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Old 07-18-2011, 08:37 AM   #27
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Re: Moving with your center

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I wouldn't argue with someone who wants to interpret it that way. If someone sees that as a bad thing, that's their problem and their loss. Aikido is a physical skill. I'm not going to get into any religious wars about whether it can also become something else -- mileage varies. But you can't get to the "something else" without the physical part first. It is the medium and the frame of reference, and just as you can't draw a line with a single data point, you can't extrapolate the "something else" unless you have abundant data points in the physical stuff.
Yes, yes, abundant data points. My contention here is, I guess, that the aikido curriculum tends to have a bias in its data points, and that may reflect that it is a chopped down curriculum from something that was initially vastly bigger, and has resulted in a certain flavor, or flavors, and makes it hard to occasionally see the forest for the trees...

I'm sure you can argue the definition of "good mechanics" around to support either view, but I didn't say anything about "having" them. I was talking about working on them, and letting any "something elses" happen in their own good time.

Were we talking about the situation of a sensei who can't explain or good mechanics? Or is this a digression?
It's not really a digression. I think it's part of the core issue. Ultimately the only authority we have for good mechanics in the beginning, and in the end, is perhaps our teachers. Monkey see, monkey do. If, even at an early phase, there are holes that even a teacher can't address, and yet mechanics the student is working on are defined by this teacher. Where there is a hole in the diagnosis, and the student is floundering, there's probably a basic missing. How do you work on something that's missing, and that nobody realizes is missing?

That's the classic mistake of equating "basic" with "easily and trivially mastered". As a former sensei of mine once said, "It is simple. It isn't easy."
Okay, but what if it's not basic, and not simple, and that without definitive and focused training on it, you'd probably never get it, or would require several lifetimes or have a genius intellect beyond the majority of people to get it all in one lifetime, such that, with a teacher who knows what he's doing, and concentrated effort, it's still going to take a long-ass time to actually train it and do it? By not simple, I mean even if your brain fully understand what you had to do, you couldn't automatically do it. It's not simple. There is conditioning, a lot of conditioning, before it feels simple in any sense. And to be specific here, by "it" I mean elite-level athletic performance. I think we totally misrepresent the difficultly of athletics, do them a profound disservice, by calling them simple or basic, or by reducing them away with quaint aphorisms like "move with your center" or "flux-capacitate with your dantien". It's fookin' hard. It requires a guide who knows what they are doing, truly knows what they are doing beyond doubt. Effort alone is not enough, 'cause god knows a lot of people are putting in a lot of effort, mind-boggling amounts of effort, and still turning up short.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-18-2011 at 08:42 AM.
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