I wonder if it's a good idea to be so absolute about things. Buying into this idea of these skills being just some basic foundational building block that has no depth--is way off the beam. Maybe that's all some people can see at this point in their training.
Other then debates on the internet-and mind you with an increasingly smaller number of very vocal detractors who day by day are making themselves irrelevant --I seem to be seeing just the opposite in person. I am enjoying camaraderie and a VERY positive "meeting of the minds" with Aikido teachers and students alike who are putting in the work. As one teacher commented to me recently "This is like graduate school for teachers!"
So I'm not really concerned with debating those who; can't do it, can't explain it, can't or won't show it, and frankly have no credible reputation for having any skills anyone considers remarkable in any way. What's the point?
Discussions about Aiki and aikido waza
I unabashedly talk about aiki and aikido techniques-why can't I? I was and am a student of aikido, and can, and do, stand on my own experience and abilities with anyone from a myriad of styles. These comments that I am somehow an outsider unable to discuss Aikido waza are disingenuous and only serve to further support isolationism and a comfort zone for naysayers. Is it "supportable" as a debate point in person? While I remain open to examining that- I haven't seen it yet. Instead I see myself putting it out there, standing there toe-to-toe as a mudansha with 4th, 5th, and 6th dans and they are completely unable to do anything to me, and I can pretty much do what I want --if someone has and issue with that-I'd like to hear what it is? I am quite sure that if I were getting handed my
butt people would not be objecting then. I think it remains that a left over issue is that the physical side of Aikido is having to finally face capable people on two fronts; the truly martial and effective, and now with the very essence of their art itself; knowledge and ability in - aiki - being questioned and examined. Maybe its smart to consider that those doing the questioning are not AGAINST you but are FOR you and are trying to make a difference in the art.
The debates only exist on the internet --I only see definitive and concrete-answers in person. Aikido teachers are proving time, and time again, to be very open, humble, eager and pretty cool at that. Maybe things are just a whole hell of lot better than people realize or know about. The only negative comments I keep getting are not pointed at me. The negative ones are more along the lines that these teachers are ticked off at their Japanese teachers for being either unable or unwilling to teach them and telling them it takes twenty years!
As far as I am concerned "IT" is no longer debated with anyone who had felt it and can do it. I'm just going to continue having fun teaching aikido teachers and seeing all of us westerners improving together. I am looking forward to the day when some Japanese hombu 8th dan Shihan stands there totally outclassed and says to one of these teachers "What was that?" I hope, on that day, one of them says
"Well, I could explain it to you, but you wouldn't understand because you're Japanese! It's a cultural thing!"
Seriously though-I think its time we look to each other and help each other up the best we can instead of endlessly debating on the net. Get out and meet and see what you can do and what's out there. Be a good researcher. If this stuff is stopping and stymieing every single one of your teachers who encounters it- what does it say about you that you haven't at least checked it out. You might notice it isn't a pissing contest once it happens. Everyone makes friends-that's nothing to dismiss lightly.
Good luck in your training and hope to see you on the mat