David Knowlton wrote:
Mode of inquiry:
Erick Mead makes a valid point - why not subject aikido to the rigors of western thought? I criticized him for exactly that, and for talking over people's heads. At age 8 I saw students attaching paper to bushes to measure their growth - abomination! I tore all the papers off. Now, years later I am proud to call myself a scientist.
Since you have a judo background, you know that this was, in many ways, Kano Sensei's intent. He was educated in Western methodologies of Phyisical Education in addition to his jujutsu background. Perhaps it was this new mental paradigm that led him to put "that feeling" into a clear conceptual concept (kuzushi) and develop a sylabus to teach it. Aikido could have used these same concepts and added to them in a similar manner, but for whatever reason it didn't. Personally I think this was because Ueshiba was a martial genious and a deeply religious person, but was not a scientist. He described aikido in just as sophisticated a lexicon as any scientist could hope for, but it was an obscure lexicon of ancient deities and fringe religious teachings. (This last point is admittedly conjecture. I never met the man, never studied with him, but this is the picture I have drawn from all of the primary sources I have read.) That doesn't do me much good. I have a physics degree with a math minor and enough anatomy/physiology/phychology courses to fill entrance requirements for a Physical Therapy program (I was trying to make a career change a while back). I think in structures, rules and psychological phenomena.
One of the greatest gifts I've gotten from my current teacher is a lexicon for aikido/budo/jutsu that actually means something to me. Sometimes I take it too literally, but just as any new language is learned, the subtlety and depth of meaning requires 'living' in the language for a while.
Short version? There are already people and groups out there that have done this to a large degree, but by doing so, have moved themselves out of the art. It's a slippery slope, remember that before you can ask yourself HOW something works, you have to be pretty confident THAT it works.