Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Re: Video definitions, "Aiki" and other terms.
I didn't intend to suggest that it was solely the hope of making money that was motivating these guys to promote Aiki to the Aikido community. I've never thought this. When I mentioned "cost," I meant the personal sacrifices, the expense of time and effort (and perhaps money, too) required to obtain their skills. Perhaps using an analogy might explain my thinking better. Imagine a guy who has discovered a hidden, jungle paradise filled with natural wonders. He tells others of the incredible place he's found and urges them to see it for themselves. Naturally, they ask him the way. Instead of simply drawing them a map of the path he has already blazed through the jungle, he says, "Oh no! I had to toil miserably for weeks to find this place! If you want to see it, only I can show you the way." Now, it is possible for people to find the paradise without having this fellow guide them there - a well-blazed path now exists - but he is insistent that only if he shows the way will they ever be able to reach his secret garden of wonders. When people suggest that they might find the way if he were to simply provide instructions for doing so, he responds by saying, "The way is complex and difficult and there is no way I could just draw a map that would properly lead you to the paradise. A map would be almost impossible to create. It would be simpler and better if I just showed you the way myself." There is a major problem with this, however. The adventurer can only lead people to his paradise at certain times and there are many who wish to see the paradise but cannot join him at these times. Although he is very strong in his encouragement of people to see his jungle garden of wonders, if they can't journey with him to where it is, well, too bad for them. Naturally, those who haven't been to the paradise but would very much like to visit it, begin to resent the constant urging of this fellow to see the paradise while at the same time throwing up impediments to doing so. They suspect very strongly that a map could be made and that more could thereby enjoy the jungle paradise without the need for a personal guide to it. As a result, the suspicion grows that the fellow urging them to see the paradise isn't really as interested in people reaching the paradise as he is in leading them there.
I guess I'm part of third group, then, since I haven't had any hands-on experience with Dan, Mike, or Ark and yet am quite convinced that Aiki skills are real.
Well, as I tried to explain above, I cannot meet "their terms." I live too far away, and have other responsibilities that greatly limit my time and finances. Also, it hasn't been that I just looked over and saw Mike and Dan and others with Aiki skills that I didn't have and insisted they give them to me for nothing. No, these guys have been pushing the Aiki stuff fairly strongly at aikidoka, going so far as to suggest that most Aikido today is devoid of any real martial power and effectiveness because it lacks Aiki. Okay. But don't tell me there's a problem and then shut the door on finding a way to resolve it.
I appreciate your points and I can understand your position on all of this and I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don't. Unfortunately, it is what it is. However, I do have a suggestion that may help for you to get a foot in the door on this stuff. By the way, I decided to personally call this stuff,"Stuff" since it appears that there will never be any universally agreed upon term for it - although Mike just made an excellent post that goes into a lot more detail on the different terms as they relate on various levels, IMO, it will always be viewed differently by different people - but Stuff is Stuff and nobody can say it is not Stuff
Anyway, back on track with my initial thought to you. To get a foot in the door, I recommend that you may want to consider Tohei's model on Mind and Body coordination - Although some people may think this is not the direction to go, both Dan and Mike have mentioned that Tohei was on the right track, but he did not take it further. Although most of his books are out of print, used ones are available and I believe Ki in Daily Life is still in publication. In addition, there are videos of him out there as well. These resources can provide you will all the detail on his approach along with basic exercises and tests to measure your progress. However, I believe it is still crucial to get with someone in person with the skills so you can receive supportive and/or corrective feedback on where your skills are at. Also, as mentioned, Tohei did not take this 'Stuff' to the next level, so at some point, if you want to continue your development, you will need to get with someone like Dan ,Mike, or the Ark. Good luck in you pursuit.