PDA

View Full Version : Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


L. Camejo
09-16-2004, 04:48 PM
Hey folks,

I've been recently speaking with a friend of mine who does Shodokan Aikido in another country and I came across something that was both interesting and disturbing.

I was informed of a story where a young mudansha student of Shodokan of about 1-2 years training had to move to another area for school and as a result, needed to train at a dojo of another style. On asking the instructor about training he promptly indicated to the individual that he couldn't train at that dojo because he trained in Tomiki style and "that is not Aikido". He was not given more of an explanation and promptly asked to leave.

From my own research it appears that the dojo had an adjacent Shinto shrine as well, so they may have been very deeply involved in the "spiritual" aspects of Aikido as taken from a Shinto perspective. For now I'll refrain from mentioning which style this dojo belonged to. It's interesting though that the "we are the one and only true path" way of thinking can exclude people to this degree, in a Budo that holds harmony and tolerance as some of its core tenets.

Imho I don't see what a person's training in another style has to do with one's current training in a new dojo, regardless of martial art. I have heard that discrimination occurs for different sexes at some dojo, but never for one's prior training history.

So I was wondering if anyone of any Aikido group had ever experienced or heard of this sort of phenomenon during their time of training.

Onegaishimasu.
LC:ai::ki:

Bronson
09-16-2004, 06:09 PM
That's too bad :(

I wonder what would have happened if he'd gone to this instructor and went on about wanting to leave the "evil" aikido behind him and get on the "true" path to enlightenment?

The closest to that I've heard of is an aikido instructor not allowing his students to study any other style of aikido, or even, any other art at the same time his students were training with him.

Bronson

suren
09-16-2004, 06:10 PM
Hi Larry,

I can't answer your question since I haven't been in such situation or heard about it. I would like to add a question which is clos to the one you gave. As I could see Aikido practitioners are often free to go to some other dojos to train with other teachers to gain more experience. For example when I traveled to San Diego for 5 days I was advised by my sensei to visit another particular dojo which was also Iwama style. And as I understand the person going to another dojo is not paying for his visits. I'm wondering if that would be the same with some other style dojo. Let's say the instructor in the dojo does not know your instructor and practices another style. What would happen then? Would you be allowed to train with them without quitting your dojo and if so would you be charged for that?
Thanks.

Richard Elliott
09-16-2004, 06:36 PM
Hello Larry,

Yeah, that sounds unusual. But clannishness, elitism, etc., can lead to some pretty strange bonding between people whether it is MA, politics, religion, race, whatever. It can happen anywhere or anytime given the right conditions. Sometimes, I believe, the quest for "Purity" "Perfection" the "perfect" vision" can lead people to go . . . over the top. I don't know if that is what was happening with the dojo you mentioned, but it would be interesting (well, probably not) to get into a conversation with someone in that dojo just to see what some of their verbal and nonverbal assumptions reveal. I have got a feeling their assumptions might be ALL-TOO-COMMON.

I once got a little "stung out" trying to hunt down and APPROPRIATE something I considered "that Perfect One".
Let me just say, did you ever read Moby Dick.

Us and Them...

I don't blame people who being atheist, agnostic, or find the "religious dimension" of their lives fulfilled in nature, science or "the humanistic world" for getting exasperated at religious rhapsodizing about the "spiritual" dimension of everything, esp. MAs. The truth is I do too, although I am a Christian and really try to do my best.

Most of these people that get stuck in that clannish, elitist, frozen attitude find simple things unually hard: like saying "I'm sorry", "I made a mistake" "You were right" "Help"
"I might not be the strongest kid on the block" etc,. etc..

The truth is there are indeed some good reasons for being exclusive about who to include in some dojos or any organization, but these reasons can not be because someone is beneath contempt or unworthy as a person or can never change. It may be that for particular reasons and purposes of an organization a particular prospect may not be well-suited at that time.

If you wish to do some thinking on this subject of elitism or clannishness you might begin consulting Robertson-sensei's essay "Aikido and Group Sects". It offers some comments to begin thinking on this topic.

Sorry if this response seems to roam or ramble, but I'm a roamin, ramblin man! Oh God! I think I did have a point somewhere.

L. Camejo
09-16-2004, 11:26 PM
Thanks for your replies folks. Good stuff to think about so far.

As I could see Aikido practitioners are often free to go to some other dojos to train with other teachers to gain more experience. For example when I traveled to San Diego for 5 days I was advised by my sensei to visit another particular dojo which was also Iwama style. And as I understand the person going to another dojo is not paying for his visits. I'm wondering if that would be the same with some other style dojo. Let's say the instructor in the dojo does not know your instructor and practices another style. What would happen then? Would you be allowed to train with them without quitting your dojo and if so would you be charged for that?

Hi Suren, as far as our dojo goes, all visitors are welcome and they have all trained for free so far regardless of style of Aikido or martial art. Unless they plan to stay for an extremely long time and actually join the dojo I tend not to charge folks . To me it's all part of the spirit of building links and bonds within the Art. When I've trained at Aikikai dojos abroad I've not been charged for the training as they knew I was visiting only for a few weeks. It may be different elsewhere though.

The truth is there are indeed some good reasons for being exclusive about who to include in some dojos or any organization, but these reasons can not be because someone is beneath contempt or unworthy as a person or can never change. It may be that for particular reasons and purposes of an organization a particular prospect may not be well-suited at that time.

Hey Richard, I agree totally on your point above. There may be exclusion of certain groups for certain reasons. I think Ueshiba M. himself used to interview folks before teaching them Aikido so as to get a feel for the character of the person who wanted to learn. But the case I'm, referring to is sort of like "we walk the one true path and you are not worthy" which to be honest I have heard before from one person, but even among those who believe they walk the one true Aikido path, they tend to be willing to "convert" the "heathens" to their way of doing things y'know?

I mean, we don't discriminate when folks from other styles like Karate, Judo etc. come to train with us, why should we discriminate within Aikido itself? It's just something that's a bit shocking to me is all.

Thanks for the comments so far.

LC:ai::ki:

Brad Darr
09-17-2004, 12:27 AM
Not that I agree with it but I think the source of the discrimination may result from Shodokan/Tomiki style including competition. The oft quoted line by Osensei about Aikido being non-competative is taken very seriously by some people, and I think that may be the reason for the ignorant sensei to say that "Tomiki style is not aikido", just a thought. I have heard similar things at seminars about how Tomiki style is just a sport and it only builds muscle and hurts people. It is amazing how ignorant people can be.

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 12:52 AM
Not that I agree with it but I think the source of the discrimination may result from Shodokan/Tomiki style including competition. The oft quoted line by Osensei about Aikido being non-competative is taken very seriously by some people, and I think that may be the reason for the ignorant sensei to say that "Tomiki style is not aikido", just a thought.

It's not just him - Moriteru Ueshiba said the same thing. Whether he's ignorant or not depends on which side of the question you fall on, I suppose.

Best,

Chris

happysod
09-17-2004, 03:11 AM
Indeed, the anathema that is shodokan/tomiki must be rooted out and shown to be the heresy it truly is - runs off laughing into the purity of ki (this drive-by fundamentalist insight was brought to you by the people with no brain and less humour).

Larry, what can I say but you sometimes don't have to cross styles to find arseholes who only teach the one true way, I've met that attitude within an association before - cross dojo wars... Let's face it, if you met a teacher with that narrow an attitude what could you possibly hope to learn anyway. At least with an up-front moron like this you get out of a bad situation rather quickly, it's the more subtle "my shit don't stink 'cos I'm righteous" groups that I worry about more as you can find yourself entertaining their ridiculous credo almost seriously without judicious additions of common sense and outside viewpoints...

Yann Golanski
09-17-2004, 03:31 AM
Ian,

Hear hear. We agree once more.

Larry,

This is ridiculous. Thankfully those idiots are in the minority and everytime I have cross-trained I was always treated well.

PeterR
09-17-2004, 03:40 AM
Moriteru Ueshiba said the same thing.
To be fair he is in the actual position of being keeper of the faith.

Never met Moriteru Ueshiba but I suspect he would not be as rude as the unnamed instructor.

As a Shodokan person I have always been treated very well by high ranking Aikikai (and other styles) of Aikido (several at Shihan level) and always let on the mat. In two instances there has been the question of regular training but that really is more to do with serving two masters and under the particular circumstances it worked out for the best. One was an Aikikai Shihan with whom I maintain very cordial relations and the other a Koryu.

L. Camejo
09-17-2004, 08:29 AM
As a Shodokan person I have always been treated very well by high ranking Aikikai (and other styles) of Aikido (several at Shihan level) and always let on the mat. In two instances there has been the question of regular training but that really is more to do with serving two masters and under the particular circumstances it worked out for the best. One was an Aikikai Shihan with whom I maintain very cordial relations and the other a Koryu.

I agree totally with Peter and Yann. My own experiences in cross training in Aikido (Aikikai, Ki Society and Yoshinkan) have all been very pleasant and I wouldn't try to exclude either the members or instructors of these dojos from training in my own. We all can learn something from someone imho.

I think Brad had a point with the "competition" thing, especially when I checked the website of the Instructor in question. In most cases I've encountered, the instructors who preach this sort of "you are not worthy" mindset tend to hold dearly onto the Ueshiba M. reference to Aikido not having competition (among a few of the obscure esoteric quotes and beliefs as well). The ignorant ones basically take this as dogma and look no further, however in my experience the majority are at least open to trying to understand the nature of the thing, even if they don't agree with it in the end, which is cool.

However, I've found that many of those who have an open aversion to "competitive Aikido" or its concepts actually compete unofficially in their dojos all the time with their peers for recognition by their Sensei, or to feel that they have a technique better than someone else, or that something is effective against a particular body type etc. But it is not as openly stated and formalised as in Shodokan, that's all. Interesting phenomenon really. I wonder if these same folks would react in the same manner to the embu style competitions found in Shin Shin Toitsu.

Good points all, especially Ian :yuck: . For some reason I've been encountering this sort of Aiki-purism a lot recently and maybe in my own little reality it's appearing as if this sort of sentiment is becoming more prevalent in the Aikido world. Is it?

Onegaishimasu.
LC:ai::ki:

SeiserL
09-17-2004, 08:49 AM
IMHO, where ther are humans, there is ego. Where there is ego, there is politics. Where there is politics there is separatism.

Not everyone pratices what the philosophy teaches. Sorry to hear about the experience. Many of us need more practice to see the sameness and similiarities rather than the differences.

Foundamentally, there is only one Aikido and only one human race. We are all in this together.

jester
09-17-2004, 09:28 AM
On asking the instructor about training he promptly indicated to the individual that he couldn't train at that dojo because he trained in Tomiki style and "that is not Aikido"

From my experiences, there are big differences in the training methods of the two styles. I don't feel as comfortable at the Aikikai dojos only because the training methods are so different from my own and it feels awkward to me. That being said, I don't regret any cross training I've done because it does open your eyes to other possibilities and variations that you might not see. I've found that all of the Aikikai instructors I've met have been really open and friendly.

I can see how some instructor could be apprehensive if they've never been exposed to Tomiki style, but his term "that is not Aikido" is ridiculous.

I wonder where this instructor learned this from. Most likely from his instructor.

Matt Molloy
09-17-2004, 09:57 AM
I was informed of a story where a young mudansha student of Shodokan of about 1-2 years training had to move to another area for school and as a result, needed to train at a dojo of another style. On asking the instructor about training he promptly indicated to the individual that he couldn't train at that dojo because he trained in Tomiki style and "that is not Aikido". He was not given more of an explanation and promptly asked to leave.

I think I would be taking myself straight out of that dojo and thinking myself lucky that the instructor had revealed his colours so promptly. You get idiots in every style of martial arts. :rolleyes:

Cheers,

Matt.

L. Camejo
09-17-2004, 11:44 AM
Actually Tim, I never said that the dojo was Aikikai. Your experiences with Aikikai though have been similar to mine. Though I've never had a problem when training under the Aikikai's methodology.

I also agree that most times these folks learn these things from their instructors. But sometimes though, people also use social interaction media like religious groups, martial arts, sports, members' clubs etc. to express their own particular world view as well, which may not necessarily be congruent with the nature of the forum in which they are trying to express these things.

Matt, I agree with that - better to find out up front than in the midst of a kotegaeshi ukemi :).

Good points.
LC:ai::ki:

senshincenter
09-17-2004, 01:32 PM
I think that the point about competition, etc., has to be equally applied to other martial arts then - as was mentioned above. I mean, would such a dojo keep out a Karateka or a Tae Kwon Do practitioner - what about a Judo practitioner? These traditions all have competitive elements, so why just pick on Tomiki? Perhaps something more sinister is afoot. Like maybe the instructor mistakenly feared someone always countering his/her techniques in front of his/her students, etc.

I'd also like to note that we are not really dealing with "freaks" here, or the occasional oddball - which is not to say that those folks don't exist, they do. But my first experience with this type of behavior came from my first instructor - a well-respected (to this day) Shidoin from the USAF. He decided one day that folks that trained occasionally at the dojo's sister school (which he established as such) in order to train with a higher ranking instructor from the same federation, could not attend a dojo Xmas party or any further classes until they all had written a formal apology to him for training elsewhere.

dmv

suren
09-17-2004, 02:44 PM
Larry,

Some replies has been talking about such people associating themselves with "pure Aikido" and Moriteru Ueshiba. I've made some research to see what is his point of view to this problem and here is what I've found in "Best Aikido" written by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba (as I understand 2 and 3 Doshu) page 18:


Q: Are there different schools of Aikido?
A: To be sure, there are many systems that claim to be "such-and-such Aikido", even without really knowning what Aikido is. And there are some splinter groups that have been established by former students of the Founder, with a few even going so fas as to introduce organized competition, something that is totally contrary to the spirit of Aikido. Regardless of how similar the techniques appear, if they are divorced from the spirit of the Founder it is not Aikido.

Pretty conservative isn't it? However, the very next paragraph is:

We do not like to think that there are separate schools of Aikido. If we draw too many distinctions between different interpretations of the techniques, the universal character of Aikido will be degraded.

So as I understand the meaning is : Schools which lost "the spirit of the Founder" probably refering to Tomiki and similar styles with competition, they should not be considered Aikido. All the others despite some differences in techniques are Aikido.
That's a very simplified version, but that's what I understand from the above.
I personally would not like the leaders of the organization to be so conservative, but that's my personal opinion and maybe they are right...

Tennessee Mike
09-17-2004, 02:57 PM
With unbelievers, other arts, you know they are wrong. With heretics the corruption is more subtle and must be stamped out immediately. :D Just kidding.

The way I see it there is much to learn between different aikido styles as well as different instructors. There is a saying that if you see something that works then use it. Paradigm shifts or new ways of viewing aikido is not a bad thing. It provides other avenues to learn.

L. Camejo
09-17-2004, 04:09 PM
here is what I've found in "Best Aikido" written by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba (as I understand 2 and 3 Doshu) page 18:


Hey Suren,

I can see your point based on the words given from the book.

But imho, and I may draw some flack for this - to author a book called "Best Aikido" one has to assume an extremely high degree of mastery and understanding of the art, or be extremely ignorant of what exists out there in the Aikido world.

Personally, I remember reading words of M. Ueshiba in his twilight years still regarding himself as a beginner in this concept. So it's interesting that his son (whose ability/inability to carry on the tradition may have had something to do with the Tohei split among others) and grandson can make any claims about what is "Best Aikido". Imho the mark of a true master is one who never stops learning and never assumes that he has mastered anything.

This whole Aiki-purity concept is interesting though, because I have also remembered reading accounts (which may be found in the Aikidojournal archives I believe) that more than a couple of the Founder's students had serious concerns over time with what was being taught at the Aikikai Honbu by the Founder's son and "the direction" in which the art was heading.

Pertaining to a question I asked some time ago on these Forums: Did Ueshiba M. ever categorically define what "Aiki" and "Aikido" was? If not, then all we have is interpretation, and in this case we have as many "styles" of Aikido as we have practitioners of Aikido. One cannot define what something is not unless one has defined what it is.

Senshin: What you say about the TKD, Karate and Judo practitioners not being welcome at this dojo crossed my mind as well. The fear of a Sensei having a student counter his techniques in front of class is vvery interesting, as I've found that folks who take this sort of "purity" posture are also quick to tell you how to attack and train in a way that they look good. It's funny how in many cases the absence of competition/objective testing in some ways may have helped create a breeding ground for the same ego-driven approach to training that Ueshiba M. attempted to avoid by claiming that to compete is not Aikido.

Just my thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

jester
09-17-2004, 04:32 PM
Actually Tim, I never said that the dojo was Aikikai.

Hey Larry, sorry if it came off that way. I was only relating my experiences, and the USAF is the only other aikido style I've been able to train in.

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 04:32 PM
But imho, and I may draw some flack for this - to author a book called "Best Aikido" one has to assume an extremely high degree of mastery and understanding of the art, or be extremely ignorant of what exists out there in the Aikido world.

To be fair, the title is different in Japanese ("Standard Aikido"), the title seems to have changed with the English publication - much as Nariyama's "Aikido Classroom" became the "Competitive Edge".

Pertaining to a question I asked some time ago on these Forums: Did Ueshiba M. ever categorically define what "Aiki" and "Aikido" was? If not, then all we have is interpretation, and in this case we have as many "styles" of Aikido as we have practitioners of Aikido. One cannot define what something is not unless one has defined what it is.

He wrote an entire book about what Aiki and Aikido meant to him. Unfortunately it's only in Japanese (and very tough Japanese at that), but it's well worth the time if you get the chance.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 04:35 PM
To be fair he is in the actual position of being keeper of the faith.

Never met Moriteru Ueshiba but I suspect he would not be as rude as the unnamed instructor.

That's probably true, he's very low key and down to earth.

Best,

Chris

L. Camejo
09-17-2004, 04:36 PM
Tim: No worries, just sounded that way. By the way - do/did you train in Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido? Your posts lend some information that you may have trained in this direction.

Chris: Thanks for the info. But then, if we have a working definition of what Aikido is, then why do we have so many interpretations even within the central structure of the Aikikai?

LC:ai::ki:

suren
09-17-2004, 04:40 PM
Personally, I remember reading words of M. Ueshiba in his twilight years still regarding himself as a beginner in this concept. So it's interesting that his son (whose ability/inability to carry on the tradition may have had something to do with the Tohei split among others) and grandson can make any claims about what is "Best Aikido". Imho the mark of a true master is one who never stops learning and never assumes that he has mastered anything.


Larry,

The very same thoughts I had after reading that passage in the book. O'Senei created his own style after learning a lot from others and that assimes he was a very open minded and had no problems with switching between styles/schools/systems/etc. And I can imagine that most of these systems probably were competitive and agressive... Why Aikido should be so conservative and sometines ever ignorant to the schools with the same roots?
Maybe in their attempt to preserve the form people are trying to limit it (because their job as I understand is to save the tradition)? On the other hand by preserving the form and limiting it, the spirit can be lost.

Anyway, just some thoughts...

aikidoc
09-17-2004, 05:01 PM
Sometimes the problem even exists within the same umbrella. I'm affiliated with the aikikai and had one of my students move to another area. He wanted to train with a hombu instructor that had a style we were working on and with an instructor in the organization. The organization instructor told him it was either or. He chose the or. This selfishness or ego centric behavior or whatever resulted in a loss of a dedicated aikido student's participation. I for one have found it invaluable to see many different perspectives on the art. I know I have my preferences but even in the aikikai there are many instructors with enough variation or differences in their paradigm of aikido that one need not want for challenges. Personally, I find limiting my knowledge to only one instructor or perspective to be too limiting. I have always encouraged my students to cross train in other styles of aikido if they have an opportunity to or want to do so.

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 06:02 PM
Chris: Thanks for the info. But then, if we have a working definition of what Aikido is, then why do we have so many interpretations even within the central structure of the Aikikai?

LC:ai::ki:

Because very few people (even Japanese people) actually read Takemusu Aiki?

Any way, most of the interpretations within, say, the Aikikai, have to do with technical differences. The interesting thing about about Takemusu Aiki is that Ueshiba doesn't speak about technique at all - not a single time in an entire book devoted to defining what Aikido meant to him.

Best,

Chris

suren
09-17-2004, 06:18 PM
On the second thought... Maybe non-competitiveness is not a form, but the spirit of Aikido...
I'm wondering why Tomiki sensei chose to introduce competition in Aikido. I'll have to search the web for this...
BTW, my apologies if the passage I brought up was also translated incorrectly (as the case with the title of the book).

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 06:36 PM
On the second thought... Maybe non-competitiveness is not a form, but the spirit of Aikido...
I'm wondering why Tomiki sensei chose to introduce competition in Aikido. I'll have to search the web for this...
BTW, my apologies if the passage I brought up was also translated incorrectly (as the case with the title of the book).

He talks quite about about his reasoning in "Budo-ron", Japanese only, but also a worthwhile read.

Best,

Chris

senshincenter
09-17-2004, 06:49 PM
I am not so sure that we can excuse all that is being brought up in the thread by noting the differences in translation between the words “best” and “standard.” That is to say, no one ever comes up with a standard that they thinks sucks or even that they think is second best, etc. (Personally, I find the word “standard” way more problematic than the word “best.”) Hence, “standard” may not be all that different a word from “best.” Besides, though possible, it is also hard to imagine that Hombu, the author, etc., played no role whatsoever in selecting the English title. So maybe “best” and “standard” are amounting to the same thing in the end. Either way, the effect that “standard” is having in regards to what Hombu is putting out nowadays (i.e. a growing homogeneity of technical execution) makes it obvious that it remains a politically charged term.

Another reason why translation differences may not mean as much as they should is that the book does within its text, as was quoted, makes use of delineations that try to distinguish the legitimate from the illegitimate. One could have called the book “Just My Take on Aikido,” and if the author still goes on to make those kind of statements, the book overall, I believe, is still open to denying the art’s bountiful and varied history, and thus open to the charge of misplaced fundamentalism. (Let us not forget that the martial tactic of “aiki” was not a Ueshiba invention.)

In my experience, a lot worse things go on in the Aikido world at large that totally qualify as being antithetical to the “Spirit of the Founder” than competition. By the author’s (Ueshiba’s) definition, a whole lot then would have to be considered “not Aikido.” In that same vein, it would not be too hard to make a case against fundamentalism, against efforts to determine the legitimate and the illegitimate, etc., as violating some of the Founder’s key philosophical understandings concerning Nature, the Universe, and the nature of Man, and thus his art. It is hard to imagine that the Founder wanted everyone doing the same Aikido, or doing his Aikido.

dmv

Chris Li
09-17-2004, 07:09 PM
I am not so sure that we can excuse all that is being brought up in the thread by noting the differences in translation between the words "best" and "standard." That is to say, no one ever comes up with a standard that they thinks sucks or even that they think is second best, etc. (Personally, I find the word "standard" way more problematic than the word "best.") Hence, "standard" may not be all that different a word from "best." Besides, though possible, it is also hard to imagine that Hombu, the author, etc., played no role whatsoever in selecting the English title. So maybe "best" and "standard" are amounting to the same thing in the end. Either way, the effect that "standard" is having in regards to what Hombu is putting out nowadays (i.e. a growing homogeneity of technical execution) makes it obvious that it remains a politically charged term.

Well, since Moriteru Ueshiba's seal appear on every yudansha certificate issued by the Aikikai I would say that he certainly has the right to issue a book under such a title. The actual word used is "kihan", which I translated as "standard". The connotation of the word is "normal". It seems to me that hombu has always tried to present a certain basic middle line in terms of technique and allow Aikikai affiliated instructors to act with a great deal of freedom around that center.

Calling it a "politically charged term" is something of an exaggeration, don't you think? Nobody's complaining about the implications of Yamada's "Aikido Complete", or Shioda's "Total Aikido".

In my experience, a lot worse things go on in the Aikido world at large that totally qualify as being antithetical to the "Spirit of the Founder" than competition. By the author's (Ueshiba's) definition, a whole lot then would have to be considered "not Aikido." In that same vein, it would not be too hard to make a case against fundamentalism, against efforts to determine the legitimate and the illegitimate, etc., as violating some of the Founder's key philosophical understandings concerning Nature, the Universe, and the nature of Man, and thus his art. It is hard to imagine that the Founder wanted everyone doing the same Aikido, or doing his Aikido.

dmv

You really shouldn't read too much into it, it's a short answer in a FAQ section, not a treatise on the state of Aikido worldwide.

Best,

Chris

suren
09-17-2004, 07:17 PM
I think in the case of art it's impossible to say that one style it better or more authentic or more standard, etc. You can't compare two artists. Who is better Van Gogh or Salvador Dali? Who is more authentic or standard? Why artists do not have competitions?
On the other hand there could be personal opinions and preferences about particular artist or style. But there is no absolute measure.
I do not see any reasons for a person to quit one style in order to enjoy training in other as you should not hate Dali in order to enjoy Van Gogh.
P.S. Dali and Van Gogh has been used just as examples :)

L. Camejo
09-17-2004, 10:44 PM
Because very few people (even Japanese people) actually read Takemusu Aiki?

Any way, most of the interpretations within, say, the Aikikai, have to do with technical differences. The interesting thing about about Takemusu Aiki is that Ueshiba doesn't speak about technique at all - not a single time in an entire book devoted to defining what Aikido meant to him.

Best,

Chris

Good point Chris. But imho the differences I have experienced within Aikikai also have not so much to do with technique. I have experienced dojos under the Aikikai with very diverse ways of training methodology, philosophical views as per that of the Founder etc. I still believe Aikido, whatever it is supposed to be, has a lot to do with one's personal interpretation of the core concept of Harmony with Energy. Ueshiba M.'s interpretation was only one - based on his education level, training history, personality, life view etc. I think he knew this and as a result encouraged his students to find their own path to understanding the concept, using his life and training as merely a guide. He even encouraged Tomiki to read the holy book of Omoto Kyo, which Tomiki did, but he did not infuse his interpretation of Aikido with the Omoto Kyo philosophy to the extent that Ueshiba M. did. It was just Tomiki's take on the thing, as it is for all instructors of Aikido everywhere today imo. The observer effect cannot be avoided, so "purity" is a very tricky thing to define. There will be similarities and there will be differences.

Suren: Regarding your point of non-competitiveness as not being part of the spirit of Aikido, it depends on how far one wants to take the concept. As I indicated either in this thread or elsewhere, competitiveness and contentious motivations are existent in many styles of Aikido dojo, including Aikikai. The only thing is that it is not as clearly stated, organised or as obvious as done in Shodokan.

It has been said by Ueshiba M. that Aikido "encompasses and purifies everything" if this is the case, it is also meant to work in "competitive" environments, whether that be on a mat, at work, in the home or at school etc. To me it is about transcending the baser instincts that may expose themselves as a result of competition and a contentious approach to life. These instincts however, do not only show themselves when we compete on a mat, but in other situations in life where our "comfort zones" or sense of security of the ego are challenged. In fact, without understanding the nature of how he functions under the pressures of a competitive reality I'd hazard to say that the Aikidoka is not experiencing the fullness of his training experience, hence in a way, without competition there may be no achievement of Takemusu Aiki. Maybe this is why competition is existent in much of Aikido, even if it is not as obvious in some other places, as it may be subconsciously understood that some aspects of this way of training are a necessary part of existence. The mere act of separating a group and defining what is pure for whatever reason is a form of competing with one's peers to define and protect the conceptual ego of what is supposed to be "pure Aikido" in someone's eyes. Not all competitions and conflicts are contests - reminds me of something I read in "Aikido in Everyday Life."

I think Senshin has a good point as well.

LC:ai::ki:

Richard Elliott
09-18-2004, 05:45 PM
Hey Richard, I agree totally on your point above. There may be exclusion of certain groups for certain reasons. I think Ueshiba M. himself used to interview folks before teaching them Aikido so as to get a feel for the character of the person who wanted to learn. But the case I'm, referring to is sort of like "we walk the one true path and you are not worthy" which to be honest I have heard before from one person, but even among those who believe they walk the one true Aikido path, they tend to be willing to "convert" the "heathens" to their way of doing things y'know?
I mean, we don't discriminate when folks from other styles like Karate, Judo etc. come to train with us, why should we discriminate within Aikido itself? It's just something that's a bit shocking to me is all.

LC:ai::ki:[/QUOTE]

Hi Larry. Yes, I understood the point you were making. I felt as I wrote the post the necessity of writing that not all exclusiveness results from some sort of spiritual arrogance, but from very practical concerns for the success of any given person who may want to join. This is usually an up-front thing from the beginning and shouldn't result in a person's feeling "less than human" if they are turned away or that further friendship is prohibited from the parties involved. It still is a very big world with many other opportunities and people to know.

The "holier than thou" attitude you are more concerned with is a tough deal to get hold of as far as understanding how it works and why it seems to grow and be successful. I think one of the best beginnings one can make is to look at oneself and try to identify one's own weakness and inclinations with regard this attitude. This, and reading some history or sociology of how these movements start and grow.
Ignorance just isn't bliss for long. You picked a hard and challenging thing to get your grabbers-on in this I think. Good luck and I share your concerns about this topic.
And YES! it is very shocking and can result in bad mojo for everybody.

p00kiethebear
09-19-2004, 02:48 AM
Larry

If a dojo thinks it's the correct and true path, why are they kicking people out instead of bringing them in and trying to "convert" them? This just seems silly, why turn people away when you could potentially get them on your side? Most of the time i have a pretty high tolerance for people who believe their style is superior, what bugs me about it is the way they go about treating others.

Best of luck to your friend in finding another dojo.

jester
09-20-2004, 09:49 AM
By the way - do/did you train in Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido?

Yes, I've trained in Houston with Karl Geis for almost 10 years. I've been to a few seminars with Tsunako Miyake Shihan, but never trained in any other Tomiki dojo.

I'd like to go to the World Champions in Tokyo next year to meet with other students and teachers.

L. Camejo
09-20-2004, 08:26 PM
Yes, I've trained in Houston with Karl Geis for almost 10 years. I've been to a few seminars with Tsunako Miyake Shihan, but never trained in any other Tomiki dojo.

I'd like to go to the World Champions in Tokyo next year to meet with other students and teachers.

Hi Tim,

I've trained with a couple folks who have trained with K. Geis or his students. Generally nice folk with pretty effective technique.

I'm hoping to make Tokyo next year as well for the Internationals. Maybe we'll meet up then.:)

Richard: I understand what you are saying and I concur. My personal method for dealing with the "holier than thou" crowd is to give them a little reality check in exactly what makes them think they are so "holier than thou" to begin with. Basically I challenge and show the holes in their paradigm (be it Aikido, economic class, race, religion etc.) and then blow the holes wide open in front of them and their peers so that they may see why in fact we may not be so different after all. Of course there are those whose blinders are so effective that even this is met with a degree of denial that maintains the status quo. If this happens to be the result, then I honestly wish them good luck and warn those who they don't want near them not to go near.

Luckily, this Sensei is not in my coutnry, so I don't have to deal with him. It's a shame though that this exists in something where learning can come from any quarter and any person.

Gambatte and Domo Arigato all.

LC:ai::ki:

ranZ
09-22-2004, 01:49 AM
I had a similar account once. I had to go abroad for a couple of month; arriving at the new place i searched for a Ki no kenkyukai dojo, but there weren't any around. So i decided to check out other aikido dojos in the vicinity and found a Yoshinkan dojo. I told the instructor my intent to train there, but hearing i was from another style he declined, the reason being it's just different. (Back then i didn't know much about the differences of the styles, but i guess that's a good enough reason). In the end i found an Aikikai dojo that didn't mind about what style i trained in, and i had a great time practicing there.

Back in my dojo, it is advisable to not accept students who are still practicing in other style, because it most likely will create a conflict in the student themselves, thus gaining no development in neither the styles.

My thoughts, maybe there is another reason (other than "that's not aikido") the instructor in LC's story decline to have the young mudansha train there.

philipsmith
09-22-2004, 03:09 AM
Interesting thread.

Doshu once said to me that the reason the Aikikai symbol was a tree was because Aikikai Hombu was the root of all Aikido and all the other "splinter groups" were in fact branches off the same root. His concern seemed to be that without an understanding of "root" Aikido people couldn't find their particular branch.

In the same conversation he also said that it didn't matter what "branch" of Aikido people did as long as they were practising Aikido.

Doesn't sound Holier than thou to me.

happysod
09-22-2004, 03:43 AM
It's always a sad sight to see, grown men and women shaking their hakama in anger at the thought of differences in aikido...

Wulan, couldn't disagree more, sounds like the problem is fundamentally the teacher not the student. The idea that cross-training within the same ma is anathema is ludicrous. I can envisage a cocky kyu grade who always says "but in dojo x we do it like this" being annoying, but if you can't deal with that sort of standard bollocks, why are you teaching?

Phillip, I prefer to be thought of as a twiglet than a branch - slimmer and tastier too (marmite fans unite!)

PeterR
09-22-2004, 03:51 AM
I think a good case could be made for a student of a particular style of Aikido not regularly practicing another style of Aikido for at least a couple of years.

In both the Shodokan and Yoshinkan system there is a very defined way of training and it is tough enough getting a dedicated beginner to move correctly within the system. Probably the same could be said for other styles with a highly refined teaching curriculum - Iwama comes to mind.

Then there is the question of learning from two masters.

I'm a great fan of dojo visiting and cross-training but within limitations.

happysod
09-22-2004, 04:34 AM
Peter, I can understand where you're coming from, but I think you're actually underestimating a lot of students. If a student wasn't progressing and they were cross-training (either in another ma or different style) then I'd possibly advise them to consider concentrating on one or t'other.

However, I'm a big believer in a student-teacher concensus so it's the "by fiat" option that instructors in ma often adopt that I object to, it's the old [bad kung-fu dubbing]you have dishonored my family and my clan and now you must leave [/bad kung-fu dubbing]

Finally, progression in aikido? Nasty yardstick to try and figure out, where do you draw the line between natural incompetence and other ma influences? I prefer to let them do what they want, if they've made a rod for themselves, it'll soon show and they'll learn more by making the decision than having it imposed on them.

[ot - Jun, anychance of an English rather than Yank spell-checking option sometime please... I now have no idea on how to speel honur]

PeterR
09-22-2004, 06:16 AM
Hi Ian;

I suggest don't demand. Beginning students are often exploring - trying to find what fits them best. Yet at the same time they are put into all sorts of confusing and sub-natural (based on their previous experience) stances. What a student does with my suggestions is up to them.

happysod
09-22-2004, 06:27 AM
Peter, if you felt I was putting you in the "by fiat" camp I apologise - you're a shodothug, but I believe a fair and gentlemanly thug...

Close but slightly off-topic - just started jujitsu (I know - dumb or what) and I'm finding it really difficult to adapt my ukemi to their more offensive style (what is this thing called a kick..?), anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching :sorry:

PeterR
09-22-2004, 09:06 PM
anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching :sorry:
:evil laugh:

However, I do find that the ukemi that one does is allowed by Tori in the sense that if the technique changes often you can not do what you are used to doing. I wouldn't worry about it.

And no worries about the fiat - just explaining my position.

L. Camejo
09-22-2004, 09:26 PM
anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching :sorry:

Yeah, let him throw you harder, until it reaches the point where you're doing ukemi just to survive and the thought of "blending" is nowhere to be found. evileyes :p

On the thought of rolling and visiting dojos, I remember visiting a Yoshinkan dojo and the Sensei had a real problem with my rolling technique. I would let one of my legs fold under me to stand up quickly and easily. After he saw me do this a few times, the guy went on to lecture the class for a few minutes about why "we don't roll like Ninja in Yoshinkan" (implying that my roll was one of those) and went on to show how we're supposed to roll keeping the legs straight, which is something we also do, I just didn't feel like doing it in that situation.:) Imho, one's ukemi is modified to fit the situation, there are many ways to roll.

Oh well, there goes another Shodo-heathen throwing a monkey wrench into the people's peace and harmony.:yuck:

LC:ai::ki:

PeterR
09-22-2004, 10:04 PM
Thing is Larry (the Shodo-Ninja) we tend to be pretty anal about keeping the leg straight ourselves. Go into a Judo dojo and it tends to be the one thing they pick up on also. I guess this answers Ian's question - learn to straighten that leg.

Nariyama Shihan once tore me to shreds for folding that leg in - he was seriously worried about knee damage. I had just got back to Japan from a stint in Canada and I guess had fallen under the influences of an Aikikai dojo.



On the thought of rolling and visiting dojos, I remember visiting a Yoshinkan dojo and the Sensei had a real problem with my rolling technique. I would let one of my legs fold under me to stand up quickly and easily. After he saw me do this a few times, the guy went on to lecture the class for a few minutes about why "we don't roll like Ninja in Yoshinkan" (implying that my roll was one of those) and went on to show how we're supposed to roll keeping the legs straight, which is something we also do, I just didn't feel like doing it in that situation.:) Imho, one's ukemi is modified to fit the situation, there are many ways to roll.

Charles Hill
09-23-2004, 12:01 AM
Nariyama Shihan once tore me to shreds for folding that leg in - he was seriously worried about knee damage.

On Bruce Bookman`s video, he teaches that to fold the leg in on a breakfall puts less pressure on the knee if one`s fall were not perfect (meaning if the foot hits the mat before the rest of the leg.) How would folding the leg cause problems?

Charles Hill

Charles Hill
09-23-2004, 12:03 AM
I had just got back to Japan from a stint in Canada and I guess had fallen under the influences of an Aikikai dojo.

You mean there is still a chance for you? :) :)

PeterR
09-23-2004, 12:17 AM
I understood the danger to be an inadvertent twisting of the knee.

I suspect this is more likely during an ushiro ukemi in response to a forceful push (ie shomen-ate) which was the situation where Nariyama tore a new oriface for me and also when thrown down in a Judo style throw.

In relatively easy mai ukemi I can see your point but even here at least one of your legs is still projected out so the added safety is minimal if in fact it exists. I just thought the folded leg was easier to do.

No chance - no way - forget it. I walked that path and found in wanting. :p

kironin
09-23-2004, 01:47 AM
It seems to me there are situations where a straight leg could present risks to the knee as well.

It would be a mammoth project but it would be nice to see some sort of systematic analysis of the biomechanics of various falls, the assumptions going into them, the sorts of tractories they handle best, how fault tolerant they are to the joints of the body when timing off, etc.

When various claims are made I wonder if motion and stress analysis tests would really come to the same conclusions.

anyway, an inter-style ukemi seminar ?
there's a thought that would stress the mind and body. Hear people's justifications for various ways of taking ukemi back to back and then have an open mat discussion afterwards.

:D

ranZ
09-23-2004, 04:23 AM
Wulan, couldn't disagree more, sounds like the problem is fundamentally the teacher not the student. The idea that cross-training within the same ma is anathema is ludicrous.


Ian, actually i couldn't agree more with you. I don't think cross training within the same ma should be a problem either.
Cross being just a friendly once-in-a-while practice wouldn't have any "political" implications. But the idea of actually practicing in 2 different styles at the same period of time, in the long run i think it's just like asking for trouble with the ranks and the organizations. (cmiiw, but can anyone actually have -lets say- a 3rd dan in aikikai & a 5th dan in shodokan? Or can an aikidoka transfer his/her "rank credits" to another style?)

Back to the issue, like LC and p00kie says, it makes no sense that the instructor rejects a "heathen" to "convert". (asuming the student is willing to start from zero). So there's something missing from the story -which is the other side. :confused: I'm just not fully convinced that this is a "holier than thou" case, but if infact it is, well... an ignorant fool is just an ignorant fool.

Am i making any sense here... or have i just been reading too many zen munchkins?? ( like Kensho Furuya's story about an aikido student vs a zazen teacher http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4693 ). :p

happysod
09-23-2004, 05:15 AM
Peter, Larry, thanks guys (typical evil sniggering at the aiki-fruity from the shodo-thugs corner... where's Yann by the way?) but it's not quite like that. I was used to the over-the-top splatty form of ukemi from my previous time in aikikai where I agree, the legs are straight (straighter in my case), but I think you're right in that I need to review them there legs.

This type of splatty goes from straight leg fall to one leg tucked up close on groin-guard duty and t'other with a kick to the knee. However, this wasn't the worst, all their ukemi have a counter-attack component instead of a get up quick bit (even forward rolls) and it's the mind-set I'm having difficulty with. I can get with the program in my head, but my body keeps betraying me much to my disgust - I know, practice (blah blah blah - I want to do it correctly now!). I'm already envisaging problems with the finishes (what, you expect me to hit them when they're already down and I can walk away...?)

Wulan, sorry, thought you were advocating the orthodoxy route - my bad.

Yann Golanski
09-23-2004, 05:37 AM
Ian,

I am in meetings on/developing virtual learning tools including displaying maths on the web --openmath and mathml -- as well as at a conference on the foundation of quantum physics. I've just realise just how little I know... I'm as well recovering for surgery on my jaw with the seven stitches coming out in a few hours.

First time I had a chance to log on here in a week!

BTW, I agree we need an English spell checker here!!!

The way I've learnt breakfalls (forward ones and backwards ones) are from Judo and they have stuck. So, I do truck in my leg in the forward one but never in the backwards one. I aim at becoming like Martin (from Edinburgh) who just glances on the mat and is back up no matter how hard one throws him. *grins evilly*

L. Camejo
09-23-2004, 07:26 AM
Thing is Larry (the Shodo-Ninja) we tend to be pretty anal about keeping the leg straight ourselves. Go into a Judo dojo and it tends to be the one thing they pick up on also. I guess this answers Ian's question - learn to straighten that leg.

Nariyama Shihan once tore me to shreds for folding that leg in - he was seriously worried about knee damage. I had just got back to Japan from a stint in Canada and I guess had fallen under the influences of an Aikikai dojo.

Interesting point Peter.

Like Craig said, it would be cool to get some body stress and joint impact studies to go with some of our assumptions on Ukemi and to scientifically check out what we have been taught.

I learnt to roll (mae ukemi) both with the leg extended on landing and with the leg tucked. What I found was that with low energy rolls (like when I take a dive on my own) it was easier to tuck my leg under and get to a standing point (also to go into hanza handachi waza if necessary). This sort of roll also worked well when I tripped and fell forward on the street once.:) The other one I use in the dojo mainly as it is a hell of a lot louder (something I don't particular like), the area of main impact changes from one's knees to one's ankles/feet (which only means that the force gets transferred towards the knee after) and it tends to be more difficult to get up with for me anyway. The thing is, this type of roll is perfect for when I get launched out of a cannon by someone (like shishida in my nidan test:)) who intends to put me on the other side of the dojo with a throw, the leg straight ukemi is great for braking on impact. If I folded my leg here I'd probably keep on going without control.:) So like I said, for me (as is the case with technique) situation dictates which one I use at any time, they tend to fall into place naturally. I've done both types of roll in Judo and Jujutsu as well and haven't had any complaints. Of course again, this had much to do with the type of throw and how I wanted to recover. Most Judo throws don't plan for you to get up afterwards, so the leg out option is best to control one's movement when impact is made with the floor imo.

LC:ai::ki:

billybob
09-24-2004, 03:10 PM
i would like to go back to mid-thread: aikido and human belief systems.

if aikido follows some other organizations from history we see:

1.enlightened leader
2. followers
3. early spreading of belief
4. maturity
5. post maturity/revolutions
6. dissolution or entrenchment in culture

therefore we can predict that someone will lead an aikido revolt in the next 100 years. sorry, psychohistory is not an exact science. (and i am writing tongue in cheek)

people will always act like people.

billybob