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Old 03-17-2007, 11:41 AM   #4
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Re: Ki, Aiki, Aikido. The 'internal stuff' that never left Aikido

Mike Haft wrote:
Whilst constantly being told to 'use weight underside' I would be screaming in my mind 'BUT HOW???? YOU HAVEN'T TOLD ME HOW!' I later figured out that they had and that I just hadn't noticed because I was a product of an education system where things were spoon-fed to me more often than not rather than a place which encouraged me to look for things on my own.
Before I stepped outside of aikido, I would have been sympathetic to that view. But the first place I looked outside, I was seriously forced to reconsider: the method of transmission is as important, if not more important, than the content. I was just overwhelmed by how another martial skill set was systematically approaching teaching, it was:

1) student gets initial exercise which, regardless of how he interprets it, so long as he does what looks to be correct, then he has felt certain bodily sensations the teacher himself feels when doing it

2) student gets further exercises where he can, without limit and without supervision, refine those sensations/qualities and expand them over all the body and its movement, according to a set of objective criteria

3) student gets even further exercises by which he can immediately verify to himself his progression in wiring those qualities into the body

So from day 1, the student has felt what he needs to cultivate, he is given a way to cultivate it, and he is shown how to verify that he has done it correctly. The student just has to put in a ton of self-study and refinement after that. Labels as to what the concepts are are avoided in instruction: just feel it, practice it, do it.

Contrasted to being given an explanation of what he should feel - if he's lucky getting to feel what his teacher is doing from the outside - and then always second-guessing himself, "Hmm, maybe what I did felt sort of like that", for years on end, and chasing after abstract linguistic constructs which no one can seem to authoritatively define.

If it's going to be a long journey, how far can you go if you can't even take the first significant step as soon as possible? And if you're not even quite sure where you're supposed to be going?

Even if something can possibly achieve a desired result, you have to ask: how well, and for how many?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 03-17-2007 at 11:47 AM.
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