View Full Version : polictics in aikido clubs in the UK

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The Piranah
03-05-2001, 06:10 AM
I am a green belt student of aikido and i am studying film production at college. For my end of year film i am making a video about aikido. I was wondering if anyone has anything to say about all the rivalry and politics between aikido assicitaions in the UK, and about how a grade is reconised at one dojo and not at another etc, its a bit confusing for me at the moment! I cant gurantee i will use it in the film but i am considering doing so. Let me know your name and style of aikido so that i can credit it back to you if i use it in the video

03-05-2001, 09:04 AM
Hi Kirana
I like you have only just started aikido, and like you have detected a load of politics (in the UK anyway). I think it's commendable that you are trying to further understand aikido, but this may be one aspect that should be left alone. My sensei says that we shouldn't think of what could become a problem, as it invariably will become a problem. Putting politics on a film like yours might add to the controversy, whereas if it's left to the protagonists they may sort it out themselves, and I gather this is currently the case. (Of course having it on film might stir them into action. Hmmm.)
Anyhow, good luck with the film.

03-06-2001, 08:42 AM
As I have been doing Aikido for quite some time in the UK, I would be interested to know what associations you are talking about?
Do you mean grade recognition when you join a new dojo or do you mean at seminars? If you join a new style of aikido I would not be surprised if grade is not recognised, often the syllabus for gradings are very different....

03-06-2001, 12:22 PM
:eek: this may not be what you're looking for... http://www.esta.fsnet.co.uk/poole.htm

Also, did you know that the edinburgh aikikai? (frere jacques) isn't registered in the UK...?

I'm not 'stirring it'. Politics play a huge part in my organisation... mail me ;)

03-08-2001, 05:13 AM
mj wrote:
:eek: this may not be what you're looking for... http://www.esta.fsnet.co.uk/poole.htm

Also, did you know that the edinburgh aikikai? (frere jacques) isn't registered in the UK...?

I'm not 'stirring it'. Politics play a huge part in my organisation... mail me ;)

Oh my.....please tell me its not true!

Steve Speicher
03-08-2001, 08:52 AM
This is in reference to the "poole" article linked to in previous posts.

As an American I have no inner knowledge of any British workings, but the situation outlined in that article is alarming. The issue doesn't seem to be so much whether Poole is or isn't what he claims. The issue seems to be that the Board has deteriorated into a beurocracy more concerned with personal ego(s) than true aikido.

All I can say is I hope with time the beurocratic issue can resolve itself, as I am sure there is an abundance of competent and enthusiastic senseis in Britain who are there for all the right reasons. Go Aikido!!! :)

03-08-2001, 11:32 AM
A personal experience with politics :

I was not going to be able to continue at y,m current dojo, so I phoned another club. They told me my sensei was a total fraud, who didn't know anything!!!!! They told me I was being taught judo - which is absolute rubbish, and they said some very nasty things about my sensei, all of whcih are untrue, because he didn't register through them. This behaviour is disgusting and it is truly not within budo spirit!


paul spawforth
03-11-2001, 12:33 PM
I have been to a couple of seminars and courses where every style of aikidoka attends, and so far i have not seen or heard any political rivalry between styles. Being a student of Tomiki style aikido i think my style is probably the most ridiculed within the aikido circle, the reason being that many staunch traditionalists (and of course O'sensei) believed there was no room for competition in aikido for they think it brings about big ego trips and selfishness, i have also been to one competition and experienced no big egos and certainly no bad feeling. I think the most part of the political arguments have now died down and everyone gets on with studying their own style with the attitude of "whatever style of aikido you study really makes no difference, at the end of the day we are all still students of aikido!" with regard to the rank question i think different styles don't accept rank from each other because of the differences in syllabus and grading requirements....

Hope this helps

Paul, Tomiki style.

03-11-2001, 12:58 PM
To paul spawforth. Osensei did not ridicule Tomiki aikido, his students voted against teaching it. Tomiki is as valid as anything. :D

Jim ashby
03-11-2001, 03:19 PM
Hey Guys, here's a really radical idea. Why dont we let the Aikido do the talking. See where the various instructors got their grades, how they can trace their instructors back and then judge.

paul spawforth
03-17-2001, 12:52 PM
to MJ

I never really said O'sensei ridiculed tomiki aikido, he just said to kenji tomiki that he could not teach competition aikido at the hombu dojo and requested tomiki to set up his own style, which is fair enough, the real ridicule comes from the traditional style students who think that just because O'sensei and Kenji tomiki had differing views, because O'sensei founded aikido they seem to regard Tomiki as some reckless thug, which is not true.

03-17-2001, 01:09 PM
True. It happens in most arts, I'm sure though... It's not anything for people to worry about. It's a pathless path isn't it? :D

paul spawforth
03-17-2001, 02:12 PM
Sure is!


03-17-2001, 05:47 PM
Aikido should be apolitical. On another thread, a student talks about being literally banned from a dojo because he had a bad exchange with a Shodan (who was mean to him). The senior sensei then banned the younger student without hearing the explanation. This speaks poorly of the politics inside that particular dojo.

What binds many different styles of aikido together is the notion of "aiki", harmony, blending, ki, and connectedness. Does it really matter if one group splinters off from another? Is one style "correct?" Certainly not. Just like a living tree can have many branches, so too can aikido.

The whole notion of politics is interesting to me, because O-Sensei's system clearly is firmly grounded in Daito Ryu Aikijutsu. When he created his own style, was he being politically incorrect - I have to read up on this part of the history.


03-17-2001, 06:32 PM
Being an Aiki-thug (read Tomiki) I just set up a dojo in a city where the man and the style were unheard of.

When I first arrived I went around and trained with various groups - some more, some less. If I found that my presence raised hackles (including my own) I just went elsewhere. I generally was treated very well but never made any demands. Most dojos asked me to wear the black belt.

When I did open the dojo I had quite a bit of support from those dojos. This included letters of recomendation, lending me students to bash around (I'm an Aiki-thug remember) and visits by various sensei to either teach or take a lesson. I've also been invited to introduce Shodokan to other dojos.

I call this quiet diplomacy or building bridges. There are sensei's in the area that don't like me or what I represent - when the run ins occured I had both overt and covert (quiet verbal) support. By not attacking you gain the high ground - the right people see this and will come to you. The wrong people you just don't worry about.