View Full Version : Caught in japanese teaching methods

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Bruce Baker
12-15-2002, 10:06 AM
I had a slight disagreement with Peter Rehse who is quite renowned in Aikido circles,and he deserves every accolade we can give him for sticking out the many problems he has addressed over the years ... for which I hold him in high regards.

That does not mean everything he says of a any teacher says is always right in th grand scheme of things, but it merely applies to the way it is used, taught, and practiced for that culture, that martial art, that type of practice.

What I am getting at is ... are our teachers so caught up in the japanese culture and teachings, they have not balanced what they are learning in terms of their own nationality, their own homeland, to the effect the unwavering teachings take precedent over active research and learning?

Are out teachers and shihans caught up in both the culture and preservation of Aikido without looking to its further developement beyond what O'Sensei taught and practiced?

Maybe it is just the attitude of superiority that comes through as teachers smile with that smile that says," Yes, I know more than you, and as right or wrong as you may be, what I teach you is better than any other way."

That might be an overadjustment, but that is what I feel when high ranking teachers put up that wall of complacentcy to accomandate new students, or students coming from other martial arts.

Are we missing the point that O'Sensei instilled in his student to make Aikido their own, on their own term, within the tenents of their own society, and character?

Too much Japanese for the Gaijin?

12-15-2002, 03:12 PM
Mr. Baker,

When I first read your post I though "Oh yeah...right on!" My learning of aikido thus far has been a veritable swamp of frustrations over cultural misunderstandings, language barriers, and what I take to be dated teaching methods. However, the more I think about it, the more I think the transformation of the teaching of aikido would damage its most crucial and central tenets. Take your main complaint that we must make aikido our own, for example. It seems to me that the more accessible our American teachers attempt to make aikido, the less critical we will be of its content. We are much more likely to simply accept that which we are familiar with. I think the cultural and temporal gap that exists between 'traditional' aikido teaching and modern instructions (martial or otherwise) provides an interesting space...a tension, if you will...in which we can gain a broader perspective of what aikido means and can mean for ourselves individually and our societies.

In the end, I say don't change a thing!