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RoisinPitman
03-10-2011, 11:13 AM
Over the years my school have been affilated to two national aikido organisations (mid 70's to 1996 and 1996 to 2005). Being isolated in Jersey, a small island (9 x 5 miles) 100 miles south of the British mainland, we were often left to our own devices other than twice yearly course in the island that we organised, arranging for instructors from the pool of high ranking yudansha available to us within that particular association.

Also, when time and finances permitted (we have to fly anywhere to get off the island, boat takes too long, as does swimming), . some of us managed to attend sporadic courses on the mainland to further our study. In fact between 1986 and 1989 I travelled every month to train with my mentor, missing very few weekends.

My mentor, as he got older, was gently forced out and finally found himself extricated from the very organisation he founded. My point is this. Politics, empire building, call it what you will, was instrumental in driving a wedge into what was, up until then, a well run organisation. People jockeying for a position of authority started attempting to influence the personal lives of students, other than just what goes on during training. Disgusted with how they had treated my Sensei, coupled with my concern in the way that things were being engineered I reluctantly withdrew my school from the association.

As luck would have it, a short while later, I encountered a teacher where things just seemed to 'fall into place' and with the permission of my Sensei (out of coutesy and not a requirement by him) I started training with him and travelling up to his dojo in the north of the UK on a regular basis. Then, deja vu after ten years of excellent instruction and a harmonious atmosphere, when this time, it was the Sensei who started trying to influence the private lives of students, some might call it controlling behaviour, surfaced, often supported by those in the tier below him (his seconds in command).

For a second time in my 32 years study I felt it was better for my health and the survival of my school to politely withdraw. This is when another former student in the UK told me that he had insured his club as an independent school. I soon followed suit. One of the main problems the he encountered was his friends, also members of the original group, had been expressly forbidden to train anywhere else, which goes against my understanding that everyone has something to offer, you take what assists you and offend no-one by leaving what does not.

At the same time that I registered my school as an independent, I also created the Phoenix Circle of Friendship. Its only ethos being that it should be for friends and aikidoka to come together, in an atmosphere of harmony and friendship, without politics, to share aikido and martial arts knowledge. Nothing more nothing less. No-one is in charge of the Circle it exists purely in the minds of those that identify with those simple ideals.

So far, it has worked on an international scale and we have over 15 schools or individuals who know that they will be welcomed into each others training halls just to train and socialise. We have schools and individuals in Jersey, UK, France, Eire, Italy, Switzerland and the West Indies.

And, just to emphasise things come in full circle, my UK mentor is now back teaching with us and offering us technical advice where needed and my original sensei (now back in Italy) is a regular host to me teaching at his dojo. I know utopia is unobtainable, I am not that naiive, but I feel that this is the nearest to it that I can get. I know politics and sports often go hand in hand, but I for one, would rather it did not. Shouldn't we all just get along?

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 11:23 AM
Now that would be nice, but whether we like it or not it's not the reality.... I prefer to be independent and then get along, I can then choose whether I like it or not, go where I like, enjoy reality rather than living in a dream (that is a copout) and that is called democracy.... I think :confused:
I welcome all who come to me, but have found that I am not welcome when I go to them....
Who cares? Either you love me or 'ate me..... I love me, so do lots of others, I think.... And I love them
That's all that really matters......

RoisinPitman
03-10-2011, 11:26 AM
Now that would be nice, but whether we like it or not it's not the reality.... I prefer to be independent and then get along, I can then choose whether I like it or not, go where I like, enjoy reality rather than living in a dream (that is a copout) and that is called democracy.... I think :confused:

That is the point, I am living in reality with what I am now doing.

Janet Rosen
03-10-2011, 11:31 AM
One of the things I've loved about aikido almost from the start of training is that I have been welcomed onto mats all over this country and abroad, often across style or affiliation lines. The feeling I get is that, regardless of the higher level politics, at a grass-roots, dojo level there is a strong tendency to stay open at least when visitors are gracious and respectful.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 11:40 AM
That is the point, I am living in reality with what I am now doing.

I'm glad to hear it....

Hows Mike Smith Sensei? Have not seen him since 1986 I think it was...

RoisinPitman
03-10-2011, 11:45 AM
I'm glad to hear it....

Hows Mike Smith Sensei? Have not seen him since 1986 I think it was...

Mike Smith Sensei has been suffering severe illness for a number of years, but up until last year he was still on the tatame with me in Italy. A strategically placed jo nearby just in case it was needed for balance. Mike Sensei has been the greatest influence on my aikido, with both of us coming from a police background it helped our initial bonding. He and his lovely wife Anne still visit me in Jersey and I often pop up to Towcester. Shall I pass on your regards Tony?

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 01:11 PM
Mike Smith Sensei has been suffering severe illness for a number of years, but up until last year he was still on the tatame with me in Italy. A strategically placed jo nearby just in case it was needed for balance. Mike Sensei has been the greatest influence on my aikido, with both of us coming from a police background it helped our initial bonding. He and his lovely wife Anne still visit me in Jersey and I often pop up to Towcester. Shall I pass on your regards Tony?

Yes I would like that.... Tell him best wishes and regards from Tony and Catherine Wagstaffe.... I've always tried to keep an open mind, but as you have experienced yourself, there is a limit to even that....
I always liked Mike and his aikido, he was always polite, but always spoke his mind too......

I'm sure Mike Tracey Sensei Ex BAA National & Director of Coaching would like to hear from him to.....
Mike suffered a while back with a stroke. I still keep in touch with him as he was my mentor....

Take care

Tony

dps
03-10-2011, 02:04 PM
It is very saddening that there are individuals in this world that when you give them a little bit of control over a small part of your life they want total control over all of your life.

If you give them an inch they will take a mile.

dps

Mark Peckett
03-10-2011, 02:50 PM
Some sensei are happy to teach students; some sensei want disciples.

lbb
03-10-2011, 03:27 PM
What we're labeling "politics" here is like just about every other dysfunctional human behavior: we can all look at it from the outside and agree that it makes no sense, and yet it has a siren call that sucks in so many people -- even some (many?) who cry out against politics! Maybe the answer is that we dislike politics when we're on the short end of it, but from another angle there is something about it that most humans find gratifying. That's the case with just about any broken behavior you can name: if there were no gratification, people just wouldn't do it.

RoisinPitman
03-10-2011, 04:40 PM
Yes I would like that.... Tell him best wishes and regards from Tony and Catherine Wagstaffe.... I've always tried to keep an open mind, but as you have experienced yourself, there is a limit to even that....
I always liked Mike and his aikido, he was always polite, but always spoke his mind too......

I'm sure Mike Tracey Sensei Ex BAA National & Director of Coaching would like to hear from him to.....
Mike suffered a while back with a stroke. I still keep in touch with him as he was my mentor....

Take care

Tony

If you knew met Mike in 1986 did you ever attend the West End School Leeds Summer School organised by the BAA in 1987. I accompanied Mike Sensei to the course as he was the only traditional teacher on the Tomiki based course. I also had a chance to take a class with Eustace Sensei.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 09:05 PM
If you knew met Mike in 1986 did you ever attend the West End School Leeds Summer School organised by the BAA in 1987. I accompanied Mike Sensei to the course as he was the only traditional teacher on the Tomiki based course. I also had a chance to take a class with Eustace Sensei.

The last summer school I did at Leeds was in 1986, I think? I would have to check my records to be sure on that one.
I may be wrong but I think I saw Mike smith Sensei at a course in Cardiff, this was a Tomiki and Traditional seminar in one, but I can't remember which year it was in off hand. There was visiting Shihan from the JAA there. Itsuo Haba Sensei was also there acting as the international rep for the JAA on that day....
I did quite a number of courses with Brian Eustace Sensei in Taiho jutsu, as for remembering all the dates I'm afraid I forget. I did so many courses and seminars they all haze into many different memories, also all the Leeds summer schools from 1976 onwards :)

sakumeikan
03-12-2011, 07:57 AM
I cannot say I have been universally made welcome at local dojos which are not affiliated to my own group. Due to political differences some of my erstwhile colleagues no longer associate with me.Having said that maybe its not a political thing , maybe its my Cary Grant / Alain Delon charm /looks that they envy?Either way who cares? Aikido might well profess to unify people , but I think this is in a ideal world. Sad to say the world is not ideal.
Cheers, Joe.

Hellis
03-12-2011, 08:25 AM
I cannot say I have been universally made welcome at local dojos which are not affiliated to my own group. Due to political differences some of my erstwhile colleagues no longer associate with me.Having said that maybe its not a political thing , maybe its my Cary Grant / Alain Delon charm /looks that they envy?Either way who cares? Aikido might well profess to unify people , but I think this is in a ideal world. Sad to say the world is not ideal.
Cheers, Joe.

Joe

I doubt that both you and I will ever win any popularity awards :)

I don't envy your good looks, I do though admire you as a person to be respected.
As regards our detractors ""Either way who cares?""

Henry

Henry Ellis
Aikido Books
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

dps
03-12-2011, 08:48 AM
What we're labeling "politics" here is like just about every other dysfunctional human behavior:

I like that, politics a dysfunctional behavior.

dps

Tony Wagstaffe
03-12-2011, 08:48 AM
I reckon you two should become the new models on the catwalk.:D

I'm sure you would both look very dashing.....:D

sakumeikan
03-12-2011, 08:57 AM
I reckon you two should become the new models on the catwalk.:D

I'm sure you would both look very dashing.....:D

Tony,
With a little bit of padding here and there, plus a fetching wig and MaxFactor make up maybe Henry and I could double up on the catwalk as alternative models to Posh and Becks?If any reader wishes to make me an offer [minimum wage considered ] I have my hakama and high heels at the ready.
Cheers Joe.
Ps .Enjoyed our little telephone chat today.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-12-2011, 09:09 AM
Tony,
With a little bit of padding here and there, plus a fetching wig and MaxFactor make up maybe Henry and I could double up on the catwalk as alternative models to Posh and Becks?If any reader wishes to make me an offer [minimum wage considered ] I have my hakama and high heels at the ready.
Cheers Joe.
Ps .Enjoyed our little telephone chat today.

So did I....
I have matching handbag and shoes you can borrow if you like...
envisage me with hand on hip waving other hand in flamboyant suggestions....:D

sakumeikan
03-12-2011, 11:06 AM
So did I....
I have matching handbag and shoes you can borrow if you like...
envisage me with hand on hip waving other hand in flamboyant suggestions....:D

Tony,
The mind boggles........Cheers, Joe.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-12-2011, 11:46 AM
Tony,
The mind boggles........Cheers, Joe.

A bit like some aikido I've seen....;)