joi, 27 octombrie 2011
luni, 24 octombrie 2011
duminică, 16 octombrie 2011
vineri, 12 august 2011
sâmbătă, 30 iulie 2011
“Aikido and Mind-Body Integration,” by Curtis L.V. Adams, M.D.
In 1967, after four years in the General Practice of Medicine, I started a residency in Psychiatry. A large percentage of my general practice patients suffered from psychiatric conditions and I read psychiatric literature voraciously, as I did during my first year of residency. I became more and more mystified during that year, as we were presented so many systems of psychology and psychiatry, each of which, taken by itself, seemed to “make sense”. Taken together, those systems seemed conflicting and confusing. During a discussion of this confusion with my brother, then a graduate student in speech and communications, he suggested I learn about an epistemology called General Semantics. After I followed his suggestion, and applied Korzybski’s principles about abstracting to my studies, my confusion cleared remarkably. I enjoyed teaching those principles to students, residents, preceptees, patients, etc., over the years. It was always fun to see the comprehension bloom when I could get a student to sit long enough with a person overwhelmed, for instance, by a quandary without diagnosing or classifying so he could see the person and help him clarify his situation and arrive at a workable solution.
I discovered my second passion in 1974. That summer, my family and I spent our vacation in an isolated lake cabin. I ate a lot, fished, and read potboilers. One of those books featured a hero who used Aikido to deal with bad guys. I had a book on Aikido in my library, and got it out as soon as I returned home. Serendipitously, in September of that year, Dr. Greg Faulkner moved to my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, to work in the space industry. He started an Aikido Class, which I joined. I have practiced since then and taught for a number of those years.
My general sense of well-being began to improve soon after starting Aikido. My body habits changed and people remarked that I moved more freely. When one of my psychiatric colleagues attended a trial workshop, I remarked to him that Aikido had intrinsic value different from other martial arts, and different from the attendant exercise. He did not agree, and I was unable to defend my point. A number of years later, the acknowledged best fighter in our federation of martial artists, an engineer, wondered why we all continued to practice martial arts over the years. I have attempted to answer the question about the intrinsic value of Aikido, as I believe there is such, and also the question of why I continue to practice and to teach the art. I think it is a tool to help me “make sense”, especially in the face of confrontational, aggressive persons.
The human ability to conceptualize and objectify accounts for many of our accomplishments. This ability also accounts for one of the major problems that we have to solve: a dichotomy between one’s subjective or organic self and an “I-Persona” or “I-Mask” self-concept. We describe ourselves on currency subject to being overvalued and vulnerable to being blown away by the wind of events, leaving us with a diminished sense of self-worth. In this paper, I will explore this split and in particular how the practice of the Japanese martial art of Aikido helps to resolve this problem.
This split occurs as part of development. In normal development there is a reorganization of the conceptual framework to fit the reality of the person and his world at the end of each stage of development. There is a period of turmoil associated with this state of reorganization that must be tolerated and supported by the environment. Since most human environments do not support any kind of turmoil, few people have been able to complete this part of each stage of development. For that reason, most people have a mixture of out of date ideas and conclusions in their conceptual frameworks.
Charles Kelly wrote that there are two character types based on two different ways of conceptualizing: the mechanic and the mystic. The first, the mechanic, operates in concepts, deals with the world by means of discrete units, and treats the world as though it is fundamentally static and immobile. He acts and operates on an outside reality to the exclusion of subjectivity or consciousness. The mystic over-focuses on the subjective “feeling” aspect of the life process at the expense of the objective “action” aspect. He becomes convinced that subjective reality antedates and overrides the merely physical reality of the body and the external world. He develops the conviction that consciousness is independent of the body.
In his essay on metaphysics, Bergson wrote, “There is an absolute knowledge, which can only be given in an intuition (meaning coming only from an internal processing). Everything else falls within the province of analysis,” i.e., the world of the mechanic and the mystic. “By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. There is a reality that is external and yet given immediately to the mind.” I think this is inherent in the “staying at the level of nonverbal” talked about in General Semantics.
Alfred Korzybski, who originated General Semantics, called this level of the intuitive the level of the nonverbal: the level of being and knowing without the use of symbols or words. He recommended that one stay at the level of the nonverbal until he comes to a complete knowledge and acceptance of a situation. We have to use words and symbols to communicate; however, being able to stay at the level of the nonverbal until we have contacted the external reality is important. This ability increases the reliability of our abstracting process by allowing us to gather more information before arriving at conclusions, inferences, etc.
These concepts relate to my work as a psychiatrist in that practically every person has a concept of self quite different from what can be seen or perceived in that person. People define themselves according to their status, their role, what they have been told about themselves years ago or out-of-date self-definitions. These same people often have a conceptualization of external reality that is eccentric and cannot be consensually validated. Psychotherapy, when done right, helps the person get to a sense of reality of self and helps him develop a consensually validatable conceptualization of external reality.
Aikido is another way a person can develop a more accurate perception of self and a more nearly accurate conceptualization of external reality. In Aikido there is a particular necessity of evaluating reality accurately.
Aikido is a modern martial art originated in Japan by Morihei Uyeshiba, called by Aikidoists O-Sensei or The Great Teacher (of Aikido of course). Morihei Uyeshiba was a seeker who started out early in life with a decision that he would never get beaten up. He had seen his father bullied by village ruffians and made the decision that he would not be such a victim. He entered into the study of martial arts as a young man, studying the way of the sword and the way of the empty hand, Jujitsu, and eventually ending up in a martial art called Daito Jujitsu. He was an undefeated fighter. He was capable with a sword or an empty hand of beating practically anybody in a fight and took great pride in his ability. He was sergeant-at-arms for a spiritual sect, and later a hand-to-hand combat instructor for the Japanese Navy. With all of those skills under his command, he came into conflict with a close friend, a naval officer who was a professor of fencing.
Consider the paradox. Uyeshiba was a man who said he would never be beaten up and who had taken great pride in fighting and his ability to fight. He now confronted a friend who had attacked him with a wooden sword to kill him. He was faced with a situation in which his self-identification conflicted with an external and intuitively felt reality. When does your friend become your enemy? How can you kill your friend? Morihei Uyeshiba fought this “battle” with the naval officer by using only defensive moves. When the naval officer moved to strike, Uyeshiba would move out of the way. He continued to do evasive tactics until the opponent collapsed in a sweat. Then Uyeshiba went out into the garden where he experienced a sense of lights and a revelation about the martial arts. This revelation was that martial arts are not to kill and destroy your enemy but to restore harmony that has been previously disturbed in the universe. From this experience, he formulated a new conceptualization of Budo or the Way of War.
Uyeshiba’s conceptualization was based in part on the actual meaning of the Japanese character “Bu”. The idea is that an individual stops war or fighting. The top of the character is of two crossed halberds, indicating a cessation of aggressiveness. The lower character literally means to stop. The composite, therefore would imply “to stop fighting” or end battle. He originally called his method of self-defense Aiki-jujitsu and later renamed it Aikido. Aiki means harmony of the energies. The word do, which means Way in the spiritual sense, added to aiki forms Aikido that means the way of harmony of the energies. Aikido is the current designation of the Way of Morihei Uyeshiba.
In addition to being an extremely effective form of self-defense, Aikido became a basis for the pursuit of the true self. This pursuit is done by the constant reevaluation in the learning and application of the techniques of Aikido. In order to do Aikido effectively, one has to cultivate an awareness of the body, the location of the body in space and the force of his movements. This constant reevaluation ideally caused a shift from the concept of opponents, as in self-defense, to partners, who would help in rediscovering the true self. Consequently he was “making sense” of a previously perceived paradox. His martial skills remained the same, or improved, but the application changed from aggressiveness to cooperation (or in the words of Trigant Burrow from detention to contention).
The philosophy of Aikido is the culmination of a philosophy that had required centuries of evolution and was very much a part of the life of the samurai. The first step in this evolution was that of the samurai or servant warrior. He belonged to his master and if ordered, his job was to kill the enemy. The samurai learned that this kind of killing is spiritual suicide. Then came the concept of mutual destruction, i.e., of sacrificing one’s life to kill the enemy. In that situation, a sense of appreciation of one’s life emerged. It is no sacrifice if your life is valueless. Then evolved the concept of the mutual preservation of life, the idea of the saving of one’s enemy’s life while preserving one’s own life. The warrior must have a profound knowledge of his craft in order to actualize a philosophy of saving his and his enemy’s life. Otherwise he has no choice other than to kill or be killed. His knowledge must not be of a mechanical nor of a mystical nature, i.e., abstractions have no place when one is faced with an enemy skilled in the art of killing and determined to end his life. The warrior’s knowledge must be based on an intuitive perception of movement and forces. It was out of the background of the Zen considerations of the samurai that Morihei Uyeshiba was able to have his enlightenment experience from which he developed his Aikido, “The Way of Harmony”.
In the world we certainly have to be able to deal with aggression that arises in many contexts. When we are afraid we will often retire into the world of thoughts and fantasies. The Aikidoist must learn the skills of containing his emotions in situations where the threat is only symbolic. When the attack is physical, however, and only then, the Aikidoist has a place to “enter the spirit” of the attacker and neutralize the attack. The skills that are necessary for self-defense can be demonstrated, but must be learned through constant practice. The first of these skills is to avoid opposition. This means blending with the attack, redirecting it, etc. The second is to neutralize further aggression with techniques such as locks, throws, etc.
Yoga Warmups for Aikido demonstrated by Stanley Pranin
Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin demonstrates a series of basic yoga postures he has incorporated into his aikido workouts. After suffering chronic back pain for many years, three years of yoga practice have allowed him to overcome his bad back problem. These are the exercises he has adopted as part of the aikido warmups.
miercuri, 27 iulie 2011
Aikido Breakfalls are for breaking the force of a fall to the ground without experiencing an injury. On the other hand, ukemi is the ability to receive a technique or fall safely and recover your balance.
Learning how to develop good Aikido breakfalls is very difficult to achieve. Many Aikido students do not focus on the skill of receiving techniques, as their main aim is on becoming a good performer of technique.
One of the reasons is that people in the West are generally highly competitive. Most of us have been taught to put ourselves first, and that winning is better than losing. This means that we tend to concentrate more on performing techniques, and winning, rather than receiving, and losing.
This way of thinking is rather egotistical and selfish, and the art of Aikido addresses this problem directly. In order to take we must first give. So by focusing a little more on helping our training partner, we will in turn be helping ourselves.
In my many travels of Aikido dojo, I have found hundreds of students that are fairly good at performing techniques. But, most dojo only have a couple of good uke, that are good enough be used for demonstrations. This is because the goal of most students is to win and perform well.
You can be different and truly excel at the art by looking closely at Aikido breakfalls and ukemi practise.
By working on your falls a little more, you can develop to a much higher level. It will give you the confidence to allow yourself to be of use to your training partner, by not resisting their techniques. This helps their skills and yours, a win-win situation, that removes the conflict from the connection.
I will briefly look at some of the Aikido breakfalls you will learn during your Aikido training...
These are first learned by lying down flat on your back on the mat. Bend your knees, so your heels are flat on the floor, with arms held palm-down at 45 degrees from your body. Lift your head, with your chin touching your chest. This strengthens your neck muscles, and protects your head from hitting the ground if you fall.
Then, lift your arms up and slap the ground with your fingers, palms and forearms all sharing the impact. Repeat several times, and breathe out each time you hit. When you can do these backward slaps comfortably from lying down, move on to...
From a sitting position, roll back, making sure your chin is tucked well in and exhale strongly. Slap the ground, and repeat several times. Then try from a squatting position with your buttocks sitting on your heels. Tuck in your chin and curve your spine, and allow your body to roll backwards so your back hits the floor. You should force your breath out sharply, and slap the mat just as you touch it, repeat several times.
Practise this until you can do it without jarring your body, with no feeling of shock. Eventually you can try it from a standing position. Stand up straight, bend your knees and lower your buttocks close to the ground, and place one foot slightly behind the other. Roll onto your back, and continue as before.
You should already be able to perform back falls before you try to learn side falls, which are just one-armed, one-sided back breakfalls. For example, you would fall on your side if the person throwing you is still hanging on to one of your arms.
Remember, your arm should be about 45 degrees from your body when it hits the mat. Immediately after, you should withdraw your arm to protect your chest or face to block a punch or kick.
Practise by dropping your legs to on side, and slap the ground with the arm nearest the mat palm down at 45 degrees. Your hip, knee and the whole side of your leg and calf should be flat on the mat. Your other leg should be bent at the knee, with your foot flat on the ground.
Forward Rolls are very important because they get you back up onto your feet immediately, so you can continue defending yourself. Before you try rolling falls, you should already know back and side ones.
Rolling breakfalls are impressive to watch, especially during a demonstration. But they take a lot of practice. When your body falls at speed, you need to protect your head and neck, and spread the shock to protect your arms and legs.
You accomplish this by making your body into a circle, where your body rolls. The energy is absorbed along the edge of the circle, and nothing gets damaged. Practise on tatami, gymnasium mats, or wrestling mats.
Think of your shoulders, arms and hands as a hoop or a circle. Roll along your extended hand and arm, shoulder, the center of your back, your spine, buttocks, legs and feet. You must train your body so it touches the ground all along this pathway each time you do a rolling fall.
Kote-gaeshi Aikido breakfalls are how you escape from a very nasty arm break in Aikido or Ju Jitsu. If you don't know how to leap over your own arm quickly, and land with a good side fall, your arm may snap when someone hits you with a kotegaeshi throw at full power.
The kote-gaeshi fall is not for Aikido beginners, and you need to build up your ukemi skills before you even try this. You would start learning slowly and carefully by practising with a partner in the dojo.
Once you get you used to timing your break fall to the actions of someone else, you can then practice increasing the power of the move until you are actually being thrown into the break fall.
In meeting the mat try to distribute as much force throughout your body as possible in the most relaxed manner. It takes a lot of practice to achieve the correct timing, and allow your body to distribute the force.
Always practise safely with a qualified instructor in a training hall and using safety mats!
Aikido Health Centre
Tony Wilden has been studying health and spirituality for over 30 years and Aikido since 1985. He founded the Arun Aikido Club in West Sussex UK in 1992, and has given dozens of demo's and 1000's of health treatments.
He offers junior & adult Aikido classes, self defence courses, private lessons & pressure points to individuals & small groups. He is the director of the Aikido Health Centre Website at... http://www.aikido-health.com and is the author of 3 unique ebooks... Aikido Success Blueprint, Aikido First Aid Kit, and Optimum Health Secrets.
You can get his free Harmony newsletter that offers original Aikido & Health tips... and surprise gifts. All delivered every month, straight to your email inbox... http://www.aikido-health.com/Ezine.html
Copyright 2010 - All Rights Reserved - Tony Wilden - Aikido Health Centre
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miercuri, 6 iulie 2011
George Ledyard's All Things Aikido - Open Letter to My Students
After much reflection in the post Olson Sensei aftermath, I decided I needed to write something about what I see as the purpose of our art and how important the Dojo community is in preserving and transmitting it. I wanted to wait until I wasn't upset any more about the abysmal attendance at the event, which by the way, did not even break even. I was, at the time, embarrassed that my guest brought seven students all the way from Montana while the majority of our own folks, and especially our Beginner student population did not participate at all. Anyway, all that is what it is. My initial reaction was to read everyone the "riot act", which I realize simply isn't productive or effective. People cannot be forced to care about something they don't. So, I have decided to explain what I believe about Aikido, and what I see as the mission of Aikido Eastside. Folks can decide what these things mean to them, personally.
Aikido is a form of Budo. Budo is basically the use of the martial arts for personal transformation. Aikido as Budo is a "Michi" or Martial "WAY" (the "do" in Aiki-do). O-Sensei, the Founder, actually believed that through Aikido, the whole world could be brought into a state of harmony; he called our art "The Way of Peace". For him, Budo was a life and death matter. Given the right level of commitment one could truly become a better person, less fearful, stronger, braver, more compassionate. One could, in his or her own Mind and Body understand that everything in the universe is essentially connected. His creation of Aikido represents a radical transformation of how Budo was viewed historically. It is a unique art. It is not a "hobby", it is not a "sport", it is not a "workout", it is a Michi, a Way. The central maxim of Aikido is "masakatsu, agatsu" "True Victory is Self Victory".
I was blessed to stumble on to Aikido 35 years ago. My teacher, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, trained under the Founder himself, for fifteen years. He is one of the true giants of post-war Aikido. Sensei's mission has been to create a line of "transmission" for the teachings of his teacher and to try to prevent the decline that often sets in after the Founder of a given art passes on. Josh Drachman and I have been greatly honored to be a direct part of this "transmission". We have been admitted to a select group which Sensei refers to as the Ueshiba Juku (named after O-Sensei's first dojo back in the 30's). To Sensei this represents the fact that we are in the direct line of transmission from the Founder, to himself, and then to us. I once asked him if that meant that at some point in the future, one or more of my own students would be a part of the Ueshiba Juku and carry on the "transmission". He replied "Absolutely!"
This is what Aikido Eastside is about. It represents the base of support for a number of us who are trying to attain some level of mastery in this amazing art. It is the place we come to work on our own understanding, it is the place we come to share what we know with the generations who are coming along afterwards. We serve as a support for other absolutely amazing teachers who come through to share their mastery with us and help us along this Path. I don't think that many of our members actually realize what we have here at Aikido Eastside. Often it takes "getting out" to realize what you have. We literally have people moving to our area to train with us. We have people coming from all over the US and even overseas to attend events. Some come specifically so that they can work with our students because they are know to be such great partners for` this training.
But this entire enterprise is dependent on committed participants. Without students who are "hungry", teachers cannot teach, no matter what their level of skill. We are totally co-dependent in our community. A student cannot progress without good partners. Teachers cannot teach without wiling students. Nothing we do is in isolation. People often think that it's not up to them, that someone else will make the effort. They can simply show up to the dojo and learn some interesting stuff, get a bit of exercise, pay dues for the privilege, and go home. If the issue were simply the survival of the Dojo over time, that would be fine. But that isn't what this whole thing is about. A Dojo literally means "Place for the Transmission or Practice of the Way". We have no equivalent in our culture. The success or failure of this transmission is entirely dependent on the people involved.
Aikido, and Budo in general, is endangered. Modern life places ever increasing demands of people's time, we are convinced that we need to fill our time with more and more things, just to keep pace. The number one reason for folks quitting or not training as much as they say they'd like is "lack of time". I have talked with various teachers and virtually all of them say that it is difficult, if near impossible, to find people who wish to train like we trained. Yet the fact of the matter is that every single person who ever mastered some art or pursued a spiritual path had exactly the same amount of time as we do. There have been 24 hours in a day since pre-history. If people allow themselves to become convinced that their time is scarce, then the very things that in an affluent society such as ours, in which we are not completely focused on not starving each day, we could be pursuing, making ourselves better, making our world better, then arts which contain what I call "old knowledge" will simply die out. They may still exist, just as you can see lots of Aikido being done out there, but in fact, there is very little truly deep Aikido being done. The tendency is to shape the art to fill the needs and abilities of the participants. Without a critical mass of committed folks, the art declines. Even the truly committed end up constrained by the fact that there are few who can or will train with them. Their own ability to achieve excellence is dependent on have a place which is supportive of that endeavor and offers an environment focused on attainment.
I realize that only a very few will ever devote themselves to any art the way my peers and I have done. It is the natural order of things that there always be a pyramid of sorts in which the number of the folks at the top is exponentially smaller than the number of folks at the bottom. There are an infinite number of gradations in this "transmission" of Aikido. Some will take their understanding to great depth and others will just touch the surface. Regardless, there is a certain commitment required to really participate in the "transmission". Below a certain level of time and effort, nothing is really happening... nothing is really being transmitted. I have never had the expectation that more than a few of our students will go the distance and run dojos of their own some day. It's a fact that less than ten percent will even stay long enough to get a Shodan. But what I do expect is that when the students are training, they do so seriously. That what they are doing and learning is really at some place along the continuum of of the knowledge we are attempting to transmit.
When people tell me they don't have time to train due to job, family, other concerns, what they are saying is really that it simply isn't important enough for them to prioritize their training. I won't use myself as an example, because I realize that I am not in any way, shape, or form typical or representative. But I think we have one of the finest examples I know of right at our dojo of someone who has managed to combine all of the elements of a typical person's life and still take his Aikido to a highly accomplished level. Alex Nakamura Sensei has had a family, a career, etc and still, he has been on the mat three times a week year in year out for 40 + years. When folks tell me they can't do that, I simply disagree. They could, but they choose not to. This is every person's right and responsibility. To choose. People will each choose differently, according to his or her individual concerns. But everyone should understand that these choices do not occur in a vacuum.
Read the entire article here: http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2011/07/hi-everyone-after-much-reflection-in.html
sâmbătă, 4 iunie 2011
The concept of lessons for Educational Aikido (Aikido for everybody) resulted from studies developed under Derlogea Shihan, as part of the Project “A Dojo în each Romanian school” supported by the Center for Martial Arts CASA of the University of Bucharest (see www.derlogea.ro).
The demonstration was part of the Kagami Biraki fest (of the New Year according to Japanese tradition) in January 2011, at the University of Bucharest. This year’s festival was honored by their Excellencies the Ambassador of Japan and the Rector of the University.
marți, 24 mai 2011
On the Passing of My Teacher — Soshu, Koichi Tohei Sensei , by David Shaner
Two days ago (May 19 at 9:14am [Japan time]) the Founder of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and Ki no Kenkyukai (Ki Society) passed away at the age of 91. Tohei Sensei was the first to bring the Art of Aikido out of Japan in 1953. I do not have words to describe Tohei Sensei’s influence on my life. His positive impact upon so many around the world is due to his genius at helping people to think and perform to the best of their ability. The learning process is experiential (not mystical); it requires patience, discipline and a commitment tantamount to true spiritual development.
One of the most important teachings of Tohei Sensei is simply to “Be Positive and Grateful”. It is a simple universal principle. If you can learn to choose your mindset and become both positive (in your outlook each day) and grateful in your heart (for simply being blessed with the opportunity to live another day), then you can experience your original connection to the universe itself.
Sounds mystic? It is not. Let’s consider an example. How would Tohei Sensei want his direct students to think and feel at the time of his passing? I can only speak for myself, but I would say that Tohei Sensei would want us to “practice what we preach”. He always said, “you must be able to do it, not just say it”.
Therefore, instead of feeling an emptiness and sadness at his passing, we can choose to be filled with gratitude for the genius of Tohei Sensei’s teaching methodology (pedagogy) that is the direct result of his gratitude to his three teachers. From his first teacher Tetsuju Ogura Sensei he learned how to train (with all your heart as if it were a matter of life and death), from his second teacher O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba) he learned how to relax, and from Nakamura Tempu Sensei he learned “mind leads body”.
We can practice today by being grateful to Tohei Sensei who dedicated his life to helping people around the world to “be the best they can be”. His genius, among other things, was his ability to teach and lead people from the exact place of where ever they are in their life. This is also a great life lesson in non-conflict; learning to lead positively without force, tension, coercion and brute strength.
If you are a manager and business leader, imagine the possibilities of turning a work environment into a positive, productive place where each person can flourish. In this way, you can actually see “work” as a kind of training dojo for practicing positive personal development, and even spiritual development. More importantly, Tohei Sensei was able to do this (and even teach others how to do this) by leading people from the best of all possible starting points; that is, the exact place where people are at present in their life.
Just imagine if you were surrounded by people who always think positively! This is exactly Tohei Sensei’s message in his most famous and widely read book entitled - - “Ki in Daily Life”. Being positive is something we can all do if we simply choose to see the best in others and rid ourselves of the tendency (mindset) of blaming, judging, and criticizing both people and the events occurring around you. Tohei Sensei was an infinite optimist and always taught to let go of past hardships and instead strive to live your life positively. To be positive and grateful in daily life was a main message of his lifelong teaching.
Read more: http://davidshaner.tumblr.com/
vineri, 20 mai 2011
Ki in Aikido: A Sampler of Ki Exercises
The book: http://www.scribd.com/doc/22819329/Ki-in-Aikido
A Review of the Book by C M Shifflett
Since leaving the Virginia Ki Society area (hundreds of miles of distance make it hard to attend class), I've held dear a list of little Ki tricks and tips that I compiled at class. C. M. Shifflett's book is very much like that list, except more concise, explanatory, experimental, and philosophical.
Though I think the book starts off a little too defensively about the more esoteric and metaphysical aspects of Ki, it quickly rolls up its sleeves and gets to work, wading into a series of exercises. Not just "Do This" exercises, but class "experiments" --- "Try this and see what happens. Then try this and compare results." The answers are not usually given (though they're often obvious), and the reader is invited to explore just what Ki can do in casual, simple situations. As Ed Keith wrote: "...it is an excellent book if for no other reason than that to the best of my knowledge many of these exercises have never been written down before." The many simple and elegant illustrations help considerably --- and if you've met people at Virginia Ki Society, you might recognize a good number of the illustrated figures! The one disadvantage to the exercises, aside from the need for a partner for most of them, is their progression (arguably a good thing) and lack of individual introduction. This simply means that, to get the most out of these, one should really read the book from beginning to end, instead of just picking out a random exercise. These exercises follow and demonstrate themes that are developed through the book, and missing the theme may mean missing half the point.
What kind of themes? The author's selection of quotes (and there are a great many priceless, wonderful quotes on most pages) quickly gives one an idea of the philosophy behind the book, a philosophy built upon and demonstrated over and over, and finally spelled out in detail. It is the familiar underlying principles of Aikido: relaxation, focus, mind-over-matter --- and it is also a welcome look at the themes of benevolence and attitude. Though many other books on Aikido have stressed the importance of benevolence and looking upon others positively, few have gone so far as to outline the experiments by which one can demonstrate the reality of how one's very thoughts can affect not only oneself, but everyone around one. Thus, it can be said that the book offers an often neglected look at the spiritual side, the spiritual philosophy and the spiritual implications of Aikido. For some, as the author notes, the implications may even be too much to take.
I think this text will prove to be invaluable to all sorts of people who are interested in Aikido: beginners, advanced students, teachers (who are students in their own way!), and everyone in between. It is also my hope that it will bring a bit of Aikido's spirit to those who are not involved in Aikido. And of course, I am personally looking forward to trying out these techniques with my fellow Aikidoka friends.
vineri, 8 aprilie 2011
June 04, 2011 thru June 05, 2011
|Instructor:||Alessandro Tittarelli Shihan 7th Dan|
|Event Type:||Aikido Seminar|
|Event Location:||Şcoala Generala „Vasile Alecsandri”, NR. 118|
|Address:||Ştirbei Voda Street, Nr. 32-34, Sector 1|
duminică, 27 februarie 2011
duminică, 20 februarie 2011
Serban Derlogea - Carti Aikido, Taijiquan, Manual de supravietuire
Aikido - Calea armoniei : http://www.scribd.com/doc/4348711/AIKIDOCalea-Armoniei
Taijiquan - Calea perfectiunii : http://www.scribd.com/doc/22247203/Derlogea-Serban-Taijiquan
Manual de supravietuire : http://www.scribd.com/doc/13896400/Manual-de-Supravietuire
Aikido pentru toti : http://www.scribd.com/doc/21592632/Serban-Derlogea-Aikido-Pentru-Toti
Jocuri pentru Team-Building: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47332331/160-de-activit%C4%83%C5%A3i-dinamice-jocuri-pentru-TEAM-BUILDING
duminică, 13 februarie 2011
Kodo: Ancient Ways
(the following text is taken from the author's web site):
In the forty-one essays included in this book, you will find that these lessons are inspired from the teachings and wisdom of the ancients. I hope these little bits of wisdom will inspire and guide you, in some way, in your training and in your life as they have inspired and sustained me over many, many years.
This book is a compilation of articles written between 1988 and 1995 as the "Ancient Ways" column in Martial Arts Training magazine.
If you've noticed any errors in this entry or wish to expand on it by adding additional images, notes or details please contribute those changes.
- New ideas
- In the "Book Section" of my web site I talk about Reverend Kensho Furuya Sensei's recent book.
- It is clear from all accounts that Furuya Sensei is truly dedicated not only to the art of Aikido, but also to living a very simple life, while doing his utmost to pass on to his students his knowledge, and his humanity.
- His book "KODO: Ancient Ways" is published by Ohara Publications Incorporated, of Santa Clara, California , and I strongly urge you to buy a copy.
- For me it is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read.
- To give you a little background, Reverand Kensho Furuya is a 6th Dan in Hombu Aikido, and 6th Dan Kyoshi in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido, with over 47 years experience in martial artists. Furuya Sensei earned his degrees in Asian Studies at the University of Southern California and Harvard University. He trained at the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan in 1969, under the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu and established his Dojo in 1974.
- Furuya Sensei was ordained as a Zen priest in 1988 and received the honor to speak at the United Nations in the following year. He is the author of many articles on martial arts and has appeared on many television programs speaking on the subject. He is also the author of the acclaimed video series, "The Art of Aikido" which is in nine volumes.
- Just as the deepest depths in the ocean are truly invisible unless you are actually standing on the bottom of the sea floor, I believe the true depth of what is written in Furuya Sensei's book will remain invisible unless you actually make a real effort to look beyond your current beliefs.
- With Furuya Sensei's very kind permission, I have placed here on this page just a few of the thoughts and sayings from his book, and some excerpts from his web site http://www.aikidocenterla.com.
- It is my sincere hope that his words will bring to you, what they have brought to me. This page is currently a work in progress for me, and as such I encourage you to visit it often for updated material.
- So please remember, the following thoughts and words are not my own.
- The great credit for what you read beyond this point belongs solely to Reverend Kensho Furuya Sensei, and I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank him for granting me permission to reproduce his thoughts and comments here on my web site, and especially for taking the time to put his words in writing for all of us to enjoy, and to contemplate.
- I wish Furuya Sensei well in all things.
- Words of wisdom
- 1. Regardless of success or failure if you have done your best you have passed successfully.
- 2. Persue your training only because you love it. That is all.
- 3. Martial arts can never be separated from the reality of our daily lives. This is true spiritual training.
- 4. Everybody wants a black belt, but so few people know what it really is.
- 5. The true dojo is the world.
- 6. Good training means proper attitude plus correctly focused effort.
- 7. Train your mind through your body. Train your body through your mind.
- 8. Without a word, Nature teaches all.
- 9. There is much more than just strength and speed.
- 10. Everything in life is a gift.
- 11. Our ego is our greatest obstacle to learning.
- 12. If you learn anything in this world learn the value of life.
- The purpose of practice:
- To be the best is not hard.
- To stay the best is very hard.
- To be the strongest is not hard, to be strong each day is very hard.
- To be good is not hard, to be good day, after day, after day, is very hard.
- To be faithful is not hard, to maintain your faith each moment of the day is very hard.
- Daily practice is not to become the best, or the strongest, or #1 or whatever, - the purpose of daily practice is to refine the power to sustain you one day after the next, after the next, after the next. . .
- Many people practice Aikido to become strong, or rich, or famous, or powerful - such shallow goals in life are only for shallow people.
- The essence of the art
- Within the techniques and the traditions behind them lies the essence of the art.
- It is not to be taken lightly or played with changing this and that to suit your own fancy.
- At the same time, those self-absorbed people will never grasp its meaning.
- Let the art absorb you, as you absorb the art. . . . . Simply strive for a pure heart.
- Unfortunately, those who can put the art above themselves are very few.
- Old zen saying
- Fame and fortune come and go like the floating clouds.
- Just embrace your practice and continue to polish yourself.
- Although a good sword remains in its case where no one can see and touch it, it is still bright and sharp.
- This is a great part of its beauty, nobility and mystery. . . . .
- Everyone benefits when we work to the high standards of the art itself not by bringing down the art to satisfy our whims, or to adapt to our own convenience, or petty ideas.
- You must teach a student as correctly as possible, whether he likes it or not.
- Old S & G song
- There was an old Simon & Garfunkle song that I have always liked which had the words, "I'd rather be a hammer than a nail. . . ."
- This is a very old song so I wonder if many of you youngsters even remember it!
- Of course, everyone would rather be the hammer because it is the hammer that strikes the nail. It is the nail that appears to be passive and yeilding. After how many years now since I first heard this song, I finally decided that I would rather be the nail - not the hammer. It is the nail which penetrates deeply and connects all things in which it comes into contact. And finally, if you think about it, the hammer only exists because of the nail.
- Today, I see many hammers banging away at everything because that is all it can do, I see very few nails. . . . .
- The Spirit of the Word
- When most people listen, they really do not hear what is being spoken but only hear what they want to hear or interpret what they want to hear. I find this to be a big obstacle in teaching. This is known as "selective hearing," the opposite of "critical hearing."
- In training, one must hear the "spirit" of the word or hear the full meaning of the the words or instruction. This means that you must be on the same wave length or "of the same mind" as your teacher. Most student never can understand this. . . Usually, we hear just what we want to hear and often miss the valuable lesson or often the "real" meaning of the words which is often hidden behind the words. . . .
- In order to listen to the teaching, one must first make a connection with the teacher trying to understand where he is coming from and what he is trying to tell you. NOT - simply what you think he might mean. . . this is only our interpretation or mind-set, not the speaker's or your teacher's. Can you understand this??
- To hear the word, as only you want to hear it, is the level of a very mediocre student. Only a true student will hear the spirit of the word beyond the word itself - this is the meaning of kotodama.
- In the same respect a mediocre teacher will only tell you what you want to hear - this is only hype and hypocrasy, a true teacher will give you a part of his spirit. . . . this is true giving. The student must understand and appreciate "true receiving."
- Listen well
- People today take things to literally and often read only the most superficial meaning of the words we see or hear. A good student will hear many meanings always trying to penetrate deeper and deeper to find the real, original meaning of the teacher's words. . . .
- A pure mind
- They say that they first lesson in practice is to enter the mats with a pure mind.
- Sometimes this is the most difficult practice of all.
- Heart to heart
- Knowledge can only pass from one person to the other person through that elusive but eternal line of friendship connecting one heart with yours.
- Only a Master's right
- Variation and transformation come after mastery . . . . . . not before!
- The first basic teaching is "have right thoughts, do right action."
- How hard this is!
- I keep trying and giving up, forgetting it and coming back to it.
- Maybe I can never understand this or do this in my lifetime, but it doesn't mean to discard this teachings. . . . perhaps, it is the struggle to understand this is the practice itself - regardless of whether I can achieve it or not.
- Can you understand?
- Even if it takes ten or twenty years to understand - the virtue is in the correct practice, not in the doing "any way you please."
- Eventually, it will come, understanding the teachings is more important than to understand immediate success.
- Sometimes the best student is not always the best
- A young, strong student is ideal, but a strong student who is over-confident and arrogant is not as desirable as a student who is weak and understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.
- A smart student is desirable but a student who thinks he is smarter than everyone else is not as desirable as a less educated student who understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.
- A successful student is desirable but a student who thinks he is better than everyone else is not as desirable as a student who does not have much, but understands his limitations and desires to develop himself.
- Time is precious
- When you reach my age, you begin to see how short life really is and how little time we have to do what we want to do.
- You should take my word for it and get off your duff right now and begin what you need to do.
- Young people today always think these is "tomorrow," but, in reality, you only get a few "tomorrows" and that is it!
- Live in the present, be in the present, do in the present.
- This is the best advice I can offer.
- Time flies like an arrow, and like an arrow, it never comes back.
- At the right time
- Wisdom, knowledge, instruction and skill must be imparted at the right time and place and particularly with the right mental state.
- Old ways
- Our dojo is very "old-world" and "old-school," and I hope all the members will appreciate the great efforts and sacrifice it takes to sustain such a dojo in this world where such ideals no longer hold true and bow down to complacency and superficiality and momentary goals without deeper exploration of the mysteries of the art.
- Proper attitude
- Trying hard to learn, also means to be easy to teach.
- Easy to teach means to come to the dojo with a open heart and mind.
- Don't be full of yourself and your opinions.
- Be humble and grateful and willing to undergo the hardships of training.
- Train to become a better person, not a better fighter.
- Talent means nothing without the proper attitude.
- Without the proper attitude, there is no proper training.
- Use it or loose it
- When you stop your practice, you do not pick up where you left off when you begin again.
- This is a great fallacy people like to buy into.
- When you stop, you immediately begin to forget what you have done.
- I recall some study on this and in two weeks of non-practice or non-learning,
- about 65% of what you learned was forgotten. . . .
- Oddly, your forgetting works quite a bit faster than your remembering or recalling.
- Cleaning up
- Before and after class, please help with the clean-up of the dojo.
- This is not really to understand "cleaning," but to understand "caring heart" and "working in harmony with others."
- Let go of your pride
- A good teacher of the Japanese arts will always try to shake your pride first.
- This is where most students stumble and fail.
- A teacher knows that once the student can drop his pride, he is totally open to receive the teachings.
- If the student doesn't understand this process, he is doomed.
- Usually people are too stuck on their egos.
- Body language says a lot
- On the mats, etiquette is a form of communication and becomes the "universal, unspoken body language" we all use to speak to each other. Thinking that we can only speak with words is another universal misconception.
- Students should be grateful there is a dojo where one can practice and sensei to teach them. The teacher should be grateful that students come to practice and support the dojo. The relationship between the student and teacher should always be based on gratitude and respect.
- Many base the realtionship between student and teacher on power, authoirty and money. I believe this is incorrect. How a dojo can survive in such a commercial environment as the world today and still preserve the traditions and high level practice of the art, is the great dilemma of practicing Aikido or any martial art.Most martial arts are converting themselves into big business or sports and say this is the only way to survive today. This motivation is nothing other than profits and money. Of course, the reality is that a dojo must create income in order to pay the bills and survive, but all motivation for change must be made in the light of what is best for the student, the dojo and the art.
- Because this does not always conform in the best way, there is always the conflict between existing by the power of money, and how to teach the student well - everyone in the dojo, both teacher and student must understand this and work together in harmony to support each other - and support the art and dojo in a noble way of both respect and dignity.
- Regular training
- There is no greater virtue than regular training.
- One can never make good progress with off and on or irratic training. The discipline is not only practicing correct techniques and watching one's manners in the dojo and on the mats, but coming regularly for practice and making it apart of one's life.
- Regular training reinforces what you learn each day. One would be amazed at how much one can forget if one practice is missed. Please keep up a regular training schedule.
- It is important to follow the form of training, more than making up your own techniques, please practice the basic techniques each day. No one has mastered them yet. . . . . .
- We are all here together because of our teachers, we should never forget this and always appreciate this.
- In days gone by
- In the early days, students worked hard to meet the expectations of the teacher. Today, the teacher often must compromise the practice to accomodate the convenience of the students. Worst of all, the teacher compromises the art to its lowest common denominator to attract the greatest number of students. This is not for the sake of the student and his training, this is only to fill the pocketbook.
- When students cater to such low standards, they are not following the Way and all kinds of troubles and problems occur. When the teacher caters to such low standards, they are not following the Way and all kinds of things pull the teacher away from actual teaching. Although the art is more "user friendly," today, we have along with this sacrificed the high standards and expectations of the art and teacher.
- As is often the case in the business world, the artist must kill his art to satisfy the customer. . . . .
- The right path
- In the long run, the correct way is always the easiest.
- Most people look for short cuts and always end up taking a longer path.
- Spirit of bowing
- Just the other day, I happened to glance at a fairly new student who was bowing onto the mat.
- When I saw him sit down, straighten his posture, compose himself and bow very humbly to O'Sensei, I was so impressed and deeply moved. I thought to myself that I never realized how sincere he was to learn Aikido and vowed that you give him special attention in class for now on.
- At that moment, another person also bowed onto the mats, he was rather experienced and a ranking black belt, when I saw his curt, perfunctory bow, I realized that he is getting a little sloppy in his practice. Another bowed onto the mats, and I saw that he was very new and didn't understand the meaning of bowing and was very awkward without any focus or sense of calmness.
- Even if you are bowing perfectly to form, I think that your inner heart will always appear in your bow. If you are arrogant, your arrogance will seep out as you bow. If you are sincere in heart, that sincerity will also come out. If you are not focused, you will make a sloppy bow without any balance or form.
- In practice, they say that bowing is the "A to Z" of martial arts and now I am finally beginning to understand why. In order to bow and begin your practice, you must first correct your mind and spirit.
- Please practice your bowing with your heart, mind and spirit as an important aspect of your practice. Your bow will always reveal your inner self.
- No eye Bowing
- A long time ago, when I was very young in martial arts, someone said that when you bow, you cannot see your opponent so even though you bow your head, you must always keep your eyes up and on him. This was a common saying and practice in many martial arts at the time.
- This made a very odd looking bow, of course, and I could never understand this practice. This type of bow did not show any sense of respect or sincerity at all and looked meaningless to me. Even though your eyes are lowered, you can sense if you opponent begins to approach you. This is not difficult at all.
- Today, I see people use their eyes in a different way and it is equally bad. I see some people who look at the person, determine their rank or status and then bow accordingly depending on whether they are lower or higher rank. If they are of higher rank, one bows to them very lowly and respectfully, if one is of lower rank, they just get a short nod.
- This type of discriminating attitude is very bad in practice.
- Of course, we are aware of rank and position in the dojo, but we bow to everyone, regardless of rank or seniority with equal spirit and sincerity of heart. In bowing, it is not to recognize the other's rank, it is to express one's own spirit and mind and dignity.
- When I see this kind of short, curt bow - which I call the "Colonel Klink bow" - I am always sad and disappointed that the student does not know any better at all. Among higher ranking students, it is inexcusable.
- In bowing, do not use your eyes, use your heart.
- No room for innovation
- In Iaido, we closely follow the Way of the masters, there is really no room for innovation in the sense of making up one's own techniques in a willy-nilly way.
- We appreciate that by following the masters, we are following the most perfect way of training and the highest expression of the technique.
- Before anything, you must understand this important point.
- More than innovation and thinking up this and that, go deeper into your own mind and soul for the meaning of the technique.
- Observe & Learn:
- No need to intellectualize, conjecture, doubt, or question - just observe very carefully. It is usually the students who observe very carefully, who catch on to the technqiues very well. The ones who do not pay attention and then the ones to think "too much" are the ones who lose out or forget or over look what is being taught.
- It is the same with teaching - the most important skill is to observe the students - simply observe very carefully - without judgement, without bias, without pre-conceived ideas or notions.
- Just observe.
- By observing carefully and seriously - without any idea stuck in your head - you can see what the student is doing very carefully - within this keen observation, it becomes clear what the student is doing - whether there is a tiny msitake someplace which needs correcting, or if he is doing correctly - for his level and skill - or if he is doing very well. . . .
- If you correct the student, with pre-judged or pre-conceived notions, most probably your corrections will simply be ego-motivated. I often see people teaching who are not really teaching for the sake of the student, but just taking the opportunity to show off, or express themselves.
- For the teacher, in teaching, it is not about the teacher, it is about the student.
- For the student, in learning, it is not about the student, it is about the teacher.
- This is an important point to understand in learning on the mats.
Read full article here: http://www.shotokankarate.ca/kodo%20-%20ancient%20ways.htm
One day one of my students gave me the book "Kodo: Ancient Ways". I took a look at it and ask to borrow it for a while. That night I could not stop reading it. The author - Rev. Kensho Furuya sensei gives in this book a splendid gift to everyone who is interested in Aikido beyond its physical aspects. Many chapters in Kodo are a subject to conversations at our dojo. Many chapters are answers to questions that students and friends ask me.
Kodo is a book I will always keep with me. After reading Kodo, I began to look for the author. I wrote him an e-mail and I discovered a wonderful person. Kensho Furuya Sensei - The head of Aikido Center of Los Angeles, since that day taught me so much. His daily writings are great lessons to many Aikidoka all over the world. You can read his writings at: http://www.aikidocenterla.com/articles.htm
Although it has no aikido techniques in it, it is my favorite Aikido book.