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Old 04-25-2016, 12:25 PM   #8
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: Looking for Aiki (in all the wrong places)

Part of my argument was oriented to develop a sense of understanding what you are talking about.

For me, the way of aiki describes a method of training (way) that achieves understanding (and expertise) in aiki. Right, wrong or indifferent, When I read that phrase I am looking to hear:
1. What is aiki
2. how to train to understand aiki
If someone is talking about a path, I assume they know enough to know what is the path. Otherwise, we are just giving lip-service, parroting someone else in the hopes that by doing so we will acquire that which we parrot.

I understand that generally there is no consensus on aiki, but we are conferring with a body of evidence that we believe to be inconclusive. I take issue with this approach for a number of reasons not relevant to this thread.

As long as we choose to keep aiki something that cannot be understood, we are an obstacle to our own training. I respect each individual's choice to decide what they believe is aiki, but at some point in our careers, we need to show our cards and explain what we do and why it works. This is [supposedly] a fundamental part of our testing process.

I also think the way of aiki is bigger than aikido, mostly because I have seen methods of training aiki that fall outside aikido. I have posted about my perspective on this claim and there are several threads that discuss in detail what is aiki and if it can be present external of aikido. We are still pivoting away from the heart of my claim - What part of each sample you presented specifically are aiki and what movement can I train to acquire that skill? To be fair, I think this is a very difficult answer. I think it's fairly brave of you to even post about this topic and it is a vulnerable position to be in. There's nothing like sharing years of experience just to have someone challenge that perspective.

For me, Aiki is an "is" and "is not" thing. We are all free to use aiki however we want. One time I posted about how the use of "smurf" is similar to how we use "aiki". But is that a teachable thing? If aiki is so big, then wouldn't some large number of paths lead to an understanding of aiki? I am not competent in my understanding of chemistry to claim that "aiki" exists in it, nor could I explain where it exists. I am not competent in my understanding of aiki to claim that it exists in chemistry, nor could I explain where it exists. I don't claim aiki exists in chemistry for this reason; I also don't happen to think it exists in chemistry. But my point remains, where do we claim aiki exists and how can we substantiate that claim? My push back here is that why not just explain where aiki is in aikido? Why pivot to chemistry, or physics, or dance, or [fill in the blank]? I am less inclined to believe any claim made about aiki if the author can't point to where aiki is in aikido.

Thanks Ross, you're being a good sport.

Last edited by jonreading : 04-25-2016 at 12:31 PM.

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