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Old 02-25-2007, 06:30 PM   #691
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: Baseline skillset

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). ... Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail.
Just for the record, Dan and Mike have repeated this strawman in argument often enough that people start to believe I said that when I didn't. I have not claimed that what they do is not done; that the essence of what is done is different from what O Sensei did, or that proper training does not change one's structural sensiblities. Mike, Dan and I have a hard time coming to a commonly agreed way of describing what we see done, and what we feel in doing. The persectives we bring out differ very sharply. I happen to think their perpecitve is wrong mechanically, whatever value it has for practical training, and that is likely considerable. But I have never thought that we were looking at anything fundamentally different in this or any other art.
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art. ... I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. ... I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by these discussions.
I am concerned that they use these things to a different end. It only makes sense therefore that they train for them differently. It therefore makes sense to critically examine their training recommendations, particularly when folks new to aikido are reading them seeking guidance, because they may be problematic for other things that aikido is directed toward.

It is those new folks who are among the reasons I continue to respond critically on these topics.

Practice is not a place for analysis -- that's what this is for. New folks should not surrender their own critical minds, but neither should they learn to distrust the value in the body of the knowledge as a living tradition. Dan and Mike often slip into an air of that distrust that is not warranted -- and distrust can be infectious. People as varied in style and approach as Saotome, Abe, Shioda, and many others, have not themselves plumbed the depths of what the traditional kihon and kokyu undo have to offer. There is no reason whatsoever to distrust them.


Erick Mead
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