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Old 03-24-2007, 07:17 PM   #33
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
... I am wondering however if the few screaming voices we hear in online forums regarding a general lack of knowledge in Aikido is truly representative of the feeling towards training in the real world at large. From people I have met and trained with, it seems like the online "reality" may be illusory.
I tend to agree. People come here for exploration because they want to find something. Thus, those who come here are self-selected to acknowledge they are missing something to begin with. Myself included. I just don't feel I am missing what they do.

Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
The bottom line is that the majority of Aikidoka have no objective idea what they are doing because they have no objective means of verifying and judging what they are doing. This is why it is so easy to move them with alternative ideas. Until this is addressed there will always be questions, even if we are overflowing with ki/chi or are totally independent of any organization in our attempt to find the "true" path. We are responsible for what we achieve or don't achieve.
That is why I find it astonishing that almost 40 years after the Founder died we have no comprehensive description of aiki principles in purely Western, objective, physical terms. At best we have but halting and partial attempts at such a description. I do not pretend that such a effort would be complete in itself, by any means. But the concepts underlying aikido will remain alien in the West and at risk for their future transmission until they are fully nativized in objective physical terms .

The present lack of such an approach to the description of mechanical priniples is one reason why western students have difficulty making objective assesments of their own progress, in a cooperative training art. Not everyone is a physicist, but the knowledge of practical mechanics is very widespread, and in the English speaking world, particularly so.

Having an objective set of physical principles to rely on makes it far easier to dissect one's mistakes, identify a problem, and make a correction to poor movement. My effort in working out such a description for myself has so far been limited, but frutiful, even so.

What I have worked out I have described in part here in various posts, and blog entries. Using these descriptions of what I do and see others doing, I have seen real gains in my ability to perceive problems of movement in a more detailed fashion. I have increased my the ability to identify components of movement more particularly, and more objectively, and thus to pick out those that are problematic. I am able better to describe in purely physical terms what I am doing. I am better able to describe for students what they are failing to do in their practice in ways that they can grasp because it has a root in an objective, physical action they can envision.

No academic understanding can substitute for the feel of proper movements. Routine and rigorous training is indispensable. However, objective description of the physical priniciples is seriously lacking. My working out of these physical principles in kokyu, aiki and the nature of musubi very likely lacks a great deal, and definitely has a long way to go. But no one else that I have discovered is approaching the material in this way. That, in my view, underlies much of the concern with the reliablity of transmission in our technologically oriented Western culture.


Erick Mead
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