View Single Post
Old 03-24-2006, 03:08 PM   #38
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 104
Re: Correct Movement in Aikido

Someone once asked Ken Kesey how to find inspiration for writing. He said something like, "If you want to find inspiration, you have to hang out in places that inspiration has been known to frequent." No guarantees that you'd find it, of course, but it wasn't going to happen if you didn't go there.
In the context of the current question, the elusive, difficult-to-transmit-let-alone-really-get kokyu and ki are kept from many people by what they already know, or think they know; they aren't in the places that ki and kokyu are known to frequent, and their conditioning prevents them from going there. In the current context, this is particularly true with males, especially young males, and it can be very frustrating to get them even to consider the notion that a technique might depend on something besides biceps.
So how does a teacher get past the surface tension of the student's ignorance? Sometimes, simply removing non-efficient alternatives, be they thoughts, emotional states, or muscle usage, will allow a message to get through that would otherwise be blocked. But of course simply working to exhaustion, by itself, is meaningless, or worse.
This reminds me of something Tohei sensei once told me, about the difference between American and Japanese Aikido students. He said that a Japanese student will practice a technique thousands of times, whether or not it is done correctly, while an American student will keep trying variations and asking questions until the principle is sort of clear, then say, "I got it," and have a cigarette.
Clearly, neither student has learned fully; the question is, how does one get past their learning assumptions? I think that working to exhaustion could be a tool, a means, to be selectively applied.
  Reply With Quote