Thursday, September 05, 2013

Watakushido, grounding, and the aikido ghetto

Yesterday I stated that martial artists should feel free to take ownership of their artform and their practice.  Take what the old dead guys did and tear it apart and rework it and refit it and make it your own thing that works for you. Watakushido.
But there are a couple of caveats...

  • It would be wise to get a solid base of understanding in your teacher's way before you tear the thing apart and put it back together again.  Otherwise, if you tear the thing apart without any grounding in reality then you might never get it back together again - or it might not work properly when it is re-arranged.  Problem is, how do you know when your grounding in the art is sufficient to start making it your own?  Who knows?  There's probably no way to be sure. It is completely subjective.  But we have found through the years that somewhere around nidan (2nd degree black belt) you probably have a sufficient grounding to start thinking about how it might work better if your practice were re-arranged some.
  • Be careful that you don't end up in an aikido ghetto.  By that I mean, you don't want to do your own thing your own way by yourself for so long that you become insular and unrecognizable and disconnected from the real world - some strange dead-end form of parallel evolution from The Dojo That Time Forgot. Sure, you want to be creative and artistic and you want to love the thing because it is your own creation, but Best Practices are usually called Best Practices for a reason and standards (ie kata) are standardized for a reason.  

Want to discuss this blog post?
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Patrick Parker

1 comment:

  1. Watakushido, the art for the self ... who else are we doing all this for? Great stuff.


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