George S. Ledyard wrote:
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts.
George, this part of your post got me thinking (and it's only Tuesday, I hate thinking before at least Thursday..). I think I understand what you're saying here, but I'll just have to disagree to some extent. I know the kind of interaction you're talking about, I had a nearly identical thing happen to me at the first AikiExpo, as chance would have it, I was playing with some stuff that I'd learned from Takeda Sensei at the time. The guy just stood there arm outstretched as I moved in around him and began to massage his eyelids, "That's not moving me, " he said... Um, yeah ok. At the time I really felt that it spoke poorly of his training (and I still do to a lesser extent), that he would allow me (a complete stranger) to get into a position that made him so vulnerable rather than following the path to safety that I had presented for him. While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed. I did not control the situation. He had the option of simply not following what I was doing. Bad on me. Do I expect aikido to only work on those with a strong sense of self preservation? I would describe this encounter as satsujinken, a dead lifeless encounter with all of the trappings of martial art, but none of the true budo. So how does this relate to your quote?
I agree that being immovable at the expense of all else is not martial, not interesting and kind of stupid. BUT, I don't feel that it's fair to say that the goal of being un-throwable/immovable is not a martial value. I think there are a lot of judoka out there that would certainly disagree. Mifune Sensei was known for being undefeated in randori and nearly impossible to throw, and yet he was able to accomplish this with a spirit of katsujinken, of a living and vibrant martial spirit. I think that as we develop deeper understanging about how our techniques work, we should simultaneously learn how to make those very techniques harder and harder to be applied on us. That isn't to say that we should strive to make ourselves unthrowable in aikido at all times, that would be silly, but those same subtle/internal skills and movements that can accomplish a kokyunage that seems to come from nowhere and take no time can (and should in the right context) be used as uke to block a technique. This is entirely possible to be done in a very dynamic and martial way. I would also point out that this ability, to be unmoved, has a deep tradition within aikido, whether it be the unbendable arm, the 'jo trick' or the quiet structure that forms an ikkyo pin...