Re: What Exactly Are We Practicing Here?
Nice essay, evoked a strong response from me!
The main problem pointed out by the essay is the issue of how ki study is presented to students. Ki-study is a long term investment with a lot of uncertainty and as such the student needs a LOT of blind faith right in the beginning where they are still learning to feel something which essentially can't be directly activated. For example in Yiquan a beginner spends the first year (?) standing in the corner like a dunce doing "absolutely nothing" (in inverted commas because it's a bit more complicated that just nothing). If you don't know what that's for of course you'd go "eh, screw this" and leave.
Now if the student believes that ki is an abstraction or some kind of high ideal, or simply a "state of mind", there is no way they'll connect to the idea that you need the power and smoothness given by proper internal structure to perform aikido the way it was intended. A student with such beliefs would be much better served by going to an "external" aikido style where they will eventually learn the same material through technical practice.
I think the article makes a great point about the role of the instructor advising the student about what they're getting into and why, and the well-informed student understanding their own learning style and the availability of alternatives.
Last edited by Haowen Chan : 05-19-2007 at 08:03 AM.