Rob Liberti wrote:
I keep hearing people say (and reading posts) that "aikido is simple" as if that means it is easy. People claim or seem to imply that you have to "_just_ not do" things for aikido to work, and that everyone can do aikido at any time; basically it's just in us and we simply get in the way of it.
This is only a half truth as far as I'm concerned. Certainly aikido (beyond surface level total beginner stuff) can happen at anytime but if the person being attacked is not well trained, I'd say they are probably one of those people who are naturally squarely over their center, have excellent posture, are very reflexive in their movement, and/or happened to get incredibly lucky.
I find those romantic ideas to be a bit of a trivialization of the amount of work and training needed to progress. Yes, of course reflexive movement is innate and we need to get out of the way of our reflexes - but NO and here is the bottom line - reflexes don't know anything about strategy especially with regard to subtle energetic communication used to blend with attackers!
The best reflexive people I know in aikido tend not to set things up optimally because they have that "reflexive" crutch going for them. They tend to blend very well before connection is made, but not so much as connection is made (setting up optimal kokyu ryoku experience).
Not a bad rant, as rants go, Rob
There seems to often be a misunderstanding of what "innate" and "natural" mean in many Asian discussions. For instance the way the body is used to move or manipulate using "ki" is considered "the natural way", yet it is not meant that we naturally move like this, it's meant that we have to train to "regain" this sort of "pre-birth" strength that babies, etc., are reputed to have. I.e., to be that kind of "natural" isn't the way most westerners think of when they say "natural". The same is true of "instinctive" ... the practical idea is to train something so that it replaces the "instinctive" way we now move. The idea that Aikido should be "natural" and "instinctive" implies a lot of training for those strengths and responses to develop.... not that "it just happens if you'll relax your body and let it react instinctively". If it just came naturally we could stay at home in the lounger.