View Single Post
Old 05-29-2005, 02:39 AM   #69
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,471
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

I should say, I've chosen to follow this line in the discussion because like testing, and seminars, etc., I also believe that the rhetoric of complexity that surrounds the art's most elementary and/or central concepts is also something that is very much a part of the practice of form for form's sake and the culture of mediocrity. I do not wish to suggest that you Chris have such a position - I don't know. However, for me, there is no doubt that where there is no depth, only the illusion of depth can guarantee prolonged exposure without the risk of any change or a transformation that would throw the whole system for a loop. For example, as I listed above, one of the reasons that forms often do not lead to the radical insights that would promote consistency is that errors, misunderstandings, and inconsistencies, are subsumed under some sort of complexity that is to be addressed at a later date - in a future that never ever becomes "today." No doubt, there is a maturing process to our practice. However, one of the things that a culture of mediocrity does is to substitute a promise for maturity (to come at some later date that never arrives) for actual maturity. In other words, techniques like Ikkyo are supposed to promote insights through the whole of one's lifetime. However, the whole of one's lifetime should not pass with only the same ol' insights and/or the same ol' mistakes ever being experienced. The latter is not what is meant by a "life-time technique." Mistakes or errors do not become accuracies or truths simply because we have managed to make them our whole lives. We all know this. However, when a culture of mediocrity manages to substitute the promise for maturity for actual maturity, we come to use our sense of "future" as a kind of hope wherein we believe that somehow mistakes and errors will transform themselves simply because time has passed. In this way, the "now" is sacrificed for "insights" that are supposed to come later - always later. Tied to this is always the notion that things, even the most simple, central, and/or elementary things, are too complex to grasp in the "now" or "today." Because they are so complex, we are always told that we can only grasp them in the future - which means never.

I am imagining that Chris has something very insightful to say regarding why such binary/negative statements should be seen as meaningless, however, I have heard many other folks use such reasoning simply to support the status quo of never truly understanding things in the here and now - never truly taking seriously the role and responsibility of self-reflection. For me, outside of what Chris is right to mention (i.e. Aiki is a complex thing.), this line of the discussion, or, rather, this type of discussion, is very relative to the overall topic.

Last edited by senshincenter : 05-29-2005 at 02:41 AM.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote