Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard
Well please let me say up front that I do not think that everyone should be doing what we are doing. I do not see our way as a universal tp be imposed. I realize we are doing something different and that it is not for everyone -- that not everyone is doing it. For example, as one can read, I have a different view from two very well respected teachers. They say there are trees, with roots, and leaves, and branches. I say we should all work to be roots -- as best we can. If everyone were doing what we are doing, I would not be an independent dojo. I would be somewhere else, training in some federation, etc. Our way is our own way.
I also have to say, even within our own dojo, the policy is meant to "rub" folks. It's meant to rub folks so that they can see how or why they are being rubbed by such a thing. This offers a point of reflection. Through such reflection, the policy is designed to work in conjunction with other policies/positions to take one through a concern for rank to having no concern for rank. In a way, as you noted, the policy is supposed to take out the goals of Aikido, but more specifically, it is supposed to help purify us of any goals that might be materialistic in nature. Thus, for example, we seek to travel through rank to no rank -- just like we travel through form to no-form. Let us not forget, today, as an Independent, I have no rank. Today, currently, with this policy well in place, we have only three kinds of students: the kind that continually works to demonstrate more commitment to the art -- with no concern for rank; the kind that are fine with where they are at -- with no concern for rank; and the kind that are "sandbagging" it a bit because they don't want to do the training that occurs at the higher levels (i.e. levels that can take advantage of more commitment to the art) -- with more "repulsion" than attraction for the next rank.
It was about a one year ago that we had one member that found it difficult to train on a consistent/regular basis, to proactively heal his body as necessary (he came to us totally damaged from another dojo), and to understand how the dojo's policies represented reality more accurately than his own subjective perceptions. To my discredit as a teacher, he quit. (I've learned a lot from him -- which others have benefited from.) He was nowhere near receiving his next rank according to our policies. He returned to his own dojo -- he now has a black belt. So everything is different -- depending upon where you go. Thus, I cannot really answer your question on whether a 20 year practice of 3 days a week is like a one or two year practice of 3 days a week. It depends on each person -- that is obvious. In our dojo, however, it often works out so that I can answer, "yes" to your question. Moreover, in our dojo, the one or two year practice of three days a week is more times than not the practice that is more filled with potential (at every level) -- more capable of learning more about this infinitely expanding art of ours.
Again, in our dojo, noting that we have different "higher" levels than the next place, if you ask me: "Is it really necessary to practice 7 days a week, AND put in the gym time as you say to support that, to advance to the higher levels?"
"Do you let that 20 year 4th kyu practice reversals, etc, etc? Or are they still effectively learning basic technique?"
Answer: They would be -- can't say for sure yet since we don't have any 20 year 4th kyu -- essentially still practicing basic technique -- Shu level training; Kihon Waza; Idealized Training Environments. I.E. A 20 year old practiced body that only trains three days a week, with no gym time (i.e. resistance training, aerobic training, flexibility training, etc.) can practice Kaeshi Waza within a Shu level training environment, but would be greatly dissevered by attempting such training at more spontaneous levels. Kaeshi Waza at Shu level training is still basic technique for me.
Thanks Berney -- good questions. You got me thinking. Much appreciation.