Friday, December 28, 2007

Trust but verify

Since the David Camarillo interview, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of the Maximum Efficiency Minimal Effort (MEME) ideal in the formation and evolution of judo. I think it is interesting that Kano started off saying that he and his students would be practicing using the MEME ideal toward a goal of mutual benefit and welfare (the other principle ideal of judo) but he still took the overtly dangerous stuff out of judo so they could practice in a vigorous, competitive manner. This almost seems like a Trust but Verify policy. Trust that everybody is doing MEME for everyone’s mutual benefit – but verify that they are able to safely exert maximal effort in less-than efficient ways. A concession to the rebellion of human nature against the mutual benefit ideal as well as a concession to the pragmatic reality that you have to be able to practice vigorously even though you may not have the skill to do so efficiently and gently.
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So, while there are necessarily these great ideals in judo, including:
  • Maximum efficiency with minimal effort
  • Mutual welfare and benefit
  • Striving toward technical perfection (ippon) in throwing…
Kano recognized that you cannot achieve good judo through blind devotion to these ideals. Rather, you have to moderate the ideals through pragmatic reason.

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