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PeterR
09-19-2005, 01:14 AM
I notice on Wikipdia and Aikiwiki there is one dojo that lists itself as a style which for me at least just begs the question - what make a style?

Personally when I see a list such as Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Shodokan - all have which have a strong pedigree, an international base, and a whole lot of dojos under their name - followed by a "style" with a single dojo founded by people I've never heard of, my hackles get raised.

This of course could just be me and my prejudices but generally where does one draw the line? Opinions anyone?

grondahl
09-19-2005, 01:23 AM
But then again is Aikikai a style?
Itīs definitely an organization, but students that follow different Aikikai Shihan (Saito, Nishio, Endo) have very different styles (due to different training methods, philosophy etc).

Yann Golanski
09-19-2005, 03:30 AM
The great thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. The bad thing about Wikipedia is that anyone does! Yes, this was paraphrased from a quote about the Internet.

Peter, just create a talk page and ask for the removal of all styles that do not have a certain set of criterions. Or move them onto minor styles.

Mary Eastland
09-19-2005, 02:58 PM
I belong to a style that is not associated with a large organization. I cannot understand why it should bother you in the least.

We have 5 dojos and are very happy with our instructor and orginization.

Mary

tenshinaikidoka
09-19-2005, 04:26 PM
Not sure why it bothers anyone that there are individual dojo's or a group of dojo's that have a unique interpretation of Aikido. Does this mean that they are invalid because no one has heard of them? Do there have to be these long and extravagent lineage lines that I see people boast so much about? Didn't O'Sensei state that Aikido is for all mankind? I don't think that anyone's particular "style" should really matter as long as we have practioners who are staying true to the founder's ideals.

Methodology and application makes all Aikidoka's unique. Everyone interprets the movements a different way, and as such it is thier "Style". There are a number of people I ahve never heard of, but I do not think it would invalidate thier credibility or teaching ability just be because they are unknown.

My 2 cents, take it for what it is worth!!!

SeiserL
09-19-2005, 05:12 PM
IMHO, "style" (by definition a distinctive manner of expression) represents an individual's understanding, capabilities, and application.

In our case, Tenshinkai (an Aikikai style) is the distinctive individual expression of Sensei Phong Thong Dang as named directly by O'Sensei.

tenshinaikidoka
09-19-2005, 05:57 PM
Seiser Sensei,

I agree with you, and I hope that is what I got across (in my long winded fashion of course). Also, would like to speak with you regarding visiting/training at your dojo. Could you PM me or email me. I will be in California near the end of October early November to train with the head of my Orginazation. I would like to train with your dojo as well, if possible. Sorry, off topic!!!

aikidoc
09-19-2005, 06:06 PM
Why should it bother anyone? Well, I have one possible answer-a proliferation of "styles" especially by those not qualified to develop them will lead to the same problem we see in some of the other arts-where your rank means little other than in your own dojo. It's already happening where we are developing our own little "sokey dokey's" in the aikido world and calling themselves 10th dan grandmaster, soke, professor, doctor.

To me, a style should only evolve when something is unique in the interpretation of the art. That too could very well be viewed as simply an interpretation of that individual. Something truly unique. There are a lot of aikikai shihans that are unique and get dubbed as a style (Iwama, Nishio, etc.). Are they really a style or are they simply interpreting the art. As to those that break away, my impression is that it is generally political or ego-can't get promoted to the rank they think they deserve or simply cannot get along-so much for the art of harmony. Some like to blend in other arts which is ok if they hold some serious earned rank-such as Nishio.

I would really hate to see Aikido go the way of some of the other arts and get watered down and everyone in the world setting up their own little empires resulting in the art deteriorating to the point where rank becomes meaningless as a measure of quality or capability.

Just MHO.

tenshinaikidoka
09-19-2005, 07:32 PM
I agree with you John, but I think, IMHO, that rank is over rated and not respected. Rank should not be a factor in peoples training or with whom they train under. That is only my thought. Your belt, Kyu or dan rank can't save your life, but your skill can. I know what you are saying though, and I do agree. I just think that too many people place an emphasis on rank and not enough on serious training or practise!

Shannon Frye
09-19-2005, 08:25 PM
Provided the "art" is effective (and the teaching style works for me), personally Id rather study under a lone sensei, rather than one with a large federation/association behind him. I've encountered too many dojos that profess how good they are based on the bigger "group" that they link themselves to. Anymore, big associations just mean big politics (as well as a patch to buy and yearly membership dues)....and on the other side, anybody can form their own association to make them appear accredited.

Also, every "style" that is out there had to start somewhere. Some interpreted something differently, and TADA ..a new style was born. I wouldn't be so fast to look down on a small group that wants to do their own thing. After all, AIkido started with one man, right?

Shannon

ps. On a positive note, at least in Aikido you can't become a Grand Master in 2 years, like other "sport arts".

PeterR
09-19-2005, 08:26 PM
My own Shihan is fond of quoting - this is no Aikido style beyond the individual. I just found it a little bit disconcerting that you have a list of five or so styles that have an international breadth, Honbu in Japan (although I don't think this is a necessary criteria), more than one dojo and a founder recognized by all styles as a leading proponent of Aikido. Tacked on to the list is a dojo that meets none of these criteria but implying it is the same through the inclusion.

Visit the dojos web site.

PeterR
09-19-2005, 08:29 PM
Shannon I agree about choosing your teacher - in my opinion its all about the teacher and he does not have to be associated with a particular style. That is not what put the burr in my underpants.

Joe Bowen
09-19-2005, 09:42 PM
Peter, are you referring to the Iwama Ryu listing on the Aikiwiki or something else?
I haven't studied "Iwama Ryu" style of Aikido, but have met many folks that have. I also have a book and series of videos by the Two Crane dojo folks in New Jersey who are of the "Iwama Style". Both the book and the video series are excellent examples of Aikido.
I do know that the Iwama dojo itself is part of the Aikikai and is run by Isoyama Sensei. There are many different approaches by several different organizations under the Aikikai to include Nishio Sensei (who was always part of the Aikikai) and Kobayashi Yasuo Sensei.
Hirohito Saito Sensei split from the Aikikai and has started his own organization. In this split, you can say you have a different style of Aikido under the new organization's discretion.
I do agree with you that differing interpretations of various techniques by various instructors do not necessarily make a new "style" of Aikido. However, several people specify their instructors style to lend credence to themselves.
I think people make this distinction themselves, and create or perpetuate the separation from other "styles" to make themselves feel special or unique in their own practice. It could also be interpreted as a defense mechanism to isolate themselves for critics of the broader style. For example, "You don't think Aikikai style Aikido is effective? but we practice Soandso Sensei's style and it is very effective". I think you can get the picture.
Before too many people jump on my reply, this is just an example or theory as to why folks might make the style distinction within the broader context of a larger umbrella style. I personally don't make that distinction. I practice Aikikai style, even though my organization falls under the Kobayashi dojos tutelage, and my own Aikido in heavily influenced by many different interpretations of Aikido....

PeterR
09-19-2005, 09:53 PM
If you read my post Iwama Ryu in its new independent form meets all the criteria. Even before the split its inclusion as a major style was an arguable point - I sure think it is.

Jun - the site owner - modified the styles section recently. Possibly to reflect the concern I raised. I did not mention the style in question because I really don't want my comment to come across as an attack - it really is a serious question. Well at least to me.

aikidoc
09-19-2005, 10:38 PM
It's not so much a matter of looking down on small groups. Our organization is small and my sensei does not have a big federation or anything-he is however highly respected and skilled. It's an issue of small groups splitting off and doing their own thing when they don't have the skills to do so and then promoting from within. Weak perpetuating weaker. Suddenly, we start seeing lofty ranks with 30 year olds.

Joe Bowen
09-20-2005, 12:20 AM
Jun - the site owner - modified the styles section recently. Possibly to reflect the concern I raised. I did not mention the style in question because I really don't want my comment to come across as an attack - it really is a serious question. Well at least to me.

Then I must have missed what you were talking about. I think that you are correct in your assessments, generally speaking.
Unfortunately, there is no real way to establish or enforce some set of criterion which would provide for new "styles". We are at the whim of popular movement. If enough people support the idea that something is a new style, then its a new style. If enough people call BS on something trying to say its a new style, then it is not. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with independent dojos, provided they have actually been taught Aikido somewhere down the line. I have personally been "taken in" by the sign on an dojo in the middle of nowhere, Kansas, which in big bold letters (bigger than any other martial art on the long list of arts on the door) said Aikido. The instructor had maybe at best attended an Aikido seminar, but at least he was up front and said, "I don't teach Aikido anymore", when I asked him about the sign. :rolleyes:
That was a long time ago, on another continent. So, there will be folks out there promoting themselves, shamelessly capitalizing on an unsuspecting publics ignorance. Whaddya gonna do?

mathewjgano
09-20-2005, 01:16 AM
Hi peter,
I ultimately agree with your Shihan that there is no style beyond the individual, but I agree with the point I think you're making. I know there are styles of "Aikido" which claim no association with Ueshiba Sensei, which was very confusing to me when i first spoke with some of them. At first I simply refused to call them "Aikido." But now I basically take everything with a grain of salt. Coming from a rather rare "style" myself I guess I have to.
My concern isn't so much raised when i think of fairly experienced students, but it is when i think of neophytes who have little to no initial perspective. With that in mind, whenever I describe Aikido to people who are interested in learning it, I try to encourage them to see as many different styles and schools as possible. The first time I trained at a different dojo from my own I found out how diverse the lable "Aikido" can be, whether one is talking about martial application or philosophy or whatever. In fact, when training with different people within my own style I sometimes get a very different feel for a given technique. One person would tell me the "real" trick to the technique was such and such, and then another would tell me something different.
Take care!
Matt

Mats Alritzson
09-20-2005, 03:13 AM
Peter.

I'm not that good in English so I could've misinterpreted you. Are you saying Iwama Ryu is not a major style?

PeterR
09-20-2005, 03:32 AM
Peter.

I'm not that good in English so I could've misinterpreted you. Are you saying Iwama Ryu is not a major style?

Iwama Ryu was not part of the initial point of the thread. The aikiwiki entry had been altered which confused someone. However, in trying to correct the mis-understanding I wrote.


If you read my post Iwama Ryu in its new independent form meets all the criteria. Even before the split its inclusion as a major style was an arguable point - I sure think it is.
As I understand things Saito M. remained part of the Aikikai. Now that his son has split from the Aikikai the ambiguity is removed. It is now a major style in its own right by the criteria I gave above. If you were to tell me that it was its own style before that - I would not argue the point. Perhaps a major sub-style would be the most accurate way of describing it but it really too fine a point to quible over.

Mats Alritzson
09-20-2005, 03:56 AM
Peter,

I see what you mean. I don't agree with you, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. :D I've never trained much with people from other styles. I've trained a little with Nishio style aikidoka and although they are affiliated with Aikikai they're definitely not training the way we (from Takemusu/Iwama style) do. Having said that, I can really respect what they're doing.

Hanna B
09-20-2005, 05:34 AM
I notice on Wikipdia and Aikiwiki there is one dojo that lists itself as a style which for me at least just begs the question - what make a style?

Personally when I see a list such as Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Shodokan - all have which have a strong pedigree, an international base, and a whole lot of dojos under their name - followed by a "style" with a single dojo founded by people I've never heard of, my hackles get raised.

I think the problem is, that in aikido/budo context the word "style" is used in two different meanings. One of them is techical style, different ways of doing thing, but IMO this is not the most common meaning of the word. Most of the time, when people say style, they mean "independent organisation". So, if a single dojo is not in an organisation with any other dojo - then in a way, it is a style (although maybe not important enough that it should get listed as a style in the Aikiwiki or in Wikipedia).

I can imagine that if you have a dojo and have a split with your teacher, and the ties to the organisation goes through your teacher - then the single dojo style is the only option, unless there is a second org where you are welcome to join. If organisations are closely connected to teachers, I believe this might be difficult.

In general, I find martial arts articles in Wikipedia a mess. Too many people write about their style of karate like if their grading system, sparring systems etc was applied in all styles of karate. Lack of good written sources on this kind on things, esp regards to what is karate-specific but not karate style-specific, is also a problem. Regarding the aikido article in Wikipedia - what is that huge section on ki doing in the article? while at the same time, Wikipedia doesn't have an article on ki. There is an article on qi though, the related Chinese concepts, but whether or not these are the same...

Shannon Frye
09-20-2005, 11:50 AM
I got to thinking - along the lines of Peters thinking, I wonder how many "renegade" teachers or "style founders" would list their "style" alongside the well established ones (on the internet somewhere) , and then claim creditibility at simply being named along with the "big guys". I see what you meant, Peter.

Shannon

Hanna B
09-20-2005, 12:16 PM
Is that what Peter really meant that someone had been doing? My guess is the style was put in the list by a student who saw "gee, my style isn't mentioned" and so s/he made sure it was. This person could very well have no idea at all about the size of organisations like Aikikai or Yoshinkan.

Darren
09-20-2005, 12:41 PM
I agree with Peter and Shannon , if you spent thousands of pounds/dollars on a rolex watch and found it didn't work because it was fake or just rubbish how happy would you be ? I think that , as is always said , the teacher should always have good history in at least one matial art to even think about founding another . I've seen some things that are basically daylight robbery.

j0nharris
09-20-2005, 01:25 PM
...
On a positive note, at least in Aikido you can't become a Grand Master in 2 years, like other "sport arts".

That's right! It took me almost 3 years to become Grandmaster of the Smoke and Mirrors Boogie Woogie Waza School of Aikidoki!! :D
(And for only $99.95, you, too, can become a shihan)

PeterR
09-20-2005, 07:18 PM
I got to thinking - along the lines of Peters thinking, I wonder how many "renegade" teachers or "style founders" would list their "style" alongside the well established ones (on the internet somewhere) , and then claim creditibility at simply being named along with the "big guys". I see what you meant, Peter.


Is that what Peter really meant that someone had been doing? My guess is the style was put in the list by a student who saw "gee, my style isn't mentioned" and so s/he made sure it was. This person could very well have no idea at all about the size of organisations like Aikikai or Yoshinkan.

I am pretty sure the person who placed the entry wasn't thinking along those lines (I received a nice PM on the matter) but yes one of the things that did bother me was with respect to the relative importance a reader might gleam from the listing. What I was suggesting was some sort of subdivision. Major Styles vs Independent Organizations.

xuzen
09-20-2005, 10:38 PM
To look at things in another angle....

Using Yoshinkan as an example. The name Yoshinkan was actually the dojo belonging to the father of Gozo Shioda and that was even before G Shioda did aikido. To be technically correct, isn't Yoshinkan just a name of dojo.

Following the same line of argument, isn't it that Yoshinkan is not a style but a place/dojo and the style of martial art taught is aikido. Therefore Yoshinkan is not a style, but name of a place. The style taught is still aikido true and true. Any more experience Yoshinkan practitioner would like to provide input?

Hanna B
09-21-2005, 04:01 AM
The same would go for Shotokan, then...

Mark Uttech
09-21-2005, 05:33 AM
Things are generally very wide, and 'style' is just an idea. Thus, Aikido is Aikido, Karate is Karate.
Styles are like 'flavors' added, something extra. I do not think it means so much; Alan Watts once said that: "It is like trying to tie up water with a string."

Hanna B
09-21-2005, 07:06 AM
What I was suggesting was some sort of subdivision. Major Styles vs Independent Organizations.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Ron Tisdale
09-21-2005, 08:32 AM
Hi Boon,

I'd say you're pretty much correct. Yoshinkan is a dojo, Yoshinkai is an organization, and so on. Steven Miranda often says that the differences are a matter of teaching methodology. That strikes me as correct as well.

But also, I think everyone knows what you mean when you say style...that seems to be the informal catch all term.

Best,
Ron

kokyu
09-21-2005, 10:00 AM
Homma Sensei has written a great article which has some relevance to this topic.

http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_articles/05_traditions/05_traditions.html

Darren
09-21-2005, 11:45 AM
I'd say that Yoshinkan is a style of Aikido , Takeno shihan teaches Yoshinkan Aikido in Yamanashi not Yamanashi Aikido. Every dojo has it's own name but they would always say which style of Aikido they do or should!

Ron Tisdale
09-21-2005, 12:07 PM
Hi Darren,

What is it that you would point to that makes Yoshinkan aikido a 'style'?

Could you name another 'style' of aikido for comparison?

Best,
Ron

Darren
09-21-2005, 12:46 PM
Hi Ron
I understand the question you are asking and was kind of ready for it . My main point would be the way we are taught to achieve the same goal, so I think that with different styles you have the choice of how to get there. I chose [ obviously Yoshinkan] because I needed a kind of regimented Aikido to grasp some of the finer points that I beleive me personally would have never seen. I've seen many other styles of Aikido and they all point in the same direction but the style itself is how you get there. There are many styles of jeans but which ones suit you , flares, drainpipes or stonewash there all jeans though.My point was that there are styles of Aikido out there which may or maynot suit you sir.

Ron Tisdale
09-21-2005, 01:32 PM
I know what you mean...I chose Yoshinkan for the same reason! :)

I guess what I am getting at is that your description is an awfull lot like the one Steven uses...the difference is one of teaching methodology. Some would feel that 'style' may not represent that fairly.

Best,
Ron

emma.mason15
09-21-2005, 04:47 PM
just too add my own commnt here ...
my sensei is forever telling me I have my own "Style! ....
(but i doubt your looking for "Pretty" aikido in here!)
thats all!
em x
;) :p :D

emma.mason15
09-21-2005, 04:51 PM
me again ...
my dojo is not affiliated ... and we are not technically one of the major "styles" ... buyt hey ... i like it ... isnt that what counts?
(just tell me to shut up if im talking rubbish!!!)
em x

James Davis
09-22-2005, 12:06 PM
me again ...
my dojo is not affiliated ... and we are not technically one of the major "styles" ... buyt hey ... i like it ... isnt that what counts?
(just tell me to shut up if im talking rubbish!!!)
em x
Not rubbish at all. ;)

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2005, 02:06 PM
{Ron puffing up chest}

If anyone picks on Emma they have to speak to me!

{/Ron puffing up chest}

:) R

Mark Uttech
09-22-2005, 02:42 PM
I used to tell my students not to turn things into a joke. "If you are tempted to turn things into a joke, the joke will be on you." In gassho

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2005, 02:59 PM
Actually, I like a little levity from time to time. I sometimes get way too serious on these boards.

Best,
Ron (even if the joke is on me...I can take it) :)

James Davis
09-22-2005, 04:17 PM
(James puffing up chest)
If anyone picks on Ron, well, he can take it. :D

emma.mason15
09-22-2005, 04:45 PM
(goes to puff up chest ..... but thinks better of it ....)

hey ... if the worst comes to the worst .... you could all join "dorys Dojo" ... and become a member of the POWER RANGER AIKIDO FORCE!!!! (tm)

Steven
09-22-2005, 08:20 PM
I know what you mean...I chose Yoshinkan for the same reason! :)

I guess what I am getting at is that your description is an awfull lot like the one Steven uses...the difference is one of teaching methodology. Some would feel that 'style' may not represent that fairly.

Best,
Ron

Well, since my name is being thrown around, and taking excellent ukemi I might add, I'll chime in just to clarify an item or two and not to turn this into a What is Yoshinkan thread.

In 1955, Gozo Shioda with the assistance of some business mend, opened an AIKIDO dojo. He chose the name Yoshinkan for his dojo. Much like O'Sensei's dojo was called the Kobukan. Like Boon said, this was a family name used by his father for his Judo and Kendo dojo. At that time, it was just another Aikido dojo with the lineage straight to O'Sensei, as it is today.

In the early 60's, the Yoshinkai Aikido Foundation, Inc was established because of the many dealing Shioda had with the government, police, large organization, etc. Or at least that is how I understand it. However I contend that Yoshinkan/Yoshinkai, which we tend to use interchangeably, is not a STYLE of aikido, but rather an aikido organzation. And what makes it unique as compared to the other organizations is the way in which Aikido is taught.

Now I'm sure there are those who will not agree but who cares. Really, does it matter? I've trained with my share of high ranking instructors who's ability were cra*. And have trained with kyu ranked students who opened up a serious can of whoop-a**.

I think Hanna had the right idea about what the definition of "style" is and how it is used. Gozo Shioda said, "There is only one Aikido". Therefore I say, there are no STYLES of Aikido. Only Aikido organizations and dojos. Your mileage may vary :D

So there you have it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'll go back to sleep now .... ZZZZzzzzzz

Rupert Atkinson
09-22-2005, 10:05 PM
For those of us seeking what Aikido is, 'style' only gets in the way. Whatever 'it' is, if we are all seeking the same thing we should all be heading in a similar direction (meandering perhaps, but headed the same general way) and doing the same 'style'. The idea of different a 'style' most likely diverts our attention from the path we should be seeking (unless of course, you believe your 'style' to be the one and only true source - lucky if true, but probably false).

In my opinion, once you get past the basics of any particular 'style', you should start seeking ... if you don't, you'll never see any further than the restricted boundaries of your chosen 'style', further limited by the lack of vision of those within.

Peter Goldsbury
09-22-2005, 11:07 PM
The latest posts of Steven Miranda and Rupert Atkinson sum up my own thinking exactly.

George S. Ledyard
09-22-2005, 11:47 PM
Everyone in the martial arts has always been able to start his own style. The system in the old days was self policing because if you had the hutzpah to set yourself up as doing a new "style" people would come along and test you out. if you couldn't handle yourself, your students would leave. no one wanted to train with someone who couldn't walk his talk. So the so-called style would go the way of the dodo bird...

On the other hand, if the Founder of said new style could indeed deliver the goods, his reputation would grow, he would get more students, experienced martial artists would come to train with him... at a certain point there would be enough folks training in this system that they had turned out a few students who received teaching licenses and people within the martial arts community would generally acknowledge that a new "style" had been created.

A single dojo, with a single teacher generally isn't a "style" , it's an "approach". Not until the "style" has withstood the test of time like Katori Shinto Ryu or some such. However these days there are no challenges to teachers who do not know what they are doing, there is no selection method which removes them from the community if they are incompetent. The students today, unlike the students of old who may have had at least judo or kendo backgrounds and would have some way of evaluating what they were looking at, do not generally have a background which allows them to see the difference between a real teacher and a poseur. So you have a proliferation of so-called "styles" with Sokes, Founders, Grand Masters, Kanchos, Poohbas etc.

Dan rank doesn't count for much these days and titles mean even less. In Japan when i was there, no one asked what your rank was. They asked who your teacher was and how long you'd trained. Probably not a bad way to start getting a picture of where someone is coming from and what their qualifications are to set up shop.

SeiserL
09-23-2005, 12:49 PM
Gozo Shioda said, "There is only one Aikido". Therefore I say, there are no STYLES of Aikido. Only Aikido organizations and dojos.
Ah-ha. Light bulb moment. Now this is a conceptual distinction that I can surely get my head around. Thank you for that.

charron
09-23-2005, 01:11 PM
As each person develops their skill in an art, they develop their own style. Remember Osensei was quoted as saying "You cannot do my Aikido, you must develop your own." or something like that. When referring to organizations - styles - are actually just trying to identify to some degree where their lineage follows after the founder. However, you will find that even within any specific dojo, that the seniors if they have developed to the point where they no longer need to mimic someone else, have their own style, and each is different than the other seniors in that group. So don't worry too much about styles, because if you stay with it long enough, you will develop your own, and if you decide to open you own dojo, you'll have your own style that reflects what you are doing.

emma.mason15
09-28-2005, 07:25 PM
ok ... im having what I consider an itelligent moment ...
(work with me here!)
I was thinking .... surely an aikido style would be that of the practitioner ....
i mean .... im only 5'1 ... so I have to adapt my techiques slighlty to use on say a 6' Uke .... and adapt again when with the juniors ....
so what im essentially tyrying to say ... is that everone has their own style ... ???
ok ... i THINK im done ....
clever moment has passed!
em x