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Old 11-07-2013, 07:41 AM   #28
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: YouTube: Christian Tissier at 2013 World Combat Games

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
And yet you publish photos of the absolutely beautiful work you do on edged weapons. Those photos speak of precision of execution and painstaking attention to detail. I would be surprised if your Aikido did not reflect those same qualities. And how could something like that be unpleasant to see?

Thanks for the kind words, Ron. I wandered away from this thread deciding I really didn't need to engage further in some of the discussion.

Frankly the work in polishing Japanese style swords has helped me also realize the fact that *nothing* is perfect. Nothing. Well, almost nothing -- I saw a modern piece by Ono Yoshimitsu and spent an hour by myself with good lighting and my jeweler's magnifiers and I couldn't find a freaking mistake anywhere in the blade, not by the smith and not by the polisher (Fujishiro would be my guess on the polisher). Damn. That bugged me.

But my point is that what one sees as perfect almost always has flaws somewhere. I can guarantee you that a smith like Ono probably looks at his sword and grouses "next time I'll do that differently". Same with the polisher telling himself next time he'll shift that one transition a half mm forward next time with a 1% change in the angle. It's really about how closely you look.

So to be honest my Aikido is messy to me. And my practice is really much like polishing in my mind. Each day working to refine, each day working to make things just a little more crisp. Each day trying to find that essence and allowing it to be seen.

WRT guys like Tissier and his style of demonstration I'm reminded that there are multiple styles of polishing. An older style (sashikomi) was more subdued, more subtle, and was geared towards letting the blade show what it was without as much "adjustment" by the polisher. The more modern style, kesho, is really a product of modern times, a product of having the luxury of taking as long as possible but also trying to present the same basic things, but to make things stand out more, to balance things, to allow an educated person to study the blade in the very same way but with the togishi (polisher) in essence saying "here, look at this and look at how wonderful that is -- and don't miss this activity over here." People will argue without resolution about which is "better" or more appropriate. The funny thing for me is that if I don't notice the polish but can see in to the blade, I really don't care how the polisher approached it. Two means to building a "lens" to view in to the work of the smith. To "see" the very soul of the steel. Two ways, two purposes in a manner of speaking, both perfectly legit.

More people here would benefit greatly if they could take that lesson to heart. Honestly I think Mary M's post touches on it as well. See past the polish because the polish is there *only* to allow you to "look in". Demonstrations are the same in my mind. Different means of showing something about how they train and what they do. But in the case of swords the "best" polish is the one you don't notice because you're seeing in to the blade. And the polish can be redone. The blade, however, remains the same, and is that mystery underneath that you will hopefully never fully appreciate. But with each look maybe you get something more you weren't able (or ready) to see before.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 11-07-2013 at 07:45 AM.

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