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Ibaraki Bryan
09-05-2006, 08:48 PM
Greetings --

I wrote a note about Iwama's political turmoil a couple days ago and I can't find it anywhere on the forum. Does anyone know what happened to it? Was it deleted by a moderator for some reason?

My note was in reference to Gaku Homma Sensei's article:
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_articles/06/dangerous_message/dangerous_message.html

Thanks,
Bryan

Michael Young
09-05-2006, 10:29 PM
Have you sent a message to Jun? Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and clik "Send E-mail".

akiy
09-05-2006, 11:15 PM
Hi Bryan,

No, I can't say I've deleted any of your messages.

Here's a list of all of your posts: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?do=finduser&u=7077

-- Jun

Peter Goldsbury
09-06-2006, 12:05 AM
Greetings --

I wrote a note about Iwama's political turmoil a couple days ago and I can't find it anywhere on the forum. Does anyone know what happened to it? Was it deleted by a moderator for some reason?

My note was in reference to Gaku Homma Sensei's article:
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_articles/06/dangerous_message/dangerous_message.html

Thanks,
Bryan

Hello Bryan,

Why don't you repost the note? I have read Mr Homma's article and I have an opinion, since I have done what he has done, but in reverse (though I have not lived in Japan quite so long as he has lived in the US), but I would prefer to hear what you had to say before giving it.

Best wishes,

Mary Eastland
09-07-2006, 08:37 AM
Hi Peter:
I just reread the aticle. I would like to hear what you have to say about it.
Thanks,
Mary

gdandscompserv
09-07-2006, 10:05 AM
Mr. Goldsbury,
I too would like to hear what you have to say about the article or the situation.
Sincerely,
Ricky

Chris Li
09-07-2006, 01:30 PM
I'm not Peter, but it seems to me that there was a lot of supposition in the Article, but not all that much hard fact - many (most?) of the stories there could, I suppose, have had different interpretations depending on who was there and what they were looking for.

Of course, stories of this kind of "intolerance" abound on both sides - I've heard much the same kind of stories about both Morhihiro and Hitohiro Saito.

Best,

Chris

Jack Simpson
09-07-2006, 03:05 PM
It is an interesting article and unfortunate if things are as it is reported. I guess I'm on the right side of the fence currently, but it would be nice if there was no fence.

An interesting side note, I visited Denver for a meeting and visited Homma Sensei's dojo to train. I had invited a friend along as he was interested in seeing what aikido training was like. While I was allowed to train, my friend wasn't allowed to watch the training. Hadn''t heard of that type of procedure before or since in traveling to many other dojos. Pity that door was shut.

Jack :ai:

gdandscompserv
09-07-2006, 04:00 PM
Another interesting side note. My son was accepted into Nippon Kan's uchi-deshi program. A couple weeks into it, he had a shoulder injury and a torn abdominal muscle. His sempai's told him the injuries were his fault since his ukemi wasn't good enough.
These things are contrary to what I learned at Okinawa Aikikai. There I learned that sempai was responsible for the safety of kohai. I recommended to my son that he leave immediately. I also fired off a couple of emails to Nippon Kan explaining to them my dissappointment. My son came home and I have been teaching him aikido as I learned it. Nine months later and he is injury free. :) (Knock on wood)

David Humm
09-07-2006, 05:04 PM
I am greatly saddened by the contents of the article.

It is very evident that politics emanate at the very top of the aikido pyramid, what the hell chance do 'we' have if these things are happening right at the home of the founder, between people who are widely considered to be the most important within the world wide aikido community. More importantly, what sort of an example is being set by those individuals ?

I have a student at my own dojo who has expressed a lot of interest in visiting Iwama, If the contents of the article are true, and I have no reason to doubt the author, I'd rather see him go elsewhere than experience this form of segregation and negativity. Indeed I'll go so far as to say; my initial feelings were such that my confidence in the aikikai (an organisation to which I am affiliated) has been shaken. As I said before; *if* the contents of the article are accurate and truthful.

I would very much like to hear from someone within the Aikikai who might be able to offer their perspective on the contents of the article.

aikidoc
09-07-2006, 05:27 PM
Another possibility to consider here is the old "Kwai Change Kane" concept from Kung Fu where he was essentially ignored in the beginning. Perhaps the uchi-deshi were undergoing training and were required to not engage anyone regardless of their affiliation. I do not recall it being mentioned if anyone from the aikikai engaged one of them and what their response was to it. Also, how would they be able to tell what each person's affiliation was unless they knew them or they were wearing clothing identifying such? I'm not saying this was not going on as described, however, other possibilities exist.

NagaBaba
09-07-2006, 07:11 PM
I was in Iwama last spring. Present situation is a result how things were manages after M.Saito sensei passing. Looks like instead of unified all aikidoka, a big precipice was created in country side, where you have two dojo side by side, with extremely small number students practice every day. In my opinion it is contrary to the spirit of O sensei teaching, and what is worse, this is very special place for all aikidoka.

George S. Ledyard
09-07-2006, 07:26 PM
I am greatly saddened by the contents of the article.

It is very evident that politics emanate at the very top of the aikido pyramid, what the hell chance do 'we' have if these things are happening right at the home of the founder, between people who are widely considered to be the most important within the world wide aikido community.

You didn't think we in the West were the ones that screwed things up did you? I used to feel guilty, feeling that we in the West were wrecking Aikido. I don't any more as it is eminently clear that the Japanese are quite capable of wrecking things own their own without any help at all from us.

Seriously, there are Japanese teachers who want nothing to do with this type of political behavior and there are those that purpetrate it. In the West we have those that buy into it and keep it going here and we have folks that don't. Our only hope is to simply not buy into it. I am good friends with a senior student of teachers who do not in any way get along with my own teacher. We simply decided that we didn't need to buy into conflicts which started back in the "old country".

I frankly don't know why anyone would be surprised at the described political events at the shrine. At the Aiki Expo, the very people who are now being excluded at the shrine were told by their teacher not to attend the classes offered by the other teachers... What goes around, comes around.

The students, especially the seniors, of one of the oldest and largest Aikido organizations in the United States are not allowed to train with people from outside their limited set of organizational affiliations. I periodically meet them at various seminars when they have "snuck out" to train with new teachers. They are always worried that Sensei X will find out. Not only does the Shihan in question enforce this but the other seniors bring heavy peer pressure on anyone who steps out of line by attending non- approved events.

I have a friend who is a student of a Japanese Shihan with whom he trained in Japan. He currently trains at a dojo here in the states. He wanted to bring his teacher over to do a seminar. One would not have thought that this would be a problem as the teacher in question had been a honbu dojo instructor for many years and is listed on the Aikikai website as one of their affiliated teachers. But the dojo in question received word from the Shihan that oversees them in the states that they were not to host the Shihan from Japan. So my friend had to set up the seminar on his own and any mistaken association with his home dojo was quickly disowned.

This is all complete crap as far as I am concerned. You have American Aikido practitioners of 6th dan and 7th dan who feel they have to restrict their training because some Japanese Shihan gets paranoid. This kind of carry over from feudal times is ridiculous and we need to start acting like the adults we are, not kids dependent on some adult figure for our survival. Obviously, we cannot change what the Japanese choose to do at home. But we do not have to buy into this here, period. We need to refuse to participate.

I train with anyone I feel has something to show me. Anyone from any organization, any student of any teacher, is welcome at my dojo, and, in fact, is welcome at virtually all the events our organization holds. For this type of thing to continue you have to have people who perpetuate it. Just stop. Just say no. Take your lumps from that Shihan who tells you not to train with so and so. The only ability these guys have to control things come from the fact that they can withdraw their support from individuals who cross them. If people collectively just said they didn't want to play any more, what do you think would happen? Can you see the Shihan disowning all of his seniors students? I don't think so... He'd learn to live with it. Maybe he'd find that his students still love him even if they see some other teachers. Maybe he might feel the need to innovate a little to keep his students instead of restricting access. Now, that's a concept...

I think that this is one aspect ofthe whole Japanese thing that we can simply REFUSE to participate in. If no one around the wrold payed any attention to these ridiculous political machinations, I suspect that not only would the leaders in Japan learn to live with it, but they would probably start to change themselves. We can be the incentive for them to do so if we choose.

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-07-2006, 07:35 PM
George, for a moment I thought it was Mike posting there :-) Good on ya!!!! I didn't know you from Adam when I first joined this board, but I quickly began to see why people respect you. Regards, Gernot

Karen Wolek
09-07-2006, 07:56 PM
I read the article. All I can say is...

Wow.

I don't understand.

aikidoc
09-07-2006, 09:21 PM
It even exists here somewhat. I was living in a larger city one time and was invited to teach at a seminar for about an hour. That was until they realized I was not a member of their organization, although I did train at the time in one of their dojos. They quickly withdrew the invite stating that only members of their organization were allowed to teach. This was non Japanese. The organization had a rep for thinking their aikido was the only style. My instructor at the time , Japanese, had his problems with another instructor in his area-he made the wong choice during the split. If he showed up or one of his students showed up at a seminar they would be asked to leave by one of the senior yudansha.

It's sad aikidoka can be so petty, intolerant and unforgiving. I don't think O'Sensei would have been very pleased.

Peter Goldsbury
09-07-2006, 09:39 PM
Mr Homma appears to rely very much on instincts gained from having to survive in a country as a non-native. I also have developed such instincts, but I have also come to realize that it is unwise to trust these instincts entirely, especially at the expense of making efforts to understand the value system of the 'adopted' country.

My 'adopted' country is Japan, of which Mr Homma is a native and the language of which he speaks as a native, so he should have an intuitive understanding of the value system that I am still struggling to comprehend, especially in relation to individual / group values, which lie at the heart of the deshi / master relationship as this is understood here.

I am curious why Mr Homma did not do what I usually do, which is go right to the top and communicate these concerns directly to Doshu or to Isoyama Hiroshi Shihan, who is the effective head of the Ibaragi Dojo and also has impeccable 'Iwama' credentials. If he is not prepared to do this because as a Japanese he has to respect the deshi / master relationship, then I think he has less grounds for writing such a hand-wringing article bemoaning the fact that foreign deshi have gag orders. They are after all deshi and he should know what they are supposed to do.

Like Mr Homma, I am effectively wearing two hats: Japanese and UK. I, too, think it is wrong that members of different dojos cannot communicate with each other. Well, it does not happen in my own dojo, nor does it happen at IAF meetings. If ASU or Iwama members want to attend the training courses at such meetings they are welome and if there is a problem, the buck stops with me.

I am wearing two hats, but, as I stated earlier, I am living in Japan, and if I want to maintain good relationships with others, including my own teacher, there are certain things I have to do. I am not going to have an open breach with him simply because he strongly dislikes people training with other organizations in Hiroshima. With most of these organizations I am not missing too much, but I regret not having trained with Nishio Sensei. However, to have done this, I would have had to make a choice: Nishio Sensei or my own teacher. I made the choice and this had certain consequences.

So, I would offer a challenge to you guys in the US who think it is wrong that members of one of the oldest and largest the large Aikikai organization cannot attend seminars in other organizations. If this is the case, change it.

Best wishes to all,

Peter Goldsbury
09-07-2006, 09:57 PM
It's sad aikidoka can be so petty, intolerant and unforgiving. I don't think O'Sensei would have been very pleased.

Hello Mr Riggs,

I am not so sure about that. The split between Tohei Sensei and Kisshomaru Doshu developed while O Sensei was alive, but from everything that I have heard, he might well have been displeased, but did nothing to stop it. Nor did Kisshomaru Doshu take any steps to stop the acrimonious dispute between Nishio Sensei and my own teacher which I referred to in my earlier post.

Now I am not quite sure why this should be so and it might be that I am making assumptions based on 'western' individual values. In the west, with so much emphasis based on free expression and the importance of saying what one feels--immediately, it is very easy also to assume pretty well immediately that non-'western' cultures are lacking in an important respect. Well, I once tried to break up a quarrel between two Japanese shihan in a 'western' way and did not succeed, with the further consequence that my relationship with both was affected, for the worse.

The Japanese go to great lengths to 'solve' conflicts by avoiding them. They do not go in for the kind of stuff that Terry Dobson writes about in Aikido in Everyday Life. If a conflict arises, the 'wa' has been broken, but it is both sides that have broken it. I know this, even from such a simple form of conflict as a road accident.

Best wishes,

crbateman
09-07-2006, 10:21 PM
It is a shame that so many people think that the only way to cross a bridge is to burn it behind them. I, also, try to "walk the fence" between differing styles and dogma. This is because I know that I have something to learn from all of them. But it is a shame that the two simplest weapons, a smile and a bow, mean so little to some people who like to think of themselves as civilized. When respect is given, it can be expected, but not before. People can respect each other without losing face, and without agreeing on anything. I just wish that the simplicity of that were evident to more people.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-07-2006, 10:25 PM
I am curious why Mr Homma did not do what I usually do, which is go right to the top and communicate these concerns directly to Doshu or to ....

I don't know anything about any of the politics involved in this, but I wondered the same thing upon reading the article. On the one hand, it is hard to imagine what I would consider a decent excuse for being systematically rude to people of a particular organization or affiliation, even less instructing others to do so... even less still when one's art is supposed to be about 'harmony'. The experiences in the article seem to be evidence of this. On the other hand, why wouldn't Mr, Homma have gone to someone in charge and asked them directly what was going on and why? Even if the response was denial or evasion on the part of whomever he consulted, an account of that exchange would have made the article's case much more compelling.

Erick Mead
09-07-2006, 11:08 PM
... Our only hope is to simply not buy into it. I am good friends with a senior student of teachers who do not in any way get along with my own teacher. We simply decided that we didn't need to buy into conflicts which started back in the "old country". ... This kind of carry over from feudal times is ridiculous ... we do not have to buy into this here, period. We need to refuse to participate.
... Can you see the Shihan disowning all of his seniors students? I don't think so... I think that this is one aspect ofthe whole Japanese thing that we can simply REFUSE to participate in. If no one around the world payed any attention to these ridiculous political machinations, I suspect that not only would the leaders in Japan learn to live with it, but they would probably start to change themselves. We can be the incentive for them to do so if we choose. This is the best way to deal with this. The Japanese way to deal with an intractable social problem is to collectively imagine that no dispute exists, act that way, pointedly ignore all evidence to the contrary, step over the inconvenient dead bodies --- commenting in charitable tones about the unfortunate dust at this time of year that seems to get all over the floor --- debating which is more pleasing -- the sound of spring frogs versus summer cicadas -- when raised voices are overheard ...

The parties (the proper Japanese ones, anyway) will only go so far in embarassing themselves by continuing a dispute that everyone else is unwilling to validate or even to recognize as occurring. Partisans and retainers will keep it smoldering in well-tended coals, but fire does not spread well over oceans. Japan has had a sad history with fire, as I recall.

Just a thought.

Aren't the koi lovely today, by the way?

Erick Mead
09-07-2006, 11:17 PM
The Japanese go to great lengths to 'solve' conflicts by avoiding them. They do not go in for the kind of stuff that Terry Dobson writes about in Aikido in Everyday Life. If a conflict arises, the 'wa' has been broken, but it is both sides that have broken it. I know this, even from such a simple form of conflict as a road accident. Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Peter Goldsbury
09-08-2006, 01:13 AM
Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Perhaps so. I am in no position to judge. I do know, however, that when you live here, you are given a chance to have a share in the process of enlightenment. Or not, as you wish.

Peter Goldsbury
09-08-2006, 06:04 AM
Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Hello Eric,

On rereading your reply, I think you might have missed my point about the road accident.

I have found by experience here that motorists really go out of their way to avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists. Why? When such an accident happens and there are injuries, as I explained in a blog for Aikido Journal last year, the driver of the larger vehicle is immediately judged largely to blame, to varying degrees.

It is like a Greek tragic drama, in which the main actors are the hero (the driver, because he is guilty of hubris), the other characters (the cyclist/s) and the chorus (the inevitable bystanders, who are also closely involved as 'witnesses'). The gods are the traffic police, who appear to display the same biases as their Greek counterparts.

Unlike other Japanese conflicts, however, this is one that you cannot ignore, for you have to obey the law, and this means the law as it is interpreted by the police, the prosecutors and (especially, for the huge sums of money involved) the insurance companies. I do not know why the law should be like this, but it is, and if you want to live here peaceably, you need to know this. The law governing road accidents has recently been made more severe and if you as a foreigner don't know this, you can end up in a detention house and subsequently in prison, for being in more severe accidents (like accidents in which there is the slightest whiff of alcohol on your breath) and, of course, back home.

I mentioned the insurance companies because they pay out the money, to the victims and to the driver, for the repairs to the car. In the two cases in which I was involved, I largely carried out the instructions of my insurance agent, which was to have no communication whatever with the other party, other than what was thought essential (gifts, flowers, hospital visits, telephone calls in which absolutely nothing was stated very politely--I rarely had to make these calls, probably because I was judged incapable of handling the required nuances in Japanese).

In my opinion, the thinking behind the law is a relic of the ryouseiba rule in the Tokugawa period and the responsibility for the breaking of WA is a major factor. I have been involved in two major accidents (i.e., accidents involving substantial injuries to the other party and substantial damage to my vehicle) and the police have invariably asked, 'How could the conflict (the accident) have been avoided?' Certain answers are not acceptable (e.g., 'I should have stayed at home').

Now, it is my belief (and I have done no research about this, so that my belief is simply a belief) that this model of joint responsibility for the breaking of the WA, the harmony, extends beyond concrete, 'in-your-face' cases like road accidents to other cases like the Iwama problem, about which, because it is also an 'international' problem, it is possible to have various reactions and considered opinions.

I have always been struck by the fact that the Aikikai NEVER publicly discusses such issues. There has been the conflict with Tohei Sensei and now the conflict in Iwama discussed by Homma Sensei. You will find no contribution on the Internet about these issues from the Aikikai. This might be an 'ostrich' reaction, as 'westerners' might see it, or it might be a reaction fully in tune with the accepted cultural norms.

Stanley Pranin and I once interviewed Arikawa Sensei at great length. It was a wonderful interview, but he refused to give permission to make this interview public. I was seriously pissed off and I know Stan was. Of course, you can ask why.

Since George raised the issue as something that he and other like-minded aikidouka would not tolerate, I suggest that a serious conversation takes place with Yamada Yoshimitsu, Saotome Mitsugi and Chiba Kazuo Shihans about the Iwama issue. For my part, I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007.

One other thing. Hiroshi Isoyama is a staunch proponent of 'international aikido' and often gives seminars overseas. However, I find it hard to believe that he would have placed a gagging order on the Ibaragi Dojo deshi. Well, you can be sure that I will ask him and Doshu, also, when we next meet.

Best wishes,

batemanb
09-08-2006, 08:27 AM
For my part, I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007.

One other thing. Hiroshi Isoyama is a staunch proponent of 'international aikido' and often gives seminars overseas. However, I find it hard to believe that he would have placed a gagging order on the Ibaragi Dojo deshi. Well, you can be sure that I will ask him and Doshu, also, when we next meet.

Best wishes,

Hi Peter,

I hope you are well, I look forward to hearing the respones.

regards
Bryan

Mike Sigman
09-08-2006, 08:55 AM
In my opinion, the thinking behind the law is a relic of the ryouseiba rule in the Tokugawa period and the responsibility for the breaking of WA is a major factor. I have been involved in two major accidents (i.e., accidents involving substantial injuries to the other party and substantial damage to my vehicle) and the police have invariably asked, 'How could the conflict (the accident) have been avoided?' Certain answers are not acceptable (e.g., 'I should have stayed at home').

Now, it is my belief (and I have done no research about this, so that my belief is simply a belief) that this model of joint responsibility for the breaking of the WA, the harmony, extends beyond concrete, 'in-your-face' cases like road accidents to other cases like the Iwama problem, about which, because it is also an 'international' problem, it is possible to have various reactions and considered opinions.

I have always been struck by the fact that the Aikikai NEVER publicly discusses such issues. There has been the conflict with Tohei Sensei and now the conflict in Iwama discussed by Homma Sensei. You will find no contribution on the Internet about these issues from the Aikikai. This might be an 'ostrich' reaction, as 'westerners' might see it, or it might be a reaction fully in tune with the accepted cultural norms.I tend to agree with George's recommendation, which addresses the reality and gets away from the "let's pretend we're Japanese... what would our pretend-personas do in this role play" scenario.

I've met Homma Sensei a few times, so I have an "intuition" about him which in turn affects my view of his "intuitions" in his article. It's one of those sticky problems that arises occasionally and there is no clearcut answer, but I would opine that George's instincts are probably the most productive. Many, many times I've had Asians tell me that "such and such is the traditional way, but it is tiresome and I wish we could do it the way Culture-X does it... it would be much better". In other words, "Wa" aside, polite common-sense will almost always be respected from foreigners.... more so respected if it becomes customary. And many Japanese will quietly be very happy to see it, I think.

FWIW

Mike

ChrisMoses
09-08-2006, 10:24 AM
I don’t really think this is anything new. Imagine being from the Ki no Kenyukai and showing up in Iwama in 1975, how do you think that would have gone down? Ever read some of Yamada’s published comments on the ASU split? (http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/1999/mar/f_yy_0399.html) I've only really trained in independant dojos (excepting a six month stint at an Aikikai school) and while I've been to Japan several times, I've never even considered going to Hombu dojo, I know the kind of welcome I would get.

WRT this specific case, if Homma Sensei knew he was planning to visit the shrine with Ali Sensei (I really doubt it just sort of happened) why didn't he take the time to contact Isoyama Sensei or one of his associates to make arrangements ahead of time. I'm not Japanese, but I do know that the actions you take before a meeting/event often can hold more weight than the actions you take during the event. Just showing up isn't really doing it right, particularly when you must suspect that you may not be welcomed with open arms.

I'd also like to comment on George's statement that this is a feudal hold-over. I'm no historian, but I think that this is more a result of the WWI-WWII period that served as the historical backdrop for Aikido's conception. The feudal model for martial arts was much more like a family structure than the military rank and file that became ubiquitous during the expansionist period leading up to WWII. The strict and rigid idea of feudal Japan that became common in this period is just as inaccurate as texts like "Bushido" and "Hagakure" that helped define that movement.

I think that one of the reasons that this just seems to be the way that this sort of thing is dealt with in Aikido (aside from the Japanese cultural context) is that the structure of the aikikai is such that legitimacy and authority is based almost solely on where one fits into the hierarchy as opposed to any kind of merit based system. Not that this is unique to Aikido, but I think the lack of any kind of randori/shiai exacerbates this need for a position within the structure. When Kano Sensei bested his teacher, their roles reversed and Kano became the teacher. There is no way for this to happen within the strucutured environment of Aikido. While one may reach a level of comfort with ones teacher that allows frank commentary, there is no mechanism for the lower rungs to overrule the higher rungs. At some point the only resolution to a difference of opinion is to leave, and once you move outside of that structure of authority it can be very hard (if not impossible) to continue much of a relationship. I have trained at and left three Aikido schools. I have nothing to do with the first two whatsoever; I was even threatened with a lawsuit when leaving the first. I consider myself blessed that I'm able to have a friendly relationship with my last aikido dojo, though my relationship with some of the students there has certainly changed.

As for the West being able to change this sort of thing, I just don't see it. There are just as many people here who cling to their place in the pecking order as there are in Japan. The breif time I trained at an Aikikai dojo convinced me of that. Anyone who doesn't fit into the structure is quite simply a threat. Like George mentioned, at Expo there were squads of students following their teacher from room to room, and then on the other end you had people like Ikeda Sensei lining up with everyone else for another teacher's class (proving again that he's a rare gem in US Aikido).

I guess what I'm saying is that events like this help to remind us that this is the way things *are*. Personally I would like to see the Iwama Shrine depoliticized as it has historical signifigance to all students of Ueshiba's legacy, but it is owned by the Aikikai and they have a *legitimate* right to choose who has access to those facilities.

Finally, while I'm sure it sounds like I'm being really down on the Aikikai, I should mention that I've been genuinely impressed with the current Doshu's honest and earnest efforts to bring so many groups and organizations back under the Aikikai umbrella. I have a great deal of respect for him because of those actions, and think things are better now (with that regard) than they have been since the Tohei split.

Don_Modesto
09-08-2006, 11:23 AM
The students, especially the seniors, of one of the oldest and largest Aikido organizations in the United States are not allowed to train with people from outside their limited set of organizational affiliations....This is all complete crap as far as I am concerned. You have American Aikido practitioners of 6th dan and 7th dan who feel they have to restrict their training because some Japanese Shihan gets paranoid....For this type of thing to continue you have to have people who perpetuate it. Just stop. Just say no. Take your lumps from that Shihan who tells you not to train with so and so. The only ability these guys have to control things come from the fact that they can withdraw their support from individuals who cross them. If people collectively just said they didn't want to play any more, what do you think would happen?Prisoners Dilemma.

I completely agree with you, George, but for one senior student to talk back, he'd have to be sure of all the others. I see it everyday in work--people accomodate rather than put up a fight. And there's a lot to be lost for some aikido teachers. I know one who is famous throughout S. America, the Caribbean, and Europe for the patronage of his SHIHAN. I don't see him talking back and jeopardizing the income which puts his kids in college.

Maybe aikido could reach an agreement with the AFL-CIO, huh?

George S. Ledyard
09-08-2006, 12:17 PM
Since George raised the issue as something that he and other like-minded aikidouka would not tolerate, I suggest that a serious conversation takes place with Yamada Yoshimitsu, Saotome Mitsugi and Chiba Kazuo Shihans about the Iwama issue. For my part, I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007.

I will say that Saotome Sensei is quite publicly on the record on this. While it is definitely true that he has a range of personal relationships with the other Japanese Shihan which are outside of the subject of this discussion, his personal feelings about one teacher or another do not carry over into his running of the ASU in that any student from any organization is welcome at any event we hold. I believe that he also would maintain that any student or teacher from any organzation would be welcome at any member dojo.

I have trained since 1976 and not once in that time have I EVER had the least inference from Sensei that I should not train with anyone. This applied to ALL Aikido teachers, regardless of his personal relationship with them and it applied to teachers of the various other martial arts I studied. Sensei is so serious about this that I actually headed a dojo that was affiliated through Chiba Sensei and the Western region of the USAF for a couple years
and I actually have a Shidoin certificate signed by Yamada Sensei. To his credit, Chiba Sensei treated me with great respect and was quite supportive.

I think there is a certain sensitivity to the issue of lots of folks from outside the organization teaching seminars at the dojos in the organzation but it's not from any resistance to outside influences or a desire to be insular but rather from the feeling that since we are trying to develop a generation of top level teachers, one of the functions of the organzation is to support the development of its own instructors. But even here, I have no knowledge of Sensei ever telling anyone from within the ASU not to host any teacher, as long as they didn't have some serious character flaw.

The other Rokudan instructors I know within the ASU have virtually all hosted seminars at their dojos in which teachers from outside organzations and unaffiliated teachers have taught and most have also held seminars featuring instruction in other martial arts which the instructor felt would be helpful to his students. So it is not just that the lower level folks within our organzation who more less escape notice can do as they please. These are the students whom Sensei has trained directly for over thirty years.

I have to say that I have never been more proud to be associated with the people I am that at the Expos when I saw Ikeda Sensei and our Rokudans out there taking everyone's classes and being willing to look like beginner's in Kuroda and Ushiro Sensei's classes, striping off their hakamas to do the Systema classes, etc. Many of the relationships formed during those events have continued between the Aikido teachers of different affilations and between our folks and some of the teachers of non-Aikido arts.

The fact is that more exchange makes better Aikido. It is our responsibility to get as good as we possibly can in the limited time we have in this life. Letting political idiocy stand in the way of the constant striving to be better is stupid, aside from the fact that it runs entirely counter to the publicly stated goals of Aikido as an art that brings people together. Aikido is the art which is supposed to unite the world. That cannot happen when petty minds decide who is included and who is not.

Erick Mead
09-08-2006, 01:44 PM
On rereading your reply, I think you might have missed my point about the road accident. Perhaps I did. My first observation was more directed to the "intractable" social problems, which the typical fender-bender or even more serious accident is not.
... as I explained in a blog for Aikido Journal last year, the driver of the larger vehicle is immediately judged largely to blame, to varying degrees. The inverse law of gross tonnage ... Or is it a hitherto unknown form of Mahayana doctrine :D If that held true it would seem to bode well for the partisans of the Saito-zoku (clan) -- but I perceive that the same law does not hold for larger social mass...

While I have the academic background for some of this, that is not the same as being there. In my admittedly brief personal experience in Japan (all around Tokyo/Kamakura), some six visits over the course of two years, I too was struck by the same stage-quality to conflict situations you note -- the "Noh drama" approach (or is that "no-drama") ;) All cultures have their own unique blends of artifice and sincerity in service of larger social ends. I was raised very traditionally in the South, a region similarly (blessed/cursed) by Heinlein's Law of Polite Culture, but seemingly far less repressed by it.
... The law governing road accidents has recently been made more severe and if you as a foreigner don't know this, you can end up in a detention house and subsequently in prison, for being in more severe accidents ... Lesson being -- drive a scooter? Skateboard, maybe ?
I have always been struck by the fact that the Aikikai NEVER publicly discusses such issues. There has been the conflict with Tohei Sensei and now the conflict in Iwama discussed by Homma Sensei. You will find no contribution on the Internet about these issues from the Aikikai. This might be an 'ostrich' reaction, as 'westerners' might see it, or it might be a reaction fully in tune with the accepted cultural norms.My comment on anger (particularly on the long-running Tohei issue) was mainly addressed to the present situation you were analogizing, and the fact that despite all appearances, conflicts in Japanese culture do not typically abate, but merely become subtextual -- awaiting a moment of chaos or permitted disinhibition to surface, especially on a convenient whipping boy. Ask the eta or the Zainichi Koreans. (What? Who? Nope. No Koreans 'round here, Nossirree!).

It seems clear that the contending (but unequal) feudal primogenitures, along the koryu model, of Ueshiba-zoku and Saito-zoku (or of perceived loyalty thereto, respectively) over Iwama following the exercise of Hombu's supervening authority are the source of the immediate chaos.

Aikido in the West seems to me to be following a more Buddhist dharma lineage model, and not the koryu clan model that seems to be rearing its head in Japan. Lineage and affiliation matters over here in terms of presumptive authority, or pattern of teaching, but not usually in any possessory or territorial sense. And there is a similar emphasis on going beyond received wisdom as being somehow complete in itself. My sense, from what I can glean from Saotome's direct students that I have read, known, or met is that Saotome implicitly followed that model from a sense of direction or mission from O-Sensei in coming here to teach (causing uproar as well, so I'm told) I gather that Tohei did something similar, earlier as well.

I had two reactions to the article.

1) Aikikai has practiced the same "What, me worry?" tradition of non-conflict non-resolution model, as is traditional for intractable problems in Japan, and this is an effort at expression of loyalty-by-exclusion by a subset of the Aikikai-zoku.

2) Homma Sensei has been in the West long enough to transcend the "wa" model of conflicts, and has started asking 'impertinent' questions in the open about it. (That is the Western insouciance -- we just keep asking these pestering questions, even of our betters.)

3) Homma Sensei is reacting so strongly because of the departure from his native assumptions in the very non-wa (how's that for mixed usage) situation in Iwama, which is plainly not following the non-conflict, non-resolution model.

4) Maybe it is simply Hitohiro Saito Sensei's turn in the bucket -- since it never seems to get emptied.

As for the numbering, I'm a lawyer -- not an accountant. What do I know?

As for the rest, I'll leave it to my betters. All I get to do is ask these incessant questions ...

crbateman
09-08-2006, 03:07 PM
I have to say that I have never been more proud to be associated with the people I am that at the Expos when I saw Ikeda Sensei and our Rokudans out there taking everyone's classes and being willing to look like beginner's in Kuroda and Ushiro Sensei's classes, striping off their hakamas to do the Systema classes, etc. Many of the relationships formed during those events have continued between the Aikido teachers of different affilations and between our folks and some of the teachers of non-Aikido arts.I very much agree with your observations here, George. I saw similar open-mindness at the Expos from leaders and followers of several organizations. Although not totally immune to inter-divisional tensions or to potentially polarizing elements (as one would have to expect, given the diversity and sheer number of participants), it could definitely be said that most issues were approached from the standpoint of the overall benefit to EVERYBODY'S Aikido, and that mutual respect and tolerance were the rule, rather than the exception.

Much of this is due to the most deserved esteem for Stan Pranin, and his fair approach to all corners of Aikido, and much additional credit goes to the participants, most of which led by example in putting aside their individual politics for the duration of the event. Aikido needs more bridge-building events of this nature, not just because of the opportunity to observe and train with so many excellent technicians and luminaries of the aiki arts, but because mutual dialog and participation can do much to close the gaps that have left so many on one side of an issue or another. Aikido needs to be bigger than all the politics. The opportunity is there to demonstrate what people of good character and conscience can accomplish when working together.

Sadly, there aren't many Stan Pranins out there. Not many who could put events like the Expos together. The logistics and work involved are overwhelming, and the financial risk is huge. If only this were not the case, then perhaps those of us who love ALL of Aikido could see great things happen in our lifetimes, instead of standing on our own little icebergs, watching as we and others float away from each other.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-08-2006, 07:43 PM
....The fact is that more exchange makes better Aikido. It is our responsibility to get as good as we possibly can in the limited time we have in this life. Letting political idiocy stand in the way of the constant striving to be better is stupid, aside from the fact that it runs entirely counter to the publicly stated goals of Aikido as an art that brings people together. Aikido is the art which is supposed to unite the world. That cannot happen when petty minds decide who is included and who is not.

This entire post was very well said, though it seems a little crazy to me that it isn't so obvious that saying it should be unnecessary. My thought is that this kind of behavior is actually worse than just mere idiocy or pettiness, it is actually an expression of a lack of faith... of fear. If a teacher has faith in his art, why would he feel it needs to be protected from outsiders or outside influences? If the teacher has faith in his students, why would he try to micromanage their behavior and control who they interact with and how? Even if the stated goal of Aikido wasn't so altruistic, I don't see how behavior that is so obviously motivated by fear has any place at the top level of a martial art.

gdandscompserv
09-09-2006, 07:42 AM
In principle, I concur with your judgement, but as a matter of simple observation, I must ask why we should expect that aikido politics and the personality structures of aikido leaders would be any less driven by fear than actual politics and the personality structures of actual leaders with genuine authority to exert martial force?

Fred Little
I've heard that martial artist's are a stubborn bunch. :D
Fred makes a good point. Just because we have adopted a martial art that has nice ideals - it doesn't make us any less susceptible to the weaknesses of being human beings. It is always easy to point the finger and say, "oh! How terrible for this to happen!" Yet I'm sure most of us have displayed streaks of subborness in our lives that weren't in line with the lofty ideals of aikido. I do hope things get worked out though.

So far, I have only heard Homma Sensei's version of the situation. I would be interested to hear from someone else who was there at the time.

akiy
09-09-2006, 01:40 PM
The posts in this thread regarding "fear in aikido" have been split and moved to this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10934

-- Jun

grondahl
09-09-2006, 03:56 PM
The experience that mr Homma recollects in his article is very similiar to what a friend of mine experienced during a short visit to Iwama. Very different atmospere on different sides of that brickwall...

Mike Bissonette
09-09-2006, 11:55 PM
I visited the Ibaraki Branch Dojo in July 2004 and 2005. I spent time each day working on the grounds of the Dojo and the Aiki Shrine. I worked with other visiting Aikidoka and Uchi-deshi staying at the Dojo and Uchi-deshi of Nemoto Sensei who stayed at Aiki House. At no time did anyone direct us not to talk to anyone else. The directions from Isoyama Shihan and Nemoto Sensei were only concerned with the tasks assigned to us.
I do not believe Isoyama Shihan or Nemoto Sensei would tolerate the behavior described.

Michael Bissonette
Head Instructor
Tacoma Aiki Dojo

Jory Boling
09-10-2006, 04:11 AM
is being an uchideshi there a cloistered life or along ascetic lines? are working uchideshi supposed to be focused on their tasks and not chitchatting with tourists? uchideshi are kind of like aiki-monks.

Mike Grant
09-10-2006, 01:39 PM
I was in Iwama in 2003 at the time of the handover and I'd just like to say that I didn't pick up anything other than respect for the new occupiers of the shuren dojo. We spent quite a few days doing odd jobs and making sure that site was suitable for handover and that was it. Once this happened, we just stayed away out of respect for the new management. I'd also like to add that the jinja was left alone for about a week after the transfer with the leaves piling up and at the end of that period Isoyama sensei turned up and swept them up himself every morning and he was perfectly polite and always took time to say hello to the tanrenkan uchi deshi. Not bad for somebody of his seniority.

So what's going on? Things did get a little out of hand in early 2004 with the public announcements by several high ranking European instructors that they 'didn't understand' Hitohiro sensei's decision to form his own organisation, so maybe the whole thing is being wound by up them. That would certainly be in line with some of their previous behaviour. Who knows, who cares? Let's just get on with our practice. There really isn't that much to see at the old dojo anyway.

Matthew White
09-16-2006, 08:01 PM
Okay, I gotta say this.

As sad a commentary on the state of the Aikido community, when reading this article my first thought was, "Oh dear Lord, they turned Homma-sensei and Ali-sensei away because Ali-sensei is middle-eastern???"

THANK GOD, that wasn't the case!!!

So, as bad as this political infighting may be, it could always be worse!

Ibaraki Bryan
10-06-2006, 12:36 AM
I do not believe Isoyama Shihan or Nemoto Sensei would tolerate the behavior described.

I agree.


No, I can't say I've deleted any of your messages.

Sorry for any misunderstanding. For some reason, my earlier post is not listed here and must not have been processed by the server... again, my apologies! :)

Thanks to everyone for your input. I wish I'd been able to save a copy of my note -- I was sure to express my opinion that Homma Sensei's observations are limited to a very short span of time. I know that when he visited for the last couple Taisai festivals, he stayed just one night before heading out to visit his family up north. Visiting Iwama during Taisai is always a bit weird with so many outsiders in town (outsiders includes Tokyo people -- anyone who isn't living in our around Iwama). For the most part, locals are great.

When I lived in Iwama (April 2004-Jan 2006), I lived next door to Nemoto Sensei's aiki house, and had many nice visits with students there. They'd come over to my place for tea or to use the internet and were always very cordial. I never felt any negativity from them. Nemoto was a great neighbor (his brother too), and Isoyama and I always smiled and waved as we passed each other (me on my bike, he in his car).

On a side note, I'm heading back to Iwama next week for a two week stay. I'll be training at Hitohiro's, but not sure yet if I'll be uchideshi or not. I have some business to attend to in Mito, but I might be able to get everything sorted out right away so I can then concentrate more on training.

I'll try to post pictures and such at my blog during or after the trip:
http://ibaraki-bryan.blogspot.com/

Heading out Wednesday the 11th.

Peter Goldsbury
10-06-2006, 06:28 AM
Mr Sardoch,

I think you should tell us what you actually think of Mr Homma's article.

You started this thread by asking if your original post about the article had been censored: it hadn't. My first post (#4) requested you to re-post the article and yet you have been silent throughout the very interesting discussion that ensued--until now, and you still cannot remember your original post.

Well, as you stated, your original post was about Mr Homma's article. So why don't you read the article again and give your opinions.

Best wishes,

Ibaraki Bryan
10-06-2006, 09:30 AM
Hi Peter --

I often read Homma Sensei's articles about Iwama. He has some very strong personal opinions about the way the split has been handled. Interesting, he's never seemed to caught up in why the split occured as much as what he perceives as the infantile reactions of parties on each side.

I think part of the bias Homma Sensei expresses comes from his feeling that there should be a single "leader" in Iwama, as there was with Morihiro Shihan (see his article "A New Leader in Iwama" (http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_articles/new_leader_iwama/new_leader_iwama.html)). People who regularly visited Iwama during Morihiro's time would go back there, knowing that they'd be receiving a particular kind of training (what some call Iwama style, or "traditional" aikido).

With the Ibaraki branch dojo there's no clear leadership. Isoyama Sensei has kindly assumed the duties of caring for the shrine and dojo grounds, but often lacks the manpower. He doesn't teach every class, and there is noone who really brings the dojo together. If you go as uchideshi with Nemoto Sensei, you might perceive Nemoto as the leader -- if you go as uchideshi at the old dojo (the program runs intermittently), you might feel that Isoyama is the "leader" because he is present more often than other teachers. With classes from different teachers every night (if the teachers come to class) and even some commuter nights where students are picked up and driven to different dojos in the nearby towns of Ishioka, Tomobe, Kasama and even Tsuchiura, it's very difficult to visit for a week or two or even a couple months, and come out with a clear picture of something to strive for.

Homma Sensei seems to feel that Hitohiro is earnestly working to carry on the legacy of his father, teaching a strong set of basic skills that anyone who visits can perceive and train to develop.

Now, Homma Sensei's bias explained (or at least the way I see his bias), I don't necessarily agree with the message he's trying to portray in the original article. I'm sickened by it, but I think there's less substance to the incident than Homma Sensei sees. I don't think students were explicitly told not to converse with students from "the other side." I think it's more of a cultural misunderstanding. Foreigners training in Japan -- especially for a short time -- can spend way too much time reading into the motives of their teacher. I know, I did it too as a first time uchideshi. You watch your teacher for any slight indication of any kind of emotion and try to understand how your actions can show that you are a loyal and motivated deshi. I can see how, during Taisai, students from Tokyo might come into Iwama and act in a strange way. Their teachers' (back home or just in Tokyo) might, upon entering Iwama, be acting uncomfortably due to their feelings about the split or some other personal concern. I've heard some Hombu students waiting for the train after Taisai discussing how relieved they felt to be leaving town -- they're so stressed out! I think some people come to Iwama expecting conflict, and so they subconciously build the conflict up. So, in my opinion, the students Homma Sensei talks about, the ones who basically shunned him and his friends, were probably not told to act a certain way, but acted a certain way out of ignorance.

Seems like a wrote a lot without really saying very much. In total, I guess I just feel that Homma Sensei's concerns are quite valid on the worldwide aikido scene, but that they apply in Iwama only (or at least mostly) on the most stressful, aiki-tourist packed day of the year.

Hope that made sense.

Also, sorry for not responding during the entire conversation -- I'm unable to spend much time on the forums! :)

joey davis
04-25-2007, 03:58 AM
Recently Aiki Journal featured Gaku Homma's article "A Dangerous Message" for the first time on it's home page. The article highlighted certain unacceptable behavior from the Aikikai Ibaraki dojo. Only 3 responses there so far. There has been no response on this site except to say that the subject has already been discussed here last year.

A year on and no one else is upset by this behavior. Is there anything new to be said on the matter?

roman naly
04-25-2007, 04:09 AM
Have you got a link to it.

cheers roman

joey davis
04-25-2007, 04:11 AM
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_articles/06/dangerous_message/dangerous_message.html

Demetrio Cereijo
04-25-2007, 05:52 AM
Is there anything new to be said on the matter?

Maybe Mr. Goldsbury can give more info about this subject.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=152998&postcount=24

joey davis
04-25-2007, 06:00 AM
[QUOTE=Demetrio Cereijo;176524]Maybe Mr. Goldsbury can give more info about this subject.

old news, as mentioned, that does not get to the heart of the matter.

what is your opinion Demetrio?

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2007, 06:55 AM
[QUOTE=Demetrio Cereijo;176524]Maybe Mr. Goldsbury can give more info about this subject.

old news, as mentioned, that does not get to the heart of the matter.

what is your opinion Demetrio?

I am not Demetrio, but I will give my opinion. I really have no desire to be involved with this sort of 'aikido politics'. Mr Homma wrote an article and gave his opinion from his viewpoint, neither of which are shared by others in Iwama.

The IAF held a meeting in Paris last month and Hiroshi Isoyama Shihan took part. The meeting lasted for a week and I had many occasions to talk to Isoyama Shihan. Of course we discussed training in Iwama, both when Saito Morihiro Shihan was alive and now.

However, since the discussion last year apparently did not "get to the heart of the matter", I leave that to others who are closer to the heart of the matter than I am. If you look at the English version of the Aikikai Hombu website, you can see information about the Ibaragi Shibu Dojo and can access the Dojo's website, in English and Japanese. Both versions have an e-mail address for Shigemi Inagaki.

So I suggest that you guys put your money where your mouths are and contact the Ibaragi Dojo directly. Tell him about the Homma article and ask him for his opinion.

batemanb
04-25-2007, 06:58 AM
Peter posted as I was writing, deleted post :)

joey davis
04-25-2007, 07:29 AM
[QUOTE=Joey Davis;176525]

I am not Demetrio, but I will give my opinion. I really have no desire to be involved with this sort of 'aikido politics'.

who is mentioning "politics?" the point, which is being overlooked, is that if people doing aikido cannot be friendly to one another, even in the midst of differences of opinion, it is a disgrace and discredits many of the fundamentals regarding the promotion of peaceful interaction between people.

a previous post of yours mentions "I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007."

until now I have not seen any postings regarding this meeting and the situation in point. if they have appeared elsewhere could you please point me to them.

having given your opinion extensively in the past, could you shed some light on your above meeting in regards to these incidents?

thankyou
J.D.

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2007, 08:36 AM
Hello,

As I stated, I have no wish to be involved in this political issue: it is a political issue, even though you yourself did not call it such. However, I will briefly reply to your post. My replies are signalled PAG.

[QUOTE=Peter A Goldsbury;176526]

[QUOTE=Joey Davis;176530]who is mentioning "politics?" the point, which is being overlooked, is that if people doing aikido cannot be friendly to one another, even in the midst of differences of opinion, it is a disgrace and discredits many of the fundamentals regarding the promotion of peaceful interaction between people.
PAG. In the original article, the allegation was made that one group had been banned from making friendly greetings with the other. I thought that the original discussion of the article already suggested that there had been no such ban.

The Aikikai-Iwama split is usually taken as an example of aikido 'politics', even though you did not specifically use this term.

I myself share your opinion, as expressed above, provided that cultural norms are also respected. Are you aware of the Japanese distinction between tatemae and honne? The distinction is fundamental in Japanese culture and is in play here.

In Japan people with opinions that differ regarding fundamental issues simply do not communicate with one another and this is not regarded as being unfriendly. The issue of friendliness simply does not arise. Non-Japanese may be horrified about this, and non-Japanese deshi in Iwama might not understand the issues here, but it is the case and has to be accepted as an example of differing cultural values.

a previous post of yours mentions "I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007."
PAG. The relations between the Tokyo Hombu and the Iwama Dojo run by Hitohiro Sensei do not directly involve the IAF, so the issue was not raised directly. However it was discussed outside the formal meeting.

until now I have not seen any postings regarding this meeting and the situation in point. if they have appeared elsewhere could you please point me to them.
PAG. Try the IAF website.

having given your opinion extensively in the past, could you shed some light on your above meeting in regards to these incidents?
PAG. Ah, you have presented me with a dilemma. Having given my opinions extensively in the past about other issues, it would be inconsistent with my previous practice if I did not give my opinions about this issue. However, I will not do this here.

So I have a suggestion. If you wish to discuss this issue further, I suggest that you do so with Isoyama Shihan directly. If you PM me I will give you his e-mail address. He understands English, by the way.

Best wishes,

jennifer paige smith
04-25-2007, 08:47 AM
You didn't think we in the West were the ones that screwed things up did you? I used to feel guilty, feeling that we in the West were wrecking Aikido. I don't any more as it is eminently clear that the Japanese are quite capable of wrecking things own their own without any help at all from us.

Seriously, there are Japanese teachers who want nothing to do with this type of political behavior and there are those that purpetrate it. In the West we have those that buy into it and keep it going here and we have folks that don't. Our only hope is to simply not buy into it. I am good friends with a senior student of teachers who do not in any way get along with my own teacher. We simply decided that we didn't need to buy into conflicts which started back in the "old country".

I frankly don't know why anyone would be surprised at the described political events at the shrine. At the Aiki Expo, the very people who are now being excluded at the shrine were told by their teacher not to attend the classes offered by the other teachers... What goes around, comes around.

The students, especially the seniors, of one of the oldest and largest Aikido organizations in the United States are not allowed to train with people from outside their limited set of organizational affiliations. I periodically meet them at various seminars when they have "snuck out" to train with new teachers. They are always worried that Sensei X will find out. Not only does the Shihan in question enforce this but the other seniors bring heavy peer pressure on anyone who steps out of line by attending non- approved events.

I have a friend who is a student of a Japanese Shihan with whom he trained in Japan. He currently trains at a dojo here in the states. He wanted to bring his teacher over to do a seminar. One would not have thought that this would be a problem as the teacher in question had been a honbu dojo instructor for many years and is listed on the Aikikai website as one of their affiliated teachers. But the dojo in question received word from the Shihan that oversees them in the states that they were not to host the Shihan from Japan. So my friend had to set up the seminar on his own and any mistaken association with his home dojo was quickly disowned.

This is all complete crap as far as I am concerned. You have American Aikido practitioners of 6th dan and 7th dan who feel they have to restrict their training because some Japanese Shihan gets paranoid. This kind of carry over from feudal times is ridiculous and we need to start acting like the adults we are, not kids dependent on some adult figure for our survival. Obviously, we cannot change what the Japanese choose to do at home. But we do not have to buy into this here, period. We need to refuse to participate.

I train with anyone I feel has something to show me. Anyone from any organization, any student of any teacher, is welcome at my dojo, and, in fact, is welcome at virtually all the events our organization holds. For this type of thing to continue you have to have people who perpetuate it. Just stop. Just say no. Take your lumps from that Shihan who tells you not to train with so and so. The only ability these guys have to control things come from the fact that they can withdraw their support from individuals who cross them. If people collectively just said they didn't want to play any more, what do you think would happen? Can you see the Shihan disowning all of his seniors students? I don't think so... He'd learn to live with it. Maybe he'd find that his students still love him even if they see some other teachers. Maybe he might feel the need to innovate a little to keep his students instead of restricting access. Now, that's a concept...

I think that this is one aspect ofthe whole Japanese thing that we can simply REFUSE to participate in. If no one around the wrold payed any attention to these ridiculous political machinations, I suspect that not only would the leaders in Japan learn to live with it, but they would probably start to change themselves. We can be the incentive for them to do so if we choose.

I feel that there are levels at which we must refuse passively/actively and levels at which we need to speak loudly. To refuse simply is not always enough. There are those out there who have been politically banned and no one is saying anything. Some people go into their 'it isn't any of my business' routines, some others don't know segregation when it's under their noses, and some others still participate aggressively in the defemation of character who step out of line.
I've been involved in this garbage in my own training and as a consequence I'm sensitive to it(kind of like an allergy). I tend to speak up loudly when I notice this infraction of power, sometimes too loudly, because it is soooooo damaging.
I fee if we aren't courageous enough to speak up within our own communities we can't expect to have or to believe in aiko, the spirit of loving protection.
This is our training. Let's make it as powerful and as beautiful as our lifetimes will allow.

In Much Love to Everyone in Aikido,
jen

joey davis
04-25-2007, 08:47 AM
any idea why the thread regarding this year's Tai Sai has been moved to another thread related to last year's?

the issue is, will this year's Tai Sai be any different, has anything changed, what were the results of Goldsbury/Isoyama meetings in March 2007?

why is anything to do with Iwama always being reduced to political attacks on the hierachy, and why should cultural stigmatism be the explanation whenever people behave in non-peaceful ways?

J.D.

jennifer paige smith
04-25-2007, 09:02 AM
I don't know anything about any of the politics involved in this, but I wondered the same thing upon reading the article. On the one hand, it is hard to imagine what I would consider a decent excuse for being systematically rude to people of a particular organization or affiliation, even less instructing others to do so... even less still when one's art is supposed to be about 'harmony'. The experiences in the article seem to be evidence of this. On the other hand, why wouldn't Mr, Homma have gone to someone in charge and asked them directly what was going on and why? Even if the response was denial or evasion on the part of whomever he consulted, an account of that exchange would have made the article's case much more compelling.

I'm grateful to Sensei Homma for writing the article in the fashion that he did. It came at a very important point during a similar incident here in California. From a journalistic point of view, it was much more relevant to the population of aikidoka to have written an open and heartfelt article based on his senses and experience
than to have mired it into some aiki governmental complaint beaurocracy. As you see, given the variety of responses here, it may have taken him a very long time to validate his impressions through someone elses lense so that he could share his impressions. None of us who have gotten to hear him or even talk about this very alive subject.
We can all have room to speak, especially in America where that is our specialty, and we can disagree, and we can discourse.
Thank You to people who speak out.

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2007, 09:17 AM
I'm grateful to Sensei Homma for writing the article in the fashion that he did. It came at a very important point during a similar incident here in California. From a journalistic point of view, it was much more relevant to the population of aikidoka to have written an open and heartfelt article based on his senses and experience
than to have mired it into some aiki governmental complaint beaurocracy. As you see, given the variety of responses here, it may have taken him a very long time to validate his impressions through someone elses lense so that he could share his impressions. None of us who have gotten to hear him or even talk about this very alive subject.
We can all have room to speak, especially in America where that is our specialty, and we can disagree, and we can discourse.
Thank You to people who speak out.

Yes, but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I have no objection whatsoever to Mr Homma writing an article about bad relations between the two dojo in Iwama. However, I would like to ask why Homma Sensei did not speak directly to Isoyama Sensei about this issue. After all they were both uchi-deshi of O Sensei in Iwama.

miratim
04-25-2007, 04:39 PM
the issue is, will this year's Tai Sai be any different, has anything changed, what were the results of Goldsbury/Isoyama meetings in March 2007?


Hi Joey -

I'm not sure I understand your position here. You seem to be asserting that these meetings or discussions are somehow a matter of public record. Why would that be the case? I'm almost inferring that an obligation exists to publish answers to your questions, which confuses me.

Thanks for any clarification on this topic.

joey davis
04-25-2007, 08:50 PM
Tim,

there was much discussion about this, mostly that it was all coming from one side and about not hearing from the other side.

it was inferred that the results of a certain meeting would achieve that balance, if no one else who was present during that time could do so.

the meeting in question was more than a month ago. no results have been posted. any inference to obligation refers to the fact that there should be an obligation on all of us to talk about and actively resolve an issue as upsetting as this.

joey davis
04-25-2007, 11:07 PM
discussion is only part of the way to resolve an issue like this.

can anyone suggest any other, more active ways?

still waiting on Mr Isoyama's contact details so I can "put my money where my mouth is" and ask him myself.

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2007, 11:17 PM
Tim,

there was much discussion about this, mostly that it was all coming from one side and about not hearing from the other side.

it was inferred that the results of a certain meeting would achieve that balance, if no one else who was present during that time could do so.

the meeting in question was more than a month ago. no results have been posted. any inference to obligation refers to the fact that there should be an obligation on all of us to talk about and actively resolve an issue as upsetting as this.

I should clear up some possible misunderstanding. The Aikikai has never presented its opinion publicly on the Aikikai/Tohei split and has never presented its opinion publicly on the Aikikai/Iwama split. I understand that this was due to a deliberate decision. So there is no chance of hearing the other side of the story from the actual source. You might not like this, but there it is. And I am not going to break ranks here.

In Paris there were several hours of formal meetings following an agenda and I am now going through the Minutes of these meetings. When they are ready, they will appear on the IAF website. Discussions about Iwama did not take place during the formal meetings, but there were many hours of informal discussion about various topics outside the formal meetings.

Best wishes to all,

EDIT to Joey Davis.
Since it is not publicly available, I need to obtain Isoyama Shihan's permission before revealing his e-mail address to those he does not know. So I suggest you write to him at the e-mail address given on the Ibaragi Dojo website. You can find it on the English language site at aikikai.or.jp

jennifer paige smith
04-25-2007, 11:23 PM
Yes, but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I have no objection whatsoever to Mr Homma writing an article about bad relations between the two dojo in Iwama. However, I would like to ask why Homma Sensei did not speak directly to Isoyama Sensei about this issue. After all they were both uchi-deshi of O Sensei in Iwama.

I would encourage you to ask Homma Sensei.

joey davis
04-25-2007, 11:29 PM
thankyou so much for the info.

that has already aided the resolution of the problem!

it should stop anyone thinking the wrong thing about the old dojo's instructors, and therefore stop the problem compounding.

now all we have to do is figure out why the deshi of different associations can't remain friendly even in the midst of their differences.

what do you think would be of help in resolving tensions there in Iwama?

have a good day.

J.D.

jennifer paige smith
04-25-2007, 11:47 PM
discussion is only part of the way to resolve an issue like this.

can anyone suggest any other, more active ways?

still waiting on Mr Isoyama's contact details so I can "put my money where my mouth is" and ask him myself.

I think OPEN discussion is the way to resolve an issue like this.

Behind closed door conversations that create undisclosed policy create divisions because people are still "in action". That is, they are acting out the policies.

Perhaps, though, a way to be more active in this isssue is to look around at your immediate aikido community and see if you find traces of segregation, traces of prejudice, traces of feuds.There is a legacy of segregating behavior that has come down through the generations. If you find that there is evidence, even on a small level, follow up on it with your Sempai or Sensei. Voice your concerns.Maybe even use the example of Iwama as your basis.

One of the beauties of aikido being an international art is that it can benefit from a cultural diversity of approach. We don't necessarily do things the way the Japanese have or do and that can be a very good thing. Just as we benefit from the restraint perspectives of the East, the East benefits from the freedom perspectives of the West. We're all in it together. There's no bad guy here. Only learning, refining and recreating for the purpose of misogi (cleaning our own houses collectively and individually).

Aikido is medicine for a sick world. Lets get well together.

Edward
04-26-2007, 12:19 AM
This is kind of off topic, but just in response to the guys who believe Takemusu people are the innocent ones. I have previoulsy trained as a visitor at 3 Iwama style dojos, while Saito sensei was still alive. The 3 teachers I've met didn't know eachother, but they had one thing in common, hatred of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the name of the second doshu mentioned in a very demeaning way by the instructors. The funny thing was that my technique was much better than their own students, even though I came from the lowly aikikai who got all the techniques wrong under the influence of that ingrateful Kisshomaru Ueshiba. So it seems to me that Takemusu aikido was and still initially based on hatred towards aikikai rather than differences in teaching.

grondahl
04-26-2007, 01:35 AM
This is kind of off topic, but just in response to the guys who believe Takemusu people are the innocent ones. I have previoulsy trained as a visitor at 3 Iwama style dojos, while Saito sensei was still alive. The 3 teachers I've met didn't know eachother, but they had one thing in common, hatred of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the name of the second doshu mentioned in a very demeaning way by the instructors. The funny thing was that my technique was much better than their own students, even though I came from the lowly aikikai who got all the techniques wrong under the influence of that ingrateful Kisshomaru Ueshiba. So it seems to me that Takemusu aikido was and still initially based on hatred towards aikikai rather than differences in teaching.

Intresting, wich Takemusu associations would that be? Since both the Takemusu Aikido Acc in USA and the Takemusu Aikido Kyokai in europe is affiliated to Aikikai. And my impression is that also the "Iwama group" in CAA also maintains strong links to the Aikikai.

joey davis
04-26-2007, 06:06 AM
This is kind of off topic, but just in response to the guys who believe Takemusu people are the innocent ones. I have previoulsy trained as a visitor at 3 Iwama style dojos, while Saito sensei was still alive. The 3 teachers I've met didn't know eachother, but they had one thing in common, hatred of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the name of the second doshu mentioned in a very demeaning way by the instructors. The funny thing was that my technique was much better than their own students, even though I came from the lowly aikikai who got all the techniques wrong under the influence of that ingrateful Kisshomaru Ueshiba. So it seems to me that Takemusu aikido was and still initially based on hatred towards aikikai rather than differences in teaching.

it's this type of response that simply invites a student of the Iwama style to then put down an aikikai dojo or two in response.

not only is it off the topic, it goes against everything that this thread is trying to get to - that we, the current students NOW need to encourage the habit of being friendly to one another.

there is plenty to bitch about on both sides I'm sure, but will that help the matter?

is that where you want to spend your energy?

what's means more to you - getting your story off your chest or learning from it and making sure that you never do that to anyone yourself?

Peter Goldsbury
04-26-2007, 07:32 AM
I think OPEN discussion is the way to resolve an issue like this.

Behind closed door conversations that create undisclosed policy create divisions because people are still "in action". That is, they are acting out the policies.

Perhaps, though, a way to be more active in this isssue is to look around at your immediate aikido community and see if you find traces of segregation, traces of prejudice, traces of feuds.There is a legacy of segregating behavior that has come down through the generations. If you find that there is evidence, even on a small level, follow up on it with your Sempai or Sensei. Voice your concerns.Maybe even use the example of Iwama as your basis.

One of the beauties of aikido being an international art is that it can benefit from a cultural diversity of approach. We don't necessarily do things the way the Japanese have or do and that can be a very good thing. Just as we benefit from the restraint perspectives of the East, the East benefits from the freedom perspectives of the West. We're all in it together. There's no bad guy here. Only learning, refining and recreating for the purpose of misogi (cleaning our own houses collectively and individually).

Aikido is medicine for a sick world. Lets get well together.

Mr Homma wrote his article as an individual who was once a deshi and so his view is a personal view. I think that it is very unlikely that any shihan will appear in this discussion forum and give the 'other' viewpoint, even a personal viewpoint. Moreover, the reasons for this are not so easy to condemn.

So, while I, too, am in favour of open discussion, I think we need to be clear about the cultural dimensions here. I have had many 'open' discussions at the Aikikai Hombu, meaning that I have discussed matters that were once taboo (for example, the 'international' education of the present Doshu's son and the violence of a particular shihan in his own dojo ). These 'open' discussions were behind closed doors and involved only certain people, but the fact that they actually took place constitutes a minor revolution.

I think the 'open' discussion you have in mind is a discussion where anyone can participate, such as here on Aikiweb. Such discussions can be very illuminating in many ways, but I have my doubts whether such discussions would solve the 'problem' of Iwama. They might help the deshi who go to Iwama to be more friendly to those on the other side of the wall--and this is a good thing. But the roots of the problem are more complex and lie elsewhere.

I think that what you have in mind is a typical 'win-win' situation, where everybody leaves the 'negotiaton encounter' feeling good about what has happened. You might think that this is so obviously desirable as to be beyond question. I disagree.

Earlier this evening, I had my seminar on 'Cross-cultural Negotiation'. I have seven students in my seminar: five Japanese and two Chinese. The text I am using is the latest edition of Negotiation, by Roy Lewicki & others. Lewicki uses the 'win-win' model, but all the students took issue with this negotiation model: it was too western, too 'American'. The Chinese students argued that negotiation was actually a form of warfare and all students agreed that honesty and openness were not necessarily conducive to successful negotiation. I was surprised, both at the strength of the opinions offered and at the unanimity.

Iwama is an issue involving Japanese. Of course, it also involves non-Japanese, since there are many generations of non-Japanese deshi who have trained in Iwama and these senior shihans are also actually part of the problem. That is, there is a historical dimension, formed when Morihiro Saito Shihan was still alive. But, given the vertical structure of aikido, the owners of the dojo and main opinion formers are Japanese and the problem will eventually be solved, if it is solved at all, by the Japanese themselves, sitting down together and working out some kind of solution.

Gaiatsu (outside pressure), however, has always been a potent force for change in Japan and there is no reason to doubt that it will be effective in aikido. The occasion of 'scandal' to pious believers has always been a potent source of change in the Catholic Church. So, I would think that several thousand letters,

1) addressed to the present Doshu, and with copies sent to Hiroshi Isoyama and Hitohiro Saito,
(2) expressing outrage at the scandal given to the aikido world by the existence of TWO separate dojos in Iwama--the place where O Sensei lived for much of his life and where there the Aiki shrine is located, which appear to have no amicable relations with one another,

might have some effect.

The point is that the lack of amicable relations between the two dojos is most obvious and is also the source of scandal. There would be no need to mention the deeper issues involved.

Best wishes,

Edward
04-26-2007, 08:32 AM
Intresting, wich Takemusu associations would that be? Since both the Takemusu Aikido Acc in USA and the Takemusu Aikido Kyokai in europe is affiliated to Aikikai. And my impression is that also the "Iwama group" in CAA also maintains strong links to the Aikikai.

Well, there is no need to point fingers but I can tell you the said dojos are located on 3 different continents. My (previous) sensei's reaction when I told him was that Takemusu was part of the aikikai and he was very surprised at this kind of disrespect to the son of the founder.

Edward
04-26-2007, 08:39 AM
Of course I was aware this was off topic as I clearly mentioned in my post. I do not take these incidents too personally and I do not need to get them off my chest. I have enjoyed the training, and couldn't care less if the instructors believed that K. Ueshiba was a jerk or not, and if Saito sensei had the real technique of Osensei or not. The point is during a period of my life I took aikido very seriously, and was trying to train at any dojo of any style at any country I travelled to. The above incidents are the only instances where my affiliation and not my aikido abilities were criticized. Just to show you that this "allergy" is not very recent.

it's this type of response that simply invites a student of the Iwama style to then put down an aikikai dojo or two in response.

not only is it off the topic, it goes against everything that this thread is trying to get to - that we, the current students NOW need to encourage the habit of being friendly to one another.

there is plenty to bitch about on both sides I'm sure, but will that help the matter?

is that where you want to spend your energy?

what's means more to you - getting your story off your chest or learning from it and making sure that you never do that to anyone yourself?

joey davis
04-26-2007, 09:52 AM
any idea why the thread regarding this year's Tai Sai has been moved to another thread related to last year's?

why is anything to do with Iwama always being reduced to political attacks on the hierachy, and why should cultural stigmatism be the explanation whenever people behave in non-peaceful ways?


still ready for any replies on this . . . .

Demetrio Cereijo
04-26-2007, 02:37 PM
old news, as mentioned, that does not get to the heart of the matter.

what is your opinion Demetrio?

People who puts more weight on image (affiliation, lineage, political issues, agendas, personal stories, fiefdoms, power struggles, public recognition, cultish behavior and the like) than on performance saddens me.

There's lots of the first kind of people in the Aikido world. I try not to became one of them. That and the fact that i don't have all the info about the causes and circunstances related to the issue at hand(like Mr. Goldsbury said: " ... the roots of the problem are more complex and lie elsewhere.") makes me keep my opinion to myself.

joey davis
04-28-2007, 10:21 PM
happy Tai Sai day to everyone.

any good news relating to this year's event would be welcomed.

J.D.

Carl Thompson
05-06-2007, 06:18 PM
I had a fantastic time and met some amazing people.

:)

Janet Rosen
05-06-2007, 09:57 PM
I think that what you have in mind is a typical 'win-win' situation, where everybody leaves the 'negotiaton encounter' feeling good about what has happened. You might think that this is so obviously desirable as to be beyond question. I disagree.

Earlier this evening, I had my seminar on 'Cross-cultural Negotiation'. I have seven students in my seminar: five Japanese and two Chinese. The text I am using is the latest edition of Negotiation, by Roy Lewicki & others. Lewicki uses the 'win-win' model, but all the students took issue with this negotiation model: it was too western, too 'American'. The Chinese students argued that negotiation was actually a form of warfare and all students agreed that honesty and openness were not necessarily conducive to successful negotiation. I was surprised, both at the strength of the opinions offered and at the unanimity.,

Peter, many thanks for including this, it is indeed fascinating and a revelation ... and something we'd hope folks in Foreign Service, multinational business, etc are aware of...doh!

jennifer paige smith
05-08-2007, 09:43 AM
[QUOTE=Joey Davis;176525]

I am not Demetrio, but I will give my opinion. I really have no desire to be involved with this sort of 'aikido politics'. Mr Homma wrote an article and gave his opinion from his viewpoint, neither of which are shared by others in Iwama.

The IAF held a meeting in Paris last month and Hiroshi Isoyama Shihan took part. The meeting lasted for a week and I had many occasions to talk to Isoyama Shihan. Of course we discussed training in Iwama, both when Saito Morihiro Shihan was alive and now.

However, since the discussion last year apparently did not "get to the heart of the matter", I leave that to others who are closer to the heart of the matter than I am. If you look at the English version of the Aikikai Hombu website, you can see information about the Ibaragi Shibu Dojo and can access the Dojo's website, in English and Japanese. Both versions have an e-mail address for Shigemi Inagaki.

So I suggest that you guys put your money where your mouths are and contact the Ibaragi Dojo directly. Tell him about the Homma article and ask him for his opinion.

I agree that it is important and fruitful for people with interest and operarating opinions to get more information about this subject. I believe that the population of aikido should recommend and voice their views based on their feelings and perceptions. Right or Wrong, as it were, our voices and will are connected and information is enlightening.

O'Sensei let us know,
"Aikido is a way to create the world as one family."
it is up to us as to whether that will be a functional or a disfunctional family.

Truly and in Respect,
jennifer paige smith

Carlos Rivera
05-19-2007, 12:40 PM
thankyou so much for the info.

now all we have to do is figure out why the deshi of different associations can't remain friendly even in the midst of their differences.

what do you think would be of help in resolving tensions there in Iwama?

have a good day.

J.D.

I went to Iwama in October of last year for the first time and coincided with Bryan as uchideshi to Saito Hitohiro Sensei. I guess by the time he returned (it was his third trip) the "issue" had blown over.

I started my Aikido training under Homma Sensei, and currently train in an Iwama Ryu dojo in VA. I occasionally fly back to Denver for business and train at Nippon Kan. I have also trained in seminars with aikidoka from other styles or associations. Regardless of styles or influences, I have never had a problem talking to or training with anyone.

Iwama is not a big town, and uchideshi from both the Shin Shin Shurenkan (Saito Sensei's) and the Ibaraki Shibu Dojo (Isoyama, Inagaki Sensei's) ran into each other at the coin laundry, the Hot Spar (like a 7-11 where all uchideshi tend to stop when running errands) and just riding the bikes around town. The Ibaraki Dojo is in Yoshioka Nijuroku, or Yoshioka 26 so it is next door to Saito Sensei's house. Invariably we all saw each other quite often, since Saito Sensei's uchideshi stay at a building in the premises of his house. We talked, said hello to each other and communicated without any issues. None of us had any problems and to be quite honest, the experience was so good that I can't wait to go back.

One day while Bryan, Denis (the Frenchman), Anker (the Dane) and I were branding our jos and kens with the Shurenkan brand, while Saito Sensei gave us instructions on how to do it. Lo and behold, one of the Senseis from the Ibaraki dojo stopped over, and chatted with Saito Sensei briefly. He then jokingly asked us if we were barbequing our jos. We all cracked up laughing. Is that enmity?

Besides the excellent training, this was one of the best lessons in human relations I have had. It is typical for people to create a "hurricane inside a teacup" by sometimes assuming there is no communication, when in fact all it takes is honest and good natured talk. I encourage all those who have assumed there is a problem to go there and train at either dojo and experience the whole thing first hand.
:circle: :square: :triangle:

Carl Thompson
05-23-2007, 07:26 PM
Thanks for that post Carlos,

I wholeheartedly concur with your description of the situation. I look forward to bumping into you at the Spar when you come back.

Carl

jennifer paige smith
05-23-2007, 08:20 PM
Mr Homma wrote his article as an individual who was once a deshi and so his view is a personal view. I think that it is very unlikely that any shihan will appear in this discussion forum and give the 'other' viewpoint, even a personal viewpoint. Moreover, the reasons for this are not so easy to condemn.

So, while I, too, am in favour of open discussion, I think we need to be clear about the cultural dimensions here. I have had many 'open' discussions at the Aikikai Hombu, meaning that I have discussed matters that were once taboo (for example, the 'international' education of the present Doshu's son and the violence of a particular shihan in his own dojo ). These 'open' discussions were behind closed doors and involved only certain people, but the fact that they actually took place constitutes a minor revolution.

I think the 'open' discussion you have in mind is a discussion where anyone can participate, such as here on Aikiweb. Such discussions can be very illuminating in many ways, but I have my doubts whether such discussions would solve the 'problem' of Iwama. They might help the deshi who go to Iwama to be more friendly to those on the other side of the wall--and this is a good thing. But the roots of the problem are more complex and lie elsewhere.

I think that what you have in mind is a typical 'win-win' situation, where everybody leaves the 'negotiaton encounter' feeling good about what has happened. You might think that this is so obviously desirable as to be beyond question. I disagree.

Earlier this evening, I had my seminar on 'Cross-cultural Negotiation'. I have seven students in my seminar: five Japanese and two Chinese. The text I am using is the latest edition of Negotiation, by Roy Lewicki & others. Lewicki uses the 'win-win' model, but all the students took issue with this negotiation model: it was too western, too 'American'. The Chinese students argued that negotiation was actually a form of warfare and all students agreed that honesty and openness were not necessarily conducive to successful negotiation. I was surprised, both at the strength of the opinions offered and at the unanimity.

Iwama is an issue involving Japanese. Of course, it also involves non-Japanese, since there are many generations of non-Japanese deshi who have trained in Iwama and these senior shihans are also actually part of the problem. That is, there is a historical dimension, formed when Morihiro Saito Shihan was still alive. But, given the vertical structure of aikido, the owners of the dojo and main opinion formers are Japanese and the problem will eventually be solved, if it is solved at all, by the Japanese themselves, sitting down together and working out some kind of solution.

Gaiatsu (outside pressure), however, has always been a potent force for change in Japan and there is no reason to doubt that it will be effective in aikido. The occasion of 'scandal' to pious believers has always been a potent source of change in the Catholic Church. So, I would think that several thousand letters,

1) addressed to the present Doshu, and with copies sent to Hiroshi Isoyama and Hitohiro Saito,
(2) expressing outrage at the scandal given to the aikido world by the existence of TWO separate dojos in Iwama--the place where O Sensei lived for much of his life and where there the Aiki shrine is located, which appear to have no amicable relations with one another,

might have some effect.

The point is that the lack of amicable relations between the two dojos is most obvious and is also the source of scandal. There would be no need to mention the deeper issues involved.

Best wishes,
Thank You. I understand. So, thank you. I was indeed pressing two cultures together and addressing issues in different nations all at once. So I can see how you took my points.
I am aware of many of the cultural differences and intricacies to which you speak.

I don't expect that a Japanese model of resolution look like an American or Western solution. Let me be clear about that. I am suggesting that we do not need to run our dojo that way or in that model and that is where the confusion of my post lies. I believe.
I also believe that it is a disgrace to have two dojo in any town that cannot put their heirarchies or politics to rest to operate in the name of Aikido. I am aware of that situation occuring in the United States often, and it has been the case in my life for 2 years since I opened my dojo.I believe the nitty gritty of my particulart conflict ( or Iwama) does not need to be shared, but amicability between dojos is a must.

I know that you are actively involved in bringing and maintaining respectabiity to Aikido organizations. I sincerely appreciate that and I appreciate the skill that is required in straddling two cultures ( at least two, to your credit).

I get the jist of the parable of your Chinese class and 'win-win' resolution models.I work with Latin Women who also have a very different way of looking at conflict ; I don't neccessarily believe in win-win.

I don't think that we should all, including shihan, bang this out on aikiweb together. I simply meant that if you weren't asking a rhetorical question that you might ask Homma Sensei since he was being public but speaking in a personal voice. It appeared to me that you have the means to do so. I believed that Homma Sensei might address you privately. Not here.

I advocate for openness in context. I know that complicit silence and rhetorical questions are dangerous when combined in our society. This is the society where I operate so please accept that in this case I mean here.

As for the letters. I couldn't agree with you more about sending our views to Hombu and the change that may inspire. I also think we can do more to speak up here in the states about our dojo domestically.

Anyways. I'm sure I missed something.Thank you for your thoughtful response. Please accept the respectful regard which I intended.

Thank you.

Mike Grant
05-24-2007, 04:49 AM
This is kind of off topic, but just in response to the guys who believe Takemusu people are the innocent ones. I have previoulsy trained as a visitor at 3 Iwama style dojos, while Saito sensei was still alive. The 3 teachers I've met didn't know eachother, but they had one thing in common, hatred of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the name of the second doshu mentioned in a very demeaning way by the instructors. The funny thing was that my technique was much better than their own students, even though I came from the lowly aikikai who got all the techniques wrong under the influence of that ingrateful Kisshomaru Ueshiba. So it seems to me that Takemusu aikido was and still initially based on hatred towards aikikai rather than differences in teaching.

What incredible modesty! Did you not think to offer these unfortunate people a few tips on where they were going wrong?

Peter Goldsbury
05-24-2007, 07:52 AM
Hello,

Many thanks for your post. I have a few thoughts in response.

I don't expect that a Japanese model of resolution look like an American or Western solution. Let me be clear about that. I am suggesting that we do not need to run our dojo that way or in that model and that is where the confusion of my post lies. I believe.
I also believe that it is a disgrace to have two dojo in any town that cannot put their heirarchies or politics to rest to operate in the name of Aikido. I am aware of that situation occuring in the United States often, and it has been the case in my life for 2 years since I opened my dojo.I believe the nitty gritty of my particulart conflict ( or Iwama) does not need to be shared, but amicability between dojos is a must.
The above model of conflict resolution is not common here and I think that this is due to the vertically structured nature of training relationshps and general pedogogical relationships here. I think this is really a frame, in Bateson's or Goffman's sense of the term, that precedes and guides perceptions of conflict. If you seek enlightenment from a Master here (following the SHU-HA-RI model), it would be seen as foolish, and possibly offensive, to seek enlightenment from any other source. So there would be no point in even acknowledging the other dojo's existence.

I don't think that we should all, including shihan, bang this out on aikiweb together. I simply meant that if you weren't asking a rhetorical question that you might ask Homma Sensei since he was being public but speaking in a personal voice. It appeared to me that you have the means to do so. I believed that Homma Sensei might address you privately. Not here.
I see no point in my asking Mr Homma in private, if his answer is not made public here. Actually, I think it would be inappropriate for me to contact Mr Homma privately, as a result of a question raised on a public website about an article he had written. I am not in such a position.
My question was indeed partly rhetorical, as was the question he himself raised in his article (what was the reason for the perceived gag on communications between the deshi of the two dojo).

I advocate for openness in context. I know that complicit silence and rhetorical questions are dangerous when combined in our society. This is the society where I operate so please accept that in this case I mean here.

Point accepted, with the proviso that your society is not Japan, where Iwama is located, and that foreign deshi are not thought of as being an essential part of the dojo social structure. Sorry to sound harsh, but this the case.

Best wishes,

jennifer paige smith
05-24-2007, 11:31 AM
Hello,

Many thanks for your post. I have a few thoughts in response.

The above model of conflict resolution is not common here and I think that this is due to the vertically structured nature of training relationshps and general pedogogical relationships here. I think this is really a frame, in Bateson's or Goffman's sense of the term, that precedes and guides perceptions of conflict. If you seek enlightenment from a Master here (following the SHU-HA-RI model), it would be seen as foolish, and possibly offensive, to seek enlightenment from any other source. So there would be no point in even acknowledging the other dojo's existence.

I see no point in my asking Mr Homma in private, if his answer is not made public here. Actually, I think it would be inappropriate for me to contact Mr Homma privately, as a result of a question raised on a public website about an article he had written. I am not in such a position.
My question was indeed partly rhetorical, as was the question he himself raised in his article (what was the reason for the perceived gag on communications between the deshi of the two dojo).

Point accepted, with the proviso that your society is not Japan, where Iwama is located, and that foreign deshi are not thought of as being an essential part of the dojo social structure. Sorry to sound harsh, but this the case.

Best wishes,
Hello to you also, Sir,

You don't sound harsh. Sounds to me like were on the same page. I am aware and have experienced the culture anomoly that you are describing. So, I don't fool myself about my place in that operation. I choose to operate differently in this country (america) and that is that exactly what I'm saying.

You previously made it clear that you didn't feel it would be appropriate to contact Homma Sensei privately and I accept your discernment.

For some of us, me in the first, the light is on and I wouldn't be seeking that type of relationship (shu ha ri) with an individual or a dojo, although I am aware that some dojo demand this relationship.

As an American, I would like to point out that a very large number of aikidoka are not Japanese in the slightest and the Aikikai is an International organization being supported by people of many cultures and customs. So that they don't see us as a part of the larger over all dojo body ( in the Aikikai as well as the older dojo ,in my viewpoint) can be an intolerable gap bridging on racist and certainly sexist . The Japanese don't tend to bend on this stuff. It may be too large a cultural gap at some point to expect us all to become japanese, and not to be met somewhere around the equator. Very un -Japanese, I realize.

Thanks for your great posts and your thoughtful points and counter-points. I learn from you. Thanks for hearing my thoughts and responding with yours.

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita