Training Schedule (稽古日時)

Training Schedule (稽古日時)

MON - FRI (月火水木金): 11:45 ~ 12:45 
TUE, WED, THU (火水木)evenings: 17:00 ~ 19:00
SAT (土): 10:00 ~ 12:00
LOCATION (場所): Yano Gym

Friday, September 7, 2007

袴の襞の意味: The meaning of hakama pleats

Did you every stop to think that the design of your hakama has a deeper meaning? I had no idea until our friend Tamaru Sensei sent Yuriko a note regarding the significance of the number of pleats on the hakama. There are exactly five pleats on the front of the hakama. Each one has meaning. Eastern philosphy ~ so much to learn, so little time. Thanks to Yuriko who did the translation work on this. She also had to research the concept of Gojo for a deeper understanding of the Confussionism in order to try to explain this in English.

前襞5本:5常: (人生徳行の道: There are 5 pleats in the front of the hakama which signify the Gojo, which represent the five ethics which should be kept by human beings according to the teachings of Confusionism. These five ethics are represented by the following five chinese charactors:

仁 ・ 義 ・ 礼 ・ 智 ・ 信

#1: Compassion/benevolence: 仁 (jin) とは思いやり
#2: Justice: 義 (gi) とは人として当然なすべき正しい道
#3: Courtesy/etiquette/manner: 礼 (rei) とは社会秩序 (social order) ・ 慣習 (tradition, ritual) ・ きまり (rule) ・ 儀式 (ritual)
#4: Wisdom: 智 (chi) とは物事を知り分ける能力で頭の働き
#5: Faith/Trust: 信 (shin) とはうそをいわないこと、言動一致であること

There is only one pleat in the back of the hakama. The significance of this single pleat is that "there is no double dealing for Bushi" or "Bushi ni futagokoro nashi". 後ろの襞1本は、「武士に二心なし」 の教えです。

Thanks again to Tamaru Sensei for sharing this lesson with us. He specifically requested that this be shared with all our members who are now wearing hakama. Got to admit, that I did wonder why there wasn't an even number of pleats on the front of the hakama for a more balanced look. But alas, there is a purpose.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Introduction to Aikido - Provided by Tamaru Sensei

Tamaru Sensei sent me the following material which he put together or got from material called "Aikido no Honshitsu" or "Essense/Nature of Aikido" by 9th Dan, Morihiro Saito Shihan. It is so well presented, I couldn't resist sharing it on this blog with all, in both Japanese and English.

Aikido Introduction
Old Master Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, was born in Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, on December 14, 1883. The Founder took to the Nine Chinese Classics at the age of seven, started Zen practice at 10 and mastered a number of martial arts later. Endowed with extraordinary brains and a man of effort by nature, the Founder created a martial art named “Aikido” in 1942, when he was 59,

・ Invincible martial art
As history illustrates, mankind throughout the world has been involved in constant struggles. These struggles have been repeated without intermission in all the ages and curiously enough,
“under the name of justice”. Struggles arising from an outburst of militants instincts, struggles for higher positions and greater power and struggles generated by ideological differences. They combined to fill the world with enmity and hatred, turning it into an interminable scene of deadly strife and bloodshed. There was always the need for invincible martial strength because the struggles tended to expand beyond any hope.
The martial pursuits in Japan were not free from the world of struggles. These pursuits, however, gradually became independent of political involvements and have been sublimated into martial arts. The desire of individuals to become stronger has thus been given a sublimate environment for growth.
The martial arts have been in existence on the basis of Japan’s traditional combat techniques. Despite their long history, the martial arts devised by man have inherent deficiencies regardless of what schools they belong to. An element, which is considered important to make up for the deficiencies, is spiritual strength. Japanese martial arts owe their essence a great deal to religions which cultivate such spiritual strength.
“Aikido is an invincible martial art”. Does it mean that the art calls for a return to the old world where power meant every thing? No, that is not the case. Aikido founded by Morihei Ueshiba was aimed at drawing forth the natural latent qualities of individuals. In other words, Aikido is an art designed to cultivate the mind and techniques without running counter to nature. Body movements governed by a down-to-earth principle of relinquishing disputes, contribute to the accomplishment.
Fill your body fullest with the air of the universe and merge with nature. You will find your body replete with Ki (Spirit) power and ready to impart abdominal breath power(supernatural power), the intensity of which is beyond human imagination. Aikido is an art, which induces a full display of such natural power. The mind and techniques divorced from strife are the indispensable prerequisite to bringing forth individual qualities to the fullest extent. This makes Aikido an invincible martial art.
・ Spirit of Aikido
“Aiki is not the art to fight and vanquish the enemy. Its aim is to bring peace and Harmony to the world and unite mankind as one family”, this is the way the Founder defined Aikido. The spirit of Aikido, as he put it, calls on people to become aware of their respective missions in life, help each other to accomplish the missions and get mankind together as one united family. Such spirit is reflected on the stone monument along the path to the Aiki Shrine. The epitaph reads:
“The heaven and earth look so serene and beautiful. This Universe has revealed Itself as a family created by the omnipresent God” [signed] Morihei Ueshiba
This is the Founder’s ode to Aikido, which still imparts to the visitors to the Shrine his affection for mankind and nature. It is up to human beings to make this world a better of a worse place to live in. The Founder pondered:
“This world was created by God, man is but his child, and God dwells in our body”. In other words, man is required to keep training for a finer self and carry out his ordained mission. Aikido functions as a compass in guiding people in the direction of digging out and developing their intrinsic qualities, as well as striving to accomplish their missions with a sense of enlightenment. According to the Aikido precept, if people live up to this doctrine, mankind will be united as one family, strife will cease, friendly relations will prevail and peace will be preserved.

・ 絶対不敗の武道
歴史が物語るように洋の東西を問わず人類は闘争に明け暮れてきた。色々な時代に、そして“正義の名のもとに”、綿々と繰り返されてきた。闘争本能にもの、地位や権力にまつわるもの、イデオロギーの相違によるものなど、敵対感と憎悪が充満し、果てしなく続く修羅の世界を形成していた。そして、絶対不敗の武力を保持栓がために闘争は拡大傾向を示すにいたった。わが国の武術も例外でなく、政治問題から離れ、背景が純粋になり、武術は武道として独立することになる。強くなりたいという個人の願望は純粋に育てられる。武道は日本の伝統ある闘技を土台に存続してきたが、その長い歴史にも関わらず人間の あみだした武術には何流を問わず欠点を有するものである。それを補うものが精神力であって、この要素は今も多分に重視されている。日本の武道を武道たらしめたのも、その精神力を養うところの宗教に負うところ大である。
・ 合気道の精神
「合気とは敵と闘い、敵を破る術ではない。世界を和合させ、人類を一家たらしめるものである。」開祖は合気道をこのように説明されたが、これは合気道を通して己の使命を悟り、互いに助け合ってそれを全うし、人類一家たらしめたる、という合気道の精神を説いたものである。それ故に合気神社の参道には、「美しき 此の天地の御姿は 主の作りし 一家なりけり」という石碑が建ち、今なお開祖の人類、自然を愛する心を参拝者に向けて見せているのである。