Mike Sigman wrote:
Of course, based on what you're saying, you see that these skills are intrinsic parts of the "real" techniques of Aikido (and a number of other martial arts), but at the same time they can be considered more or less "additives".... and just knowing how to use the additives doesn't make one's knowledge of Aikido any good. You have to practice the techniques, too.
My opinion, FWIW
It's taken me over 25 years of being on the mat five or six days a week to start getting this.While it's true that I may not be the quickest study I do think that I can safely say that you can theorize about this all you want but it's hands on training time pure and simple that prepares your mind and body to "get it". I am hoping that the folks who starting to undertsand some of this will develop a better and more complete way of describing it for their own students. I don't think it should take as long as it has. But most of us trained with little technical direction... we had to figure out a lot of it on our own. That's why I am so greatful to the teachers who have worked so hard on developing ways to teach this stuff. Even my own teachers have changed drastically. I had a sword class last year with Saotome Sensei in which he explained in detail exactly what he was doing. I had been doing those techniques with him for thirty years and never heard him explain them that way. Ikeda Sensei has also changed completely. I remember when he had one response to any question you asked him. he would look thoghtful for a second and then say "Train more". Then we went through the period during which he got very verbal and would say "just catch it" by way of explanation. I remember one student saying"catch what?". Now he has developed an incredibly detailed way of explaining what he is doing. Every piece is broken down. He shows it full speed, static, stop action, what a difference from the old days.
But all the explanation in the world won't make any difference if people aren't training. The small number of folks who are training really seriously I think are making a stab at getting what these teachers are doing at an earlier stage in their training than I figured things out but the many folks aren't training hard enough to get it even though it's being handed to them. There's simply no substitute for mat time.