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Old 05-26-2004, 11:36 PM   #5
Dojo: Chicago Aikikai
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 78
Circle Re: Practice without tradition

I think the "traditional" aspects aren't absolutely necessary for training, but in my opinion they help a lot. Reading into the initial post a bit (and correct me if I'm wrong), there seems to be a sense that there is something about the tradition that is extraneous or unnecessary to training, kind of like what the appendix is to the human body.

In my experience, the tradition is very much a part of the training. You bow to the shomen because you respect OSensei (note that respect does not equate worship). You bow to your partner to communicate your appreciation of their willingness to take ukemi. Even the seemingly pointless act of folding or tying a hakama helps prepare the mind for training and makes the practice more deliberate. It's an expression of your dedication to the art. Yes, sometimes these can degenerate to the equivalent to empty ritual, but I don't think that's the point of tradition (for more on this, read Confucius).

Anecdotally, I've been to "open mat" classes where people just showed up and worked on whatever they wanted. Sometimes we bowed in, and sometimes we didn't. When we did, I noticed that the practice seemed more focused, and more intentional than it did when people just showed up, stretched, and started messing around with whatever technique they felt like working on.

So, with regard to "tradition:"

Is it absolutely necessary?

Does it affect the dedication one has to training, or add to the "purity" of the practice?
In my opinion: Yes.

Yours in ukemi,


Last edited by Tharis : 05-26-2004 at 11:41 PM.
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