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Old 12-16-2009, 04:41 PM   #6
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 16

Again a superlative contribution. The archeological expedition will bring back some archetypal familial traits -- but the essence of the thing still lies in critical observation of the physical phenomenon itself. In other words, the review nailed the number one question:

1. What, exactly, do these skills consist of?
What, indeed? This is an objective question -- with an objective answer -- though perhaps not a simplistic one.

To some extent, "it-has-to-be-felt" (IHTBF) is true, but also, because sensory perception is by nature premised on certain assumptions in the neural processing of sense information - it needs to be connected to the objective circumstance of the perception. Perceptual assumptions can often diverge from the objective circumstance (motion sickness, anyone?) creating a sense of something that lacks objective basis in fact. A martial advantage if used affirmatively; and a martial disaster if acted upon unknowingly. And there is no substitute for a conceptual understanding -- of both the perceptual and objective elements -- in order to first grasp how to reconcile and apply such a divergence when it occurs, and then further how to prompt and employ it at need.

Objective analysis of -- "What it is" -- is therefore absolutely necessary and not merely a "nice-to-have." Kano's example is one to follow. Feeling something subjectively and knowing objectively what is being felt are BOTH required complements of an adequate understanding. Otherwise, one can become lost in the genealogical detail of transmission of a host of disconnected elements -- or lost in forms of movement divorced from the coherent objective principle they were meant to convey. The objective connection is the key.

Amdur nails the elements of the problem but just barely misses their one common thread.
HIPS Excerpt wrote:
Amdur notes five connected reasons why knowledge and acquisition of these skills cannot be taken as a given in present-day Daito-ryu and aikido: (1) the culture of secrecy; (2) abuse of the traditional teacher-centered relationship in the art; (3) lack of peer pressure; (4) the ‘cult of the Sensei'; (5) the use of tricks that serve to obscure the lack of skills.
The common thread is plain. There is no objective definition of the subject matter -- if there were then the truth would have half a chance to be known when it is seen or felt.

Each of the points noted is a source of "obscuring the truth" and all for various subjective reasons. Therefore, subjective approaches to "feeling" "the thing" should be inherently suspected -- which clouds the otherwise wholesome and empirical-sounding recommendation of IHTBF -- for without that definitive objective concept, one cannot trust one's lying eyes or proprioceptors against all manner of such psychosocial or ego-driven trickery. Examples of this are too numerous to bother recounting -- and throughout all martial arts.

HIPS excerpt wrote:
"They presented a kind of power quite unlike that of a weight lifter or other strong man, this power so out of the ordinary that it is referred to by its own terms: ‘internal strength, aiki (‘unified energy'), or kokyu (‘breath power')." ... "Some using minimal movements, express unbelievable energy, as if detonating a controlled explosion in a small space. Others exert an inexorable force, like a boulder tipping over on top of you. And still others disappear, a ghostlike absence when you are sure you have grabbed them, but you [are] feeling as if you have clutched smoke or [are] stepping into a void." ...
"A so-called external martial art uses very sophisticated methods to enable an individual to use their body at the peak of its natural reflexes and potential. An internal martial art, on the other hand, attempts to transform the body's natural response to force—and at a higher level, to allegedly change the way one's own body actually functions." (Extracts all quoted from pp.13-14.)
Sure would be nice to have a clear objective concept that encompassed those three seemingly divergent aspects of this physical phenomenon now, wouldn't it?


Erick Mead
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