View Full Version : food for thought ( maybe not... hey that rhymes!)

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08-02-2001, 10:26 PM
I just wanted to get my thoughts on the web.. first off I love all the post and look at how many post people have and wow some of you people have fast fingers! where can I learn that?? oh well i just have 60 or so post but i am going my own pace that is what aikido is all about! :) anyhow.. .... I just wanted to say thank you to all the teachers and sensis of Aikido and other martail arts because it is summer and I train more and I thought if it hadnt been for the people after o sensi then aikido would be dead! so thank you all sensi! I also wanted to post a question.

have any of you been to the home land of Aikido ( I cant really spell jappane right or did I?) and then gone to other countries and found a different quality of Aikido?? does location matter or is it more dependent on the sensi?

I was just wondering because I never really known many sensi who have been to jappan except Jacques Payet (5th dan Yoshinkan) and his aikido is incredable so.... also some people say I would go to jappane to get real aikido not from here and I say well... there are a lot of talented non jappenes teachers who have not been to jappan ( I know because all the sensi couldnt have gone to jappan to study and wow quality aikido is great in some!!)

well just me rambling trying to make conversation.. hope nobody takes any offence :) arigoto for your time :)

08-02-2001, 10:41 PM
Hi again, Dallas, hope with all that training it means your wrist is feeling better. I'm just a beginner, and so take my words with a grain of salt, but I think to find real Aikido you look inside your heart, not a travel guide. There are wonderful teachers in Japan, I've been there but not studied there, but have attended their seminars here. There are wonderful teachers in the US, too, and I don't think the thing that makes a teacher great is his rank, or even his teacher. Like you, I've found plenty of people I can learn so much from right here, without ever pulling out my passport. It might be interesting to train in another country (if for no other reason to have the language challenge), and perhaps for some really far along in their training they feel the need to travel there. But consider this: I know of at least three (probably more) senseis who were direct students of O Sensei, who are living and teaching in the US for many years now. Who might be more authentic, them here, or a third-generation trained sandan in Japan? again, lots of other things also go into a good teacher, but where they live does not seem so important to me. Besides, sushi is much cheaper here :).

08-09-2001, 09:31 AM
Just a word of caution. Most of the time that I was learning aikido in the states, I thought of coming to Japan to study aikido. Now I live in Japan, and teach aikido to Japanese people. Why? I am a shodan, and have studied aikido for around 8 years. I love it and it is the pillar of my identity, but it simply is not to be found within an hour and a half of my house. Much similar to my university experience, in Michigan, I find myself teaching and commuting.
Why would such a beautiful art not be as common as rice cakes?
Japan is undergoing what I consider a vast and painful cultural identity complex. Since world war II most things old and cultural have been only maintained on the outside. The inside morals and ideals, such as religious sentiments, and samurai morals, were credited with a disastrous and shameful lost world war. Just this last January, I had a group of old men in my apartment eating chili and drinking sake, and one said to me... The reason that kids in Japan today are so weak, is because we didn't have the courage to raise our kids after the war. A few sakes down the chute and that really blew me out of the water. (I am a cultural coordinator of sorts in a small town, by the way. These sorts of things are my job.)
So back to aikido. An hour and a half from my house their is a dojo. I have some issues with it, and thus have not affiliated. In this dojo I have never heard mentioned, Ki, Extension, Safety, Morals, Breathing, Morihei Ueshiba, The Diverse Varieties of Aikido, Application to Daily Life, Value for Health or any of a large variety of other things which comprise the only real value that aikido has to my extremely unviolent life. They repeat techniques in quite rapid succession. They throw, that is success in this dojo. They are not bad throwers, mind you some are better than me. But some are not. Some are hollow at their core, and have as much as admitted it to me. The don't know what I say when I mention breathing, or don't let them throw me because it will hurt me.
On the other hand, I went to Honbu and found the real thing. I find the real thing hiding under leaves and rocks, and in little corner dojos that no one seems to attend, where they have high expectations for you, ask for no apologies, and charge you no money. Find yourself a place like this, and you will learn nothing but budo, the heart of it is yours for the taking. Japanese style teaching, at its best. Find a dojo like the aikido one I visit, and you will soon learn to throw, and you will learn pride, and vanity.
the message in this endless post?
Carry no expectations in a dojo. The beginning student might be the next doshu unaware, and the teacher might be a fool. And never let yourself judge people or actions by the behaviour of those around you. To hold oneself responsible for all things, and live by ones own standard of aikido and right and wrong and the like is the essence of a Samurai philosopher. Not a bad thing for your average aikidoka either.

08-10-2001, 04:20 AM
Hi Thomas!

Very interesting post. It puts a lot in a new perspective for me. For example it explains why Nishio Sensei whenever he visits Denmark allways takes time to give a lengthy lecture about what should be the reason for us practicing Aikido, and what should be in our heart as Aikido-ka's. Some of the things he say seems to be very important for him to get across, though to a lot of us it is things we have heard or read before.
I can't help wondering what 'style' of Aikido you teach and where your main inspiration comes from ?
How do your own students respond to the issues you mention such as Ki, breathing, morals etc ?
What do you think is the future for Aikido (and other Budo) in Japan. Will it continue to water down and become 'budoless' acrobatics or will there develop a new line of budo-ka with the right mind-set ?
On a totally other subject I would like to know if your family has any roots in Scandinavia since your lastname very much suggest it.

Happy trails

08-10-2001, 05:49 PM
Hi thomasgroendal :)
I agree with you.
Unfortunately, many people do aikido with different viewpoints. Many people do everything with different views.
So everyone is different.
That's what makes it special when you find a place that has your own aspirations.
Even if every aikidoka had the same views, techniques and philosophy, we would still all be different. ;)
Don't get depressed. Or you Dallas :)
We are lucky to even have a glimpse.
Remeber, don't listen to me, I'm a 2 year beginner. (2nd anniversary this month!)