I think what Wynand's complaining about is the old tactic used by the woo-woos to justify their bizarre arguments: "If you don't believe exactly the same thing as me, however weird and full of Swiss Cheese logic, you've got a closed mind."
Basically they, or anyone else who demands you agree with them
; are the ones guilty of the closed mind; often such folk conduct 'research' in such a way as to strictly support their own biases; ignoring onformation to the contrary. The person with the open mind is the one who keeps his options..er..open...who looks for answers accepting the fact they may go against what he already believes.
That said; when encountering such folk; it's vital to insure you don't do exactly the same thing on the opposite side of the argument: "Ki exists." "No it doesn't." "Does to!" "Does not!"
Of course; some arguments are just so damned silly they're easy enough to dismiss; but it's important to look at them all the same; even the most bassackward argument can have useful tidbits or at least valuable insights into the mind that created them. Also; for less extreme arguments; it is entirely possible that the two arguments could both be correct; just different aspects or points of view. Case in point: Wynand's statement:
I am prepared to listen to what my instructor tells me about ki and spirituality but I myself am of the opinion that ki is an outdated concept that can now be explained through physics and body mechanics and that spirituality is best left to the individual to discover for themselves. So I will listen unquestioningly but if it does not suit me I will discard it. I feel I am only there to practice with willing partners and acquire techniques.
OK: in short; what you're saying is right from the beginning you're ready to discard something if it doesn't immediately suit you - is that not the definition of a closed mind? In the case of ki; I personally believe you've missed the mark a bit. It's not physics and body movement; that's just what the techniques teach. I personally believe ki is the outward manifestation of nage's intent or will. Are you right? Am I? Who knows - could be both in this case, depending on what turns your crank. We can use the analogy of the stuff that comes out of the tap - you can call it 'water'; I can call it 'dihydrogen monoxide'; the next guy can call it 'melted ice'; just different names for the same thing. Ideally; if one is to maintain an open mind; one should take in the information whether you believe it or not. If you do not agree with it; don't throw it out; keep it in the closet somewhere. As your opinions and attitudes change throughout your training; they may become useful.
I can elaborate by using the end of that quote: "I feel I am only there to practice with willing partners and acquire techniques."
So - you're not there to learn aikido?
That's how I thought; coming from the background as a veteran soldier; I wanted to learn technique; all that spiritualist crap was a pain in the ass. Untill I learned that the techniques are the least valuable part of aikido. They're useless in a real-life encounter; unless
one learns the so-called spiritual side - the calming of the mind; the relaxation, the extreme smoothness. Then they become incredibly effective; because what people who collect techniques don't realize is that the techniques aren't the goal (if your intent is self defence) - the safe conclusion of an encounter is. The techniques become tools along the way to the goal; not the goal themselves.
I didn't learn that from someone telling me; I learned it by working it out for myself; it goes against what is taught in my neck of the woods. See; not to sound arrogant but I'm an extremely effective defender; far better than all but two aikido instructors I've trained with so far (someone trying to kill you with a machete is a very effective judge of your skill). Everything I was learning in aikido was going against what I'd learned in years of combat training, but I kept a 'maybe' tag on all of it; just in case. Until I learned through private study that the techniques aren't aikido; they're the 'alphabet' of aikido - the basic building blocks only. It's the 'spiritual' side that makes aikido aikido - the rest of the language IOW; grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, intent and the art of prose and poetry. Just as language uses the words to convey the message; so aikido uses the techniques to resolve the conflict.
When I learned that; I stopped doing techniques and started doing aikido.
Sorry, this is long - hope I made my point with something resembling clarity.