Ya know, every time I see a demonstration there are always a number of people in the audience, or the class, who are amazed at the proficiency of the demonstrator. But, every time I see something I can’t understand I just keep looking, thinking, searching for years on end sometimes, until I discover what the secrets are that let that person do what they do.
It doesn’t mean I can do it, or that I can always explain it, but as all the little clues and pieces come together, I learn to do it on some level, if even on a basic beginner’s level, and understand how practice, practice, practice will allow someone to polish the technique until few in the crowd cannot help themselves but be impressed by the demonstrator.
My first teacher was from the striking art of Karate, but he kept in mind that judo, jujitsu, and aikido were as important as karate with a cross for his faith in god over a picture of the four masters who were of equal importance. From him I pursued Wally Jay Small Circle, and later Aikido.
During Aikido I met Tim Vasquez who showed me some interesting books about Chin-Na. Those studies opened another door that eventually led me to study Acupuncture, which led me to attend seminars with George Dillman who was pursuing pressure point studies, and Remy Presis of stick fighting. The cross-overs between the arts are an interesting study of both movement and thought processes.
Each time I am introduced to studies in another discipline there are different ways to approach both the physical practice and the mental state of mind it take to pursue each style of practice. Within each art are the clues to the secrets scattered all over the place that the Founder of Aikido was able to gather for himself.
READ the biography of Morihei Ueshiba and you will be able to pick out the many different studies he pursued and ideas he exchanged with people who practiced other styles, as well as other types of martial arts, to formulate a methodology that worked for him. You must also pay attention to his periods of illnesses, therein lie clues found in the study of medicine.
Whenever I see someone who thinks they have something new, some kind of variation for aikido, I am able to define where they have taken techniques and practices from other arts to integrate them for their own style creating what seem like a new style, but it is always from some style of fighting that already exists.
And so I tell everyone, the secrets to Aikido are not all found in your narrow study of Aikido with just Aikido teachers, or in Aikido materials, the secrets are scattered all over the place in many different types of martial styles, and studies that go beyond fighting styles.
It is found in science. It is found in religion. It is found in history. It is found in philosophy, and, it takes time to gather enough information as well as take it all in so it makes sense.
Be assured, that no matter how confusing some teachers, and some of your fellow students, seem to confuse you with their explanations as well as their demonstrations, there is a method to the madness, an explanation to how you can make what they show you will work as your own personal arsenal of knowledge.
I don’t mean to be cryptic, but just like using a search engine, or the old reference of an encyclopedia, your beginning encounter is the first reference point in an ocean of information you need to wade through to gather the information you need. Shortcuts may indeed give you results, but you will be lacking the connections to further refine whatever you have found. That is, the skill you find may not be completely understood and therein lies the rub for causing not only damage to others as you don’t understand the liability of health hazards within the practice of whatever you are doing.
One of my pet peeves is that many times what we practice in class what activates the pressure points found in the human body causing pain, which in turn sends signals to our internal organs, which if overdone signals those organs to get out of balance with the rest of our body. It may not seem like much, but when someone like me is already fighting damage exhibited in some physical disability, being aware that certain techniques are affecting liver, or heart, or lungs, for instance, are important. My opinion is that we need be more aware of what we practice, as well as the healing / prevention of injury. That knowledge is not yet part of our curriculum of study.
Gee, you wouldn’t want someone with damaged lungs to have pressure points activated from applying certain techniques sending signals to the body/ brain to restrict lung function, would ya? Well, maybe we do. Maybe we don’t study enough different disciplines to fully understand the techniques and practices of Aikido.
So I say, look around and STUDY everything and anything. The clues are everywhere.
Classes are the study of Reflexology, I see this, I do this, I get this result, and yet there is SCIENCE in everything we do. There is cause and effect. There is an underlying science of both Chemistry and of Nature’s evolution of our human body.
Just because you maintain a loyalty to one teacher doesn’t mean you aren’t looking around for explanations and knowledge. Look. Study. LEARN!!
Mark my words, you will find the Secrets of Aikido are scattered all over, but only if you go out and look for them.