginnings are uncomfortable and pain is the result of change. But her or she, instead of seeking avoidance at any expense, (which as it turns out is often far greater waste of time, space, effort, mind and self than simply just doing what the still small voice of conscience tells you is obvious) the spiritual warrior FACES IT on the way to a worthwhile goal using the technique of regular manageable installments.

To this he or she adds the exploration of the efficient – aiki. Relaxed strength combined with efficiency produces remarkable results as it serves to attune to the Great Universal River of Life, Kannagara no Michi.

“I build my strength in order not to use it.” Morihei Ueshiba

Fear and self doubt are a ball and chain, a millstone that imprisons minds. Bodies then follow. In the face of this, how many make the time, against the odds, to pursue a Do, Way or Path of daily self improvement?

Nothing is “easy.” There is a purpose to this. The Universal “banking system” requires that we show authentic intent by way of persistence, the secret of all success, before it will loan us more gifts. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8

One installment makes of you nothing more than a bad actor. A fake. Mastery is a perennial journey.

You have to keep knocking at the portal of the Great Universal, again and again, through all the trials, tests and tribulations, and learn to make the impossible possible. The alternative is to sink comfortably (at first only) into the inertia of matter by letting mind and creative activity rot instead of activate.

It is hard finding the easy way. It requires persistence, effort, discomfort, pain, change, frustration, sacrifice, investment of time and energy, even anger to overcome. Indeed. But it is far harder persisting with the hard way that is doomed to failure with vain wishful imaginings in hoping that it will succeed by beating our heads on our own stonewalls. There is no light at the end of this sinkhole. The one that the bulk of humanity is now in. Slavery is not a viable or lasting option. Neither tyranny nor anarchy are a remote semblance of any responsible “freedom” of any kind.

Nor will Great Nature wait while we dither distracted by apps and other toys, only a small part which are truly useful, in-between drudge we hate doing. Fighting life. Aiki life and livelihood instead. Make work you love your means of livelihood and you enter a new dimension of not only increased productivity, but also increased happiness. Without Gross National Happiness, Gross National Productivity will decline.

Why are our “economies failing” ? Could it be that they are reflecting our attitudes? Is some external mythical devil making a victim of us all? Or is it we who are allowing real others to walk roughshod over our primary needs. Think clearly. Who are you giving your power to? Are you warrior enough to RECLAIM YOURSELF?

In appearance, we all are struggling against immense odds. But there is one place where we are permitted absolute jurisdiction: Ourselves! Our minds and our hearts, our speech and our actions. Our choices.

The easy way is hard at first, but leads on to self mastery. The hard way seems easy at first and then it flips out into protracted suffering. Choose!

If not, why not?

Jun
13

Can You Get The Same Result Without Training?

If we are to believe some experts everything is the result of random accidents and not order. This of course fails to explain too many things. All biased views do.

Evolution is a long series of trial and error events, each with a learning curve or more attached. These potentials, unless activated and unlocked, will atrophy and die, never to be explored, never to have been given life.

It follows that any training will be similar in principle. Activate the latent or lose it.

The building of neural pathways requires necessity. In training we manufacture necessity in order to get practice at resolving it. This evokes the activity of the creative principle of Nature and The Universe to unlock creation from the subatomic levels, which then converges as intention or will; or as we say: ki. The more advanced being: aiki – skill or harmony in action.

Movement is a natural part of life. Lack of movement is a natural part of death.

There are individuals around who think that merely by thinking or watching movies they can still achieve the same results. But this is delusion. Or that by trying something only once, or twice, they can evaluate their potential as being somehow “different” from that of anyone else. Such outlooks lead to sad, self defeating outcomes where immense talent is wasted, thrown away and a gift disparaged.

How people can arrive at such conclusions is difficult to comprehend since the trail they leave proves them to be in error.

If you can walk or talk, you can do anything else that anyone else who can walk or talk can do, similarly or just as well. This has been tested and proven by those who did take up an active and regular programme of personal change, exercise or budo.

The question is not whether you can or not, but rather whether you are prepared to go through what it takes to do so!
[Read more...]

Jun
07

“Ki and The Cloud,” by Nev Sagiba

“Your thoughts precede you, ki leads, so be careful what you ask for.”

Do you hog data on your server and spend on more space and backup drives? Or do you run risks “out there” in “the cloud” where you could lose it all to malicious threats, accidents, a major virus or a crash?

Which is really more lasting and secure?

Today many of us are daily confronted with such choices. Does all this internet stuff resonate sympathetically with life itself? With money for example, how much to invest, how much to spend and how much to hold on to as it loses value daily?

How much is truly essential data and how much merely junk you are attached to?

Some of the most sophisticated systems can retrieve complete data from fragments. But they have to be the right fragments. How can this be? It appears to make no sense.

What are these key fragments?

What is the balance? Is the universe and nature similar?

The internet and computer servers are another analogy that reflects the universe. Nothing in the universe can depart from being bound to reflect attributes of its completeness.

What is the bridge that links us individually and collectively to the universe?

In navigating a balance, security is everything. Loss of information is kindred to dementia with the attendant loss of function.

Can you afford it? Where does nature keep the stored reference material? Undoubtedly in our genes but also in our predispositions, memes, sanskaras… call them what you will, these are habits of repetitive doing.

If so what can you “take with you” after that final breath certain to us all?

On Earth we don’t live in a vacuum. Time, gravity and opposites interplay constantly. Life’s journey is an opportunity, but it can also be a roller coaster. Even a storm.

In life as a sentient intelligence, depending on what we think and do, we unfurl some or many of a vast array of qualities and tendencies.

What happens to these subtle nuances of universal expression? Do they just dissolve? Do they travel? Do they keep coming back to unfold some more?

Nature’s great law: “Use it or lose it,” comes into play here. Our 4.6 billion year evolution solid as it appears is also fragile. Our life supporting systems exist in an operating system still in the making on a thin biosphere which is relatively recent.
[Read more...]

May
26

“Points of Reference,” by Nev Sagiba

Ever changed room and forgot what it was you were thinking about? Have you ever then gone back to see if you could find your thought?

Sounds crazy but many people do.

Ever gone for an intense vacation, nature excursion or been to war then come home and found you could not find the “worries” you were so sure were your own? Where did they go? Or perhaps that they had multiplied? Where were they to start with?

What about your skills? Often someone who has practiced then gone fallow for years finds the skill as good, if not better than the day its practice was stopped.

Experienced this? Sleeping over away from home and walked into a wall when middle of the night you went to go to the loo where you expected a door to be?

The difference between habit and living awareness defines a warrior. Whereas any kind of uncreative drone, a slave to daily drudge imagines he’ll find safety by following orders, preferring not to think for himself or notice outside his peculiar box of illusions, the warrior questions everything, notices, thinks and exercises best practice initiative knowing where he stands right now! The warrior is awake, seeing into the three worlds whether awake or asleep. He is constantly getting to the bottom of things, leaving no stone unturned, pressing boundaries for uplift and improvement of life. He or she knows how to recapture bearings at each moment. It makes those still sleeping uncomfortable, as they too risk waking up.

Both require points of reference, but each uses them differently. One is merely habituated and institutionalized whereas the other, knowing with clarity where he is in the moment, exercises leverage to obtain a known result.
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May
12

“To Steal at the Crossing,” by Nev Sagiba

As a kid, did you ever tie two sticks together at the centre then pull them sideways to form a cross? Did you then notice that they would yield towards alignment one way more than the other?

“Juji-tsu” – “to steal at the crossing,” also has the connotation of “ju-jutsu” – “soft means.”

What crossing are we referring to? When any interaction jams there are two possibilities. We can continue to struggle, and struggle it will be. Until the heavier, stronger, larger mass prevails. Or we can try something different.

Is there another way? Yes, accommodation! Finding the way that is predisposed to flow.

Accommodation following the clash, irimi-tenkan forms the basis of “aiki-jutsu” – “the way of harmonizing intention.”

This accommodation finds that in so doing, it can “steal” the energy of the attacking force and direct it to a neutralising trajectory.

Aikido is the study of this principle at a practical as well as more esoteric level. Why did the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, place so much consequence in this Way, so much so that he devoted a lifetime to the pursuit of this study with a zeal hitherto unmatched in time of relative peace? Why did he extend to the philosophy of practical nurturing, protecting and healing all life?
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May
06

“The Immutable Thread,” by Nev Sagiba

“Violence requires the idea of separation in order to exist.”

Aikido is not a mushy art, or a way to fight and aggress, or defeat enemies. Or to manufacture enemies where none needed to exist because of pride, hubris, arrogance and stupidity. Or the disease of lack based belief systems which drive thieving. Nor is it a way to dominate or control others or to impose, infringe, steal, cheat or bastardize anything at all.

Aikido is Kannagara no Michi expressed through the Hito Jinja. That’s all Aikido is. The immutable thread of balancing power indwelling throughout Eternity that reconciles all things back to creation and the harmony that sustains it.

Everything is on loan from that source and to it must inevitably and unstoppably return. Resistance is futile. Prolonged resistance the height of folly and the cause of all suffering.

Destruction as temporary as itself. As are manufactured, forced agendas. Nothing exists which is not subject to creation, which in turn is subject to pure harmony. No being exists who is above the law or can have a dispensation to break the Supreme Law of Harmony save by being subject to the laws of creation itself. The Laws of Creation and Harmony. Everything has a price and consequences that arise from action.

The most secret and esoteric teaching in the universe cannot rise above this, as it is.

There is a common understanding in the universe. A current and a thread that runs though all things. It is soft, subtle and true. There are no mysteries higher.

All life knows it. Including those that don’t know they know it.

All the esoteric mumbo jumbo in the world, “teachings” that are merely words and concepts, interesting calculations much like astrology, and other methods, are but loose guidelines based on the experience of others. All experience is good and so is learning from that of others; but in the end you will need to get your own unique perspective through your own unique experience, and draw your own unique conclusions. These too will change over time.

What works well for one person may not be suitable for another.

Much like Budo practice, neither knowledge nor wisdom is a rubber stamp or formulaic method which can be simply copied. Rather it is malleable and alters, if only by nuances, as the universe itself confabulates each microsecond day by day by the minute and only you can make the choices that will enable you to navigate your own unique trajectory through existence.
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