“The Necessity of Critical Thinking in Aikido” by Guillaume Erard

“We are living in a time where pseudoscience and superstition enjoy a great popularity; hence undermining our critical thinking and knowledge. The human brain has this tendency to seek for meaning in all the experiences that we encounter every day. According to Daniel C. Dennett, a famous professor in cognitive sciences; the fact that science admits holding only a limited amount of knowledge can become so intolerable for our spirit that we will tend to seek elsewhere some absolute truths, unchanging and therefore reassuring: dogmas. It is in these gaps left by science that we can often find the most detestable methods and discourses.”

Please click here to read entire article.


  1. bruce baker says:

    This is an interesting article. It does go into the some of the auto-hypnosis that we do to ourselves, and the subliminal signals that some people respond to in which hypnosis can be a part of, but then if you practice … and believe … in anything long enough and there is no one to disprove you beliefs over and over within the realm of practicality or science … soon many people around you cause these beliefs to be fact. Not good when that happens.

    Aikido can .. but doesn’t always try, to employ some of these subliminal signals that can be classified as hypnosis. There is a hard basis in scientific fact and a hard science in the study of the human body that may seem mystical but upon deeper investigation is really science … nothing mystical about it.

    The only mystery is our ineptitude to align the forces at work we need to make Aikido work. We sometimes just don’t have the ability to control our body to do our bidding in the circumstances available.

    And yeah, there is nothing so pleasing as watching a fine technician at work who is well practiced at his art and can impart some of his skills verbally, or in demonstrations so we can steal some of his skills for our own.

    Once you figure out how something works, even if you can’t do it yourself, you can decide what is real and what is the art of a charlatan. But on the other hand, as long as the charlatan’s followers are hypnotized, and following his commands …

  2. It is eminently possible to have experimental aikido, but it requires a sincere spirit of inquiry. It also requires a certain amount of humility on the part of the sensei to say nothing of the deshi. The problem with trying to make competition part of the inquiry is that you do have to put your life on the line. These techniques are full contact and fully committed. Get caught out and it WILL hurt. Might even end your days of full physical activity. I’ve been punched out. And the guy was even being nice. Learned something about the inutility of dojo technique. One of the eminent problems of competition is the moment of agreement, touching of gloves, shaking hands, whatever. In a real engagement this is the moment the aikidoka should be using. In today’s society the deshi will probably have a few opportunities in their life to experience that, but maybe not in the dojo. Taking aikido or any martial art out of artificial surroundings will test its validity, but not without risk.

  3. Mochizuki Minoru Sensei often said that human beings have to evolve and that evolution started with a question. He wrote the word with a “?” rather than kanji.

    We have to make the difference between conventional martial arts which means what the majority (or a noisy minority) agrees with, and traditional martial arts which give us a foundation to evolve from.

    Those who do not understand that distinction think of tradition as repeating exactly what (they think) was done in the past and, either stubbornly stick to it or reject it.

    Most budo students expect to reach what the masters did by taking shortcuts, in other words by getting directly into budo without going through the bujutsu stage.

    There are many martial arts stars nowadays, but few masters. Just observe their lifestyles and we will understand. They produce what sells, what people want, but they have no interest in budo as a path for self improvement.

    Nothing is permanent though and evolution prevails.

    Patrick Augé

  4. Thanks everybody for your comments. It is great to be able to have a feedback on something I wrote.

    Mr Augé, thank you very much for your interest. Unless I am mistaken, you seem to think that a budoka should go through a bujustu stage during his training before dealing with the budo aspect itself. It is probably due to my lack of experience but I have always thought that budo were created as self sufficient systems (based on bujutsu of course but essentially separate from them). Therefore, I would be glad and honoured if you could explain to me why you think that a bujutsu practice is so important within a budo framework, especially since nowadays, so few of us are professional warriors.

    Kind regards

    Guillaume Erard

Speak Your Mind