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Old 07-09-2014, 11:00 AM   #12
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,156
Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I agree. But I think kata is still important to learn basic shapes - even for high grades. The shapes we have - the katas if you like - are like a library. We go in there, take a look, pull something out, and practice it. But too much kata takes you further from aiki, not closer. The better you get at kata, the more rigid you become, especially if you beleive it HAS to be done THIS way and ONLY this way. But we still need to maintain connection to kata as who is to say we are right anyway. And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.

We need to constantly review the source - kata - and then put aiki into those kata to - give them life. The takemusu of it, to me, is the escape from kata. Some people seem to think takemusu is randori or jyuu-waza. Not me. Takemusu for me is adding life to dead kata, in a kind of random, yet, predictable way. It is what mainstream Aikikai Aikido is. This is the main difference beween say, Aikido and Daito Ryu (totally fixed kata). Going back to randori or jyu-waza - most that I see just seems to be kata performed in a random way, like in a dfferent order.

Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.
Yes, I am definitely in the camp of "you need a vessel in which to pour water." I think this is complicated because I am currently of the mind that some of the aikido curriculum has been distorted over the years as external "fixes" have been applied to the gaps created by not practicing internal training. While not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I think it fair to be cautious evaluating the kata to make sure it is what we should be doing (in order to prevent un-learning it later).

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