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Old 06-22-2011, 12:59 PM   #111
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum

I would frame this discussion in a larger perspective in that this "debate" has been going on for a very long time. I am re-reading (multiple reads) again the Aikido Journal's book of the interviews of the early deshi of O'Sensei. Some common threads are: 1) Today's Aikido is seriously missing some things and resembles dancing to some; 2) The various deshi had their own unique "take" on directions which were acknowledged as separate but related paths; 3) O'Sensei took a foundation based in Daito Ryu and made significant modifications to it. Even with those modifications, he was considered as a one of the top martial artists around during that time period; 4) O'Sensei did NOT explicitly teach how do do various things. He appeared to be aware of how each student "translated" what he did into how they did their techniques; 5) O'Sensei's teachings appeared to center around principles of movements and philosophical/religious ideas (as opposed to teaching techniques).

A number of us are struggling to try and emulate or even surpass (hopefully) our teachers. They obviously figured some things out that we are still apparently clueless about (relatively speaking). Our teachers did not limit themselves to a single-source learning model. I think that it is safe to say that our teachers also recognized the limits of the teaching model that they were exposed to and they to sought to address that is some manner, shape or form.

People who have directly experienced the IP/IT models that are out there, almost to a person, have spoken (in public and private) about how important these models have become to the raising of the level of his/her Aikido. Helping to facilitate this process and encourage it will always be difficult for some of the following reasons: 1) the strong personalities amongst the people out there teaching this stuff leads to strong personal likes and dislikes; 2) the material involves a genuine "rewiring" and "reprogramming" of how we operate. The deeper you go into this, the more complex it becomes, so that it will be easy for people to find convenient stopping points and say that they have arrived; 3) The amount of people out there who have NOT directly experienced this stuff are obviously threatened by this material and respond by saying that they already know it, it's really something else, it won't work........ as a means of protecting what they think that they know (what about the prince and clothing....).

The issue of noise to signal ratio is not all that helpful, because what one person might interpret as noise, another can tease out important signals that lead to genuine, positive change.

Budd's suggestions are sound. I also can appreciate Dan's position of looking at the overall history and looking to see how things usually end up (or down for that matter).

I am thankful for all of the on-line and personal experiences that I have had (not all have been positive). These discussions challenged my thinking and I sought out to experience what I was hearing about. That has forever changed the direction that I am heading in (not that it might not turn to another direction as some point in the future). I have learned to tune out a lot of the nonsense and I am trying harder to learn more so that maybe one day, I might be able to pass on some of this knowledge to another generation of dedicated students. Right now, I do not believe that I understand enough to make much of a useful impact upon these discussions, other than to say the following: 1) If you have not directly experienced some of these models/teachers, you should do so; 2) If you have not directly experienced some of these models/teachers, you add nothing to these discussions by assuming knowledge based on a genuine lack of direct experience and understanding; 3) If you are learning from one of these teachers, be as open as you can to encourage and allow others to experience the process that you are engaged in; 4) If you are teaching one of these models, then abide by the following rule with the other teachers-> If you do not have anything nice to say, keep those opinions private. Partisan wars diminish from the wealth of what is out there. The educated consumer is your best customer. Allow this process to occur.

Marc Abrams