Re: Refining my view of aiki
I really think this whole idea of "transmission" may have been relevant 40+ years ago. And it's obvious that looking at the movements of aikidoka and even Shihan, some of them got it and a lot of them didn't get it.
I was fairly late to the game when I started training in 1988 at the age of 27. And I started at NY Aikikai. And this was long before the internet and information being more freely shared and discussed. But even back then there were people like Mantak Chia, Peter Ralston, John Painter, and Koichi Tohei who were making previously very esoteric information quite available. Chi Kung classes and workshops were publicly available. Ki Society classes had open doors. And most of all this were clearly based in Daoist principles and practices.
This was 25 years ago. Now it's 2014. I think it can be interesting to research the past. The distant past even gets more dizzying. And I appreciate the efforts of the historians – like Stanley Pranin, Chris Li, Peter Goldbury, and Ellis Admur - for bringing information to light.
And the conclusions are basically the same. This stuff has been around, sometimes more open, sometimes not. But it's been around for a long time and can be seen in cultures all over the world.
Fast forward 25 years...
Katherine makes a great point that the "warm up" exercises are the Chi Kung / Aiki Tanren of Aikido. They've been there all along. But a huge point is, are they treated and viewed as "warm ups" or internal exercises to build the Aiki Body?
John, I agree with you that M Ueshiba wasn't that great of a systematic teach. But he obviously provided a fantastic environment for learning. I think one of the problems is when we try to look at it as a "system" at all. Ultimately, there is no system. And ultimately it's the responsibility of the student to explore and suss out what they're looking for. And this is a continuous endeavor.
Ueshiba talked about sword. When Nishio showed up, no one at Hombu knew much about swordwork. So, Nishio went to some of the top sword masters and learned. And I doubt Ueshiba taught Nishio much on the level of "technique." It was more about principles, concepts, and approach.
In all the time I trained under Nishio, he never made a physical movement and said, "The founder did it like this. He moved his hand like this and he put his feet like this." In fact Nishio moved very differently than Ueshiba. But Nishio would go on and on about Budo and principles the Founder said. And he would also frequently comment on how the movements, and the way many people who training aikido, were martially ineffective.
Nishio was already seeing a lot of Aikido being turned to shit - years ago. Same observations that you're seeing and ranting about, John, and others here.
I'm going to start a topic called Third Wave Aikido in the General forum. And rather than just bang on the whole Aiki/IP/IS aspects, I'd like to get some discussions going of the overall evolution and revolution that's occurring in Aikido. And things we can look for in the training methods and organization to see what works and is adding quality, and what's crap and needs to be removed.
A lot of Aikido really does suck. And this can be seen not just by longtime aikidoka, but other martial artists and even the general public.
Last edited by Dan Richards : 09-19-2014 at 10:47 AM.