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Old 03-04-2015, 12:46 PM   #76
kewms
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Re: The relevance of origin.

I work as a writer, and there are two lessons from writing that seem relevant here.

One is that communication is impossible unless there is some common ground. If people can't or won't agree on basic vocabulary, it is very difficult to talk about anything else. However, agreeing to disagree can also provide common ground: "I don't agree with your definition of Term X, but I understand what you are trying to communicate when using it in that way, so now we can move on to another topic." This is how people of good will can continue to have productive conversations in spite of fundamental disagreements.

The other is that indiscriminately sharing rough drafts is unwise. I write in part to figure out what I think. Sharing a rough draft puts me in the position of trying to defend a viewpoint that I may not actually hold, or that I may not have fully considered. Similarly, most people's aikido is a work in progress. Our understanding of technique evolves over time, and being forced to defend a particular snippet of thought or out of context video clip can lock us into particular understandings long after they have outlived their usefulness.

Similarly, aikido as a whole is evolving, too, for better or for worse. As the last of O Sensei's direct students leave the stage, it is up to us, collectively, to reinvent and rediscover what aikido is and what we want it to be. Origins and lineage are important to that process, but even the koryu styles acknowledge that transmission is never perfect. Every generation has the right and the responsibility to re-examine the foundation and build their own understanding. A process which will inevitably involve missteps, digressions, and "rough drafts" that later turn out to be incomplete or inconsistent.

Katherine
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:43 AM   #77
dps
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Re: The relevance of origin.

We are sharing rough drafts on Aikiweb. Some of us have drafts more refined (or so we hope) and some of us know what we are talking about (or so we think). Some are looking for ideas to help refine their drafts and some are trying to sway others to their way of thinking?

dps
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:59 AM   #78
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The relevance of origin.

Wow ... sorry for that ...
Actually using the expression " 'it' " was just meant to prevent the discussion it now pushed. In German we use quotation marks to say something with a twinkle in one's eye. With a grain of salt. Being not too serious. ... I thought it was clear that I am referring to aiki but didn't want to go into detail here because that's not the topic of this thread. And also because defining my undersanding of aiki would need some space.

Katherine describes my intention precisely, when she writes:
"I think there have been endless discussions in this very forum about "it," and if nothing else those discussions have shown that internal power, aiki, and related phenomena are not easily summarized in a sentence, or even a paragraph. And so, if one wishes to have a conversation without getting bogged down in endless rehashing of definitions, it is necessary to use some sort of shorthand."

Here you may get a first idea of at least one of the Areas where I am looking for "it" and how I try to get access to the meaning of aiki.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yes. Enough with the "you don't have the secret decoder ring" nonsense.
Well, I think this kind of illustrates the point I tried to make: When you are taught something it completely loses it's magical quality. Even if you can not reproduce it fully, what your are taught is no longer a mystery to you but something you can work with. Something everybody can work with.

For example, when I for the first time in my life saw a shodan grading about twenty years ago, I had no "secret decoder ring": I simply had no idea how this gyu did what he did. And still less how he did what he did. I was completely lost. - By now, I myself prepare students for taking their shodan gradings...
In this case it's simply a question of time and of gathering experiences.

The quote Ron posted contains another example that goes a little bit deeper and shows that experience will not help in every case, but that you have to have some knowledge to get things right:
Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
"Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted training that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life." - Morihei Ueshiba
It is my experience that not everyone realizes that "peace" in Ueshiba's context does not only refer to political or social phenomena.,But first and foremost means Daoist internal practices in which you (at least try to) restore yin and yang from fire and water and build yin over yang, which as hexagramm is read: "peace". Meaning the union of heaven and earth within your body. Or - inother words - "stillness and movement as one". That's how the shihan I follow usually expresses it.
The term "Art of Peace" is so frequently used when talking about aikidō. But you don't hear very often, that this refers to certain internal practices, to concrete Daoist exercises.

This is but one of many aspects of "it". Again: You don't need a decoder ring here. But also true: Only experience and years of practice will not help you. You simply have to have a hint, a pointer. This knowledge is not evident and does not reveal itself just from usual keiko. You will not find that by yourself. You will have to be told. Maybe at first a book will sufficently do. Or an article. At least that is needed. And when you decide to actually practice this art or freedom you need a teacher.

So yes: It is my experience that you "can ... only learn if a teacher reveals 'it' to you, whatever this mysterious 'it' is". It is my understanding, that this is exactly what teachers are for. And being a teacher myself for some years now, I experience this myself "on the other side".

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
do you believe that you, yourself, can learn nothing from observing a video?
I myself use videos. But definitely only videos of teachers with whom I have practiced to a certain degree. So that my body knows the how it feels, what my eyes see.

Still another example: I attended only one seminar of Ikeda Hiroshi sensei. I was lucky he took me as uke several times throughout the day to show the seminar what he wanted us to practice. There was a whole lot of stuff where Ikeda sensei did no visible movement at all - but completely broke my balance. The attendees could only see my reaction. But had no idea of what he was doing. And how. The only could see that I was stable, or was not.
Maybe you have practiced with Ikeda sensei? Than you may know what I am talking about. Only watching that on video will give nothing to work with. Absolutely nothing. You simply can't see what he is doing. You simply have to know it. And in this case there are no books or articles about it. And I think this true for every video to a certain degree.

Quote:
(god, I hate secret-handshake crap!)
To my experience this is an integral component of the transmission of budō. And I think it is exactly this what "ishin denshin" means in the end. And because of that lineage seems so important to me. As does knowledge of the origin, knowledge of what can be learned.
There is a lot of stuff that you - and I - won't find yourself. But that has to be revealed to you.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's particularly effective when you insist that those who don't see what you see are blind or stupid or ignorant, and that only the most discerning and clued in will see "it".
I'm clearly not saying that while everybody is looking at the same thing, only some see "it" and others don't and are therefore "blind or stupid or ignorant".
It is my understanding, that we simply not alltogether have the opportunity to look at the same things. So not everyone has the Chance to learn certain things. Simply because you necessarily need a teacher who knows those things and who is able to show and to teach them.
In my case I practiced about 15 years very intensively with - I still think - very good teachers, until I met some teachers who opened my eyes to a new world. Or a new dimension. It simply didn't exist before. And I had seen quite a bit of the aikidō world.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
We must be reading a different forum.
When I wrote: "Isn't it interesting, that there are so many people who agree about what Ueshiba meant?" I was not referring to this forum. It is my experience that once you know what to look for you will find more and more teachers who do this stuff. And who trace it back to the origin, to Ueshiba osensei. They agree in the essence of twhat they do and teach. Although they never met nor even know each other.
And in adititon to that I see this same stuff in other, related budō: You have it in TSKSR, KSR, Daitō ryū. Just to name a few.

Quote:
Are you familiar with the term "credentialism"?
Um no. So I would appreciate, if you elaborate a litlle bit ...
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:53 AM   #79
Erick Mead
 
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Re: The relevance of origin.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
... indiscriminately sharing rough drafts is unwise. I write in part to figure out what I think. Sharing a rough draft puts me in the position of trying to defend a viewpoint that I may not actually hold, or that I may not have fully considered. Similarly, most people's aikido is a work in progress. Our understanding of technique evolves over time, and being forced to defend a particular snippet of thought or out of context video clip can lock us into particular understandings long after they have outlived their usefulness.

Similarly, aikido as a whole is evolving, too, for better or for worse. As the last of O Sensei's direct students leave the stage, it is up to us, collectively, to reinvent and rediscover what aikido is and what we want it to be. Origins and lineage are important to that process, but even the koryu styles acknowledge that transmission is never perfect. Every generation has the right and the responsibility to re-examine the foundation and build their own understanding. A process which will inevitably involve missteps, digressions, and "rough drafts" that later turn out to be incomplete or inconsistent.
But the West is the hallmark of how far circulating rough drafts can advance learning. The Eastern cultures are bound up in ideas of authority that went out with St. Augustine in the West (at the latest). Until relatively recently the notion of mere "authority" as a basis for argument -- outside the law -- held little sway in the West. "Show me," as they say in Missouri.

In Western terms all material knowledge is tentative, subject to correction, development or even total obsolescence based on new facts, new discoveries and new ideas or applications. (I can make an argument that this has proceeded too far in terms of moral principles, but that is another discussion.) Western knowledge is a collection of rough draft, and that is at one and the same time its crowning glory and mark of deep humility at the vastness of a reality we really do not understand except in tiny pieces.

AikiWeb is one of the few places that the Western approach has held true in the exploration of Aikido. It does not really hold true in the strict lineage model of transmission -- and really is alien to that model -- so we should expect a little healthy friction.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:55 AM   #80
kewms
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Re: The relevance of origin.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
In Western terms all material knowledge is tentative, subject to correction, development or even total obsolescence based on new facts, new discoveries and new ideas or applications. (I can make an argument that this has proceeded too far in terms of moral principles, but that is another discussion.) Western knowledge is a collection of rough draft, and that is at one and the same time its crowning glory and mark of deep humility at the vastness of a reality we really do not understand except in tiny pieces.
Well, in theory western knowledge develops in that way. In practice, we are all human, we all are motivated to be "right." And so it can be very difficult to let go of ideas, especially once we have put them out in public with our names attached.

Katherine
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:38 PM   #81
Erick Mead
 
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Re: The relevance of origin.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Well, in theory western knowledge develops in that way. In practice, we are all human, we all are motivated to be "right." And so it can be very difficult to let go of ideas, especially once we have put them out in public with our names attached.
Part of the problem isn't just ego-protection, though. We in the West have also allowed ourselves to invert the relationship between truth and evidence -- which is deeply and subversively destructive.

Lots of really important things are true that can't be proved by evidence (e.g. -- Pi has an infinite non-repeating sequence of digits; parallel lines on a euclidean surface never intersect; the Cubs cannot win a third World Series ). Lots of things that are false, may nevertheless have some evidence arguably in support (e.g. -- parallel lines can NEVER intersect in any case (not true for hyperbolic or spherical surfaces; also the Cubs actually won in 1907 and 1908, which is evidence only of the Devil's perversity ... ).

Truth does not actually depend ultimately on evidence. Evidence can ultimately only test falsity -- not truth. Something not true for which some evidence is offered can be falsified by evidence, and if falsified from evidence -- it cannot possibly be true. Something true for which there is no evidence is no less true. Something deemed true on all available evidence and to a high degree of practical sophistication can nevertheless later be falsified by the appearance of new information or the correction of flawed assumptions (e.g. Newtonian versus quantum mechanics).

This inversion problem between truth and evidence is present in these debates, because many tend to equate personal performance with correct description of physical principles operating in a performance -- and they simply aren't the same things at all, even thought they both relate to the same things, or ought to.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:34 AM   #82
jonreading
 
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Re: The relevance of origin.

The buzz word I learned in school was "social truth." If enough people say it with enough conviction, it is true regardless of the presence/absence of evidence. Tom Brady was responsible for deflating footballs, not because there is evidence of that fact but because enough people at ESPN said so.

Mystery is a social creature - it attracts our interest, engages fantasy and opens a door to imagination. In the movie, The Sixth Sense, Bruse Willis is engaged in working out a mystery with Haley Joel Osment. The mystery is so large it occludes the fact that Bruce Willis is a ghost who can only be seen by Haley Joel Osment. Once this fact is made known, the entire movie changes for the viewer. Re-watching the movie illustrates elements (previously unseen) that tipped off an astute viewer to the oddity of Bruce Willis' character. The movie not only loses the mystery, but it also illustrates things in the movie that were unnoticed in the original viewing. I know several people who re-watched the movie just to see if he was dead the entire time. I also know people who will never watch the movie again.

I feel strongly that aikido is one long telephone game played across generations, languages and cultures. I feel strongly that it is our responsibility to occasionally check how well we are playing that game and also make the necessary corrections when we find something was poorly communicated. Not everyone wants to do that, which is fine. I think its important to scrutinize new information, even if it's to say, "not my cup of tea."

I think when those mis-perceptions surface, we need to be sensitive to the cost that mis-perception played in the training of some number of people, but we do need corrective action. We need to be sensitive to our understanding of aikido so we can change what we are doing when we see something that we previously misunderstood. I do not think it far fetched to consider that maybe our training is not 100% correct.The point of debate is what we want to consider changing, not what we need to change...

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Old 03-06-2015, 11:11 AM   #83
Erick Mead
 
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Re: The relevance of origin.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I feel strongly that aikido is one long telephone game played across generations, languages and cultures. I feel strongly that it is our responsibility to occasionally check how well we are playing that game and also make the necessary corrections when we find something was poorly communicated. Not everyone wants to do that, which is fine. I think its important to scrutinize new information, even if it's to say, "not my cup of tea."
It needn't be the telephone game -- because there is a common rubric, or template, to keep us all from straying too far -- the human body. Everybody happens to have this ready reference. If we focus on the objective aspects of the human body that this art plays upon, and work on identifying and communicating the principles, signs and sensations of those things (and as importantly, which ARE NOT those things) then we cannot go too far wrong.

Quote:
I do not think it far fetched to consider that maybe our training is not 100% correct.
I think it more accurate to say that 100% of people are wrong in some regard, but some are more or less wrong than others -- and on different points as well. It should commend us all to be a bit more humble and charitable. Every assertion of an area of knowledge -- at the same time betrays the vast fields of ignorance that lie just beside it.

Quote:
The point of debate is what we want to consider changing, not what we need to change...
I think our concepts do need a serious change. They need redraft/translation/remapping from Eastern terms of extended metaphors into Western objective terminology. The operating principles (of whatever conceptual scheme) will always require extrinsic study and training. The body is the intrinsic reference available to everyone without regard to language concept or culture.

That does not mean traditional vocabulary goes away -- it can be valuable shorthand or terms of art -- but it needs an precise index, and in our terms, which is lacking -- but hardly impossible.

Western teaching makes that kind of correspondence between operating principle and the body as clear as language can make it. It is necessary to better discriminate between what we NEED to do, what we THINK we are doing, and what we ACTUALLY do -- and any or all of the three may need correction.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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