Are You Hitting Or Are You Loving; or is there difference? And what is the way of harmony anyway?

Comment from a previous post about the nature of an atemi (strike to the attacker)

"Yeah, it is hard to reconcile. Do you think that it's a matter of reconciling the young Ueshiba with the old?"

My thinking today is that it is probably more complicated than that.

O'Sensei's “enlightenment” happened in 1925 and early enough to be considered "young Ueshiba". Where he says essentially that there was no enemy and that “budo” was actually Love, which to our sensibility is obviously paradoxical. How can you seek to harm someone and yet love them at the same time.

Part of it may be that he was starting from a “Martial” standpoint and today (at least on an individual level) we start from a a non-combative viewpoint. So an atemi or strike for him did not automatically have the connotation that it does from us. Think about it...there once once a time when arguments, insults and debates were sometimes settled with violence much like a European duel. So merely hitting someone in the face was nothing compared to cutting their neck...well, maybe.

Then again maybe we have traded in the dueling pistol for a legal action, but no matter, we "usually" don't hit, strike or shoot people over some disagreement.

For me the thing is Morihei Ueshiba said many things and we have to consider not only what he said but where WE come from as to what we think is most important. So that what we say O'Sensei says, shows more about where we are coming from than what he was actually trying to teach.

For some the key point is that the Founder ALWAYS thought of Aikido as a MARTIAL Art. For me the Founder saw Aikido as a way of reconciliation and Love.

From my perspective I see O'Sensei as acknowledging we live in a world with pain and anger that erupts in violence and the answer is Aikido. For some it is a hard hitting strike to the face and a firm put down. For me it is an embrace of the attack and a circular, safe but firm landing for the attacker.

Well...that is my goal.

Oh yes. Happy New Year to All!!


What Is Aikido?

O'Sensei and Terry Dobson
True Budo is a work of love. It is a work of giving life to all beings and not killing or struggling with each other. Love is the guardian deity of everything. Nothing can exist with it. Aikido is the realization of love.
- Morihei Ueshiba O'sensei

Tonight Lawrence taught class. We have not seen much of him lately. He took a year off to study Hapkido and currently teaches the kids class. If you don't know, Hapkido has a lot of Aikido techniques but had a whole bunch of kicks and strikes as part of the repertoire. Lawrence is mild mannered and give off a soft vibe. But he is very keen on the effectiveness of any technique and how it would work in “the street”. For him the purpose of Aikido is how it will protect you and in a real fight and you strike at the attacker, and if the strike can't do it you use it as an atemi to distract the bad guy and then "clean his clock".

That is one aspect. Some people emphasize the martial aspect of Aikido and to that end are fond of point out that somewhere O'sensei said something like 80, 90 or 95% of Aikido is the atemi (strike to the attacker) which in a kinder view is merely used to to distract the attacker.

For all the explanations about how O'sensei and Aikido is really about subduing attackers and breaking some bones if necessary there are many more quotes like this from the founder...”you are responsible for protecting your attacker, for not hurting him”.

So, how does that view Jibe with the quote above?

Is Aikido Love?

or is it putting the bad guys in the hospital?

Or all of thee above

It doesn't Jibe. So another paradox, or contradiction or subtle ruse, or out right deception.

My Terry Dobson books came in so I may be more confused than ever.


Terry Dobson Again

Here is Ram Dass recounting the often retold story from Terry Dobson about an experience on a Tokyo train in the middle of his intense Aikido training with the very founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.

It is a strange story and it makes you wonder. If you have no experience with Aikido you might not see how marvelous it is to experience its wonder. When you acting as the attacker feel utterly mystified as to how you ended on the floor or how you lost your balance and fell under the control of the “victim”.

SO, you know it can be amazing BUT you also know there is the question whether in “real life” it would actually work. Work for you personally or even work for somebody else in theory.

AND the story itself sounds almost too pure to be true. It smacks of the maudlin and sentimental, but is that because of a weakness in the story or a weakness in me?

While researching this post (i.e. Goggling) I found this amazing, and I mean amazing post...


Her notes from his last seminar where he collapsed and entered a coma shortly after. Again it almost sounds too "good" to be true. But if it is, it is pretty amazing. Then again must a story not being "true" be any less powerful?

Meet death with integrity.
Don't flinch.
Don't turn away.
Step slightly off line.
Use his imbalance.
Keep goddamn stupid ego out of it.
Be there.
Achieve stillness.

The story you find on the net is here http://www.heartinspired.com/TerryDobson.pdf

Christmas message:
Keep goddamn stupid ego out of it.
Be there.
Achieve stillness.


An Obese White Gentleman in No Apparent Distress

I recently read Aikido in America which is really just an OK book about the people who brought Aikdio to America. Really just Americans who brought Aikido to American because there was no mention of Japanese who left Japan to bring Aikido to America.

Anyway, the first person profiled is Terry Dobson, and he turns up later in this book's story. He was probably the first serious American student of O'Sensei, and studied the founder closely for the last 8 years of O'Sensei's life. He may have been kind of a Jerk, but from what I can tell he comes across as a fascinating charismatic jerk. Basically somebody you wish you knew and had hung around with (he died in 1992). And his partner wrote a novel/biography about him.

I think I have may have been sold on him because I feel connected to the title of the book above (I am still waiting for delivery). But I have ordered 2 other books by or about him from amazon and I hope they are as good as I imagine.

Here is an excerpt from one of them...

O' Sensei used to make these shapes as he was demonstrating circle. Square. Triangle. I never understood what the meant by them. I was burning to know the meaning of these symbols. It was an unspoken rule that you didn't ask him questions. I thought about it for four, five even six years.
One day, everybody in the dojo got into spring cleaning. We were really going at it, tearing the place apart. It was a gorgeous day, and I found myself alone with O'Sensei on the veranda. We had just finished a job and it was obviously time for a break, so we sat down together.

I thought, what the hell, one question in six years ain't so bad. I asked him, “Sensei, I notice when you teach your frequently mention circle, square and triangle. I've thought about it for a while and I don't understand the meaning of these symbols. I wonder if you could help me solve this problem. Please explain.” He looked at me for a long time. He looked down, he looked up, and he looked around. And I'm waiting, right?

He said, “Terrusan, you know you should go find out for yourself” Then he got up and walked away. And I thought, “That's a piss-off, you know? All you have to do is say a couple of words, you don't have to be so Zen over the place”

For some reason I can't explain, that story makes me love O' Sensei AND Terry Dobson.


Sometimes You Just Want To Be Quiet For A While

Long time no post.

Sometimes You Just Want To Be Quiet For A While