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Old 06-14-2005, 08:10 PM   #41
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Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,471
Re: Frustrated by unconvincing aikido

Look, differences exist in the art. I do not think anyone would disagree with that. However, accepting the position that there are differences implies that we should not look to ignore them. If we note difference but seeing nothing worthy of contrast and/or of comparison, then it might as well be as if we were to say we are all doing the same thing - though we know we are not.

Someone sees someone soft and someone else sees someone hard, it is not in anyone's interest to say that such things do not exist and/or to say that there are no differences worthy of mention and/or to say that they all lead to the same place. In the same way, it seems out of place to me to say that a person from one variation of the art "has to" or "should" look to see something that is common between the soft version he/she is looking at and the hard version he/she is practicing. Sure, expect such a practitioner to be polite -- to not be insulting or rude within the given environment -- but do not seek to kill the difference that is very real and that is a very huge part of understanding the variation of the art he/she is opting to train in.

This, I feel, is especially true for a person of two years training. Training is about the long haul -- as you all know. If at two years worth of training a person gains more insight into his/her own "hard" version of Aikido by contrasting it against something he/she saw in a "soft" version of Aikido - and if that contrast sparks emotions that lead to and generate motivation, commitment, and investment - I say "Good!" That is what is supposed to happen. Contrast is one very important way of gaining insight into one's own art or one's on slant on one's own art. If, and I use that word cautiously here, one is setting out to find the great "oneness" of every art and/or of at least every slant of this art of ours, that is something for the practitioner that has learned his/her own particular slant fully or at least fully enough to actually begin to see it in other places. It is not a thing for a beginner.

For me, what is a significant issue here, and what seems to be skirted by those that have posted to suggest that the original poster was somehow mistaken in what he saw, is the flashing of rank. The only kind of person that I know that attempts to explain things from the fallacy of authority is the kind of person who is not capable of explaining things themselves. The two go hand in hand. If you know what you are doing -- you do it. If you know what you are talking about -- you talk about it. If you do not know what you are doing and/or if you do not know what you are talking about, and if you want to maintain yourself as an authority, you have to find your "authority" outside of yourself -- in this case, on one's waist. To ask that such a person should be given the benefit of the doubt is to ask a lot -- especially of a new person in the art. New Aikido students should learn that one's authority comes only from within. Anything that compromises that life lesson should be contrasted as something "wrong" or "less." If it is not, such a beginner will only turn out to be another person that wears his/her Aikido -- not a person that has understood the depth of his/her art nor the depth of his/her being.

My opinion,

David M. Valadez
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