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Old 07-19-2013, 02:02 AM   #25
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Re: There Are No Shortcuts

Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
Endo Sensei I think is the closest embodiment to what I was saying. He is always saying "Do not grab, it is possible". It is because he is not relying only on HIS body to manipulate uke but rather maximizes the use of basic physics laws and entities like gravity (although I'm pretty sure he doesn't know he knows that he's using these.)

What's amazing with the human body and psyche is that you can be an expert with a body of science either through formal education through an institution or by years of repetition and countless trial and error. In this case, Endo-sensei and O-sensei are both "physicists" but they don't know they are.

Another famous name that comes to mind is Thomas Edison. He wasn't an "engineer" but he was a master engineer through his inventions. There are numerous others: Efren Bata Reyes was totally unschooled yet he is a master of geometry through his art in billiards and pool.

We need to gain insight into these examples and learn that in any endeavor, there are several approaches to achieve the same result. We need to thank them because they took the long path, and it is our duty to study them and create our own theories and validate them. What it would have probably taken Endo-sensei decades to perfect a principle, it would have several minutes to explain through scientific principles. The tricky thing then is what principles do we study and apply. But at least that part of the search has already begun.
I'm not sure I buy the whole noble savage take on O-Sensei. The more I learn I feel that it's rather the reverse, we're the barbarians playing with sticks and rocks while he was far more refined in his internal workings than we Aikidoka (largely) conceive of. Through a failure of transmission we're left to worship the totems he left behind, but with no decipherable explanations of their significance, that's all they remain while we are mucking about in the dirt.

O-Sensei learned the essence of what he did from explicit teaching, which he later developed on his own, but the foundation he got was not inspired genius, it was transmitted. If inspired genius was applied, it was applied later, after he got his foundation.

This is no different than many pretty much all other established endeavors. There is still a rote foundation that has to be in place, whether it comes via emulation of those who already have it or via explicit instruction. Otherwise most of the time spent in practice is just rediscovering the foundation our betters already had when they started rather than going beyond it, so to get to the peak they attained becomes the stuff of legend.

Why is it only in Aikido that we somehow cling to this "many paths" idea and we're expected to figure out everything ourselves, when in pretty much everything else - and most importantly, Aikido's predecessor art - it is expected that you first get the foundation of instruction and then only after you put in the work to automate that foundation do you go off to make it your own if at all?
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