Thread: The Way of Aiki
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #66
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,153
Re: The Way of Aiki

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Oh crap you are right, I chose the wrong sport.

Just for the sake of clarification, my very strained metaphor was meant to compare two styles of fighting which have different levels of complexity, or levels of difficulty in being able to master and put into practice the concepts. I'm not sure if something as difficult to learn and master as This Stuff would be popular with professional fighters. But so what - very few of us here are professional warriors, and those who are work on the modern battlefield.

I am not sure about your statement that modern Aikido intends to disseminate the ability to understand and use Aiki. You can say that, and I can say that, but we might be talking about different things.
I think you have a point about the extreme complexity of IS training. As a specific example, I think the training style is not suited for everyone. My point later in my post was about the goal of generalized education. Aikido is a generalized education for the exact point you list - most of us are not professionals in aikido. The curriculum of mainstream aikido is consistent with the level of investment most of us practice - hobby. This is not a criticism - the teaching should match the expectation. I think we get out of whack when we believe 2 classes a week of falling down = aiki master in 15 years.

My point about modern aikido is directed at the concept of generalized education. The curriculum should be directed at educating the largest number of practitioners to a level where they can see/touch/do aiki in their career. I think there is criticism modern aikido can no longer satisfy that goal. If this is the case, aikido will need to change its curriculum to target a smaller, more capable, demographic of practitioners or introduce elements that are better at producing aiki. Or both. I think regardless of what you think is aiki, we need to assess whether aikido curriculum is accomplishing its goal of education.

Aiki is a specific training. Tomiki has kata different from USAF from Yoshinkan. I find myself defending aiki as a point of illustrating that we are generally accepting of different training methods, even ridiculous ones (FYI, Phi regularly trains with ribbons). Yet we seem to have little tolerance for aiki training. Moreover, I am not sure aiki training should be part of modern aikido. The Aikikai made a decision to remove weapons from its curriculum. Why? Because the Aikikai felt they could continue communicating the weapons principles via empty-hand and the specialized curriculum of weapons was unattractive to a large market of practitioners (whether that is happening is another debate). I enjoy weapons and I feel they are important to training. However, I also understand the decision.

Finally, I think aiki runs into a problem because is real. I think it is a pill to swallow to recognize what you have been doing ain't IS. Buy Gleason's DVD and in a week you can feel this stuff. Spend a weekend with Dan and he will have you feel this stuff. Its a snake oil that works and we are caught calling it snake oil, but at the same time you're better. We are left saying,"well, it's not what I am doing and [I believe] I am doing aiki, therefore it cannot be aiki." We forget to face the other possibility, that what we are doing isn't aiki. But we can add "yet" and figure out how.

Seriously, I had that conversation in my head about 5 years ago. My answer? "F^%k this." Since then I have been working to figure out how to get this stuff into my aikido.

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