Friday, August 22, 2014

The Difficulty of Simplicity

This is a weapon?
    We have a phrase in our dojo.   "Dazzle them with Bullshit."  We use this to refer to those actions that are not designed to have any practical application, but look cool.  Not to be picking on any one group, but for a reference point, think of the XMA events that they used to show on ESPN.  They would do bo staff work with thin, pieces of plastic, which were specifically reflective to impress and dazzle the judges.  The weapons themselves were mere props, not weapons.  By the way, of the competitions I saw, they never had martial artists as judges, just celebrities.  There were competitors that would do a "Japanese sword" form where he would toss his thin, unsharpened blade into the air, spin around, and catch it again.  Most of what I saw was glorified juggling, and wasn't any form of martial arts.  If you put enough sparkles and glowsticks on it, the judges won't notice, that you you're not doimg anything.  I'd had loved to see one of the competitors come out do one, perfect iaido draw and cut, resheath the blade, bow and walk off.  No BS, just simple and effective.
    I think all that dazzle is designed to cover up for flaws.  That's because the simplest things are the most difficult to do right.  I've been doing aikido for over a dozen years, and I'm still working on my tenkan and irimi.  The two most basic moves in aikido.  The more you concentrate on a simple thing, the more every detail needs to be correct.  And that's the difficulty of simplicity.  Because it is this one simple thing you are doing, if you do any small detail incorrectly, it shows.
   So the next time you go into your  dojo, and you're working on your kihon, your basics, do so mindfully.  Make sure the simple stuff is done right.  Make sure every detail, every piece of your body is in the correct place.  Feel what is done correctly and incorrectly.  You might appreciate the difficulty of it.

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