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lightawake
10-22-2007, 06:10 PM
hi there

im just after some current information regarding aikido practice and was wondering if anyone her can help me out? its information that i would like to include as part of a demonstration - and if i can throw a few fat facts in there i think it would make it sound better :)

1. approx how many regular aikidoka are there in the world? i understand that france has the most at around 45000??

2. i have heard that aikido continues to be taught to the riot plice in japan as effective self defence - is this still true? are there any other major institutions in the world that incorporate aikido in their self defence training currently?

id very much appreciate any information, or even estimates for my own information - also if there are any other current facts that would impress a lay audience, i would be interested in them too.
thank you in advance!

George S. Ledyard
10-23-2007, 08:44 AM
hi there

im just after some current information regarding aikido practice and was wondering if anyone her can help me out? its information that i would like to include as part of a demonstration - and if i can throw a few fat facts in there i think it would make it sound better :)

1. approx how many regular aikidoka are there in the world? i understand that france has the most at around 45000??

2. i have heard that aikido continues to be taught to the riot plice in japan as effective self defence - is this still true? are there any other major institutions in the world that incorporate aikido in their self defence training currently?

id very much appreciate any information, or even estimates for my own information - also if there are any other current facts that would impress a lay audience, i would be interested in them too.
thank you in advance!

Last I heard, it was around one million world wide. France was number one but I don't ever recall a number with that... The US was number two with somewhere around thity to forty thousand. These are only rough estimates I got from Stan Pranin. I don't think anyone really knows. Whatever the number, I do not think it is growing any more...

The Tokyo riot police still do an Aikido intensive training I believe. Not because they are expected to use Aikido but to toughen them up and get them in shape. The Tokyo women police officers also do Aikido as far as I know. In the case of police officers you see Aikido, not as "effective self defense" but rather as a way to restrain subjects who are non-compliant.

Ron Tisdale
10-23-2007, 08:52 AM
Yoshinkan aikido does still do the course for the riot police in Tokyo, and I think George has it correct that it is more about Yamato Damashii (Japanese Spirit) than effective self defense on the job. There is also the Senshusei course, that is taught along side the riot police course, which is a foriegn instructors course. More info on both should be on the hombu dojo website. Just use google to search on yoshinkan hombu, and you should find the web page.

Oh, I forgot....no, I'm not an expert... :D

Best,
Ron

Steven
10-23-2007, 09:31 AM
www.yoshinkan.net/indexE.html

** still under constructions but is a start **

crbateman
10-23-2007, 01:26 PM
Let me suggest a humorous and thought-provoking read: Angry White Pyjamas (Robert Twigger)

Here (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=129&cat=37&sort=7&date=1074814423) is a link to reviews on this site.

Aristeia
10-24-2007, 12:06 AM
L Whatever the number, I do not think it is growing any more...

t.Interesting. What do you attribute that to George? Any thoughts on what can be done about it?

lightawake
10-24-2007, 07:46 AM
dear everyone,
thank you for your friendly and prompt replies - i was so delighted when i logged on today to find all your posts here!
steven, i checked out the yoshinkan link and favourited it for future reference, and cr, thanks for the book link - ill think about it for later :)
thanks for confirming about police training george &ron...okay ill say they do it as part of mind and body training for dealing with non-compliant subjects...or something that sounds more eloquant.
hmm,maybe ill leave out the stats if its uncertain...i guess if i think about it, it`s not really surprising as people always seem to be coming and going/migrating at the various dojos ive trained at, no matter how long they have been training - i guess that is the nature of an art which is primarily for self-betterment.

just want to say this is my first post here i think, and i found it quite amusing that my name came squarely up on screen above my username - but on the draft screen that im currently on, only the username is visible - lol. oh well, hello, i guess :) and thanks again everyone who has replied so far!

George S. Ledyard
10-31-2007, 06:14 PM
Interesting. What do you attribute that to George? Any thoughts on what can be done about it?

It's the times... the "hot" thing is mixed martial arts. That's what everyone sees on prime time cable. You can watch the UFC fights, reality tv shows about folks wanting to be in the UFC, etc.

From talking to people, there seem to be fewer people wishing to do traditional martial arts. This isn't so hard on the folks that teach classical styles since they never allowed very many students in the first place. They've had to find ways to have their dojos without a substantial student base to support the affair. But many Aikido dojos are large and have expensive rents to cover, even if their teachers aren't professionals. So it is very hard on folks like that.

Things go in cycles... I think that Aikido will make a comeback as long as there are teachers who try to keep a traditional approach with an emphasis on the spiritual side of the art. If folks try to devolve the art into just another self / defense fighting style, no one will care and it will keep declining.

In the end I think that the folks who are only interested in the martial aspect of the art will suffer the most. The folks interested in that will continue to move towards mixed martial arts. Whereas the folks who can offer some sort of deeper philosophical / spiritual connection in the training will be fine. There are all sorts of folks who have no interest whatever in doing something like mixed martial arts to whom Aikido will appeal.

I just don't want Aikido to become a dumping ground for a bunch of folks who are only interested in the philosophy and don't have any understanding or desire to do Budo.

nemier
11-01-2007, 03:40 PM
George,
I honestly do not see that happening...
I believe the desire to do Budo is alive and well.

George S. Ledyard
11-01-2007, 08:23 PM
George,
I honestly do not see that happening...
I believe the desire to do Budo is alive and well.

How much do you get out and around? I travel all over the US and Canada and I see dojos struggling...

I was talking to one Shihan Instructor at camp who travels all over the US and Europe and he said the same thing.

Unless you decide to include BJJ or mixed martial arts in the category of Budo, then I do not see growth in this area. Where you do see people who want to train, you don't see the level of commitment there was back in the 60's and 70's when the current generation of top teachers started training. People are more interested in having families, decent jobs, etc.

As I said, the Koryu are ok since they never accepted many students anyway. There are enough serious folks that the transmission will take place to another generation. But I don't know if that will be true in Aikido.

Just ask yourself: Who are the top students of the Japanese Shihan teachers in the US? Then look at their top students... Do any of the top level American teachers have any students who will be as good as they are? I have several who could be but I do not know if they will train hard enough and frequently enough to make it...

Of the people I know who run dojos, almost none have any students I think will meet or exceed the teacher's level. This is partly due to issues of transmission methodology (discussed elsewhere on the forums) but also due simply to lack of really "wanting" it.

There has been speculation that the actual number of really committed students has stayed the same over the years but with the rapid growth of the art their percentage of the whole has declined... But even at the senior levels, I see many folks whose technique hasn't changed one iota in decades. These folks aren't really trying to progress any more and are contented with dispensing knowledge acquired years ago in hard practice to their students. That isn't Budo. Budo is the "search" as a way of life. The desire for mastery is unquenchable if unattainable.

If seniors model that lack of serious commitment, what can you expect of the students coming along behind? These are their role models...

I am not saying that there aren't great students and great teachers out there... but overall I am not optimistic.