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Old 01-01-2010, 03:21 AM   #18
Maarten De Queecker
Dojo: Aikikai Gent, Brugse Aikido Vereniging
Location: Bruges
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 139
Re: Tips for Effective Aikido

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think the problem is that "tips" are helpful to people learning how to use Microsoft Excel, but not so helpful to people trying to learn aikido (or many other things). Straightforward, deterministic tasks, where task, method and purpose are all unambiguous, lend themselves to tips: if I say "click the column header to select an entire column", for example, you won't be confused about what I'm talking about, or why you would want to do it, or how you would accomplish it. But "extend your mind"? Who even knows what that means? A phrase like that won't take on any meaning (if it ever does) until you've trained a while, the "why" is rarely explained (or contradictory explanations are offered), and the "how" of it may never come. Over time, "extend your mind" may become a useful reminder to one's self, but I suspect the meaning and certainly the method will always be somewhat personal.

And to a beginner? Eeesh. I dunno. When a beginner says something like "extend your mind", I can't help but wonder if they're merely parroting the words, because this extend-the-mind thing is supposed to be the key and parroting the words gets them nods of approval and acceptance into the club.

Maybe the real answer is that "tips" can help with aikido, but as a reminder/point of focus rather than as a way to learn -- you have to already have something to hang them on first.
Why is it that we always have to make aikido as difficult as possible by using things like "extend the mind" or "extend ki"? I've been training for two years now and I wouldn't know what any of those mean.

Then I wonder why other Japanese martial arts like Judo or Jiu Jitsu manage to train effective, balanced and strong martial artists without the use of exotic phrases like the ones above? Those martial arts are at least as technical as aikido, how do they do it? It's mainly because they stick to a K.I.S.S. way of teaching (keep it simple, stupid). They don't go for phrases like "now extend your ki both in body and mind in order to take uke's centre" but stick with "stretch your arm a little so uke is out of balance". At the former newbies will be like "QUE?" but they will understand the latter because it just says what you have to do.

I hear a lot of people say that aikido is very natural in terms of movements and all that, but that means that they should be rather easy. Why then do we insist on making it so difficult? A thing I generally say when training with beginners and to myself is "stop thinking about what sensei said, just do it!".

That being said, can anyone explain to me what is meant by extending the mind?

Oh and happy new year of course!

Last edited by Maarten De Queecker : 01-01-2010 at 03:25 AM.
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