Category Archives: Not in a menu

…AIKI TAISAI 2017 (3)!!!…

We had such a wonderful time at Aiki-Taisai, at Tsubaki America Jinja,  and it was so good to again meet my old friends from the Tsubaki Kannagara Dojo tradition.

Negi-san was in rare form with his aikido, and especially with the totally luminous ceremonies we took part in. I was very blessed to participate in Hou-no-shiki for the ZOU of

AME NO UZUME NO MIKOTO

that our dojo donated… and it was spectacular.

I was also fortunate to be allowed to ask a question about Tai-no-Henko, one of my favorite exercises of all times, and Negi-san showed a version that I thought was infinitely explorable and illuminating… and was a delight for all of us…

From Komyozan Dojo, we would like to congratulate all the people who received new rankings. And congratulate, too, sincerely, Chika-san, for her incredible meals and extraordinary hospitality considering just how rowdy a bunch of people we are!!!

And so:  Doumou arigatou Sensei!!! Doumou arigatou, Negi-san!!!

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu…

 
 
 
 
 
 

* – * – *

…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle(30)…

55

  • It is the struggle between these two Powers – which have come into being to the administer and manage this single socio-economic system – which is deployed as the ‘official’ contradiction in our global society…  but they belong, in fact, to a real unity:  both on the global scale, and internally in [the conventional left-right politics of] every nation.

* – * – *

It is entirely natural that, as we transitioned to the Information Age, the geographical centers of that supposedly “other” Power should become more and more visibly part of the global socio-economic system:  with the gradual evolution of China, and with the fall of the Soviet Union…  And all the ‘official’ contradictions we are deluged with, today, are themselves merely ‘spectacle‘… and you will find that the best place to ground yourself against them is in the ‘practical’ – in human ‘sensed and felt’ activity: “menschliche sinnliche Thätigkeit: Praxis“.

Budo – what you’re doing – is totally, absolutely  p r a c t i c a l .

It is of no use if it’s not practical.  That is not to say, that practicality isn’t the gateway to the divine and the most deep and the most penetrating awarenesses, the most beauty, the most deeply real, the best kind of relationships…

Whereas that abstract, abstraction-y appearances world is false and leads to nothing but more false… until people don’t know that there ever was an actual smell or taste of anything.

And then their biology rebels and creates schizophrenia.

Because their biology knows what it’s doing. It knows what a proper kind of relationship is with the world, and with other people.

And part of this is that it knows the practicality of your relationships with enemies. The realities of social contradiction.

There are enemies. I’m not saying you should make enemies in your mind. There are beings who already desire what you have, who are driven by the tyranny of the urgent, or ambition, or some great picture in their head. And they, by themselves, without you labeling them anything,  are your enemies.

You do not need to segregate them. You don’t even need to make a class called “the enemies.” You don’t need to lead your life in fear of “enemies”.  But there are people who will, by the natures of their desires and the natures of their framework, et cetera,  lead to you suffering.  Simple.

There are many ways to deal with this problem. Some of it is meeting in some sort of harmony with them in the sense of “what do they need? ” “Can we get there?” “Can they get what they need without everyone being murdered?”

T h a t   is intelligence and culture and creativity and a good part of a solution.

There’s also recognition.

The word ‘enemy’ has been linked to ‘hatred’. It is not the same thing. You can have enemies, and you don’t hate them. I’ve learned in my life that all kinds of people were doing s*** to me… I didn’t need to hate them back. That debilitates me and makes me dark. Sucks energy out of my soul… it feeds Cthulhu in his cavern underneath the vice-president’s house…

On the other hand, I can say that if anyone tried to harm you and I was present, they would probably find that their life had changed drastically in an instant. Now, I wouldn’t think murderously, but I certainly would try to have your back – even if you got yourself into it…even if your nature and moods and growth, had put yourself into a place where you got yourself into a bad place.

Your true friends don’t judge you. They step in and have your back. They also talk to you: “What’s going on here, dude? How did you get yourself into this hole?” And if you love your friends, if you believe in them, because you’ve seen them as they really are, and you don’t run them through the distorted mirror of society-right-now – they’re  n o t  going to throw you under the bus… these are the people who didn’t throw you under the bus –   t h e n  it’ll change your soul.

And you’ll realize that the teenager who was angry and was trying to… well, this is a biological function. Strictly biology. There’s an imperative to separate – on a power level – from your parents… to be autonomous, but you also need to  n o t  separate from your tribe.  N o t   separate from your support system.

This society keeps people retarded. It holds them in this point because they’re so marketable to, they’re so vulnerable. It’s so easy to take someone who’s angry, and convince them of anything.

So, in practice, in our dojo, I try to get you past this, gently, so you’re no longer susceptible to this kind of provocation. So that “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” don’t make you crazy.

But first things first: budo is infinitely practical, grounded in reality. From that, the magic and the sublime world are easily accessed.

Sir John Colville records that Winston Churchill, when it was suggested that the canvasses in the National Gallery should be evacuated to Canada, was emphatic for keeping them at home: “No. Bury them in caves and cellars. None must go. We are going to beat them.”  Because you fight for the beauty, you fight for your family, you fight for love, you fight for the times of peace, you fight for the trees…

And all you’re really trying to do is suspend the insanity.

So this requires courage. To determine first, that you’re going to become infinitely practical.

This practical does not sacrifice beauty or metaphor or any of that other stuff.

It makes it possible for that to register, in the real world, in a place that’s true: that you can really love the poem, because you have the right kind of mind, the mind that can do that. And no-one can turn you into a cynic.

Because that’s the soul-murdering thing: to make you stop believing in good things… because of the ‘practical’.  Using that as the excuse.

Well, I have noticed, being a farmer, at one time in my life: corn… it is so beautiful. The practical part is it must live, you must plant it, it must grow, you must take care of it… All that… But I did notice that people made little corn, big corn, red corn, green corn… all of which taste different, and did different things, and some of it made whisky, and some of it was good for the Fourth of July, and some of it made cornmeal…  It was beautiful and infinitely practical.

I would suggest to you: even the most intensely provoking and somewhat meaningless kind of job – and I’ve had plenty –  can be a vehicle to find your practical base, and build a life of practical beauty.

That is the nature of what you’re seeing when you look at some Zen-like sumi-e, or some Shaker furniture… it is so simple.  But it is so dramatically, practically precise and raw, that it freezes you in kyo.

Once you determine that your budo needs to be practical – and knowing that the practical will come to naturally support, cradle, nurture, develop the beautiful – when you get that, I can show you stuff.

Why do we do this movement a million times…

Because there’s something needed… It’s like training your senses, to listen for a note till you have perfect pitch… and it’s infinite, yes? And infinitely beautiful once you determine that “I love the practicality of my practice.” It’s as if practicality and practice seem to be somehow word-related… do you think?

Practice and practicality.

I lived for a time when my life was necessarily only practical because I didn’t want to starve. And I was pretty youthful and resilient, full of Spring, and I could live on nothing. Ramen and coffee. And I learned something about being beautiful. Being beautiful myself. Not beautiful for other people.

Beautiful so that my life had value.

It wasn’t something I told someone else I was doing, I just felt it.

And then I knew that if I died at that very moment, I was still in a place that I admire, and that I think makes life worthwhile for me.  And you may have a similar little bit of this in you.

Make sense?

There’s the deal…

read more:

Peter has a show playing with his sound design: ‘Oslo’…

…nominated for 7 Tony’s and playing in the Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center,  New York,  March 23 – June 18…

"Can we make peace with enemies? OSLO gives us hope." -Daily News

Posted by Lincoln Center Theater on Thursday, April 20, 2017

Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan remembers…

He also told us to have a sense of gratitude. Be thankful for others and to nature. Without gratitude we cannot become true human beings. The power of nature, the sun, gives us everyhing. When rain falls, the field produces rice. Fruit and grain grow. This is the gift of the earth. Therefore the keiko is very important.

– – – in Remembering O-Sensei, ed. Susan Perry, p.101

O’Sensei no kuden: peace in the world (5)

It is absolutely not through a struggle against cosmic conditions that an  organism grows and preserves itself, but on the contrary, by adaptation  and harmony with them.

– – – recorded by André Nocquet Shihan,  reported in Aikido: Heart and Sword tr. Stanley Pranin,  p. 11

Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan and André Nocquet Shihan…

HKobayashiANDNocquetCROP

– – –  Bu-Iku: Ritterlichkeits-Erziehung,  Yasuhiko Kunimoto,  tr. Kiyoko Furumoto ,  p.42

Shinken Shobu…

…once you have gotten to a certain degree of relaxation and ki-flow, then you become aware that, when you pick up a live blade, the attention that you give that blade is a very particular  ki-flow, and imagining that live blade as your spine or central channel creates that same ki-flow and is actually an aid to relaxing the other two center channels.  Te-gatana is this same ki. And always practising as if you had a live blade is about this same ki-energy in this same place.  Aiki-myo-kenAme-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi…the sword that

SUSANO-NO-MIKOTO

found in the tail of the eight-headed dragon…the purifying jo of the esoteric Kuki priests of the Kumano shrines… Samadhi… the Dragon King….

A change of optic:

Aikido is a gem of many facets – sometimes it seems that every one of O’Sensei’s students remembered a different teacher, and of course, many, many different styles have been preserved and developed – but here is one facet that clicked into focus for me recently:

what if O’Sensei spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo coherently pursuing what he felt to be his “mission in life”?…

what if he spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo creating and nurturing a network of dojos run by Omoto-Kyo, ex-Omoto-Kyo and Ko-Shinto believers ( hand-picked deshi,  some of them raised, almost, as members of his family) – – – and ex-Kamikaze pilots, too (!) – often with his own name on the sign –  in places – and close to shrines – that had been important to the  Omoto-kyo,  and to his own life, and that were a continuation of his activities in the late twenties and early thirties (which is to say:  the projects of his first enlightenment experiences) ?…

what if he made several of these dojo-cho tenth dan, and told them “there is no iemoto system in aikido”?…

asked one of them to write a book on kokyu?… and asked said dojo-cho’s brother to write his (O’Sensei’s) biography?…

and told one of them “you are a [/the ?] true successor to me”…

and to another – who studied with him from age 14 to age 45 – gave transmission scrolls…

what if O’Sensei was more relaxed with, and spoke more deeply and openly to these dojo-cho than to other aikido-ka, and was such a powerful influence on them that frequently their thoughts echo his own?…

…such as the thought, expressed by Seiseki Abe, that the doka are O’Sensei’s writings that most reliably survive transmission – because you cannot edit a very strict poetic structure (waka) without that being immediately obvious?…

and, of course,  what if he felt the CENTER of this network – old school – to be his spiritual practice in Iwama, where he build a dojo that looked very much like a Temple or a Shrine…

and what if Omoto-kyo was in many ways not what we would call “a new religion” (that’s a government label) – but rather preserved a body of traditional (pre-Meiji) Japanese thinking (harmoniously blended Shinto, Esoteric Buddhism, Taoism, and Idealist Neo-Confucianism) and practices in a transformation that was both competitive with and influenced by Christianity, and adequate to the wider world – and wider religious perspective –  beyond Japan, opened up by the Meiji restoration?…

and what if O’Sensei’s very personal blend of Omoto-kyo and Ko-Shinto thinking preserves a body of traditional Japanese thought (harmoniously blended Shinto, Esoteric Buddhism, Taoism, and Idealist Neo-Confucianism) and practices in a certain rapprochement with Christianity that is – just as he believed –  entirely adequate to the global culture and the realities and challenges we now all face?…

and what if O’Sensei’s synthesis of Omoto-kyo and traditional thinking  was integral to his understanding and work with ki and kokyu?  – –  –  a continuation and development,  in fact,  of  traditional higher-level budo thinking – or rather: practice, just as Jigoro Kano noted 1)…

and what if O’Sensei remained loyal his entire life to his family’s Ujigami – the gods of the three Kumano mountain shrines, in both their kami and buddha aspects – their shrine still visible in the garden of O’Sensei’s birthplace when Nidai Doshu went to gather biographical material – and what if O’Sensei returned to those three mountains for guidance in times of crisis, was friends with the Guji of the head shrine, privy to that family’s esoteric, Ko-Shinto philosophy, and attempted to bring said Guji into the network that he considered his “life mission”?…

indeed, what if O’Sensei created the shrine(s), farm, and dojo at Iwama as an improved version of what he had had at Ayabe – and later at the Budo-Senyo-Kai’s Hombu Dojo at Takeda?… and if, post-war, for real, and for more than half a decade, that  farm and dojo – his Aiki-En –  were operating largely outside the money economy,  feeding and housing his dojo “family” – and were, in fact, at that time, the “hombu” dojo  –  and sending rice to feed the dojo in Tokyo? …

and what if his opinion of Tokyo – and all things Tokyo – was colored by, for instance, the interrogations that attended his attempts to move there in 1925 and 1926 2) – not to mention subsequent events affecting the Omoto-kyo?…

…so that, after the war, rather than promote an “Ueshiba” dojo in Tokyo, he encouraged a long-time deshi with family ties to the army and the wartime cabinet to open a dojo there?

and what if O’Sensei saw cultural affinities between, out of all the western nations,  France and Japan, and worked on having the Hombu – and other – deshi with most affinity to his “life mission” sent to France?…

and what if he chose out foreign uchideshi and deshi for their perceived affinity to his “life mission”?…

and what if his “life mission”,  given to him in a vision in 1940, was not so different, after all,  from the one bestowed on him by  Onisaburo  Deguchi?…

…and so what if we stay aware, at the least, when we hear the stories about O’Sensei – and read the writings and quotes that have come down to us – of which dojo, which city or town (and look at the map!), which deshi 3), which shrine and what year? …

…the eccentric, inexplicable old man in one place; the serious, sometimes severe, farmer and budo master with a rigorous spiritual routine in another; and elsewhere the relaxed and wise old sage, talking religion, philosophy, and old times with his favorite long-time students, and practising calligraphy….

– – – – FastSlow   (August 2013)

1) “We have to leave techniques like those of Mr. Ueshiba to future generations. The old traditional jujutsu was the same as his style, but it is difficult to find out how to practice them systematically” Jigoro Kano to Kenji Tomiki Shihan in March 1936, cited in Aikido Tradition and the Competetive Edge, by Fumiaki Shishida and Tetsuro Nariyama, p.29
2) Remembering, too, that this was a man whose family had spirited him off to Tokyo after he agitated against the Fishery Acts of 1901, and to Hokkaido after he joined Minakata Kumagusa’s movement to oppose the 1906 Shrine Consolidation regulations.
3) …and pay attention, too, to which deshi got to eat their meals with the Ueshiba family…

…Fourth of July Jinja-Mairi!!!…

…appreciation…

SenseitoSenseiCROPThis summer I was able to visit Tsubaki America Shrine for my O-Mairi.  It has been many years since I was able to go,  so I was really happy to be there and experience the transformative atmosphere of the Shrine,  and even more:  Guji-San’s amazing talent as a shrine-keeper.  We were able to visit a little bit, but it was a very busy time for him, too. So, all the more, we enjoyed so much his hospitality, and hope to return soon.

We are hoping to collect a group of dojo-members who might be  interested in experiencing shrine technology and take them up for a little trip.

I want to extend my incredible gratitude to Sensei for the years of work that have created this Shrine.  He’s one of the few people that I’ve ever met who have that level of commitment that they can make something that everyone says is impossible  actually happen, and happen in a bigger and more incredible way than anyone could have imagined.

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei,   August 2014

KimbalSenseiinfrontofShrineCROP

AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO ZOU…

Kimbal Anderson Sensei’s gift to Tsubaki America O-Kami-Yashiro is now completed and polished…   …waiting to make that roadtrip to Granite Falls, in the mountains outside Seattle…FINISHEDin DOJOCROP