Thread: Shu Ha Ri
View Single Post
Old 07-12-2004, 02:04 AM   #21
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: Shu Ha Ri

David Valadez wrote:
"I have seen it used to change behaviors and reactions that, while "spontaneous" in a certain sense, reflect an attachment to a way of perceiving the world and one's place in it that is not consistent with the principles of aikido. But these behaviors and reactions are not necessarily replaced with the ability to effectively apply the physical techniques of aikido."

- If I can fill in your pronouns -- are you saying that you have seen the shu-ha-ri model used at seminars and other types of instructions to modify people's behavior into something that is antithetical to Aikido principles/ethics?
No. The behaviors, before they are changed, “reflect an attachment to a way of perceiving the world and one's place in it that is not consistent with the principles of aikido,” yet they are still spontaneous in certain sense. This is in accordance with how you defined the spontaneity of the pre-shu-ha-ri state in your post: “By the time we are adults, we have ‘practiced’ these reactions to such a degree, and thus lived out non-reconciliation with Fear, Pride, and Ignorance to a similar degree, that we are in many cases quite spontaneous with these reactions.”

Although they are often replaced through the shu-ha-ri process with something other than the ability to apply the physical techniques of aikido effectively, it is not something that is antithetical to the principles and ethics of aikido.

"Of course, all arts, even extremely formal koryu, are arts of principle rather than technique, so the way I framed that point is somewhat confusing. My intent was to say that in aikido, techniques play a very different role than in other arts. I think we can agree, along with several others, that mainstream aikido, unlike most other arts, does not intend to teach the effective application of physical aikido techniques to real conflicts. It does, however teach something, and I believe that it does so through the process of shu-ha-ri, as you described it."

- Are you saying, while conceding that all arts are about something more/different than waza, Aikido's difference from these arts is that it is not (even) about the spontaneous application of tactical principles and/or concepts, etc. (e.g. martial applications)?
Yes, although I was referring specifically to their application through the physical techniques of the art.

Are you saying that Aikido, unlike other arts, uses the shu-ha-ri model of personal transformation to establish a particular type of being that has little to no concern with martial matters and/or questions? Are you willing to make and hold the assumption that shu-ha-ri can remain spiritually potent outside of martial issues within Aikido praxis?
No. Although these forms of shu-ha-ri do not usually result in the ability to apply the physical techniques of aikido to real conflicts, they are not completely divorced from martial principles. They may include such things as attacking methods, kamae, falling skills, general principles of body movement, etc. All of these are important from a martial standpoint, but they are different from the ability to spontaneously apply the physical techniques of art in real situations.

"What that "something" that mainstream aikido teaches is rather hard to pin down. Yet if you attend seminars, visit dojos, or even read discussion boards such as this one on the Internet, you will see examples of it. It is an approach to conflict that assumes that things will never reach the point of a real physical attack."

- Do we recognize this "it" by its difficulty to pin down alone? Are you saying that there is some consensus in the Aikido world concerning the nature of this "it?" Are you suggesting that consensus in someway adds to or determines the validity of this "it?"
Yes. You can see evidence of this consensus any time you go to a seminar and attack in a realistic manner and receive complaints or objections, a scenario you described in another post. This happens because people are not taught to consider or expect real physical attacks.

Does this "it" fit into the grand scheme of things in this way: (summarizing in reverse) "We can see that mainstream Aikido training does indeed produce changes in Being -- an "it". We can see therefore that there must be a mechanism of change -- one that produces this change in Being and which thereby makes up this consensus. We can call this mechanism "shu-ha-ri." For various reasons (which you did not mention), this shu-ha-ri is used to produce a type of behavior that is antithetical to Aikido principles in most cases."
No, this summary is based on a misinterpretation of my initial statement. I was not saying that the resulting behavior from this process is antithetical to aikido principles, but rather the initial behavior.

On your last statement, "It is an approach to conflict that assumes that things will never reach the point of a real physical attack." Are you suggesting that folks actually hold this position or are you stating that this is your interpretation of what you see them doing?
Some are aware that they hold this position but many are not.

Or, if you are trying to identify something that folks are consciously accepting and/or deciding upon (e.g. "We are altering are behavior and our perceptions of the world and ourselves through our training in such a way that we "defend" ourselves by utilizing this behavior and perception to not place us in violent encounters in the first place."), I do not think that many folks would openly hold this position.
I actually find that to be a quite common sentiment in aikido. If you search around this forum I’m sure that you will find several examples of it.

In other words, while there is some logic to it, since it is the classic "violence begets violence" position being used proactively, I would hold that most of the folks that would make up your consensus of "it" do not hold up this "violence begets violence" position,
Again, my experience has been that quite a lot, perhaps even most, do.

However, regardless, we are nowhere near that point where most aikidoka believe that their waza is totally useless (for good reason) in a martial situation. … There is no consensus and/or current majority of aikidoka that firmly believes and/or expects their waza to be martially useless and/or 100% tactically invalid.
I never suggested that aikido’s physical techniques are totally useless or 100% tactically invalid. What I said was that the shu-ha-ri process in aikido is only very rarely used to develop the skills to effectively apply them. Far more often it is used for other purposes. Because of this, the overall tactical validity of the physical techniques of the art is relatively low compared with other grappling arts. This is not a unique position but one shared by many, perhaps most, people with experience in such arts.

Aikido's martial degeneration is happening not because of conscious decision-making to be such. Rather it is occurring because of lack of mature reflection regarding Aikido's own truths, discourses, institutions, and practices.
While there certainly could be more honest reflection upon such things, I would also say that important structural changes have been introduced into the art in order to make it less martial. This is a similar process to what has happened to sport arts such as judo and kendo, and though different in form, it is no less intentional.
  Reply With Quote