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Old 06-12-2005, 04:35 PM   #214
Red Beetle
Dojo: Ithaca
Location: Tennessee
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 97
Re: Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward

Keith Kolb wrote:
This is fallacious reasoning: appeal to authority.
Sorry, I did not appeal to authority, but you did.

Just because other dojos neglect to teach their students about the legal consequences of using technique does not mean that it is proper or desirable to do so.
Your point was that law cannot be disregarded. I said it clearly can, and now you agree that it can. You need to retract your prior statement.

The actions of other people have no bearing on how a student learns technique.
Not sure how this affects the syllogism we were discussing, but if the partner you are using is not allowing you to learn, study, or practice the technique (so you can better perfect it), then it seems that your partner's actions have some bearing and may even be detrimental towards your learning. You might use this as an example as to why Aikido dojos need strict discipline, but not mysticism.

It is true that the legal consequences of using technique have no effect on the actual execution of a technique, but it has every effect on whether or not the technique even takes place.
Law cannot effect technique, but it can affect it. I think that is what you mean.
Law may be a dominate motivating factor when it comes to a technique being executed, but not always. Not everyone agrees it is wrong to hurt people.

Without legal, or at least moral, context, a technique can never be applied outside of the dojo.
Yes, but again, one person may think that it is morally right to hurt another (although he may be wrong). I agree that everyone thinks that it is the right and best thing to be done at the moment one executes the tactic. If you did not think it right, or the best action, then you would not act. The strongest motive dictates the will.

If the dojo does not provide a legal or moral context as to when a technique can be used, the student will be forced to either compose his or her own context, or never use the technique.
This is a true statement. Also, they of course walk into the dojo with a complete value system before they ever take the first class. For example, I think it is good to take Aikido.

Without context, the technique is useless.
Maybe it would be better to say that the technique cannot even exist.
Understand that I do not consider mysticism to be ethics.

Even in sport competitions, the student must know the rules. If a grappler enters a competition without knowing the rules, he or she my use a technique that is illegal and get disqualified, or he or she my fail to use an effective legal technique and be defeated.
Another true statement.

Knowledge of the rules of competition does not aid in the actual execution of technique, but without this knowledge there is no way to achieve the primary goal: victory.
This is a false statement. You can enter a competition and not know all the rules, or possibly any of them, and still win. Many kyu level Judoka enter their first tournaments without a complete understanding (some without hardly any) and do well.

Without knowledge of when and what is acceptable on the street, the martial artist will again fail to achieve the primary goal: survival.
Are you implying that there are a set of rules for street fighting?
Please list them.

Focus does not aid in proper execution of technique?
Sometimes. I have seen some who were goofing off, but executing perfectly. I have seen others in deep concentration, and mess up completely.
I am claiming that mysticism does not add to the construction of good technique, nor the perfecting of it.

What about confidence (which can also be improved through mysticism)?
What I just wrote applies to this as well.

Then you admit that mysticism can have some value?
Mysticism can be useful. It cannot be true. It cannot aid in the production and perfection of technique, or Aikido. Stories about the tooth-fairy can be useful, but they are not true, and they do not help our iriminage.

Let us take, for example, a hip throw. I can describe why it is necessary to have your hips lower than the person you are trying to throw with physics and with ki.
If by ki you mean mysticism, then I deny this.

Physics: Your hips form and axis of rotation about which you will rotate your opponent's body. His center of gravity is about the level of his hips, so if you place your axis of rotation below his center of gravity you need only start the initial rotation and then the tangential component of the gravitational force vector will aid the torque and facilitate the rotation with greater ease.
A good start. You will need to define your terms for your students.

Ki: By getting your Dan Jun (Korean word, I forgot the Japanese word for this) closer to the earth than his, you will draw greater ki from the earth and you will have the power to throw him with ease.
You will have to define your terms here too. Such as 'ki'. If the definition is 'mystical' it will be rejected. For example, I have done the hip toss many times, but have never drawn, absorbed, or attracted any thing from the 'earth' (whatever this means, maybe floor). What i did do was change levels, and roll the guy over my hip. My legs supported him, while pushing into the floor, but I drew nothing from the floor. Such 'drawing' would have to be demonstrated, not assumed.

Both explanations will allow the student to execute a successful hip throw.
I doubt it. I would like to see the student with trouble say, "Sensei, I am having trouble drawing ki from the earth." How would he know this in the first place? Maybe he is drawing the ki fine but his opponent is drawing it from him. Or maybe he is drawing it fine, but it is flowing out his butt in green vapor form.

However, ki explanation may be easier for some students to understand.
I really doubt this.

In fact, I could construct a whole system of rules for ki, which may mimic the laws of physics but be simpler to understand, that would allow students to understand the principles behind technique and successfully execute and formulate said technique.
Wouldn't it be easier just to define the terminology in physics?
But if not, here is a suggestion for the name of your book:
Learning Aikido from the little ki fairies.

This would be a great learning aid:
And funny too.

students would be able to understand technique without having to study the extensive and complicated field of physics.
They will be just as ignorant of physics when they finish your book as when they begun it. And they will owe it all to you.

Many successful martial artists say that their techniques are founded in physics, but very few of them have actually studied physics in depth enough to really have a good understanding of the physics behind much of what they do.
Some people reject the scientific method and empiricism. And they do an even better job teaching than others.

Explaining technique in terms of ki accomplishes this same goal and is just as valid as some of the physical explanations I've heard.
We will just have to wait for your book to come out before we can judge it. Here is an idea for the forward to your book:

Once I was doing Randori, and I could not project my Uke, but then the good ki fairy appeared and waved her mystical ki wand, and the next thing that happened was that fountains of ki burst from the earth up into my legs, through my belly, and behold Uke was thrown clear out the dojo back door and landed into the alley. My head glowed radiantly from all the ki my body absorbed. Then we all went to Denny's and got the breakfast bar.

Red Beetle
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