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Thread: Aiki as a concept- why all the fuss?

  1. #271
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    Shingon permeates most older koryu - this is a commonly known and well researched subject. See Hall et al. Shingon is also full of Chinese metaphysics that are the same underpinnings of the CMA.

    There is plenty of material - scholarly and popular - available piecemeal and in books in English on the subject if you have Google fu, or you can write to Koya-San or find an ordained priest for more. It's not that hard if you are all that interested.

    Many things surrounding the issues of pedagogy and certification (very common in CMA) talked about here may even have derived from these religious practices.

  2. #272
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Shingon permeates most older koryu - this is a commonly known and well researched subject. See Hall et al. Shingon is also full of Chinese metaphysics that are the same underpinnings of the CMA.

    There is plenty of material - scholarly and popular - available piecemeal and in books in English on the subject if you have Google fu, or you can write to Koya-San or find an ordained priest for more. It's not that hard if you are all that interested.

    Many things surrounding the issues of pedagogy and certification (very common in CMA) talked about here may even have derived from these religious practices.
    Well, evidently there is plenty of stuff written by outsiders, but the sect itself is secretive about its practices. There is an apparent lack of written texts within Shingon-shu itself, so that would explain why there has been a direct teacher-disciple transmission of the disciplines and rites of the sect -- not necessarily because there is any "aiki-like" practice being transmitted, but because the tradition as a whole is an oral one and must be taught. Some of the things I'd read earlier seemed to point to actual physical instructions, but it looks like that is just for mudra and meditation practices, and maybe some ritualistic practices around the interpretation of mandalas. If there are any special exercises for "chi-gong" types of things, they are shrouded in secrecy and are likely kept in the innermost recesses of the sect.

    What I do find interesting, though, is that Shingon's founder had used specialized mantra training to develop prodigeous memory skills. He also did sojourn in China in order to study under a master, Huiguo, and -thanks to the memory skills - was able to absorb the complete set of knowledge on a seminal mandala, plus learn Sanskrit and Chinese, in the space of only three months. Whether he picked up any internal skills in the process, is not clear and actually doesn't seem likely within the context of how his trip has been described. But, of course, a lot can be lost in the succession of re-tellings and over the course of centuries.
    Cady Goldfield

  3. #273
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    Meh. The basic stuff is pretty readily available, even from Koya san. Not sure where the idea that Shingon does not have written texts derived, Kukai himself was a prolific writer. Scholarly studies on Japanese religion also provide a lot of background - either East Asian Religion classes or at least the texts and surveys of Japanese religion that you can find in series in good book stores. Some old scholarly journals as well have all sorts of info. If you have a basis in language studies - and not all that deep frankly - and some basis in CMA you can easily see where the finger is pointing.

    Its not the moon, though. And yeah that was teacher-student. And yeah the Chinese arts follow a similar approach.

    FWIW I think Kukai's experience in China is a direct indicator of the idea that this kind of transmission is - was - only given to one or two "special" folks in the East Asian teaching tradition, and was not dependent on "time in."

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    Sorry, I have to jump in here too. Kit and I both know and I spend most Thursday evenings hanging with a Shingon priest ordained and trained on Koya-san. No big deal, no big secrets, but there is an order and a process to transmission of information like always. You know, four noble truths etc. etc. etc. You don't start in the middle or at the end. If anything, the problem is getting people to show up, same as every other real thing these days it seems. Oh, and he is also a very knowledgable practitioner of various CMA and yoga too, but isn't running around proclaiming the secret to IP/Aiki in Shingon.

    Hi Chris.
    Doug Walker
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    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

  5. #275
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    Although Shingon, and esoteric Buddhism, teaches/taught a variety of little known skills, I would be most surprised if there was ever a flourishing tradition of body skills closely related to what we are discussing here as aiki. The connection between various strands of esoteric Buddhism and bugei is well established, but I think that where there was a cross-over of skills, it was in the area of 'mind' rather than body (and this is an area with which these strands are closely associated).

    It seems far more likely that the body skills of Daito-ryu came through bugei, which did have a long tradition of body skills, rather than this rather recondite route.

    Chris Hellman
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com

  6. #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hellman View Post
    Although Shingon, and esoteric Buddhism, teaches/taught a variety of little known skills, I would be most surprised if there was ever a flourishing tradition of body skills closely related to what we are discussing here as aiki. The connection between various strands of esoteric Buddhism and bugei is well established, but I think that where there was a cross-over of skills, it was in the area of 'mind' rather than body (and this is an area with which these strands are closely associated).

    It seems far more likely that the body skills of Daito-ryu came through bugei, which did have a long tradition of body skills, rather than this rather recondite route.

    Chris Hellman
    http://www.ichijoji.blogspot.com
    As I mentioned above, the argument is spread over three books, and is not limited to Shingon (although that is a big component). In any case I'm not prepared to translate it all here, so arguing one way or the other over books that nobody has read doesn't seem likely to be all that productive. I just meant to add a comment to Cady's post to note that, perhaps, there is still quite a bit of territory out there to explore.

    Best,

    Chris

  7. #277
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    Hi Doug- yes to clarify I am speaking to the metaphysical underpinnings, the pedagogical style, and to Kukai's writing- not that IP is at all going to be taught within Shingon.

    I've been intentionally unplugged lately- did not realize Kosho was still in the area. Tell him I said hi!

  8. #278
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    Chris, Long story. He returned to the area recently and is teaching nearby at TaborSpace in a donated office. Hope you are well.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

  9. #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Li View Post
    As I mentioned above, the argument is spread over three books, and is not limited to Shingon (although that is a big component). In any case I'm not prepared to translate it all here, so arguing one way or the other over books that nobody has read doesn't seem likely to be all that productive. I just meant to add a comment to Cady's post to note that, perhaps, there is still quite a bit of territory out there to explore.

    Best,

    Chris
    For historic perspective and possibly further discovery of a connection it might be interesting, but I doubt we are going to find any additional training modalities that aren't already known and taught...Er...or known and not openly taught...or..uhm... are just being ignored. ;-)
    I continue to be shown indoor training material; each with a different spin on it. Granted it's not widely known, but it is known nonetheless and essentially the same material.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

  10. #280
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    Edit
    The only question remaining, is that since this material is so profound that it has spanned cultures and eons of warriors, and exposure to it has continued to change the minds of seriously accomplished modern budo people, to include Shihans and Menkyos.....why aren't more seeking it out?
    I've yet to meet anyone in budo who is not easily moved and easily stopped. Further, that budo people who are also grapplers find it to be compelling and worthwhile. Many of whom consider it a game changer to what they have previously done.

    Then again, why should we be surprised that there were, after all, secrets in budo?
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

  11. #281
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    Probably the combination of sketchy historical claims and an aversion to the personalities involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    Probably the combination of sketchy historical claims and an aversion to the personalities involved.
    Daito-ryu history is extremely sketchy - Kondo himself told me directly that he had severe doubts as to whether or not the oral history really has any factual basis. But I see that there are still some folks practicing Daito-ryu...

    I'm going to disagree with Dan here, I think that there are large numbers of folks working on this stuff now. When we first brought him out here in 2010 there wasn't much around, now there are groups all over the world doing this stuff. This weekend's Honolulu workshop will have folks flying in internationally from Australia and Japan, not to mention the Mainland and Hawaii neighbor islands. Actually, it's shaping up to be the largest Aikido seminar in Hawaii for 2014 - from any group.

    I just wish that more people were actually averse to him - that would leave more time for the rest of us.

    Best,

    Chris

  13. #283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    Probably the combination of sketchy historical claims and an aversion to the personalities involved.
    Cliff does raise a good point. Its funny that so many sayings or tropes prove true. In this case, "that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
    It is odd to see the teaching remain so in your face I am going to openly lie to you...and the students be actually proud of it.
    *From the founder being in budo circuses doing stunts to modern television test cutting and people stacking.
    *From no menkyo in the art and the creation of scrolls as the founder went along, to modern cases of weirdly back-dated menkyos and secret behind the scenes awarding of scrolls.
    *From the founder saying "Never teach white people." and only teach one or two per generation the real art. To modern teachers doing just that and lying to droves of students by their own, public admissions of same.
    *From Takeda telling Sagawa not to show the solo training on to modern DR practitioners not even knowing they existed in the art!! To menkyos not teaching them even to 4th and 5th dans to others showing them to newbies.

    Sketchy and weird history and aversion to personalities? Well Cliff's point is in context of the thread. I know two prominent writers and researchers who were lied to, set up and played, and were disgusted with their contact with the art's teachers. They just never wanted to say it in public. It remains one of the oddest arts I have ever heard of. As I said earlier; If Takeda, and Tokimune were alive today and tried to spin that tale as modern, no-ranked, made up history, body staking, budo people? How far do you think they would get as judged by the arts own current members?
    Skill doesn't validate a crazy, inconsistent, history, any more than genuine history validating skill.

    Chris Li wrote:
    I'm going to disagree with Dan here, I think that there are large numbers of folks working on this stuff now. When we first brought him out here in 2010 there wasn't much around, now there are groups all over the world doing this stuff. This weekend's Honolulu workshop will have folks flying in internationally from Australia and Japan, not to mention the Mainland and Hawaii neighbor islands. Actually, it's shaping up to be the largest Aikido seminar in Hawaii for 2014 - from any group.
    Well, I was really only discussing percentages; which remain pretty low. Consider what Cliffs own teacher's teacher has done; He self-admittedly doesn't teach the real art. He doesn't show the solo training he was taught. Oh, wait a minute, we have to consider that along with ono ha itto ryu, he may not have been taught them. We know what Tokimune stated to the Takumakai shihan about solo training to make an aiki body; "My guys don't want to do them either!" Thankfully we now know from the many quotes and demonstrations from DR teachers... that their secret sauce was the every day mustard used in most other Asian arts, sans the overly cooperative jumping and freezing ukemi.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

  14. #284
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    Why do you make all of these claims about Ueshiba Morihei, Yamaguchi Seigo, Saotome Mitsugi, Yagyu Nobuharu, Muto Masao, Namiki Yasushi, Tokimune Takeda, Donn Draeger and Takaji Shimizu? I'm the one who talks publically about who my teachers are.

  15. #285
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    Cliff,
    Maybe I'm confused aren't you the one who talked about aversion too crazy personalities and sketchy history...OF DAITO RYU? That's what we're talking about. DR has one of the most consistently, wierdest histories from beginning to the present day, that I have ever heard of.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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