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Old 05-18-2016, 12:06 PM   #1
Peter Boylan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 291
Sweat The Small Stuff. And It's All Small Stuff.

When you train your aikido, what do your focus on? The big stuff? Or the little? I look at this in my blog.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:12 PM   #2
Robert Cowham
Dojo: East Sheen Aikido and Kashima No Tachi
Location: London, UK
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 281
Re: Sweat The Small Stuff. And It's All Small Stuff.

I agree with much of what you write, and yet I would tend to state my approach as principle/fundamentals based. That said, it tends to manifest itself in "small stuff".

This morning I was exploring uchi-kaiten/soto-kaiten variations with a couple of guys. Principles included maintaining contact/connection to center (your own and partner's), and keeping the hand on your center line of your body. That gives rise to details. Variations naturally arise/need to be addressed depending on uke's attack/response. That manifests maybe in more details - but still derived from basic principles.

Also, I want people to be exploring and working things out for themselves. If throwing partner where they hold your right hand, what happens if you have left foot forwards vs right foot forwards as you cut down/project with your hand/arm (which is driven from center, and yet where you want to maintain relaxed shoulder)? How did your feet have to move to get to appropriate places? What principles were involved that required or enabled your feet to move as they did?

So maybe an alternative: "Sweat the fundamentals - it's all fundamentals"
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:51 PM   #3
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erikmenzel's Avatar
Dojo: Koshinkai Leeuwarden
Location: Leeuwarden
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 594
Re: Sweat The Small Stuff. And It's All Small Stuff.

Thanks for the blog, Peter.

On of the problems I see is that in the learning proces there are different stages. All these stages are important to learn what you are doing but none of them are the master stage. It is in a way, what many people call, a path you must travel.

Obvious problem occur when people try to skip a stage or get stuck in a stage.

Skipping a stage is one of the big discussions going on in all different situations where learning is involved and usually you see 2 sides willing to fight each other to the death: one side believes skipping and shortcuts in learning is possible while the other firmly believes you can only reach a certain level by having walked the entire path.

Getting stuck at a stage can be the killer of creativity. Why learn when you have mastered all there is to know about this, or so you think?

I do agree when you say the little stuff matters, but your focus will change in time. How to hold your hand may be a serious issue until you have learned how to hold your hand (or so you think).

You need a whole repertoire of stuff that you don't need to worry about before you can start worrying about each of them.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:35 PM   #4
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 433
Re: Sweat The Small Stuff. And It's All Small Stuff.

I am reminded of Musashi's guidelines for developing strategy - pay attention even to trifles. I have worked along side, under, and over too many people in health care that thought the details didn't matter.

Where this gets messed up for me is Budo should have reasons for the details. There are instructors who will teach something "because." Maybe they learned it that way. Structure leads to balance, power, speed and longevity and there are many details to learn - structure is a function of over 200 bones and 800 muscles unified in a specific shape and timing for each person. If the small details are taught by someone with a dance or yoga or gymnastics background or understanding, the reasons for the details are different and so are the details themselves.

If you don't keep digging at the small stuff, then there is the trap of being "good enough." Without doing the work, there is no way to know how much I am missing or how far off I am.

Good article, thanks.
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:39 PM   #5
JP3's Avatar
Dojo: Wasabi Dojo
Location: Houston, TX
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 291
Re: Sweat The Small Stuff. And It's All Small Stuff.

Stand up straight.... is that a small thing?

I go back and forth all the time on it....

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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