Re: Who's got IT and can and will teach it?
While I really applaud and encourage the effort to seek out instructors who not only possess some level of IS, but can actually teach it, I'd offer the caveat that you're opening a can worms with your request; as evinced by most of the threads on this forum dealing with IT/IS, a greater number of folks purport to have some understanding of what IT and IS are than can actually cogently describe even the most obvious, fundamental manifestations thereof (and as tough as these skills are to acquire, the various tests/expressions of basic competency -- and I mean basic -- are very easy to describe and engage in), let alone actually demonstrate the slightest IS skills.
I think what you're going to end up with is a never-ending list of shining recommendations from well-meaning folks who have misinterpreted decent external martial skill -- and even more likely, crappy external martial skill - as being the Queen of Our Dreams. All of which, inevitably, will deteriorate into a series of indignant counter-posts claiming that so-and-so has been unfairly left off the list, or ad hominem attacks on anyone challenging the efficacy of such-and-such an organization's martial skill and teaching methodology. I mean, it's great fun if you have a bucket of popcorn and a good comfy seat (and nothing more worthwhile to occupy your time -- which would be just about anything else), but I wouldn't expect to gain anything worthwhile to go on if I were you. As much as can be said for the current trend of collective interpretation (i.e. wiki-knowledge), this topic is most certainly not an example of consensus trumping credentials. Sorry, but the hive mind just won't cut it with regard to IS.
I don't mean to color your curiosity as wasted effort, either. As much as the noise overwhelms the signal in this topic, you've got a great resource here on Aikiweb for finding opportunities, but you're really going to have to do some hard work to find out what's what, and who's who (and I'm not even talking about starting this work once you find someone credible who can actually teach you how to begin). First off, there are three names bandied about here quite regularly who are agreed to have something tangible, powerful, and replicable by those who have laid hands upon them. So do your reading -- notice that everyone who meets these three heavy hitters (er, literally) comes away with their entire world view shattered as far as MAs go. Those who show the most skepticism seem to do so from behind a keyboard…or from an entrenched belief system. Second, doubt that these heavy hitters could possibly live up to all the encomia, and that all the accolades come from a bunch of easily hoodwinked asthmatics whose only martial experiences emanate from a joystick and computer screen. And so resolve to go find out for yourself, because as a martial artist you realize that understanding of any merit is highly somatic, often painful, and hard-earned. You're really in luck here, because two of the three figures you'll read about hold seminars offering you a chance to not only feel what all the hooha's about, but will teach you the skills to set you in the right direction. The third person is welcoming and extremely generous to all sincere inquiries. Third, take everything you feel and experience with a conceptual grain of salt, and then go seek out the other two, just to broaden your scope of understanding. This is not to say that these three teachers are the end-all-be-all, but you'll have an effective baseline for further comparison. Then when you drop by the (insert bitchin' esoteric name here) School of (insert bitchin', really popular martial art-du jour here), you'll know whether Dai-Soke Earle "Phoenix Claw" McGinty has the goods or not the second you lay hands on him (and, hey, he really might). The important part in all of this is that you go out and feel for yourself. Again, this is not to say that you won't get some good recommendations from your query, but you already have a well-recommended pool (tiny though it may be) from which to avoid a lot of wasted time and effort.
One last caveat: don't expect any of this to come to you; do expect to have to go far and spend time and money to get to it. It would be really great if one of the seminar teachers decided to hold a gathering near you, but most of the folks who've felt any of this have either driven or flown quite a ways to do so. Before being consumed by my graduate program, I made a few trips of six to seven hours to experience it; people like Mark Murray have driven or flown even farther. I can't begin to detail how valuable and rewarding the effort will be.
Best of luck,
Last edited by M. McPherson : 10-17-2009 at 08:49 PM.