Erick Mead wrote:
Consider this from an interview with Ushiro Sensei. He gives a five level progression of learning in budo, really almost irrespective of art. It is interesting in that it is largely defined in the first two stages from the perspective of the person applying the art, but in the higher stages more from the person receiving the applicaiton of the art, rather than the person applying it. I know I don't feel the "hardness and rigidity" he speaks of inside or out.Ushiro is at pains to make clear that the "baseline" is not something you "go beyond" or outgrow, but an integral part of the development that remains with you and that you still work with and work on even at the highest levels. In his description the "baseline" runs throughout the progression, merely with grreater and greater realization.
The highest category he describes as "your opponent attempts to attack, but you check, stop, or control him using your ki (energy, intention)."
Lastly, Ushiro speaks about the integration of theory and practice, a point worthwhile to our discussion: That is the question I dwell on. Anyone here is free judge the specificity of my descriptions, or those of anyone else posting, whether we are asking Ushiro's practical question about an empirical theory or merely an academic, theoretical one.
Hi Erick, I read the same article last night after class. The hard/soft theory is interesting. Also interesting is that he numbered them first to fifth, but then says "it's not necessarily a logical progression". It's certainly hard to get a feel for what he means. "hard" could mean strong, solid, centered or even more powerful kokyu as opposed to light, effortless, guiding. Would have to talk to him about it to have a clue.
His thoughts on useability go right to the heart of the matter though. Does it work, and does it work consistently, and does it work in response to any style of attack? If I critiqued my aikido, I would say yes, it works. Consistently, no. Not yet because I need more training, IMO. With any style attack, no, not yet. As Ushiro said, irrespective of aikido, higher level budo doesn't involve technique. The mere extension of one's ki is sufficient. I'm not there...yet.
He says learn through the body, not through the mind. Perhaps the answer lies in more practice.