Join Date: Oct 2006
Re: Vantage points
The words you use here and in other posts (the one you referenced, for example) that give me real pause when discussing IP stuff are "precious", "patents and copyrights", and "proprietary". Those words when added to the IHTBF claim really smells bad to me, especially when I can't seem to get much substantial technical info (physics, biomechanics, definitions) about what is happening. The rancor between people discussing IP along with the whiff of profit motive keeps me firmly in the skeptic's camp.
Krystal, others here have already addressed your viewpoint, but, with all due respect, I think that you are expressing some sort of sense of entitlement, that somehow no one should have a right to decide with whom they share knowledge or something else of value that may have been hard-won by them.
Don’t those who possess it have a right to determine how, or whether, it is disseminated, and to whom? It’s cynical to label all of those practitioners as being salesmen selling a product. Knowledge has value, and if it is given freely without any cost at all (whether in monetary payments or through the effort expended by the recipient to travel to the source and to put the time in), it is very often taken for granted.
I believe that we should be appreciative that there are people teaching without profit in mind. I also believe that they should be allowed to at least break even on their expenses, in doing so. Don’t you?
Yes, I will find a seminar. I will feel this for myself. I have attended a handful of Ikeda's seminars where he has claimed to be teaching IP stuff, but I am not yet satisfied that he is not simply doing on a more practiced level what I learn in my own dojo. I intend to make an IP seminar next year, if not a couple. I will feel this for myself.
I’m really glad that you will get out there and experience it for yourself. Seeking out an appropriate IP seminar and teacher is like searching for a good teacher of any discipline. We have to do the homework, talk to people, ask questions. A lot of people toss around the words “IP” and “IS,” and of course “aiki,” these days, to the point that the terms have taken on a life of their own. Individuals may possess some qualities of these concepts, but their kit is incomplete or lacks depth; even those who have more “complete” skill sets may express them in very different ways than other practitioners with the same core body skills. For every individual practicing, or claiming to practice, IP, there is a different depth and breadth of knowledge and skill, and of teaching ability. Finding the “right” one can be very trial-and-error.
However, I am also resistant to the idea that my individual experience at an IP seminar would be necessary and sufficient (in the mathematical sense) "proof" for me. I am not an entirely rational player, no one is. I prefer to rely upon a strong consensus from a large number of people who are also predominantly rational and trained in examining physical phenomena. I am happy to be a data point, I am happy to give my most rational assessment of my experience, and I am thrilled to hear from others. I've read enough to agree that there is something worth looking at, questions need to be asked, explored and answered to the extent possible. I am not yet satisfied by other people's answers, or their questions, for that matter.
Are you saying that you don’t have enough trust in your own ability to establish an informed opinion after experiencing something firsthand? When you get out and get your hands on a good seminar, you’ll have a basis upon which to compare other people’s input on their first-hand experiences, with your own.
My only caveat is that one seminar or even a couple of them is not enough to really “get” what’s going on; I can tell you from first-hand experience that the first time you feel something as unusual and new as the effects aiki and IP have on your body and senses, your brain is too busy trying to process the new data on a visceral level, to really get a grasp or understand what’s happening. No one goes to a seminar for the first time and says… “Zowie! So THAT’S what it is! I so totally GET it!” Nuh-uh. We come away saying “Holy cr*p! What the heck was that?! I gotta go back and feel it again.”
It takes repeated experience, with very basic exercises provided that help you to parse out the new kinds of body movement and all of the sensations related to them, before anything really starts to sink in. With IP, we have to learn to feel what’s going on inside our own body, get re-acquainted with our own body in a very different way, first, before we can understand what someone else is doing to us with his or her body.
A side note. One projection of "dual opposing spirals" is a lissajous. It does not follow that a lissajous is necessarily a projection of "dual opposing spirals". My evidentiary standards are pretty high. All squares are rectangles, not all rectangles are squares.
One recurring misunderstanding in these discussions is that physical training is somehow directly translatable into flat mathematical/geometry equations or physics formulas. Sure, anything is, at a very esoteric level, but, when it comes to physical disciplines, terms such as “dual opposing spirals” are more applied concepts, almost metaphors, for the way force is being directed and managed within the body, through the intent-driven manipulation of actual body parts.
It’s very 3-D and involves more layers of activity than the movements of an inanimate object such as a hand-crank apple-peeler (not including the human turning that crank) with simple gears and cogs. IP and aiki are about learning by “feel” more than by the interpretation and extrapolation of theoretical physics.
I've gotten some response for expressing my discomfort with what seems like a profit motive. It is argued that the vast majority of aikido teacher teach for money, and that is certainly true. However, I have met few aikido teachers, and few martial arts teachers in general who use nondisclosure agreements and who forbid basic recording of their seminars. I have agreed a few times to not share the good and useful stuff I've learned in a class, but I dont really fully buy the whole secret art that is too deadly for mere folks can cause demonic health problems song and dance when the agreement is viewed under the spotlight of protecting paid access to a product provided by few individuals. Precious patented and copyrighted proprietary product, or a true return to real aikido? I dont know. I'm just uneasy with the tone of some of the discussion. The responses have not fully eased my mind.
Krystal, I don’t know how to allay your concerns about “profit motive,” though I appreciate anyone’s fear of being taken advantage of. All I can say, is that sometimes we just have to take the chance… but let it be an educated chance, taken after asking questions of people who have taken the plunge and vetted the various experts.
IP and aiki are very old and proven; they are not products, but a heritage and a legacy within the lines of individuals and systems that have perpetuated them for probably more than a millennia now – not just in some Japanese arts, but in various Chinese internal systems and those of a number of other cultures.
That some teachers and systems have chosen to keep their methods a secret, or have maintained tight control over their dissemination (which has already been addressed in this and other threads), is a fact of life, for the reasons that were suggested earlier. Again, it may be more productive for us to let go of any sense of entitlement toward other people’s knowledge, and more diplomacy and polite inquiry.
What many of us have been saying, is that there is a growing body of individuals who can and will teach these methods. Those who have already studied with them ARE bringing the material back into aikido, and, as has been stated, they would never go back to doing aikido the way they used to. For them, learning these things means coming home to their art’s true roots – not going away to something different.