Ellis Amdur wrote:
That was, by the way, my whole point regarding Tohei. Tohei says that the metaphyisical explanations were irrelevant to the art of relaxation. My point is that they weren't [something] to Ueshiba. They were a means to another end.
I earlier suggested that focusing on the metaphysical explanations that Ueshiba used in his doka would probably not be very fruitful in terms of actual "how-to" knowledge. Ellis is touching on that point again and I concur heartily. Acknowledging the references in deliberately obscured traditional "poems" and "songs" is one thing... taking them literally can be a waste of time.
Ellis has mentioned the five-elements theory (which comes from China, BTW) used in Japanese theories and it shows a relationship (establishing a codified "relationship" seems so important to human societies) between things. In Xingyi, which Ellis has done some of, there are 5 basic punches that are each tied to one of the five elements and they're called the "Five Element Fists". You can spend time examining how each fist somehow stimulates the liver, lungs, etc., etc., and how each fist "overcomes" certain other fists as do elements in the theory, and so on. However, if you get with one of the practical teachers from the old traditions they don't spend any time musing over the relationships of the five elements to these punches... they'll tell you flat out that the five elements fist practices is the practice of five basic and different ways of releasing power with the dantien control. I.e., I'm encouraging people to go to the practical without dwelling too much on the traditional attempts to tie the ki and kokyu trainings to the cosmos. "Mixing the ki of Heaven with the ki of Earth" is one thing; understanding that there are two basic types of training within the breathing practices is another.