Mike Sigman wrote:
So, some questions are: .... are there any results someone can expect from suburi swinging and will X achieve those results just swinging the bokken in a way that looks like Saito's swing? After all, the basic swing that X is doing will certainly enable him to cut something with a sword, so you can't fault him on doing the swing. Even if you did, he might tell you that "all roads lead to the top of the mountain" or that "his interpretation of correct bokken swinging is just as valid as yours" or that "Saito's swing was evolving his whole life and this swing done by X is just part of the "evolution" of bokken swinging. He might accuse you of thinking in boxes, etc., if you disagree with him and his opinions... heck, he might even call you a "pompous ass", god forbid!
Another person might say that it is practice that counts, suggesting that if X simply swings the bokken a lot he will arrive. "Practice is what counts"; "just practice and you will understand". Etc. Do you think it is true that ultimately X will arrive at the same bokken-swinging skills that Saito has/had by just practicing continuously?Mike
I would like to add my thoughts and my answers to your questions.(for whatever my thoughts/answers are worth). I have always had a problem and disagree completely with the statement - "just practice, or just swing the bokken a lot and you'll learn." So whatever bad habits you start with you will strengthen and ingrain so that will always be in your swing. No possible way can you learn to direct ki into and through the weapon. Does practice count? Yes. Good practice counts. But it's more than swinging a bokken so the bokken and you move technically perfect. I see/saw and hear/heard the same thing in playing the guitar and other instruments for that matter. Whether being taught and/or watching someone and learning that way the same thing can occur of no spirit or feeling behind the playing. And no matter how much they give for an excuse or reason no feeling or creativity ever shows in their music or playing. In classical music the main master guitarist lessons from Segovia's (guitar's #1 in classical music while he was alive) was in fact teaching them how to feel and express that feel through their playing. Musically the other spectrum exists that really sloppy playing that borders on bad and yet tremendous feeling pours out of the playing that it can almost overwhelm the listener. It is in my mind pretty similar to martial arts and Aikido in particular. We have skilled martial artists who can swing that bokken and look exactly like Saito Sensei, without ever understanding what is missing. The sayings (excuses?) will come out in your example. Like "all roads lead to the top of the mountain," yes except the view is different from each side of the road you walk on - let alone each road. "his interpretation is just as valid as yours," good than accept that my "interpretation is valid and every one else's" instead of meaning "my interpretation is right and yours is well so-so -cause it isn't my interpretation." The latter is more than likely what you'll hear.
This one though: "Saito's swing was evolving his whole life and this swing done by X is just part of the "evolution" of bokken swinging." I guess if you can see that Saito's swing evolved then don't you want to know how Saito was able to make his swing evolve? Because "just practice" is just that "just practice."
So as you may have guessed to me the answer to your last question: Do you think it is true that ultimately X will arrive at the same bokken-swinging skills that Saito has/had by just practicing continuously?