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Old 01-13-2007, 08:54 PM   #13
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Stealing techniques

Ignatius Teo wrote:
Why would it be necessary to limit the information? Why not simply explain clearly the direction that the student should be working towards? If you could "steal" it, it almost seems pointless to hide or limit the information to begin with. What viable reasons could possibly exist that would warrant such subterfuge? After all, it might take someone twice as long to figure it out, if they have to steal it first. I believe this is the point George is making.
Well, when I said that I was thinking more of the idea that... after a certain basic level has been taught to all students... a teacher can rightfully reserve his own knowledge of "advanced techniques" as a gift to those who he feels deserves it. In other words, most of what we've argued back and forth about for many months and many threads has been about missing and necessary *basic* information. The information I was thinking about as rightfully limited would be above that.

From a traditional standpoint, there was also the recognized necessity of keeping your art as viable as possible by limiting the "secret knowledge" to as few people as possibility. That necessity, or tangents to that necessity, might justify limiting some pieces of information.

I enjoy these discussions about basics and I would be happy to see more of the ki-type body mechanics become widely known to Aikido students, but there are areas of things I don't even publicly hint at (even on QiJing) because I want to be able to choose who I give things to.... it's just human nature to do things like that, I think.
Whilst "stealing" might connotate a fraudulent, felonious or clandestine act, I think it is generally understood in the sense of gleaning something in an unobtrusive manner, by means of gradual and imperceptible appropriation - merely by being more vigilant in the way we observe, listen and intuit - which I believe is (an integral) part of the training itself.
Well, I was talking about something else, in terms of my comment about "stealing a technique". What I meant was that "stealing a technique" was really "figuring out how to do something". I have used the same analogy that George used, the one about "learning how to ride a bicycle", as an example of how the body skills can be viewed. It's a good analogy because it indicates pretty clearly how these things aren't that hard to do, even though it's difficult as hell to describe how to do them in writing. However, it's not a complete analogy, so let me attach a second analogy by saying that these skills are like "doing the splits.... you may know how to do them after someone explains and shows you how, but until your body is conditioned to do them, you'll never do them." Howzat?

What I mean is that even if you "steal a technique", knowing how and doing it will often require a lot of work to condition your body, your hara, your "connection", whatever, to the point of doing it.


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