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Old 09-18-2008, 07:25 PM   #62
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So Dan or Mike, what "level" of this skill set do you think it good enough before it is shared with the uninitiated? I was thinking once I could do a series of those super punches (you tell me what to call them). But maybe that is not yet good enough either. I still don't know enough to even evaluate what the level should be myself. We can talk off line too. It's just that this is the "in what manner" thread...
There is a problem in gauging exactly what level is appropriate for various martial arts. The same question arises for a number of arts. Let's take an art outside of Aikido, for instance Judo, and try to decide what is the appropriate level of ki/kokyu skills.

First of all, we have to decide what the founder of Judo (Jigoro Kano) knew and intended. Let's say, as a talking point, that Jigoro Kano had skills of level 5 (on a 1-to-10 scale) and that his Judo consisted of all viable Judo waza plus his own personal skills of level 5. The problem is that most people going into Judo have no idea that Kano had some skills in these areas (later records indicate that he did, BTW). So most people think that Judo has to do with the many Judo techniques (same is true of Aikido) and the smoothness with which they are executed.

But let's say that Judo people begin to understand via various indicators (like the kata in Judo, old films, etc.) that Kano had some specific skills that relate to ki/kokyu. How much of those skills did he have? We don't know precisely. But generally we could postulate that anyone with less than those skills is not complete enough (as a legitimate debate point), right? How about if one of Kano's students like Mifune actually had more ki/kokyu skills than Kano himself did? Would that still be legitimate Judo if even more ki/kokyu skills were applied to Judo? You see the point, which is the same basic question that Rob is asking... what is the level of ki/kokyu skills that is legitimately a requisite before teaching them as part of "Aikido"?

Tohei answered this question by setting up a separate ranking system for ki/kokyu skills. Now that I understand what Tohei did (and believe me, we *all* start from ignorance), I think he brilliantly foresaw the problem and stepped around it.

What is the rest of Aikido going to do, though?

Honestly, I think that remains to be seen and the answer is going to be determined by the rank and file of Aikido (for instance the readers of AikiWeb, other forums, various Aikido organizations, etc.).

For the moment, my personal and general answer would be that someone should be able to replicate some general ki-ability tests similar to the ones that Tohei set up (BTW, I am not a Tohei student or even a particular fan of his). That's the first thing. Secondly, they need to be able to move (sans shoulder reliance) with these skills before they are qualified to *teach* these skills as part of Aikido. But that's just my personal and general answer. In reality I realize that during this transition from chaos to order there will be a lot of different answers. And that's fair enough. All I would personally ask is that teachers respect the idea that their students are humans too, and if you lead them wrong you do them wrong. Be sure you're right before you start preaching the gospel.


Mike Sigman
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