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Old 11-20-2012, 07:47 AM   #21
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

FWIW I think there is a lot projected on these discussions by some of the readers as well. The same happens in all areas where there are those who are, well, fanatically attached to what they do. If you're interested enough to be doing something for decades and posting in a place like this, you probably have some strong ideas about what you're doing.

So you see someone extolling the virtues of ________________ nonstop and in damned near every thread that can be even remotely connected to that topic. A sign of their level of interest for sure. And yeah, some can be pretty tenacious about it. And it can be frustrating seeing your version of ______________ called in to question and it is natural to disagree, debate, whatever. The problem, I think, is that it becomes personal. We see it as an attack on us, our motivations, our integrity even. I think the whole question asked elsewhere about "fearing power" is a not-subtle example of that.

In the end there are some interesting questions here. But given that Aikido is so many things to so many people today I see nothing wrong with those who are perfectly content with what they're doing now with how it evolved today in their particular case. And the enthusiasts need to back away a bit on those things. But that said, I think work being done by guys like Chris Li, for instance, where some of the translations of O-sensei are being reexamined to see if there is a different context within which to understand his words is quite valuable indeed. We can have the "academic" discussion separate from the "value of my training" discussion.

Part of the problem here, IMHO, is that some react to most any disagreement on the academic side as being naturally a challenge to what they are doing today, as if it is inauthentic, "unreal", or without value.

The reality, however, is that over time history tends to either "stabilize" in to the story long told *or* in the case of there being sufficient source material sometimes new scholarship brings new things to light. So I read Dr. Goldsbury's articles with relish and reread them again. Then I go over to Chris Li's site and read his thoughts and translations. Keep in mind things like this tend to have a subversive power over time and can be threatening even if it shouldn't be. In the long run, especially when there are extensive records, the truth tends to find a way to come out. It doesn't mean that what one sensei said 20 years ago isn't useful, it just means that maybe it was the best they had at the time. The next question then is to ask whether what you're doing today which may not be exactly what the founder intended is valuable *on its own*. And I think there is potentially a lot to value on its own out there. O-sensei wasn't the only one doing good stuff. It just might not be the same good stuff.

So enjoy the diversity and realize that not everyone does the same things. But then be honest with yourself about what you're doing and why. And then read posts by others generously applying the "consider the source" filter in your mind. It makes my reading here often vastly easier when I do that myself (not always successfully, however, I will admit).

Ramble over...

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