This discussion has been like a good steak. Yum.
David Valadez wrote:
For me, this means that fighting skill is not a thing we can contrast in opposition to something like spiritual maturity -- Budo does not present them as choices. Rather it uses the development of one toward the development of the other.
Personally, I'm fine saying that fighting is not my main purpose in training - that fighting skill is an incidental of Budo. However, I am totally against anything that understands the former position as a reason for why we don't require our Budo to be up to par as a fighting art. For me, when our Budo is not a fighting art - there too much room for habitual attachments to remain, too much room for ego and delusion to settle in and remain in place unreconciled.
This is pretty much spot on how I think about my training, and how I wish my training to be. I'm not a fighter, and I don't feel I need to be in my way of living, but what David said in a couple posts explains very well why I want to keep looking at my aikido training and to dig deeper into it. Because I feel that at a certain point, I'll otherwise have gotten what I can out of it, and I could just as well stop training, really.
David Valadez wrote:
I'm suggesting that against a larger attacker that is ADVANCING IN A NON-COMMITTED FASHION, a smaller person is much better off striking at that attacker than attempting to throw them, pin them, or take them to the ground.
So far, this has been my (very limited) experience as well. Interestingly, the better I learn to respond to my sparring partners at first rather un-committed attacks, the more committed he's been forced to become. His attacks are turning more and more into something that I could really use for an aikido technique. What is stopping me at this point isn't really his manner of atttacking anymore, it's that the mere idea of executing a "technique" makes me stiffen my arms and that gives him a chance to use them as levers...
This observation in turn has made me look more into what I do in our regular training - and of course the same tension is there as well, but because it's very slight, it's easy to ignore, intentionally or not, in the more controlled circumstances of our forms training. Uke isn't free to exploit it either, which means it's up to me to be honest with myself in that situation.
We played a bit with really committed shomenuchi last Monday in class, btw. It both made the technique of the night (iriminage) easier to do, and more difficult. Easier because there was something to do it with, so to say, but more difficult because tori really had to move right away. Lot's of people getting very high with their centers, into bad positions, pushing and pulling, blocking the attack. At the same time, there was a very clear sensation of the whole group getting more focused, and more relaxed or free as well, despite the anxiety of the startling attacks.
Shoot, I have to go! would love to babble on and on...