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Old 09-24-2004, 02:47 PM   #11
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Re: Article: Transmission in Aikido by George S. Ledyard

Hi George,

Thanks for replying. Yes, you did say that quite nicely in the article. Just felt a bit of expansion couldn't hurt, since I thought your piece in no way lent itself, but by the furthest stretch of a misapplied imagination, to supporting a misuse of self-attained wisdom.

How about this, what are your thoughts (and of course the thoughts of others are also appreciated):

On the one hand, we can clearly note that the true transmission of the art cannot take place within, because of, or via the institutional framework. On the other hand, we can note that the institutional framework will, through mechanism that are natural to it, tone down the significance of this inability as it tirelessly works to give significance to what it can achieve, support, and produce. Or abstractly speaking, the institutional framework of Aikido cannot do "x," so it tones down or reduces the significance of not doing "x," while at the same time it holds up "y," which it can do and which it tries not to distinguish too clearly from "x." This is what we seem to be working with, and this I think is somewhere in what you have been saying -- at least as an inference.

If I may say, I think this dilemma, which is what I consider it to be, is something that just goes with the territory whenever you are dealing with art, and/or a "mind to mind" transmission, and an institutional framework. I think history will reflect this as well. This is why we see many "founders" or masters making simultaneous moves in their self-validation and in their rejection of pre-established institutions. The two seem to have to always be together because of the intrinsic nature of institutions and self-validation. Many have actually spoken of this outright -- one already mentioned, Krishnamurti, Ikkyu, Jesus, the Buddha, Osensei, etc.

My question is this: How do we reconcile all of this in our own training (assuming mastery is our goal)?

My concerns is this: (Putting aside the obvious misuses of self-attained wisdom) "Simply shut up and train (more)" may not be the cure-all mantra we all wish it could be. It may turn out to be the very voice of the institution; the voice that speaks to us in a sort of Jedi-mind-trick manner; the voice preventing us from ever achieving mastery over anything but being satisfied just the same.

david
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