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RonRagusa
09-11-2011, 09:30 PM
It has been said that continued practice of something done incorrectly will not lead to any improvement. Interesting. The underlying assumption is that the incorrect practice is repeated over and over in exactly the same manner. That's not really practice though, is it? It's nothing more than mindless repetition. Practice entails iterations of performance, analysis, correction and refinement.

Aikido practice is a process of self discovery whereby I continually engender changes within myself via analysis of my performance so that I may make corrections to refine the totality of the interaction with my partner in order to improve my performance. Aikido is a wonderfully self correcting activity.

When I began my study I was able to rely on muscle power in order to effect the execution of technique. As I moved along the path and ukes became less willing to just roll over for me I had to find another way to perform that relied less on muscle and more on the principles of Aikido that were presented to me by Maruyama Sensei. In short, I had to find correct feeling, and once felt, strengthen and polish it. The process is like watching hair grow. The road from baldness to shoulder length hair is crystal clear in hindsight while altogether invisible day to day. Growth in Aikido and my attainment of correct feeling is the same; no "Ah ha, I've got it!!!" moment; just a gradual continual improvement due to daily practice.

To continue to grow I must practice mindfully in order to be able to analyze, correct and refine my performance.

(Original blog post may be found here (http://ron-aikidothoughts.blogspot.com/2011/09/two-hundred-and-two.html).)

Tim Ruijs
09-12-2011, 05:34 AM
There seems to be a contradiction in what you say, allthough I understand your intention. On one hand you say progress is almost unnoticable on daily/weekly basis, but on the other hand proper (mindfully) practise entails iterations of performance, analysis, correction and refinement.
How would you know what to correct when you cannot detect small improvements?
I think trying to maintain a beginner's mind is really important here.

A strong point you do make is about the realisation that there might be another way of practising. When you can do certain techniques but rely on strength, it is time to try and achieve the same level of ability without that strength.

dps
09-12-2011, 06:11 AM
There seems to be a contradiction in what you say, allthough I understand your intention. On one hand you say progress is almost unnoticable on daily/weekly basis, but on the other hand proper (mindfully) practise entails iterations of performance, analysis, correction and refinement.
How would you know what to correct when you cannot detect small improvements?
.

With patients over a long period of time.

dps

RonRagusa
09-12-2011, 06:15 AM
There seems to be a contradiction in what you say, allthough I understand your intention. On one hand you say progress is almost unnoticable on daily/weekly basis, but on the other hand proper (mindfully) practise entails iterations of performance, analysis, correction and refinement.
How would you know what to correct when you cannot detect small improvements?

Hi Tim -

Sorry for the confusion. There's no contradiction really. It's a matter of perspective. During a class I can work on a particular technique in order to improve my performance of it. I can see how altering this or that effects the execution of the technique. What I am unable to discern is the effect that practice has on my overall growth in Aikido. That realization only comes with time and the ability to look back and reflect on from where I've come. Hope that helps.

Best,

Ron

Tim Ruijs
09-12-2011, 07:27 AM
How can you judge whether your change was any good or not?
Especially for long term? I mean, after a few months you may have changed many aspects of different techniques. In reflection it becomes pretty hard to remember all the changes, why you have made the changes and their effect at that time and after a while.

Would you make changes to actual techniques, or more basic aspects like shi sei, ma ai, kino nagere, kimusubi?

RonRagusa
09-12-2011, 08:14 AM
How can you judge whether your change was any good or not?
Especially for long term? I mean, after a few months you may have changed many aspects of different techniques. In reflection it becomes pretty hard to remember all the changes, why you have made the changes and their effect at that time and after a while.

Would you make changes to actual techniques, or more basic aspects like shi sei, ma ai, kino nagere, kimusubi?

You're getting too specific Tim. The steps I outlined (performance, analysis, correction and refinement) aren't executed like a computer algorithm. Although outlined as a sequence of steps in actuality the process is more gestalt than discrete in nature. For me anyway, after 35 years of practice, the procedures are internalized and unconscious.

Best,

Ron

Tim Ruijs
09-12-2011, 08:50 AM
Ron,
I know :D ;)
I was just curious how you would answer my last questions.
What you describe is also my experience and what I try to pass on to my students as well. am still long way from 35 years though :freaky: