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Old 07-15-2013, 07:11 PM   #22
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Re: There Are No Shortcuts

John Powell wrote: View Post
That's subtle and funny....

I had the luck to join a Tomiki Aikido dojo where the 2 2nd highest dan grades were rocket scientists, literally. A couple of Ph. D. physicists at NASA here in Houston. Our head instructor, Raymond Williams, was told by one of them that he had the most instinctive grasp of physical mechanics he'd ever known. So, I've been talking about the physics of everything we do for quite a long time now, and it's natural. And, we also got great gems from the engineering world as well, such as "It's hard to push a rope," "Rocks roll downhill, nd they are hard to push back up that hill," things like that,.

They make you scratch your head when stated out of context like I just did above, but we use them all the time in discussions of how kuzushi is affected, posture gets broken, or not, by tori's movement/pressure, whatever.

Then, in the past 5 years or so I started working with Nick, who has brought great people like Howard Popkin and George Ledyard to OKC, and the biomechanics side of things (sometimes clothed in the Asian medical terminology) has showed up. Neat stuff. I just wish I understood it! Ha!

Good stuff for study for the next 10 to 20 years, eh?
I think there is an inherent danger in that it leads to "if X, then Y" type of thinking where you're a robotic set of special cases to apply under varying circumstances. The underlying insights into many martial arts can be very low brow stuff, just ruthlessly applied over the entire body which is what makes it hard, not understanding the principles intellectually. So instead it rather just becomes "I am the living embodiment of X" and the "Y"s don't matter much anymore.

For example, the structural principles of one art (that is not aikido), they boil down to essentially one quote: "triangles between all the joints". You would need to understand no more or no less than this idea, and it's as simple as it sounds conceptually - physics PhDs will not avail you in helping you train it into the body. You could probably tell this to a preschooler and he'll understand the idea faster than the physics PhD would who would probably just overcomplicate it and look for some secret. Training it into the body will still take a decade, and it will all be about feel and intuition, not intellect.

Maybe overrationalizing things can shed some light on why it works, but what to do has pretty much been well mapped out by our predecessors, and just sorting through all the misinformation - probably much of it provided ever so innocently by people trying to think too hard about the subject - for the gems that are already there is probably the bigger issue.
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