When you practice Aikido, you stand on the floating bridge between heaven and earth.
– – – reported by Robert Frager Shihan in the Yoga Journal, March 1982, cited by Mark Murray, retrieved March 2016
To see you do misogi…
I saw the river-waves change their shape
and rising and falling
lift your misogi weeds of wisteria vine,
tear them off you
and float them away…
These wisteria weeds…
I put them on yesterday,
or so it seems…
today, doing misogi,
I find it is my world has changed…
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…with Mahavia Flamenco…
...and Rebeca’s new CD: ‘VOGT’ by PALANKEEN…
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[UPDATE:] AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’sarms are being molded separately… so many layers of multi-colored silicone are applied…
Back to the main part of the ZOU: all the layers of mold material have been built up. Next is a hard shell: sometime referred to as the mother mold. This will be comprised of several separate sections. Parting lines of water-based ceramic clay define the sections (the wet clay is covered overnight with plastic to keep it from drying out).
Barry begins to apply the “Plasti-paste II” which will form the hard mother mold. The paste is a two-component, fiber-filled resin: when the two parts are mixed the paste is workable for JUST 10 MINUTES before it begins to set. Barry-san must mix and apply multiple small batches of Plasti-paste.
[UPDATE:] Kimbal Sensei builds a base for AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU, using an actual wooden tub as a basis for the clay sculpture of a taiko drum… AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO danced on an upturned tub, to tempt the Sun Goddess out of the cave… thereby inventing both Kagura sacred dance and taiko-drumming…
[UPDATE:] Meanwhile AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is now in the molding room – at Laf’n Bear Sculpture Studio, pictured here with Dojo member, Barry Moore, of BearCast Molding and Casting:
Barry-san begins to apply the first “imprint” coat of silicone molding material carefully drizzled on with a brush, then moved into fine detail areas with compressed air.
24 hours later, the silicone has set to a rubbery firmness, and more layers of silicone are added, to build up thickness.
First thing in the morning on day 3, another layer, this time pink. Each successive layer is somewhat more viscous and thicker than the previous layer.
Purple again… and by early afternoon on day 3, Barry-san is adding tabs of cured silicone to the seamlines to reinforce those areas. Held in place by T-pins, the overall effect is one of an odd variation of acupuncture. The tabs are “glued” into place with yet another layer of silicone mold material…
– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei
For some weeks, now, I’ve been working at constructing a statue for Tsubaki Jinja in America. While we tend to think of Shinto as being very much based in natural phenomena – we think of the beautiful torii gate in the middle of a forest… or the sacred stones surrounded by shimenawa…there is, in fact, quite a bit of lineage concerning the making of sacred images. For instance, if you go to a shrine and you’re going to make a branch shrine – a secondary shrine – they will give you a go-shintai: a go-shintai is something that has been blessed by the parent shrine, and it’s like a little holographic chunk of what the parent shrine has… and often it’s a little statue.
Now, at Tsubaki America Jinja, there is already a
statue, which I was able to construct, and which has been there for many years, and it has found its way into rooting itself into the landscape properly.
I had made a statue of
before, and wanted to give one to the shrine, as a gift from our school. I feel that it’s really important to consider female energy – she represents, of course, sacred movement, for us in aikido – but also the balancing aspect of having both kinds of energy in a place: the sacred marriage of the energies.
The first time around, I built her just as a pure figure, with the properties which are folk-loric, but without the well-known story. But this time, we’re including the story, and that’s why she’s decorated the way she is, with a bamboo frond in one hand, and a head-dress of sakaki and a belt of woven club-moss. Now each one of these has some meaning… and I also put tama in her head-dress, and suchlike…
I also looked at some ancient, ancient stuff: the shamanesses and oracles in old Korea – women who danced – and women who are reflected in the first miko that ruled Japan… I think that pretty much
is a metaphor for them, and these dances… they are basically spiral dances.
And I wanted to make her spear a particular way, so that while it’s not the Spirit that Creates the Earth in particular, yet there’s a reason she has it. So I like the idea of it being the jeweled spear of creation – and it’s also a male principle that she’s holding, there.
I really like the old Jomon pottery. There are so many similarities to the world of Shinto shrines as they are today: the Oyu stone circles on the top of a hill… with a Te-Mizu-ya – a place for washing hands and mouth clean – just down the hill, before you get to the top… and pottery discovered there, decorated with the image of people seated, meditating, with halos… from this time, the decoration always has a very clear yang, or a very clear yin feel to it: and there are a lot of spiral designs.
So I reflected these spiral designs on her garments, as an allusion to the ancient knowledge.
And I’m going to construct the tub that she dances on in the story. And I’m going to use the old version: people often think it should be something like an old whiskey barrel, but my own feeling is that it’s much more like the thing I make my sushi-rice in. More like a straight-sided cylinder.
And I’d like to make it so that when the wind blew, she danced – I could balance her so she could rotate.
My inspiration is to support Tsubaki America. I’ve been involved for 30 years, trying to help Guji-san make that shrine-world possible for Americans to experience. He’s done such an amazing job with the energy, there: it truly is one of the most extraordinarily potent places on the planet.
I think the
will be really be nice because it’ll help balance everything. Guji-san has a wonderful spot in mind, where she and her husband will be able to see each other, so they can be conjoined in that spot. And people will be able to come and experience it.
I’d also like to make some of those figures, those really ancient Haniwa, guardians… to give the shrine a connection to the very, very ancient stuff. If you look at these ancient things, you know, they’ve carried over… it’s the deep soil of it.
And I hope to have the
reproduced, reduced in size, for people who would like to have one… about the size of a Goshintai, so if you have a shrine at home you could have it…
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…
“….On August 7, after consultations with the appropriate judges, [Judge Takano] released [Onasiburo, Sumiko and Isao] on bail, and they appeared in the outside world for the first time in six years and eight months….
“My cousin Yasuaki Deguchi…writes in ‘Founder of a New Religion’….’To the followers who came to see him, he would say with emphasis, “There will be no divine help in this war,” “This war is a war between devils, so do not get involved”….’
“….even now he did not hold back from his outspoken remarks. ‘On the day I left prison, Japan’s defeat in the war began,’ he said.
“On August 7, 1942, the day Onisaburo was released, American forces landed on Guadalcanal, and the first naval battle of the Solomon Islands began….
“He would say, ‘They did all this to Omoto and don’t even come to apologize. So Japan will be attacked by the foreign enemy and will be beaten.’….’God dislikes killing. Omoto will not cooperate in the war.’
“….Telling soldiers leaving for service overseas, ‘Fire your guns into the air,’ he would give them advice according to their respective destinations….To troops leaving for the front, Onisaburo issued special amulets on which were written the words, ‘Victory to the Enemy’….
– – – – from The Great Onisaburo Deguchi, Kyotaro Deguchi, tr. Charles Rowe, publ. Aiki News, pp. 285-9
Up till now, aiki – as budo – has been a thing of one kata after another, BUT now that it has fundamentally forgotten all of that, it has become a matter of where you put your spirit. If you don’t have, in your own heart, a heart of love, then there is no way you can produce these magnificent waza that are about protecting the whole of creation: in just the same way, we know, as our traditional Japanese kamae, seigan, is very, very much a kamae of love. The inner truth of being without forms, is that Japanese budo does not force the opponent into a series of moves: it does not force him to be aite… And the [standard mental attitude and fundamental tactic of] not resisting is so very much a gesture of the spirit – an act, as it were, in the spiritual world – that it has a [spiritual] name: nenpi-Kannon-riki. It is the innermost hidden secret [ – the gokui – ] of bu that there are no forms. Bu arises spontaneously from our deepest impulses, and it is fundamentally, and from the very outset, a matter of ki controlling everything.
These things were all revealed to me in my training by
and then on December 16th, 1942, in the time between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock in the morning, all the kami of Japan were good enough to show their presence and congratulate me on the advent of [true] Aiki. [Which with] training in Yamato-damashii, and the swordsmanship of Sho-Chiku-Bai, and with the double-edged sword that unifies Heaven and Earth, using the movement of the heart, washes away the world’s impurities. And in that regard, the very first thing [that had to happen,] was that the Great Pacific War had to be ended. It’s a hard thing to talk about, but I had been blessed with the opportunity to make a great new beginning, and so I had retired – [after which I found] divine providence manifesting itself from every possible direction – and I built in Iwama a 36 tatami Aiki-Jinja. And soon after that, when the atom bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which made me all the more resolute, His Majesty, with an Imperial Proclamation, ended the war. From that time, when you look at Japan, you see that everyone has been bound together with bonds of aiki and mutual concern.
O’Sensei, probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan, published in Aiki-Shinzui, p.129-130