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Old 08-17-2007, 01:36 PM   #19
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,404
Re: Sword work, internal skill, & "Aiki"

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Kimura is correct and that's the warning that is paramount.... doing techniques without ki/kokyu skills is actually very different from doing them with those skills, even though many people can't see the difference visually because the manipulation of force vectors within your body can't be seen (it's why the Chinese refer to ki-strength as "the concealed strength").

Norinaga's comments, in comparison, are mundane.
Suffice it to say that Norinaga's comments, on any topic -- whatever else may said about them -- are never mundane.

I am not going to get into a jargon preference contest as any set of ideas can map onto a concrete reality in some way or fashion. As I said, whatever works, physics, poetry, psuedo-science, myth .

I anticipate the objection: "Ah, but we are talking about THE concrete reality of movement, not some conceptual balderdash." The point is you cannot separate them. One cannot really move without the mind conceiving movement, anymore than one can really conceive of movement without actually moving. Everything else is illusion. It matters not how we label it on either side unless that description is a barrier to improvement. Analysis requires more precision in description is all, which has some advantages as well as some impediments.

As to Oyomei's famous dictum, what is true of subjective knowledge and action is true also of objective knowledge and action -- any action betrays knowledge, and knowledge discerns action. Not even the mind moves without moving, because the mind is not apart from the body. The more subtle the knowledge the more subtle the action it can perceive or perform and vice versa.

That is another reason to encourage development of greater precision in both the form of knowledge (my focus here) and in the form of action (your focus here). Both perspectives are aided if we acknowledge that the form of either type is ultimately inadequate to the reality of the undivided thing itself -- but also indispensable if we are to communicate it to others.

All that is required is a process to reach progressively subtle understanding in action. For some this is traditional technique combined with kokyu undo. Because technique does not actually work properly without aiki, unless the effortlessness illustrated by proper kokyu undo (quite different from a foolish lack of effort) is being achieved in technique it is not actually fully realizing aiki.

Your school of thought correctly diagnoses two common problems in that approach -- the person does not know that technique is not actually working, either 1) because of excessive cooperation or 2) because they imagine that proper application of technique in aiki requires any significant force to apply). Both errors may present barriers to progress but there is nothing about practicing aiki in technique that makes those errors inevitable or even likely.

Just because some find a barrier to improvement in one process does not mean that it is a barrier for all or even most. For some solo kata work is preferred or predominant because they have a barrier that prevents progress when they have a partner. For some perhaps, it may be in sparring. Although I find this is antithetical to proper aikido for considered reasons beyond mere authority against it, I am willing to acknowledge the variety of human experience may make it worthwhile for some and so would concede the point. For some, movement exercises without direct martial reference may work better or be predominant, as they may have barriers because they find forms of movement restrictive to progress.

In short, it is wrong to over-extend anyone's own experience as a hard-wired template for the development of others. A point which is NOT mundane precisely because the tendency to do so is all too common and thus goes unrecognized or unquestioned. This may be one reason for the lack of detailed explanation or repetition offered by thye Founder of the art. One's own experience can only be a point of beginning to another one trying to follow.


Erick Mead
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