Gene Martinelli wrote:
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?
Exactly. It's obvious when common sense and a little thought are applied. Yet, another way to trivialize what you just said would be that you see things too "black and white", Gene, if you're going to make a pronouncement like that which disagrees with some closely-held beliefs of a few others.
So how about if you do at least *some* things in your swinging like Saito does? How about if you grip loosely except for the finished down-swing? How about if you "don't rock back and forth"? How about if you "stop the bokken exactly in a horizontal position", etc.? What I'm getting at is that there are characteristics of bokken swinging which are indeed simple "variations". However, the loss of the few "essential" requirements, is not the same thing as a "variation". If someone leaves out or does incorrectly one of the *essential* components of bokken swinging that Saito (in our example) does, then the idea of "all roads lead to the top of the mountain", "just practice", etc., becomes an obvious fallacy... and the results are NOT just going to happen by divine providence.
If you don't know how to swing your bokken, for example, *really* using the tanden correctly, then 1,000 strokes a day is "wrong practice" in terms of the legitimate Aikido that Saito does/did, even though it will make you very strong, give you *some* ki (beyond your control, though), and enable you to add power to some of your Aikido techniques. In a "black and white" way, I'm pointing out that even if there is some small bit of vagueness about exactly where that line is, there is certainly a cut-off line between Aikido, Aikido-variations, and not-Aikido. "Highest level" Aikido is not on the same path as "not-Aikido", if you'll pardon the "black and white" statement.
Incidentally, I don't know if it's just that a lot of people play the guitar semi-seriously/seriously, but it's amazing how many good guitar players are in Taiji, Aikido, etc.