Over on Aikido Journal, Francis Takahashi Shihan has an article
up talking about the lack of real kuzushi in modern Aikido. It's being discussed in the IS forum, but I thought Takahashi's critique deserved wider consideration and discussion. IS folks, of course, have our own interpretation of his comments--what do others think?
Here we have a mainline, senior, respected Aikido shihan making critiques that others have made in the past--and which have generated all kinds of controversy. Takahashi says that there's a "widespread lack of knowledge or understanding in the Aikido training community of what kuzushi really is all about", that such understanding was "forgotten or carelessly ignored", that as a result modern Aikido (his term) may not be "real, credible, and workable", that much practice "smacks of 'collusion'", and that a deeper understanding of kuzushi was originally how Aikido techniques "achieved their authenticity."
This is pretty serious stuff, no?
Takahashi identifies the core problem here not as some failure of technique or martial reality or some other external factor. Instead, he identifies it as a loss of understanding of an internal driver of Aikido, the taking of balance. This isn't just a technical flaw--it underlies everything we do on the mat. If it's broken, everything is, to some degree, broken.
There's been a lot of heartburn in the past when outsiders or more marginal voices made similar criticisms of Aikido--but they were easier to ignore. Now that one of our own is raising these questions, how do we respond?
Does anyone have a diagnosis of the problem, or a potential solution? Dan Harden replied to the post, so you can see a response that a bunch of us understand and think is correct. Detailed discussion of the points he raises should probably happen over in the Internal Training forum
. But is that all there is to say? Does anyone have a different diagnosis and solution?