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Old 11-11-2013, 10:12 AM   #42
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

Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Keith,
I know next to nothing about sword making.However regardless of how well the sword looks or how well it is polished, if the sword fails to cut through an object it is in my mind just a gret looking ornament.On the other hand if the sword is well made, well polished and can cut, great.
What is the point I am making here? The point I am hoping to express is this.A demo can look good , it can be fancy etc but could the person who is demoing, do the business?I rarely see videos which give me a sense of any martial content.I like a bit of spice now and again.Some Aikido demos are a bit bland for my tastebuds. Cheers, Joe.
Sorry, took a break from here for a while.

Honestly I get what you're saying. And to some extent I do agree. However, I'm no where near as authoritative about it nor do I feel it's all that big a deal. The reason is quite simple -- back to my sword analogy and your discussion as well, I can go to the local walmart and pick up a machete for under $10 that cuts really, really well. Or give me about 10 minutes in my workshop with some of my stuff and I'll get it so freaking sharp it'll cut you if you look at it wrong. And I know many martial artists in the sword world who have cheap, crappy swords that cut well, but all the refinement, the balance, all the fine details of both the art and the object as a cultural artifact are totally missing. And many of those things related to how well the sword endures under use over time, about how easily remounted the piece will be, about how the sword can be preserved with new koshirae made easily and effectively, about how the sword will cut not only tatami or maybe bamboo, but would have lasted on a battlefield centuries ago. Maybe during edo when there was relative peace and the blades had a certain configuration more atuned to an opponent wearing simple clothing. Or maybe an earlier time when encountering some types of armor might be expected. Or during the invading Mongol times when they had to deal with horses as well (think about those gigantic naginata and what they'd do to a horses leg. The point I'm trying to make here is that the sword itself evolved, changed, morphed and even our understanding of "what it is for" changed considerably over time. And if your intent was going up against a fully armored Mongol on horseback your idea of how things should be, how you should do them, etc. will vary from a single ronin walking down the dusty path coming across another intent on doing a bad thing.

I get that there comes a point when aspects of the larger picture seem to vanish completely. Extreme stuff like idiots shooting ki balls out their hands -- yeah, gotcha there. But Aikido has evolved in many *different* directions including some really large movement styles, some really small styles, some really hard styles, some really soft styles, and a 1000 other variations thereof. Of course no one is going to be all things to all people (which I think is what screws up many). But I'm perfectly content to allow for variation and accept that within each art there is some sort of consistency of purpose, of training, of meaning. Sort of like a default operating system within which it becomes easier to understand these things. So if I look at videos of stuff I tend to remind myself that maybe I just don't get the bigger picture. Or that their goals include things that don't necessarily resonate with me. Me, I want effective waza. No question. I push myself and I push my students. I enjoy screwing up because it shows what I need to work on. But I can grasp the concept that maybe I don't understand the fuller picture of what others do. Or that even if I do understand what they're doing, the overall balance of things may not be the balance I'd choose.

I know you don't see martial effectiveness there. However, I think he'd probably be perfectly capable of putting a world of hurt on many folk. Maybe not in the way or to the extent you or I might want for ourselves, but I imagine he's perfectly happy with what he's doing and why.

I know may lament the fact that Aikido became about a lot more than "just" martial arts in many corners. For better or worse that is what happened.

I have no real conclusion or summary to this ramble of mine. It just is what it is I suppose. Shrug.

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