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Old 06-26-2011, 10:02 AM   #39
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: What Is Your Frame Of Reference For Understanding Aikido?

Michael Varin wrote: View Post
But is "IP/IT/IS" either? From the way I hear it described, I don't think so.

Where does that leave us?
Well, years ago I went to a dojo opening where a number of guys gave demos. Toby Threadgill, Neil Yamamoto, Rich Elias, and a bunch of others. James Williams was there and he did some interesting matched stuff he got from Kuroda. I saw a lot of great stuff. Stuff I would have called great aikido because most of what I saw that day was driven by the exact "stuff" I was looking for.

You say "from the way I hear it described". Well, with all due respect I don't have that problem. I sucked it up after that demo (and other things I'd seen) and went out and got on the mat with a lot of different people. What changed for me *was* my frame of reference because as Lynn has pointed out, we only tend to understand things through our own filters. We are limited in what we know *by* what we know. I went out, got manhandled, got thrown, learned new stuff, struggled, and am still struggling. My frame of reference has changed. No, I don't think it is a complete fundamental change, but it is a heck of a lot more nuanced, a heck of a lot more complex, and I hope a heck of a lot better mapped to what is really going on. My understanding of aiki has changed. That idea, the notion of differing frames of reference, the notion that the metaphors and mental constructs we use to understand this stuff determine how we understand (and can limit us) was the point of what I posted originally in that other thread that was grabbed for here.

Again, back to another thing I wrote. I see good jujutsu that can be done without aiki. Some in Aikido are actually fairly good at that. I'll then see okay jujutsu with *some* elements of aiki. I also have seen stuff that I simply can't describe because it seems to me to be completely devoid of anything at all (delusional comes to mind). But it is those doing good waza with the power of a more nuanced aiki who can both do it with amazing fluidity and softness. *BUT* that softness is there with a potential power underneath it that is palpable. And undeniable.

By the way, one guy I know has a t-shirt that says "ki is crap". I would also say I've seen the guy demonstrates a tremendous amount of aiki in his waza. Powerful.

And I don't see a contradiction.

When you type "from the way I hear it described" I will sit here shaking my head understanding what you're saying. I had heard it as well up until I *really* watched some people working. That planted a seed. I then asked more questions, got out on the mat, and then experienced what they were doing. That in turn fed back in to me as I watch old videos of o-sensei, of Tohei, of others. And I see it through different eyes now, through a different frame of reference. The problem wasn't what was being said, the problem was my understanding of what aiki *is* wasn't as fully developed as it is now. Or maybe my conception was simply different if that makes folk feel better about it.

I'm not going to argue about right or wrong. The problem here is that I have my opinions from my training, my experiences, and my beliefs. There's guys here who enjoy arguing either side. Me, I answered it for myself by shoving my ratty black belt in to the bottom of my bag and attending classes with people doing other stuff. People who came to "aiki" through different paths.

I'm still asking questions. But I do it on the mat now. And in person. And I have a long way to go. And all the discussion *here* won't help. So on that note, time to shower up, pack my bag, and get out on the mat.

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