Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

The Underlying Principle of Everything

In quantum physics, one of the foremost theories that promises to revolutionize how we see the world is the theory of strings. The main premise of this particular theory is that strings are the most basic structure that makes up everything we can and cannot see within the physical world. Strings of course is just a word to label this most profound substance that theoretical physicists say dictate everything we see, perceive and have in and around us in this physical world.

Although no direct correlation has ever been claimed between string theory and that of the principles of ch’i prevalent in the East, they share the same premise in the most basic sense that it is said that there is a basic energy substance that underlie everything. In understanding the nature of this substance we are able to harness its power and utilize it.

The concept of ch’i or qi in Chinese and ki in Japanese, is very much relative to the type of school that teaches it. Some say that ch’i is a force separate from matter as we know it. Some say that ch’i arises from matter. Still some say that matter arises from ch’i.

What all schools have in common however is the fact that they all more or less say that ch’i is a fundamental energy that can be harnessed to bring power to oneself wither physically, mentally or spiritually. With all the different premises that try to explain ch’i, it is clear that mere instructions in words will not be able to fully expound on what ch’i is. Perhaps because of this, it is better to pass on the knowledge of ch’i through actual and practical instruction.

One school that may be successful in being able to teach what the ch’i is and how to be able to use it for one’s own benefit is Aikido. At the heart of the spirituality and philosophy or Aikido is the ki, which is similar or perhaps, one and the same with what is otherwise known as the ch’i or qi.

Aikido’s ki is the heart of the principle of this particular martial art. While technically, martial arts are means for combat and war, Aikido is often known as the art of peace because it espouses a peaceful means towards aggression. Aikido ki, like in other concepts of ch’i teaches that there is a fundamental energy that can be harnessed. Aikido ki being energy means that its substance is something that flows.

The principle of peace and relaxation taught by Aikido presupposes the fact that the ki flows more smoothly and strongly when it is uninterrupted. A better illustration might be something like, if water is ki, then to harness its power, it must be allowed to flow to produce hydroelectric force.

This is why in Aikido, ki energy comes from being relaxed. It is said that in the relaxed state, the flow of ki is better aided. Aikido as a martial art is not about muscle strength or superior physical attributes. It is really about relaxation, flexibility and stamina. This allows a smaller person to be able to topple and throw a larger opponent during practice.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

The beginnings of Aikido

The name aikido is formed by the combination of three characters in the Japanese language. Ai, which means joining; ki, which means spirit and do, which means way. These three words actually summarize the essence of aikido as a form of martial art— the joining of the spirit to find the way. It was only in the period from 1930s to the 40s that the name aikido was officially accepted as the name of the martial arts form.

Aikido uses techniques that do not damage or kill unlike other forms of martial arts. The movements and skills being taught are just meant to divert attention or immobilize people. This is perhaps the reason why most people prefer aikido, because of it’s focus on peace and harmony as opposed to aggression and conflict. In fact, aikido developer Morihei Ueshiba believes that to control aggression without causing any injury is the art of peace.

Ueshiba, who is also called Osensei, which means Great Teacher, created aikido from the principles of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu. He incorporated the techniques of the yari, the spear; the juken, which is a bayonet; and the jo, which is a short quarterstaff). But what ultimately separates aikido from other forms of martial arts is the fact that its practitioners can attack while empty-handed. Practitioners need no weapons for protection.

As a young child, he was much into physical fitness and conditioning. This is because of his vow to avenge his father’s death. Eventually, his studies and activities brought him to the discipline of the different martial arts. He studied all. He even has certificates, fencing, fighting with spears, etc. He has learned it all. This is perhaps the reason why aikido is such a diverse and multi-disciplinary form of martial arts.

Yet despite his know how, he remains dissatisfied. He felt that there is still something missing. It was then that he turned to the religions. He studied under a spiritual leader, Onisaburo Deguchiof the sect Omoto-kyo in Ayabe. Deguchiof taught him to take care of his spiritual growth. He then combined his spiritual beliefs and his mastery of the different martial arts. Aikido was born.

His association with this charismatic spiritual leader Deguchiof also paved the way for his introduction to the elite political and military people as a martial artist. Because of this connection, he was able to establish aikido and even transferred the teachings to students, who have in turn developed their own styles of movement in aikido.

Aikido is a combination of the different styles of jujitsu as well as some of the techniques of sword and spear fighting, of which Ueshiba is an expert. To get an overall picture, aikido combines the joint locks and throws techniques of jujitsu and the movements of the body when fighting with sword and spears.

Oriental in origin, it was brought to the west by Minoru Mochizuki when he visited France in 1951. He introduced the aikido techniques to students who are learning judo. In 1952, Tadashi Abe came to France as the official Aikikai Honbu representative. Then in 1953, Kenji Tomiki toured through the United States while Koichi Tohei stayed in Hawaii for a full year where he set up a dojo. Aikido then spread its influence in United Kingdom two years after and in 1965, it reached Germany and Australia. At present, aikido has centers all over the world.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | 1 Comment

Fundamentals of aikido

Aikido is martial arts that resulted from the combination of several disciplines. It was created by Ueshiba sometime in the 1940s. It was the result of Ueshiba’s search for a technique that provided him with contentment not only in the technical sense but also in the spiritual end.

Aikido comes from the three Japanese words, ai-ki-do, which means joining, spirit, and way respectively. In essence, aikido is a martial arts form that focuses on the joining of the spirit and the body and the mind to find the Way.

Aikido has many techniques and moves. Its basic structure comes from the throws and locks found in jujitsu and also from the movements that experts do when they are fighting with swords and spears.

Fundamental Techniques of aikido
Let’s look at the different fundamental movements of this martial arts.
Ikkyo
This is the first technique in aikido, where control is achieved by the use of the hand on the elbow and one near the wrist. This is the grip that is also that can apply pressure into the ulnar, which can be found in the medial portion of the arm.

Nikyo
This is the second of the techniques, which is characterized by an adductive wristlock that twists the arm and then applies pressure in the nerve that can be really painful.

Sankyo
This is the third technique that incorporates a pronating move. It directs an upward tension all through the arm, the elbow and the shoulder.

Yonkyo
The fourth installment in the fundamental movements of aikido, yonkyo uses a shoulder control movement similar to a ikkyo but this time there is no gripping of the forearm. Instead, the knuckles apply pressure on the radial nerve

Gokyo
The fifth technique is actually a variant of ikkyo. This time the hand gripping the wrist is inverted and twisted.

Aikido protective moves
Here are some of the moves that you can use in order to disarm your opponent.

Kotogaeshi – this is what is called in the English as the wrist return. In this move, the practitioner will place a wristlock and throw that will stretch up to the extensor digitorum

Iriminage – called the entering-body throw, here the practitioner or the nage will move into the space where the uke or the opponent is. This classic move resembles the clothesline technique.

Kokyunage – this is the breath throw, a term that refers to the various types of “timing throws.”

Koshinage – this move is aikido’s version of the hip throw where in the person will drop his hips a little lower than the opponent or the uke.  He will then flip the opponent with a resultant fulcrum.

Tenchinage – Called the heaven and earth throw because of the levels that the hands will reach. The uke or the practitioner will grab both wrists and then moves forwardm grabbing the hand low and the other high. This unbalances the uke, which will cause him or her to topple over.

Shihonage- this is the four-direction throw, wherein the hand is folded back past the shoulders  and then afterwards locking the joints in the shoulder

Kaitennage- called the rotation throw, in kaitennage, the practitioner or the nage will move the arm backwards until the shoulder joints are locked. He will then use this position to add pressure.

Jujinage- this is the throw that is characterized by a throw that locks the arms together. This is called shape like a 10 throw because of its cross-shape, which looks like 10 in kanji.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Teaching, training, and exercising Aikido

Since the development of Aikido from the hands of its founder Morihei Ueshiba, it has gone through drastic changes. From the technique, practice, purpose, teaching, and training, Aikido is being interpreted in so many ways. Despite these glaring changes, the basic principle of Aikido still remains: a martial art that aims to achieve peace and harmony without instigating attack and force.

BEFORE YOU PRACTICE

If you are into aikido and already been enrolled in one of the classes, you must familiarize yourself with everything that you need to know about the martial art. You must realize that the practice of aikido starts once you have entered the “dojo” or the place where demonstrations, teachings, and training take place.

The aikido trainees are instructed and expected to exercise and observe proper etiquette at all times. Here are some guidelines for those you have just started exercising or training for aikido:

1. Attendance is important and a must. Indeed, the only way for you to improve in aikido is by attending regular classes and continuous training. Although attendance is not mandatory in most dojos, you better keep in mind that for you to learn and master aikido, you must be there when you have training so you wouldn’t miss any of the aikido teachings and trainings.

Most aikido practitioners suggest that for a student to advance in aikido, he or she should practice at least twice a week. Aside from not missing out something, attending aikido classes regularly can also help you cultivate self-discipline.

2. Make your training your own responsibility. Just like in any martial art training, Aikido requires attention and dedication from you. And since you are the one who is interested in learning the martial, you should also be the one in-charge of your own exercise and training. Once you have decided to practice Aikido, it is given that you should be the one who is responsible for your proficiency and improvement.

Although instructors and senior students will be there to guide you, they wouldn’t be the one responsible for your improvement. So if you really want to improve in this martial art, make sure that you observe effectively before asking for any help and that you try to learn the techniques on your own first before you partake in any demonstration.

3. Bear in mind that Aikido training includes more than one technique. Aside from the physical demonstrations, training in aikido includes observation and modification of both physical and psychological patterns of the students’ thought and behavior. Since there are so many techniques to learn, an aikido student should be ready to react to circumstances so he or she can cultivate awareness.

4. Memorize the basic teachings and principles of the martial art. Aikido is known as one of the non-aggressive means of self-defense. That is why most aikido trainings involve cooperative activities.

In order to learn and excel in the martial art, you must be cooperative enough with your partner so you will both reap the benefits of aikido. Make sure that you’re careful when training and practicing aikido because some of the techniques can kill or damage when not practice judiciously.

5. Be prepared for anything and everything. Exercising, teaching, and training in Aikido is not simple. Because of the dynamic nature of the martial art, it can be very frustrating if you haven’t prepared yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Part of the training is learning to cope with frustrations that come along the training.

The best solution whenever frustration sets in is that the practitioner should observe what is or are the possible causes of this frustration and how can they overcome these challenges. They should avoid comparing themselves with others and continue improving their techniques.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Aikido in Everyday Life

The modern martial art from Japan called Aikido is often referred to as the “art of peace” because it espouses a quick peaceful end to any form of aggression. In the practice place of Aikido, usually called dojo, students will be able to learn about flexibility and adaptation. Both of these are results of a relaxed manner that Aikido students strive to embody.

The reason why being relaxed and calm is taught in Aikido practice is because at the heart of its principles of spirituality and philosophy, Aikido masters and instructors believe that the ki or ch’i or energy can only truly flow in its complete potential energy when one is relaxed. It is in this relaxed state that ki flows freely and smoothly. This philosophy that ki is a force that is very strong and fundamental.

It is believed to be superior to muscle and physical strength, which sometimes hinders the ki. In fact, in Aikido, instead of muscle and strength building, flexibility and endurance is part of the Aikido martial art training. Now, it said that to be able to truly harness the power of the ki, it must be allowed to flow. It can only flow properly within us when we are in a relaxed state. The relaxed state cannot be built like muscles through exercise. A spiritual journey must be taken upon by an Aikido student to be able to achieve the state of calm and peace that is vital in combat.

In constant defense and fear, we tend to be too busy to concentrate and are easily distracted. Aikido stresses this fact and so it teaches its students to remain calm in the face of an assault. Remaining calm puts an advantage over the assailant because you will not be caught of guard and unaware and therefore will not be toppled over or thrown. More advanced techniques teach students not only to fall properly, but also to be able to rebound and plant a counter attack as one rises from a fall.

Beyond combat and the dojo however, Aikido masters and instructors cultivate the development of spirituality and character within Aikido students so that they can apply Aikido principles everyday in life. True understanding of Aikido simultaneously promotes better performance in practice combats as well as in performance in everyday life.

Aikido everyday in life is akin to having an unshakable peace and calm that enables you to have the strength needed to withstand even the toughest of life’s challenges. Remember that Aikido teaches students about flexibility, adaptability, calm and clarity. All these are useful tools in dealing with life, so say Aikido practitioners.

Some Aikido martial artists tend to relate Aikido combat principles to everyday life like work, play and personal relationships. This results in a true oneness in the practice of Aikido everyday in life. In Aikido training, there is such a thing as uke and nage. One cannot exist without the other. Uke makes an assault on nage and consequently is the receiver of the Aikido technique which nage uses to neutralize uke’s attack energy with. In training using uke and nage, one will be able to get better in Aikido techniques by learning from each other and gaining each others strengths and battling each others weaknesses together.

If this is something that you want to cultivate in your life then Aikido everyday in life is something that you might want to take up and learn.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Aikido, Blogroll | Leave a comment

Egypt: Court Upholds HIV Sentences, Reinforces Intolerance

Five Convictions in Fear-Driven Crackdown a Blow to Health and Justice

Cairo, May 29, 2008

A Cairo appeals court’s decision to uphold the sentences imposed on five men jailed in a crackdown on people living with HIV/AIDS underscores the Egyptian government’s dangerous indifference to public health and justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The May 28 ruling upheld the maximum three-year prison terms for each of the five, following a months-long campaign targeting men with HIV/AIDS. A total of nine men have been sentenced to prison so far.

“To send these men to prison because of their HIV status is inhuman and unjust,” said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch. “Police, prosecutors, and doctors have already abused them and violated their most basic rights, and now fear has trumped justice in a court of law.”

On May 7, a court of first instance in Cairo had convicted the five men on charges of “habitual practice of debauchery,” a phrase that in Egyptian law encompasses consensual sexual acts between men.

Before their first trial, a prosecutor told the men’s lawyer that they should not be allowed to “roam the streets freely” because the government considered them “a danger to public health.”

Since October 2007, Cairo police have arrested a dozen men on suspicion of being HIV-positive. The crackdown began when one man, stopped on the street during an altercation, told officers he was HIV-positive. Police arrested him and the man with him, beat and abused them, and interrogated them to name sexual contacts. Police then began picking up others based on information from those interrogations.

On January 14, 2008, a Cairo court sentenced four of those men to one-year prison terms on “debauchery” charges. An appeals court upheld those sentences on February 2. The present five defendants were referred for trial separately in March. Authorities released three other men, who tested negative for HIV, without charge, after months in detention.

While the 12 were in detention, doctors from the Ministry of Health forcibly subjected all of them to HIV tests without their consent. Doctors from Egypt’s Forensic Medical Authority performed abusive anal examinations on the men to “prove” they had had sex with other men. Human Rights Watch has documented that such examinations conducted in detention constitute torture. Police and guards beat several of the men in detention. A prosecutor told one of the men that he had tested positive for HIV by saying, “People like you should be burnt alive. You do not deserve to live.”

The prisoners who tested HIV-positive were chained to their beds in hospitals for months. After a local and international outcry, the Ministry of Health ordered the men unchained on February 25.

“Putting these men in prison serves neither justice nor public health,” Amon said. “The Egyptian government and the country’s medical profession must act to end this campaign of intolerance.”

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Gay Issue & Rights-Overseas | Leave a comment