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3/31/2009 - Excerpt: Aesthetic vs. Function

posted Jan 15, 2011, 9:17 PM by Ranya Iqbal   [ updated Jan 30, 2011, 10:22 AM by Three Rivers Aikido ]
As a teacher of Aikido for over thirty-five years I am always amazed at what experiences individual students take away from their dojo. I have noticed that depending on the age, gender and outlook of any particular pupil, each student walks away from each teacher and/or class with clearly different lessons, even though they all attended the same class. Whether we are observing O Sensei’s archived films, reading his writings or appreciating his calligraphy, the one constant element that all Aikido students experience is, a very compassionate yet powerful teaching.  One without the other would be looked at by traditional Japanese aesthetics to be completely decadent, if not as useless as a Japanese sword that cannot cut.  Even if a samurai sword had hundreds of hours of labor pored into it, (even if it would have the most beautiful tsugata (shape), hada (folding patterns), hamon (tempered edge), with all of the tsunegashiashi and other subtle beauty marks that a connoisseur of Japanese swords looks for) if it still could not cut accurately, it would be considered a worthless piece of metal.