George S. Ledyard wrote:
Once again, I find myself in a position to agree with he of the unpronouncable name... Szcepan, while not someone I would want running public relations anywhere, is correct in many of the things he is saying..
I have to agree with Ledyard Sensei. It's a dangerous thing to agree with someone that everyone is "after" so I hide behind George Ledyard's careful comments because I feel that while Szcepan seems to have a reputation for saying "things like that", we may be allowing that prejudice to decide for us in advance that he's wrong when he might be right.
I will speak for myself here though. A question was asked as to what we thought and the original poster enjoyed the clip and thought it was wonderful. Personally, I have never liked that way of doing Aikido or the "look" that it has. I also must add that there are some styles that have that look. It's a large, round kind of Aikido where the ukes are flowing pretty easily with the nage so it has more of a choreographed look than I'm comfortable with. The problem with the super cooperation is that in my mind, Aikido is not the uke joining the nage's motion but the nage creating the harmony by matching the uke and drawing the uke into his motion. What distinguishes between hard and soft is what happens after that.
In Aikido training, there is a measure of cooperation in the training to prevent injury. For example, the uke is asked to attack in a certain way. The measure of reality then is based on the sincerity of the attack and if the nage really does Aikido (which is matching him and actually locking the centers together and taking the uke for a ride.) The theory and the reality are two different things. I think that Aikido has in fact suffered a watering down in that we are gradually following and imitating forms and are losing the reality of that experience. That's what I think Szczepan is seeing and stating although be it in an indecorous way. I know that I can't do the things that I have been taught but I am practicing them and I am amazed at how difficult it is to train the body to do what I have just described.
I hate to say this but all things in this world aren't equal. The demo the girls made should be applauded. It shows what they have accomplished at this point in their training. The problem may be that we may not all agree if this is the endpoint or a rather a marker in a much longer path to follow.