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Old 08-15-2008, 10:46 AM   #109
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
Re: "Aiki" in Russian Video Clips

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I remember you did this type of analysis before:
but my understanding and THE point here is that you do not claim the ability to be able to do any of the things Dan does and teaches in terms of using aiki.
In this medium, Dan chooses not to be very specific very often about what does do. Should I assume he can't specify because he can't do things? Hardly fair, and yet that is the standard that Dan seems to apply in reverse.

Since Dan comes from a tradition that does not openly share such things, that may be understandable. When he comes into contact with someone who forcefully seeks the transparency and objectivity of Western thought on such topics (not without its own limitations, I assure you), there will be some misunderstandings. I try to treat them charitably so far as I can and I only draw the line at anyone misrepresenting what I have said. I think Dan does try to treat the issue charitably, that point notwithstanding, within his own manner of thinking. But he way over-judges from this medium what he himself says this medium cannot disclose. He is just wrong about what he thinks I have said or what that means.

I have tried to tie him down to objective definitions of jargon of the type that I pointed out that you yourself have now adopted -- as in quantifying and qualifying the issues of "pushing " and moving " and what he means by that. He has taken my attempt to tie his terms of art to objective criteria as a lack of understanding what he says, but when he is as specific as he just was on the point of training shiko it is is simple to show the points of congruence in how he understands things and how I understand them, and their relationship to traditional concepts such as asagao, which is a very rich image.

Jargon is fine as shorthand -- but people have to acknowledge the limitations that closed terms of art have both in extending knowledge beyond what is known, and extending that knowledge to those that do not know it as well.
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
If that is the case, and you can model it so well, what's the point? Who does it possibly help? I'm seriously not trying to pick a fight - I'm just really not understanding your intention.
It is a difference of types of knowledge -- between alchemy and chemistry. Both play with the same stuff, but their approach and ways of describing and understanding what they are doing are radically different. Both can make silver fulminate, for example ( which I most definitely DO NOT recommend, BTW) -- but they understand what that thing is very differently, even if they both handle it with equal care and understanding of its uses and hazards. It leads them to approach other knowledge differently when trying to relate different things to common principles.

As to the applicability of my approach, Dan's training ( as I would perceive it to be from what he has said is in the slow solo structural working of finding the torsional shear paths through the body, as I view the question and just illustrated. (Shioda's "Big toe = kokyu ryoku" comment makes perfect sense from my way of thinking -- but I have no idea how Dan might view that. The mode is as Chris Moses has said, of presenting a relaxed structural "wall" to the opponent. Dan criticizes the rather more loose and pendular action of traditional waza training (which is also present some solo training also, like udefuri undo or happo undo.

As the blog link of mine that you attached shows, they are the same things at a fundamental level. They only appear superficially different. The result being a warning for students of both approaches -- if you concentrate on the differences rather than the similarities (in either mode of action ) you are likely to be led astray. Of course, if one is never aware from the beginning that there even ARE any similarities then it is matter of blind chance if you stumble over them, and even then likely in ways you are predisposed to misperceive.

When you speak of Gleason "rewiring" it is evidence -- to me at least (at an obvious remove) -- that at an intuitive level he has grasped the fundamental similarity in his own terms. Your complaint has been that his understanding has not been made express in ways you were easily grasping. So you seek training in another mode to see what is missing. Kudos to you.

I am trying to make overt what is hidden by altering the perspective in understanding how we train and why we train (read the title of my blog) -- regardless of the mode or type of training. The thing hidden in plain sight can be looked at from the right side or the left side. It can easily disappear from view in either case.

Experience is the best guide. I spent ten years flying and looking at a problem from above enables you to see some aspects of BOTH of those perspectives simultaneously -- thus, there are fewer places for the knowledge to hide. It revolutionized practical warfare; and a similar change of perspective can alter an understanding of aiki and budo. It is a radically different perspective, and may not suffer the same limitations of perception (it has others, certainly).


Erick Mead