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Old 01-20-2013, 08:33 PM   #9
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training

Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
Excuse me for butting in and I do not want to distract from the excellent niveau of this thread.

But this clearly points to the fact, how difficult an intercultural exchange about what at first sight may have appeared to be a common idea ( e.g. internal training) can get. And it's certainly not all and only about semantics.
In my opinion -- this is a source of the problems in finding consistent and common conceptual grounding on these issues. Eastern traditional concepts of physical nature -- do not map well onto the Western concepts of physical nature.

The Chinese and Japanese have adopted and deployed Western idioms in technical fields to great (and even quite creative) effect. Their traditional concepts, which of course, for them need no translation at all, seem, by and large, to present them with no notable urge to make their traditional understandings intelligible in Western physical terms.

Hence, in their settings, the two systems live in parallel, almost not even affecting one another in terms of how people communicate what they mean. For a cultural native -- it is seamless to move between them. For a non-native it is very difficult even to frame intelligible questions to get at a distinction that is little noticed by natives. Like trying to ask a colorblind person to understand how they perceive the difference between green and red -- whatever differences they perceive are not the difference you are trying to get at. Worse even, the native may see the distinction raised as being purely situational, such that trying to compare them seems almost nonsensical. One does not need to wonder what relation the day's baseball line-up has to the daily train schedule -- even though both are ways of scheduling things on the same day. For our purposes, however the distinction is acute.

For this very reason -- I find much to be gained from O Sensei's poetical Doka -- and his reliance on mythic figures drawn from Kojiki. The poetic work relies on concrete images -- which offer a consistent patterns or relationship and action to interpret. Mythic images give similar descriptions of natural forces in operation -- seen in traditional culture as the acts of the kami. Much of value is to be found there when they are read in this light -- looking for the pattern in the concrete images and actions.

These concrete things and actions and their relationships -- when extracted from the matirix of their phrasing in poetical and mythic imagery -- can neverthless be captured and considered directly in Western physical terms. This dispenses with the need of the intervening cultural translation to discern how the two systems would consider the same thing (and which has a further problem in the perhaps unwarranted assumption that they necessarily are considering the same thing in the first place).



Erick Mead
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