To improve ANYTHING, constant review, questioning, testing, research and development and redevelopment is necessary. Essential it is to trust your own commonsense. It is usually right. The rest is mere marketing.
Another inevitable principle of existence is that all evolutionary creation happens in a trial and error adaptation response. In the earliest times, it seems that nature was not satisfied with stopping at amoebas floating around so, probably with the help of “God” our planet became a work in progress.
It still is and we are far from perfect.
We copy this in all things. All technology is improved on an intelligent evolutionary basis always aiming for the best ergonomics.
I’m not going to get drawn into the argument of “evolution” versus “intelligent design” because people with incomplete minds are both saying the same thing from their own limited perspective. Nature, God, The Universe, call it what you will, is more complete than a few handfuls of dust, water and air who presume intelligence and who are barely conscious of the fact they are floating in space on a mere spec in a vast magnitude.
We can debate things more fruitfully when we have succeeded in exploring and understanding that Vast Magnitude. In the meantime, whether despite adversity or because of it, we continue to evolve and hopefully increase the intelligence we claim to posses sufficiently enough to minimize unnecessary conflict.
Refined function is everything. An author requires severe critics in order to be able to improve his work. Otherwise it is just ego and waffle and it will not sustain. The critics must be INTELLIGENT otherwise they will fall asleep at the wheel and criticize, but only because they choose to be brain-lazy and fear facing the pain of noticing what is, as it is, and thinking clearly!
Good editors are hard to find.
Whether automobile design, aircraft development, computers, literature, any science or art, crafts, technologies or any other, it is the critics who spur development forwards. The INTELLIGENT critics who have a pragmatic basis for their critique.
Budo is no different. It too seeks optimal ergonomy. Otherwise it is not Budo but something else. On this basis, all training is research and development and must be conducted with ruthless honesty, albeit total care and safely. Such a request appears to be somewhat challenging for some. Bullshit sells better than fact, it seems.
Paradoxically, in order to achieve the cutting edge of true skill, friction is not only necessary but also essential. Otherwise everything decays into a mutual admiration club and everyone goes back to sleep and becomes vulnerable again in the stuporous inertia of complacent hubris.
Intelligent criticism is an essential requirement for safe forward motion to take place. We drive our cars with eyes open wide clearly observing the traffic laws in order to stay alive. Analogous of life navigation itself.
True peer review is harsh and challenging and utilizes scientific scrutiny in a strict form using the “devil’s advocate” principle at every step. Anything less would be mere back-scratching to confirm a prejudice for purposes of ego or other self-service.
Objectivity requires a balance of the ideal and the practical, but knowing the difference. Anything less would be deception. A paradox of existence is that no living thing ever arrives and when it does, much like salmon in mating season, it ceases to be.
Even Bodhisattvas, on attaining Buddhahood seem to disappear forever.
Final perfection is not only retractive but also unattainable. This is good news because it means several things. It means we can forever continue to improve. It means continuity is possible. It also means that stagnation need not set in, so long as we refuse to suffer from the complacency of resting on laurels.
Our ancestors perfected the arts of attrition, struggle, resistance, forcing, arguing, contention and doing things the hard way. This made immense genetic strength and survivability our foundations. It is hard wired in our genes. Tragically, it does not produce optimal sustainability. Flexibility, relationship and flow do. This Aikido teaches; and we are learning to rewire ourselves to greater efficiency in existence. But it will not be achieved in one generation.
The paradoxes are these. We best master flowing when we have a foundation on struggle. We best master lubrication when we have a foundation on friction. We finally begin to open our eyes and look for efficiency when we become exhausted by doing things the hard, dull, stupid way.
When we learn to let go and let flow, we not only obtain a superior result but we open up a way for universal wisdom to enter. Surrender appropriately in order to gain ascendancy. It seems a paradox, this paradox of aiki.
It’s interesting how so many people will work 200 times harder to take a short cut that does not exist and waste years in a maze of self deceit, than simply do the time tested and proven work, required to obtain results.
Such as the “no-touch” proponents. What appears to be “no-touch,” when real, is entirely something else. But when faked is a danger to both the gullible and the faker.
Some even end up believing their own act, and get so good at denial, they go on to deceive others.
And then one day… REALITY BITES!
In some areas of life, those without a litmus test, you can get away with fantasy and lies and temporarily profit from it, so long as you can find those fools who are willing to part with their money, instead of lynching you as a snake-oil peddler.
In Budo, it’s not wise. Hospital or the morgue can result.
Strategy can not be based on wishful thinking, but the recognition of hard facts.
A meditation teacher once told me, “If you are feeling disillusioned, that’s good. Less illusions means you are getting closer to enlightenment!”
Real warriors seldom frequent dojos. And if they do, they are quiet. Few can guess their identity. Real warriors are 98% CONSTRUCTIVE and CREATIVE BUILDERS OF SOCIETY and only act as combative protectors, if and when it becomes inevitable. This is a point missed by the self-serving insane and hot-headed boys overdosed on testosterone.
The bulk of Budo is constructively creative, persistent work, building and serving.
Distorting the truth carries great risk; and imparting it carries immense responsibility.
The idea of faking it has always held cause for concern. Where do some senseis find the exhibitionist ukes who fling themselves stupidly and obviously about as if they were training for the long jump? What do these purported senseis do to bribe these imbeciles to sell such a show? At least in pro-wrestling it is admitted that this is “selling the technique” and the better the “sell” the greater the skill and co-operation required.
In something purporting to be “Aikido” it is tragic and the laughing stock of other fighting arts.
Sadly it deceives some people. Too many by the sound of it. To what end?
Where is such deceit, or plain ignorance taking Budo?
Where is it taking Aikido?
Nothing is set in stone. The Universe is all discovery. It is most important however, to never forget that the Aiki-jutsus were developed for practical life and death battle and not as ballet, meaningless gymnastics or Olympic jumping.
Anything re-enacting anything less than the true purposes, whether practical or idealistic, is not Budo and certainly not Aiki-anything, but something else.