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Old 06-26-2008, 11:10 AM   #30
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Erick Mead wrote: View Post
There are many, many valid ways of expressing the concept of an irreducible concrete reality. I don;t think any one here is contending there is any different concrete reality we are talking about -- and the resort to ad-hom assumptions about people's bonafides of understanding (vice levels of skill in performance, which are not at issue here, given Dan's framing of the topic) doesn't change that.

Some ways of approach are mythopoetic and more ritualized (Abe, for example, and Shaun follwoing himon that particular theme of O Sensei). Some adopt the mythic elements lose the ritualized components (losing a significant functional component of that scheme, IMO, and enter a slippery slope to aiki-bunnydom).
I feel like your argument is a another one of those fallbacks to "there are many valid approaches" idea that is usually the first signal of trouble. There are many paths... but there are many wrong paths, too, it must be recognized. The chances of a wrong path are much greater than a correct path. There are, as I said, a few simple concepts like the ground and weight (aka "the ki of earth" and "the ki of heaven" and other perspectives about the same thing) that anyone who really knows these things will spot right away. That's been the case, in my years of experience, over and over again. I've never seen anyone who really had these skills that couldn't pick up the basics in the sort of simplified conversations we've had. So the idea that there are some westerners, raised in the world of western-technology and forces, *not* native or ancient Japanese, who are grooving on "mythopoetic" and vague directions... yet who are deriving substantive results that they just can't explain... Well, I'll leave that one to you.
Some are relentlessly pragmatic (Dan) to the near exclusion of conceptualized expression. Some are able, but self-critical open ended inquirers (Rob L.). Some are knowledgeable of a body of non-western empirical systematic understanding, (Mike S.) That is so comprehensive in its own terms, it does not easily make room for alien concepts, like physics.
I think we've been through this a couple of times. I don't know what Dan thinks, since I've never seen him really explain much. The simplified cross-paradigm approach I tend to use tends to try to highlight the classical Asian ki/qi-perspective, but it's matched against reasonably clear vector physics and practical explanations. Your personal opinion that the explanations should conform to pure equations, etc., I simply reject because it would be as meaningless as describing how to ride a bicycle using angular-moment, inertia, and so forth. While you continue to *demand* that descriptions suit your criteria, you must be aware by now that many people seem to be making great strides without the math and they're well-beyond you in understanding now.

But regardless of all the arguments and "here's my way", the basics are easily attainable through fairly simple discussion. If someone really knows these things, there are never any of these endless arguments. If someone doesn't know, but wants to pretend that he does, there are invariably endless arguments, personal attacks, and no real specifics.

In the case where some specifics have been offered in the past by the "I know it, too" people, a few specifics have been clear enough to allow those with some grasp of basics to understand that the basics weren't understood by the "I know it, too's".

The problem is that the conversations devolve into bickering and tangents because of a few people who publicly want to maintain their facade. Almost every time. And these are such simple and productive topics to be having, if it weren't for the games-playing. Maybe that's why it takes outsiders to Aikido to get anything done in Aikido?


Mike Sigman
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