Thread: Aiki in MMA
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #53
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
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Re: Aiki in MMA

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I don't see these days how you can operate at a high level and not have some notions of what we label as aiki. Even Silva.

However, I think it is accidental most likely with only the best rising to the top and getting lucky, or maybe they have a really good coach that sets the conditions for these things to occur. Can they replicate it to a high degree, can they teach, can the isolate?

How do they ensure that large groups of those that apply the lessons, guidance, and formula achieve the same skills...or is it implicitly learned, or accidental?

If you do learn it...then how valuable is it realitive to other aspects of ability such as speed, strength, athleticism, or about the concepts of OODA, and know being able to think five moves ahead?
God, I'm a sucker for the OODA plug ....

"Let me explain. -- No. There is too much. -- Let me sum up."
Inigo Montoya.

The problem is this -- the proponents of their practices of IS/IT as the foundation of aiki are all about the "knowledge how" -- well and good. This is the "know it when you feel/sense it" or the ubiquitous IHTBF -- and I do not disagree that understanding requires having the sense data to comprehend.

But the proponents of this approach -- in their enthusiasms -- and casting no aspersions whatsoever on their personal recipes or "this has worked for me" modalities of training for that "knowledge how" -- tend to disregard (if not denigrate) the other kind of knowledge -- "knowledge about" or descriptive knowledge. The failure to BOTH to distinguish, AND to draw relationships between, the equally essential "knowledge how" and the "knowledge about" have caused fruitless, talking-past-one-another disputes in every area of learning you care to name -- including this one -- and which occurs on such a frequent basis that I have simply left all discussion on it for a good long while.

But this discussion is now looking at an important aspect of the problem. Legitimately, those for whom the "just--so stories" of supposed knowledge transmitted through the "plain-vanilla" aikido regimens failed -- whether by reason of a botched attempt to translate from one language and set of cultural assumptions into another -- or because of more accusatory explanations of idiosyncratic ego-satisfying evasions of persons who failed to "get it". -- the result is the same.

There is BOTH an understandable dissatisfaction among those seeking "knowledge how" and an understandable frustration in the apparent lack of comprehensible content in the "authoritative "knowledge about." And there is a failure to see how the two are both different and related.

Kevin, as you know from your military experience, the two are not really separate -- but they are importantly distinct, and too often confused and the cause of much conflict. The training of militaries that teach soldiers who are little more than cannon fodder teach them how to shoot weapons -- but not how to repair or modify them in the field -- The American Way of War holds that one cannot wield a weapon well without understanding its working principles, functional limitations and capacities, and how to disassemble and reassemble it under fire. IOW -- our way combines the "knowledge how" and "knowledge about" -- to a high degree, and at very low levels of authority and practice. The result is the most dominating fighting force on the planet and -- I would maintain -- for this very reason.

And for this reason, knowledge about what aiki IS -- in descriptive, functional, analytic terms -- not just what it can do -- or even just HOW it can be felt, learned and deployed -- cannot be disregarded. With "knowledge about" one can approach any issue to see if "there is aiki" or "there is not aiki" because a set of descriptive, observable qualities are known from which we can discriminate between "aiki" and "not aiki."

More importantly, with "knowledge about" one can adapt what one has learned "how" to do -- to do things one never anticipated in training. This "knowledge about" is absolutely critical to be able to extend the reach of one's "knowledge how" to do things you never did before. Without it, one is simply stuck with what you "know" -- even if that "knowledge how" is encoded in the frame of the body itself -- a point I do not dispute -- but is equally true of gymnasts and bicycle riders, and so is not really that exceptional in terms of the knowledge processes at issue.

None of this is unique to the topic here -- but this problem exists here without question.

This descriptive approach exists in the CMA in a very thorough way (pace Mike S.) -- but those ideas suffer the same language and cultural mismatch mapping problems as the ideas of aiki have already shown in our world-- and to tremendous disservice in disputes that have no real point to them, and simply confound knowledge by a failure to distinguish the KINDS of knowledge that are necessary for different aspects of the problem.

I will not belabor here my own efforts on the descriptive side of things -- it invites too-recurrent and undue conflict, likely for the reasons stated. I may be right or wrong on the content but that is irrelevant to the observation of the NEED for what I have attempted on this point.

But the tenor of discussion here plainly illustrates the same perceived need for the "something" you "know" you need -- but cannot quite lay your finger on -- that "pointing finger" is exactly what you need -- the "knowledge about" -- the descriptive framework that you need to tell what aiki IS -- and what aiki IS NOT in an explainable, coherent, and common set of of terms and concepts.


Erick Mead
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