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Old 10-16-2007, 03:03 PM   #62
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Driving a car.

There is a certain amount of knowledge one needs to drive or sustain driving a car. When you get down to it, really one really need to know very little to complete the task.

Heck, I can even build a pretty darn good race car with very limited knowledge simply by following the recipe that others have done.

I think the same with the sword. The guy cutting with it need not know how to build it, he was only skilled in using it.

Somethings become intuitive.

I don't so much care to know the laws of physics or thermodynamics as related to "IT"...I simply want to be able to "drive the car" a little better than I did the day before!

Good discussion!
Good analogy. Let me extend it for further consideration.

First, your analogy is spot on, but we are not just driving the family sedan to soccer and back, in the intuitive mode we obtain be mere frequency of ordinary action. We are training to be much closer to the high speed, low margin for error end of the racing spectrum, at least that is what budo ought to require.

A racer develops a desire to learn everything that might be relevant in all the technical elements that go into the slim margin of performance differential he is trying to achieve -- from what ever sources that reduction in error or increases in performance may come. That includes, in the racing environment, an objective and analytical as well subjective and synthetic understanding of friction, aerodynamics, combustion chemistry, collision mechanics, applied torque and precession and a host of other disciplines that might bear on that high degree of performance, and low tolerance for error that is required.

All to go in circles on a closed track. (snark )

All these arguments are legitimately about better ways or overlooked issues, approaches or disciplines that may push one toward more firmly that end of the spectrum.

Second, we are not just using the sword. Our bodies are the sword. We shape it in the same process that we are routinely using it. You can't just hand it to a sword polisher and tell him to bring it back when it is sharp enough. Like the skilled polisher we have to be knowledgable about the consequences of inconsistent blade geometry, the ways in which it may affect the ultimate performance, and attend to methods and factors involved in shaping that may add or detract from that required degree of precision .

Like understanding the functions of blade geometry (or its metallurgy), we need a consistent reference to principles of action to help us decide what functions to try to train for more intuitive action, That way we can identify and refine training methods or approaches that will make those actions intuitive, or more likely so.

I pointed out that in swordcraft the traditional means are synthetic, with a literally religious intensity driving its attention to both rigor and detail. It does that very effectively. That Way requires a level of inculturation much harder for us to duplicate, and for which we have no ready substitutes.

We do, however, have our own analytic Way. It may allow pursuing "it" according to our own inherent strengths. We can capably apply our own Way to the methods and principles by which we train, if we choose to do so. It can still hew to traditional synthetic understanding, by more clearly setting it forth explicitly in our terms of reference. That is my current effort.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-16-2007 at 03:08 PM.


Erick Mead
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