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Old 01-29-2006, 10:29 PM   #126
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 977
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Larry Camejo wrote:
Wow, I didn't even know this thread resurrected itself from the archival abyss.
What, you're surprised that threads can come back?

How long have you been hanging around here?

Many things are difficult in the beginning. However if you are doing it repeatedly and seeing no improvement then you have to ask yourself why aren't you evolving - is it something within yourself, is it the teacher or teaching method, is it something else? I can see your point, but to me one who truly seeks to evolve in the way will attempt to find, even invent ways to address one's own evolution so that what may be perceived as "advanced" will not always be beyond them and will one day become the simple.
Well, some things have been improving lately; I'm not exactly where I was when I got back into Aikido last year. But getting back on track here, way back in your first post, you said, "many Aikidoka appear to be clueless about how to achieve simple" [ittalicization mine] "tasks like maintaining one's footing and vertical posture in the face of a shoot or tackle ..... " I took the word "simple" to mean "basic." After I posted my last message, I thought, Wait a minute, if this is so basic, why isn't it in the basics? It's not. Defending against a shoot isn't in the basics of Aikijutus either, at least not according to The Hidden Roots of Aikido. I just flipped through a book I have on Judo and nothing like that is mentioned either. I know that there are grappling systems that deal with this very early, but Judo, Aikijutsu, and Aikido aren't three of them. If it's in your shcool's basics, great! Your students get a leg-up on them. But none of the dojos I've been in do that, and none of the sources I've read claims it is.

One of things I've been paying attention to as a result of Kali and Serak is how arts are put together. What's presented as the "basics" represents, in part, a value judgment by what people who founded/propogate the system consider important while at the same time easy enough for beginners to handle. That Aikido doesn't start off teaching you how to remain stable in the face of a tackle tells me one of 2 things:

1. It is not easy to do.

2. It is relatively easy, but it is not something Aikijutusu's and Aikido's founding fathers felt beginners had to know right away.

If "1" is the truth, then how can we complain about how "Aikidoka can't do this simple thing" when it's NOT simple? That's a straw man.

..... All this means to me is that there are different approaches to learning and teaching and people focus on what they choose to focus on. My overall point is though, whatever you choose to focus on - be able to think critically and objectively gauge your development.
You remind me of that bumper sticker that says "Question authority!" And I always have the same thought when I see it: "Says who?"

I don't know if it's possible to "think objectively," because everything is "subjective." If you decide that an Aikido Shodan must be able to remain rock stable if someone tries to tackle him, that's not "objective;" that's a standard you've set.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what your post is about. You ruled out the issue of whether Aikido works in self defense situations in your first post, so the question is .... what? How long it takes people to learn principles? Time. Whether they can handle something that is supposedly simple but not covered in several systems, including Aikido? Whether Aikido works outside the dojo? If it works is self defense situations -- and there are testimonials to that in another thread -- then the answer is "Yes." Whether higher students experiment? I've seen people doing thigns that might count as that. But that's not enough?

The answer is "42." What's the question?
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