Play! part 2

Originally posted by Pertti Ruha

Part 2 of Play! from my good friend Ingvar Hulterström. Also see the previous post.
[My own thoughts and comments I have marked so here. – Pertti]

All mammals are playing when they’re small, but they grow up quite quickly. The mammals are most like human, primates, and perhaps foremost Apes, continue with this much longer. Humans have evolved in such a way that we never really lose this ability, we can play all the way to death.
Today there is heavy research support for the game that shows that this is very important for the child’s neurological development. Our brain must have games, but for the game it cannot be developed. The fact that man never loses this ability can then be related to the fact that the human brain is a dynamic system that continues to organize and reorganize later in age.
It is also true that I work with, as a psychologist, autism, and the model for autism treatment I work with, is the Kihon, so to speak, as the game’s central concepts. Most autistic children learn to say, never play, but they start early with various deterministic rituals. Treatment therefore focuses on slowly, in a way that children can handle particulates, introduce the game to the child and the way in opening the stalled development.

Tiger Cubs Playing

But how do we play in the usual western societies then?
“Stop playing, this is serious,” “Do not play now, now you shall labor,” “Now we will do what is important, play may make you late,” “Do not hold on and play, now we practice Kihon.”
But why has it become like this?

If we go back to the deterministic systems and the organizational models that come from there, and McDonald’s is a superb example, it is about working in a ritualistic manner to perform tasks in a way that maximizes the quantity. There is also the fact that McDonald’s whole idea is to be autistic, ie, that it is always exactly the same. What McDonalds you go in to be offering exactly the same hamburger wherever you happen to be.
This is basically the idea of industrialism. And this doesn’t fit playing at all. The game has a total negative value in the industrial logic.

But one can go further than that. The game allows for change, learning, the increase or change in the degree of organization of complex dynamic systems , and even if this happens to some degree in industrial organizations, it is by no means pursued. How would it look if the people who work at McDonalds suddenly began to act in a way that is more similar star chefs? If they started to play, improvise, started making burgers in a way that is better right now, for this particular customer? It is enough that I ask the question.

Industrialism logic is something most Western people, for hundreds of years, internalized. Much of our society is built on precisely this logic. We try to maximize the quantity! When we receive a number of beginners in Bujinkan is a huge project, which sometimes can seem almost superhuman. How on earth can it be possible to change a way of thinking that is so deeply rooted in most people?

The answer is of course given by Hatsumi Sensei, “Play!”. We must, in the same way as for autistic people, introduce the game, and we can not wait until the person has received Shodan, this must be done as soon as a beginner enters the mat for the first time.
If we start by teaching (!) techniques as a deterministic logic for a few years, we have only dug a deeper hole for the pupil, a hole he or she may never emerge from.

Perhaps that is why I, after that Bujinkan been around for over 30 years, have had difficulty seeing any regrowth [!!!]. Perhaps that is why I, when I am in a new dojo and work for the first time with new Black Belts, discover that they do not even have an eye on the most basic [!!!], so I had already understood 1986-87. A black belt, when he, despite repeated attempts does not succeed with the technique, ultimately concludes that it is because I am standing wrong! Not that he had to adapt the way they move in relation to this unique situation, he-and-I, and not only the instructor can be copied[!!!].

[Quote from Hatsumi sensei: “My techniques are adaptable to any situation. It is from improvising action as it flashes into my mind. My techniques are natural techniques”.]

This, I think, is the symptom of a very basic problem, a problem that, I think, is shared in many dojo. But I can well understand why it has become like this. It’s taken myself many years to even be able to articulate these thoughts in a way that will not only be quite confusing for both me and the person I talk to.


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