" And it is in presentation itself that we find a home for the word elegance. To me, elegance can be compared to the frosting on the cake, but never the cake itself. It is much about the old dichotomy of "style" vs. "substance""
I have a different understanding of the word 'elegance', or at least, it has more than one meaning to me. I have many times heard the word applied in the maths and sciences, in the context of a mathematical or logical proof, a piece of computer code, or a solution to some practical problem. In that context, an 'elegant' solution always referred to one that was clear and simple and somehow got to the heart of the problem in some striking way. And it's not that it's just a different definition of the word -- because it's always said in such a way that implies an aesthetic judgment, that the internal logic of the solution is so perfect that it's beautiful to someone who loves the subject.
So for this reason what Szczepan is saying makes perfect sense to me -- the experience of 'elegant aikido' (or even beautiful aikido) comes from the 'rightness' of everything fitting together just right. So to me it isn't something that can be added on top of substance or substituted for substance; it's the substance itself that's elegant.
Very well said, Basia. I can't express it better.
You know Francis; I had opportunity to visit a place of young swordsmith in Japan, deep in the countryside. I was astonished by simplicity of place and very primary tools he is using to create an Art. Because, despite of his young age, he creates the swords of great quality for cutting as well as for expositions... At the same time the swordsmith was a simple man, truly humble, not flashy or pretentious…There was not dichotomy of "style" vs. "substance", the elegance was simply present everywhere, in the artist, in the place, in the Art…everywhere...
I believe that such dichotomy doesn't really exist, it is only our false perception, we got it in our education full of dualistic concepts, and now we are trying very hard to find it everywhere…
As for my language, sometimes one has to use a hammer, and sometimes lancet.. I know how to use various tools