Monty Collier wrote:
Rebecca, I am the only one here who believes you cannot learn from your senses. You have to understand the propositional explanation of each technique before they can be applied.
I am advocating serious study over and against mystical trances and "spiritual energy".
I'm not sure where you watched an aikido class or tried an aikido class, but I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. I've been doing aikido for something like 13 years now. I've trained in three different dojos, one of which was a poor fit and the reason why I was more or less lmited to training during semester breaks while I was in college. I have never once been in a trance or trance-like state that didn't involve dehydration or low blood sugar, nor have I heard of anyone doing that. Every dojo I've trained in trained by repeating techniques over and over, with varying degrees of explanation. Some instructors walked us through step by step (you move your arm over here, you put your foot there, they will either fall down or dislocate something...); others would speak twice in the technique demo: once to call up their uke and once to name the technique (if you're lucky). No explanation of anything. This is fine, but my sensei here in CO makes very very small movements so sometimes it's aalmost impossible to tell what's going on by watching and since he's not explaining himself we just experiment. Others take a happy medium. There's lots of ways to teach, and the effectiveness of the method depends as much on the student as it does on the teacher.
The only formal discussions of ki I've witnessed were at seminars. For some reason senseis like to talk more at seminars. Otherwise, we just train, and discuss the more ethereal stuff after class. Sometimes, in some dojos, there's a moment of meditation at the end of class, but that's about two minutes after an hour and fifteen of falling and is mostly just to get your heart slowed down, your breathing back to normal, and any left-over adrenaline and frustration sorted out before you rejoin the rest of the world.
Martial arts have a philosophical component for a reason. With ability comes responsibility. The technical component teaches the ability; the philosophical part is to help you use your ability in a responsible fashion (ie, not beat the crap out of someone because you can or they insulted you).
I did not want to get sucked into this mess. I'm re-lurking now.
PS: reductionism has caveats, and those caveats have been known to give biochemists grey hairs.