“Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of the martial art of Aikdo, defined misogi as a washing away of all defilements, a removal of obstacles, a separation from disorder, an abstention from negative thoughts, a radiant state of unadorned purity, the accomplishment of all things, a condition of lofty virtue and a spotless environment. In misofi, one returns to the very beginning, where one is at harmony with the universe.
The sword (ken) is transformed through misogi from a weapon of destruction into a tool of purification. The purpose of misogi no ken is to cut through the ties that restrict us — anger, bewilderment, depression, illusion and doubt — and to remove the obstacles that block our way — sorrow, grief, regret, and distress.
Similarly, in misogi, the staff (jo) becomes a vehicle of intuition and freedom. Spnning the four directions, misgi no jo links between heaven and earth, revealing realms of the manifest, hidden and divine.”
From the back panel of the box for the DVD Misogi: Purification of Mind and Body by John Stevens (90 minutes, produced by Aikido Today Magazine (www.aiki.com) in which he demonstrates misogi no ken, misogi no jo and other forms. The DVD also includes rare photos of Ueshiba O-Sensei, rare footage of Shirata Sensei, and sections on misogi of the mind and misgogi of speech.
A second DVD Takemusu Aiki features Shihan Mitsugi Saotome explains a higher level in which attention shifts away from the technique during conflict and toward the moment of vulnerability or “risk points” through which one “develops the ability to perceive other people clearly and to respond to their movements with definite and appropriate decisions.
Highlights from the Aikido demonstration and lecture at the O’Sensei’s Life and Message event. One of the demonstrators was Dr. Rober Frager, founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
The lecturer, John Stevens, is an internationally acclaimed Aikidoka and one of the foremost authorities on Aikido and Buddhist studies. Professor Stevens taught Eastern Philosophy at Tohoku Fukushi University in Japan for 35 years and has written over thirty books on Aikido, Buddhism and Asian culture.
Robert Frager has been training in the martial arts for over 50 years, and practicing Aikido since 1964.
Dr. Frager is renowned for his pioneering work in the field of transpersonal psychology and for his role in establishing an educational institution dedicated to this emerging field of research and practice.
Robert Frager is a Harvard-trained psychologist, the past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and the founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he is Director of the Spiritual Guidance program and professor of Psychology.
He is also a Sufi teacher, or sheikh, in the Halveti-Jerrahi Order, in which he was initiated by Muzaffer Ozak. He currently leads a dergah in Redwood City, California as Sheikh Ragip al-Jerrahi.
He attended Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA, from 1957-1961, and earned a B.A. in Psychology.
Robert Frager went to Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, from 1961-1967, and earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology.
He became a fellow of the East-West Center, Honolulu, from 1963-1965, and a research fellow of Keio University, Tokyo, from 1967-1968.
Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with the Omoto Kyo and Onisaburi Deguchi.
Aikido Success Blueprint is a massive 7 ebook and 2 video collection of unique knowledge. It shows you how to speed up your learning and develop your skills at a faster rate. Plus Key Action Steps for results!
The Three Pillars of a Transpersonal Education
Practice, Praxis and Theory
Dr. Robert Frager discusses Aikido in ITP’s curriculum
The Seven Sufi Stages of the Self
December 23, 2013
The update from the battlefront at Sofia University is as follows as this concerns all martial artists in the Greater Bay Area:
-On Thursday Robert Frager and a group of faculty members, staff and students held a protest outside Sofia University. The result was King Neal fired Frager from the school he founded as well as additional core faculty and staff members.
-All the locks have been changed at the school effectively locking out faculty and staff and students. Key faculty and administration members have been escorted from the school by security guards attempting to retrieve personal items from their offices.
-As a result, students have lost their faculty advisor(s); the Chair of their dissertation(s); Head(s) of their Departments and their Professors. In essence, King’s action now may threaten the school’s accreditation.
-The “Board” of 2 members appointed a new president, who apparently has a similar if not identical history and background as King with secrecy, financial irregularities and behind the scenes power moves . More on this later…
-PALO ALTO ON-LINE has posted this update here.
The blog LIBERATE has this interesting back story on Neal King and his history of previously perpetrating this same scenario at his previous employment here.
–Speaking with Frager this morning, he stated again that he is still using his Aikido skills to blend with the situation. However, additional atemi are now in the works.
Instructional video with Doug Wedell, Chief Instructor of Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, discussing and demonstrating the chanting and breathing sequences of misogi barai. This video was filmed during a five day seminar sponsored by Mt. Scopus Aikido, Jerusalem, Israel in May of 2011.
Instructional video with Doug Wedell, Chief Instructor of Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, demonstrating a sequence of 7 breath exercises coordinated with movement and ki flow, filmed December 11, 2010 in Columbia, SC.
[written by one of Frager’s aikido students:
June 14, 2014
But first, a little background about David. He is shodan who trains at Two Rock Aikido where he has been a student of Ricahrd Strozzi-Heckler, 6th dan for over twenty years. David also trains with Robert Frager, 7th dan, at the Western Aikido Association’s home dojo at Sofia University during the months he teaches there. He is an internationally respected expert on spirituality as it intersects psychotherapy. He studied at the University of Chicago (Don Levine, the Founder of Aiki Extensions was his Professor there). He is a Professor of Psychology at Sofia University.
David also teaches courses and workshops with other experts and teachers in the field of spirituality, meditation and mindfulness. For many of these courses, he arranges continued education credits for those seeking this for their own professional careers. A little over a year ago, he received a notice that these courses, specifically one with a widely respect Qigong teacher, was under question.
Not only was it under question, his ability to give continuing education to all of his programs would have been withdrawn. The argument thrown at David was that Qigong was a religion and therefore not a valid area of study within the field of psychology.
To defend himself, David need to hire an attorney (this was just like a trial in a court case) and amass as much data as possible to support the position that Qigong was not a religion and the person he was sponsoring the workshop with was not doing this as an adherent of a religion. In addition, almost like the Inquisition, David had to present his case but up until the last moment he was not privy to the “charges” again him.
It all came down to a hearing. David and his attorney were attending via a conference call. The other parties included the attorney for this professional body questioning him, and a group of his peers who would render judgment.
Here in David’s own words is how his day began:
“So [in the] morning 5 am, I packed up all the appeals materials into my father’s old Mexican leather briefcase (May 12 actually being his birthday), drove to Ocean Beach by Golden Gate Park, and jogged for 40′ stopping to do some Qigong along the beach, [and] then parked in the Sofia [University] parking lot with my papers spread around the van and me on a headset starting 9 am, [making myself] quite comfortable for 2 hours. On the call APA (American Psychological Association] had 2 lawyers and 6 members of the Continuing Education staff, there were 3 appeal committee members, me, my lawyer and a colleague who I invited as part of my ‘legal team’ as a researcher and expert on spirituality in psychology.”
And here’s what David said afterward:
“I do feel I got my ‘speaking truth to power’ moment. As I had planned, much of the appeal time was spent on the issue of Qigong and of joy as appropriate topics for ce [Continued Education] programs for psychologists. After I spent 20 min[utes] establishing the validity of Qigong as a form of traditional Chinese medicine and a mindfulness technique, I read quotes on Qigong from the denial letter that were pretty derogatory toward this empirically supported form of complementary and alternative medicine (as acupuncture yoga etc. are considered). The denial letter described Qigong as a “religious practice” and described the Qigong teacher as having ‘religious training’ and in another place ‘theological training.’ What he actually has is decades of training including at a famous Qigong ‘medicine-less hospital’ in China where Qigong is viewed as a science. He has absolutely no theological training. His cv [Curriculum Vitae] was submitted to the [American Psychological Association] as part of my original application, so I asked the appeal committee to pull out and review his [C.V.] with me which was in their packet.”
David later said it was like a randori. He just had to stay centered and focused and not lose your balance as the attacks came in. And he also said he remembered to breath.
David was told her would hear back after a decision was made. Well, this week David heard back. The verdict was in his favor!
Here is the official response:
“While the CEC [Continuing Education Committee], in its response to the sponsor’s appeal, expressed concern that the instructor had religious or theological training, the training entails application of healthcare practice widely used in Eastern medicine and throughout China. As the field of Psychology expands to incorporate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practices, Master Trainers for these practices may be appropriate trainers for Psychology CE. The practice of pairing a Master Trainer with a psychologist for the offerings intended for the professional Continuing Education of psychologists is a good one and we encourage the Sponsor to continue this practice… the information provided in Section D of the application provide a sound basis for offering this CAM training to psychologists as a continuing education offering.”
I think if David had become adversarial the outcome would have been different. But by staying centered, he was able to maintain calm and focused and blend with what has happening.
This incident in David’s professional life is a perfect example of how one can use what they are learning on the map in a crisis situation.
Thank you David for setting this wonderful example for all of us.
Aikido in Action with David Lukoff: An addendum to his encounter with the APA
June 26, 2014
David emailed me a few days later. He decided to flesh out the story and give additional background information that he thought was important as this all unfolded.
In reading what David wrote, it became clear to me that there was much more at stake and involved many important people, centers of learning and martial artists in the Greater Bay Area community.
“The decision of the American Psychological Association (APA) to withdraw the approval of the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC–the name of my continuing education business) was based on SCRC cosponsoring the Embodying Joy workshop with the internationally renowned qigong instructor Mingtong Gu and Debra Chamberlin-Taylor in December 2012 at Spirit Rock.
“For the past 10 years, SCRC has also been cosponsoring programs with the San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco Shambhala Institute, Institute for Health & Healing at the California Pacific Medical Center, Marin Mindfulness Institute, Mindful Education Institute—about 20 different centers mostly in the SF Bay Area–with presenters including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rick Hanson, Tara Brach, Mark Epstein, and Sylvia Boorstein. The loss of their ability to provide CE credits for their programs would have been devastating to these mindfulness centers, which is why I felt it was important to mount such a strong defense of these practices.”
And here is something I know Aikido and other martial arts traditions have run into from time to time. One recent occasion occurred with a workshop being held at a summer retreat camp owned by the conservative Protestant denomination. Someone observed the group bowing in and out and decided that this was a religious practice. The group was uninvited the next year. In essence the complaint was that what is being practiced was a religion.
“The charge that qigong involves ‘theological or religious teaching’ was due to their uninformed view of qigong as a religious practice rather than as Chinese Medical Qigong which is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a strong evidence base. During the appeal I cited several meta-analytic reviews that confirmed the anti-depressant benefits of qigong.
“My aikido practice provided me the grounding to go through this 14 month ordeal which involved hiring a lawyer, compiling the evidence-base of research on qigong, and presenting my case in a 2 hour adversarial appeals process to a committee. I adopted George Leonard’s maxim ‘Take the hit as a gift.’ From 24 years of training with Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei, I had learned and did practices for staying centered and facing the source of conflict that were invaluable throughout the 14 months. On my Ocean Beach jog at 6 am before the appeal hearing, I faced into the brisk ocean breeze in a hanmi position and let the universe in. Then knowing I would be defending this ancient practice, I did some qigong. All I can say is that I felt the lineage showing up in my body to guide me in this encounter.”
This is such a great example of tapping into to something bigger and bringing that energy forward into the moment. Something we all work on doing daily in our own lives as we bring that ki that happens on the mat into who and what we are in our daily lives. What David did was perfect.
“From Robert Frager Sensei, I knew how to come to a conflict from my heart and not create any enemies. Despite this protracted conflict with the APA, I am still active in the association and have received invitations to present at the annual conference and to write an article for their new journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice—while this conflict was in full swing. In both the article coming out in July and in my presentation at the conference in Washington DC in August, I will address the issue of using qigong and other complementary and alternative techniques in psychotherapy. Last year I presented at the APA conference on incorporating aikido into psychotherapy training.”
And here’s the core learning in my opinion of David’s experience. That he was able to view this conflict from his heart and not from a position of anger of it being adversarial. I think O Sensei and the other great teachers on The Path would all smilingly nod their heads in unison with what he did.
“I don’t consider myself a qigong teacher but took my first course 40 years ago, and teach mindfulness practices including qigong, aikido, and walking meditation in my graduate psychology courses, and believe embodied mindfulness practices such as tai chi, qigong, yoga and aikido will be the next wave of mindfulness interventions to be widely adopted as mental health interventions. So my hope is that the reinstatement of the SCRC will promote continued training and exploration of these embodied practices. Stay tuned to this column to learn about the next Aikido and Psychotherapy workshop!”
Thank you David for making a difference and speaking and acting from both your center, and perhaps more importantly, from your heart.
“Modern psychology and contemporary coaching models have taken us to a certain threshold of insight and ‘knowing,’ but they have failed to teach us how to discover satisfaction and meaning as we evolve through different shapes of living, and therefore different perspectives, throughout a lifetime.”
The author continues:
“Insight has a place, but it’s a mistake to think that if we change our minds, different behaviors will follow. (my italics) To simply have a good idea about something is not enough. To change how we are means changing how we act; it means functioning differently. It requires a different way of organizing how we feel, act, sense and perceive.”
A review in two parts of
“The Art of Somatic Coaching – Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom and Compassion” by Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA $18.95 ISBN 978-1-58394-673-2
“… Before you can move from a position that has met or created opposition you have to let go. …”