George S. Ledyard
His reply was that he was pleased because they had stayed with their training and had attempted to apply the form of what they had been studying and didn't settle for the "tricks" that most of the competitors used in order to win. So they kept going and competing, kept losing, until one day they started winning. They stuck with the traditional form of the training because, while it was not the fastest way to "winning" in the short run, it was the road to a deeper knowledge in the long run. Dan said that once they had integrated the traditional form and the deeper principles contained in that form, no one could touch them. It just took a long period of being patient to get to the goodies. If they had settled, as most folks did, for developing the tricks simply based on the speed and athleticism available to the young, their art would never have developed this kind of depth.
So, folks who are serious about the martial aside of the training often get led astray by being attached to success too early. They settle for fast movement and physical strength. They are happy when their partner falls down and unhappy when they can't throw him. It's all about the result of ones actions on some "other". They don't like terms like "ki" and other seemingly ethereal concepts because they really don't know how to use them in making the other guy fall down, which is the pretty shallow focus of their training.
because, as the Founder stated, there is no opponent.
Robert Pirsig, in his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, still one of my all time favorites
What needs to happen to "save" Aikido is losing our attachment to success.
So, don't throw out an idea that you don't understand, find a teacher who can explain it to you and show you how to train it.
always a pleasure to read you. I would like to take this opportunity to explain better what I mean by "rejecting" the idea of "ki": it is misused.
What I object against, is exactly this misuse of this word.
You are commendable not only for your efforts (the quality of your posts is always and invariably among the very best) but also for your intellectual honesty in declaring that if Aikido does not realize it has to change, in a couple of generations it may be a martial art that nobody ever practices. Nearby my place there is a famous martial arts gym - two years ago, they told me, they quit holding aikido lessons - reason: nobody attended them.
Now, one of the reasons this may happen, is this misuse of the term "ki" that leads towards too speculative an aikido, or to Senseis that make their pupils open their arms and move them slowly in circle saying "aaaa-oooo-iiiii-eeeee-uuuuu" (no y, for it's not an Italian letter!).
It's normal that people quit attending, then - I did! lol
I have seen already dozens of aikidokas who pretend they know what "ki" is - the fact I reject this assumption, this pretence, does not mean I am rejecting the idea of "ki" - it means I am rejecting (having in mind your same concerns, probably) its fabrication.
You set an interesting conceptual path here - from a sensei happy that his pupils lost, to what the founder stated: there is no opponent.
A serious training is one where you fail repeatedly while facing a serious attack - you never learn so much like then. Eventually, one has to attain a level where fighting becomes impossible: the real ambition behind any martial art, so it seems to my humble perception, is to attain a level so high, that fighting is made impossible so refined your technique is. Eventually, you should be able to fight (and win) without miving a finger.
We linger on metaphysical grounds.
The idea of "ki" partakes of this metaphysical ground. As you stated much better than me, it's an elusive concept.
Years ago I practiced pranayama for 3 months and it scared the hell out of me - I quit doing it. I started feeling an enormous physical energy and it seemed to me it was flowing through my arms rippling my skin. When one day i was practicing pranayama and i felt this energy flowing very strong, the bulb of my bedside lamp exploded. I decide to quit it - i was terribly scared.
There is something, somewhere out there, that is "ki". Once we find it, we will know. Till then, there is no replacement for the real "ki" made of "aaaa-eeee-iiii-oooo-uuuu", if we want to keep aikido alive.
Ki exists - only I know I did _not_ meet it yet, and also many persons I see who pretend they know what it is, actually don't. That was my point.