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Old 04-22-2012, 11:50 PM   #29
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,225
Re: We're the Problem

Matthew Story wrote: View Post
I guess so. I suppose this piece doesn't really suggest solutions as much as identify a problem. We're hating on the hucksters, but the hucksters aren't really the problem. The problem is people who think the information they need is beyond them.
Firstly, what's this "we" stuff, huh? I'm innocent I tell you! Sure I bought that smokeless ashtray and the odor-free diaper garbage, but they almost work! When I leave the room it smells great!
Bad humor aside, I think you're both talking about equally important facts. On one hand I think reality is its own reward. By that I mean the closer we can come to understanding the truth of whatever it is we're doing, the better...and I think we really ought promote the truth where ever we can, generally speaking. On the other hand, the phrase "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," also comes to mind and I think you can make a thirsty horse hate water by trying to force it down its throat. So what we're left with, in my opinion, is the need for open communication to express ideas; the need for language that is viewed as respectful to engage those we're seeking to communicate with. I think this means we have to learn to "speak the language" of whoever we're talking to...and sometimes that's very difficult.
The essential reason of going to someone to teach us something is because the information is beyond us. I get that what you're saying is probably more along the lines that these "buyers" put themselves in a subservient position, idolizing their teachers and always presuming they know less without ever really questioning their authority. Still, to some degree I think this is a natural part of the teacher-student dichotomy. The question to my mind is one of how much or how long the student is doing this. Over time, I would hope all students would compare methods within their field of study.
Thinking about the video with the kid being moved by "ki" (or what have you), my cynicism springs to the forefront. However, I do believe strongly in the power of suggestability (particularly through body language). So while I hold a rather large amount of cynicism, I also can see where perhaps there might be something potentially valid going on too. I would like to see how that "stuff" fits in with what I hope is a very different "regular" training.
I think one of the biggest problems martial arts faces has to do with the fact that many, if not most people, have little real idea of what it is or how it fits within the spectrum of potential self-defense practices. I've had friends who were in more fights than I can count who looked at me like I was dangerous just because I "took martial arts." It's BS. They could probably clean my clock like it was nothing if they buckled down to try it. These are people (albeit untrained) who know what fights can be like; imagine someone with zero to no fight experience, like most people in our society.
All we can do is educate based on our experience. If we're seeking to educate, then we have to consider how to make the message received.
Opportunists will probably always be around. My theory is that the first wheel was invented by a lazy neanderthal; it was then brokered by an even lazier one. Someone always seems to fall into the path of least resistance...I know I've done my share of sliding down that muddy lane a lot. At any rate, I've really enjoyed reading what you have to say on this.

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