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Old 01-14-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Internal Training is Aikido II

I can honestly say I agree with Phi (that has a ring to it).

Mark, I just returned from a lovely weekend training with Dan. Got lots of hand's on time since Dan and I have been shooting the s**t for years on various topics even before these discussions were getting heated. I agree with most things he says, I agree with the training, hell, I hurt in places today that I really have a hard time understanding (but are good signs in my somewhat novice opinion). I plan to go back soon to see if I made more progress.

All that said, really, it's a big world out there in Aikido. I really don't disagree with many things, but... But... But... Aikido has morphed, changed, evolved, moved, whatever in so many directions and in so many places. It is what it is. And many are quite happy with that evolution even if what it has become in some places in something focused on things that maybe you or I wouldn't really find nearly as interesting. I have said it before and I'll say it again -- Aikido's greatest strength and Aikido's greatest weakness is its wide spread popularity. And when I say it I may mean something completely different from when someone else says it. And it is okay. Really, it is okay.

It is easy to cross the line from being an advocate to a fanatic. The first allows for conversation, allows for acceptance, allows for "harmony". The latter, however, tends to polarize and regardless of the "correctness" of each persons' view tends to leave little room for productive conversation (which is what this site is ostensibly all about).

Aikido is a big tent today. Yeah, I agree with the idea that what most of those early deshi were chasing was the magical, powerful stuff he was doing and I do think much of what you guys are doing is touching that stuff. But... There are a lot of other things that became part of Aikido. Lots. And in many places the emphasis (for better or worse) shifted away from some of those core things. And many also believe that those interesting things are nothing more than "athleticism" loosely defined combined with timing, movement, etc. Okay, fine with me. Not my goal, but... They have productive, fulfilling, and useful, meaningful practice. Leave it be.

There comes a point when being dogmatic and rigid only makes your view appear exactly that -- dogmatic and rigid. This is Jun's site and frankly I think it is a great place. I donate some cash every year out of immense gratitude. And I think Jun is walking a tightrope that few of us could even hope to walk.

Me, I'm okay with it all. I think history is on your side. And I think there is a ball rolling that will keep on rolling changing how many practice. But that said, I think all the various factions will continue to roll. And will stay healthy and improve in their own way. Hell, we're just a tiny sliver of the population here. And not representative. Not authoritative. Just a bunch of guys shooting the breeze on the internet.

So to quote one of my favorite movies... "I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself." and "Let's go bowling..."