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Peter Goldsbury, from Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 12 wrote:
One might ask how Descartes' problems with skepticism and Neo's problems in the Matrix are relevant to aikido. The answer is that they are not, but the underlying assumptions are. One of the crucial issues with aikido is the degree to which one gives credence to various ‘internal' experiences that are not part and parcel of waza. The issue is compounded by lack of a common language that is immediately understood. This is evidenced by the following instructions, quoted earlier (numbered here for ease of reference):
1. Extend ki to your partner into his back at your right hand into his wrist at your left hand. 2. Do nothing. 3. Wait. 4. Focus your intent on having your partner accompany you. 5. Do nothing. 6. Wait. 7. Imagine both of you beginning to move in the direction his extended left hand is pointing. 8. Wait. 9. When you feel your partner begin to move, use only your ki to encourage him to continue. 10. Follow his lead as you lead him in the direction he wants to go.
This could cause a major problem if the partner does not do what nage intends. In addition, if the partner does indeed do what nage intends/imagines, there is still no demonstrable causal relationship between the intention/imagination and the subsequent action. We will see from the discussion on Wittgenstein that one of the issues with aikido, especially after Koichi Tohei split with the Aikikai, is that of the legitimacy of focusing on certain internal experiences that cannot be verified, except in terms of the experience in question. I believe that the real crux of Kisshomaru Ueshiba's issue with Koichi Tohei is that the latter gave undue importance to certain concepts, like KI, and divorced them from the context of aikido training. For Kisshomaru, KI could not be separated from aiki and had to be developed in the kind of training which he himself believed that his father did.
As the originator of the 10 instructions paraphrased by Peter above (the original post is number 51 in my blog) I thought I'd add my thoughts to his observations.
Whether or not one gives credence to internal experiences in Aikido has largely to do with the method of training one has experienced. Those of us who were ‘brought up on' the teachings of K. Tohei via Ki Society and later by S. Maruyama via Kokikai Aikido learned early on to identify internal states with metaphors evidenced in the principles and ideas both teachers espoused.
Regarding the instructions numbered 1-10 by Peter, I should note that the exercise when introduced in class by Mary was not presented as a list of instructions. The exercise was demonstrated in silence and only after going thru it with partners did we sit down and discuss our reactions. We then changed partners and went thru the exercise again with new insight gleaned from the discussion. I made a laundry list of instructions in my blog for the purpose of illustrating how the exercise is to be performed for readers.
The exercise is practiced with what we refer to as ‘intent without expectation'. As such, there is no conflict or problem regardless how uke responds. The first line of the blog post 51 states that: "I don't want uke to obey me; I want him to be me." The last line reads: "This exercise requires patience. Leave your expectations ‘at the door' and just let it happen."
That there is ‘no demonstrable causal relationship between the intention/imagination and the subsequent action' is precisely the point. The exercise deals with feeling and the perception of feeling as experienced by two people working in concert without agendas. Following and leading are inseparable; they are the same process and must be performed simultaneously. Only then will the energies of the participants be blended in such a way as to permit the execution of technique without resorting to the notion of overt control of another person. Wittgenstein can, in effect, be ignored since verification of the internal experience independent of the experience itself is neither required nor sought.
Tohei's innovative approach to teaching Ki development as a subject independent of, although in conjunction with waza, seems to me at least to have been a bold step to take. While Kisshomaru may have seen such instruction as divorced from Aikido training, I see Tohei as someone who expanded the idea of what Aikido training is; opening it up to include Ki development as an integral part of training.