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Old 10-02-2008, 12:12 PM   #135
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think if you ask *anyone* at your Itten workshop just what kind of skill level we were exposed to, *no one* there would answer that they were in your league. In fact, speculation of this kind has been conversational pieces between various people for a little while now. It is just that no one really ever wanted to say it out in public.

Seriously, I see and feel some of what you do and I see vids of Tohei and I don't think Tohei is in your league. Certainly, that is my informed opinion, but I think it's true.
No offense, Mark, and you've met me enough to know that I talk offhand and directly in person exactly as I do in writing... but with no animus.

First of all, I don't like becoming part of a discussion. It's what I meant by "ad hominem"... the actual issue changes to personal stuff and I dislike it because it constantly goes off topic.

Me personally and my skills? They're mediocre, Mark. I've met some real professionals and I'd honestly peg my skills at mediocre because that's my accurate gauge. Tohei's skills? I know a few things he didn't know (I can see that in the way he moves and the things he did in his techniques), but those few extra things I know don't pull the balance toward me being better than Tohei. My judgement of Tohei would easily be that overall he was better than me by a pretty good amount. He is/was a martial artist; I'm someone who focuses on the how's and why's of internal strength development. Probably someone at the Itten Dojo will wind up in the next few years being more skillful than I am and they'll be doing it in more of a martially-organized context than I do.... they will be more in line to be compared to Tohei. I'm not.
There are people with 30-40 years in the Aikido world that aren't in your league either. We (the aikido world) missed something in the training. It's a bold statement but I think it's almost time for people to start opening their boxes and taking a hard, critical view towards just how long all the greats took versus how long quite a lot of us have spent so far to get nowhere near the greats.
Well sure there are people with a lot of time in Aikido, karate, judo, Tai Chi, etc., who don't have the internal strength skills that I do, but in the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king. In other words, what happened with the loss of the ki skills damaged many peoples' abilities who sincerely applied themselves to a number of various arts. Those arts are simply waiting to be reinvested with the skills. Since I don't practice any specific martial arts anymore, I'm actually outside of that conversation. To me, personally, I feel like an interested spectator watching the denouement of a soap-opera. Nothing more. Seriously. Someday when your own skills get pretty advanced, you'll be able to see what my real level is and you'll appreciate the fact that I didn't over-blow my own horn or allow anyone to do if for me.

I know you've worked hard to get where you are now. You've had to.
The best thing we can do right now, in my opinion, is to get off all this talk about personalities and try to keep the topic of these skills as clinical as we can. The personality stuff is, again IMO, an embarrassment that doesn't belong in serious martial arts.

Show me what you can do... that's fine. I appreciated the effort you put into the videos you posted on YouTube. Talk about what you're practicing, what you think is most effective, how to do some basic and necessary skills in Aikido, and so on. But let's get off of the personality discussions (and I know that you mean well by them, so don't take me wrongly). Jim Sorrentino argues well and he can be rebutted factually without anyone's name being mentioned, if the topics are kept clinical. That level of professionalism in Aikido would be, IMO, as great a boon as instilling ki/kokyu skills back into the art.


Mike Sigman
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