Thread: Chinkon Kishin
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:11 PM   #18
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

The Ki and Kokyu skills can be done at many levels of ability and sophistication and they can be trained in a number of different ways, as long as someone understands how the development and usage is done. So what happens is that there are essentially two things that need to be watched, in terms of "transmission": the historical development and teachings of Aikido in general; the transmission of the core skills of ki and kokyu.
... Tohei's or Sunadomari's Aikido may look widely divergent from each others' or from Shioda's, but the basic principles are the same. Do they adhere to the steps of Misogi as outlined? I doubt it. But it doesn't really matter because the actual "transmission" of Aikido entails certain principles, not rituals.
Proof is in the pudding -- and to my mind explains the way that the waza and the kokyu undo (of which the chinkon kishin sequence is a subset, to my mind) have been mutually reinforcing elements of the whole in the way it was handed down to us.

The kokyu undo are not applied but paradigmatic; the waza are applied, but are not per se constrained by the aiki paradigm. For this reason it is quite easy to have waza that looks and feels almost entirely like good aikido doesn't.

Tohei seems to have taken the distinction in principle and applicaiton and broadened it nearly to he point of separation. I have no basis, nor interest in making judgemtns about the effecitveness of that as pedagogy or its wisdom on other grounds or in seeking other purposes.

The waza performed according to the aiki paradigm -- as schematized in the kokyu undo, and the undo performed with an eye to actually being able to perform technique in that manner, together provided a positive reinforcing feedback for each other. Or so I see it, and do see it functioning well in regular practice improvements in our dojo, operative elements of a whole.

I won't pretend speak for Saotome Shihan or his direct students, but for me, having learned in this mode, the feedback mechanism seems from my perspective to be the way he intended to have it taught. It does not appear to me that Saotome has ever stopped developing jhis aikido, nor that he expects ever to stop. The repeated observation of many even very senior students of Saotome in the constant evolution in the details of his kumitachi can perhaps be understood in this way. Such teaching may approach the seemingly arbitrary, increasingly blurring between the "set" forms of waza, but it is a teaching approach precisely echoing the natural evolutionary interactions between genotype and phenotype. It is, whatever the "inheritance" was intended to be, the part of the inheritance that I "got."

From my experience I will say that through this training more and more action becomes progressively compliant to the paradigm of the principles. "Technique" becomes increasingly natural. By this evolving recursion, the errors are progressively left aside, in both application and principle.

That has been my experience of the transmission and emulation that is under discussion, both in teaching and being taught, and seems to conform to the experience of those I train with.


Erick Mead
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