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Old 12-03-2012, 09:23 AM   #283
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Is aiki a clash of forces?

Chris Hein wrote: View Post
So why is it that you won't meet me in person????

I would love to see what ALWAYS happens. Yet when you find someone like me, who openly states that what you are saying doesn't add up, you stay behind your computer instead of meeting with me publicly so you can show what you claim.

As this debate has gone on, I have gotten a lot of emails. Emails from people like me, who said you did the same thing to them, you made outrageous claims, then wouldn't let them come to your seminars.

If you don't want to meet me at a seminar, I would be happy to meet with you anytime you're in California. I would love to "touch hands" with you. As a professional martial artist shouldn't you be interested in making that happen?? I claim that all the "work" you have done is for not. I guess you could simply "sit behind your computer" and argue with me. Or you could show me, but you'd have to leave the keyboard to do that, Dan...
For the record... Dan H has been coming several times a year to my dojo to teach. Each time we have offered classes for both people who have had previous experience with Dan's work and separate classes for folks who have never trained with Dan before or have not had much experience with internal work. No one has been turned away from attendance at an event at my dojo.

To that I will add, having trained for almost four decades with many of the finest teachers of Aikido and what I might consider "aiki" arts, I have not encountered any teacher who is more excited about sharing what he knows or takes greater delight in a student "getting it" than Dan. When he teaches, you have to assign someone to insist he end class so you can eat... None of this 10 - noon, 2 to 4 stuff... he get so involved with the work, he'll go until everyone finally goes, "Dan, we have to eat... we're about to fall over." And he looks surprised when he sees the clock... like he can't believe class was supposed to end 45 minutes ago. Whatever else you want to talk about here, discussions about Dan not being available to check out are ridiculous. There are certain individuals, some friends amongst them, who have crossed certain lines of civility and I can't see why anyone would think that Dan would turn around and welcome someone who came in with a 'tude.

I will make one stab at explaining my own opinion that most of these discussions are a waste of time. There are two ways to communicate a set of skills in a martial art. One is to use language to describe what is being done. The second is to show the skill. Dan's methodology insists that his students be able to do both. If you can explain it but can't do it "You suck". If you can do it but not explain it "You suck".

The issue here is that "showing" ones skills requires that one meet face to face and puts hands on. The issue with language requires that the folks trying to communicate have a common language. Since we are on the internet, we are forced to use language. But the folks arguing here do not have a common language, which as far as I am concerned, makes most of the discussion ridiculous.

The idea that engineering / physics models can explain what is being done in "aiki" is possible if one just wishes to explain in a sort of overview how forces might be balanced or directed. But the fact is that "aiki" and internal skills involve the action of the intent on the myofascial structure. I cannot remember anywhere in my readings of physics works ever hearing the terms intent or myofascial ever used. Not in engineering either.

So, lets assume that you have an "engineer / mathematician" who has some skill at Aikido. He may understand what he is doing and he may conceptualize it in engineering or physics terms. But his ability to explain what he is doing to a group of folks who were unfamiliar with the terminology is about zero until he can show what he is doing and develop an understanding of how he uses his terms. In my opinion, the terminology of physics and engineering is pretty close to useless for productive discussion of how to do body skills. Neither of these descriptive systems were designed to describe body skills or talk about the interaction between the mind and body.

On the other hand, the Indian, Chinese, Japanese literature offers highly developed descriptive terminology for precisely this purpose. This terminology has been developed over a period of two thousand years or more. If one understands the terminology in Sanskrit, one can find the identical terms in Chinese. The same terms made it into Japanese. This terminology was specifically designed to describe at an extremely detailed level what one needs to do with ones body and ones mind to have the skills which we might call "aiki".

Aikido literature, at least as it exists in English to date, simply does not have anything like the descriptive terminology that exists in the Chinese internal arts. Interestingly, if one is fluent in Japanese, one can find the same concepts and terminology in Japanese martial arts literature, and this is true of the writings of Morihei Ueshiba as well, they simply haven;t been translated in to English.

Tohei made more of an effort to have a "principle based" descriptive terminology to teach the art. Compared to the sophistication of the Chinese model, it was only a very simple and quite general starting point. Post war Aikido simply doesn't have a descriptive terminology that is body centered and very useful for developing the actual body / mind skills we are ostensibly trying to develop.

Anyway, most of the discussion here is like listening to two people speaking different languages yelling at each other. One person is providing lengthy explanations in Urdu, which hardly anyone in the audience understands. The other is using Lakota Sioux to try to describe the same thing. Each "yells' at the other but neither can really communicate nor can the audience even understand the argument because there is no common descriptive language that is agreed upon.

If you can get repeated exposure to a teacher who has a consistent terminology and can show you in his or her body and your own what these terms mean, then you can start to talk to other people who have that same experience. Since most of the folks here do not share this terminology or. as Aikido people, have only the most simplistic, even misleading, terminology to describe what they are doing. well, the whole discussion ceases to be worth while.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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