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Old 02-26-2015, 08:31 AM   #11
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,192
Re: The relevance of origin.

Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Bottom line, "with regards to" is another way to say in reference to. Also, "in the understanding and practice of an art" could also mean in reference to. Reference also is defined as practicality and social applicability and the word is considered a noun.
Aiki web is starting to look like a dead end.
Hi Brian,

I really wasn't trying to pick nits; I think it's an important distinction for a philosophical discussion like this, and I think that's supported by the other comments. It's not picking at nits to explore possible deeper meanings, to look into the various ways that "understanding and practicing an art" subdivides. Are the origins of a cake's ingredients relevant to how good it is? Depends what you mean by "good". How tasty it is? How healthy it is? How much you enjoy it? The more I think about it, the more I realize that any answer depends on who you are as well as on the origins of the cake -- maybe more so. If the cake is made from expensive ingredients that require a refined palate to appreciate, it might not appeal to you any more than a cake made from cheaper ingredients -- or might taste downright weird. If the cake is made from wheat flour and you've got celiac disease, it's quite unhealthy. If the cake is made from chocolate harvested by slave labor, and you care about that, it's probably not very enjoyable.

So, origins and history of aikido vs. understanding and practicing an art. Here I have to "on the one hand, on the other hand" you. On the one hand, I'm a fan of history, and I think that knowing about the historical context can give insight or add to one's understanding. On the other hand, it isn't the thing itself. The core of the understanding has to come from the practice. Origin, lineage...on the one hand, these things matter; on the other hand, they don't by themselves legitimize one's practice. "I studied with so-and-so" means that you had the opportunity to learn what that teacher is teaching -- it doesn't mean that you necessarily did so. I think that a good lineage (using the term rather loosely) is a necessary but not sufficient condition for excellence in one's own practice -- meaning that your teacher must have picked up the right set of clues from somewhere, and be showing them in his/her teaching. What you do with them, that's another matter. The inheritance of a good lineage is often squandered, and I'm sure there are cases of martial artists without the benefit of a good lineage who nevertheless had the discerning eye to "know it when they see it" and develop excellence in their own practice.

And, of course, the more modest your own aspirations, the less any of it is relevant. You may be perfectly happy with a whoopie pie from the corner store. There's no "should" about what you should want.
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