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Old 03-10-2007, 08:34 AM   #23
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Christian Moses wrote: View Post
...The problem I have with the ki society methods (and I say this as someone who has a shodan from a ki society offshoot) is that the explanation for how to accomplish a particular goal, is the goal itself. If I don't know how to 'extend ki', being told to 'extend ki' isn't very helpful. All of the aiki parlor trick tests (unbendable arm, closed finger circle, plank across chairs) and whatnot are fine and all, but I feel there has to be a better and more specific way to teach the internal dynamics beyond telling people to do these things and then repeatedly testing how well they do them. If you actually build a methodology to develop these skills, then the tests have value, but tests generally make poor lessons. IMHO
In contrast, I wasn't taught that the goal is both method and object. Generally you try and convey the feeling of the principle, like "ki is extended", a newer interpretation than "extend ki". Once the student catches the feeling of how to do something, then they can reproduce the process for themselves.

The Ki Society is a centralized organization. That means the teaching methods are the same in Japan as they are in the US or elsewhere. Therefore they don't take into account the differences in culture. If you tell a Japanese student, "Extend Ki." they might have an idea of what you're talking about, since ki is a fairly common word in the Japanese language. If you tell an American student, "Extend Ki.", they will scratch their head and ask, "What's a Key?" since the word is foreign to the English language.

The teaching methods are developed at Ki No Kenkyukai, Ki Society Headquarters (KNK). They are transmitted through people like Kashiwaya Sensei, a chief technical advisor, who makes regular visits to KNK. Various Ki Society dojos outside of Japan also send people to attend national instructors' conferences. At these conferences new methods and activities are introduced. If you are in a dojo which does not send someone to these conferences, you are outside the information loop.

One of the goals of Koichi Tohei was to standardize the teaching of aikido. To do this he developed methods for teaching ki development and ki aikido. KNK serves as a think-tank/research group transmitting its activities and methods to various Ki Society dojos. Therefore ki aikido is a dynamic (changing) style of aikido since the time K. Tohei left Hombu dojo.

How does this stack up on the local level? Results vary. If you've got a dumb instructor, then you've got a dumb instructor. It doesn't matter which style of aikido they teach. However if you've got a good, active Ki Society instructor, then you have someone who can tap into information from some of the best teachers the Ki Society can provide.

Last edited by tedehara : 03-10-2007 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Serendipity

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