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Old 03-17-2013, 12:38 PM   #45
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,541
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Re: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training

As I've posted many times I think the popularity of Aikido is simultaneously its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. I want to be able to do the stuff I've seen and felt from a variety of places. And I find that what I've learned from a couple of sources is consistent with getting what I perceive to be of value in my training in Aikido. Is it *really* what Ueshiba Morihei was doing "under the hood"? Well, from my experience and from my study I think so. But I'll leave the arguing to others as I think those others are vastly better able to engage in the discussion.

FWIW I see much of this as being like a rather (in)famous book in psychology, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by the late Julian Jaynes. Very impressive title at least. Basically Jaynes created this argument about how consciousness evolved based on evidence from differences in style of the Illiad and the Odyssey (among other things as well). It was a fantastic theory in that it explained oh-so-many things that are hard to explain. Schizophrenia for example becomes viewed as a "throwback" form of consciousness rather than a "disease" per se. And it had all sorts of implications towards social norms, control, and on and on. The only real problem was... It is probably wrong. And while it works so nicely, and it is attractive on many levels, in the end there is likely no way to ever really definitively say whether it is true or not. But on a theoretical level it can be almost irresistable. And there are still those who think it's likely correct. But most toss it out as being simply an ad hoc explanation. Much like Lorenz who tried to keep the ether wind theory alive after Einstein's special relativity. He just kept adding adjustments to make the data fit the theory. Sometimes the simple explanation is the best. But just because it is consistent and simple doesn't make it true...

Anyway, I'm really only making a point about epistemology here. Aikido has branched off in many directions and I think that where there is value, well, that branch will survive. And I think that many of those branches have become quite popular and widely practiced quite possibly with reduced levels of some things others may find critical. It's okay. It's all good.

One can try to make the case about what was *really* going on with Ueshiba Morihei. Lord knows I've read everything Dr. Goldsbury has written, I own 2 copies of Ellis's book, and I am overwhelmingly thankful that Chris Li publishes his blog for the general public to read. I hear rumors of people working on newer books based on newer translations based on different perspectives. And I'll enjoy those as well. But trying to make a logical and rigorous case for some of this stuff is simply not something I'm prepared to do. I just keep training. I just keep my eyes open. And I try to get better at what's important to me. Yeah, for me that means the IS/IP stuff. But I find that while it informs everything I do now, it doesn't have to be "in your face" and I surely don't need to convince the agnostics or the atheists. I'm not training for their benefit after all.

But I do encourage the atheists and agnostics to get out on the mat and experience it prior to making judgements or proclaiming it's all smoke and mirrors. I'm just about as patient with the armchair practitioner lobbing in grenades from far away as I am with the crazed true believer who has become a zealous evangelical. Life's too short...

Anyway, I'm rambling on. Carry on...

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