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Dan Richards
09-19-2014, 11:18 AM
I'm taking the "third wave" expression and some of the concepts and principles from the idea of "Third Wave Coffee." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Wave_Coffee

The entry, timeline, spread and growth of coffee very much mirrors that of Aikido.

In one way, Third Wave Aikido would be a return to the original principles found in Aikido and other martial arts, but in another way, it would be a forward movement. And instead of spending so much time looking back into history, we focus more on the current time as well as moving forward towards a progressive evolution.

I'd like to get some input and take this discussion in two directions:

1. What do we have at our disposal today that we can use to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?

2. What, within the current state of Aikido - including methods, practices, organizations, etc., is not working? Let's look at the crap and get rid of it.

The aim of this discussion, and the idea of Third Wave Aikido, is the moving away from the Folgers and Starbucks level of Aikido practice and move into a level of quality we're seeing arise in other industries that are using the highest quality principles, practices, methods, technologies, and communication to further the overall level of experience for everyone involved.

Cheers...

Dan Richards
09-19-2014, 11:34 AM
One area that could be impeding the quality of Aikido is ranking.

Here's an interview with Yamada, in which he states:
http://www.aikido-yamada.eu/index.php/sensei/interview/

Well, the ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. People know who is good and who is bad. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind, because people judge others – “oh, he is sixth dan, but he is not good, this guy is much better…” It is very difficult to judge in aikido. It all depends on how the examiner interprets aikido. Again the good things about aikido – flexibility and individuality – are also a problem because there is no standard of judging tests. In judo it is very different; if you don’t win, you don’t get a rank.

And more on rank at "Something's Rank..."
http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/somethings-rank-black-belts-aikido/

CorkyQ
09-19-2014, 12:08 PM
Thanks for starting this conversation, Dan.

I am in agreement with the statements of Yamada Sensei as quoted as the ranking within the aikido community is arbitrary at best.

In my experience however, the biggest deterrent to progress in the art of aikido is the technique emulation model of teaching the art. I believe that the Founder has said that takemusu aiki is the highest form of aikido and that it is without form and outside of technique. Therefore it makes little sense to me to look to form in order to get to something formless.

Techniques are complex chains of elemental movements, and in order to learn such movements collusive ukemi is required. For the past ten years I have been developing a teaching model that only trains the elemental movements of aikido so that they may be combined into compounds that are more in alignment with the energy being expressed by uke in the moment of the attack. I have not taught a technique (as defined in the aikido world) in over ten years, yet my students have attained a higher level of understanding of the principles of aiki within a year or two than I had come to understand in ten to twenty years of training in the technique emulation model.

As a further benefit, teaching and learning without techniques as we know them requires a more thorough understanding of the nature of true attack. The collusive ukemi required for learning "traditional" techniques often calls for force to be applied to uke to produce the result the technique calls for. By learning to offer the partner authentic attack intention (without the intensity of a deadly attack for safety) requires nage/tori to truly harmonize or else there will be no aiki resolution (what we call a fall/throw).

Through this kind of practice we are more able to discover as aikidoka how our own actions and intentions affect the attack and the attacker either causing them to shift to defense or change their attack. In observing how our intentions are out of harmony with the intention to connect expressed by the attacker, we come to discover how our fears on an unconscious level, create the opposition to aiki. This attribute of our practice makes the adage masakatsu agatsu its operating principle, because no one will go to the mat unless we transcend our lower brain responses and come from a place of beneficent intention. In this way we feel we are best learning to express the purpose of aikido as we understand it - to unify with our partners so that we can truly make the world one family.

Thank you for this discussion.

kewms
09-19-2014, 12:45 PM
The aim of this discussion, and the idea of Third Wave Aikido, is the moving away from the Folgers and Starbucks level of Aikido practice and move into a level of quality we're seeing arise in other industries that are using the highest quality principles, practices, methods, technologies, and communication to further the overall level of experience for everyone involved.

But what does that actually mean? What would "higher quality" aikido look like? In what concrete ways would it differ from "current" aikido? -- keeping in mind that no one seems able to agree on what "current" aikido even is.

Revolutionaries without goals are just anarchists.

Katherine

RonRagusa
09-19-2014, 01:19 PM
What would "higher quality" aikido look like? In what concrete ways would it differ from "current" aikido? -- keeping in mind that no one seems able to agree on what "current" aikido even is.

And therein lies the rub. Aikido, for better or worse, is no longer a single thing. Aikido has become a network with many nodes interconnected by principles that are relatively invariant and lineage that traces back to O Sensei. Third Wave Aikido is another attempt at standardization which will appeal to some, perhaps many, but will eventually be assimilated by the network.

Aikido is kind of like the Borg; "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated". :)

Ron

dps
09-19-2014, 01:48 PM
But we already have Intelligentsia Aikido, Stumptown Aikido and Counter Culture Aikido.

dps

Cliff Judge
09-19-2014, 02:13 PM
Lose the hakama, dogi, all Japanese cultural trappings, obviously.

Keep the beer.

But we need a better sound track. Black Metal. Up to 11, every class.

And...is it just me? All of this talk in other threads of in yo ho. It's time for some FRO YO HO, amirite?

Dan Richards
09-21-2014, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the contributions so far. Keep 'em coming.

There's an emerging consensus on ranking and teaching methodology as an impediment. And also on students being trained much more quickly to more advanced levels.

In the topic, Perhaps the tide is changing (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22197&page=3) George Ledyard posted:
If I were to be left completely to my own devices, I would have the student do static technique, and basic connection exercises of the type one would do with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei (or any of the internal power teachers) and spend 3 - 5 years getting the body / mind properly programmed. Than I'd start doing more technique in a dynamic fashion. I would not have the student do anything resembling what folks often refer to as "resistant" training until they had been training this way for 5 years or so. I would also teach the ukes to attack using the same principles used by the nage. Right now we have one person attempting to do very sophisticated technique against an attacker who is totally remedial.

I think at the end of 8 to 10 yrs of training properly, we could end up with someone who currently operates at a fairly high Dan rank. In other words, after 8 - 10 years of training we would have someone who functions at or better than what passes for 6th dan at this point.

Dan Richards
09-21-2014, 09:11 AM
In a recent interview with Yoko Okamoto (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/interviews/interview-with-okamoto-yoko-shihan) she stated:
In Japan, Budo Dojo have a very old-fashioned image. However, if we are to survive, we must appeal to the new generation. The art of Tea Ceremony and Kabuki for example, try to do the same. We must manage to reach out to the new generation without losing the important aspects of our art.

Personally, I want to update the old-fashioned image of Budo, without losing the essence. It has to stay a Budo, which means that it must retain some discipline and an intense dedication to training.

There is also the graph from Google Trends on Aikido over the last 10 years, showing the steady and rapid decline in interest.
http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=aikido&cmpt=q

Carsten Möllering
09-21-2014, 10:50 AM
Why???

CorkyQ
09-21-2014, 02:03 PM
Dan, I find that my own views are congruent with Ledyard Sensei's views on this, particularly in the nature of ukemi that is effective for aikido training. While it seems natural to focus on the part we want to learn (aikido), it makes more sense to begin with an understanding of the nature of what gives aikido purpose - attack. Without attack, aikido is irrelevant as the practice Osensei founded.

I begin teaching students a kata of ukemi, rather than techniques of aikido on which most dojos focus and the way I was instructed. By having students learn how and why an attack on an aikido practitioner results in a throw based on the energy of the attack as it arises for the purpose of imposed connection to the central core of the target, they come from a more solid foundation in understanding how the movements of aikido facilitate the resolution without the force and coercion often seen in the application of aikido techniques. I call this teaching/learning model Aiki-Lab because it is largely a self-guided system, supporting the idea put forward by the late Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan that takemusu aiki is readily available for anyone with having to learn techniques, and that with an understanding of the principles of aiki, is learnable without a teacher.

I call the ukemi forms "stretches" for particular practical reasons. First so that they cultivate the feeling of how authentic attack energy must exit the body to be effective and how when the target (nage) moves properly, the attacker will naturally remain in an unbalanced state. When they then learn the elemental movements of aikido, which I hold are very simple and few, they can see how these movements provide for the safety of all by the ma'ai created, and also how the support they are then giving to their attacking partner keeps the attacker's system from registering the lack of balance so that the attack trajectory can manifest without the limbic system of the attacker being triggered to cease or alter the attack. Because of the supporting nature of the aikido part, I call the accompanying movement a "spot."

The word "spot" in this context means the same as it does in weight-lifting or gymnastics. It means to offer support to a partner, that is to be involved with what the partner is doing without interfering. By using the words "stretch" and "spot" rather than "attack" and defense" it first diminishes the effect of limbic triggers in the lower brain of the aikidoist, because the very notion of attack creates the perception of threat, where the viewpoint that someone is doing a stretching exercise that one intends to support for the safety of the person stretching allows a more relaxed approach and opens the brain transcend to higher consciousness functions. I have found in my practice that the ability to transcend nervous system responses to the perception of threat allow for the manifestation of ki no nagare in a way that transforms the intention of the attacker.

As a teaching aid I created a movement chart based on the ways attacks manifest and the intention behind them, then paired them with sets of elemental movements in various combinations so that students get a chance to experience both how attacks are expressed in a meaningful way, and how the elemental movements they are learning as aikido (mostly ways of turning center to keep the flow of the attack a spiral that will inevitably be grounded) facilitate the support uke needs to not catch himself from falling or to abandon the attack because of resistance and seek the connection in a different attack.

The movement set chart is here: http://www.westlosangelesaikido.com/Movement%20Set%20Comparison%20Chart.html

by clicking on the name of the stretch you will be taken to a page which shows each stretch from various angles including overhead, each initial spot to train the elemental movements that harmonize most readily from particular attack intentions, and then a video with the stretch and the spot combined to see how the movement align in harmony from the attack rather than aikido being something that is about forcing the attacker into a technique which may or may not be in harmony with the attack. Though I have chosen the 16 movement sets illustrated there, any "traditional" aikido technique can be dissected to expose the components of each.

In the Aiki-Lab system these initial sets of movements are not trained past their initial value as elemental movements by intermediate training in which the stretches are investigated as to how they can spontaneously change at various points in the expression of an attack. At this point students can see that it is not the technique they are learning but how the elemental movement training allows them to flow in harmony with the attack no matter how it changes. They quickly see early on (within the first six months of training) that it is the nature of the relationship between themselves and their partners, the connection we would say, that makes all the difference. They also see right away that what they are really training to do is to transcend their own fears in order to come from a place of beneficent intention. They can not help but notice then how smoothly aikido manifests when they are simply helping their partner's insistent move toward the mat while insuring the partner's safety and security during the action.

This demonstrates to each student at the earliest stages of training the literal truth of the idea that in its highest form aikido really is "the loving protection of all things." Better, rather than this demonstration be of a teacher showing the student, it is proof they experience in every interaction on the mat.

All advanced practice in the Aiki-Lab system is from random attacks, all of which are informed by authentic attack intention without the intensity that makes a true attack deadly. In that way we can as training partners give our partner enough energy, properly applied, for aikido to manifest, without triggering the fear that if something goes wrong someone will be injured. This takes the collusiveness that was inherent in the aikido training most of us have experienced out of the situation. It also insures that things Nage does that are not truly in harmony with the attack do not falsely create positive reinforcement for those errors, because uke will never go to the mat unless aiki has been created.

lbb
09-22-2014, 08:09 AM
There's an emerging consensus on ranking and teaching methodology as an impediment.
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence)

Keith Larman
09-22-2014, 08:37 AM
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence)

I very recently had someone tell me on a very similar topic that "there's a growing consensus among my colleagues who agree with me."

Um, yeah, okay...

Carry on...

Erick Mead
09-22-2014, 09:11 AM
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence) heh. Einstein's relativity was attacked by the luminaries of the day in a collection of critical essays: Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein) (Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein),).

Einstein retorted by saying "Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!"

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 11:17 AM
Mary, perhaps "consensus" wasn't the correct word. It would have read better as "an emerging trend..." I don't have a dog in any fight. Just a coffee on the table. And I love dogs. They're welcome to hang out.

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 11:20 AM
I'm not making any declaration here. I'm making observations that are already occurring, and I'm interested in a discussion.

Martial arts are no different than many other areas of endeavour. As societies change and evolve, so do the martial arts of the times. Japanese martial arts, as it turns out, aren't so Japanese after all. And the aspects that would make them Japanese had more to do with the culture and times they were practiced.

Even Mas Oyama, going back 30+ years in one of his karate books showing pictures of his battered hands and fused bones, told people not to train like that any longer.

Times change, and so do martial arts. In my sig I have a constant reminder by Shoji Nishio, "Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn’t newer and stronger, it isn’t valid."

We live in a much safer overall society today. There are much stricter weapons laws, personal assault laws, and self-defense laws. Marc MacYoung (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/) is a good place to start.

We have access to more information than ever before. We can communicate, discuss, and share ideas. Gone is one-to-many communication. We've been in a many-to-many society for nearly 20 years. And this is not only growing, but we're refining it over time. The average person has access to affordable media production and publishing tools.

Martial artists are no longer training in relative isolation, but in an interactive field of more open communication. And this is affecting the development and evolution of martial arts.

And there is a big movement in our society to get back to the "essence" of things, whether it be coffee, beer, wine, food, martial arts, physical culture, individual rights....

Aikido is no different. And many of the so called "traditional" martial arts are not traditional at all, and were, in many cases, slapped together and packaged ad hoc after WWII, and then introduced on a more public scale and to the West as something exotic and ancient and culture/nation-specific. And, in many cases, the teachers sent abroad didn't even have that much experience. Especially with the 4th generation students, who were mostly still in the Shu stage.

On a global level there are more aikidoka and martial artists who are in the Ri stage over the last 10 years. And the Ri stage is not for everyone.

Shu = first wave = martial apprentice
Ha = second wave = martial craftsman
Ri = third wave = martial artist

Of shuhari, Seishiro Endo stated: It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows. In shu, we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forefoxes created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation. Next, in the stage of ha, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded. Finally, in ri, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws.

kewms
09-22-2014, 11:54 AM
On a global level there are more aikidoka and martial artists who are in the Ri stage over the last 10 years. And the Ri stage is not for everyone.


I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.

Katherine

PeterR
09-22-2014, 12:10 PM
I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.

Katherine

There you go - exactly.

90% of American men think they are above average drivers (yes my old canard).

ShuHaRi has always been a dynamic rather than distinct stages but they old Confucian system works best when there is an outside evaluation. Actually an argument for a well structured grading curriculum.

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 12:26 PM
I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.

I would agree, Katherine. And I'd also figure that there are a lot more people who are afraid - or just plain disinterested - to enter it. It's not for everyone.

That doesn't discount that there are still more in the world now than ever before.

dps
09-22-2014, 12:32 PM
I'm not making any declaration here. I'm making observations that are already occurring, and I'm interested in a discussion.

Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective.

dps

CorkyQ
09-22-2014, 12:50 PM
Whether there is a consensus or not, I understand what you mean, Dan.

I have been meeting many individuals from around the world who are looking for progress in aikido, both in their own personal evolution and in the general approach to training they see in their dojos, their dojo's parent organization, and the aikido world in general as presented through the ready access to examples of training and teachings all over the world.

More clearly than ever, we are able to look at our art through many eyes, to see how our fellow aikidoka approach the art. Through the wonder of our state of global communication we can now meet those who find themselves on congruent paths.

Your questions, and your use of the example of Yamada's quote about ranking are clear though there may be fewer individuals who believe that the art of aikido is evolving than you expect. However, the evolution for some is very clear, as well as the direction they evolving toward. The ones I am speaking of specifically, at least the ones who come to mind for me when I ponder your question, seem to me to have certain ideas in common, but then again, I am sure that I am much more cognizant of those who are on a similar path to my own. One example of an evolution in aikido that can be easily charted through records is that of Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. When one looks at early teachings compared to current teaching, it is not difficult to see where aikido has lead him.

Once in a conversation with a protege of Roderick Kobayashi Sensei, this long term deshi told me that Sensei had told him "to take Aikido further" than he had. I asked him how he thought Sensei would have been expressing aikido if he was still alive, and his reply was "He would be getting softer and softer." Clearly this student of a great teacher could see that his teacher saw aikido as an evolutionary process and that he was expecting his students to carry on, not just with what he taught them, but to let the truths of our art expand ever more through their own practice.

In a conversation with Dai Sensei Kanshu Sunadomari, he told me that even at the age of 84 he was still discovering deeper levels of aikido. I took from this conversation that he too saw aikido as an evolutionary process, and in his case it seemed to be what he called "removing animosity" from his heart.

In a conversation with Mary Heiny, she told me that her teacher Hikitsuchi Sensei had told her that we must remove the word nage (as defined as "thrower") from the vernacular.

When I look at the statements above, at least through the filter of my own vision of aikido, I see a definite trend. The way I would categorize this trend, as minimal as it might be when compared to the multitude of approaches to aikido, is that progress in the art could be seen as moving closer to the ideal of aikido being an expression of love.

The things that take aikido out of the "starbucks" dojo and into the realm of experience I would like to share with the Sensei I have referred to above, is that which increase our consciousness of how aikido principles can be utilized to eliminate pain and suffering.

More and more I find myself in contact with others who are increasingly unable to live with the idea that aikido when described as non-violent contains pain compliance techniques and throws that would injure anyone who didn't know how to roll. I see that as evolution.

More and more I find myself in contact with aikidoka who resent their teachers or their dojo's parent organization forbidding them to explore other approaches to aikido outside the organization's or teacher's pedagogy. I see this as an evolution, because fear of dilution of teaching can create stagnation. Teachers who feel that the art is complete have no room for finding the deeper levels Dai Sensei Sudadomari described.

More and more I find myself discovering others in other disciplines and practices who recognize the universal truths common to spiritual evolution and how they create the space for peaceful resolution of conflict.

What makes the idea of evolutionary aikido difficult for some to visualize is that it may be a metamorphosis more than steady, gradual process. Sometimes it is an awakening that precedes the most profound changes. Perhaps this inevitably occurs in individuals more than in the art as an institution. I remember reading an interview with K. Sunadomari speaking of his revelations which was affirming revelations I had then recently received about aikido. Then I looked at the date of the interview - it was conducted several months before I had begun my aikido training more than 25 years earlier!

As for disposing what "doesn't work" while promoting what does in the aikido community at large, it will take a critical mass to affect the paradigm shift that will produce the most profound changes in the art itself as a collective. Though those who are aware of the path of this evolution as suggested by this inquiry are perhaps few in number, in my experience that number is growing. A critical mass is not necessarily a majority, and we could see a sea change in the art at large in a very short amount of time depending on the evolution/metamorphosis of individuals. In that case I imagine the things that work and don't work will sort themselves out.

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 01:00 PM
Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective

David, there have been a number of observations and experiences related by others (Yamada, Okamoto, Ledyard, etc.) cited in this thread. There's even been some hard data presented - if you care to dig in and pull up a chair.

dps
09-22-2014, 01:11 PM
1. What do we have at our disposal today that we can use to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?

2. What, within the current state of Aikido - including methods, practices, organizations, etc., is not working? Let's look at the crap and get rid of it..

That is what everyone is doing with their Aikido already.
Are you trying to get all people who practice Aikido to practice the same way?

dps

Erick Mead
09-22-2014, 01:21 PM
Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective.
A quibble. "Personal perspectives" are not, as such, "not objective." Perspective is a objective measure of diminishing detail and increased distortion as a function of remoteness and point of view -- but also diminishing field of view as proximity increases. It is a geometric and physical issue, and quite objective.

Any particular perspective is necessarily incomplete or less precise depending on the point of view and distance from the topic -- far observers see the forest and less of the trees. Proximity of view can suffer from the same problems of incompleteness and imprecision -- they see the trees -- but not the forest.

Both perspectives can be objectively true - neither is complete.

dps
09-22-2014, 01:31 PM
David, there have been a number of observations and experiences related by others (Yamada, Okamoto, Ledyard, etc.) cited in this thread. There's even been some hard data presented - if you care to dig in and pull up a chair.

With over a million and a half people practicing Aikido ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9550), you need more than a handful of people you referenced to establish this is as a trend.
The evolution of Aikido started when Osensei evolved his martial art into his Aikido that he passed on to his students to make it their own and to pass on their Aikido. It continues today on this personal level.

Let's look at the crap and get rid of it.

The crap that you don't want in your Aikido might be something essential to another person's Aikido and the essential elements in your Aikido might be crap to someone else.
dps

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 01:33 PM
That is what everyone is doing with their Aikido already.

So, you think everyone is using what they have at their "disposal today... to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?"

I don't see that at all, and I agree with Corky on the numbers being few. I'd hazard to guess the numbers are in the hundreds.

Are you trying to get all people who practice Aikido to practice the same way?
Absolutely not. We're actually seeing a trend that's slowly growing with practice that's even more diversified - while still digging deeper to work with and refine the essence. And that's exactly the idea of "third wave."

dps
09-22-2014, 01:43 PM
We're actually seeing a trend that's slowly growing with practice that's even more diversified - while still digging deeper to work with and refine the essence. And that's exactly the idea of "third wave."

This observation is done from a few hundred trees in the forest of over a million and a half?

dps

Erick Mead
09-22-2014, 02:03 PM
Shu = first wave = martial apprentice
Ha = second wave = martial craftsman
Ri = third wave = martial artist

Shu Ha Ri has no meaning outside a system of defined forms.
First, obey the form, then break the form and then abandon the form.

If there is a defined form it must be practiced and learned so as to be effective -- if not -- it has zero martial value -- either in practical or educational terms.

I think the flaw in much aikido training lies here, actually -- at least when put in these terms.

The forms must be made to work, or they serve no purpose. Freeform shiai would be preferable -- but also provoke "threat reaction" and lose the essence of difference at the heart of aikido -- striving to eliminate of the very possibility of conflict. Solo work is important -- I do not deny -- my best period of personal advancement was two naval deployments where I did daily canon taijutsu, aiki taiso, empty hand shadowboxing waza, and weapons kata all by my lonesome.

The forms encode a -- there's that word again -- "perspective" of the reality of the action involved, which has many if not endless variations. I analogize it to a slice out of the whole apple -- the slice is informative about how the apple is -- but also fixed and partial in view in a way the whole is not, because it is continuous. Stacking slices over and and over makes a fair approximation of the whole, but a stack of apple slices is also not the reality of the apple.

My main criticism of the "internal-first" crowd is that you cannot see the inside of the apple without cutting it open, so what they are doing is not really as divorced from form as they would like to think. It is a different approach to form, clearly -- but not apart from the paradigm of "form-first." It just isn't the forms of the canon.

Where the canon determines its forms by obviously resulting overt actions -- the internal perspective is focusing on the form of the operative states of the body that happens to result in those actions. From one perspective they have a point. Their approach is operatively prior to what results. It is also true that results-oriented training tempts one to expedients that APPEAR similar in result -- but are not really. But it is also true that starting with a resulting action one can work into an awareness of -- and immediate demonstration -- of what did-- or did not -- just make that result occur -- the right ways and the wrong ways (and the just plain no-ways).

I don't fault some of the forms they are advocating -- pole/spear shaking is very good, as are lot of other things, and the refocusing on the Aiki taiso needs to happen anyway and more rigorously, and as we are. "Intent" as a paradigm though, is a tad abstruse as a concept, if you ask me. "Using stress" or "preparatory stress" developed in the structure focuses on the same basic perception they are seeming to get at -- or a more available "perspective": for most students (IMO).

Erick Mead
09-22-2014, 02:08 PM
This observation is done from a few hundred trees in the forest of over a million and a half?Statistical sample ? :D

NO ONE counts EACH of ALL the trees in the forest.

What is this anyway -- a democracy? ;)

lbb
09-22-2014, 03:45 PM
This observation is done from a few hundred trees in the forest of over a million and a half?

In fairness, those are some pretty significant trees that were cited...not just any old sapling.

Dan Richards
09-22-2014, 04:17 PM
The evolution of Aikido started when Osensei evolved his martial art into his Aikido that he passed on to his students to make it their own and to pass on their Aikido. It continues today on this personal level.
The evolution of aikido started long before M Ueshiba, and what was "passed on" varied greatly - in both depth and substance. And even the name "aikido" as used by Ueshiba, the Ueshiba family, and Aikikai, didn't come along until after WWII, and occurred as the results of a confluence of nations, and quickly formulated and packaged as part of the Japanese education system. The aikido that was promoted to the world was mostly the results of his son, K. Ueshiba - who should absolutely be applauded for his contributions. He essentially did what Starbucks did, on a wider scale, by introducing the world to a deeper level of coffee enjoyment and culture than percolated canned, robusta-bean Folgers. That in and of itself is pretty huge.

And with aikido, as with coffee, there was also a smaller, more authentic current of culture, methods and practices. And we're entering a period where that current is becoming wider and more accessible. And other, previously small and even hidden - and even previously unavailable - currents, are flowing into it and enriching it.

dps
09-22-2014, 04:26 PM
In fairness, those are some pretty significant trees that were cited...not just any old sapling.

The forest is wide and deep.

dps

dps
09-22-2014, 04:36 PM
And with aikido, as with coffee, there was also a smaller, more authentic current of culture, methods and practices.

More authentic by whose judgement?
Those who frequent the coffee shop?

"Authenticity is not just a word found in the name of Authentic Coffee Company. Authentic is a description of not only the coffee shop itself, but also all those who frequent it. "

http://connectionwh.com/authentic-coffee-company-offers-more-than-espresso-cms-264

dps

kewms
09-22-2014, 04:52 PM
The crap that you don't want in your Aikido might be something essential to another person's Aikido and the essential elements in your Aikido might be crap to someone else.


Exactly. How do you form a consensus around "better" aikido if you have no consensus about "good" aikido?

Katherine

kewms
09-22-2014, 04:59 PM
And with aikido, as with coffee, there was also a smaller, more authentic current of culture, methods and practices. And we're entering a period where that current is becoming wider and more accessible. And other, previously small and even hidden - and even previously unavailable - currents, are flowing into it and enriching it.

Please compare the water quality of the Mississippi at its source, in Minnesota, to its mouth, in Louisiana. "Wider," and "more accessible" could mean better, but could also mean contaminated or diluted beyond all recognition.

Generally speaking, there's an inherent conflict between high volume production (of coffee, budoka, or anything else) and high quality.

Katherine

Jeremy Hulley
09-22-2014, 05:09 PM
this is an interesting thread...stop feeding the troll.

dps
09-22-2014, 05:12 PM
this is an interesting thread...stop feeding the troll.

He started the thread.

dps

Erick Mead
09-22-2014, 05:16 PM
Please compare the water quality of the Mississippi at its source, in Minnesota, to its mouth, in Louisiana. "Wider," and "more accessible" could mean better, but could also mean contaminated or diluted beyond all recognition.

Generally speaking, there's an inherent conflict between high volume production (of coffee, budoka, or anything else) and high quality. HEY!

Hey, now!

Let's not be dissing Big Muddy!!

Plus, as someone once observed -- quantity has a quality all its own ...

Carsten Möllering
09-23-2014, 02:42 AM
In fairness, those are some pretty significant trees that were cited...not just any old sapling.
Seishiro Endo stated: ...
Since Endō sensei is one of those significant trees being cited in this thread I wonder how well you know him? Citing his article about shu ha ri in the context of this thread at least seems to indicate that you are not that familiar with his thoughts and his teaching?
This is my impression from practicing with him and talking to him.

In a recent interview with Yoko Okamoto she stated:
And again: How familiar are you with the teaching of Okamoto sensei? How do you understand her phrases in the interview: " ... without losing the important aspects of our art ...", "... without losing the essence ..." and "... it must retain some discipline and an intense dedication to training ..."? Someone I know helped her building her dōjō in Kyōto. And as one of the top students of Christian Tissier and Yasuno sensei, she is linked to the context I am familiar with. I was perplexed when I saw her being cited in this thread.

It is my impression that neither Endō sensei nor Okamoto sensei can be considered supporters of what you call "Third Wave Aikido". I think you simply misunderstand the intention of at least those two "signifant trees".

There is also the graph from Google Trends on Aikido ... In which way does google trends say anything - not only anything meaningfull but anything at all - about the transmission of aikidō?
Established lines of tradition don't need google at all. (Endō sensei mostly communicates via fax ...;) ) And a newbie looking for a dōjō in town needs "aikido + XY". Which is not and will never be covered in the graph because the number of the requests is too small.


I have to admitt, I don't know your situation and I don't really understand the intention of this thread. But could it be that you struggle with a situation in which qualified teachers have more and more left the reliable structures of clear lines of tradition - i.e. the hierarchical structures ... - and are now teaching mostly independent on their own?

Carsten Möllering
09-23-2014, 03:56 AM
He essentially did what Starbucks did, ...Starbucks standardized it's product. And tried to be able to provide a vast quantity of this standardized product.

Second dōshu did neither.

He only provided a platform that made it possible for completely different individuals to stay together. So he standardized only his own aikidō in a certain way. Sohe established a kind of consensus of what to teach during certain classes at hombu. But there were also the classes that had the special flavour of the particular teacher. And a lot of teachers had their own dōjō where they taught their own way. Sugino, Tada, Yamaguchi, Watanabe, Nishio, Hikitsuchi, Saito, (and later then Endō) come to my mind, because I am connected in one way or another to these teachers. No standardisation. They went completely their own way. - With nidai dōshu as connecting link.

He (respectively hombu) did only send 1 person to every country. And hombu affiliated only 1 organization per country. Until year 2000 there was only one teacher in Germany, who could give you a gradution of the aikikai. Same in France, with not one teacher but one commitee. The shihan / shibu system of the aikikai is clearly different from the network of branches of Starbucks. Even now, when there are more then only one shihan inour country.

MRoh
09-23-2014, 04:06 AM
The aim of this discussion, and the idea of Third Wave Aikido, is the moving away from the Folgers and Starbucks level of Aikido practice and move into a level of quality we're seeing arise in other industries that are using the highest quality principles, practices, methods, technologies, and communication to further the overall level of experience for everyone involved.


There are some highly qualified teachers operating worldwide.
Go to one of this teachers and study intensively..

Brian Gillaspie
09-23-2014, 09:39 AM
I watch a lot of aikido videos on youtube. There are some I like and some I don't but I don't think that indicates whether what I'm watching is good or bad aikido. I understand the desire to make aikido something better than average but being such a varied art I don't think there will ever be a consensus to what good aikido is.

I try my best, and admittedly I'm not always successful, to not worry about how other dojos and organizations train. I focus on making my aikido the best it can be for me. I cross train in other arts and sometimes that works it's way into aikido. Maybe that means my aikido is evolving away from "Folgers" aikido or maybe it means I'm doing something that's not really aikido.

Keep in mind my perspective is coming from someone who has only trained in an independent dojo. I've never been involved with any large aikido organizations so maybe it's a little easier for me to just train and not really worry about the state of aikido across the world.

MRoh
09-23-2014, 10:56 AM
For the past ten years I have been developing a teaching model that only trains the elemental movements of aikido so that they may be combined into compounds that are more in alignment with the energy being expressed by uke in the moment of the attack. I have not taught a technique (as defined in the aikido world) in over ten years, yet my students have attained a higher level of understanding of the principles of aiki within a year or two than I had come to understand in ten to twenty years of training in the technique emulation model.


Techniques as usually trained in todays aikido, represent a selection of techniques the founder considered as important for training the body in a special way.
Saito Sensei or others found a teaching model that made it easier to understand how the basis should be developed, so that training stept by step leads to more understanding and to a well trained body. On such a base you can come some day to an understanding what "takemusu aiki" means.

The Aikido of most students I've seen, who were tought in models that rely on "principles", was missing a "core" and their technical skills had no foundation, their understanding of Aikido was limited.

Dan Richards
09-23-2014, 05:00 PM
I have to admitt, I don't know your situation and I don't really understand the intention of this thread. But could it be that you struggle with a situation in which qualified teachers have more and more left the reliable structures of clear lines of tradition - i.e. the hierarchical structures ... - and are now teaching mostly independent on their own?
Hi Carsten, rather than struggling, I actually find it exciting that more teachers are leaving political structures within aikido, and striking out on their own more independently. I agree that these - and other - arts are passed down through lineages of people. And even during it's time, the hierarchical structure of Aikikai and other large organizations certainly helped to promote and spread aikido to the world. And aikido - as a progressive and living art - has passed through that stage of evolution.

And here's Yamada again, in an interview (http://www.aikido-yamada.eu/index.php/sensei/interview/) In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality.

Do you know of any other kind of art endeavor - such as music, painting, cooking, etc. - that requires people to kowtow (1. act in an excessively subservient manner.) to a political organization, teachers, technical form, and ranking structure?

There are quite a few people in the world now who have trained 25+ years - many with direct students of M. Ueshiba. The last generations of direct students have been passing away in recent years.

More and more, there are qualified people teaching and training independently, with little interest in politics and ranking. These people are free to explore, refine, and reinvent pedagogical and training methods. These people are often open and sharing freely with others. They're also incorporating and experimenting with new technologies and communication.

I'm not putting out - nor am I hearing from others who are teaching, discovering, and exploring independently - any kind of anti-Folgers or anti- Starbucks sentiments. There is nothing "anti-establishment" about this.

"Third wave" coffee is not anti-establishment. In fact, they're thankful for the market, resources, and technologies that allows them to develop, prosper, and even exist. And they all have diversified and highly individual expressions that revolve around certain common core principles.

In 2008, Jonathan Gold of the LA Weekly defined third wave coffee: The first wave of American coffee culture was probably the 19th-century surge that put Folgers on every table, and the second was the proliferation, starting in the 1960s at Peet's and moving smartly through the Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee. We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.

There are pockets of aikido and practitioners that we could call "third wave aikido" who are doing exactly that. It's the idea of taking newer technologies and levels of experience, and really taking it back to "old school." Another way to look at it would be something along the lines of a return to "pre-industrial martial arts."

Dan Richards
09-23-2014, 06:36 PM
Shu Ha Ri has no meaning outside a system of defined forms.
First, obey the form, then break the form and then abandon the form.

If there is a defined form it must be practiced and learned so as to be effective -- if not -- it has zero martial value -- either in practical or educational terms.

I think the flaw in much aikido training lies here, actually -- at least when put in these terms.

The forms must be made to work, or they serve no purpose. Freeform shiai would be preferable -- but also provoke "threat reaction" and lose the essence of difference at the heart of aikido -- striving to eliminate of the very possibility of conflict. Solo work is important -- I do not deny -- my best period of personal advancement was two naval deployments where I did daily canon taijutsu, aiki taiso, empty hand shadowboxing waza, and weapons kata all by my lonesome.

The forms encode a -- there's that word again -- "perspective" of the reality of the action involved, which has many if not endless variations. I analogize it to a slice out of the whole apple -- the slice is informative about how the apple is -- but also fixed and partial in view in a way the whole is not, because it is continuous. Stacking slices over and and over makes a fair approximation of the whole, but a stack of apple slices is also not the reality of the apple.

My main criticism of the "internal-first" crowd is that you cannot see the inside of the apple without cutting it open, so what they are doing is not really as divorced from form as they would like to think. It is a different approach to form, clearly -- but not apart from the paradigm of "form-first." It just isn't the forms of the canon.

Where the canon determines its forms by obviously resulting overt actions -- the internal perspective is focusing on the form of the operative states of the body that happens to result in those actions. From one perspective they have a point. Their approach is operatively prior to what results. It is also true that results-oriented training tempts one to expedients that APPEAR similar in result -- but are not really. But it is also true that starting with a resulting action one can work into an awareness of -- and immediate demonstration -- of what did-- or did not -- just make that result occur -- the right ways and the wrong ways (and the just plain no-ways).

I don't fault some of the forms they are advocating -- pole/spear shaking is very good, as are lot of other things, and the refocusing on the Aiki taiso needs to happen anyway and more rigorously, and as we are. "Intent" as a paradigm though, is a tad abstruse as a concept, if you ask me. "Using stress" or "preparatory stress" developed in the structure focuses on the same basic perception they are seeming to get at -- or a more available "perspective": for most students (IMO).

I agree 100% with you, Erick.

There's a recent translation by Chris Li, Hakaru Mori on the Aiki of Tenouchi (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/hakaru-mori-aiki-tenouchi/). It was interesting to read this, and have reaffirmed how I've been approaching teaching recently, by separately but concurrently training Aiki/IP and Chin Na.

From the article:

In order to apply Aiki and execute Aiki techniques, the strength, technical points and other essentials required for joint techniques are not necessary requirements. You could even say that they are an impediment.

In order to apply Aiki and draw out the opponent’s instinctive unconscious movement you must not grasp the opponent. You must not put power into the opponent. At least, you must not allow the opponent to feel as if power is being brought to bear.

In other words, the fundamental principles behind Aiki techniques and joint techniques are completely different, stated extremely one could even say that their technical principles are diametrically opposed. Accordingly, however much one trains in joint techniques, that alone will absolutely not enable one to accomplish Aiki techniques.

Of course, the reverse is also true, that however much one trains in Aiki techniques, it is absolutely impossible to achieve mastery of correct and effective joint techniques.

Therefore, it can be said that in order to master Aiki and Aiki techniques, those training must learn joint techniques in parallel with Aiki techniques before they become tainted and strangled by the technical principles of learning joint techniques alone. At each practice, switching between the technical principles of both must occur not only intellectually, but also naturally and smoothly with the body.

If one trains this way repeatedly, in the end both sets of technical principles will become fused in the body, and they will become able to freely repeat the natural techniques of Aiki-jujutsu.

kewms
09-23-2014, 08:36 PM
Do you know of any other kind of art endeavor - such as music, painting, cooking, etc. - that requires people to kowtow (1. act in an excessively subservient manner.) to a political organization, teachers, technical form, and ranking structure?

Yes, all of them.

You can cook whatever you want in your own kitchen, but if you want someone to actually pay you that Culinary Institute training will come in pretty handy.

Credentials matter in any endeavor large enough to have participants who don't personally know each other. And as soon as you give someone power to issue credentials -- formally or informally -- you introduce politics, teachers, and all the rest.

Katherine

Dan Richards
09-23-2014, 09:11 PM
Thank you, Katherine, as I didn't explain my meaning fully. I meant during the lifetime pursuit of the art. Of course, there is often the initial intensive educational period and structured classes taken by students. But after that period, the artist is then usually free for the rest of their lives to independently pursue and explore their art and craft as they wish. Of course they may have various teachers and guides along the way, but nothing that mirrors the kinds of "rising in the ranks" we see in some martial arts - which are structured as a sort of pseudo-military organization.

So, I'll rephrase that:

Do you know of any other kind of art endeavor - such as music, painting, cooking, etc. - that requires people to kowtow (1. act in an excessively subservient manner.) to a political organization, teachers, technical form, and ranking structure - throughout the entire lifetime of the artist?

Dan Richards
09-23-2014, 09:39 PM
It may or may not be worth going to the Culinary Institute. Anthony Bourdain and David Chang did, along with many others. But the important thing is, after they received their training and degree, they were free from any further alignment or politics with their particular institute.

And there are many chefs that received their training in the field, rather than at an institution. In fact, Bourdain now says he prefers, "hard-working and devoted but unlearned Ecuadorians to college graduates."

There's an interesting and similar topic, Educated and Uneducated Chefs (http://forums.egullet.org/topic/14841-educated-and-uneducated-chefs/).

robin_jet_alt
09-23-2014, 10:18 PM
Do you know of any other kind of art endeavor - such as music, painting, cooking, etc. - that requires people to kowtow (1. act in an excessively subservient manner.) to a political organization, teachers, technical form, and ranking structure - throughout the entire lifetime of the artist?

Aikido doesn't either, though. My goal in training is to get better. I can do that without kowtowing. Sure, I might have to Kowtow to get a rank in a particular organisation, but that isn't my goal.

Perhaps a better question would be "do you know of any other kind of art endeavor that has practitioners who are so focused on obtaining arbitrary 'ranks' and are happy to kowtow in order to do it."

RonRagusa
09-23-2014, 11:16 PM
1. What do we have at our disposal today that we can use to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?

Given the widely diverse forms of Aikido practiced today, can you make a convincing case that "a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido" is necessary? The network model of Aikido's structure allows for constantly evolving forms of "methods, practices organizations, etc." to come into being and flourish or wither.

2. What, within the current state of Aikido - including methods, practices, organizations, etc., is not working? Let's look at the crap and get rid of it.

When I first read this statement I was immediately struck by the thought that here comes another savior of Aikido whose going to show us all the one true way. But after reading some of your subsequent posts it seems that I may have rushed to judgement. I'm always leery when someone seeks to form a group of like minded thinkers and decide, based on their ideas, to winnow the wheat from the chaff.

I think that the main flaw with your proposal is that it seems to require viewing Aikido as a monolithic entity; something that Aikido has long since evolved away from.

Ron

kewms
09-23-2014, 11:18 PM
It may or may not be worth going to the Culinary Institute. Anthony Bourdain and David Chang did, along with many others. But the important thing is, after they received their training and degree, they were free from any further alignment or politics with their particular institute.

And there are many chefs that received their training in the field, rather than at an institution. In fact, Bourdain now says he prefers, "hard-working and devoted but unlearned Ecuadorians to college graduates."

Funny you should mention Bourdain. He seems to be pretty good at the awards and recognition game:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Bourdain#Awards_and_nominations

So is David Chang:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Chang#Awards

If you think neither of them is entangled in the politics of their particular field, I've got a nice restaurant in Brooklyn to sell you.

Now, I see your point, that the strict hierarchical structure of martial arts organizations is not found in other fields. But artists in other fields absolutely do care (and need to care) about being well-reviewed by the "right" critics and making connections with the "right" people who can help promote their work. In some ways, the atmosphere is *more* stifling because there *isn't* a clear hierarchy. They can do everything "right" and still fail, for completely opaque reasons.

And that's not even looking at the Japanese creative arts, which absolutely do have ranks and levels very similar to those found in the martial arts.

Katherine

Dan Richards
09-24-2014, 12:18 AM
Given the widely diverse forms of Aikido practiced today, can you make a convincing case that "a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido" is necessary?

Hey Ron, so far in this thread there are have been contributions and citings by a number of aikidoka, including some serious heavyweights. I'll recap them, just so we can get a sense of progressive pattern emerging.

This is far from my idea, or any kind of "group" I'm trying to organize. See what the people below in the quotes have to say. And we're just getting started with this. I can list many many more.

My students have attained a higher level of understanding of the principles of aiki within a year or two than I had come to understand in ten to twenty years of training in the technique emulation model.

Yamada: The ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind, because people judge others.
Yamada: The time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality.

Ledyard: I think at the end of 8 to 10 yrs of training properly, we could end up with someone who currently operates at a fairly high Dan rank. In other words, after 8 - 10 years of training we would have someone who functions at or better than what passes for 6th dan at this point.

Okamoto: If we are to survive, we must appeal to the new generation. I want to update the old-fashioned image of Budo, without losing the essence.

Nishio: Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid.

Dan Richards
09-24-2014, 12:43 AM
Now, I see your point, that the strict hierarchical structure of martial arts organizations is not found in other fields.
OK, good. We can agree on that. And we might go further and agree that the strict structure and ranking is predominately within Japanese martial arts. Chinese martial arts, Systema, Indian Yoga, etc. generally do not use kyu/dan ranking system, nor the strict hierarchical structure.


But artists in other fields absolutely do care (and need to care) about being well-reviewed by the "right" critics and making connections with the "right" people who can help promote their work.
Oh, I hear you, Katherine. I'm one of those artists and I'm also one of those "right" critics who people and companies in the music and recording industry (https://www.google.com/#q=dan+richards+review+preamp) like to be well-reviewed by to promote their work. I am no stranger to caring about the results and "cred" of one's work.

MRoh
09-24-2014, 04:16 AM
See what the people below in the quotes have to say.


So what do they say?

One has some headache, but no alternative model.
Other statements are: we have to, we must, we could, we would

Is this a real approach to increase quality?

phitruong
09-24-2014, 07:10 AM
i propose that we should put an espresso machine on the shomen to increase the awareness. and to have coffee, with or without cream, sugar, and others natural (whiskey) and unnatural (nutmeg) flavors, during meditation before and after class. there will be no instant coffee allowed, unless it's an emergency situation where we are out of beans or bugs. i am pretty sure this will increase aikido quality greatly. :D

Erick Mead
09-24-2014, 07:55 AM
So what do they say?

One has some headache, but no alternative model.
Other statements are: we have to, we must, we could, we would

Is this a real approach to increase quality?

I hear a haiku coming on:

Skitter black and white
Soft feet, sharp claws, snatching teeth
Mice. Bell. Cat. Now, who ?

MRoh
09-24-2014, 08:17 AM
I hear a haiku coming on:

Skitter black and white
Soft feet, sharp claws, snatching teeth
Mice. Bell. Cat. Now, who ?

meow! :cool:

lbb
09-24-2014, 10:30 AM
OK, good. We can agree on that.

You two can, but leave me out. I've seen too many organized religions to think otherwise.

Dan Richards
09-24-2014, 02:30 PM
You two can, but leave me out. I've seen too many organized religions to think otherwise.
LOL. Yeh, that's kind of scary, Mary. I guess we could add cults and MLM to that as well.

Something they all have in common is the psychological use of "framing" to create cognitive bias.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_effect_%28psychology%29
http://www.workingpsychology.com/admirefr.html

sakumeikan
09-24-2014, 05:12 PM
I hear a haiku coming on:

Skitter black and white
Soft feet, sharp claws, snatching teeth
Mice. Bell. Cat. Now, who ?

Dear Erick,
After reading your haiku I feel a headache coming on.cheers, Joe

lbb
09-24-2014, 05:37 PM
LOL. Yeh, that's kind of scary, Mary. I guess we could add cults and MLM to that as well.

We could add a lot of things to that, Dan. It's quite possible we could add most organized human activities. Education? Has it in spades; academics practically invented hierarchies. Tennis? Try picking up a casual game at your local public court, and chances are you'll be asked what your rating is. And so on, and so forth.

So, while I take your point that "kowtowing" as you put it isn't terribly functional behavior, I suspect it's more common than otherwise. If that's the case, it seems to me that you don't solve it by creating a "third wave" of whatever your activity is; that's just a revolution that will simply create another hierarchy in its turn, with a different set of idols to bow down to. Maybe you don't solve it at all within the context of a large group of humans, some of whom will inevitably try to create such a hierarchy and most of whom will not understand the dynamic well enough to resist it. So is the most important element of your "third wave" a restriction on size? No organization beyond the most rudimentary level?

Erick Mead
09-24-2014, 06:01 PM
Tennis? Try picking up a casual game at your local public court, and chances are you'll be asked what your rating is. And so on, and so forth.
... creating a "third wave" of whatever your activity is; that's just a revolution that will simply create another hierarchy in its turn, with a different set of idols to bow down to. I don't think so.

Hierarchy is no longer inevitable. Network is the paradigm of organization that is steadily replacing the old hierarchies across all areas of human endeavor. Technologically hierarchy is fighting a rearguard action -- but the tools they are forced to use are themselves the tools of network -- and the dissonance gets greater and greater, as hierarchy gets more precarious, and the stakes get higher. Governance systems do not require hierarchy. Knowledge does not require hierarchy. Standards do not require hierarchy. One can make the case in fact that hierarchy is inversely associated with all three of these goods.

Hierarchy is neither desirable -- nor effective, nor necessary, much less predestined.

Networks begin in places like this. Networks have no central authority. Recognition and network access is mutual and reciprocal. To access a network you have to be open to access by the other nodes in the network, and no node gets to dictate the processing done by any other nodes. What network participants agree on is universally useful standards of communication and common access protocols, and in some limited and usually temporary projects, common processing.

We could do that.

kewms
09-24-2014, 06:29 PM
Please give an example of a successful large organization without hierarchy.

No, you can't use the Web. Not unless you're able to set up a server and provide a link that average people can use without reference to an internet service provider, a DNS provider and/or a domain registrar. And that they can find without using a search engine.

Katherine

Erick Mead
09-24-2014, 09:27 PM
Please give an example of a successful large organization without hierarchy.

No, you can't use the Web. Not unless you're able to set up a server and provide a link that average people can use without reference to an internet service provider, a DNS provider and/or a domain registrar. And that they can find without using a search engine.The Catholic Church. It was a nearly pure network of local bishops and abbots and yet prevailed over the most successful hierarchical organization in history, the Roman Empire-- and survived the disaster that killed that empire finally, plus a later plague that killed a third of Christendom.

Its fractious decline into the Greek and Protestant schisms was exactly in keeping with the degree to which it insisted upon hierarchical privileges of the pagan Roman administrative organs it had inherited after the Empire ceased to exist around it (pontiff was a Roman religious office long before it was Christian). The strong revival of the Church after the disasters of the twentieth century's successive world wars has brought the near end of these schisms -- and has occurred in keeping with the steady abandonment of the hierarchical mode in favor of the collegial. Since the beginning and even now each bishop is functionally and legally independent in all but a very few functions -- mostly relating to the succession as bishop, and dispensation from certain grave sacramental irregularities. Bishops are in communion with each other and the Pope and that makes the Catholic Church. FWIW the Pope is the oldest elective office -- by far.

Like clergy and laity, there always teachers and students-- that is a given -- but in practical arts that relationship is meant to be superseded to one of more relative equality through learning. Though dignity of precedence and role is and should be observed out of due honor -- a teacher should also want and hope for students who surpass him. Hierarchy dependence is different than that kind of situational dependence and it healthy and mutual economy of growth in skill and dignity.

Erick Mead
09-24-2014, 09:52 PM
In an interview of Sunadomari (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kanshu-sunadomari-part-2/), he even quoted Ueshiba as saying:
"There is no Soke in Budo" (武道に宗家がないんだ) --
A good resource on thoughts regarding hierarchy versus networks is Niall Ferguson (http://www.niallferguson.com/journalism/miscellany/networks-and-hierarchies) with a book of that title. Another more naturalistic way of looking at it as a kind of scaling law -- local hierarchies may work -- remote one's don't work well, and maximal hierarchies can't work at all, ultimately. They keep collapsing. It's a sign.

kewms
09-25-2014, 01:06 AM
Umm... I think you might want to pay a little more attention to the modern history of the Catholic Church before you declare it non-hierarchical.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/05/american-nuns-get-their-hands-slapped-by-the-vatican/361804/

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/9803063.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/27/world/the-vatican-warns-catholic-theologians-over-public-dissent.html

It also seems odd to call the Protestant schism a repudiation of hierarchy, since it only came 1500 years into the Catholic project and led to a reassertion of "official" doctrine by the Roman authorities. (Which was reaffirmed four hundred years later and holds to this day.)

Katherine

ObAikido: Interesting class this evening, with some ukemi, flow, and timing exercises I hadn't seen before.

Erick Mead
09-25-2014, 07:35 AM
Umm... I think you might want to pay a little more attention to the modern history of the Catholic Church before you declare it non-hierarchical.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/05/american-nuns-get-their-hands-slapped-by-the-vatican/361804/

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/9803063.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/27/world/the-vatican-warns-catholic-theologians-over-public-dissent.html

It also seems odd to call the Protestant schism a repudiation of hierarchy, since it only came 1500 years into the Catholic project...You miss the point entirely. The Church is a complete longitudinal study in network versus hierarchy. Network prevailed in the first phase. It captured and only then imitated Roman hierarchy. Then the secular hierarchy collapsed and the Church necessarily returned to network mode, building the great monastic institutions that preserved learning through the Dark Ages, and formed the great correspondent Universities to pass on that knowledge.

Then as the Germans imitated the Roman hierarchies to create Feudal hierarchy under the non-Holy, non-Roman, non-Empire, the Church followed suit. Then result of this competition for preeminence contributed to the schism with the Greeks.

Then as the nation states began to imitiate the imperial hierachies in miniature, the Church did continued its competition for hierarchy. That competition with the rise of nation states contributed to failure of the near healing of the Greek schism at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. The Protestant criticism that then arose in the increasingly nationalized churches was not entirely wrong, as the Counter-Reformation acknowledged. The Counter- Reformation is only now nearing a sense of completion in the rapprochement among many Protestant lineages and the essential end of the schism with the Greek and Eastern Churches.

Aikido needs to take a page from the Dark Age and medieval pattern of networked repositories of learning, which saved and spread much that would otherwise have been lost. Much hierarchy around the world is teetering into chaos. You can look to the Yamabushi, if you prefer, or the Buddhist experience with hierarchy over network, but the pattern has relevance across cultures. India has almost no Buddhists because Buddhism wedded itself there to the Ashokan state and it did not long survive their mutual collapse, but thrived at and beyond the fringes of India. The collapse into rival national states until the Mongols came, mirrors the European middle ages and renaissance.

lbb
09-25-2014, 08:31 AM
Hierarchy is no longer inevitable. Network is the paradigm of organization that is steadily replacing the old hierarchies across all areas of human endeavor. Technologically hierarchy is fighting a rearguard action -- but the tools they are forced to use are themselves the tools of network -- and the dissonance gets greater and greater, as hierarchy gets more precarious, and the stakes get higher.

What do you mean by "Technologically"? Within the field of technology? Isn't that a rather narrow slice of human endeavor, as contrasted with "all areas"?

Governance systems do not require hierarchy. Knowledge does not require hierarchy. Standards do not require hierarchy. One can make the case in fact that hierarchy is inversely associated with all three of these goods.

You missed my point entirely. It's not a matter of what is required, nor what is functional, nor what is good. It's a matter of what human beings tend to do. What is best for us, what we are capable of, what our potential is...all of these are distinct (and far too often not overlapping) with what we actually do.

Is hierarchy inevitable? I'd argue that it isn't...but I'd also argue that it's a human tendency. The creation of hierarchy is the result of collective inaction/inertia on the part of the many, of good intentions on the part of some, and of energetic greed, empire-building and the desire to be on top of the pile on the part of a few. If you want to create a collective human endeavor without hierarchy, it must start with a very clear vision of what you want (and a realistic recognition of these human tendencies), and be followed thereafter with a constant struggle to prevent hierarchy from creeping in. It can't start from a "clear vision" on the part of a single iconoclast with a soapbox; an iconoclast's so-called "vision" is an anti-vision, by definition. It has to start with a vision of what you want to create, and it has to inspire more than just you and the mouse in your pocket. And not only does it not have to start with a vision that is broadly shared, but I'd argue that it's a mistake to start by seeking broad support. Inspire a few, then put your money where your mouth is. Create the thing you claim to want, even on the smallest scale, and inspire more people by the evidence of its merits. Proselytism always smacks of desperation.

Dan Richards
09-25-2014, 09:53 AM
Good stuff, folks. Let's keep it going.

One of the ideas here is that we're moving away from structured "organizations" and "heirarchies" and the inherent "politics," and moving more into the open fields of such things as networks, communities, collaborating.

A guy I used to go to high school with, Rod Beckstrom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Beckstrom), has done well for himself. He's focused on the areas of business and high tech. One of his projects was co-authoring the book, The Startfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (http://www.amazon.com/The-Starfish-Spider-Unstoppable-Organizations/dp/1591841836), which speaks directly to where we are in the discussion.

Howard Rheingold (http://rheingold.com/), was one of my mentors during the dotcom rise. He's been at the forefront of virtual communites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_community). In fact, he not only coined the term, but literally wrote the book (http://www.amazon.com/The-Virtual-Community-Homesteading-Electronic/dp/0262681218) on it.

Through Howard, I met filmmaker Doug Block, who had made a documentary film on the rise of the internet and some of the early important players. Doug and I eventually started The D-Word Community (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_D-Word) in 1999. I was involved in the initial stages of getting it off the ground and then handed it over to Doug after about two years. It's since gone on to include 11,000 members in 127 countries. And the community is not just comprised of online interaction, but real world relationships, networking, and cooperative projects.

I've also been involved in the same way to establish world-wide communities in the areas of audio recording, music production, and audio equipment manufacturing.

I'm throwing all this out there to give some background and put out the idea that people can work and share together, collaborate, and promote and cheers on each others works and undertakings. And people can teach and learn from each other. These kinds of networks are leaderless. There is no hierarchy. There is no "system."

Erick makes a good point: Networks begin in places like this. Networks have no central authority. Recognition and network access is mutual and reciprocal. To access a network you have to be open to access by the other nodes in the network, and no node gets to dictate the processing done by any other nodes. What network participants agree on is universally useful standards of communication and common access protocols, and in some limited and usually temporary projects, common processing.

We could do that.

And communities and networks also give birth to other communities and networks. We've certainly seen the initial birthing of an "internals community" within Aikiweb and other places.There are also more and more aikidoka and other related martial artists practicing and exploring independently, and outside of any hierarchical organization. And there are some people who are really digging in and doing some serious and deep exploratory and innovative work within Aikido and other arts.

And it's not just enough to call these people and groups "independent" any more. Because it's important that they be able to find each other, join and share together. This has happened to a small degree. But we could do much much better. Even the idea of "third wave" aikido - or something similar - would be a start as a descriptor to establish the beginnings of a networked community around the world that could flourish, grow and prosper.

Like Erick said. "We could do that."

And to grab a quote and often-used tagline from Howard Rheingold, "What it is --- is up to us."

Dan Richards
09-25-2014, 10:03 AM
I just ran into something interesting and timely to this discussion. It seems that early "third wave" aikido pioneer, Stanley Pranin, has been over there ruminating in his microbrewery, and has started,
My List of Problem Areas in Today’s Aikido (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/09/09/my-list-of-problem-areas-in-todays-aikido-by-stanley-pranin/)

kewms
09-25-2014, 11:42 AM
Google, as much a child of the Internet as any company on earth, fired all their project managers once. They weren't programmers, they weren't executives, all they were doing was adding layers between the people doing the work and the people making the decisions.

It was a disaster. Directors ended up with a hundred direct reports, and so none of the programmers could get guidance from decision makers when they needed it.

Ultimately they hired them all back. Google now has something like five layers between the programmers and the CEO. Some of this is a function of size: with 52,000 employees, you really do need concrete assignments of responsibilities.

Hierarchical structures are very good in some situations, disastrous in others. Same with decentralized networks. Decide what you want to accomplish, then think about the organizational structure best suited to achieving it.

I also think that most real-world organizations are hybrids, with both network and hierarchical components. The military has clear chains of command, but there are plenty of networks, too: people who were in the Academy together, people who served at a particular post together, people with particular kinds of expertise. The Web is a network, but most of its physical infrastructure is built and maintained by hierarchical organizations. The standards committees that manage the software infrastructure are largely comprised of hierarchical organizations. And so on.

Similarly in the martial arts world. The various organizations have clear "people in charge," granting ranks, approving dojos for membership, establishing grading requirements. But the best teachers are intellectually curious. Any attempt to prevent them from forming networks around "research" topics that interest them is doomed to failure.

Katherine

Erick Mead
09-25-2014, 01:48 PM
What do you mean by "Technologically"? Within the field of technology? Isn't that a rather narrow slice of human endeavor, as contrasted with "all areas"? I mean it in the sense of Lewis Mumford (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Machine). A remarkably prescient view of the potential of hierachical dehumanizing organization of society. He also saw this in tension with what he termed the "polytechnic" (multi-centered networks of societal functions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technics_and_Civilization)) with the continued activities of the "monotechnic" hierarchies. Human social organization in his view is a type of, the model for, and origin of what we now consider more narrowly "technological" operations using mechnical machines. The pyramids were built by a "mega-machine" -- formed of human components.

What Mumford did not anticipate is the degree of dependency that the prescriptive surveillance hierarchy state would have upon on network organizational forms and products for its functions -- and thus its resulting vulnerabilities to non-hierarchical network subversions, which we now see.

Returning to Aikido, we should orgnanize aikido on self-similar grounds to its underlying principles of study and action.

Aiki as a principle, I have found, is based on an appreciation of human beings as a network -- body(ies) and mind(s). Aiki connects two or more human beings in a network. The bodies, once connected, become a mutually operative network of sensorial and structural elements functioning together.

If the attacker commands the network, he uses one set of networked elements to destroy the other networked elements, by virtue of the command and control hierarchy of his attacking mind. Aiki demonstrates its capability to subvert the hierarchical mind's intention to attack -- by catastrophically compromising and then commanding the whole of the network functions, of both bodies without which the attacking mind cannot act, and using which, it can be made to act contrary to its hierarchical intention to attack. Whether the person using aiki chooses to use this vulnerability to premise an attack in turn is a different question.

Following this observation of aiki in operation, we may use that as a network organizing principle writ large. We ought not do not do away with our nominally hierarchical affiliations and existing network connections, just because we find unhealthy conflicts among them. -- We need to learn to reshape them by acting horizontally across all those those divides in ways that simply no longer respond to the hierarchical conflicts that originally drove unhealthy divisions. Hierarchy then becomes increasingly irrelevant, and to the extent opposed to this movement -- impotent.

Is hierarchy inevitable? I'd argue that it isn't...but I'd also argue that it's a human tendency. No argument there. The principal point I find is that hierarchy is collapsing under its own weight (again), and if not for the final time, then at a time when network as a viable replacement has achieved a sense of consciousness of itself, it powers and its place in the world (as opposed to the historical examples where they basically served as conscious placeholders waiting for the next hierarchy to inevitably assert itself). Will some hierarchy inevitably assert itself ? Yes. Will it inevitably prevail this time in what ever form it revives or survives its present slow-motion debacle ? -- That issue is now seriously in doubt, and perhaps for the first time in history.

If you want to create a collective human endeavor without hierarchy, it must start with a very clear vision of what you want (and a realistic recognition of these human tendencies), and be followed thereafter with a constant struggle to prevent hierarchy from creeping in. It can't start from a "clear vision" on the part of a single iconoclast with a soapbox; an iconoclast's so-called "vision" is an anti-vision, by definition. It has to start with a vision of what you want to create, and it has to inspire more than just you and the mouse in your pocket. And not only does it not have to start with a vision that is broadly shared, but I'd argue that it's a mistake to start by seeking broad support. Inspire a few, then put your money where your mouth is. Create the thing you claim to want, even on the smallest scale, and inspire more people by the evidence of its merits. You just very ably paraphrased the motivations and methods behind the medieval European monastic and university foundations. Iona, Lindisfarne, St. Gall, Bobbio, Sackingen, Citeaux, and many others were major monastic centers -- many founded by Irish monks -- perhaps explaining their distaste for more than merely local hierarchical authority. Universities at Paris, Bolgna, Padua, Oxford, Salamanca also formed - and all these centers were richly networked with one another and without regard to the feudal hierarchies in which they found themselves locally situated.

That is the model I suggested -- and it seems -- you appear to largely to agree with it.

Carsten Möllering
09-25-2014, 02:18 PM
Do you know of any other kind of art endeavor - such as music, painting, cooking, etc. - that requires people to kowtow ... to a political organization, teachers, technical form, and ranking structure? I have never experienced the requirement of kowtow in my aikidō biography. So could you be so kind and help me to understand what you have in mind here?

Maybe this is why I don't get your point(s): I have never experienced a correlation of political strucures and the quality of aikidō. In my biography aikidō was and is transmitted through certain lines of student-teacher relationships. So it was never "the aikikai" that shaped my aikidō. But it was my teacher, his teachers, i.e. concrete persons not a political structure.
Being part of this lineage(s) and the network they provide I feel strongly connected to the a quality inherent in the teaching of aikidō.

Actually I think it is only the transmission of knowledge that provides the quality of aikidō. I think practicing budō is about transmission what is allready there. Not about searching and exploring by oneself.

Carsten Möllering
09-25-2014, 02:34 PM
wanted to edit the last sentence just a little bit ... timeout ... so here it is:

Actually I think it is only the transmission of knowledge that provides the quality of aikidō. I think practicing budō is about transmission of what is already there, transmission of what was known by those before us. It is not about searching and exploring. It is about finding and revealing.

Dan Richards
09-25-2014, 03:41 PM
Actually I think it is only the transmission of knowledge that provides the quality of aikidō. I think practicing budō is about transmission of what is already there, transmission of what was known by those before us. It is not about searching and exploring. It is about finding and revealing.

I absolutely disagree, Carsten. I want to go further. To do anything less would be a disservice to those who went before us. I did receive knowledge from my teachers, and I keep unpacking it. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I also receive new knowledge and new experiences that they never had. And I live in completely different times and surroundings and culture than they did.

My main aikido teacher said, "Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid."

I'm not interested in the Budo of the last 25 years. I've already lived through it. Been there. Done that. I'm more interested in the Budo that will be evolving in the next 25 years.

Fred Little
09-25-2014, 04:59 PM
I will simply point out that most networks are built around nodes of varying degrees of size, integrity, and degrees of inter-connectivity.

For instance: Higher education may be a network, but everybody in the game (with the exception of first-generation graduate students who haven't done their homework) knows which nodes are primary, which are secondary, and which are tertiary. Those who have advanced degrees from primary nodes may be able to teach at a primary node, but they're most likely to teach at a secondary node, where their senior peers comprise most of the instructional staff. Those who have advanced degrees from secondary nodes are extremely unlikely to ever teach at a primary node and they'll be lucky if they get a chance at a secondary node. Those who have advanced degrees from a tertiary node probably have a union contract that gets them a guaranteed pay raise for a higher degree (or they just have status issues and got the degree because they need the title; and everyone else in the game laughs at them behind their backs.).

And if you think those primary nodes are free from lineage based hierarchy you haven't been paying attention.

My .02

FL

RonRagusa
09-25-2014, 05:26 PM
Actually I think it is only the transmission of knowledge that provides the quality of aikidō. I think practicing budō is about transmission of what is already there, transmission of what was known by those before us. It is not about searching and exploring. It is about finding and revealing.

Carsten, you and like minded thinkers provide a very necessary function for the archiving and transmission of Aikido knowledge. Likewise innovation is important in order for the art to remain relevant to successive generations of students who may be looking for a practice that is applicable to their lives. Only by having access to the whole timeline of Aikido development are we able to discern the big picture of how Aikido has evolved over the years.

Ron

kewms
09-25-2014, 06:59 PM
Actually I think it is only the transmission of knowledge that provides the quality of aikidō. I think practicing budō is about transmission of what is already there, transmission of what was known by those before us. It is not about searching and exploring. It is about finding and revealing.

How are they different?

Toby Threadgill has pointed out that, even in the koryu, the transmission is never perfect. There are no perfect teachers and no perfect students. Every generation loses things. If the art is going to survive, every generation has a responsibility to rediscover part of what has been lost.

Katherine

kewms
09-25-2014, 07:10 PM
For instance: Higher education may be a network, but everybody in the game (with the exception of first-generation graduate students who haven't done their homework) knows which nodes are primary, which are secondary, and which are tertiary. Those who have advanced degrees from primary nodes may be able to teach at a primary node, but they're most likely to teach at a secondary node, where their senior peers comprise most of the instructional staff. Those who have advanced degrees from secondary nodes are extremely unlikely to ever teach at a primary node and they'll be lucky if they get a chance at a secondary node. Those who have advanced degrees from a tertiary node probably have a union contract that gets them a guaranteed pay raise for a higher degree (or they just have status issues and got the degree because they need the title; and everyone else in the game laughs at them behind their backs.).

My master's degree is from a school that managed to turn itself into a primary node. They did it by throwing lots of money at the problem: they lured top notch faculty away from existing primary nodes, partly by attracting enough corporate and government funding to build best-in-class research facilities for them. Together, these attracted enthusiastic, highly qualified grad students and junior faculty, many with degrees from existing primary nodes. (Also, the beach didn't hurt.) And now they've won five Nobel prizes and regularly appear in lists of top schools.

And as that has happened, more and more people have been impressed when I've had the opportunity to tell them where I went to school. As you said, if you don't think there's a hierarchy, you haven't been paying attention.

Katherine

dps
09-25-2014, 10:30 PM
Fifty nine years of life experience including 28 years of marriage has shown me when there are two or more people involved in a relationship of any kind there is a hierarchy.

dps

Mary Eastland
09-26-2014, 07:04 AM
My master's degree is from a school that managed to turn itself into a primary node. They did it by throwing lots of money at the problem: they lured top notch faculty away from existing primary nodes, partly by attracting enough corporate and government funding to build best-in-class research facilities for them. Together, these attracted enthusiastic, highly qualified grad students and junior faculty, many with degrees from existing primary nodes. (Also, the beach didn't hurt.) And now they've won five Nobel prizes and regularly appear in lists of top schools.

And as that has happened, more and more people have been impressed when I've had the opportunity to tell them where I went to school. As you said, if you don't think there's a hierarchy, you haven't been paying attention.

Katherine

This is what seems to matter is the world. What really matters is the transition that happens in each individual. Things like master's degrees and Noble prizes don't matter because they are artificial rewards. Belts and titles are too. Aikido happens on the mat. Each class teaches us something about ourselves and others.

.... belts and degrees have to do with money,power and appearance. Studying, having experiences and learning don't show on the outside but what happens inside each individual can be astounding.

Erick Mead
09-26-2014, 08:58 AM
Fifty nine years of life experience including 28 years of marriage has shown me when there are two or more people involved in a relationship of any kind there is a hierarchy.
Scale. Scale matters. Situational hierarchy in any local personal setting is formed from multiple lines of relative competence, honor of precedence, and still mutual respect across objective levels of skill and commitment. Humans are tribal -- and in my view always will be, and all tribes have chiefs -- the best tribes have chiefs, elders and tanists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanistry) (look it up, it'll do you good -- ;) ).

This manner of local hierarchy is NOT opposed to healthy networks at a scales beyond the personal. What those situational hierarchies are opposed to is the larger and impersonal hierarchies -- both on account of a healthy jealousy of independence -- as well as the innate sense of some injustice or lack of true merit in the measures of non-personal hierarchies. I don't defer to anyone but my betters, and I'll be the judge of THAT -- Thank You Very Much. :D

Hierarchies beyond the personal and natural, are tools of some measure of domination, as opposed to orderly sorting of skills and mutual efforts toward genuinely common goals, for which they are good. Without that immediacy of relationship, the mutuality necessary for healthy hierarchy is lost. Noblesse oblige quickly degrades into divine right. It can become unhealthy very, very quickly

Erick Mead
09-26-2014, 09:22 AM
My master's degree is from a school that managed to turn itself into a primary node. They did it by throwing lots of money at the problem: they lured top notch faculty away from existing primary nodes, partly by attracting enough corporate and government funding to build best-in-class research facilities for them. Together, these attracted enthusiastic, highly qualified grad students and junior faculty, many with degrees from existing primary nodes. (Also, the beach didn't hurt.) And now they've won five Nobel prizes and regularly appear in lists of top schools.

And as that has happened, more and more people have been impressed when I've had the opportunity to tell them where I went to school. As you said, if you don't think there's a hierarchy, you haven't been paying attention. THAT is not a true hierarchy. It is some measure of rank (hier-), but rank alone does not confer rulership or command (-archy).

The point is often lost, I'm afraid, and too many equate them -- which is probably part of the problem.

The possession of 5 Nobels, a sterling faculty and immense scholarly output lends and rightly even demands a certain weight, influence, respect, a certain deference of view, but not unquestioning submission.

What it does not do is confer dominance to the prestigious institution to decide questions and direct things at the "lesser" places, without their consent.

The latter is a true hierarchy; the former is not.

In classical terms, the latter is called dominium -- lordship. The former is filium (loosely "sonship") -- as in affiliation -- which comes from the sense of a thread (filum) as part of a larger skein of yarn from which it derives or with which it combines to mutual purpose.

kewms
09-26-2014, 11:26 AM
This is what seems to matter is the world. What really matters is the transition that happens in each individual. Things like master's degrees and Noble prizes don't matter because they are artificial rewards. Belts and titles are too. Aikido happens on the mat. Each class teaches us something about ourselves and others.

.... belts and degrees have to do with money,power and appearance. Studying, having experiences and learning don't show on the outside but what happens inside each individual can be astounding.

I think it's pretty safe to say that someone who has won a Nobel prize has spent a significant amount of time studying and learning.

As has someone who has been recognized as a shihan by a respectable organization.

To the extent that belts and titles matter at all, they matter because they are an outwardly visible marker of an inner transformation.

Katherine

Erick Mead
09-26-2014, 12:41 PM
I think it's pretty safe to say that someone who has won a Nobel prize has spent a significant amount of time studying and learning. :eek: <<<ahck- AAAAcklh>>> Barack Obama ...?

Standards slipped a bit, there.

kewms
09-26-2014, 01:00 PM
:eek: <<<ahck- AAAAcklh>>> Barack Obama ...?

Standards slipped a bit, there.

The Peace Prize is different from the science prizes, I'll grant.

Still, are you claiming that a person able to become president of the Harvard Law Review, a constitutional law professor at University of Chicago, *and* the first black American president *hasn't* spent significant time studying and learning?

Katherine

Dan Richards
09-26-2014, 02:18 PM
Francis Takahashi in Kuzushi, an aiki perspective (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/10/19/kuzushi-an-aiki-perspective-by-francis-takahashi/), comments on what he sees as a total lack of understanding and effective application of kuzushi in much of modern aikido.

Yet, in Aikido practice today, the application of “kuzushi” is quite often more subtle, and “hinted at” rather than explicitly applied. It is not all that unusual for the nage to begin a “kuzushi” maneuver, and for the uke to finish it. Of course, this smacks of “collusion,” and demonstrates a serious loss of credibility, as well as widespread lack of knowledge or understanding in the Aikido training community of what kuzushi really is all about. It sadly illustrates what these otherwise sincere students of aikido unfortunately lack by ignoring kuzushi’s critical role in making mainstream aikido real, credible, and workable.

Nonetheless, for those who truly care, we can individually, and in dedicated groups, commit to re-introducing many of the forgotten or carelessly ignored components of O Sensei’s original creation.

I can personally attest to the fact that venues like Stanley Pranin’s recent and innovative Las Vegas workshop, the Friendship Bridge Seminars made popular by Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, regional attempts to assemble talent from distinctly different styles of aikido as in Seattle, Florida and New Jersey, to name a few, a new wave of thinking outside the tatami has definitely begun. What an excellent example of applying proper kuzushi to the outdated misconception of “why bother, our aikido is good enough as it is.”

And Takahashi quotes M Ueshiba concerning the future of Aiki:
As the Founder proclaimed, we are merely at the beginning of an indefinite pursuit of true Aiki, and of the Aikido chosen, best defined and practiced by anyone as a sovereign individual. In due time, we will be able to accomplish our individual goals without any requirement or need of established style, organizational affiliation or proof of authenticity to parties inconsequential.

Erick Mead
09-26-2014, 02:58 PM
The Peace Prize is different from the science prizes, I'll grant.

Still, are you claiming that a person able to become president of the Harvard Law Review, a constitutional law professor at University of Chicago, *and* the first black American president *hasn't* spent significant time studying and learning? Studying what is the question. Columbia transcripts may as well be state secrets. No one knows. No one tells, either. Color me unimpressed with the result: A 21st century Zelig. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUW8JsLDsNo)

sakumeikan
09-27-2014, 05:44 PM
I absolutely disagree, Carsten. I want to go further. To do anything less would be a disservice to those who went before us. I did receive knowledge from my teachers, and I keep unpacking it. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I also receive new knowledge and new experiences that they never had. And I live in completely different times and surroundings and culture than they did.

My main aikido teacher said, "Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid."

I'm not interested in the Budo of the last 25 years. I've already lived through it. Been there. Done that. I'm more interested in the Budo that will be evolving in the next 25 years.
Dear Dan,
How Aikido evolves in the next 25 years is pure speculation.Aikido might /might not improve , who can tell? Why worry /concern yourself about this?Surely its not about the past the 25 years, as you state, nor the future [you may well keel over at any given moment] .What matters is the present.It is sufficient to do your best NOW rather than think about the future.Cheers, Joe.

RonRagusa
09-27-2014, 10:51 PM
What matters is the present.It is sufficient to do your best NOW rather than think about the future.

Too true Joe. Do your best in the moment and the future will emerge built upon your moment to moment efforts.

Ron

Mary Eastland
09-28-2014, 07:28 AM
The challenge is doing one's best in each moment. :o)

CorkyQ
09-29-2014, 11:35 AM
For those interested in exploring the question further, here is a link to an upcoming webinar being conducted by Miles Kessler (https://theintegraldojo.leadpages.net/jtreewebinar2/) - Subject: "What Is The Evolution Of Aikido?"

These webinars that Miles puts on give aikidoka from around the world a chance to connect and discuss subjects about the art and its place in our lives and the world at large.

MRoh
10-01-2014, 03:25 AM
"Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid."

What means "strong" in this regard, und how does budo show its validity at the present time?

Only when these questions have been answered adequately, you know what direction it should take for yourself.

Dan Richards
10-03-2014, 03:19 PM
Leo Tamaki did a brilliant interview with Yamada. It's probably the most in-depth, casual, and telling interview I've seen to date.
http://usafaikidonews.com/yamada-yoshimitsu-the-free-man/

He covers everything from ranking, politics, self expression, non-emulation, cultural fetishes - to the need to increase quality, and advanced students contining to train in classes. Harvey Konigsberg, who was one of Yamada's early students at NY Aikikai - and one of the main teachers there when I started training - still takes classes from other people, who obviously are mostly lower ranked.

Yamada is in a unique position, and his vantage point is worth hearing. He points to many problems he sees, but he also subtly offers solutions. When asked about "organizations," he replies that, "Groups are necessary of course."

Groups is an interesting concept, because rather than "groups" being made up of people in close physical proximity, the idea of groups - with all the communications technology available and emerging - can become something much more free and flexible. Moving into the future, the idea of groups can expand and become a useful and powerful tool - especially for clubs and people training more remotely, as well as people in far-flung locations who want to work and explore together.

This does present the possibility of truly unlocking the bonds of the limitations of physical location and time. The internet has opened the doors for more open communication. We've got more people from around the world talking and sharing together than ever before. More people and ideas and tools are accessible to anyone.

And it's been a start. But it's only really the beginning of a real revolution. Over the next 10+ years, we'll see ever more technologies and possibilities emerge. And the extent to which we make truly creative use of our more powerful abilities to communicate, share, and learn - will directly affect and determine the future of Aikido in the coming years.

In terms of freedom of expression, I see no martial arts that equal Aikido and Systema. And between the two, Aikido has been taught to a larger number of students for longer, and has more diversity of expression - since we're seeing more and more Aikidoka with 25+ years of experience who care finding themselves on a more creative, open, and innovative path. But Systema has much to teach Aikido, especially in the areas of teaching methods and practices. Systema, right out of the gate, with students from day one, works with Ueshiba's concept of Takemusu Aiki.

Corky Quackenbush and other Aikido teachers have been discovering that a more free-form, random, and authentic training method is advancing students much faster. George Ledyard has given his input that he would completely retool the entire pedogogical process, and could advance students to high dan-level abilities within ten years. The areas where we'll see the most creative and richest growth in Aikido are the areas where new students are brought into the heart of Aiki from day one.

Yamada is really someone to give some serious attention. Because while he doesn't have all the answers, he's showing us clearly where the brambles are, and the areas that need to be cut back or torched to allow for new growth.

And many can already see the new growth and possibilities emerging.

MRoh
10-06-2014, 05:06 AM
Systema, right out of the gate, with students from day one, works with Ueshiba's concept of Takemusu Aiki.


I think this is a great misunderstanding.
Takemusu Aiki does not mean not to learn any techniques in the beginning.

In Iwama, students did not do any free movements until they reached the level of 3. Dan.

Takemusu is not a teaching concept, it's a condition of body and mind. ueshiba reached this state after a long time of very intensive technical study and practice.

There is nobody in Systema, who can put into practice what Ueshiba meant with takemusu aiki.

MRoh
10-06-2014, 09:03 AM
and could advance students to high dan-level abilities within ten years.

This happened already, years ago, in reality.

Dan Richards
10-12-2014, 02:47 PM
For those interested in exploring the question further, here is a link to an upcoming webinar being conducted by Miles Kessler (https://theintegraldojo.leadpages.net/jtreewebinar2/) - Subject: "What Is The Evolution Of Aikido?"

These webinars that Miles puts on give aikidoka from around the world a chance to connect and discuss subjects about the art and its place in our lives and the world at large.
Corky, thank you for posting this and giving a heads up on the information. Thank you to Miles, Patrick, and Dave for setting it up, and to everyone who participated in the conference.

Dan Richards
10-13-2014, 11:12 PM
Below is a link to the recorded conference with comments and input by the hosts as well as others, including Corky Quackenbush of Kakushi Toride and Dan Richards of Latham Eclectic.

This topic, "Third Wave Aikido" at Aikiweb, is mentioned in the conference.

https://soundcloud.com/integral-dojo
"What Is The Evolution Of Aikido?" - Joshua Tree Evolutionary Aikido Webinar 2 of 3

CorkyQ
10-16-2014, 01:28 PM
Dan, I knew that teleconference would be up your alley! We are not alone, despite how it may seem on this thread. One of the things I noticed in the call was that many of us looking at the evolution of aikido as a positive thing and who are projecting that awareness into physical form have gone outside the bounds of their lineages to explore other points of view. Like you pointed out in the teleconference, Dan, this seems to happen after about 20 - 30 years of doing the same techniques over and over and over again. It seems to me that most schools I have taken classes in repeat the same 15 - 20 techniques in their repertoire - the ones that are going to be on the tests. Sometimes variations are introduced but they are largely within the same rigid structure.

The good thing about learning techniques is that they demonstrate paths aiki can take under specific conditions. Training to do them gives the body an idea of where and how to move to accommodate an attack under those specific conditions. Laying down train tracks keeps things on the same track no matter how much the load and number of cars on the train effect the kinetic energy of the joined sections. Whatever the rest of the train might cars might do on their own in terms of a trajectory once they are moving, they will be forced to stay on the track in order to get to the end of the line.
The problem with the practice of techniques is that they train a very specific response to what may include infinite variations. Where a train forces cars to stay in line on a track, forcing attacks into a rigid, pre-planned route, can result in many unforeseen effects. As even an attacker has defensive hard wiring in the brain, he may react unconsciously or instinctually to being forced into an inevitable conclusion that will put them on the ground. His resistance can come in the form of a change or withdrawal of the attack making the technique ineffective in resolving the conflict.

The good thing about techniques are that they demonstrate complex chains of elemental movements used in the art of Aikido. The problem with that is that because they are complex in order to learn them one needs a collusive partner. Over the course of aikido's evolution, including the formation of curricula of techniques which vary from lineage to lineage, aikido as a whole has developed a culture of collusion when it comes to ukemi. This could be the biggest criticism of Aikido outside the aikido community of martial artists, and rightly so. Aikido is the only martial art in which the attacker "loses" every time!

The notion of takemusu aiki, as defined as "spontaneously manifesting aikido" as been described by interpretations of Osensei's words as "aikido beyond technique" and "the highest form" of aikido.

The question that created a sea change in my own personal evolution is why almost unanimously people are taught through technique emulation with techniques handed down through lineages that began with students of the Founder as if (in the words of Mark Freeman) "preserved in amber" when the ultimate goal is a technique-free expression of aiki. One of my most influential and innovative teachers even had to leave the school he co-founded because his own evolution was digressing from the practice culture in the dojo. Before he passed away he told me he wasn't even sure he could call what he was doing"aikido" anymore because of the different training focus.

Following in his footsteps, I broke out of the technique emulation habit almost 11 years ago, and instead of teaching the techniques that I had been asked to emulate, I began to practice exclusively in a jiuwaza framework. No one dictated how an attack was coming nor how to find the aikido. First thing I found was that there were very few on that path with me at that time. It is much easier to feel a sense of accomplishment when you can do things "right" 99% of the time because you have done it that way in thousands of repetitions. It is not so easy when you have an uke who is responding more like a real attacker would based on what you are doing in response to the attack.

Next thing I found out was that very few, myself included at that time, had any idea about the nature of attack. In our culture of collusiveness, we were not giving any time to the understanding of the whole reason for aikido to exist in the first place - the nature of attack. Compounding that was the misunderstanding that what happens in sport fighting reflects true attacks, particularly those with deadly intent. This sentiment is not exclusive to me, of course. Looking around these forum threads one will find many expressions of this idea from many teachers and students alike.

Because of this, I began developing an ukemi-based training model I call Aiki-Lab. It is one thing to recognize the problem and another thing to come up with ways of training (learning and teaching) to solve the problem. The best part of the paradigm shift of going from a technique emulation model to an ukemi based model was that although my partners went to the mat a lot less frequently, when they did go I knew they went there because aiki had manifested, not because they were just going along with the program while they waited for their turn for me to go along with theirs.

One of the benefits of this kind of ukemi based practice is that aikido is often achieved in a much more direct and simplified way and didn't require my partner to keep up with the speed of my complex technique. Also, one becomes aware that often aikido would occur and it would not be until after the resolution that nage would realize what had just happened in terms of technical application. Even beginners could understand the nature of spontaneously manifesting aikido and experience it decades before it would be possible by training the same set of techniques ad infinitum.

One of the recurring expressions during the teleconference was the idea that there has got to be a basis in techniques of aikido in order to get to the spontaneous manifestation of formless aikido, and that makes sense to a degree. This is why I created an ukemi-based kata, if you will, so that the elemental movements of aikido, really only a few compared to the number of complex chains of these elements most people learn as techniques, are learned in context of an ever-changing variety of attacks. Students using this system of learning find themselves doing "techniques" most aikidoka would recognize from their own curricula, but without ever being shown them.

Best of all benefits though is that through this kind of practice one also cultivates the ability to transcend the nervous system automatic responses to the perception of threat to come from a higher consciousness perspective. When this occurs, one becomes very cognizant that Osensei's spiritual teachings are not just lip service to the idea of being nice to each other, but are literal truths and universal principles that manifest in physical form during an attack. This proves itself to be the biggest benefit because one also begins to notice within oneself all the internal activity that keeps this true harmonizing from happening. In the Aiki-Lab way of practicing, the interaction of uke and nage will only result in an aiki resolution (what Aiki-Lab calls a throw or fall) if there has been a transcendence of the lower brain response to a state of higher consciousness. In this way masakatsu agatsu (translated as "true victory is victory over oneself") becomes the operating principle of the practice. This greatest benefit is so because this cultivation carries over immediately into the non-physical realm, the place where even most physical conflicts originate. If Aikido is evolving, wouldn't it be evolving to produce more and more direct ways of resolving conflict before escalation to exercises of power?

Dan Richards
10-16-2014, 02:03 PM
Hi Corky, thanks for those great comments.

Even beginners could understand the nature of spontaneously manifesting aikido and experience it decades before it would be possible by training the same set of techniques ad infinitum.

Exactly. I can have someone who's never trained at all freely expressing Takemusu Aiki in minutes. I've done this with many people of all sizes and ages.

We had a skinny, tall girl come to a training a few weeks ago. She'd never trained before. I worked with her for a few minutes, and after 10 minutes had two big guys grab one of her arms pretty strongly and hold her tightly with something like 50+lbs of resistance.

She was easily able to move freely, and toppled the guys over. The 10lb arm of a 120lb woman moved over 400lbs of men with zero effort. All while she was cracking up and smiling.

Students using this system of learning find themselves doing "techniques" most aikidoka would recognize from their own curricula, but without ever being shown them.

We're getting that, too. Approaching things from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

Beginning from essence and manifesting form.

And it would certainly seem that the opposite would result in this collusion you keep mentioning.

Could Aikido, having been taught through forms, actually be a deception that so many outside of Aikido seem to be able to easily spot? And contribute to the continued collusive/deceptive practices?