Gian Carlo wrote:
Based on what I have seen, I think that it is impossible to develop powerful, effective technique without hard practice. I can't rememeber ever meeting anyone who has done so.
Well, I'm not sure how much hard practice you think is necessary, but I think I've probably met people like that.
I can't help thinking that people who feel the way you do, Gian Carlo, are in one of two situations. Either you really wanted to develop a soft technique without 'needing' to be hard, and gave up on your ideal (and yourself) too soon, or else you never really believed in the possibilities of soft AiKiDo to begin with and are working to justify this position. I don't mean to be saying that either of these is you. I'm just saying that I'm not sure what other options there are.
The way to unstick the mind is to get out of the way. The only way to get out of the way is to immolate the stuck notion of "self" and although it can be done on one's own, it is more likely successfully achieved by learning at the feet of a master.
I'm uncomfortable with ideas of 'only' or 'best' in this context. Perhaps for you the way to transcendence of self lies through the giving over of self to a master. Perhaps that is because, as you said, your ego is particularly strong and fragile. Still, one of the paradoxes of the path to no-self is that every self has a different one. Each self must recognize its own path, as you've recognized yours. Perhaps there is great wisdom and depth in your path, but my self will only be lost along my path.
I'd never quite combined these two notions (loss of self and walking our own paths) before. Even if you don't quite agree with me, Paul, thanks for helping me make that connection and see that lovely paradox.