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Old 01-03-2014, 08:41 AM   #88
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,073
Re: Musings on a Hawaii IP Seminar


First, Kevin, simply transfer to the ATL. We got some bases you can live at. We're working on trying to get a regular schedule with the man. Plus, it's been a while since you've been down here.

Second, Dan is not on Aikiweb. Aikiweb made a decision to remove Dan from participating in discussions. I think there are many Aikiweb users who would rather not talk about Dan because Dan is not able to speak for himself. So, in a large sense any conversation that uses Dan's name is essentially conjecture since he is not present on this forum. Right now, the best access a user has to experience a surly Nor'Easterner is to train with him. But isn't this the case with many instructors? I don't email Ikeda sensei; I train with sensei when he comes down to South Carolina or Orlando. I occasionally call Patty Sensei, but I don't chat with Saotome Sensei; I visit the Shrine or train at one of his seminars. I do not think it is unreasonable to concede the best access to an instructor is direct.

Third, I find it argumentative that in a thread about personal experience at a seminar in the Internal Training section we are still contesting Aiki. Why anyone is in this thread who has no interest in Aiki is beyond me. In fact, probably anyone reading the OP who has not experienced Dan has gotta be at least a little confused. Part of my earlier post was an attempt to set the stage for the presence of conjecture because those who have experienced Dan are willing to concede the conjecture. I also made a point earlier that many of us are willing to concede authority to individuals we have never met about subjects with which we do not have direct experience. I never trained with Saito Sensei, but I accept his credibility because I know many people who had good experiences with him. Heck, sometimes we do not even have the privilege of an individual authority - every day "economists" tell me the economy is getting better. At some point we have the opportunity to either cede credibility to an individual or not. If you are in the "Aiki is BS" camp, then don't participate because there is little that you will read that will change your perspective.

There are several posts in this thread that clearly indicate an individual is not willing to concede Dan's personal credibility. I don't care the reason and there is nothing wrong with that decision. The are several posts in this thread that are willing to concede that Dan is personally credible in what he does. I personally think making a decision based upon a stretched conjecture about the application of Aiki in other arts... Well, I'd like to see any aikido person go up against a professional BJJ player and use only aikido. Or a professional judo player. Before we say , "well, unless Dan can escape a triangle choke from a pro BJJ player you can't claim aiki works in BJJ." I'd like to challenge us to consider the reality of that statement and see if we would apply it to any aikido person before conceding ethos to that individual. I can tell you how most aikido people escape a triangle choke from a pro BJJ'er - the ref taps the BJJer on the shoulder.

I think in order for these conversations to continue, we need to develop real, consistent and reproduce-able standards of credibility so we can compare apples to apples. I think the best way to do that is to train with Dan because I think first-person is the best experience. I think there are people training with Dan who are happy to share what they are working on, but without the expertise Dan possesses. In a couple of years, I think there will be more students out there that give a good understanding of what is aiki training and they will become outlets, too.

I consider Kevin a friend and a kindred spirit in his pursuit of aikido. I am personally excited for him to train with Dan because I feel aiki training is consistent with Kevin's belief of aiki and aikido. Is that awkwardly praising Dan's skill? Yeah. Because it sure isn't gonna be Dan's personality that wins you over (just kidding, Dan is actually a great guy and incredibly personable). I am not trying to be argumentative myself, but trying to show a perspective that maybe instills some empathy into the discussion.

And to chime in on Keith's post (which is great), we also use a variation of unbendable arm as a connection exercise. Talk about boring/incredibly hard/uncomfortable.

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