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Old 04-27-2016, 07:19 PM   #9
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 809
Re: Looking for Aiki (in all the wrong places)

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
For me, the way of aiki describes a method of training (way) that achieves understanding (and expertise) in aiki. Right, wrong or indifferent, When I read that phrase I am looking to hear:
1. What is aiki
2. how to train to understand aiki
The 'way of aiki' is Aiki-do. And Aiki-do training is, at its core, a method of attaining an understanding of aiki and developing expertise in its application. How we understand aiki may take on many forms based on a host of factors. How we demonstrate our expertise in the application of aiki within Aiki-do can be felt by our partners and ourselves when we train.

Aiki-do, by its nature, is the way to train to understand aiki. But it's up to the student to cultivate the understanding because the understanding comes from within. We can be shown any number of physical exercises or movements that we are told will develop aiki, but unless we have the wisdom to connect them to what we are experiencing within ourselves that understanding will remain elusive.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
As long as we choose to keep aiki something that cannot be understood, we are an obstacle to our own training.
Quite true IMO. As long as we convince ourselves that aiki cannot be understood we won't understand it. Unfortunately sometimes people mistake the mystery for the mastery.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I respect each individual's choice to decide what they believe is aiki, but at some point in our careers, we need to show our cards and explain what we do and why it works.
Yeah, we should be able to explain what we do and be able to demonstrate that it works. As to the why it works... that's something that doesn't really interest me. The why it works is open to too many interpretations. As long as I am able to show my students what I do and provide them a scaffold to begin to construct their own understanding of aiki, the whys of it aren't especially important. Why makes for an interesting point of departure for a discussion of aiki but isn't necessary for attaining understanding of aiki.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
My push back here is that why not just explain where aiki is in aikido? Why pivot to chemistry, or physics, or dance, or [fill in the blank]? I am less inclined to believe any claim made about aiki if the author can't point to where aiki is in aikido.
I agree that there is no need to point to other activities in order to justify the view that aiki exists. But do you really think that you can point to a 'where' in Aiki-do (whatever that means) and say there lies aiki? Is it not justification enough to be able to express aiki in your Aiki-do?

Thanks Ross and John for this thoughtful column and thread.


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