Re: bokken suburi questions
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and fleshing them out, David.
I largely do as you say - I try to absorb what my teacher shows me when I get to train with him, without filtering it through a critical thinking process. But for my part, there are two significant issues that almost necessitate my exploring other arts:
1) The thought of ever being able to transmit what my teacher teaches me to students of my own at some point in the future is utter hilarity. I'm really just hoping to be able to help other students out with understanding something.
2) What I get from my teacher is totally incomplete. He doesn't teach much technique at all and he hasn't bothered much with systematization of his Aikido for years. He just shows us aiki.
I think that's quite a bit different than what you and Iwama stylists have available to you in your tradition. I think there is a "mandate" that is a little different too. It really seems like my path is to invent my own Aikido from the ground up. It seems as though Saito Sensei, on the other hand, left a system behind that is more like koryu. In that there is a scaffolding that you are expected to climb for quite a ways before you realize you have to get off of it and climb the rest of the way on your own.
Koryu have some lessons that should interest you because you can see what happens when you take a system down through a dozen or more generations. The system outlives the specific, subjective experience of studying under the teachers of generations past. A few generations after the founder has passed on you see that the concern is more for correctly transmitting the kata, and all of the knowledge that they encapsulate, than for correctly transmitting the teachings of the founder or a certain headmaster.
I am kind of fumbling trying to finish this post but I've watched the video of Saito Sensei performing the first suburi, and his son doing the same, and I basically want to say that Hitohiro does not seem to be tensing his shoulders at the end of his cuts. I'd look to him rather than his father for at least this one minor point.