Styles don’t work. You don’t bring a style to a fight or any emergency.
Styles are for fashion shows. The catwalk, no less. Training methodologies vary. Each and all, in proper context, have some merit and degree of efficacy based on a practical application. If even albeit often forgotten. Touting these training methods as “styles” is a meaningless and deceptive exercise.
Training methods are for the development of living skill, not mere habits that are predictable. Strategy must be unpredictable to the opponent.
In a fight, you do what needs to be done, whatever that may be, often drawing heavily on training. All that does is to provide some measure of unpredictability for the opponent. But there is also a large measure of unpredictability present for you too. Or that’s what the opponent will be trying to effect.
The file paths of consciousness and action can only develop in active training.
If it’s not practical it’s not “spiritual,” and its definitely not Aikido, or for that matter aiki anything. The reason the Aikijutsus were embraced for a thousand years or more is one: THEY WORK AND THEY WORK WELL.
But not as an intellectual exercise. Bring your intellectual capacity to a fight and you will quickly get is shut down, particularly if it starts spouting through the mouth.
Action wisdom uses an entirely different part of the body-brain mechanisms than does, for example, making a shopping list, philosophizing, talk-osophising, working out sums. They are related but as distant relatives, having their own unique purpose.
Strategic thinking is a natural survival mechanism that bridges the gap between the primitive instincts and acquired conscious skill. It takes work. Lots of it. Often. Good training augments this gift of strategy.
You don’t do logic with a hungry raptor. You can try but it won’t work. For one, he does not speak your language. For two, he’s faster than you. And.. you catch my drift.
The other day during a talkfest, one of the quiet students quietly mumbled a comment, “Those that talk don’t know and those that know don’t talk.”
That’s pretty much the all of it. You can’t do and describe with optimal practical functionality, at the same time.
Training has to be worked. Floral descriptives about technique do not serve to teach. They may inspire, but unless the physical action of attempting, doing, struggling to get it and repeating are enacted with impeccable regularity, do not expect to see changes or to gain any measure of meaningful understanding. Floral descriptives may enthuse, but they also confuse.
How easy it is to watch a master sportsman or a musician or an actor or anyone skilled in their art, and as an instant expert, make executive comments based on nothing. That’s what opinion is worth unless you have trodden the path and are better in practice, not merely ideas about opinions.
That’s probably where “Put up or shut up,” or the gambler’s provocation, “Put your money where your mouth is,” comes from.
Or the quiet but deadly, “Would you like to ride this horse?” Many have died from that one. Following the middle ages, “en garde” was the one quick warning. Or the more “gentlemanly” folly of a slap across the face with gloves or in some cases, done ignobly with heavy metal gauntlets, which put paid to the duel in advance.
Style. I hate the word. It is deceptive. It blinds. It generates inertia. It kills exploration. It distorts clear thinking. It murders initiative.
When you take something that is alive and cram it into a square box with no air and no variety of life or challenges, first it stops growing and then it dies.
Attachment to a style is like the Zen concept of detachment which some quasi-zen, quasi-intellectuals get attached to and thereby miss the oxymoron of it. Who cares? Life is here and now as it is.
My advice is this: Chuck out the styles. Instead practice with a clear and noticing mind giving clear thought to how you would use what you do to SURVIVE.
Then take it to the dojo. Test it safely. Reconsider. Edit. Refine. Edit again. Refine some more. Let it go and then return to practice some more, always training with a feeling of joyful respect.
If the “styles” or training methodologies you use do not lead you to discover a practical ki no nagare that starts to unlock its infinite potentials, it has failed, and they are either useless, or it is you who are simply being lazy and not training enough or sincerely.
Put the work in first.