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Old 12-01-2006, 10:16 PM   #34
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: opening the joints

Cady Goldfield wrote:
Interesting, but why don't you just DO? In Asia, you'd get smacked upside the head for thinking in class. We Westerners are so into analyzing everything instead of just learning to walk the walk.
Looking around, I'd say I am not in Asia. I don't need my ticket punched. The assumption that the place where development began is the place where development is continuing to occur is romantic, but false -- among other false but romantic assumptions. A good read on these points from the "Western Aikido" discussion:

Having said, and accepting the need for chastening unwarranted romanticism, I still give mythic statements of knowledge, metaphysics and psychology a lot of credit. They condense a lot of complex information into powerful mnemonic and recursive imagery.

That is as true of O Sensei's Doka and kotodama mandala as it is of Chinese traditional knowledge. That kind of mythic information doesn't bound itself into a well understood box -- it points beyond itself without boundaries. That's why it has appeal to us. Like juji -- the cross shape - (or spirals) the arms can reach to infinity without altering the essential shape.

Westerners excel, not merely by thinking outside the box. Ask Jim Lovell, or Gene Kranz. Hell, we don't even make boxes -- we break most of the one's we're given. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's good, but it's who we are.

I categorically reject the categorical rejection of working through the concepts. O Sensei didn't. Musashi didn't. Sun Tzu didn't. I couldn't move a comma in their work, but I doubt that any of them intended it to be repeated by rote, rather than explored and considered from novel perspectives.

If I just accept categories handed to Mike or Dan or Cady or Gernot, and then handed on to me, without challenging them and making their concepts deal or fail in terms of other categories or applications -- I am not doing budo and I am not true to my own heritage, either.


Erick Mead
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