Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?
This thread is pretty old now but I've not logged on here for a few years. Please excuse me if I have missed the main thrust but you seem to be saying that Aikido practise has degenerated into something less than it was intended to be. I completely agree for myself but I am stuck with the ideal view that Aikido is for all and therefore all can practise according to their goals.
Personally I see that Aikido training can be broadly split into the simplistic dichotomy of the Aikibuki, ballet, dance, cooperative, harmony and love approach, and the hard line, "we're doing the real thing", jutsu, karate, mixed up stew. My ideal Aikido is neither of these, but is the effective implementation of a non-aggressive philosophy coupled to a refusal to accept defeat.
"The Way Of Aiki is winning without fighting" This stretches all the way from talking as a means of problem solving, to the other end of pre-emptive atemi so that the fight is over before it has time to develop. Again, both of these are ideals and reality is always much messier and far less predictable. This is what I am seeking to learn, and after a total of more than 25 years in MA, I find it very hard.
There is one other factor which I have tried to discuss before with many people and that is the role of fear in practise. In real combat the adrenaline dump which occurs when you realise that somebody is seriously trying to do you harm cannot be simulated in the dojo. However if we do not attempt to create the possibilty for experiencing smaller doses of fear we will never comprehend the very real physiological changes that take place in combat: the loss of breath, the narrowing of perception, the loss of fine motor skills, the reversion to our most ingrained survival strategies. To change this you have to train for it, but to train for combat is the role of the soldier, not the role of the martial artist. To train to develop the character of the warrior is Budo, to find the still center in the midst of the proverbial s**t storm.
Simply repeating harder and faster preset attacks will not create fear, unless of course, both uke and tori are trying to function above their level, and even then the fear is only fear of injury, which is entirely different than facing the alien beast of a truly violent person, or the potential terror of an impersonal foe like a flood or an earthquake. Is it possible to implement at higher levels of training in Aikido, graduated adrenaline based training without moving away from the essential philosophy of the art? I believe that for some of us this would be of great benefit, not for all, but the only models of this type of work are outside of the Aikido community and simply grafting on a bit of this and a bit of that do not, IMHO, help Aikido to continue to develop as a living art.
respectfully, Alec Corper