Erick Mead wrote:
The reason for my question is straightforward. Those normative systems developed particularly by Tomiki and Shioda have articulated their sense of training by devising some degree of prescribed progression. The same has not really been done (or at least I have not seen it) in any "systematic" way to describe the variational or "chaotic" approach.
To do so would require, not a prescribed progression of techniques, but a rubric for selecting root and branch patterns for each iteration of training. A rubric, while not prescriptive as to the variations for each stage of trainiing or class, would be a guage to see if a relatively complete coverage of concepts was adequately achieved over some period of time. This would give a consistent means to answer Takamura Sensie's valid criticism of the potential deficits of this approach, if done poorly.
The treatment of the "transition" is an important issue from your perspective, while the assurance that key concepts are not overlooked is an important one from mine. I like to learn from others how related problems are treated, since they may have related solutions. I see them as related teaching methodolgy problems.
Both are concerned with achieving a holistic whole at the end, and both have potential gaps that must be dealt with. On the one hand your approach has a substantial and somewhat continuous gap that must be filled in to move over from defined form to spontanaeity. The variational approach has many potentially smaller, scattered and discontinuous gaps that also need to be assured of "filling in."
Perhaps I can help give a perspective to your question.
I have trained/am training/continuing training in 3 different systems that branched from Tomiki, Shioda, and Tohei.
I would say that the Tomiki and Shioda branches are structured and that the Tohei branch style isn't.
Tomiki and Shioda:
Definitive basic building blocks that are set and have structure. As you said, there is a degree of progression.
More loosely held building blocks that tend not to have a degree of progression. As you said, a variational approach.
So, how does one go from basics to free-form?
In the structured environment, one learns prescribed movements to effect certain outcomes. As the building blocks are put into place and randori is initially engaged, one finds that a pattern can be held based upon the building blocks. However, as one progresses into randori, one finds the building blocks inadequate to a free-form environment. In other words, a classic, cut and dried kotegaeshi rarely happens in randori. So, one finds that by taking the basics of the building blocks, one can adapt them to a free-form environment. The basics are there, one need only smooth them out for a free flow environment.
In a variational approach, one learns multiple techniques in a non-structured way. A more free flowing approach is produced where one trains in techniques rather than a progressive building block. As one progresses from this to randori, or free form, one finds that this variational approach is inadequate. In this approach, one has the free form and finds that by truly understanding those free forms, that there is a basic underlying principle. As one understands the basics and underlying principles more and more, one finds that the free style can be adapted to the randori environment.
Does that make sense?
All my opinion,