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Chris Li
12-31-2012, 01:29 PM
A number of people have pointed to the ongoing IP debates as a cause of the decline in participation in AikiWeb. There's probably some truth to that - but I wonder if much of it isn't just part of the continuing trend?

There's been rancor in the past - many years ago on one of the old mailing lists it got so bad that a well known Aikido instructor got on a plane to go confront his tormentor - who turned out to be a high school kid yanking his chain.

But people still kept talking, so rancor alone wasn't enough to actually squelch discussion.

Speaking of mailing lists, anybody remember Aikido-L? It was a rich and dynamic discussion mailing list that, in many ways, was the progenitor of AikiWeb.

Where is it today?

It, along with most of those types of lists, died away, victims of changes in internet usage patterns.

My daughter doesn't even use email anymore, she barely even uses her phone (the voice part) - everything is text and messaging.

Times and usage patterns change.

Most website discussion forums are pretty dead these days - here's an interesting article that I've found to be mostly true:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/remembrance-of-message-boards-past/?ref=opinion

And another one:

http://www.cmcandrew.com/robocolumn/archives/3391

Rest in peace..?

Best,

Chris

ChrisMoses
12-31-2012, 02:21 PM
It's funny you bring this up. I was just over at another forum I used to frequent regularly and there haven't hardly been any posts there in almost nine months. Sad to think of the forums going away. I don't want all of you people hounding me on Facebook... ;)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-31-2012, 05:31 PM
Happy New Year!

I have also been thinking about this recently. Everything seems to have moved on to either closed private forums or facebook. The two German MA forums I used to frequent have been pretty dead for some months in terms of my interests, and the third one has gone private. And I use the www for MA information much less anyway, dont know whether that is just me.

Don_Modesto
12-31-2012, 05:33 PM
There's some good stuff here; hope it's archived. (Is the stuff that was on e-budo; there was some GREAT stuff there.)

Cady Goldfield
12-31-2012, 05:36 PM
Well, if it's any indication of the veracity of Chris Li's theory, E-Budo has been down for a long time, and I wonder whether it's down for the count. Before it vanished, that site had an inactive membership of over 15,000 but only a tiny membership of active posters. Over the years, the attrition just kept up with people simply not coming back.

Looking at some of the other once-popular martial arts-themed websites, participation is sluggish.

Martial arts is a relatively small and specialized interest, with an even smaller population interested enough in the subject to want to yak about it online. The number of martial artists worldwide who particiapte on an English-language site is likely smaller still. Maybe there just aren't enough of them to sustain sites with fresh material and conversations forever. Like a marriage, keeping a web forum lively and fresh takes a lot of work and creativity. Maybe there just isn't enough of anything "new" to do that. IP/aiki may be the last frontier of controversy that keeps some level of "conversation" going.

But I don't think that the Internet overall is on the way out. It is still a great way to share a sense of "community" that individual texting can't achieve. There are plenty of online forums that attract thousands of participants who share a similar interest. For example, check out "Backyard Chickens": http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/

On any given day, that site has over 1,000 people yakking about their pet chickens, ducks, etc. and swapping egg recipes and what-have-you. It's a huge community, with thousands of active participants. No one cares if the same topic is brought up again and again, because there are so many people there that someone will be happy to chime in with advice. The members come from all walks of life and have many other interests besides pet livestock and backyard poultry, so there is constant chit-chat on any manner of subjects. There are no specific agendas.

Forums like that are global substitutes for the old general store or other social gathering spot where a housewife, retiree, young mother, veterinarian on his/her day off, or 4-H kid can hang out. The one thing they have in common that brought them there is chickens, but they are open to lots of other kinds of discussion.

But maybe martial arts forums are too specialized in both subject matter and participant type to sustain that kind of communality. Maybe by nature we're all just too introverted. :D

P.S. Oh lordy, Chris, I remember that incident with the "well-known Aikido teacher" (and well-liked!)...he wrote about it as a cautionary tale. I joined the Aikido-L listserv (and Jujutsu-L) in 1995. Does anyone here still remember listserves? They actually still exist. A couple of years ago I found out that Aikido-L was revived by a few folks, and also Jujutsu-L was never de-activated. It just lives in the ethers, waiting for someone to post. Kind of sad, like the space-ship greenhouse in Silent Running.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-31-2012, 05:40 PM
I remember Aikido-L and going to some dungeon in the university to read the digests... 1997 I think it was? There was this guy Dan Harden there, he really got on my nerves, used to skip all his stuff... :-)

DH
12-31-2012, 05:55 PM
I remember Aikido-L and going to some dungeon in the university to read the digests... 1997 I think it was? There was this guy Dan Harden there, he really got on my nerves, used to skip all his stuff... :-)
Yup
Almost 18 years later, saying much the same stuff: someone sent me some archived stuff; DR being soft like taichi, central pivot, intent training, dynamic balance, power to neutralize.....on and on.

I never was proven wrong, but a lot of teachers sure got upset. Today...many are friends of mine.
The net has just as many positive things going for it as negative. When you mention people being u[set over the IP/aiki debate, it is ridiculous NOT TO MENTION the fact that it has brought more people together from an incredible variety of arts then all of the Aikido Journal get togethers. It also brought to light what many teachers are calling the finest work they have seen in their lives. Many have said it changes their lives.

Word of mouth was the age old way for Budo people to find good teachers. The Web is just an enhanced version of that.
Dan

bkedelen
12-31-2012, 06:33 PM
I am trying so hard to never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-31-2012, 06:52 PM
I am trying so hard to never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

You missed it - what are you trying to say exactly? :-)

Janet Rosen
12-31-2012, 07:02 PM
Aikido-L never went away. It goes quiet for days or even weeks at a time but almost any
query post or link will generate some chatter so folks are still there, myself included.

akiy
12-31-2012, 08:02 PM
Hi Chris,

There certainly may be a change in the way that people use online discussion forums and such. That said, the number one complaint I have heard from people in why they no longer come to AikiWeb is the degradation in tone that people employ in their discussions -- namely, the lack of respect, aggressiveness (active and passive), and argumentative rhetoric.

In any case, no matter whether the tides are shifting and no matter how many people continue to use AikiWeb, I agree with the above sentiment (that the tone has degraded) and will be more active in addressing such here in the new year.

-- Jun

robin_jet_alt
12-31-2012, 08:46 PM
Well, the reason I have avoided posting lately is that the threads that interest me usually have more experienced people in them expressing better points than I ever could.

danj
01-01-2013, 06:53 AM
Its an interesting question to ponder and assuming for a moment its more than just seasonal variation there are a number for factors at play, here are some I can think of

- Paper based media is effectively dead (I think i read that internet advertising has passed print media now in revenue), thus the news cycles and the way people read and adsorb information is radically changing, so perhaps like aikido-l (long time lurker in the 90's) aikiweb isn't quite in the niche it once was.

- Moving from mail based (listserv) to forum based to web 2.0 seems to be a progression in general?

- Internet usage by portable devices has overtaken desktop devices. Portable devices seem to be used more 'on the go' and favour shorter exchanges and less verbose communications. Hit 'like' if you agree and put some vapid slogan that tugs at a heart string in an image file and watch it go viral ;)

- Online forums/ communities are reflections of real community, if damage is done to the community its reflected in the online version (whats interesting is the aikiweb is one and the same for many)

- People in general seem to be conflict averse, so apart from actual combatants most others will leave the battlefield given half a chance. I've seen this at work in some local aikido online communities in the past. I think no-one likes to watch, pick a side, stand up and be counted or put in the position where they might have to. Where something polarises a community you potentially lose 50% overnight.

- Just a few years ago most dojo didn't have a website, now there is a blog, facebook page and twitter for many. These local communities and blogs are attractive, and less contentious perhaps than something with a more global focus.

- I note many contributors to aikiweb are writing content on their own blogs and reflecting to aikiweb. (self included), and why wouldn't you it builds brand and identity etc. for something more likely to affect the bottom line.

It'd be interesting to see some of the aikiweb stats on engagement, timeline it with some big events in the forums history, global events or just the passage of time to see if anything jumps out.

lbb
01-01-2013, 10:56 AM
I think it's a combination of all of the above, plus...people move on. What drives the need to discuss? It's different for different people, the new student eager to gobble it all up as fast as possible and the experienced practitioner who wants to talk to the relative few who are at his/her level, and everyone in between. We move on. We see things differently. Discussion serves us for a time, then it doesn't serve, and one day it may serve us again.

Mark Mueller
01-01-2013, 05:17 PM
Redundancy.......I have been on Aikiweb since it's inception......98% of the topics have been brought up before. Combine that with the issues that Jun mentions and it is not the same place that Jun originally established. Interestingly I saw Aikido Today Magazine go through a similar transition....

Chris Li
01-01-2013, 05:43 PM
Redundancy.......I have been on Aikiweb since it's inception......98% of the topics have been brought up before. Combine that with the issues that Jun mentions and it is not the same place that Jun originally established. Interestingly I saw Aikido Today Magazine go through a similar transition....

And we see where Aikido Today is...today :D

The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.

For example, the dojo search function on AikiWeb, which has to be updated manually, is usually beat out these days by local search on the major search engines, IME.

Most of the stuff on AikiWeb isn't new. Most of the places right now that are hosting successful online conversations are ones that are either fed continously by new content, or are places where people are looking for specific advice for new situations (ie, the chicken site that Cady mentioned). Even the advice based sites tend to go stagnant once most of the major issues get covered (you can see that happening as a site ages).

Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days. If you look around the internet, search on blogs, etc. - most of it is rehashing things that have already come up over the years.

Even most of Stan Pranin's stuff (which I love, don't get me wrong) is mostly recycled information interspersed with a few opinion pieces.

There's nothing wrong with that, I guess, leaves more time for training... :D

Best,

Chris

Mark Mueller
01-01-2013, 07:43 PM
And we see where Aikido Today is...today :D

The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.

For example, the dojo search function on AikiWeb, which has to be updated manually, is usually beat out these days by local search on the major search engines, IME.

Most of the stuff on AikiWeb isn't new. Most of the places right now that are hosting successful online conversations are ones that are either fed continously by new content, or are places where people are looking for specific advice for new situations (ie, the chicken site that Cady mentioned). Even the advice based sites tend to go stagnant once most of the major issues get covered (you can see that happening as a site ages).

Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days. If you look around the internet, search on blogs, etc. - most of it is rehashing things that have already come up over the years.

Even most of Stan Pranin's stuff (which I love, don't get me wrong) is mostly recycled information interspersed with a few opinion pieces.

There's nothing wrong with that, I guess, leaves more time for training... :D

Best,

Chris

Like I said..."Redundancy" :D Although I have enjoyed some of the things you have added to the IP discussions....well thought out and devoid of emotional/personal attachment. Thanks.

Mark Mueller
01-01-2013, 07:47 PM
Actually to paste one more thing on to that.....I think Dan Harden has done a HUGE service to the Aikido community by encouraging folks to get off their dogma and get out and feel stuff rather than write about it....which once again encourages "more time for training".

Kevin Leavitt
01-01-2013, 09:14 PM
I think the quality of the post have gone up over the years. I read Aikiweb as much as I always have. However, comment less. Back in the days we had lots of discussion over ki wars and so forth...today, less of that stuff and more stuff of substance.

Rob Watson
01-02-2013, 02:26 AM
Pretty much just keeping tabs on seminars and who has died ...

Anything substantive has been covered long ago.

Cliff Judge
01-02-2013, 12:12 PM
Forums are a means to organize communication among multiple participants; it is a way to have a conversation. Someone will have a topic for discussion and post a thread. Forums allow for people to follow on to that or to clearly address each other's points.

In general, the internet has become a place for a higher volume of shallower communication. People tweet or update their facebook status...neither of these apps are good for sidebar discussions. There is probably a tendency for people to start looking at forums as though they are a communications medium more like twitter or facebook.

Another thought is that people have taken more to tablets and smartphones for their communications needs....typing lengthy posts on a touchscreen might not be slower or more frustrating for a teenager than typing on a physical keyboard but for those of us who got used to PCs and laptops it certainly is.

jonreading
01-02-2013, 12:33 PM
First, Chris needs to stop posting vital information on facebook. I do not have a personal facebook account.

Second, I think the rhetoric is difficult to understand. Aikiweb users can be unclear as to whether they are arguing a point, inviting a discussing, or requesting feedback or information.

Third, anonymity is a problem. Poor posts, bad attitudes and silly comments are searchable and will come back to haunt. I cringe at what I will see [of myself] in 10 years. Forums are requiring much more information to establish a personal identity. As Dan said, word of mouth...

Forth, the Internet if for porn.

Conrad Gus
01-02-2013, 12:57 PM
For the record, I find interesting things on aikiweb all the time. It's one of the ways I feel connected to aikido practitioners around the world.

Conrad

akiy
01-02-2013, 03:46 PM
The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.
[snip]
Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days.

I guess that's one place where we differ, Chris. I don't see the primary "value" in a website like AikiWeb being a place to house or exchange information but to have meaningful interactions with others in the world of aikido. These interactions will, of course, include the exchange of information, but the value that I see (and wish to continue to cultivate) is in being a part of a diverse, worldwide community of aikido practitioners.

That's why I've been very vocal here about conducting ourselves with respect within our discussions. If you (a generic you, not aimed at you, Chris, or anyone in particular) feel like you want to just disseminate information without thinking about and caring about the community, I'd suggest finding a different venue than AikiWeb to express your ideas. I would rather have a rich, diverse, and respectful discussion forum than one with rich information without such qualities of civil interactions.

Creating a community takes care.

-- Jun

Chris Li
01-02-2013, 03:54 PM
I guess that's one place where we differ, Chris. I don't see the primary "value" in a website like AikiWeb being a place to house or exchange information but to have meaningful interactions with others in the world of aikido. These interactions will, of course, include the exchange of information, but the value that I see (and wish to continue to cultivate) is in being a part of a diverse, worldwide community of aikido practitioners.

That's why I've been very vocal here about conducting ourselves with respect within our discussions. If you (a generic you, not aimed at you, Chris, or anyone in particular) feel like you want to just disseminate information without thinking about and caring about the community, I'd suggest finding a different venue than AikiWeb to express your ideas. I would rather have a rich, diverse, and respectful discussion forum than one with rich information without such qualities of civil interactions.

Creating a community takes care.

-- Jun

Hey Jun,

My point was that it's the new information that tends to fuel community discussion - and therefore, interaction. Since old information is archived and available through search new discussion tends to wither after a time, I've seen that on a number of other message board type sites.

Of course, a constant influx of new people tends to ameliorate that, but it appears that the trend is towards newer people using other forms of interaction.

Best,

Chris

lbb
01-03-2013, 09:10 AM
Bravo, Jun. Well said. But I see Chris Li's point too. In real-life interactions, it isn't information that drives exchanges, but on an internet forum, maybe that's a fair generalization.

NagaBaba
01-03-2013, 10:20 AM
If you (a generic you, not aimed at you, Chris, or anyone in particular) feel like you want to just disseminate information without thinking about and caring about the community, I'd suggest finding a different venue than AikiWeb to express your ideas. I would rather have a rich, diverse, and respectful discussion forum than one with rich information without such qualities of civil interactions.

Creating a community takes care.

-- Jun
This is very good statement. Now, I'm not sure how it is possible to reinforce it in reality?

I'm giving example:. I'm posting a video of a technique to have different opinions what can be improved. There are few responses with good, constructive criticism. So far so good. Suddenly all this nice interaction will be destroyed by "IS/IP extremist team". They will dismiss all other opinions than theirs(we could see it not only in technical but even in spiritual aspect of aikido!!), only on the base of criterion that my technique has no ‘aiki' and all people in the discussion have no clue what aiki is and should come to seminar to feel it. No matter what other posters express in their posts, the same "argument" will be brought again and again without any other technical explanations because ‘aiki 'is ‘too precious' to be openly discussed.

Such mechanism, even if done in polite way with civil interaction, prevent any rational discussion here and contribute greatly to decline this forum. No matter what topic is started, it will inevitably end in very boring IS/IP pro and counter arguments….

That's why, less and less ancient members post here, myself included. That's why you had to create the special columns where ANY discussion is forbidden. That's why there are less and less new ideas that come from actual physical practice (IS/IP team doesn't practice aikido at all! because it contradicts aiki development…).

I understand you well and myself like a lot the diversity of opinions. However if small minority destroys whole forum, it is time to have new rules, and those who break them, should be removed from forum.
Only then the real interaction can be slowly rebuilt, as more and more ppl will not be afraid being ridiculed by IS/IP fanatics.

akiy
01-03-2013, 10:25 AM
This is very good statement. Now, I'm not sure how it is possible to reinforce it in reality?
Thanks for your thoughts, Szczepan. This is a question I've been thinking about a lot and will be addressing soon.

-- Jun

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-03-2013, 11:06 AM
I agree with Chris Li that it is mainly new information that fuels online community discussion, and add that it motivates people to meet up for more community and discussion.

I am part of two communities at the moment where I believe new relevant approaches to aikido are being developed and practiced: one revolving around Dan, and another one around Patrick Cassidy and some other creative "younger" teachers with an Iwama background. I guess the later community is just not interested in the animosity and divisiveness we get here. They share online, but elsewhere. However both (who I guess would not mix well, btw) are looking forward to a future in which what we do ourselves will not be a story of gradual decline dominated by a glorious past.

Maybe that is another reason for the issue addressed in this thread (one being tone): is there really so much positive new material to discuss? Or are people just blaming IS/IP dominance for a dirth of other topics? I would honestly be delighted to hear about aikido communities that are forward looking, sharing new information, developing new ideas and approaches to technique, where young people are trained to equal or surpass their teachers, or already have done so - who would be willing to share their stuff here.

I recently met a yondan from California from another lineage, who told me he had been visiting 30+ dojos looking for the future of aikido (not his words), and not really found much.

I honestly believe that if we had more to say about a positive, inspiring direction for our art, IP/IS would be less of a communication problem.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-03-2013, 11:39 AM
Plus: anonymity is a much bigger topic than it used to be on the web. Some form of (semi)-privacy on aikiweb would make me much more willing to contribute more actively.

MM
01-03-2013, 11:46 AM
This is very good statement. Now, I'm not sure how it is possible to reinforce it in reality?

I'm giving example:. I'm posting a video of a technique to have different opinions what can be improved. There are few responses with good, constructive criticism. So far so good. Suddenly all this nice interaction will be destroyed by "IS/IP extremist team".


Now, let's go from your "fantasy" example into the real world of Aikiweb.

First, go through the "Techniques" forum. Read through where people have asked for help on techniques and then give me the actual percentages where IP/aiki has "destroyed" threads. It's so extremely small as to not even matter. There goes your "example".

Second, you attack personalities when you state "all this nice interaction will be destroyed" as if the "regular" people are nice and the IP/aiki people are horrible. How about reality now? IP/aiki has brought together people from all over the aikido world, all working together, laughing, having fun, and training hard. There goes your "example".

Third, you paint IP/aiki as "extremists". Let's look at IP/aiki people. George Ledyard, Chris Li, Marc Abrams, Bill Gleason, Howard Popkin, Gary Welborn, Allen Beebe, etc, etc, etc. You really want to call them extremists? There goes your "example".


They will dismiss all other opinions than theirs(we could see it not only in technical but even in spiritual aspect of aikido!!), only on the base of criterion that my technique has no ‘aiki' and all people in the discussion have no clue what aiki is and should come to seminar to feel it. No matter what other posters express in their posts, the same "argument" will be brought again and again without any other technical explanations because ‘aiki 'is ‘too precious' to be openly discussed.


Let's go back to the real world again. I have posted quite a lot of research regarding Ueshiba's aiki, what shape it took, what skills he had, what his students thought, etc. Openly discussed. Chris Li has posted a blog detailing translations of Ueshiba's words about aiki. Openly discussed. Rob John posted technical details on exercises of the Aunkai. I have posted technical details on exercises. Openly discussed here on Aikiweb. Dan Harden has. Mike Sigman has. All openly discussed. There are multiple threads where people have gone to a "vetted" IP/aiki seminar, come back to Aikiweb, and outright stated, they were wrong! Openly discussed. There goes your "example".


That's why, less and less ancient members post here, myself included. That's why you had to create the special columns where ANY discussion is forbidden. That's why there are less and less new ideas that come from actual physical practice (IS/IP team doesn't practice aikido at all! because it contradicts aiki development…).

I understand you well and myself like a lot the diversity of opinions. However if small minority destroys whole forum, it is time to have new rules, and those who break them, should be removed from forum.
Only then the real interaction can be slowly rebuilt, as more and more ppl will not be afraid being ridiculed by IS/IP fanatics.

Actually, if we go by your post, you've pretty much attacked personalities, drawn conclusions from how you "feel" things have gone, rather than the reality of it, and are trying to portray the IP/aiki people as being bad for the forum. In reality, it's nowhere near that.

In fact, it's a small group of vocal people who are anti-IP/aiki who attack personalities (in fact, you did just that, in general, in your post), use word play, cherry pick quotes, and just generally complain without any foundational basis except everyone's opinion should be valid (except the IP/aiki people because they're trouble makers).

akiy
01-03-2013, 11:54 AM
I agree with Chris Li that it is mainly new information that fuels online community discussion, and add that it motivates people to meet up for more community and discussion.
Quickly again, as I need to get back to work -- I agree with you and Chris as well, that new information is important to have in a discussion forum.

That said -- no, I don't think there is any kind of blame being placed towards the internal training discussions due to a dearth of other topics to talk about; I think there are other dynamics at play which make it difficult to continue a fruitful discussion (which, again, I will address in the near future).

I, too, know that there are many folks out there who are researching, exploring, and experiencing much within the aikido world, and I would very much like to support their inclusion and acceptance here on AikiWeb.

-- Jun

aikishihan
01-03-2013, 12:10 PM
Greetings Jun, and a Happy New Year to all worthy participants on Aiki Web.

I am in fundamental agreement with your purpose of having Aiki Web primarily as “a place to have meaningful interactions with others in the Aikido world”. This cannot happily occur when disrespectful rhetoric, demeaning dialogue, superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation, and when disgusting “bully pulpit” tactics are employed to intimidate or otherwise dissuade well meaning people from freely and comfortably exchanging views on what they perceive as their practice, and their valid interpretation of O Sensei’s Aikido. Where does it say that you must be famous, have a fearsome persona, or have a genuine pedigree to participate?

I have said before that “love is high maintenance”, and if we want to keep Jun’s Forum vibrantly alive with quality articles from enthusiastic and mutually respectful contributors, who readily commit to maintaining proper decorum, and who fully appreciate the reason for agreed upon boundaries. These people have a proven track record for staying focused on exchanging viewpoints rather than dogma, allowing us to return to what Jun has originally envisioned, and to what the original group of contributors signed on for. When this happens, I fully intend to participate once again.

In professional sales, there is a profound saying that “people don’t care that you know, until they know that you care.” When kind consideration for the rights and feelings of others guide the discourse, more people of good will will want to join in. Such an inviting atmosphere once existed here, and can once again.

Jun is correct in advising those who want to make a name for themselves by vigorously and unashamedly promoting their narrow agendas, to take their shtick elsewhere, thereby honoring what Jun wants for his Forum. It is, after all, his Forum, with us as lucky passengers and privileged guests along for the ride. I, for one, will fully support any and all actions taken to ensure a return to decency, compassion and simple good manners in our contributions. A primary ethic in martial arts is “Reigi Sa Ho”. You are identified and categorized by how close you perform to this standard. It is a true shame that many of those who count their martial arts experience in years and decades, fail miserably in this light. It is an easy standard to maintain, if you so choose.

Lastly, I just do not understand this debate about “new information” vs. ideas presented in the past, and so archived. I hear people discuss constantly things like “what a nice thing to say”, “Gee, the view from Haleakala is breathtaking”, “we need more statesmen like that one to guide our political fortunes”, “let’s do a fund raiser for major disasters, providing a reserve for the next one”, “proper shisei, proper ma ai and authentic tai sabaki are the goals of our practice”, “let’s all resolve to watch our tonality, our choice of words and be more respectful”, etc etc etc… These are always good to hear, to repeat and to share. Good thoughts, fundamental understanding, and time tested truths never really get old. Like the “classics” of yesteryear, they improve with the retelling . Really, there is nothing “new” under our sun, but we can always come up with new and fresh ways of reminding ourselves. If any reader feels upset or disenchanted with ”old stuff”, move on to the next post, or simply maintain welcome silence and patience. After all, it is new stuff for newbies, oldies and veterans alike when it serves as welcome reminders of what has proven to be truthful and genuine.

Conrad Gus
01-03-2013, 12:48 PM
Greetings Jun, and a Happy New Year to all worthy participants on Aiki Web.

I am in fundamental agreement with your purpose of having Aiki Web primarily as “a place to have meaningful interactions with others in the Aikido world”. This cannot happily occur when disrespectful rhetoric, demeaning dialogue, superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation, and when disgusting “bully pulpit” tactics are employed to intimidate or otherwise dissuade well meaning people from freely and comfortably exchanging views on what they perceive as their practice, and their valid interpretation of O Sensei’s Aikido. Where does it say that you must be famous, have a fearsome persona, or have a genuine pedigree to participate?

I have said before that “love is high maintenance”, and if we want to keep Jun’s Forum vibrantly alive with quality articles from enthusiastic and mutually respectful contributors, who readily commit to maintaining proper decorum, and who fully appreciate the reason for agreed upon boundaries. These people have a proven track record for staying focused on exchanging viewpoints rather than dogma, allowing us to return to what Jun has originally envisioned, and to what the original group of contributors signed on for. When this happens, I fully intend to participate once again.

In professional sales, there is a profound saying that “people don’t care that you know, until they know that you care.” When kind consideration for the rights and feelings of others guide the discourse, more people of good will will want to join in. Such an inviting atmosphere once existed here, and can once again.

Jun is correct in advising those who want to make a name for themselves by vigorously and unashamedly promoting their narrow agendas, to take their shtick elsewhere, thereby honoring what Jun wants for his Forum. It is, after all, his Forum, with us as lucky passengers and privileged guests along for the ride. I, for one, will fully support any and all actions taken to ensure a return to decency, compassion and simple good manners in our contributions. A primary ethic in martial arts is “Reigi Sa Ho”. You are identified and categorized by how close you perform to this standard. It is a true shame that many of those who count their martial arts experience in years and decades, fail miserably in this light. It is an easy standard to maintain, if you so choose.

Lastly, I just do not understand this debate about “new information” vs. ideas presented in the past, and so archived. I hear people discuss constantly things like “what a nice thing to say”, “Gee, the view from Haleakala is breathtaking”, “we need more statesmen like that one to guide our political fortunes”, “let’s do a fund raiser for major disasters, providing a reserve for the next one”, “proper shisei, proper ma ai and authentic tai sabaki are the goals of our practice”, “let’s all resolve to watch our tonality, our choice of words and be more respectful”, etc etc etc… These are always good to hear, to repeat and to share. Good thoughts, fundamental understanding, and time tested truths never really get old. Like the “classics” of yesteryear, they improve with the retelling . Really, there is nothing “new” under our sun, but we can always come up with new and fresh ways of reminding ourselves. If any reader feels upset or disenchanted with ”old stuff”, move on to the next post, or simply maintain welcome silence and patience. After all, it is new stuff for newbies, oldies and veterans alike when it serves as welcome reminders of what has proven to be truthful and genuine.

Seconded!

When I started participating on AikiWeb, it was primarily to get information (because aikido was new to me). I think Chris is right that AikiWeb has such a rich history of threads that it is not usually necessary any more to post a question to get specific "information", but I can't believe that it's all been said before.

AikiWeb is especially interesting as a community -- finding out what's going on, what people are thinking about, how people are training. I love the articles, the "It Had to be Felt" threads, etc. I've connected with interesting people over the years and received gems of wisdom over PM from people I respect as teachers, even though I've never met them. I've helped beginners with simple questions that are relevant to them at the time (but would not interest the average experienced practitioner). All of this is dependent on people feeling comfortable enough to "put themselves out there" by posting something original.

I really like the fact that AikiWeb is non-profit and non-agenda. People with differences of opinion can openly disagree without being shut down by an angry mob or zealous moderator. I know this is the original vision and much effort has gone into trying to protect it. I think there is a critical mass of people on this forum that share this vision.

There are improvements that can (and will) be made, and it may be true that some people are no longer interested or would rather go elsewhere for an aikido community online. None of that makes the negative overall assessment of the OP true. For anyone who is bored or frustrated with the forums, there are two good choices: stop paying attention or become a part of the solution.

Finally, while I don't agree with most of the opinions of those sharing the "IP" perspective, I think it is a perfectly valid topic for conversation as long as the participators uphold the community standards, which have been stated clearly and often and are completely reasonable.

Conrad

MM
01-03-2013, 12:51 PM
Greetings Jun, and a Happy New Year to all worthy participants on Aiki Web.

I am in fundamental agreement with your purpose of having Aiki Web primarily as "a place to have meaningful interactions with others in the Aikido world". This cannot happily occur when disrespectful rhetoric, demeaning dialogue, superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation, and when disgusting "bully pulpit" tactics are employed to intimidate or otherwise dissuade well meaning people from freely and comfortably exchanging views on what they perceive as their practice, and their valid interpretation of O Sensei's Aikido. Where does it say that you must be famous, have a fearsome persona, or have a genuine pedigree to participate?


I'm not sure I follow. Could you please provide examples of people who have "disrespectful rhetoric", "demeaning dialogue", and "superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation"?

Could you also show when "disgusting "bully pulpit" tactics are employed to intimidate or otherwise dissuade well meaning people from freely and comfortably exchanging views on what they perceive as their practice, and their valid interpretation of O Sensei's Aikido"?

Are you stating that there are people on Aikiweb who are disrespectful, demeaning, and use disgusting tactics? And you're saying Jun has allowed them to stay? Could you please provide names so that Jun may address these issues?


I have said before that "love is high maintenance", and if we want to keep Jun's Forum vibrantly alive with quality articles from enthusiastic and mutually respectful contributors, who readily commit to maintaining proper decorum, and who fully appreciate the reason for agreed upon boundaries. These people have a proven track record for staying focused on exchanging viewpoints rather than dogma, allowing us to return to what Jun has originally envisioned, and to what the original group of contributors signed on for. When this happens, I fully intend to participate once again.


Your post sounds as if you think the IP/aiki "crowd"/"group"/whatever are not maintaining proper decorum, not exchanging viewpoints, are not respectful and do not contribute quality posts. This taken with the first paragraph seems to point to a rather harsh and uncivil passive aggressive attack on the IP/aiki people's personalities.

I'm sure that I must have this wrong. Could you please elaborate and provide names of these people who are not maintaining proper decorum, not exchanging viewpoints, are not respectful and do not contribute quality posts? I'm positive Jun would have a private chat with them to correct the situation.


In professional sales, there is a profound saying that "people don't care that you know, until they know that you care." When kind consideration for the rights and feelings of others guide the discourse, more people of good will will want to join in. Such an inviting atmosphere once existed here, and can once again.

Jun is correct in advising those who want to make a name for themselves by vigorously and unashamedly promoting their narrow agendas, to take their shtick elsewhere, thereby honoring what Jun wants for his Forum. It is, after all, his Forum, with us as lucky passengers and privileged guests along for the ride. I, for one, will fully support any and all actions taken to ensure a return to decency, compassion and simple good manners in our contributions. A primary ethic in martial arts is "Reigi Sa Ho". You are identified and categorized by how close you perform to this standard. It is a true shame that many of those who count their martial arts experience in years and decades, fail miserably in this light. It is an easy standard to maintain, if you so choose.


"Reigi Sa Ho". Sorry, I'm not Japanese. I'm a simple man from West Virginia, but it seems to me that your post up to this point has been to unabashedly disrespect a group of people on Aikiweb. You have called into question people's characters throughout your entire post, yet failed to actually name anyone. To be certain, however, they are here on Aikiweb now.

"Reigi Sa Ho. You are identified and categorized by how close you perform to this standard. It is a true shame that many of those who count their martial arts experience in years and decades, fail miserably in this light. It is an easy standard to maintain, if you so choose." I think people can see the truth behind your words.

Conrad Gus
01-03-2013, 01:02 PM
I have another point to add to this discussion.

Recently I joined a private forum relating to martial arts practice. It is very small and very well moderated (people that don't "get" the community standards don't last very long). The quality of the submissions is high, and people feel safe posting. It has a more focussed and serious feel to it. It is not searchable by google. The subject matter is very specific.

Would AikiWeb benefit from becoming more private or more aggressively moderated? I don't know, but I suspect that Jun has always allowed the community to develop organically rather than in an overly-engineered fashion. Also, "aikido" as a subject is incredibly large and draws people from vastly different backgrounds, so it seems to work as a public place. AikiWeb has always been inclusive rather than exclusive. This seems to be intentional, and I still think it is a good choice (albeit a choice that comes with certain challenges).

Conrad

akiy
01-03-2013, 01:10 PM
Mark,

Just a quick note to say that I don't see anywhere in Francis's post that points his finger towards the internal training folks. For the record, I'll say that I wholeheartedly agree with everything that Francis wrote.

Again, I will be posting my own thoughts regarding this matter in the near future.

-- Jun

gregstec
01-03-2013, 03:39 PM
As far as the issue of ¡Ætone¡Ç is concerned, I am sure I have been guilty of wrong ¡Ætone¡Ç at times - on those occasions, it was not my intention to come across that way and I apologize if I offended or caused anyone any grief over it.

However, as a martial artist, when pushed, I push back, and the issue of disrespectful tone cuts both ways - as I see it, there has been bad ¡Ætone¡Ç from more than just the IP/IS people. As I mentioned in another post, I have no problem with folks not seeing Aiki the way I do, but when Aiki is being discussed, I will present my view on it so others know there is more out there about Aiki than what other Aikido folks are presenting.

In reading the ¡Ætone¡Ç from some posts in this thread, I get the feeling some folks would like to have the IP/IS people banned from the site and/or restricted in some fashion - I see this type of mindset akin to censorship and similar to how the Romans viewed the Christians as a threat to their core beliefs.

I agree we all need to get along and discuss things with respect for each other - I think people on both sides of any issue should not take things as a personal attack just because someone diagrees with their beliefs - to really have a fruitful discussion, you have to have diverse views to discuss - if we all thought the same thing, there would be no need for discussion and we all could be very content just keeping our respective heads buried in the sand :)

Greg

bkedelen
01-03-2013, 04:04 PM
I'm not sure I follow. Could you please provide examples of people who have "disrespectful rhetoric", "demeaning dialogue", and "superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation"?

Such an elegant and holographic way to demonstrate why this venue is so efficient at evaporating enthusiasm for Aikido.

MM
01-03-2013, 06:27 PM
Such an elegant and holographic way to demonstrate why this venue is so efficient at evaporating enthusiasm for Aikido.

Please clarify. You agree with the character assassination done by Francis Takahashi? Or don't like me calling him on it? He stated there were people who were demeaning, etc, etc who forced him to step back from Aikiweb. Until they are forced to be "good", he won't return. Obviously he means people here now. So, I would like to know who these low life's are that he has painted as disrespectful, demeaning, and use disgusting tactics. He used those words to attack someone or someone's character. I think since he brought it up, he should explain who these people are.

Everyone says they want peaceful conversations ... Funny how it's okay to portray current Aikiweb members as demeaning, disgusting, etc and be held up on a pedestal for it - all the while calling for reigi sa ho.

And Jun wholeheartedly agrees... *sigh*

Conrad Gus
01-03-2013, 07:13 PM
Please clarify. You agree with the character assassination done by Francis Takahashi? Or don't like me calling him on it? He stated there were people who were demeaning, etc, etc who forced him to step back from Aikiweb. Until they are forced to be "good", he won't return. Obviously he means people here now. So, I would like to know who these low life's are that he has painted as disrespectful, demeaning, and use disgusting tactics. He used those words to attack someone or someone's character. I think since he brought it up, he should explain who these people are.

Everyone says they want peaceful conversations ... Funny how it's okay to portray current Aikiweb members as demeaning, disgusting, etc and be held up on a pedestal for it - all the while calling for reigi sa ho.

And Jun wholeheartedly agrees... *sigh*

I thought it was pretty obvious that Takahashi Sensei means anyone who exhibits the kind of behavior he was pointing out. He didn't name names or pick out groups, because the comment was meant to apply generally to both past and future discussions.

Of course anyone could, if they wanted to, go back to previous threads and find any number of obvious examples. Everything is archived, so there is nothing for the perpetrators to hide behind.

Incidentally, Takahashi Sensei used the words "disrespectful rhetoric, demeaning dialogue", which doesn't equate to calling people "lowlife". By carelessly twisting his words you are providing an example of what he is talking about. Let's just avoid doing that to each other.

Conrad

mathewjgano
01-04-2013, 12:45 AM
As far as the issue of ¡Ætone¡Ç is concerned, I am sure I have been guilty of wrong ¡Ætone¡Ç at times - on those occasions, it was not my intention to come across that way and I apologize if I offended or caused anyone any grief over it.

However, as a martial artist, when pushed, I push back, and the issue of disrespectful tone cuts both ways - as I see it, there has been bad ¡Ætone¡Ç from more than just the IP/IS people.

This is an example I think ought be held up. I think many, if not most, of us could say the exact same words. I think part of it has to do with the fact that this is a forum of martial artists and that many martial artists are more likely to push back when a push is perceived. I'd say most people do this, but I would imagine martial artists do it more...that's my assumption though.

In reading the ¡Ætone¡Ç from some posts in this thread, I get the feeling some folks would like to have the IP/IS people banned from the site and/or restricted in some fashion
I think it's clear many people are tired of the IP crowd and that frustration comes through, but I do not get that feeling from Takahashi sensei's post. In fact I started to think of several past non-IP people as I was reading it...I don't think the point was to point fingers at groups of people so much as to point at sets of behavior...behavior we all can stand to reflect upon; let's assume the best in each other; I'm sure the tone will reflect it more.
That all said, I think there are plenty of people who would be willing to engage a chat forum like this. I know of a handful of people who dislike the tone, not the medium. I also think it's hard for people to put their names out in the open like this; I know I am one of them and I regularly feel self-conscious and foolish after having posted something. I've been misread and I've misspoken, both felt very uncomfortable. Now, I have my own issues with putting my name on things, but as has been expressed by Nicholas, others have their own version too. I like the fact that people have to stand by their remarks, particularly given the fact that there is an anonymous part of the forum, but maybe an expansion of that part would help promote the flow of communication. Of course the estabished code of conduct should still stand, and being that this is a free, privately owned forum, it should be dictated by Jun.
I think there are a number of issues at play in a forum like this, not the least of which is that "new" folks like me have equal footing with people who have dedicated considerable time to knowing what they're talking about. It's not going to be pretty on the whole, but, like Takahashi sensei described, those welcome reminders "we" already know about can go a long was to refreshing and deepening the community we essentially are.
...quite like life in general, really.
Now off to do suburi in the rain!:D Thank you to the many AikiWeb folks who have served as inspiration in helping me to renew my own training...slow though I may still be with that.
Sincerely,
Matthew

phitruong
01-04-2013, 10:16 AM
I think part of it has to do with the fact that this is a forum of martial artists and that many martial artists are more likely to push back when a push is perceived. I'd say most people do this, but I would imagine martial artists do it more...that's my assumption though.


i thought O Sensei said to turn when push and to enter when pull. don't remember he said anything about push back. are we suck at learning aikido lesson or what? :)


I also think it's hard for people to put their names out in the open like this; I know I am one of them and I regularly feel self-conscious and foolish after having posted something. I've been misread and I've misspoken, both felt very uncomfortable. Now, I have my own issues with putting my name on things, but as has been expressed by Nicholas, others have their own version too.


if you are uncomfortable with putting your name out, i am willing to offer my service of putting your name on everyone of my post. i'd do it for free even. offer to everyone else too. :D


Now off to do suburi in the rain!:D
Matthew

don't you know it dangerous to do suburi in the rain? your grips might slip and you will be practicing the advance sword sailing technique, which only worked if you are doing kungfu movie and running on top of bambo. that's why when it rains, i break out the IP Man movies, then move on to the 13 assasins, then princess bride, and end with die hard (would he just die already!) or might even end with scary movies.

hmmm so what are we talking about here? i thought we suppose to practice shoshin on here as well. not the case? incidentally, or accidentally, myshin is killing me for walking into the coffee table!

akiy
01-04-2013, 10:52 AM
i thought O Sensei said to turn when push and to enter when pull. don't remember he said anything about push back. are we suck at learning aikido lesson or what? :)
I think you wrote this semi-facetiously, Phi, but this reminds me of a story that George Leonard told. During his many workshops on aikido and leadership trainings, George would ask attendees what they would do if they were pushed; the answer he got, pretty much invariably, was "push back." He went on to say that the point of aikido and budo training was to get away from such pre-conditioned responses so that we could create a culture that promoted a different way of resolving things -- hopefully, with a result that's better than it was when the conflict emerged.

Frankly, that's the kind of interactions I would like to see here on AikiWeb -- a dissolution of conflict that takes the discussion to a better place -- rather than into a fibonacci escalation of unfortunate rhetoric. Again, this isn't to say that we can't disagree and be passionate about our disagreements, but to diminish the amount of entrenchment of our calcanei into the granular mineral materials and speak more amenably to each other.

Thanks,

-- Jun

Krystal Locke
01-04-2013, 12:51 PM
I think you wrote this semi-facetiously, Phi, but this reminds me of a story that George Leonard told. During his many workshops on aikido and leadership trainings, George would ask attendees what they would do if they were pushed; the answer he got, pretty much invariably, was "push back." He went on to say that the point of aikido and budo training was to get away from such pre-conditioned responses so that we could create a culture that promoted a different way of resolving things -- hopefully, with a result that's better than it was when the conflict emerged.

Frankly, that's the kind of interactions I would like to see here on AikiWeb -- a dissolution of conflict that takes the discussion to a better place -- rather than into a fibonacci escalation of unfortunate rhetoric. Again, this isn't to say that we can't disagree and be passionate about our disagreements, but to diminish the amount of entrenchment of our calcanei into the granular mineral materials and speak more amenably to each other.

Thanks,

-- Jun

Jun, can you explain "fibonacci escalation of unfortunate rhetoric." I'm a big fan of Fibonacci. Are you saying that the conversations seem to go south particularly quickly? I'd go with a factorial progression in that case, but I'm a geek.

akiy
01-04-2013, 01:03 PM
Jun, can you explain "fibonacci escalation of unfortunate rhetoric." I'm a big fan of Fibonacci. Are you saying that the conversations seem to go south particularly quickly?
Yup, pretty much. :)

I'd go with a factorial progression in that case, but I'm a geek.
I like rabbits. (And turtles.)

-- Jun

Cady Goldfield
01-04-2013, 01:19 PM
Well hey, humanity is messy. We have developed a veneer of civility to mask our core animal instincts, and sometimes in the heat of combat...er... conversation that veneer gets boiled off.

Maybe we should look at AikiWeb as a place to practice and train our abilities to control emotions and apply the principles and values we hold so dear in civilized life. If that only means writing a heated reply offline first and reading it a few dozen times and editing it appropriately as we cool down, before posting, that will go a long way toward keeping the tone and 'tude at the right pitch.

akiy
01-04-2013, 01:26 PM
Maybe we should look at AikiWeb as a place to practice and train our abilities to control emotions and apply the principles and values we hold so dear in civilized life. If that only means writing a heated reply offline first and reading it a few dozen times and editing it appropriately as we cool down, before posting, that will go a long way toward keeping the tone and 'tude at the right pitch.
Yes, please. Thank you.

-- Jun

Krystal Locke
01-04-2013, 01:33 PM
Yup, pretty much. :)

I like rabbits. (And turtles.)

-- Jun

Pie. Yes, also pi, but pie. Sunflowers are beautiful.

Janet Rosen
01-04-2013, 05:52 PM
Maybe we should look at AikiWeb as a place to practice and train our abilities to control emotions and apply the principles and values we hold so dear in civilized life. If that only means writing a heated reply offline first and reading it a few dozen times and editing it appropriately as we cool down, before posting, that will go a long way toward keeping the tone and 'tude at the right pitch.

That's how I treat aikiweb, as my online dojo, not to "control emotions" per se as I believe the ideas of fighting or controlling emotions, or pain, or stress, or people lead us in the wrong direction, but yes as a place to not only think about things and hopefully learn things and have my mind opened and changed but also as a place just like the dojo where I am working on improving what in myself needs improving.

Mert Gambito
01-05-2013, 03:42 PM
Like others, I'm grateful for the role AikiWeb's played in furthering my growth as a martial artist by facilitating connections to people with a passion to teach and study the internal aspects of the martial arts, and I'm happy this online community has offered this and other value to me for approximately a decade (I recall reading this article (http://www.aikiweb.com/interviews/pranin0800.html), for example, awhile ago, and it helped fuel my interest in exploring and understanding the Daito-ryu roots of my own art).

Ultimately, this is Jun's site, and I wish him well in taking whatever measures he feels are needed to steer this site in the direction he feels it needs to go. It's his baby, and as a parent, I can relate -- and I'm sure many others can as well for the same reason.

That said, specific to the issue of IP/IS discussions contributing to a tone that Jun and others seek to have toned down, if not eliminated: IP/IS is about being elite, about being better than everyone else through developing and using a body different than others have, and there's no sugar-coating that -- so I, for one, don't expect everyone to congenially discuss this topic, ever.

People have, and will continue to search out a venue where the IP/IS/aiki wars can be zealously waged, whether here or elsewhere, because the topic is inherently that compelling, polarizing and significant. Maybe, in due time, a public forum catering to IP/IS proponents, regardless of style/system affiliation, will surface where cyber-bloodletting is expected and could find its natural equilibrium point relative to what the members of that community could tolerate. Regardless, these discussions, on AikiWeb as the current venue of choice, provide a means of introduction to the most valuable work being done in the martial arts, at the individual and group level, worldwide today. It will be fun reading these archived threads a decade from now. . . .

ChrisHein
01-05-2013, 04:08 PM
I'm glad we're talking about this.