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Old 04-12-2006, 11:40 AM   #10
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Lynn Seiser wrote:
I love dualistic either/or questions.
Well, to break the paradigm you must first acknowledge it. Invention pays tribute to tradition.
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, yes, Aikido is a martial art suitable for self-defense and it is something else (depending on what you want to make it). Budo, martial arts, are tools. Its up to us as individuals what we want to make of it and how refined we want our craft and art to be.
Too true, but mere technical refinement as a matter of some measure of efficency disregards the purpose of the tool itself. I do not think we can afford to remain agnostic on these points. If Aikido is relevant to the world, it must be relevant in a concrete way. Aikido is relevant to human conflict in many scales and dimensions of view. Aikido is not relevant to good gardening, and many other good things. It has a place, and an important one, in my view. But, if it is all things to all people, it is nothing to anyone. A hoe digs and a shovel digs, but to confuse the one for the other in terms of its intended purpose does little to advance the mastery of gardening.

Tools are human creations and therefore have intent embodied within them. The toolmaker's intent brought to full flower in the hands of a skilled technician defines mastery of art. A gifted individual may even exceed the imagination of the toolmaker with capacities latent in the tool he made. But as I said, invention pays tribute to tradition. If we do not comprehend the full purpose of the maker in creating the tool we can neither bring it to technical fulfillment as intended, nor honor its maker by enlarging the bounds of its application.

Erick Mead
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