It’s getting awfully cold in the desert.
The GSK continues to evolve and I perceive it’s movement, somewhat inexorably, towards becoming a school. Already I have students in different paths. We’ll continue exploring the principles of O-Sensei and of the internal arts, with recognition that O-Sensei’s vision was much larger than just throwing people around.
I think a majority of people go into Aikido to learn a set of techniques – I think that is the expectation of almost all the martial arts. We all spend a great deal of time learning techniques. Perhaps we think something like, “I’ll do my time learning Aikido, then I’ll be able to do aikido. The longer I’m in the art, the better I’ll get at the art, earn rank and so on.” I don’t think that’s wholly unreasonable, but the focus often becomes mechanical and utilitarian.
Our techniques are a utility to learning how to interact with the current situation with unified body, speech and mind. Without a deep exploration beyond the shapes, the forms and techniques are fundamentally worthless for the purpose of the art – realization and manifestation of truth.
I may spend a lifetime developing excellent technique, but I think I will have missed the deepest intent of O’Sensei’s art. I’ve witnessed this sort of ossification first hand – it allows fundamentally incompetent persons to gain rank and gain authority without having understanding. It’s a sad problem, leading to cultic behavior. I’ve known my share of high rank sensei without anything to show for their years in the art beyond a level of knowledge and ability of an average sandan. I’ve also been deeply fortunate to have been under the guiding hand of some remarkable masters. The differences are not minor.
Our school will undoubtedly continue to have aikido techniques as well as aiki-jutsu methods – in fact any sort of fighting art will continue to be a potential donor. I hope to keep learning from my deshi and incorporating their wisdom and knowledge into our art. The fundamental look and shape will stay aiki. I’m really not interested in altering the fundamental genetic code, but out of love and respect for O Sensei, I’ll not insist what we do is aikido.
Our spiritual center will continue to be Gyo, Shin and Ki. Shinto at the heart, Buddhist at the heart and Taoist at the heart. I continue to receive teaching and guidance and evolve methodology and techniques that allow energetic and spiritual purification and accomplishment. GSK is essentially a spiritual path – truth testing is done via the taijutsu. The taijutsu is a physical analog of the meditaion and purifications.
Some of my students are on the spiritual path without being on the taijutsu path, some are on taijutsu only, and some are on both. I think each should find the right level. I’ll say my norito and my mantra, evoke the gods and dharmapala. If students wish to follow, so be it. It is the heart of the art. On this subject, there were some who said O Sensei de emphasized the religious side of the art. That does not accord with the evidence. I think he clearly allowed people to come to their own conclusions.
If I’ve not said it before, I am not trying to recreate O Senseis Aikido. I am using his life, his practices, his example, his teachings to initiate an understanding of what he understood.