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Old 06-03-2016, 02:30 PM   #23
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 809
Re: Looking for Aiki (in all the wrong places)

I can't tell if you are referring to me specifically Jon, but since you're responding to a post of mine, in this post I'll assume you are.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
We practice this way, though. We give more credibility to someone in a dojo than someone off the street. We give more credibility to sempai than kohai. We give more credibility to sensei. I could go on, but my point is that we prejudicially give credit to people in aikido all the time - we presume someone knows what they are talking about for any number of reasons.
For myself, performance trumps rank, talking or posting every time. So if someone comes into my dojo off the street and shows me their ability and it works I afford them the credibility they deserve. When I first began training I assumed that if someone was a higher rank than me then they had to be "better" than me. And the more separated in rank we were the more separated in ability we were. Now with many years in I find this to be just plain wrong. The hierarchical nature of the ranking system has its usefulness, but being a measure of ability is not part of that set.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
But if you are not defending your aiki and constantly testing it... how can you tell if it works? How can you tell if your aiki is better than it was last year?
I make sure I get tested, all the time. I insist my partners pressure me and if anyone looks to give away their power just because it's me their attacking I make them start again. I want my students to see me as just another uke or nage that they are practicing with. I've got a reasonably long Aikido history to look back upon and see where I've come from. That history includes numerous people from other arts who've been my training partners and/or students. Boxers, judo players, CME practitioners, karate people... I've met many and had the pleasure of practicing with them all.

But I don't defend my aiki. What's to defend? My ability? My knowledge? I present what and who I am to each and every person I meet on the mat. And what and who I am are constantly changing since I'm work in progress. Quite frankly I don't care one whit about being "better" than anyone else. I'm always at the edge of my performance envelope and always moving forward. If I wanted to measure myself against others I'd climb into the cage and do the whole UFC thing (well not anymore I suspect there aren't a whole lot of 68 year old active MMAers ). Aikido would be my last choice as a competitive practice.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Are you really going to listen to anyone who has something to say?
See above.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Probably, the only thing we disagree on is who has aiki.
I guess, since I believe everyone has aiki and the only differences are in levels of ability. I also believe that aiki and its expression cuts across a multitude of practices; but that a subject for another thread.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
And everyone knows my dad can beat up your dad, so there.
Well my dad is passed, but in life he expressed an extraordinary ability to coordinate mind and body, so there's that.


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