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Old 01-31-2006, 08:41 PM   #147
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Michael Gallagher wrote:
Kaiten nage would have been my choice, too, although someone in another thread said it didn't work. In any event, none of the three dojos I have trained in, including the one I am in now, regualrly do it as a defense against a shoot. None of the books I have on Aikido, including both Best Aikido books, show it as a defense against a Shoot. And none of the seminars I've been to even mentioned the Shoot. If you're going to claim "it's taught in Aikido," you're going to have to explain why it's hard to find!
Kaiten nage is only one example of powerful, centred movement which is taught in the major schools of Aikido that I have experienced - Aikikai, Yoshinkai, Ki no Kenkyukai and Shodokan. Applying this basic principle to a shoot is..... simple imo. I have done it and many of my kyu grade students are able to do it. Again, if we go back to the beginning of this thread we see the problem of the student seeing only the form and missing the principle which leads to the spontaneity of thought and action that defines Aikido.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
So hormat has provided the lense through which I look at Aikido as I've returned to it after 16 years "away." Right now I am in the business of learning and absorbing. "Experimenting" comes later. And even then, if you're told not to train in certain ways, you don't do it. That would break hormat.

What you call "passive" I call knowing your place. I'd be lying if I said I didn't screw up now and then. But I don't call it "passive."
In the above post you outline the lens that is allowing you to read things into my words that are not there, hence the misinterpretation my posts. Nowhere did I ever say that one should lose respect and humility for one's teacher or teachers. Without respect for your teachers in MA training you have nothing imo, but this does not mean that you merely swallow something as is without trying to learn the deeper meaning behind why something is the way it is. If you have a lens then it is difficult to see and think clearly about the topic since Aikido by nature requires the clarity of Mushin Mugamae which requires at least temporary removal of all lenses and prejudgement. What I speak of has nothing to do with unsanctioned experimenting, it is in fact shu ha ri as mentioned by another.

Also, the hormat you refer to is often cited by students of Koryu I have met (using the Japanese nomenclature of course). Again this is where deeper study is required imo, if you will allow me to use the Japanese naming to refer to the Pentjak Silat Serak you are doing, as it appears to me that you are confusing a traditional, ancient or family school (like Ono Ha Itto Ryu or Kito Ryu) with modern Budo (Aikido, Judo, Kendo). Serak is a family system where the training and tradition is designed to operate primarily as a preservation and transmission method for the family art, this is vastly different from a constantly adapting, changing, modern Budo. One is a preset, living archive, the other is constantly being rewritten while maintaining a link to the traditional methods. The mindsets of the students studying both types of arts are often different and should be, since the student of the first one is trained in being a living repository to transmit a system exactly as handed down, while the other allows room for development and application of principles taken from the traditional systems but given a progressive, modern focus. The Kali Silat system that I have practiced is one that is not as deeply concerned with preserving a particular family heritage, although this element is there, but its primary focus is one of self defence and application.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
you have to remember that you are not just learning techniques but learning something you are supposed to pass down eventually. So while veering from "traditional" methodologies may have some beneftis, are you losing something else? Are you failing in your role as an Aikido student if you decide, "Yeah, I'll listen to that guy in the skirt, but I ain't gonna train his way and damn if I'm going to teach his way"? I would say you are.
You would. This is where the maturity of the student as he becomes teacher is revealed. There is nothing wrong with learning from your teacher and being able to understand in a mature manner his areas of excellence and his areas of lack. In my opinion if you can identify the areas of lack of your teacher and decide to replicate this to your students without thinking because "my teacher did it this way" then you are failing as a teacher. You should at this point have an understanding of the principles such that you know where your teacher's way began to split from the way of the system he was teaching. If you can't do this then you don't have enough understanding of the core principles to be teaching imo.

Again, the teacher is not the system in modern Budo, he is a means whereby the principles and concepts of the system are passed on. Ueshiba M. invited his students to "stand on his shoulders" to find the way. To me, this is the way, to others it may not be so. One does not need to abandon the system or the teacher to do this, but one does need to attempt to understand the system for oneself instead of constantly and perpetually depending on another's description of the system.

Btw we don't wear skirts either.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
There are enough differences between hooks and yokomens that I would be surpised if you could take a yokomenuchi defense and use it as is without any modificatiohns. Try amazed. The stance is different, there are differences in the mechanics, and the strategy and use is different. I wouldn't be surprised if someone who had never seen a hook before had trouble with it if someone sprang it on him.
Again we return to the fixation with form instead of the understanding and application of principle. Btw there is only one stance in Aikido - mugamae. As outlined earlier in the thread (I seem to be repeating this) the fixation on form by nature precludes spontaneity.And you wonder why you will get caught off guard by a round punch that does not conform to your predefined format? I have seen many Aikido folks suffer from this particular afflication - every time the reason is that the fixation with form and preset structures locks the mind and body into a place where the most efficient and effective response is lost in a mental quagmire of "which stance should I be in to respond to this?". At least when they come to our dojo they realise that if things are approached differently a student with 6 months training or so is able to deal with these things spontaneously from mugamae and at least be able to evade the "surprise, targetted, stanceless round punch" without too much issue and mental gridlock.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
I agree with "getting at the principles." What I disagree with -- if not totally reject -- is this idea that doing what your sensei tells you to do won't help you get there.
Whoever said that? All I said that was that your Sensei is not the last word if you are learning a system of concepts and methods - iow don't mistake the messenger for the message.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
Presumably, he is where you want to be, so he is only trying to point the way and give you the tools to get there.
As a beginner he may be where you want to be, but one should not settle for this when one attains a deeper, wider understanding of the principles.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
If you "think critically" about things you really don't understand, are you helping yourself or shooting yourself in the foot? I think the latter. It's not that there isn't a place for it. But that would come after you get the tools you need to understnad what you're doing, not before.
I would think the above would be obvious. How can you think critically about something you don't understand? You need to understand first. Your Sensei is one source (a major one) from which understanding is gained. But he is by no means the only source and if he is one runs the risk of becoming stunted in development at some point imho. This applies to Aikido of course and not arts where the Sensei is the system and whatever he decides to be the standard is the standard.


To others: Apologies for the long posts. I am trying.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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