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Old 09-30-2006, 09:09 PM   #54
Erick Mead
 
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
I have read a lot of what you have written about what I will call your 'Gyro-dynamics Hypothesis'. ... I also went through a period of thinking in similar terms, and I *do* see why this and similar paradigms are seductive.
I know what I mean by terms such as kokyu, ki, tanden, ittai ka, ki musubi, takemusu and aiki, because I know what they feel like when they occur, subjectively, but entirely empirically. Japanese tradition encodes this knowledge for direct transmission with minimal analytic content.

<<THIS>> is Kokyu. <<THAT>> is also kokyu. Enough examples to detect root patterns and both Japanese traditions of learning and their Chinese antecedents (pace Mike), operate to relate those patterns -- and can be spoken of intelligently -- but not easily to any one who has not first subjectively experienced them, and has a background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
Most importantly, the 'theoretical' components are really just there as a way of allowing the *practical* components to be integrated into the knowledge culture in which they developed. Any 'modern' theory meant to replace an 'outdated' one should probably have extremely similar functional properties.
You mistake my purpose. We have a threshold barrier to understanding of WHAT aikido is and WHAT aikido does that limits its ability to penetrate the broader fields of Western culture. There are limits to the number of people that have an innate interest in absorbing the manner of thinking that allows traditional Japanese and Chinese antecedent concepts of physical/spiritual/psychlogical action to be usefully applied. As Ignatius Teo said in another thread we must "Simplify." You see the traditional mode as the most simple -- and so it is -- for those with the preconditional knowledge.

There lies the problem for my purpose. To allow aikido to become native and not merely adopted in the West, to make it our our own, and reachable from our own preconditional knowledge. Not to supplant the tradition, but to provide a complement and introduction that can resolve the chicken-and-egg problem of threshhold knowledge..

My learning in aikido will progress at this point in either mode quite happily and equally well. I have that foundation, not only in a topical university degree on the philosophical concepts but from my own concrete experience of twenty years of aikido practice several of the various offshoot branches and thinking about the differences as I learned it. I am looking for ways to nativize its teaching, as a complement, not a substitute.

The fact that we here in this forum, with fairly deep exposure to both the root concepts and their physical expression, can still get into highly involved debates about their precise application and descriptive use demonstrates two things that should give us pause in effort to expand the reach of aikiod and its teaching : 1) Western minds are inherently biased toward analytical understanding, and 2) Eastern concepts are ill-fitted for analytical treatment. The answer is not to make one substitute for the other but to fully develop each as a complenemtn to the other. The Western side is most seriously lacking at this point in time.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
*However*, I am not sure this model is the best one to apply in *developing* the body conditioning/skill necessary as a base; and once you have switched paradigms (if you were to do so), you might find that other ways of thinking do the job as well - or not.
There is no substitute for practical experience. Practical experience is the common meeting gorund for East and West, and will remain so. Imagery is helpful if it results in demonstrable learning regardless how metaphorical it may actually be. The results in learning prove the efficacy of any such method. But, to make aikido more broadly digestible, it needs a thorough exposition in Western ideas. And Western technical knowledge is anaIytical, not metaphorical. If aikido is truly a universal art, which I believe it to be, it should not suffer from adding an anlytical component as a complement to the traditional knowledge, and may help make it more approachable by smoothing the entry ramp for Westerners.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
The problem is that you're invoking a more complex model than necessary. *Even if* it's possible to construct an analysis that depends on gyrodynamics, I don't think it is as required as you think. For example, you say (about nikkyo) that 'These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means.' I think that's a stretch.
Actually, its a torque, but I know what you mean. Simplification is a task for later. First, we need thoroughness, then we can select the more limited schematics that work best in given circumstances.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
I think most people can see, with a little thought, how a roto-rooter plumbing snake, for example, could be understood without any gyroscopic analysis - if it were rotating very slowly, so I think it's a stretch to say that you need to invoke virtual gyroscopes to explain such a simple phenomenon.
Fair enough. (Realize that you are applying Chinese metaphorical method to a Western image.) Describe how a plumbing snake transmits forces or moves when its potential is increased or released in a manner that does NOT use gyroscopic action in its torsional mechanics. Sprung torque is nothing but rotational potential which is gained by applying rotation, which propagates from loop to loop of the torqued spring in three dimensions.

On the other hand when I use kokyu properly, I am not using either direct or stored potential torque, and I need not do so in nikkyo (altough one can if one prefers to). It is a manipulation of rotational dynamic, which transforms torque forces axially but is not a stored torque potential (wind up) as in the case of a twisted plumber snake spring. Kokyu is not simple twist of uke's arm

Now torque that spring up really good, and note that it will adopt two "spiral" forms on different scales, one in the original untorqued spring length and an even larger spiral that is made by a further three dimensional transformation. The spiral is the shape of minimal internal force for this deformation. Now release one end of it and tell me, by non-gyroscopic means -- which way it will go. Hint - be very careful where you choose to stand based on any such decision ...
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
Why would I argue that the simpler theory is better?
Simplicity is a schematic of information -- which only means that it refers to assumed knoweldge to fill in the gaps. The problem is that it is simple only in its own terms and natural context, implying a very large body of non-Western knowledge that is necessary to reference for full comprehension.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
I will instead point out that the problem with a gyrodynamic model as the core of a theory is that it does not address in any way at all, how to develop the body.
I look at O-Sensei and what he wrote, and I do not see that "development of the body" is really the point. To resort to the traditional terms -- chinkon kishin and takemusu aiki are the ultimate point. Calm the spiriti and return to the divine, and learn how techniques create themselves in the flow of aiki. Nice ideas, but we need to give them expression here and now. In his old age, as his physical power began to seriously wane, he said to the effect that "Now I can really begin to practice aikido." To me this emphasizes the development of sensation and modulation of will, much more than development of the body. The body is the instrument, but not the musician; and tuning the instrument only does so much to improve the performance.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
I further assume that there are things which are hard to understand before you have achieved the practical basis for understanding them.
This is a chicken and egg problem that can be solved by having two bodies of independent but complementary knowledge to apply. Problems hard to envision in one system may be easy to frame in another, and vice versa.
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
It is on that basis that I would be extremely hesitant about synthesizing my own explanation based only on the *result* of training, and not on the method of achieving this result. In other words, your theory is at best *explanatory*, and you admit it is not even fully-functional as such yet. Competing 'theories' *are* 'complete', even if they do not quantitatively address mathematical abstractions.
A not so minor quibble. If the math doesn't work -- it cannot be complete -- as far as Western knowledge is concerned, which is not to say that the math is complete in and of itself. Math itself proves that it is not.
Te
Quote:
Chhi'mèd Künzang wrote:
I don't think trying to find bits and pieces that seem to support your hypothesis really helps either, because it creates a somewhat sketchy intellectual climate - which I know you do not intend.
The point of a proper analysis of the physics is to unerstand both the means as well as the results that they obtain. I am confident enough in the track record of my intuition and cautious enough to be corrected by well-supported argument to the contrary. Which effort I certainly appreciate on your part, particularly. Good aiki works intellectually as well.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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