Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: That it works, don't make it good.
This is a good point Rob. As I said, I understand the logic of the drill. However, my issue is when we see that logic being unknowingly used to create the actual geometry for falling (whether thrown or pin -- having a topsy-turvy affect on Uke's body) in a given tactical architecture. My point only slightly overlaps with issues of self-defense, and only because of the natural tendency for delusion to spread. Thus, I would rather not have to talk about self-defense issues. I am referring solely to tactical architectures (i.e. waza) being reliant upon drill constructs that were originally put in place to keep the drill going (i.e. those things of reality that the drill denies in order to repeat itself continuously).
For example, take the idea that one can get the whole body to turn in the reverse direction by simply guiding the wrist in a big circle from a cross-lateral grab or point of contact. This was quite prevalent throughout the demonstrations. It was often used as the necessary opening for Ikkyo. I would suggest, it is one thing to do a drill where such redirection is being used to develop the skills you are noting, but it is another thing to have our architectures rely upon it. Specifically, I am referring to how Nage then comes to make zero or near-zero use of Uke's elbow as the main point of contact for actual redirection and/or fails to see how the wrist should actually be allowed more to go straight along its original path of action than curving away from it. Moreover, I would say that when our architectures become so reliant upon elements that are particular to the drill, we even lose that which we were trying to gain in the drill. Meaning, Uke often ends up moving into a place from which he/she is more vulnerable, Uke becomes less sensitive to Nage, etc.
When the cost of implementing drill methodologies into our tactical architectures is to practice invalid biomechanics and/or to rely upon a deluded sense of the physical world, I believe it is time to find better ways of getting what the drill is providing without relying upon it in our tactical architectures. An easy way of doing this is just to keep the drill the drill. Another way is to use the following, the connection, etc., from the drill without needing it for the final geometry for falling. As an example of this, I would site Ikeda's demonstration. He found ways of using aspects of following, of leading, of connection, as the matrix of his demonstration while still opting to work with real-world physics for the throw or pin. As a result, his uke were highly sensitive, highly responsive, and fully capable of remaining safe -- not the opposite.
If your Uke goes flying because your hand is resting lightly on their elbow, or not at all, this Uke is not responding to what you as Nage are doing. They are responding to what the training culture says they should be doing for that cue. In this way, in actuality, Uke is out of touch with both Nage and reality. Uke's sensitivity is as manufactured as the tenets of the training culture are, and thus Uke, through a lack of insight, is actually experiencing more alienation than oneness or harmony or any other similar concepts when it comes to directly relating to Nage and/or reality. When Nage comes to relate to Uke through this same process of alienation, this same process of not relating to each other directly but only through the tenets of the training culture, Nage too experiences more alienation than connection, oneness, blending, harmony, etc.
This alienation, I would propose, seems to be becoming an acceptable standard. Why? I would suggest because folks are making the mistake of seeing what "worked" as what "works." An Uke, once engrained in the training culture, and/or fully in the middle of the process of alienation, is not fully aware of themselves at the level of practice. That is to say, they just do what they do. What ends up happening then is that such an Uke will come to interpret what he/she is experiencing (e.g. a redirection of their energy by contact at the wrist only) as being absent of their will and/or of any kind of contrived elements when it is anything but. At this point, an Uke feels something works because it worked on them. If one gives equal weight to theoretical reflection, one can see clearly that such a thing only worked because of the training culture and/or that such a thing works only when the assumptions of training culture are present. For me, this is an important thing to realize no matter what our stated reasons for training may be.