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Joseph Madden
12-20-2007, 07:36 PM
Why do some sensei have a reputation for being the best? Why do some students travel the wide world over seeking out certain teachers for that summer training seminar? Why are these students seemingly wasting their time when they only get to train with their "heroes" for mere moments? Why this cult of personality? Am I missing something? Kimeda Sensei is my teacher. He will always be my teacher. I've had the opportunity to be taught for a limited period by some the "best" but I've never felt the need to leave my dojo. For some it may be that they need to expand their experiences outside their home port. For others, I think there may be a little fanaticism (aikidoka Deadheads anyone). What do you think? Are there teachers who have the gift and the others are merely pretenders to the throne? Is there an aura of invincibility that guides students like moths to the flame (like blue hairs to Elvis)?

Kevin Leavitt
12-20-2007, 07:48 PM
I really wouldn't know the answer to this question.

I think everyone is on their own path and must find there own way. Each person has a different way of exploring and experiences things.

I have had the pleasure and fortune to study with many people from many arts, perspectives, and walks of life. I can tell you that I have never walked away from a situation or meeting feeling that I had not been enriched from the experience.

Joseph Madden
12-20-2007, 08:06 PM
It may be a question of ego. We've been taught that ascending the ego is one of the central conceits of budo. We must move past the ego in order to be fully enlightened. There lies the way. And yet for some it seems that ego seems to be what their after. They may appear to be lacking an ego or seem humble, but I get the sense that they want a little of that magic to rub off on them. That sensei mojo. So they can develop that aura of invincibility and have their own cult of personality. I know what I want and need from aikido. This is an egotistical remark. I (we) should merely be happy to have aikido in my (our) lives. When we should be moving away from ego, it appears we are wrapped up in it. Perhaps in a few years (decades) I will have less of an ego. Perhaps it took the masters that long to "get" it. Maybe O-Sensei saw Takeda and went "That's what I want". And Kancho saw O-Sensei and said the same thing.
I would like to believe that it is about moving to a higher plane.

Randy Sexton
12-20-2007, 10:10 PM
We as human beings often seek for someone to show us the way and we are given directions from many teachers. However, at some point in our lives we begin to realize that we can innately sense the way to go when we breath in the fresh air and feel the sun upon our face. Train in the martial arts and learn your way and learn from the humble wise who have travelled the road before you. Your heart will guide you. Remember to be kind to those who need to seek the Masters for ego rather than for simple directions.

crbateman
12-20-2007, 10:11 PM
IMHO, I think every Sensei deserves a look-see. Beyond that, I try not to have preconceived notions and expectations, although that is sometimes difficult. I'd rather just let it all sink in and then use what I can. Strangely, I rarely know what I am looking for, but usually know when I've found it...

Roman Kremianski
12-20-2007, 10:23 PM
In my personal opinion, no one is ever going to be "fully enlightened", and traveling the world for the sake of reaching enlightenment seems ironically shallow.

Kevin Leavitt
12-20-2007, 10:58 PM
If you know what you want and what you need, and you should be moving away from ego.....

Then why spend time here on aikiweb?

Isn't this looking "outside" the box? seeking answers? asking questions? looking for something that you don't have? loneliness?
connecting with others? telling others your thoughts, opinions?

doesn't that "hunger" come from the ego. Doesn't posting here "feed" the ego?

How do you separate yourself from your ego?

Why is it important to do this?

What happens when we are "egoless"?

is that possible?

what is the "higher plane"?

Is it a better place than "here" and "now"?

I have many more questions than answers for sure!

look at my quote at the bottom. I keep it there to remind myself about what is important about ego!

Carl Thompson
12-20-2007, 11:14 PM
Why do some sensei have a reputation for being the best?

It depends on the sensei. They could be talented charlatans or they could be modest Aiki-wizards. If you really want to find out, the best way to do so is to actually train with them.

Why do some students travel the wide world over seeking out certain teachers for that summer training seminar?

It depends on the students, but finding the answer to your first question is one possible reason. Having actually found the answer is another.

Why are these students seemingly wasting their time when they only get to train with their "heroes" for mere moments? Why this cult of personality? Am I missing something?

Which students? For that matter which sensei have this "cult of personality"? There are many sensei people travel long distances to train with. Only a few months ago, I imagine a reasonable number of people travelled to see Robert Mustard Sensei in my native UK for example. It sounds like you're missing training with other sensei and students because your current sensei is enough for you. This is a very good situation for you, since it saves you the bother of having to travel. Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but if you are really bothered by other people travelling to inform their training, I suggest you ask your own sensei (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=172046#post172046)why they should do it.

Dont miss this seminar - no matter what style of aikido you do. Robert Mustard is one of the best!

Spike

Best regards

Carl

xuzen
12-21-2007, 12:38 AM
Why do some sensei have a reputation for being the best? Why do some students travel the wide world over seeking out certain teachers for that summer training seminar? Why are these students seemingly wasting their time when they only get to train with their "heroes" for mere moments? Why this cult of personality? Am I missing something? Kimeda Sensei is my teacher. He will always be my teacher. I've had the opportunity to be taught for a limited period by some the "best" but I've never felt the need to leave my dojo. For some it may be that they need to expand their experiences outside their home port. For others, I think there may be a little fanaticism (aikidoka Deadheads anyone). What do you think? Are there teachers who have the gift and the others are merely pretenders to the throne? Is there an aura of invincibility that guides students like moths to the flame (like blue hairs to Elvis)?

It would be luverly to have some sort Michelin Star Guide in the aikido who's who.

One Star - Interesting

Two Stars - Worth a detour

Three Stars - Worth a trip.

Boon.

SeiserL
12-21-2007, 05:03 AM
Yes, I am sure for some this could be "aura" and "cult". It could the "cult aura of the Sensei" that gets people to stay isolated too.

My Sensei (Dang Thong Phong of Tenshinkai) did seminars at other schools, invited people in, and encouraged us to train. He certainly doesn't have anything to hide and I certainly do feel there was anything missing in my training.

Yes, I go out of my way to train with people I believe can show me how to make my Aikido better. I have met some really good people along the way too.

Perhaps it is the practitioner, not the teacher, one should look at. Perhaps it is fear that motivates some to stay isolated at home never having anything to compare their training and instruction to. Perhaps it is courage, security, and a true desire to improve that motivates others to travel. Perhaps we all have our own reasons.

(I tend to find it interesting that we, in general, interpret negative intent and qualities into anyone who thinks and lives differently than we do. Just an observation.)

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-21-2007, 06:56 AM
Here's a list of people who I have trained with. Don't know if you guys know them or have trained with them or if they are famous in the aikido world.

My Sensei- Fred Little

Meik Skoss Sensei-Probably the most dangerous guy Ive seen with a sword

Ken Nisson Sensei-Taught me the unbendable arm and how to be relaxed and soft

Paul Kang Sensei -From Bond Street Dojo

Chris Jordan Sensei-From Bond Street Dojo

Jim Sorrentino Sensei- awesome teacher, he let me test full strength on him. His forearms are as hard like tree trunks.

Mary Heiny Sensei- While sitting in a chair she had two very large guys grab her and then she made them tap out by a flick of a wrist. Enough said. Once you grab her you definitely feel the power of aikido.

I havent worked with Ellis Amdur but I want to.

It would be nice to see a an aikido tree to trace back teachers to the original students of O-Sensei. But that would take forever.

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 07:14 AM
We seemingly as martial artists like to believe that none of this is about ego or that we are moving away from ego when in actuality it all seems to be about ego. For the ego. By the ego. As Kevin mentioned , why post anything? why write anything? I can appreciate the excellent qualities of some of the higher ranking sensei and enjoy training with them. I don't think the martial arts are as "honest" and "humble" as we believe them to be. That's a bit of a disappointment to me. Not that I'll stop training.

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 07:16 AM
In my personal opinion, no one is ever going to be "fully enlightened", and traveling the world for the sake of reaching enlightenment seems ironically shallow.

I agree with you Roman, although I think some students may actually be trying to better themselves on a metaphysical level than merely physical.

Kevin Leavitt
12-21-2007, 07:16 AM
We actually bring instructors in from other dojos, both with in our Dojo and from the outside. Some in related arts, but not even aikido.

I think it is good to look at things from a different perspective.

Inbreeding can be a bad thing.

I think that this is a big problem within aikido to be honest, given the way we train. The way we practice the art allows for affects and is hard to force reasonable accountability.

Again, each person and organization must figure out what the "middle road" should be.

James Davis
12-21-2007, 09:48 AM
Mary Heiny Sensei- While sitting in a chair she had two very large guys grab her and then she made them tap out by a flick of a wrist. Enough said. Once you grab her you definitely feel the power of aikido.

I havent worked with Ellis Amdur but I want to.



Mary Heiny is awesome. I got to study with her in Miami a few years ago. She did this funny "Oh, woe is me" swoon movement and tossed a huge guy on his butt. My sensei and I got to talk with her at dinner afterwards, and she's very knowledgable. She told me that O'sensei definitely didn't treat her differently because she's a woman - the straight scoop from someone who trained with him.

I trained with Ellis Amdur at the Aikiweb seminar in Orlando. Reversals are fun!evileyes

My sensei asks me to get out there and get as much knowledge as I can, and share it with him so he can grow as well. He's not a know-it-all, but he still knows more than me.:)

ChrisMoses
12-21-2007, 10:17 AM
Aikido is a cult of personality. It was OSensei's image and mystique that drew so many people in Japan to him. Overseas it was Tohei's slick moves and lofty talk that kept them coming in. Every large/successful dojo that I have been to orbits around a strong personality that draws people to them and inspires them to follow. I'm not saying it's good or bad, but it has certainly been that way from the very beginning. In some ways, it's one of the defining features of the art.

Roman Kremianski
12-21-2007, 10:23 AM
Mary Heiny Sensei- While sitting in a chair she had two very large guys grab her and then she made them tap out by a flick of a wrist. Enough said. Once you grab her you definitely feel the power of aikido.

Two very large violent guys, or two of her very large students?
Just confused as to whether this was a demonstration in a dojo or an incident involving her sitting down at a bar.

I kinda think stories like that contribute to the cult personality of Aikido. The "My sensei is great because he/she did great things which means Aikido is badass" stories. My Sensei could do cool things too. But then again, he was 250lbs and had wrists thicker than my neck.

Amir Krause
12-21-2007, 10:26 AM
Why do some sensei have a reputation for being the best? Why do some students travel the wide world over seeking out certain teachers for that summer training seminar? Why are these students seemingly wasting their time when they only get to train with their "heroes" for mere moments? Why this cult of personality? Am I missing something? Kimeda Sensei is my teacher. He will always be my teacher. I've had the opportunity to be taught for a limited period by some the "best" but I've never felt the need to leave my dojo. For some it may be that they need to expand their experiences outside their home port. For others, I think there may be a little fanaticism (aikidoka Deadheads anyone). What do you think? Are there teachers who have the gift and the others are merely pretenders to the throne? Is there an aura of invincibility that guides students like moths to the flame (like blue hairs to Elvis)?

Aren't some teachers better then others?
I rarely travel to study far away, but I did have some period of looking and seeing around. Until I was certain I made the right decision in electing my own teacher.

Some people have more of the gift than others, some are better techers, others are better pracitioners, and very few, are great at both.
There also are some pretenders and charletans.
Most teachers are somewhere in between.

Amir

cguzik
12-21-2007, 10:34 AM
There are multiple issues here.

The first is, why go out of one's way to travel to a seminar with teachers other than one's primary instructor?

There are several reasons for doing so, many of which have nothing to do with ego:

1. To have an opportunity to get on the mat with people who you don't know. In many smaller dojo, it is common to get used to how your dojo partners move. You get used to each other, and learn to anticipate how each other moves. Training with strangers helps keep it real.

2. To see how others do things differently, and to challenge your observational skills - can you watch a different instructor, see what she is doing, and replicate it without bringing your own baggage and habits into the waza?

3. To train with and hang with people you don't get to see all that often.

4. To wave the flag. It's important to have dojo representation at events within your organization. This doesn't have to be about ego... it's about group cohesion and harmony.

5. Because the seminar instructor can do things your teacher cannot. Or because they can teach it better. Or they can teach in a way that better resonates with you.

The next issue is about the premise that, because certain instructors have a big seminar following -- some even have groupies -- that this is an ego issue. It's quite possible that the above reasons contribute much more to peoples' desire to attend these events than anything about the instructor's ego.

Now, does having such a following of groupies provide a challenge when it comes to keeping one's ego in check? I bet it does.

Finally, I challenge the premise that the purpose of this practice is to transcend the ego or attain some sort of enlightenment. According to many traditions, the only thing to attain is right here, right now -- and acceptance of this ego as it is might be more the point than trying to somehow get to a place where it's not.

I suppose it's also questionable whether Sokaku Takeda or Morihei Ueshiba are any sort of good role model for those who aspire to not have a big ego.

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 10:56 AM
Frankly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. You have an issue that some go to seminars outside of their main instructor? Why is that wrong, exactly? Why do you think that is about ego? Whose ego?

I see some assumptions, but nothing to back that up. Just my opinion.

I go outside because:

I enjoy the feeling of getting thrown in different ways by different people.

I enjoy finding out whether what works on others that are similarly indoctrinated in the same style, works on people not so indoctrinated.

I enjoy learning different things.

I like people.

I used to write a lot about my experiences because: I like writing and I enjoy sharing.

If that is egotistical, so be it.

Best,
Ron

John Connolly
12-21-2007, 11:39 AM
We are men (and women), not dogs to follow a master. There are many who can teach us wonderful skills, philosophy, etc. It's fine to have a favorite, be friends with your teacher, admire your teacher, but in the end, it's about your development, so learn and play with anyone.

I've been at the same dojo for the last (Jeez, it it 6 years now?) 6 years, but only because we are into martial arts experimentation, encourage the building of skills from outside sources, and I like BSing over beers with these guys. My teacher is incredibly good, but that's not what keeps me coming back to learn. It's that he encourages all kinds of learning, no matter what the source (which also means I improve in skill, not just sit in awe at my teacher's feet-- woof woof!).

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 11:58 AM
I think people have misunderstood my intentions with regards to this post. I am merely stating a perception with regards to ego or the egocentric nature of the martial arts in general. I'm not knocking training with other sensei or meeting new people or any new experience. I was asking for opinions on what seems to me to be the cultish nature and/or deity worship of some martial art practitioners and if this was a positive/negative. And there are some students that I know of who, frankly, are like giddy schoolgirls every time that particular sensei comes to town. There's respect and admiration. Then there's fanaticism.

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 12:17 PM
Sorry then, my bad, must have misunderstood your words.

Yeah, can't stand the giddy school girls myself! :D

Best,
Ron

Roman Kremianski
12-21-2007, 12:18 PM
In regards to the following post: I by no means hold a degree in Psychology, nor have I ever majored in it.

I think the whole "Getting rid of your ego" argument is parallel to the similar recent "Getting rid of pain" debate. It was said that eliminating the feeling of pain was not a good idea, because it is there for a reason. I believe the same can be said about ego.

People shouldn't work to completely degrade and humble themselves in order to extinguish whatever ego they think they have. People will always in my opinion (an opinion based purely on the experiences of dealing with people) have some form of ego, because it's required. Without ego, people would not strive to get further in their careers or work to improve their physical shape or even pursue the opposite sex.

An overgrown ego is a problem. Everybody has a standard ego. Getting rid of an overgrown ego is quite easy.

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 12:27 PM
Getting rid of an overgrown ego is quite easy...

Yeah, few rounds of boxing or judo randori usually does it for me... :D

Best,
Ron

Roman Kremianski
12-21-2007, 12:33 PM
Basically. Or a visit to any gym that competes in something you're not good at works just fine.

Rarely that happens in Aikido, which is why the constant "Quest for humility" involves years of dojo attendance and wordwide seminar traveling.

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 12:53 PM
Or in my case, going up against the local forth dans in the aikido dojo does it too! :D

B,
R (and Happy Holidays to all)

Roman Kremianski
12-21-2007, 01:12 PM
"Going up" against local forth dans? Like challenging them to a compliant kata fight?

Don't quite understand what you mean.

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 01:26 PM
At the Yoshinkai dojo, its slightly different. Kimeda Sensei isn't that deeply into the philosophical aspects, "quest for humility" that Roman pointed out so succinctly. He was just mentioning today during class the importance of meditation could be for some people, but while he was an uchi deshi at the Honbu most students were told that kind of meditation was a waste of time (with regards to training with sword). It was only years later that he started his training in iaido and that meditation become important to him, but only for that particular art.

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 01:29 PM
In regards to the following post: I by no means hold a degree in Psychology, nor have I ever majored in it.

I think the whole "Getting rid of your ego" argument is parallel to the similar recent "Getting rid of pain" debate. It was said that eliminating the feeling of pain was not a good idea, because it is there for a reason. I believe the same can be said about ego.

People shouldn't work to completely degrade and humble themselves in order to extinguish whatever ego they think they have. People will always in my opinion (an opinion based purely on the experiences of dealing with people) have some form of ego, because it's required. Without ego, people would not strive to get further in their careers or work to improve their physical shape or even pursue the opposite sex.

An overgrown ego is a problem. Everybody has a standard ego. Getting rid of an overgrown ego is quite easy.

Excellent points Roman. Especially about the overgrown ego.

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 02:41 PM
"Going up" against local forth dans? Like challenging them to a compliant kata fight?

Don't quite understand what you mean.

Of course you don't. You don't train where I do and you don't know me, so you have no frame of reference.

You'll just have to take my word for it (or not), that when I (a [bad] ex-wrestler) go hell bent for leather after the fourth dans, and they handle me, I be handled. :D It's no skin off my back if you accept it or not. I don't know you, so I have nothing to prove to you. ;)

Best,
Ron

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 04:12 PM
Ron,
Roman is now studying MMA (I know from your recent posts you have a soft spot in your heart for MMA as well), so he's a little wary of people who say aikido is hard core. Try not to take everything he says as a personal affront. I've had the opportunity to be concussed by a few upper dans as well in my day. It all depends on where you train.

mathewjgano
12-21-2007, 08:06 PM
Why do some sensei have a reputation for being the best? Why do some students travel the wide world over seeking out certain teachers for that summer training seminar? Why are these students seemingly wasting their time when they only get to train with their "heroes" for mere moments? Why this cult of personality? Am I missing something?
I think the short answer is that charisma affects people pretty heavily...we're social animals after all, the tendancy is to form groups around people who seem to benefit us. The higher the charisma (and its exposure) the more people there are who are likely to be found in some given group. Mix that with the teacher-student dynamic (which tends to place the teacher above the student) and someone with strong charisma is going to seem rather lofty. The good and bad of this is entirely unique from situation to situation.

What do you think? Are there teachers who have the gift and the others are merely pretenders to the throne? Is there an aura of invincibility that guides students like moths to the flame (like blue hairs to Elvis)?

Yes, this exists...it's everywhere; not just martial arts. I would say these behaviors aren't so much a Martial Art trait as they are a human one.

Joseph Madden
12-21-2007, 08:17 PM
Thanks for the opinion Matthew.

OSU

Christopher Gee
12-22-2007, 10:20 AM
Budo, is budo, is budo!

Ultimately, I've found, its easy to be complacent. Dont rely on anyone to guide you to mastery, its your responsbility to perfect your budo. Or atleast, thats the attitude I take.

I became a fully paid up, t-shirt wearing member of a personality cult.... twice. I so wanted to be shown the way by a wise learned master. The more I read about the masters of the past, the true masters, they took THEMSELVES off to the mountains to train. Musuashi teachs about the way of self reliance in the Go rin no sho. That is something that has seriously touched my practice.

The train axiom on 'SHIN-KEN' - training with the upmost earnest,if those around you are content to chat about thier children, about how kote gaeshi really works, how its YOUR fault their techniques dont work, dont be taken in.

SHIN-KEN!

Yoroshiku Onegaeshimasu

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2007, 12:57 PM
There is budo...then there is "other stuff" that gets past off as budo.

There are also budoka, and those that "think" there budoka.

There are dojos in which budo is practiced...and within those dojos, right beside people that are practicing budo...there are those that "think" they are doing the same thing, but they are not.

There are people that think that they are far removed from budo...yet they are easily recognized by others that they are indeed practicing budo.

There are those that have never heard of the word, yet they are still budoka.

There are those that go to the same seminar for entirely different reasons, and get entirely different things out of the seminar.

Not to argue...but philosophically, I don't think budo is budo!

There is good budo and bad budo. Sometimes it is hard to tell, even when you think you are on the path...you need someone to pull you back on the path, to say WAKE UP!

Michael Douglas
12-23-2007, 01:52 AM
Two very large violent guys, or two of her very large students?
Just confused as to whether this was a demonstration in a dojo or an incident involving her sitting down at a bar....
Heh. We can guess the truth of that one, you tinker.
I don't think barstools and beer were involved.

Avery Jenkins
12-23-2007, 06:07 AM
Two things:

Certainly, a few short hours with another sensei would on the surface seem insufficient. But a couple of times, I've picked up a nice trick or two that I would have never gotten any other way.

Also, at a seminar, I'm often training with students of the sensei teaching it. So, by extension, every pair-up becomes a piece of learning from that sensei.

Finally, being chucked about by anyone outside of your home dojo can provide valuable learning, as others have mentioned.

RoyK
12-23-2007, 07:24 AM
There are also budoka, and those that "think" there budoka.


Am I a budoka? Are you?

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2007, 11:14 AM
I tend to think I am, but there are others that may not see me that way. Somedays I may be, somedays I might not be.

I certainly do things, or don't do things that cause me to not be a good one.

Delusion and being aware of it is what is key, I think. Not whether you are or aren't at any particular time.

It is more than wearing a hakama, the number of practices you go, the t-shirt you purchase, the number of minutes you meditate, or all that.

The important thing is not necessarily the answer to the question, or the attachment of the "Good Budoka Seal of Approval (tm)"...but the fact that you have questions and are honestly looking for the answers I think.

I have an affinity towards the label of budoka, and I'd like to think of myself as a budoka for sure!

I didn't mean to make the statement in a judgemental way to imply that I am a judge of who is and who isn't a budoka....

Only meant it to be a "thinking statement", to consider and ponder introspectively.

RoyK
12-23-2007, 03:12 PM
Only meant it to be a "thinking statement", to consider and ponder introspectively.

This seems to be slightly off topic so I'll have to make do with agreeing and thanking you for clarifying what you had in mind.

On topic, I I know from other sports I participate or have participated in, that charisma is not enough to make up for obviously inferior skills in order to create a group of participants around someone. However, in most martial arts and Aikido in particular, I find that it's hard to tell apart between genuine skill and showmanship, and even a skilled instructor may not be martially effective. Perhaps that's why the martial arts field seems more susceptible to personality cults?

Joseph Madden
12-23-2007, 03:44 PM
Excellent points Roy. Sometimes you need to be on the receiving end of one sensei to know if he/she has the ability and is not merely performing.

SeiserL
12-23-2007, 07:58 PM
Me? No budoka.
Just an old man having a good time.

Josh Reyer
12-23-2007, 08:50 PM
I tend to think I am, but there are others that may not see me that way. Somedays I may be, somedays I might not be.

I certainly do things, or don't do things that cause me to not be a good one.


Kevin, if you jettisoned the vaguely defined Japanese terminology, what word would you use instead?

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2007, 10:57 PM
I agree Roy. good points concerning accountability and martial effectiveness. However, what gets really interesting is this....

How do you define martial effectiveness???

I think this is the real key issue we grapple with. Many different definitions and perspectives on this topic. Enough to create a wide berth of what people are doing. Enough to sustain the threads in aikiweb for years to come!

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2007, 11:02 PM
Josh,

If I had to get rid of the term budoka?

Well I guess that term would be warrior.

Again, a word the conjures up many emotions and meanings.

We have in the Army what we call Warrior Ethos. I think that phrase sums it up nicely.

take a look at our sexy website...you will see a common thread between what we are talking about.

http://www.army.mil/warriorethos/

We are putting a great deal of emphasis on this today in the Army.

While this is an Army thing....I think it resonates true even within the civilian world, and applies equally to budo or budoka.

Aikibu
12-24-2007, 12:17 AM
What you're looking for...You already have...If you must travel the world to find it...So what? Who am I to question your path?

Sheesh...Some folks here should spend a little more time understanding themselves and thier motives for practice before they give an opinion of someone elses practice...

If I had the chance would I travel the world for a chance to practice with the best teachers?

Hell Ya!!! LOL

William Hazen

Mary Eastland
12-24-2007, 05:19 AM
Me? No budoka.
Just an old man having a good time.

We are not old, Lynn.....they say that 50 is the new thirty. :cool:
Mary

Mark Uttech
12-24-2007, 05:41 AM
Age should always be taken into consideration. There are 60 and 70 year olds that face obstacles that we never knew existed. Theirs is a kind of aikido that we can look forward to.

In gassho,

Mark

Avery Jenkins
12-24-2007, 06:28 AM
We have in the Army what we call Warrior Ethos. I think that phrase sums it up nicely.

take a look at our sexy website...you will see a common thread between what we are talking about.

http://www.army.mil/warriorethos/

We are putting a great deal of emphasis on this today in the Army.

While this is an Army thing....I think it resonates true even within the civilian world, and applies equally to budo or budoka.

Thanks for the link, Kevin. The Warrior Ethos really boils it down to the essentials, doesn't it? And, as a civilian, I agree that it does, indeed, resonate.

Kevin Leavitt
12-24-2007, 06:44 AM
I think it does Avery.

Putting others first before yourself. Selfless Service or Service to Others.

Never accept defeat. Certainly a central theme of what we are talking about in aikido! Pick up the pieces and keep going!

Never Quit. Without saying!

Never leave a fallen comrade. Take care of others...compassion.

I'd say if we concentrated on these four things, the world would be a better place and we would maybe not need Armies!

Dan O'Day
12-24-2007, 03:42 PM
Yes, that ego question is a bit ethereal. Or would it be the answer?

Anyway...my experience has been one of great benefit whenever attending a seminar featuring a visiting sensei. I have not had the opportunity, or yet the desire, to travel far to train with a sensei of high renown.

Ultimately, however, one of the general guidelines for myself in life is to not lead nor follow and certainly never deitize any human being. That deitization thing is scary, in my opinion. It seems as if this is often done as a means to abdicate personal responsibility in life; the result of which will most often become a life lived for the personal agenda of whomever is "speaking" for the diety.

I like the term "sensei". I was told once the translation was rather simple.."one who has come before". I like that. It seems logical that one who has "come before" would be suitable as a guide or mentor.

I ought mention I consider guidance and mentorship quite different animals than that which is called "leading" and "leadership".

In fact - to come back to ego - it may be that more "ego" exists in the mind of the leader than that of the mentor or guide or teacher.

Of course one must consider what "ego" is. A rather large yet obscure construct of humanity it was to come up with this, this "ego" thing. Fitting it may seem.

Ego to me is all of that which leads me to believe I am seperate from you. I suppose it is much to ask of anyone to shed all that I see as ego for societies across the planet do not exactly promote this practice and many actively shun it.

And hey! I'm just like anyone else...I want to fit in, be accepted, be loved; I've sure got my ego tuned up.

So it's a tough row to hoe. To be or not to be - that old Irish guy Billy O'Shakespeare knew what he was talking about.

Of course the other side of the coin is that it is not a tough row at all. In fact, the very lessening of ego's grip on a person's spirit may cause such a quantum shift of perspective that things such as being accepted by one's fellows, become totally moot.

Life sure is exciting! And my aikido training has become a fantastic way for me to get bearing on struggles such as my mind, my ego, may latch onto.

stan baker
12-25-2007, 08:56 AM
..

If I had the chance would I travel the world for a chance to practice with the best teachers?

Hell Ya!!! LOL

William Hazen[/QUOTE]

Hi William,

then you should come to spencer, mass. and practice with dan harden

stan

SeiserL
12-25-2007, 09:04 AM
Yes, that ego question is a bit ethereal.
IMHO, actual the term ego describes the mental construct learned by the active verb process of identifying with those things/persons external from ourselves and attaching an internal frame of references in the pronoun "I" which certainly (as described) doesn't stand for "intelligence".

Kevin Leavitt
12-25-2007, 05:29 PM
I don't think ego is the real issue, but "self centeredness, or selfishness"

It is quite possible to have a "healthy ego" that is balanced, self aware, and that "extends outward".

That is a selfless or compassionate ego.

Carl Thompson
12-25-2007, 06:14 PM
Merry Boxing Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day)

I think the whole "Getting rid of your ego" argument is parallel to the similar recent "Getting rid of pain" debate. It was said that eliminating the feeling of pain was not a good idea, because it is there for a reason. I believe the same can be said about ego.

I like this point. I knew a guy who couldn't feel pain (thankfully not an aikidoka). He had a lot of problems as a result. We need pain, but having control over it is a good thing. The same goes for the ego.

In an art without formal competition, there are many opportunities for uncontrolled egos to build little empires out of nothing but hot air, but it comes with the territory. If you're smart, even as a beginner you'll suss things pretty easily. Among students, the "giddy schoolgirls" mentality is largely the problem of those affected by it. No matter how many cool sensei they have trained with, if they are trading on glamour and nothing else, it simply means they are more interested in the superficial side and not so bothered about learning anything effective. These cherry-picking "aiki-tourists" might be irritating, but they can be good for your own ego (especially when they correct you, wagging their finger saying "No, no! I've trained with X sensei so do it like this!"). On the other hand, those who travel earnestly (sometimes walking an identical path to the aiki-tourist) to genuinely learn from others can pick up a lot from their more varied experience.

Ultimately, I've found, its easy to be complacent. Dont rely on anyone to guide you to mastery, its your responsbility to perfect your budo. Or atleast, thats the attitude I take.


It seems all the world's great martial artists had this thought. Even Bruce Lee said that his art of Jeet Kune Do was to be a "finger pointing to the moon". He said "Please do not take the finger to be the moon or fix your gaze so intently on the finger as to miss all the beautiful sights of heaven. After all, the usefulness of the finger is in pointing away from itself to the light which illuminates finger and all."

Carl

SeiserL
12-26-2007, 05:39 AM
I don't think ego is the real issue, but "self centeredness, or selfishness" It is quite possible to have a "healthy ego" that is balanced, self aware, and that "extends outward". That is a selfless or compassionate ego.
IMHO, the learned-ego-identity is very useful if it is used in service to spirit/others/higher-mutual-good (not vice-versa).

It may be more about the direction (out-versus-in and other-versus-self) we take as leaders or attendees at seminars. I like to attend those seminars in which the leader truly wants me to get skills rather than to be impressed by their skills, to be an active participant in learning (steal this technique) rather than a passive spectator.

Of course. IMHO, all of these are choices we make.Choose who you want to be and who to learn from wisely.

Everyone lights up a room, some when they enter and some when they leave. Which are you and which do you want to be?

mathewjgano
12-29-2007, 12:56 PM
IMHO, the learned-ego-identity is very useful if it is used in service to spirit/others/higher-mutual-good (not vice-versa).

It may be more about the direction (out-versus-in and other-versus-self) we take as leaders or attendees at seminars. I like to attend those seminars in which the leader truly wants me to get skills rather than to be impressed by their skills, to be an active participant in learning (steal this technique) rather than a passive spectator.

Of course. IMHO, all of these are choices we make.Choose who you want to be and who to learn from wisely.

Everyone lights up a room, some when they enter and some when they leave. Which are you and which do you want to be?

Well said.
The thing I take most from this subject is the idea that teachers must care more for their students' learning than their own image or feelings and so long as that is the case, matters of ego almost become moot. In the same vein, as long as students realize learning happens more from self-teaching than from acquiring some commodity, egocentric teachers become more or less harmless. The best teachers realize they're guides to insight; the best students realize the same thing...in my opinion.

SeiserL
12-29-2007, 03:07 PM
The best teachers realize they're guides to insight; the best students realize the same thing...in my opinion.
Nicely said.
The aura should shed some light on the subject, not blind the student.