Re: Article: True Self Defense by George S. Ledyard
Undoubtedly, from a Zen point of view trying to do something to uke leads to a division of subject and object and in the end, through a series of other categories, marks an attachment to a false self. But the ideas of "just enough" or "more than" are no different in this regard. We can see how easy it is to go from "more than" in Aikido waza, to qualitative divisions of right and wrong, then to a moral division of good and bad, etc. etc., and it is by such divisions that the false self actually comes to be reified -- not purified.
As I said, throwing hard or throwing soft (by which, for most, "just enough" ends up meaning) are not the two poles from which one must choose from. (Note: "just enough" begs the question, "Just enough for what?" By that question alone one should be able to run the reflection processes necessary to see how subjective such a position truly is, etc.) The entire spectrum of from hard to soft has to be reconciled, otherwise the false self is sure to persist, sure to judge, sure to condemn, sure to remain the dominant interpretative tool for the world that is being lived.
I have said this before, in other threads, so I have said this from different angles, and in that sense I hope I do not sound like a broken record for repeating much of it here again. It is my opinion, one grounded in history and experience, that Budo's technology of the self is Buddhist in structure. (Note: To be sure one can trace at least two other technologies of the self that have made their way into Budo soteriology [using that word in the broader more academic sense]-- both interrelated: The Confucian one which actually reached its highest point at its own perversion when the Imperial state propagandists got a hold of it at the turn of the 20th century; and the one, which is actually the most popular -- the most widespread - one today, which is derived from Muscular Christianity.) Buddhist in structure, it is a structure that is in the end fused with martial practices such that the spontaneous execution of one's martial technologies becomes not only the highest expression of the false self being reconciled but also the absolutely most important expression of that reconciliation. There are many techniques for reconciling the small self -- but this is Budo's ways and means. (Note: The other two technologies of the self noted above do not lead to this reconciliation. They actually lead to its antithesis.)
That said perhaps we could here suggest that anything that leads to the spontaneous expression of Aikido's martial technologies leads to and/or marks a reconciliation of the false self, a purification of the false self, a dropping of the false self, a non-attachment to the false self, etc. Anything that inhibits the spontaneous expression of Aikido's martial technologies leads to a reification of the false self, is a cause and effect of the false self, perpetuates the false self as a interpretative tool for the world in which we live, etc. From this perspective Mr. Seibert is obviously on to something since attempting to "control" uke is based upon a whole lot of other incorrect assumptions that inhibit awareness and takes one out of present moment -- takes one and puts him/her into the illusionary world of the false self. Trying to force uke to do something, among other things, is denying the given situation -- which in Aikido is supposed to be utilized -- denying it for the sake of some false sense of being dominant, of being strong, etc., all kinds of others things.
But I hold the same position concerning "more than" and "just enough" interpretations. While these may very well work to illuminate certain things at the level of applying and practicing forms, come into a spontaneous situation with these subjective interpretative tools and you will hardly be able to express anything. Here I am not merely talking about the inhibition of preconceived ideas concerning spontaneous expression, I'm also referring to the fact that such things simply do not exist at the level of spontaneous expression. Such terms are just way too fuzzy -- too subjective -- for spontaneity to support them as descriptive tools. The two things simply "don't fit".