One cannot Aiki without producing Aiki. One cannot produce Aiki without having trained Aiki.
As a consequence of this being true, one often hears phrases such as, “Just use Aiki.”
This is akin to saying, “Just do things correctly. Anything other than correct is wrong.”
Of course, if one could “just use Aiki” or “just do things correctly,” they would!
The instruction coupled with the fact that the student cannot demonstrate “just using Aiki” or “just doing things correctly,” can lead the student to do nothing for fear of doing things without Aiki or wrong.
Training becomes a catch 22 because doing nothing produces no result, doing something produces the wrong result.
The saving grace is this:
Nobody doing Aiki ever started off “just doing Aiki.” And, nobody doing things correctly started of “just doing things correctly.”
Everyone that achieved something started off on the continuum of doing more wrong than correct. They then moved along the continuum doing less wrong and more correct.
Nobody is at the end of the continuum. Therefore, if we consider good training perfect training NOBODY is doing good training. However, if we consider training that moves us along the continuum to be good training, then everyone showing improvement is doing good training.
Next subject, some promote mu shin (no thought) training. Here is the catch to that. If there is truly no thought, there is no neural activity. If there is no neural activity, there is no further body activity (except maybe for decay.) If there is no neural or body activity the mind/body will not produce Aiki. This being so, we know that Mu Shin or “no thought” cannot be meant literally.
Perhaps what is meant is think only about what is necessary at the moment.
Of course assumes one knows what thoughts are “necessary.”
Of course if one “just used necessary thoughts” to produce a desired result one would likely find success.
Again we face a choice. Don’t think (be dead) or use only “necessary thoughts.” And again, we find ourselves at a dead end for those that don’t already know what thoughts are necessary.
The saving grace is this:
Nobody doing Aiki ever started off “just using necessary thoughts.” We all start on the same continuum and end on the same continuum. It is highly unlikely that anyone truly has only “necessary thoughts.” We just become more efficient with out cognition through intelligent training.
Training without work is an oxymoron. Working without progress along the continuum cannot be considered good training. Good training leads to progress along the continuum.
Nobody started in a vacuum and nobody has reached perfection. Consequently, no matter how wrong you are you can, with effort, become better. And no matter how good one is, with effort one can continue to improve.
So the solution to the paradox is train.
What does all of this say about teaching?