I'll add that being "constrained" (my own quotes for emphasis) into set forms can actually bring about quite a lot of creativity.
I remember being in a creative writing class a few years back. We had an in-class assignment in which we drew two words out of a hat and had to write a poem about the first using the second. I drew "freedom" and "leather jacket."
I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and couldn't come up with anything. So I constrained myself to the syllabic constraints of a Japanese haiku and came up with something like:
Although it wasn't a "proper" haiku since it didn't involve the seasons, I thought it was interesting that I came up with that almost instantly after giving myself a constraint.
- My leather jacket
On the bank next to your shirt
As we skinny dip.
In aikido (bringing this back on-topic) I feel the same thing can happen. At least in our dojo, we work with "ikkyo" or "hijinage" to try to develop what works for us.
You know my teacher pretty well, Erik, and I know yours in a similar fashion. You focus more on creativity and we focus more on physical effectiveness. Perhaps, out of your pursuit of creativity comes effectiveness and out of our pursuit of effectiveness comes creativity? It's hard to say but it sounds pretty neat, in any case...
PS: Yes, Chuck -- what you guys do is really creative, too. It's different from what Erik does, but definitely fostering what you said. It felt kind of like a mixture of jazz and chess to me...
I have to pretty much agree with what you said. The interesting difference in your constraint is that the result wasn't constrained. Your tools were limited but the result wasn't. Going back to the print example the result is fixed and the path to the result is pretty much fixed. Whereas with cursive....
Yea, it's an interesting thing. Some of us are actually pretty martial (my instructor uses atemi, I use it, a couple of others use it) so we're really not that removed in a lot of ways. Interesting aside but I wound up wrestling with my instructor tonight which isn't that uncommon.
I've felt some of your folks flow rather nicely. Wildly dissimilar in the process but the result might be pretty close. Interesting indeed.
I'll shut the post down with something I heard involving a big gun instructor and a student you wouldn't have heard of. The student asked the instructor, "we spend all this time practicing to do Aikido so when do we get to do Aikido?" I gather it wasn't a stellar answer.