Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I can hear it...

I can hear y'all salivating all the way from the frozen tundra of Alaska to the boggy Everglades and all the way from the ivory towers of Starkville to Oklahoma's amber waves of grain. Salivating for more of the martial arts thoughts of some obscure guy in the piney woods of southwest Mississippi. And who am I to deny you. So, what have I been thinking on so hard for the past few days? Here's a couple of things...
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There's this Canadian aiki dude who has a better-than-average blog and who occasionally comes up with some really profound gems of thought like this and this. I have been pondering his thoughts on our desire for feedback in aikido. I've had similar ideas before but his explanation of the idea is more concise than I have been able to bludgeon out of my keyboard with the dull sword of my brain. The "lack of feedback" that he mentions here is much the same as the "feeling of release" i've been talking about in several posts lately. Check it out.
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And speaking of that "feeling of release," there's this article by Beth Shibata on throwing vs. releasing in aikido. I mentioned it in an earlier post on shihonage, but a while back I found this thread of commentary on the article. The reviewers basically blast her as being a silly little pacifist who can't write complete sentences and probably a commie feminist too! Damn her! Well, here's my two cents: I think she's right on target with her core premise, which is that the way we think about what we are trying to do affects our performance. When we try to create performance goals for ourselves so that we can try to learn a new technique, the name that the instructor gives it influences our thinking process. Now, I'm not talking about absolute linguistic determinism, but rather an influence similar to that demonstrated by the ideokinesis guys. So, when we tell a student "here's how we do this throw..." they hear the word "throw" and begin to think about how they would throw anything else in the world, like a baseball or a stick - namely, with sharp acceleration, sudden stopping, and ballistic motion. I defy anyone in the world to throw another adult person using the same type of ballistic motion used when we commonly think of the word "throw." So Shibata suggests perhaps it would be better to call these things "releases." Now that's not a big leap for me because we are used to doing an exercise caled "hanasu" or "releases" in every class since the beginning.
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Lately I have really been getting the feeling that "releasing" is such a HUGE part of aikido that it might even be the one central principle - almost a Grand Unification Theory for aiki. We really might just be "releasing" uke instead of "throwing" him!
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But anyway, that's what I've been thinking about lately...

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