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#178761 - 08/16/05 08:27 PM "Identity Crisis"
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Folks:

So here you are working on that famous form from the African MA called "Slow Natives" (AKA: "Dance of the Black-footed Elephants"). And as you come upon a particular movement you are intrigued as to possible applications. You make the choice to communicate by phone with your friend who lives a couple of States over, and of course, he asks the obvious question: "what does the move look like?" What is your response? Do you

a.) Describe the technique in as much detail as you possibly can?

b.) Describe the technique by identifying a move as close to the one you have in mind from a commonly known form?

c.) Use some general kind of movement from, say, gymnastics or dance?

d.) Draw a parallel from a religious, spiritual or esoteric practice?

I am considering how the manner in which we communicate about forms predisposes us toward one interpretation rather than another. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178762 - 08/16/05 10:23 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
JoelM Offline
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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
A
B
and
C

I'm not exactly sure how you would go about using D unless you participate in some freaky religion that has some weird rituals.

Using B could help you in finding the applications for yourself, but in using this descriptor you also leave much room for misinterpretation of the technique you are trying to describe as opposed to the technique you are comparing it to.

Using C can be very helpful as well, but you have to find a general movement from dance/gymnastics with which the person you are conversing with will be familiar with, which may prove difficult if you do not have activities and interests in common.

Using D...I'm still reeling a bit from that one, sorry.

Using A is the easiest option, but personally I wouldn't be able to do it without using B and C with it.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#178763 - 08/16/05 10:26 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: JoelM]
JoelM Offline
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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Other options:
E. Use video or picture via internet or mail to more effectively convey the tecnique better.

F. Meet in person to try applications in person.

G. Go to Africa and learn from the masters what the applications are.

H. Give up.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#178764 - 08/17/05 07:37 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
B,c and d are the same option: describing the movement by comparing it to something you are already familiar with.

Speaking from an anthropological background (puts anthro hat on): I am speaking with a peer who shares the same frame of reference...so would give a summary, a description of the event/particulars, point out what interested me, and provide a comparative analysis bringing everything into play (religion, cognitive mapping, shamanism, etc.).

Heck, sounds like a doctoral thesis.

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#178765 - 08/17/05 09:09 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
glad2bhere Offline
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Posts: 663
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Dear Harlan:

Exactly my point, thanks.

Now, if I can take this step farther....

If I use a religious or quasi-religious practice to characterize a movement, don't I risk having the person I am communicating with assuming a quasi-religious interpretation? For example, if I am studying an Okinawan Kata and I use a Southern Chinese Boxing posture to describe the method under study don't I pre-dispose the conversation towards Southern Chinese applications? Or how about if I mention that a movement looks like a Japanese mudra, might not a person risk communicating ONLY about spiritual practices? I am wondering if there might be someway to economically describe a motion or posture using some kind of more culturally neutral method and so allow people not to be skewed towards one particualr category of interpretations over another. My sense is that this would open the range of interpretations to a wider range of possibilities, yes? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178766 - 08/17/05 09:12 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Depends entirely on who you are talking to. It predisposes that the person has been trained to think critically.

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#178767 - 08/17/05 09:40 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
JoelM Offline
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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
All that work and not even an acknowledgement, thanks a lot, Bruce.

Quote:

Or how about if I mention that a movement looks like a Japanese mudra, might not a person risk communicating ONLY about spiritual practices?




No, because you are talking about a technique from an African martial art form. Only a complete close-minded moron would think that way.

I'm done with your crap, Bruce, you take the answers you want to validate your own pre-determined opinion and push your propoganda bullshit on everybody else, making them think they came up with and want whatever it is you're selling.

No snake oil for me, thank you sir.

PS-I do have a saw if you're interested.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#178768 - 08/17/05 09:45 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Video tape and Fed-Ex.

No misunderstandings. Simple and to the point. Everyone on the same page.

Page
_________________________
Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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#178769 - 08/17/05 09:48 AM A call for civility [Re: JoelM]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
You know, I realize that there have been tensions on this board for awhile...but hanging out 'go away' signs is different from 'no soliciting'.

It is an interesting question...and rather too cerebral for this board.

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#178770 - 08/17/05 09:59 AM Re: A call for civility [Re: harlan]
JoelM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Thanks but no thanks, Harlan. This troll has been banned from almost every other MA forum on the web and this is about his last hope. A legend in his own mind and king of his delusions.

This isn't a "Go Away" sign, it's a "Get Out" sign. Like I said, I'm done with him.

And thank you for trying to make the rest of us feel dumb as well. It was a simple question and I put a lot of thought into it, but I guess I need to go back to school now, thanks.

oh, and by the way,
Quote:

I am wondering if there might be someway to economically describe a motion or posture using some kind of more culturally neutral method and so allow people not to be skewed towards one particualr category of interpretations over another. My sense is that this would open the range of interpretations to a wider range of possibilities, yes? Thoughts?



Yes, it's called video tape and FedEx. Modern technology is not just here to make your ice cream colder and your butt more cushioned while you peddle your crap on the web. It's for the easier share of information. Simple and done, like I said previously.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#178771 - 08/17/05 10:04 AM dumb and dumber [Re: JoelM]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
How could I possibly make you feel dumb? I am pretty honest about my complete ignorance in MA, and my wackiness as well. You take offense at the term 'too cerebral' when none was intended. But I don't think that you really disagree...that conversations that focus on the nature and limits of communication don't really have a place on a board that likes to keep conversations 'grounded' in technique.


Edited by harlan (08/17/05 10:10 AM)

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#178772 - 08/17/05 10:24 AM Re: dumb and dumber [Re: harlan]
JoelM Offline
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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Maybe I did misinterpret your use of "too cerebral" and if so I apologize. But this is not too cerebral, Page and I both answered the question with logic, it wasn't that hard.

This isn't the Middle Ages, we have technologies and abilities that can help in a situation such as this to avoid confusion.
Or you can talk to a person who's not a complete moron and would not make the assumptions Bruce assumes everybody would.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#178773 - 08/17/05 10:25 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: BuDoc]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear BuDoc:

".....Video tape and Fed-Ex.

No misunderstandings. Simple and to the point. Everyone on the same page....."

The very reason I did not use the solution you mentioned was that it seems to buy into the problem that I am working to address. Consider this for a second, 'kay? If we use a video tape as a common reference point, we are now tied to or heavily influenced by the manner in which the person making the tape represents the movement.

There is a posture I am working on from a Korean Hyung. Probably everyone here has seen this posture. I can certainly take bandwidth to describe the posture and its place in the hyung including the movements before and after. I can also find that posture in a Chinese form, or an Okinawan form, or a Japanese form, maybe even in the original Indian arts. But if I use one or more of those arts to talk about a movement, don't I run the risk of limiting the discussion to the interpretations people have applied to the movement as used in those arts?

Let me put this another way. If I am doing an Okinawan kata and watch a movement, there are times when, with my Hapkido background I can see a grappling or locking interpretation that the Okinawan practitioner might not see. This is the sort of open-minded consideration I am talking about. And since I can't educate the entire world to examine movement through Hapkido eyes, I am wondering if there is a way to consider body movement that is less skewed towards one kind of interpretation of another. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce


Edited by glad2bhere (08/17/05 10:27 AM)

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#178774 - 08/17/05 10:50 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Q. How does one describe a ballet, and the subtle differences in technique and 'interpretation' between Gudonov and Nureyev to a 'break' dancer? A. There has to be a common, and agreed upon 'language'. I don't think that it is necessary to 'break' technique from the cultural context (the martial arts version of The Cultural Revolution...would that be MMA?) in order to have a meaningful exchange of ideas. But there will always be the question as to how much information is 'filtered' in the process.

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#178775 - 08/17/05 11:17 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Bruce -

I do think you are over-intellectualizing things a bit here. Human nature is to view things through the filter of their respective experiences.

Will they view it with their cultural or intellectual bias? Yes. At first. However, with a proper good faith explanation on your part and some reasonable intelligence on theirs, they should understand just fine what you mean.

Happens all the time.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#178776 - 08/17/05 01:02 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Harlan:

".... A. There has to be a common, and agreed upon 'language'...."

Exactly! What I see is that when discussing forms and applications the two most commonly agreed-upon "languages" are Chinese and Japanese. My thought is that this is because these are the two languages that have been most heavily translated into English and become the most commonly used resources for examining applications or interpretations. But Capoeira, and the arts of Indonesia, the Phillipines, and Southeast Asia also have forms. Are we to examine these arts in terms of how biomechanics are interpreted in Chinese and Japanese forms? For instance, the Capoeira folks have any number of turning kicks. These kicks SEEM like the Korean Spin-kicks. Do we then begin to speak in terms of how the Koreans use their feet to discuss how a Brazilian master uses HIS feet? Or how about the Korean arts? There are similarities to Japanese traditions and yet differences. Do we then discuss the Korean material as it is interpreted by Japanese practitioners? Look what happened when the Okinawan material went to Japan. Same thing, right? Thoughts? Comments?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178777 - 08/17/05 01:18 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
How about the world language of business...English?

The term 'language' also encompasses the known semantical and cultural attributes. So, yes...if you elect to speak with a peer on some African dance movement, using an Asian term...you deliberately 'color' the information that you feed the other person. In other words, the further you get from simple description, the more 'loaded' the conversation.

The body can only move so many ways...but interpretation is endlessly varied. If one wants to avoid making certain comparisons...simply resort to an agreed upon language based on simple body movement. The trick is getting everybody to agree!


Edited by harlan (08/17/05 01:20 PM)

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#178778 - 08/17/05 01:46 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
all of the cognitive jargon (some of which I do happen to understand) means communication and transmission of physical knowledge...kata serves this purpose but it was not designed to be virtually transmitted but rather a direct in-person interaction.
To solve this, we have to look for a combination of technology and exact unambiguous language. until we have 3d holographic video tech, the best that can be done is via real-time video conferencing. or the lower-tech approach is transporting yourself on location...here on Earth, we have car,train and plane.
There is your answer for now. another 20 years the answer will be different.

For the scholars who have read a few books and now feel they can hang with the experts... then hang with the experts and let us know (in laymans terms of course) what you've found out. It's pretty easy to come on to an unrelated forum and infer...'haha I know this stuff and you don't'.
Why don't we ever hear Budoc talking shop on the forum? because he is socialy well-adjusted and is aware of his audience, speaks accordingly and doesn't need the ego-trip of being able to talk over everyones head. There's the real 'identity crisis' which should be concentrated on.

Just in case I've got it all wrong, read up on the advancements in 'virtual learning'. It is highly technical field and touches on a diverse set of diciplines...the field asks the simple question "how do I teach and learn over great distances."

[edit] even though I replied to you Harlan, I was addressing anyone to who it applies.

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#178779 - 08/17/05 01:52 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: Kintama]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Yup...language has its limitations...can't beat one to one learning. (Shut up and train! )

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#178780 - 08/18/05 02:08 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Thanks, Harlan.

BTW: When you (personally) examine a form, do you always use the culture from which that form originates as a frame of reference, or do you tend to examine it in terms of the art in which you train? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178781 - 08/18/05 08:23 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Sorry...you are over my head now. I have very little time in studying MA. I think this thread is tapped out at this point.

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#178782 - 08/18/05 09:05 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I think the points that Bruce raises are interesting ones, but as harlan has pointed out, it is way too intellectual for this board - generally. But that's not to say that the standard shouldn't be raised, or lowered to accommodate the wishes of the majority or minority.

I, for one, enjoyed the intellectual exercise that this thread provoked.

I think the broader one's experience is, the broader the perspective that one can avail themselves of. In terms of communication, it enables the individual to establish a common semantic language, paradigm and/or framework.

Communicating movement OTOH is a very different kettle of fish. I do not know the answer. Communicating by the "feeling" of 1-to-1 teaching is one way (the way I was shown by many of my teachers), but it too has its shortcomings.

The implication of Bruce's question for me, is how does one convey meaning in teaching. The questions he raises are the same ones I wrestle with in attempting to explain movement to my students.

Am I just rambling or am I making any sense?

Maybe this should be taken to the learning and teaching forum?

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#178783 - 08/18/05 09:18 AM the failure of language [Re: eyrie]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Makes sense to me. Videotaping something, and mailing it to someone is no different than saying 'watch me'. It fails to communicate with words a physical activity. No famous person ever said 'I learned how to run, jump, dance, play the piano...etc. from a book.' You can look at a diagram and step through a kata...but can you learn about 'koshi', or Millstone technique, undulation...the whole 'gears' thing without a teacher? The first time I ever saw 'that'...I had no concepts or words to ask about it. I had never seen a person 'move' that way. Even a teacher needs to be able to explain movement to a student.

"Just do as I do, figure it out on your own, and we'll call it something esoteric like 'Fudoshin in Heaven'."

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#178784 - 08/18/05 10:14 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Eyrie et al:

I have to agree that the demands of such a conversation may be above the interest level of most folks here. My hope is that maybe people may get to thinking about looking at the material they are studying through eyes other than those of the art with which they are familiar. Currently I am having some fun with a Chinese form called WU SONG BREAKS MANACLES. On my Hapkido level I have uncovered some intersting things that are not mentioned in the Chinese material on that form. Bumping the ssame form against what I know about Indian traditions has produced yet a couple of other very interesting insights. And yet aginst, thinking about the form from a purely historical viewpoint there are a number of things that are immediately called into question. When people are trained to be "hammers" I think they see everything as a "nail". I'd really like to see some of that thinking change. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178785 - 08/18/05 10:25 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I wholeheartedly agree - on all counts.
Changing the way we think, changing the perspective, changing the communication paradigm, changing the way we speak, changing the way we view and approach a situation.

Changing the word "changing" to "elevating"....

It still doesn't address the issue (at least for me) how to communicate movement other than to "watch me do, feel me do".

BTW, I think this is how dance and music is taught...still.

The best we can do (at the moment) is say "do it like this, this is what is looks and feels like" or "it should look like this or feel like this" and hope the other person finds it for themselves. ("This" being whatever appropriate contextual framework the other person is familiar with and understands).

How do we change (elevate) this to another level? I think this is more a teaching and communication issue than a "kata" issue, although I do understand what you are saying.

[inserted]
So in terms of comparing one form to another, and allowing for cultural bias, I think it would be hard to escape from the existing paradigm of ... "this is what it looks like, what I feel is this, what do you see/feel/think".

It's late and the only place I'm stepping out of my box is into bed...
[/inserted]


Edited by eyrie (08/18/05 10:40 AM)

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#178786 - 08/18/05 12:43 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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"....It still doesn't address the issue (at least for me) how to communicate movement other than to "watch me do, feel me do"....."

Yes... absolutely. When teaching my students, the easy part is the gross motor skills which are pretty much "monkey see; monkey do". As I begin to shape in the finer and finer motor skills the work begins to be more like "here feel this.....now do that to me". I honestly believe that when one is teaching a traditional MA this is the only way a person can learn authentically. It requires time, and requires that the teacher be hands-on and willing to take falls (ukemi?) for one's students time and again until the result feels correct. Most teachers I am familiar with teach by directing two partners from outside of the two-some.

The reason that I did not raise this discussion in the teaching area is that I think we are challenged on the Internet to confront the limitations of language in communicating about what we do. True enough, there are a growing number of sites where people have posted clips of techniques in order to be able to identify what they are talking about. But these clips fall short of identifying what one feels, what impressions a technique produces or in grounding more esoteric discussion in practical terms people can identify with. I notice a number of us have been using the "empty jacket" term and I sense this is because it somehow captures what is being discussed in a way that transcends individual arts or techniques. In the best of all possible worlds I would like to see some real hard work done to produce more of this kind of language. Thoughts? Comments?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178787 - 08/18/05 12:49 PM falling teachers [Re: glad2bhere]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Oh, yes...I agree with the teacher taking a fall! Of course, I know the point is that I am supposed to 'feel' the mechanics, but I get wrapped up in the evil joy of seeing him rolling on the floor!

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#178788 - 08/18/05 02:14 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I can guess how all of this about communicating form has come up...I suppose it would be difficult learning a form from a Chinese 'robin-hood' novel (ref: "Outlaws of the Marsh") ...but I imagine it is fun, and thats the important thing.

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#178789 - 08/18/05 04:34 PM Re: A call for civility [Re: harlan]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Uh, um, what does cerebral mean?



Page
_________________________
Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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#178790 - 08/18/05 04:42 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:

...if I am studying an Okinawan Kata and I use a Southern Chinese Boxing posture to describe the method under study don't I pre-dispose the conversation towards Southern Chinese applications?...




I think you might find yourself falling into that no matter what you tryed to explain it with because if the recipient has experience with that posture they will fall back to what they already know.
Using a chinese or japanese term to explain a posture or movment is just an auditory way to convey what your thinking.
I agree that there is a multitude of applications for a posture, and because one culture or art has it dosnt mean another dose not. I feel having a multi-functional posture from a form or kata is of great advantage.

MonkeyLegs

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#178791 - 08/18/05 06:52 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: MonkeyLegs]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
MonkeyLegs wrote:
Quote:


Using a chinese or japanese term to explain a posture or movment is just an auditory way to convey what your thinking.





I think you mean a "culturally biased semantic" rather than "auditory"...

Bruce,

As you may be aware, in the "koryu" arts, the teacher (and sempai) always takes ukemi for the junior. This is the "Way of transmission".

Video clips are preferable to static photos as they convey the movement "transition" visually. Whilst they do not convey the "feeling", they can provide certain clues as to what is happening. However, it takes a lot of experience to be able to pick out that sort of subtlety.

The other difficulty with video is the speed at which it happens. The eye-brain connection can perceive movement at approximately 30 frames/sec. Anything faster than that (i.e. a lower number of frames/sec) and it becomes a blur.

For this reason, it is necessary to slow down the movement is so that the movement can be conveyed visually. And yet the problem remains with conveying subtlety of feeling. Unless you have a "trained eye" it is hard to grasp the subtlety without feeling it.

At best, using analogy and esoteric meaning can often be a useful way to "point at" the meaning you are attempting to convey.

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#178792 - 08/18/05 10:02 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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"....At best, using analogy and esoteric meaning can often be a useful way to "point at" the meaning you are attempting to convey......"

Dear Eyrie:

I agree whole-heartedly. Perhaps, in the end, what I may be making an arguement for is the same sort of effort one can see in the "aiki" discussion over in the AIKIDO area. The challenge there, as I see it it, is to talk about a hard-to-define quality in terms as concrete as possible.

In this thread the challenge I see is to be able to discuss interpretations or applications of Kata/Hyung with as few pre-disposing effects of culture as possible. For me, forms-- authentic forms not the trash made-up for tournament competition--- are representative of the essence of an art. To examine a form only through the lens of a particular culture would be to me, like reading a fine author as translated and available only in a language other than the original. Or perhaps it would be like observing art as illuminated by a lamp whose buld was of a single non-white color.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178793 - 08/18/05 10:56 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:



I think you mean a "culturally biased semantic" rather than "auditory"...






When I say auditory I ment if you had to describe it via phone or somthing similar. But if culturally biased semantic is a better term to use then we will use that


Edited by MonkeyLegs (08/18/05 10:58 PM)

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#178794 - 08/18/05 11:09 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
What's really interesting Bruce, is your liberal use of analogy to explain what you are trying to say.

Doesn't that say something about the difficulties of language and semantics in conveying meaning and understanding?

Apply this to movement and I think the problem is not the movement, but describing the movement semantically that someone else would understand thru their perception filters. Which would be what your original question was attempting to ask....

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#178795 - 08/19/05 08:38 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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"....Doesn't that say something about the difficulties of language and semantics in conveying meaning and understanding?......."

PRECISELY!!!!!

You understood my analogies because we share an understanding of things like "light bulbs" and "books" between the two of us. Its part of our culture. But a person who has never seen a light bulb or a book might have a thoroughly new take or contribution on what we are discussing here but not be able to share their view because they could not relate.

In our own cases, how many times have you, for instance, been doing work on some bit and had someone tell you that if you were part of such&such group or had grown up in such&such culture THEN you would better understand. I am not discounting this observation nor do I want to. I am thinking that there must be some way in which we (MA practitioners and students) can minimize the effect of this reality as we study kata/hyung--- which, of course, was the whole point of my starting this thread. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178796 - 08/19/05 11:16 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I think I understand what you're alluding to. I don't think you can completely eliminate or at least separate the cultural context from the art. I believe the very thing which influences the art is its cultural context and philosophy. (But I could be wrong).

However, I think the broader and more diverse the person's experience, within different cultural contexts, the easier it is to explain the same thing in different ways, and from different perspectives.

But then again, I could be totally off-base here....

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#178797 - 08/19/05 12:33 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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Ahh, yes.

And after reading you post, I stood up and had a good stretch.

With my feet a comfortable distance apart I stretched high towards the ceiling with my palms.

After that I twisted at the waist left and right rotating my arms around their axis as I did.

Now--- if was a great stretch and felt wonderful----

but did my body KNOW it was stretching or did it KNOW that it was doing two postures from BA DUAN JIN ("Eight Pieces of Brocade").

When people stand-up on a theatre after the credits do that KNOW they are doing Chi Kung with that stretch?

If that stretch were part of a Kata would we WANT to use Chinese Chi Kung as a point of reference? How about Indian Yoga? And if we did use these disciplines to frame our discussion don't we likewise take on the limitations of those cultural interpretations? What if I don't want the discussion corrupted by talk of absorbing Prana or facilitating Ki Flow? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178798 - 08/19/05 04:44 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
mental masterbation.

...did my fingers KNOW they were typing that, or were they performing an obscure hand-kata over the keyboard?

hmmmmmm

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#178799 - 08/19/05 05:38 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: Kintama]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
G2BH -

Ok, what about a Japanese-American describing a Korean form to a friend in China? Whose perspective is right or appropriate or correct? The individual's experiences ARE going to inevitably color their interpretation of something.

Describing something second hand to a third party is not going to allow for a nice sharp culturally impartial interpretation. Luckily, most people have enough brains to make sense of it anyway.

Now, hand me a rag, Kin.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#178800 - 08/19/05 07:44 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
From your description, it was a stretch and waist twist. If you say it was movements from the Baduanjin, then that means something different to me, and I would have expected more from the description...

i.e. they're not doing qigong unless they KNOW that they are - all they're doing "resembles" the outward expression of the exercise.

That's the key isn't it? We're not talking about conveying meaning now, we're talking about transmitting knowledge and conveying understanding.

This medium is about developing keyboard-fu. Some people's keyboard-fu is at the beginner level, some are slightly more advanced. But the really advanced practitioners write very little or post cartoons which speak volumes and creates shared understanding instantly.

(i.e. People who understand what I'm talking about will instantly KNOW who specifically I'm referring to).

As for clouding/corrupting the discussion by using a particular culturally-rich semantic frame of reference, I think that is unavoidable. We can attempt to strip the cultural interpretations, or clothe it in a foreign syntax, but I think it is inevitable that you will lose the richer meaning that a shared context evokes in terms of understanding. (Re: keyboard-fu example above).

Ah.. the joys of communication....

* goes back to cave and contemplates in silence *

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#178801 - 08/19/05 09:54 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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".... We're not talking about conveying meaning now, we're talking about transmitting knowledge and conveying understanding...."

Not quite... at least not from my end. I am not so much talking about "transmitting" as in reducing interference. To push the radio analogy , I can't say that I KNOW that people hear my signal, though I can up the power as much as I can. What I might do, though is transmitt on a freq that is less suceptible to sun-spot interference and thereby have less static to deal with. In this way any person listening will hear my signal as clear as I am able to make it. Same thing in discussing Kata. I think we need to learn how to "tune" the discussion of a kata to either make the most OF the cultural underpinnings or find a way to tune out their interference as much as possible. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178802 - 08/20/05 12:28 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Keyboard-Fu (why did I bother to capitalize that??) like I was saying, keyboard-fu is all literacy and liberal art...it says nothing of the person's martial art. For example, I may have some cyber skills but my karate blows. It says 'Veteran' next to my user name, but veteran of what? nonsensical silly posting and google searching?

Back to what G2BH was saying, I'm sure I'm part of that sunspot interference, but people with different filters won't hear it as all noise.

The thing that seems strange to me about this topic is why nobody has mentioned the difference between concept and meaning. someone could teach concepts with whatever pure non-culture bent transmission you can think of, but meaning of the concepts come from the individual receiving and connecting them.
"You can lead a horse to water, but not make them drink it." I think is the analogy.

just another thought for flogging.

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#178803 - 08/20/05 02:18 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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I don't think you can completely eliminate the noise and interference - to borrow your analogy.

Kintama raises a good point about teaching "concepts". The problem is, while the "concept" approach is good in theory, it is nonetheless colored by cultural and societal bias.

Take "spirituality" as a "concept".... that's a good example.

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#178804 - 08/20/05 09:08 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
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Loc: Massachusetts
oh yeah. I didn't think of it that way...you're right. damn...thought I had it nailed.

All of my theories seem to work with ease...it's getting the applications working that is the hard part.

In that regard, kata's are simply theories which need to be worked.

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#178805 - 08/20/05 02:21 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: Kintama]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Sigh...if I wipe my mind clean it may make for better transmission...of whatever...concepts. At this point, I am signing up for the mind to mind transmission.

GTBH: it is all about finding the right teacher/students. Then language won't be a problem.

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#178806 - 08/20/05 09:01 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
eyrie Offline
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Loc: QLD, Australia
Buddha twirls a flower. Kasyapa smiles and receives the robe and alms bowl.

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#178807 - 08/20/05 10:32 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: harlan]
glad2bhere Offline
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Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
"...GTBH: it is all about finding the right teacher/students. Then language won't be a problem...."

Yes, but short of everyone here perfecting their "Vulcan Mind-meld" we are still a range of individuals who are working to help each other along a very challenging path.
As many times as I have read conflicting posts in which person was sure they understood what the other was saying and failed miserably, I wonder how on Earth we can discuss something as sophisticated as Forms without developing a kind of neutral vocabulary that helps us hear the least bias representation of what is being communicated. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178808 - 08/21/05 12:55 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
My wife talks a lot. Half the time I don't really listen to what she's saying. And when I do, I can't make head or tail of what she's saying. She seems to skirt around the topic a lot, and trail off on various tangents, so it's hard to keep track of what she is saying half the time. Which is probably the reason I don't listen half the time.

And then she expects me to "know" what she's trying to say.

E.g.
She: I told you that last week...
Me: No you didn't...
She: You never listen to me when I talk....
Me: Yes, dear...
She: BTW, yesterday I ran into so and so...blah blah blah...
Me: Uh huh...
She: blah blah blah
She: blah blah blah blah
...(many minutes later)
Me: And the point to all of this is...?
She: Have you been listening to a word I said...????
Me: Obviously not....
She: Anyway, I told you last week that this was on for this weekend...
Me: Hang on, what has the preceeding got to do with what happened last week?
She: Oh, I give up... you're not listening to me...
Me:

Perception filters are one thing. Communication filters are another thing.

To borrow an example of communication using MBTI, as you may be aware, intuition and sensing are on opposite ends of one of the MBTI dimensions. Without attempting to stereotype people, whenever you have 2 people who are diametrically opposed in MBTI terms, you will tend to get cross-communication issues.

Add to this fundamental difference in personalities, the mix of cultural background, societal influences, baggage of experience, and other communication filters, is it any wonder that we find it difficult to get our message across, let alone, receive the other person's message clearly?

Verbal (and by extension, written) communication is one thing. Visual and kinesthetic (i.e. non-verbal) communication is another thing. It takes an extremely intuitive and sensate person to be able to discern the subtle nuances of all communication modalities without engaging their perception filters. Likewise, it takes great communication skills to be able to convey meaning and feeling thru all modalities (like great acting for example).

In essense, a "neutral vocabulary" (a la Esperanto) isn't going to solve the problem of how to communicate movement forms (i.e. kata, dance, acting). The "language" issue is minor compared to the larger issue of communication in general.

*goes back to have heart-to-heart, non-verbal communication with wife*

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#178809 - 08/21/05 03:04 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
".....Add to this fundamental difference in personalities, the mix of cultural background, societal influences, baggage of experience, and other communication filters, is it any wonder that we find it difficult to get our message across, let alone, receive the other person's message clearly?...."

Dear Eyrie:

100% correct! I had not wnated to step across that line as it sorta opens a whole 'nuther can o' worms. I had been working to keep this in terms of communication filters but you are absolutely right. There is a whole other part of how a person wants to percieve a communication as well. I have had more than a few interactions with folks who, no matter how "static-free" I might strive to make a communication, will only hear what I might express in a particular way. For instance, were we discussing a Japanese sword form, no matter how objective I might strive to be, the person at the other end will only "hear" in terms of Japanese application or culture being the only acceptable way to consider the form. A more common example might be the continual need for MMA people to view MA solely in terms of Physical Education, perhaps devoid of philosophical or ethical underpinnings. In this way I am thinking it makes no difference how pure I may communicate if a person only wants to hear what is said in a single way. Is this what you are meaning?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178810 - 08/21/05 10:40 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Why are we still belaboring this!

We are not tryin to teach the Yanomammo advanced geometry and engineering!

The initial supposition is that we are CONVERSING, on the TELEPHONE, to a FRIEND, in a NEIGHBORING STATE.

I certainly don't want to belittle all the rhetoric about cultural norms, ethnocentricity or or any other barriers to communication, but we are a little off the beaten path here.

This appears to have become an exercise in showing of just how much we think we know sociology,anthropology and philosophical subtext, and less about communicating.

As evidenced by the capitalized words above, there is already common ground represented. If you can not communicate an esoteric concept with this particular person, then you are moron (Not you Bruce. I often appreciate you posts. I mean YOU in general) or the person that you are communicating with is a moron.

If someone is my friend, we have some things in common and, through shared experiences have come to understand one another on some level even if they are not a martial artist.

If I can talk to him on the phone, then he knows what a phone is and how to use it. Chances are he has seen a TV, VCR/DVD, a computer, movies, magazines etc.

If he lives a state over, even if for a limited time, then he understands some basic rules, customs, and procedures in society. He probaly speaks my language or a common language is shared between us, or we never would have been able to get to know one another well enough to be friends.

Use your heads. Use technology. Provide proper foundations and we can communicate almost any idea to anyone in the world. Regardless of ethnicity,culture,religion,etc.

Come on people! We are not trying to teach Martians to knit mittens.

Page
_________________________
Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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#178811 - 08/21/05 11:54 AM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: BuDoc]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
"We are not trying to teach Martians to knit mittens."

I never attempt such tasks...I usually direct them to shop at wal-mart.

for the topic, I re-state: transporting yourself on location...here on Earth, we have land,sea and air transportation methods (not just theories, but actual methods).
However, solutions on other planets may vary.

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#178812 - 08/21/05 12:41 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: Kintama]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Damn it!

Wal-Mart is everywhere!

Page
_________________________
Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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#178813 - 08/21/05 04:37 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: BuDoc]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear BuDoc:

I understand and think I hear more than a little frustration. Fact is that I feel a lot of frustration when it comes to subjects like this as well. The fact is, though, that it is BECAUSE such subjects can be so frustrating that noone takes time to discuss these things and the majority of threads become the sort of "is Aikido effective on the street" questions. Every now and then I wonder what happens when people who have been training for two or three decades want to discuss things in depth that is a step beyond the usual guep-level inquiries. Note that I am NOT running down the idea of gueps asking questions only that sometimes I wonder where 4th, 5th and 6th dans go to compare notes, do you know what I mean? If I can draw a parallel, take a moment and look at the "Aiki" thread which is an excellent example of some experienced people comparing notes as they sort things out for themselves.

For my part, there have been WAY too many times that higher ranking people need to be able to put their feet under a table and start talking about things that impact our communication but rarely (if ever) get discussed.

I can also say with complete candor that the next time someone wants to have a discussion about analyzing the nature and application of a form I will be citing some of the responses on this thread in order to make a case for using something OTHER THAN the culture of origin to examine that form. FWIW. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178814 - 08/21/05 07:49 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:


it makes no difference how pure I may communicate if a person only wants to hear what is said in a single way





I meant both. Communication is a 2 way thing. People tend to filter both what they hear and what they say (or what they think the other person wants to hear).

The initial supposition is that you are doing a form (the Dance of the Black-Footed Elephants) with which your friend may not be familiar with. Even though you friend may speak the same language and come from the same background, their experience AND their perception of that experience may not be the same. A classic example of "filtering" here.

Not to belabor the point, and putting socio-anthropological philosophical subtexts aside, as humans, we are limited to visual, auditory and kinesthetic communication modalities. Each modality has its own set of transmission and reception filters.

Take for example, your question of "where do higher dans go to compare notes". "Dan"-levels being such an arbitrary classification of skill level, I would prefer to use the slightly more descriptive phrase, "slightly more advanced practitioners of the MA". But I do get your drift.

In a weak attempt to bring this topic back on track, what thoughts do I evoke if I say, that "kata" is not the message, but the medium thru which experience is communicated?

* opens another can of worms, throws line in water and waits for fish to bite *

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#178815 - 08/21/05 10:22 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
"....In a weak attempt to bring this topic back on track, what thoughts do I evoke if I say, that "kata" is not the message, but the medium thru which experience is communicated?...."

For me that clearly underscores the greatest need to err on the side of the widest possible range of interpretations when examining the material.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#178816 - 08/21/05 10:26 PM Re: "Identity Crisis" [Re: eyrie]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Nope...I'm not biting.

Quote:

In a weak attempt to bring this topic back on track, what thoughts do I evoke if I say, that "kata" is not the message, but the medium thru which experience is communicated?

* opens another can of worms, throws line in water and waits for fish to bite *



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