George S. Ledyard
Aikido is a really messed up art these days. The amount of wishful thinking that takes place is staggering. I'd like to see that get fixed. Part of that is going to be the process of saying BS when something's BS. Some folks won;t like hearing it. I'm sorry about that. But one of the things that has led to this mess is the idea that we are all ok. Everyone's ideas are valid, everyone's approaches should be respected. I think that's nuts when it comes to Budo... Erick's terminology is not a step forward. I know something about this stuff and I largely find his explanations largely incomprehensible. ... But I teach professionally and I think I am quite good at explaining what I am doing and getting others to do it. a new language to talk about this stuff, ... I would say that as general practice I wouldn't recommend it. It divorces you from the entire corpus of literature going back hundred and hundreds of years. It divorces you from the entire community of folks who have high skills and already share a common descriptive language for talking about it. And it necessitates spending a good five to ten years teaching others the language so you can start effectively teaching them. Doesn't make sense to me.... But there's no way for him to talk to the people on the forums who really are doing some hard work on the aiki / internal power development without a constant interruption caused by mutually exclusive use of terminology.
This is helpful. Forget for a moment anything I have said, and assume for the purpose of this question that it is all completely wrongheaded and even just wrong.
Question: Do you agree or disagree that the art would be advanced by a purely Western understanding of the mechanics and physiology involved, at least as an adjunct to the descriptive terminology in use in the methods of which you approve?
I repeat: I am not concerned with methods on these topics. They have some. They work. I get it. No issue. That is procedural knowledge -- how-to. But if anything is to DEVELOP -- and not just be repeated -- it has to, eventually, become nativized in its current conceptual environment to flourish. Math is procedural knowledge -- but also conceptual knowledge. But developing new mathematical procedures -- new methods -- requires conceptual grasp of the nature of the subject matter and of the operation and relationships between existing methods.
One thing my examination of the concept of Ki
in that way revealed to me is that the categories used on either side do not overlay well at all. The concept maps used in the traditional terminology are organized very differently from ours -- and this poor concept mapping between them is a cause of the disconnect.
This is one reason why I think the "technical" types look at the traditional terminology and their practical increase of a grasp of training in those other terms which they can't relate technically -- and have abandoned any thought of trying to fit it within their technical maps. In one sense they are right, they DO NOT fit. Then they look at what I am doing and wonder "why bother?" because they already "know" that it cannot fit.
But they are not actually unintelligible or unrelatable to one another -- but it is like an optical illusion -- the faces/vase image or others -- you first have to trick your perceptual maps to get it. If you read the short dialogue that Ron Ragusa thoughtfully provoked me into to laying out on the nature of KI in our terms
you will have some idea of what I am getting at when it comes to terms of reference that are at right angles to what you expect.