View Single Post
Old 02-01-2007, 09:13 AM   #314
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Baseline skillset

Ignatius Teo wrote:
Therein, I think, lies the problem... without any rudimentary body conditioning routine, the beginner is thus thrown in at the deep end of.... form and technique. Recall that Ueshiba M required students to have a foundation in another martial art before accepting them.
And the secrets are in the techniques -- he said that, too.
Ignatius Teo wrote:
The problem is everyone glosses over the "warm up" exercises to get to the "meat" of the class - waza, waza and more waza....
Speak for yourself. Not here. Warmups are not really for "toning" the body anyway, so much as setting the limit governors on connection for the whole practice, so that each student feels in every joint the limits of the structure for that day, and feels in their own body the internal connections that he or she will be externalizing with the partner. We beat on the arms, legs and body to feel the internal atemi connection also. That is the point of the warmups, to draw attention to the sensations of the body in the various types of connection.

If you aren't going carefully enough to feel what is happening then you aren't learning anything. Note: I did not say slowly -- I said carefully. Nothing about aikido -- or any budo for that matter -- lends itself to empty-headed repetition. That's why I am still doing it. Sometimes the engaged dynamic teaches what the exercise simply cannot.

There are fairly immediate limits to the usefulness of training the fundamental motion of bicycling without actually being on a bike. In fact some of the more important fundamentals, like the nature of dynamic balance, you simply cannot learn on a static trainer or by "conditioning" spinning exercises for your legs to move the feet in ever more precise or efficient circles of the pedals.

Ushiro Sensei, whom you all point to as a guide from the 2006 summer camp, echoed my analogy in his comments leading to that training event:
Ushiro Sensei wrote:
In the same way that you only truly appreciate the utility and enjoyment of riding a bicycle once you have mastered it, it is only when you are able to freely use the techniques contained within kata that you come to appreciate the profound nature of the kata themselves. However, unlike our bicycle analogy, because the kata are not purely physical constructs they are substantially more difficult to internalize.... Just as the multiplication tables form the foundation of basic arithmetic, kata form the foundation of bujutsu and budo. Only through repeated practice of these foundational elements can we arrive at an understanding of their essence. In turn, it is only from that point that we can begin to explore concrete applications.

Frank Doran Sensei quoted Yagyu Jubei in his commetns for the same event
Fank Doran wrote:
-- Principle and Technique are firmly tied together. At the very heart of every technique lies a basic principle. Look beyond technique and discover the principle that gives it life.
-- Technique is the hammer that drives the principle into our consciousness. Without technique - the principle has no way to express itself - it is just an idea.
And lastly, Ikeda Sensei
Ikeda Sensei wrote:
The attitude of many people studying martial arts seems to be that it is enough to train only techniques and not the fundamental martial spirit that vitalizes them.

When a large number of techniques and movements are understood only intellectually, the application of those techniques is diminished. Budo that is informed by purely cerebral understanding has a tendency to become a 'fantasy' budo. we age our muscle strength wanes, ... The underlying principle of budo is that no matter how old one gets, one should be able to deal with a person of greater strength using the techniques and spiritual mastery one develops through training. The fact that the budo we are practicing does not lead in that direction or prepare us for when we get older tells us we are practicing something very different from the original martial arts.
I am very comfortable with my arc along this spectrum as laid out by Ikeda Sensei -- in terms of my increase of ability and comfort in dealing with much greater strength -- at the same time that I begin to see my physical capacity waning. I must conclude therefore that I am doing something right.


Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote