Aikido is a paradoxical art. Fully grasping Aikido requires you to develop a relatively complex understanding of its technical curriculum, while at the same time having direct access to the universal principles that are the spiritual core of the art. Another way to look at it is, to fully master the art of Aikido you need to “learn Aikido like a pro, create Aikido as an artist.”
Let’s take the extraordinary artist Pablo Picasso as an example. It is no understatement to say that Picasso revolutionized the art world. He is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. But as it turns out, the Picasso we know as one of the founders of the “cubist” movement was not always a cubist.
If you look at the early art of Pablo Picasso you may not even recognize his art. Picasso was deeply trained in the classics from a very early age and his early art reflects. Just look below at the chronological overview of his art from when he was a young man, to when he was an old man.
It is plain to see that the early Picasso was a master of the classical styles of art. And later Picasso was the true ARTIST! It’s no wonder that he is famous for this quote he made in his later years: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break the rules like an artist.”
You can see a very similar progression in the below pics of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba. In his younger days (see 1936 pic) he shows a much more formalized Aikido that is clearly structured in a classic style. Yet in the later pic from 1966 when he was quite an old man, O Sensei is applying the same “technique” but in a much more free expression of the art.
So to paraphrase Picasso here, we could say “Learn Aikido Like A Pro, So You Can Create Aikido Like An Artist.”
The below video is the 4th in my 4-part Facebook Live series I did on “Aikido And Teaching.” In this video, I addressed this exact topic, namely, what does it mean to “Learn Aikido Like A Pro, So You Can Create Aikido Like An Artist”?
Here are some of the points I cover in this teaching:
- The 3 stages of sword making
- If you break the rules too soon you never become grounded in the school/ style
- If you hold on to the rules too long then you will never freely express an artist
- What is an “Archimedean point”
- The need to break your “fixation points”
- You need to become somebody before you become nobody
- The role of “doing” vs. “being”
- The balance of autonomy & communion
Here is the replay of part 4 in my 4-part series on “Aikido And Teaching”. Enjoy!
Question: How do you experience “The Rules Of Aikido And The Art Of Aikido”? Watch the above video replay then join the conversation by leaving your comments below!