View Single Post
Old 07-09-2009, 04:17 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Japanese Aikido Teachers - Translation

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I believe that, if Aikido is going to regain some of the content which has been disappearing over time, we have to do a better job of breaking down and teaching these principles. This is an uphill battle as there are only so many folks functioning on this level... That's one of the reasons so many folks are trying to work with teachers from outside Aikido like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa, Toby Threadgill, Howard Popkin, the Systema folks, etc.

I just came back from the ASU Summer Camp in DC. I would say there is a fundamental shift taking place. It's gradual but building steam. There were far more folks whose Aikido is starting to contain these elements than just a few years ago. Despite my complaints about lack of specific how-to instruction, our teachers have been placing increasing emphasis on showing these principles in action. If you attend a seminar with Ikeda Sensei these days, you will do nothing else... it's the whole focus of what he is teaching.
One of the problems within the JMA communities (and CMA's, too) about ki/kokyu skills is not only just "translation", although that's a big problem admittedly, but also the fact that initial terms and explanations are simply not there. If you learn something from someone by feel and intuition, it's difficult to pass it on in any way except through feel and intuition. And of course without more precise ways of describing things, a lot can be lost in the transmission.

While sources outside of Aikido can contribute to various facets of the ki/kokyu skills, I think the growth of knowledge within the Aikido community will grow beyond those sources in a few years ... although probably most of that knowledge is going to be confined to the people who at this moment are making serious efforts to get the information. What I'd suggest is that people begin to isolate and define the skills that are applicable to Aikido. Make a list. Start with Ueshiba, Tohei, and others standing relaxedly against a push and saying "this is an example of ki". OK, so you have a physical phenomenon that you can label "this is ki". Then start looking for other legitimate examples of what ki is that have been demonstrated and discussed by acknowledged Aikido experts.

What I'm suggesting is that now would be a good time to begin a definition that works from the demonstrable phenomena and add that information to whatever can be gleaned from "translation", and so on. Begin building a public repository of ki-related information in perhaps the AikiWiki so that it is available to everyone, especially as it becomes more complete. I think it would be very helpful to the art for people to contribute by gathering information and making it publicly available.


Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote