Ignatius Teo wrote:
Which is the point I'm making, that some element of having to figure it out for yourself still remains.
I absolutely agree. However, part of my point is that I personally see a certain beauty to the idea of "you figure it out"... it's a method of conferring a "degree" on the guy who can show he can do the stuff which is supposed to be reserved for the best and smartest anyway. Cute, isn't it?
But I do get your point, one shouldn't be required to steal what is basic and necessary... The issue is - what is the *basic* and *necessary* information that's missing.... if you don't know what's missing (or that anything is missing) how would you know what you're missing?
Some of that's going to be open to interpretation, but I think the Ki-Society basic-movement stuff I saw (by some, not all) at the Shaner workshop should be like a given at every Aikido dojo, regardless of style. As I've said, I think their stuff can be taught quicker, more directly, a little more sophisticated in upper ability, etc., but that's just an opinion and quibble.... the point is that Tohei was more or less laying out an acceptable ground level for these skills. That Shaner-workshop-level-stuff would be my recommendation for a baseline of skills that are a "must" in any Aikido dojo.
So, what needs to happen here? Do we need to go "outside" to "get it"... knowing full well that we may have to resort to "stealing" from someone else as well? Or do we stay and figure it out in the hope that sensei favors us enough to divulge the necessary information?
It's already happening. Look at what's been happening the in the last couple of years:
People in many different arts are beginning to realize that the basic mechanisms for doing a lot of the ki/kokyu stuff are in other arts, too.... so they're already out there looking for information and getting some. A sterling example would be Ikeda Sensei getting information from Ushiro. Now the important thing to note about Ushiro Sensei is that while he's certainly got some ki/kokyu skills, he does a variation of them that is not the same as Ueshiba or some of the early Aikido people did. The other *very* important thing to note is that just because someone in one art knows how to do these skills, you can't rightfully expect everyone who does that art to have those skills. For instance, even though Ushiro uses these skills in his karate, most karate people (particularly in the West) don't have a clue what these skills are. Just like some people in Aikido have these skills... but if you go down to Joe Blow's Dojo you'll find he's clueless, even if he can "talk the talk".
Some people are going to see Akuzawa. Some people are going to see Dan. Some people are going to see Shaner. Some people are going to see Abe, Inaba, etc., etc. The cat's already out of the bag.
The point is that people in Aikido proper are already sourcing this information, so the process is starting. There's not much anyone can do to stop it. Fairly soon, some dojo's and groups are going to have these skills and some dojo's and groups will not. I.e., there will be some further factionalization of Aikido. Ultimately, not only in Aikido but in other arts where this is happening, the "not-have" lines will die out or be relegated to backwater areas.
The idea of "going outside", while I understand it, is sort of alien to my way of thinking. For me to "go outside" of the Asian martial arts would mean that I would have to go to Greco-Roman wrestling, Jogo do Pau, or something..... i.e., I tend to see the Chinese-Japanese-Indonesian-Korean arts as all being pretty much based on the same things, so it's not really "outside". When Ueshiba studied his other arts, I think that while he recognized them as separate arts in their own right, he also still saw them as being part of the general martial arts grouping which he was interested in... he didn't see those arts as "outside", if you see what I mean. Aikido is only a closed-world to many of the people inside of it.... any reasonably knowledgeable 'outsider' sees it as just part of the family.
What would I do? I'd go where the information was, IF the information was not only there but also available to learn. Going someplace to have someone lord their skills over you is longterm not worthwhile. Personally, I went and learned from a lot of people until I felt like they were at the limit of what they would show me. Then I worked by myself and looked for the next guy. I relied on the "One Upmanship Principle". I would be nice, work hard, and show them what I could already do.... and of course if they could one-up me, they just had to, in order to keep the pecking order straight.
But, to get back on topic, you can't figure this stuff out totally on your own and you can't just learn it in a month.
So I'd suggest people go see Ushiro, go see what Rob John and Akuzawa can do, go see what Dan can do, go see Abe Sensei, Tohei, go see Shaner Sensei. Steal wherever you can. The instructors are the ones who should be moving the fastest on this, because it's already happening around them.
On a side note, I posted a comparison of 2 videos the other day on QiJing which I think is worth mulling over. It's a brief look at a small part of the overall skills included in the ki/kokyu area (by no means is it meant to represent all there is). The first video is of Ueshiba showing a few bits of bouncing Uke's away using kokyu and ki (he's over 80 years old, so his level is not up for discussion. Period). The second video is someone skilled in Yiquan (I-chuan) doing some of the same things. These are Asia-wide demonstrations of the same power and you'll find them in Ueshiba, Yiquan, Taiji, Japanese sword experts, Xingyi, you name it. Understanding that these skills are common to Asian arts is a big step forward:
Ueshiba Sensei demo:
Master Sum demo: