Rob Liberti wrote:
From my perspective, all lethal with no challenge to find an equally effective no-damage solution seems to lead to an equally mundane art as well.
Yes, then, this is where we must part in opinion. For me, it's not challenge to find an "equally effective no-damage solution." It's not a challenge because we are so prone to believing our own delusion that we have found one, that we should find one, and/or that we can find one. If we look around, we have lots of folks already fully buying into the Westbrooke and Ratti position - they all believe the delusion. In fact, Aikido is known to the world via this view. This position, or the belief that one has found a non-injurious method of self-defense, is never fully tested, so it's believable. It causes us to rewrite history, and so its believable. It causes us to misunderstand other arts, and so it is believable. Etc. It hardly seems like any real kind of challenge since the capacity to be deluded is so likely and so supported by so much.
If there is a challenge here, it is the challenge to not be subject to such delusion. However, this challenge, I would propose, connects us to a whole other type of self-reflection - one more akin to what I was stating (I feel). Still, an even bigger challenge is to purify the will to violence within our heart/minds. No challenge is bigger than that - not for modern Man at least. Keeping our art lethal allows for this "challenge" to be reconciled - in more ways than one might imagine at first glance. Keeping our art lethal and keeping that lethality within a culture of non-violence and fellowship among all Mankind is the paradox that is needed for true self-reflection to take place (and thus for delusion to be combated). For me, this is entirely different from just trying to be lethal. So I would not say that understanding our art's lethality in the way I propose is free of challenge and/or free of challenges that would prevent it from becoming mundane. This I feel I can say while I can also say that I can appreciate any effort one might have to reduce violence in this world - such as your own.
(Also, I'm do not think that Osensei can be said to be "thinking outside of the box" when it came to his misunderstandings of the new ranking system. As I remember it from articles read over at AJ, his actions were corrected and/or halted from further occurrence. They are clearly the actions of someone that did not understand fully the new workings of the new institution - and the institution let him know that in those cases. However, I am digressing with this line of thought from the topic of the thread.)