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LouieLouie
01-20-2006, 08:16 AM
Hello everyone,

This question (or thread) comes from a 5th kyu.

I began Aïkido 6 months ago and I'm really enjoying myself.

The first Dojo I visited followed the aïkikaï style and liked it. However, for personnal reasons, I had to change Dojo along the way.

Since there are no aïkikaï Dojos in my area, the Dojo I'm going to now follows another aïkido style, inspired by Senseï Mochizuki (father). I'm really loving it. The senseï and other students are really nice people.

Here is my question (or thread):

Yes, my first months at the Aïkikaï Dojo helped me with my progression at the Dojo I'm going to these days. But, whenever I'm going to the Dojo, I can't help to think that going from one aïkido style to another is almost the same as going from one budo to another. Hence, if I would have been 3rd kyu or even shodan in aïkikaï, I'm not sure that my rank would have been recognized as such in another Dojo that follows another style (Yoseikan, Yoshinkan, Aïkibudo, etc.). The result : I would almost have to start all over again.

I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all aïkido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aïkido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ? Like, say, in medical studies. You start off by studying medecine, and then you choose to specialize in, for instance, surgery. A surgeon is still a doctor.

Maybe I'm being heretical, or naive, of both, to bring this up. Keep in mind that I'm new to this ;)

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Have a nice day.

Louis.

SeiserL
01-20-2006, 08:45 AM
Took me a while to get my head around this too.

IMHO, there is only one Aikido. That is O'Sensei.

There are many different organizations with different teaching styles and emphasis. That is as it should be because Aikido becomes an individual expression of the one Aikido. None are better or worse, only different. And, IMHO, not as different as they are similar.

Yes, your rank does not translate, but your experience and training does.

Ron Tisdale
01-20-2006, 08:48 AM
That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aikido styles. Or are there ?

There is not that I know of, but there are a lot of organizations which have friendship seminars, get togethers, and cross-training between styles and organizations.

Personally, I enjoy the differences, having trained with folks from Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Aikikai, Iwama, Daito ryu, and independents. I wouldn't wish any of them to change. In fact, I'm a little jealous that you have access to Yoseikan Budo. Those guys do a lot of different stuff very well.

As for ranking...if I were to switch styles, I would expect my new dojo mates and instructor to hold me to the same standards they hold themselves. Unless and until I could perform their basics and any other required material, I would not expect them to look at my rank as an indicator of skill in their dojo. My rank reflects my relationship with my current teacher and dojo (and some amount of skill with their curriculum). New dojo, new instructor, new curriculum, new relationship, new rank.

Best,
Ron

Tom54
01-20-2006, 09:18 AM
I must say that I agree totaly with Ron. Aikido for health, Aikido for martial arts, Aikido for sports, Aikido for MMA, Aikido for religion everyside has its pros and cons.

Aikido purists may say that this is what is the cancer of Aikido. But everyone has its own goal everyone has its own interest.

If aikido will be only one "unified aikido" in the future, maybe it is a sign that Aikido has found the ultimate "only one truth".

But I am sure that Aikido will have lost some of its richness.

Personaly I think it is our luxury to enjoy the differences.

Mark Freeman
01-20-2006, 11:07 AM
Hi Louis
That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aïkido styles. Or are there ?
I completely agree with Lynn's post above.

Regarding the quote. You only have to check out aikido on wikipedia to see how many aikido styles are listed, to realise that the chances of them being all unified are probably slim to impossible.

Who would or could even attempt it? ( answers on a postcard please :D )

So I think Tom has it when he says:Personaly I think it is our luxury to enjoy the differences.

I'd say just focus on enjoying what you do, wherever, whatever style you practice. Aikido will take care of itself.

Cheers,
Mark

Yann Golanski
01-20-2006, 11:14 AM
One's rank is irrelevant, what matters is what one knows.

As for unifing Aikido, the first step would be to define what Aikido is... Just read any thread here and you'll notice that no one has any idea what such "grand definition" would even look like. Hence, no unification is possible. I'd even agrue that unification would be a bad thing(TM). What works for some, does not necessary work for others hence having many styles is a benefits. <zen> One mountain, many paths, yadda yadda yadda...</zen>

Just keep training with an open mind and you'll learn a lot. You'll develop YOUR aikido. At the end of the day, your aikido is all that matters.

roosvelt
01-20-2006, 12:01 PM
Why don't we try to unify QC and rest of Canada first? It makes more economical sense.

James Davis
01-20-2006, 12:04 PM
I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all aïkido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aïkido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ?
You could start you own effort toward unification. Go to workshops and seminars taught by aikidoka of any association, and take what you learn back to your dojo. Share it with your fellow classmates.

Do it all.

LouieLouie
01-20-2006, 02:18 PM
Personally, I enjoy the differences, having trained with folks from Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Aikikai, Iwama, Daito ryu, and independents. I wouldn't wish any of them to change. In fact, I'm a little jealous that you have access to Yoseikan Budo. Those guys do a lot of different stuff very well.

From that point of view, it makes more sense. In fact, I do like very much the Yoseikan approach. Somewhat different that Aïkikaï, but still very dynamic. I really enjoy sacrifice trows (they're called "sutemis" I think).

So, to sum up : diversity is not a minus, rather a plus. Right ?

I understand what everyone is pointing out. Being forced to move to another Dojo/style made me see a different approach, made me encounter different people. So with hindsight, I must agree that this was quite an advantage.

I guess that I was too worried about a possible kind of "return on investment" in the future if I'm forced once again to change Dojo.


I'm grateful for the replies you all made. Thanks for your time.

Louis.

Ron Tisdale
01-20-2006, 02:35 PM
Glad to have helped...

On the return on investment (who's ROI???), the only thing lacking would be the 'rank' in the new dojo. Your own experience and knowledge would still be yours, and would actually seem to give you a 'leg up' on anyone else beginning in the new dojo. And maybe even the more experienced ones already there.

Best,
Ron (sorry about the ROI joke, couldn't help it...)

crbateman
01-20-2006, 08:26 PM
Rank is an insignificant thing compared with knowledge. By experiencing multiple styles and points-of-view, you are gaining a better foothold on what will become "your" Aikido. Just keep an open mind, a non-judgmental attitude, and a smile on your face, and people of all styles will commend your dedication, and will help you along your path in any way they can. Aikido, regardless of style, is replete with people of good character helping each other. Such is the common spirit of Aikido. Enjoy the journey.

aikidoc
01-20-2006, 09:52 PM
Too many egos to ever see a unified aikido. Ranks generally do not translate-the aikikai does not recognize rank from other organizations to my knowledge.

Ed Shockley
01-20-2006, 09:56 PM
I trained for several months at a 6:45am class with a Penn student who had been studying Aikido since he was six years old. He was a very good martial artist and a military child so he had never tested past fifth kyu. In each of the countries that he visited he simply trained at whatever dojo was convenient and absorbed knowledge. There was something extremely instructive in his unique journey and I absorbed that lesson along with his marvelous demonstrations of technique. I have saved my battered white belt so that I can put it on again when appropriate as a symbol of my willingness to practice "mushin." As many people have said, "It is about Aikido, not rank." Enjoy the practice.

Edwin Neal
01-21-2006, 02:38 AM
I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido... this is a real problem for me... i enjoy the variety of aikido, but I want people to be getting aikido and not bunk being marketed by some unscrupulous fraud... and I think the fact that people say unification is not possible because of EGO's is patently ridiculous... aikido is supposed to be about harmony... if this is true then egocentrism runs counter to the fundamental principles of aikido... I explored this in a thread in the testing forum and was really disappointed in the response that most people gave a kind of apathetic "oh well that's just not gonna happen" we as students of Osensei must respect and cherish his legacy and ensure that it is what he intended and not perverted by frauds and egoists...

Edwin Neal
01-21-2006, 02:54 AM
heres the thread i started on this topic

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9597

Mark Freeman
01-21-2006, 05:48 AM
I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido... this is a real problem for me... i enjoy the variety of aikido, but I want people to be getting aikido and not bunk being marketed by some unscrupulous fraud... and I think the fact that people say unification is not possible because of EGO's is patently ridiculous... aikido is supposed to be about harmony... if this is true then egocentrism runs counter to the fundamental principles of aikido... I explored this in a thread in the testing forum and was really disappointed in the response that most people gave a kind of apathetic "oh well that's just not gonna happen" we as students of Osensei must respect and cherish his legacy and ensure that it is what he intended and not perverted by frauds and egoists...

Hi Edwin,
I agree with what you say, but still the question remains, Who would or could attempt the process?

Regards,
Mark

Edwin Neal
01-21-2006, 06:06 PM
WE the aikidoka in order to form a more perfect union...
no singular LEADER is going to be able to do it... it will take a determined effort by rank and file aikdoka, not just the HEADS of organizations... many of whom as has been pointed out suffer from EGO... this art of piece was given to us by Osensei in order to improve the relationships among all people isn't it ironic that followers of such a noble and visionary idea/leader are in such disarray and disunity... understand that I am NOT pointing fingers or making accusations, BUT the word hypocrisy jumps to mind...

crbateman
01-21-2006, 07:30 PM
The reason there will be no reunification is the same reason the segregation began in the first place... differing ideas, philosophies and priorities. The only difference is that now, instead of singular leadership of varying "styles", there is segregation of thinking throughout the burgeoning membership bodies made up of the succeeding generations. Regardless of whether the idealistic thinkers within the major organizations would like to see a move back toward unity, none of them wants to give up their autonomy, or their license to practice the techniques of their respective "founders".

Tohei Sensei started his organization so he could teach HIS way. Tomiki Sensei likewise, and Shioda Sensei as well. Even the Iwama style, which remained close to Aikikai largely because of mutual respect and because of Saito Sensei's intense loyalty to O'Sensei, has now moved away under the direction of Hitohiro Saito Sensei.

Add to that the widespread organizations of AAA, USAF and ASU, to name a few, who, although connected to Aikikai, are still largely autonomous. None of these organizations wants to give back the ground they've earned on their own.

There are many who say that this diversion of thinking would not have happened on O'Sensei's watch, but much of it began while he was alive. People with strong beliefs will do what they need to do to further their ideals.

I think that a more realistic goal for Aikido today is to embrace the differences, thereby gaining respect for each other, and promote the harmonious exchange of useful ideas, without the feeling that one has "cheated" or disrespected his own style. This is something that can start with the individual, but not flourish without the support of the organizations. I hope that this will eventually happen.

kokyu
01-21-2006, 09:41 PM
Hence, if I would have been 3rd kyu or even shodan in aïkikaï, I'm not sure that my rank would have been recognized as such in another Dojo that follows another style (Yoseikan, Yoshinkan, Aïkibudo, etc.). The result : I would almost have to start all over again.

I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all aïkido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aïkido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ? Like, say, in medical studies. You start off by studying medecine, and then you choose to specialize in, for instance, surgery. A surgeon is still a doctor.


I used to be bothered by rank, but after training in Japan with people whose rank I will probably never reach in my lifetime - the goal has shifted to just getting better and trying to train regularly. Also, once you build up enough experience, you'll probably grade faster in a different style because the basic ideas are similar.

As for consolidating styles, who is going to judge whether a movement or teaching deserves to be in or out? For example, the Ki Society has a distinctive 'hop' in some of their movements... which I've not seen elsewhere... the Yoshinkan has a particular form of moving which sees a straight back leg - again, something which I have not seen in either the Aikikai or the Ki Society.

Having said this though, I believe there are some Sensei who have tried to blend the different Aikido styles... so this may be a step in the direction you are proposing.

I like your idea of having a basic 'course' and then specialization. However, each style has a unique way of doing even the most basic techniques. According to Total Aikido (Yoshinkan) by Shioda Sensei, kokyu dosa is done with uke pushing or pulling. Even though I'm not from the Yoshinkan, I can appreciate the logic behind it. However, the Aikikai or Ki Society don't seem to practice it this way... Again, how does one judge if one way of doing the technique is better than the other?

From my limited experience, each Sensei's Aikido is an expression of his character, and depends on his interpretation of O-Sensei's teachings. Thus, it becomes a bit difficult to unify Aikido because it's not a science like Medicine. Aikido comes from the heart and everyone's different. Personally, I'm in favor of variety as it makes training interesting and stimulates the evolution of Aikido.

Having said this, it might be good to try out different styles as part of a 'basic' course and then settle on the style that suits your personality and interpretation of Aikido. Hopefully the style will give you what you are looking for, although your demands may change as time goes on...

Just sharing my humble thoughts.

Qatana
01-22-2006, 09:12 AM
The art of Piece?

Mark Freeman
01-22-2006, 09:24 AM
The reason there will be no reunification is the same reason the segregation began in the first place... differing ideas, philosophies and priorities. The only difference is that now, instead of singular leadership of varying "styles", there is segregation of thinking throughout the burgeoning membership bodies made up of the succeeding generations. Regardless of whether the idealistic thinkers within the major organizations would like to see a move back toward unity, none of them wants to give up their autonomy, or their license to practice the techniques of their respective "founders".

Tohei Sensei started his organization so he could teach HIS way. Tomiki Sensei likewise, and Shioda Sensei as well. Even the Iwama style, which remained close to Aikikai largely because of mutual respect and because of Saito Sensei's intense loyalty to O'Sensei, has now moved away under the direction of Hitohiro Saito Sensei.

Add to that the widespread organizations of AAA, USAF and ASU, to name a few, who, although connected to Aikikai, are still largely autonomous. None of these organizations wants to give back the ground they've earned on their own.

There are many who say that this diversion of thinking would not have happened on O'Sensei's watch, but much of it began while he was alive. People with strong beliefs will do what they need to do to further their ideals.

I think that a more realistic goal for Aikido today is to embrace the differences, thereby gaining respect for each other, and promote the harmonious exchange of useful ideas, without the feeling that one has "cheated" or disrespected his own style. This is something that can start with the individual, but not flourish without the support of the organizations. I hope that this will eventually happen.

I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head there Clark!

I also think that Edwin's point that it is the responsibility of rank and file aikidoka to keep the spirit of O'Sensei's teaching alive, is right too. :cool:

Regards,
Mark

Mark Freeman
01-22-2006, 09:26 AM
The art of Piece?

:D

SeiserL
01-22-2006, 02:59 PM
The art of Piece?
Two or different "pieces" have a choice to be discord or harmony.
Aikido is the way of harmony ( at least theoretically).

James Kelly
01-22-2006, 04:16 PM
Had another funny thought. So we unify Aikido under one flag of compliance. We're all told the proper way to perform the techniques. The inspectors come from Honbu (or wherever) annually to keep us in line. The word Aikido can't be used except by those deemed acceptable. The end of the McDojo.

But there is descent in the ranks. Factions who question the status quo. They travel from dojo to dojo spreading their subversive ideas about what is and isn't aikido. The Aiki terrorists. You never know who's one. Is the guy in line next to you a subversive? The girl you just practiced with...? Should you bow to them? What if they're exposed...? will you be implicated? And of course, Honbu will insert their counter agents, assigned to infiltrate the subversive ranks... I see Keefer Sullivan as the head agent for Honbu, or Steven Segal... who plays the leader of the subversives...? Maybe David Carradine... we have a hit on our hands!

LouieLouie
01-22-2006, 04:23 PM
I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido.

Yep, that's the point. One school goes with hakama. The other one not. Some at 3rd kyu. Some encourages comptetition. The others not. Some doesn't like atemis, others encourage them. The problem is that I can go on and on about this.

This variety, yes, can be considered as so many rich contributions to the art, but still, one can't help thinking that "anybody" can come up and say what he's doing in his Dojo is called Aïkido since it is not possible to define precisely what is the "true" Aïkido.

IMHO, I can't help to think that isn't there any need for somebody to draw the line somewhere ?

And I will add the fact that for the beginner, entering into Aïkido is very confusing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still very happy with Aïkido. I'm beginning, but very passionate. I just would like to send a message, as somebody who's starting and willing to go a long way into this, that some consolidation wouldn't hurt.

Just my two cents.

Thanks.
Louis.

markwalsh
01-22-2006, 04:58 PM
Diverse and unified is a possibility that I like.

crbateman
01-22-2006, 09:21 PM
Diverse and unified is a possibility that I like.Like "government intelligence", the two words don't work together. "Unified" implies a single direction. Perhaps "diverse, but mutually inclusive" would be more doable.

Edwin Neal
01-23-2006, 02:49 AM
I like the diverse, but inclusive as I believe that is the state of the art now; however I am not suggesting uniformity in waza or methodology... the teachers that were used as illustrations were all "blessed" or authorized by Osensei... each great teacher will interpret aikido in their own unique way... and we do the "Tohei hop" sometimes... one must be flexible in how a technique can be applied... my real point with a core of knowledge that is central to all aikido organization ( which i believe is the the case ) would possibly help keep frauds from trying to teach whatever they want as aikido... I feel we owe it to all aikidoka past, present and future to preserve the integrity of our art... not let it be whittled away by hucksters from the outside... i am NOT saying uniform aikirobots, but some kind of quality control, and a reasonable amount of aikido cultural literacy to ensure that potential students are not cheated and possibly "put off" and never try any MA again...

ps the original "split" happened after Osensei's passing and was between Tohei and K. Ueshiba... the united states are a collection of differing organizations (states) united by commonalities... why can't aikido be similar...

crbateman
01-23-2006, 08:52 AM
the united states are a collection of differing organizations (states) united by commonalities... why can't aikido be similar...Because the states couldn't (and wouldn't) survive as individual republics (in spite of what Texas may think). They need the federal government for sustenance and protection, and are therefore compelled to endure the hardships of that dependence. Such is not the case with the various Aikido organizations. Also, the U.S. government is a poor example because it is probably one of the most inefficient mechanisms in human history. Any business run like the federal government would be bankrupt in MINUTES. :hypno:

IlyasDexter
01-23-2006, 09:12 AM
I once asked my Sensei " Why the different styles" she answered me by saying she asked Tomiki Sensei the same question and he swiftly cut her off and said "There is only one Aikido". And he means the priciple. Just keep training as sincerely as you can and in time you'll come to to understand the underlying priciples of technique and style will be irrelavent. Tomiki Sensei also once told John Gay Sensei "Remember aikido is only three things, posture, movement and balance breaking."

Qatana
01-23-2006, 09:26 AM
Edwin it is easy enough to research tha background of just about any akido teacher of repute. If I can't find information on background and lineage than I will generally assume that the person has something to hide or is withholding for some mysterious reason and in that case I wouldn't even bother going further.
I chose my sensei because he is an Open Book.
While people may not have the ethics to present themselves completely and honestly, people also must be free to make their own choices, and if someone chooses to train at a McDojo, it is their choice.I can choose not to train with them.

Bronson
01-23-2006, 11:15 AM
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
Thomas Jefferson

The same freedom that allows for such rich diversity allows the hucksters to operate... a small price in my book.

Bronson

tedehara
01-23-2006, 11:39 AM
... and we do the "Tohei hop" sometimes... one must be flexible in how a technique can be applied...
But do you know when to do it and why you're doing it? That's the real test.
ps the original "split" happened after Osensei's passing and was between Tohei and K. Ueshiba... the united states are a collection of differing organizations (states) united by commonalities... why can't aikido be similar...The original split was really not just K. Tohei vs K. Ueshiba. Koichi Tohei wanted to standardize Aikido (sound familiar?). Other senior instructors felt that this would eliminate their individual styles of Aikido. Because they had studied with the founder like K. Tohei, they believed their styles of Aikido to be just as valid as anything Tohei would come up with.

To use the US analogy, it seems to me that now Aikikai is more like the Confederate States of America rather than the USA. There are Aikikai groups that do not want to associate with anyone - including those from Aikikai.

crbateman
01-23-2006, 02:01 PM
Politics... An ugly business in any language. Aikido should be about truth, but truth cannot be kept pure when humans are involved.

MaryKaye
01-23-2006, 02:06 PM
Pragmatically, how would you unify the syllabus of Ki Society and Aikikai schools, given that Tohei sensei removed from the KS curriculum techniques that Aikikai regards as fundamental (i.e. iriminage, kotagaeshi, koshinage)?

I think it would be exceptionally difficult either to force Ki Society schools to teach throws that they regard as unsafe or contrary to their style, or to force Aikikai schools to give up throws that they regard as fundamental. A lot of dojo would probably go independent rather than make such a drastic change.

On the other hand, as a Ki Society student who cross-trains with the Aikikai, I don't feel that the split has done me any harm. I occasionally get confronted with a technique I don't know, but I think it's good for me--keeps me on my toes. And once the basic principles are learned it's not really that hard to pick up new techniques.

Any reputable aikido school will teach you what you need to know to do aikido, and then you can go out and do aikido with anyone you please and learn from them. That's a great thing, a real strength of the art. The only possible exception is that if your dojo de-emphasizes breakfalls you'll need to inform practice partners of this, and work on learning them to keep yourself safe.

Mary Kaye

Lyle Bogin
01-23-2006, 02:44 PM
It is more likely that a government entity will begin to regulate all of us under "martial arts" than it is that all aikido schools will pay dues to the same organization.

James Kelly
01-23-2006, 07:47 PM
the united states are a collection of differing organizations (states) united by commonalities... why can't aikido be similar...I have to say this is not a very good example. More Americans were killed trying to define the boundaries between centralized, federal authority and the rights of individual states than any other event.

All my previous silliness aside, there are freedom of expression issues at stake here. Even if all the legitimate styles of aikido were able to see their way through to unification, there's still nothing to stop some guy from hanging an aikido sign over his door and calling himself a Shihan (at least here in the us). Under who's authority can you stop him? Not through the courts. Your proposal that we the aikidoka should impose the authority ourselves... how? Through speech (tell everyone not to go there)? That's a lot of work and still people would slip through. Through physical means (aka violence)? We ourselves would be in violation of the law.

For better or worse, that guy has the constitutional right to call himself an Aikido Shihan. All we can do is educate and hope that a dedicated student will do their own work and find out the truth for themselves...

neaikikai
01-23-2006, 09:28 PM
My Sensei used to tell us regarding these issues: Get on the mat and train. Aikido is not about dialog or conversation, it is about daily training on the mat. You have so much to learn, in my opinion this should be the last thing on your mind, it will only get in the way of training. The only way to understand and learn Aikido is on the mat, not by these kind of discussions, so train hard and often and let these questions take care of themselves.

Edwin Neal
01-24-2006, 08:47 AM
Ted i think you have it backward as i understand it Tohei wanted to "add" all kinds of ki exercises and remove certain waza (which is what has happened in ki society)... we do the hop when appropriate and it is apporpriate when done...;-P

Clark, right on about politics and human nature... i just hoped aikidoka were a little more evolved... i used the US as an illustration not as a model

Mary i am NOT suggesting a standard curriculum that all MUST adopt, but rather an agreed core that can be added to but not abridged... Takemusu Aiki... don't we all do ikkyo?

Lyle as a poor ronin aikidoka i do NOT want to pay more dues, but i believe there should be some control of WHO gets to claim the authority to teach aikido

James i see your point but is fraud a constitutional right... It is illegal to claim to be a lawyer or a doctor(medical) or law officer if you are not... there are limits to freedom of speech...

Michael these questions have not taken care of themselves in the years since the split... and the saying about evil triumphing when good men do nothing jumps to mind... aikido is about fighting and training and that happens on and off the mat and is both physical and spiritual... do we allow the spirit to be tarnished because we don't care or think it is too diffucult(impossible seems to be the general consensus!)

I agree that there is only one aikido with many ways of teaching and approaching it...prospective students should do research, but what authority is there to appeal to for information?

I hereby proclaim myself 11th dan of the unified aikido movement (trademarked!) you are all under my jurisdiction now and will be assimilated... resistance is futile...;-))

crbateman
01-24-2006, 12:46 PM
Clark, right on about politics and human nature... i just hoped aikidoka were a little more evolved... Actually, we are. In fact, it takes the typical aikidoka a full five minutes longer to screw up a good thing than it does a "normal" person. :D

Edwin Neal
01-24-2006, 10:52 PM
FIVE minutes??? oh well i guess i'm not as evolved as some other aikidoka...LOL

Mark Freeman
01-25-2006, 09:04 AM
FIVE minutes??? oh well i guess i'm not as evolved as some other aikidoka...LOL

Edwin, but you are an 11th dan of the UAM (Tm), who are these more evolved aikidoka?? :D :D

Mark :rolleyes:

Lyle Bogin
01-25-2006, 02:18 PM
"Lyle as a poor ronin aikidoka i do NOT want to pay more dues, but i believe there should be some control of WHO gets to claim the authority to teach aikido"

That works well until I say you don't have the right.

James Kelly
01-25-2006, 06:42 PM
James i see your point but is fraud a constitutional right... It is illegal to claim to be a lawyer or a doctor(medical) or law officer if you are not... there are limits to freedom of speech...Of course, the guy can't claim to be a shihan of a specific organization he doesn't belong to, but he can create his own organization and call himself Shihan. Hell, I have a doctorate of theology from a mail order church (and can marry people in the state of Colorado). Every once in a while I toy with the idea of making everyone call me Dr. Kelly just for fun (my grandmother would be proud).

We once had a kid come into our dojo. He claimed he was 18, but couldn't have been more than 15 I think, and kind of chubby. Anyway, he watched for a bit (none of the Sensei were there) and then, when asked if he was interested in signing up, he explained that he had founded his own martial art (something with ‘fu' and ‘dragon' in the name) and was probably higher-ranked than our sensei anyway so why bother? He was really there looking for students for his new dojo. We smiled and said that was great and wished him well in his new endeavor.

I had totally forgotten that, but I have to say it was very funny and you know what...? good for him. He was a shmo, but he had chutzpa. I certainly wasn't walking into strange dojo and making claims of my martial prowess at the age of 15. The world is a better place for him and his claims (assuming he avoided getting his ass kicked by walking into the wrong dojo and is still alive).

Mark Freeman
01-25-2006, 06:49 PM
I had totally forgotten that, but I have to say it was very funny and you know what...? good for him. He was a shmo, but he had chutzpa. I certainly wasn't walking into strange dojo and making claims of my martial prowess at the age of 15. The world is a better place for him and his claims (assuming he avoided getting his ass kicked by walking into the wrong dojo and is still alive).

LOL :D

MaryKaye
01-25-2006, 07:11 PM
Mary i am NOT suggesting a standard curriculum that all MUST adopt, but rather an agreed core that can be added to but not abridged... Takemusu Aiki... don't we all do ikkyo?



But we don't all do kotegaeshi, or koshinage, or iriminage, all of which I suspect most Aikikai students consider just as essential as ikkyo.

Mary Kaye

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2006, 08:34 PM
Aikido has been fundamentally an individual process from the very start. There is virtually no chance that is will come together in any coherent, organizational form. The desire for this to happen is simply the desire to simplify what can't be simplified, an attempt to fit the art into a comprehensible box... Can't be done.

What should happen, and there is no reason that this can't happen, is that we all simply treat each other with respect, stop maintaining that any of the Uchi Deshi had more of a take on Aikido than any other, start respecting our own home grown teachers as much as we respect the Japanesae teachers who come here to teach...

How many years in, in what, and with whom is the fundamental starting point to evaluate whether someone might be someone you wish to train with... Then you have to take their essential disposition and see if its a good match for you. As skillful as they might be, are they doing the kind of Aikido you wish to do? Finally, if you are looking for a Teacher rather than just deciding on what seminars to attend, is this Teacher modeling the kind of behavior you'd expect and will be happy with?

Given that these are the factors which people need to consider when deciding on who to train with and given that there are an almost infinite set of personal variabales on the part of the prospective students, there's no way that Aikido is going to come together eiether stylistically or organizationally... ain't going to happen. But we can all be open to each other's preferences and respect the fact that each of us will make his own choices about how and with whom to train. The more breadth of choice each student has, the greater the possibility that a large number of people will come to and stay in Aikido.

Adam Alexander
01-25-2006, 09:27 PM
That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aïkido styles.




Unless you have copyright or trademark on the word or design "aikido," what business is it of yours how others use it?

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 12:57 AM
sorry mark, inner secrets I cannot reveal my co grandmasters... but we are legion and mighty!
James that guy probably did get his butt whupped eventually...

this idea of unification seems to meet a lot of resistance and misunderstanding... i am not advocating stylistic or organizational "uniformity", but rather a way to insure that frauds do not hijack aikido... consider the following HYPOTHETICAL situation... some guy with no legitimate rank or affiliation with any organization such as hombu or aikikai or whatever... opens a dojo claiming to teach aikido... he and some of his students become a "gang" more or less and commit criminal acts... as a result legislators decide to ban the practice of aikido... this ruling spreads and hypothetically the entire state / country / world bans the practice of aikido... there is a thread under discussion about a possible ban of samurai swords in england... so in spite of the somewhat extreme case i am making it is POSSIBLE that something like this could happen... heres another one ... fraudulent aikido teacher claims "practical self defense" but a student dies in a self defense situation couldn't EVERY aikido teacher and organization be held liable? what if the frauds student killed someone in self defense and was found to have used unnecessary force ... again couldn't all teachers/organizations be held liable... just trying to make a point here no need to take these HYPOTHETICAL situations too seriously... don't WE (ALL) aikidoka of ALL organizations have a responsibility to protect ourselves, each other, and future students from frauds... can EGO's be put aside to have some kind of LOOSE, and comfortable unification that addresses the need for TRUTH with regards to people who claim to teach this art we all love...

Mark Freeman
01-26-2006, 04:52 AM
Aikido has been fundamentally an individual process from the very start. There is virtually no chance that is will come together in any coherent, organizational form. The desire for this to happen is simply the desire to simplify what can't be simplified, an attempt to fit the art into a comprehensible box... Can't be done.

What should happen, and there is no reason that this can't happen, is that we all simply treat each other with respect, stop maintaining that any of the Uchi Deshi had more of a take on Aikido than any other, start respecting our own home grown teachers as much as we respect the Japanesae teachers who come here to teach...

How many years in, in what, and with whom is the fundamental starting point to evaluate whether someone might be someone you wish to train with... Then you have to take their essential disposition and see if its a good match for you. As skillful as they might be, are they doing the kind of Aikido you wish to do? Finally, if you are looking for a Teacher rather than just deciding on what seminars to attend, is this Teacher modeling the kind of behavior you'd expect and will be happy with?

Given that these are the factors which people need to consider when deciding on who to train with and given that there are an almost infinite set of personal variabales on the part of the prospective students, there's no way that Aikido is going to come together eiether stylistically or organizationally... ain't going to happen. But we can all be open to each other's preferences and respect the fact that each of us will make his own choices about how and with whom to train. The more breadth of choice each student has, the greater the possibility that a large number of people will come to and stay in Aikido.

Hear hear George, I couln't agree more, thanks.

regards

Mark

crbateman
01-26-2006, 05:13 AM
Edwin, I see your point, BUT... What about the instructor who has never "gotten married" to any particular organization, but has instead trained within many diverse syllabi, and brought the best of each to his Aikido? Both his techniques and his instruction might be excellent. I know many such people. Is it really fair for some outside jurisdiction to sit in judgment of these people? If you were one of them, surely you would not think so. That is where you will hear that what this or that person does "is not Aikido", when who really is to say what IS or IS NOT Aikido? Much less whether it is or is not GOOD Aikido... The bottom line is that an instructor puts himself out there for judgment every time he/she steps on the mat, and the judges are, and should be, his students. The egomaniac and the huckster are quickly found out, even by the newest student. An instructor who is good, who makes sense, and who gives benefit to his students will gain their loyalty. It doesn't take a rokudan (or a panel of them) to recognize a bad one.

As for the makeup of your proposed jurisdictional body, wouldn't everybody want to be running the show? Would anyone settle for less than superior positioning for his own organization? This is where the politics comes in, and politics has no place in the arena where objective judgment is required. (That is also why the executive and judicial branches of even our own misguided government are fundamentally separated.)

The individual is, and should be, responsible for his training. Those who feel comfortable by belonging to a core organization have numerous opportunities to do so. Those who prefer the ronin's approach, likewise have the opportunity. Each individual has the freedom and ability to vote with his feet. IMHO, I don't see it getting any better, in the long or the short run. :)

Mark Freeman
01-26-2006, 05:37 AM
Hi Edwin,
sorry mark, inner secrets I cannot reveal my co grandmasters... but we are legion and mighty!
I'ts ok I understand..... :cool:

As for the remainder of your post, wow that's alot of hypotheticals to digest in one sitting. I feel a possible heartburn coming on.

I get the feeling that the 'frauds' you speak of really get to you, I also see that the root cause of this is your desire to see the art you love stay uncorrupted. I really do empathise with that sentiment, however, Unless we all form some kind of Aiki thought police and travel the length and breadth of the land trying to root out the frauds, we are not going to stop them. So what do we do, let them be, perhaps.
My own teacher was the first to receive aikido training in the UK in the mid 1950's. Over the years he has had many thousands of students, some have stayed for a while, left, and reappeared miraculously higher ranked, heading their own organisations.
His reaction... let them get on with it.. he continues to teach and be true to the heritage and the aikido of his teachers.
The BAB (British Aikido Board) The governing body for 'all' Aikido in the UK does not include the federation of the UK's first British teacher.
So the idea of unity here is a fair way off.

Perhaps we can stem the possible idea that some hypothetical ban might shut aikido down, by aikidoka en masse going out and being nice to people. We should decend in our hoardes and perpetrate acts of extreme pleasantness! if we kept our gi and hakama on there would be no mistaking who carried out the wanton good deeds! ;)

Cheers,

Mark

Amir Krause
01-26-2006, 05:52 AM
this idea of unification

Could anyone try and explain how does he view an imaginary unified M.A. ? (Aikido or "Ultimate fu-do")
What does this unification mean in practice? How is it supposed to work in a practical world ?
How is it supposed to stop fraud? Can it develop ? Can it be adjusted for different people ? Are the techniques fixed or the principles? Is the curriculum fixed ? What happens if the group is small and a new student joins in?


I can not imagine any human occupation that can be fixed without flexibility. Even M.D. each has his own way and may decide differently on when to give medicine and which in many situations.

Amir

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 06:11 AM
yeah my main focus is frauds, and how they affect aikido, martial arts, and prospective students... as i posted in another thread i did indeed run into one of these Mcdojo's and many of the students of this huckster were totally turned off to any MA ever again, a few even went so far as to liken it to a cult... even the kindest were pissed about the money they had lost for basically nothing...
Clark, we have both trained with people who are outside of the mainstream aikido organizations, as we discussed in a previous message, but they have a LINEAGE back to Osensei and are recognized by some of the mainstream organizations, although they do not belong to them...
my postings are mostly rhetorical, but i do believe this is an important issue that is being avoided (how very aiki!) by senior aikidoka... we see things like my hypotheticals all the time in the news... gun manufacturers responsible for gun violence, tobacco companies, fast food companies, whatever... If i were ever to consider opening a dojo, these things would probably be the issues that would squash that... even ronin can say i trained with so and so and they trained with so and so, and thus have some authority... mail order sensei's need not apply!!!

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 06:22 AM
hey amir good questions... i think the idea you gave about M.D.'s is a good one... the medical board(?) doesn't say this doctor is the best or his medicine is no good, but you know they went to medical school!... i am not really saying sensei's should apply for a license from the aikido board, but some control should be available IMHO... and i agree a certain amount of flexibility would be required in this kind of endeavor... once again i am NOT suggesting uniform waza, testing criteria, methodology, etc... i believe that aikido covers a wide range and thats is good and okay... i just don't like posers and liars...

crbateman
01-26-2006, 01:08 PM
Like I said, Edwin, if they're truly fakes, incompetent, mentally defective, or whatever, then nobody is going to take them seriously, anyway, and one day they'll get their come-uppance on the mat. One is probably better off just to ignore them, as challenging their credentials (or lack thereof) gives them a means of resolve, and a moment in the spotlight, which is probably what they're craving. People of good judgment and conscience are sensible enough to steer clear of them, and those with less experience will eventually learn a valuable lesson. I certainly have learned my share of them the hard way.

The whole credibility through credentials thing is flawed, anyway. I know some people with legitimate credentials who are very poor teachers, and others who are poor technically. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I'm not going to make decisions about quality of training by looking to see what's hanging on the dojo wall. I'd rather give somebody the benefit of the doubt if he's good. All that really matters to me is whether there is something I can learn from him. After all, isn't that why we train? I have learned valuable things from people who have no rank, lineage, or anything else, and WHAT they know is more telling than HOW or FROM WHOM they learned it. Just my humble opinion. Is it Friday yet? I need a beer.....

LouieLouie
01-26-2006, 02:56 PM
Unless you have copyright or trademark on the word or design "aikido," what business is it of yours how others use it?

Boy, you're loosing me here. I was just asking a question. Getting that kind of an answer won't help in any way.

Heck, how others do Aïkido is none of my business for sure. But from I understand Aïkido, or on a broader sense, from what I understand from human relations, respect always comes first to my mind.

If anybody was ever shocked or insulted by this thread or by a remark I made, I'm sorry.

Geez!

Louis.

Adam Alexander
01-26-2006, 04:24 PM
Boy, you're loosing me here. I was just asking a question. Getting that kind of an answer won't help in any way.

Heck, how others do Aïkido is none of my business for sure. But from I understand Aïkido, or on a broader sense, from what I understand from human relations, respect always comes first to my mind.

If anybody was ever shocked or insulted by this thread or by a remark I made, I'm sorry.

Geez!

Louis.

No offense taken or intended. It's a sincere question that's just worded sharply--has nothing to do with "respect."

If you look closer at the answer, you may see the "help" you don't see is there.

The bottom line is that Ueshiba, apparently, didn't constrain the use of the word or the art. Further, Ueshiba said that everyone's Aikido was their own. So, if Aikido is different for everyone and he made no effort to limit the use of his word, how do you know what it means? How do any of us know what it means?

You say that it's out of concern for fraud, but what's fraud? After just learning ikkyo, he sent the Yoseikan founder out to teach Aikido. Is that fraudulent? Maybe to you, but not necessarily to everyone.

There's no reason a person can't pick up a copy of Total Aikido or The Dynamic Sphere and copy those techniques while supporting a dojo and calling it Aikido. It' s up to the student to investigate the source of instruction and go from there.


To believe that because you've got a large organization to oversee the art is going to give you some sort of positive benefit is naive. The only positive benefit gained from beauracracy is those gained by those politically adept...not necessarily technically adept.

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 07:06 PM
i agree totally clarke, but i still think ignoring these frauds does a disservice to aikido and potential students, who in some cases just don't know enough to make an "informed" decision... and some of the hucksters out there are very slick at self promotion, marketing, public relations, even cult type "mind control"... it seems kind of disingenuous for us (aikidoka) to simply throw the unsuspecting students into the water and leave it to them to sink or swim... especially with sharks circling to snap up the unlucky ones...
to Jean... you like some others have some serious reservation about a beauracratic organization which i share, but that is not really what i am getting at... it IS wrong and fraudulent to just pick up a book and then claim to teach aikido... would you go to a guy who read a medical book for serious medical care or would you prefer someone who actually WAS a doctor?
there is a very fine line (and alot of misunderstanding) about "everyones aikido is there own"... at its essence I agree (takemusu aiki), but on the other hand you can't say just any thing is aikido... if i walk my dog for instance that is not aikido even if i claim it is "my" aikido... aikido is a specific body of knowledge that is broad and open to "some" personal interpretation, not just whatever anyone says...

James Kelly
01-26-2006, 07:22 PM
Edwin,

Here's the thing. I really do sympathize with your dislike of aikido frauds -- they bug me too sometimes -- and you make a reasonable case for why you think a unified aikido is a good thing (though some of your hypotheticals are stretching it). But... you haven't proposed a practical means for carrying out your vision. You're not saying you want a licensing board (though in fact there are many such organization throughout the world) and you're not suggesting uniform waza -- great. What are you suggesting? From the previous thread you suggest that we the aikidoka should be responsible -- the aikido community. But there is no aikido community per se. There are many aikido communities that overlap and chafe. Many of the leaders of these organizations hate each other explicitly. Some hide their dislike. Harmony between the practitioners of the art of harmony would be great, but it doesn't exist.

The only possible way I could see unification is if an individual came along with the strength of character and technique to convince all the factions to band together (we'll call ‘em the aiki messiah). Not likely, and certainly not while the issei (first generation shihan) are still active but even if this fantasy came true, there'd be people who descent because that's the nature of people. Leaving, again, room for frauds.

I'm sorry to say, but the frauds are something we're all just going to have to get used to living with.

LouieLouie
01-26-2006, 09:12 PM
No offense taken or intended. It's a sincere question that's just worded sharply

That's ok. Sorry if I got you wrong.

Louis.

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 09:28 PM
Hey James... sadly TOO much of what you say is true... i like many are disheartened by the "bad blood" among some organizations, but that is another rant ;-)... i do think unification is possible without the "aikimessiah" ... reconciliation among the feuding factions should be a primary goal, since that speaks directly to the heart of aikido philosophy... some kind of "umbrella" organization( not all powerful) that would speak to the authority/legitimacy/experience of anyone claiming to teach aikido... yeah i know this is problematic, but most things that are worthwhile are not easily achieved... this group would not be a judiciary committee, but something more like consumer awareness, better business, etc... as i said to clark even ronin aikidoka have a training history that can and should be available at the request of students who wish to research this... instead of having some dude mail order his Grandmaster of aikido certificate, there would be a legit umbrella organization that presented factual information about senseis... perhaps membership with this organization (no dues please!) or registration with said organization would help uninformed consumers (students) know what to look for...
i appreciate everyones thoughts, my personal opinion is that just letting frauds be is like just letting a stab wound continue to bleed when you could staunch the bloodflow ... this in no way means that those who feel that it should be overlooked are wrong (but you are! ;-) )... i just think it is important, and worth the effort to address this issue
thanks for everyones thoughts!

Adam Alexander
01-26-2006, 09:43 PM
1)it IS wrong and fraudulent to just pick up a book and then claim to teach aikido..

2). would you go to a guy who read a medical book for serious medical care or would you prefer someone who actually WAS a doctor?


3)there is a very fine line (and alot of misunderstanding) about "everyones aikido is there own"... at its essence I agree (takemusu aiki), but on the other hand you can't say just any thing is aikido... if i walk my dog for instance that is not aikido even if i claim it is "my" aikido.

.4). aikido is a specific body of knowledge that is broad and open to "some" personal interpretation, not just whatever anyone says...

1)That's your personal opinion. Who are you to set limits on others? Do YOU understand the techniques so clearly that you can set limits? I doubt it. None of us do.

2)You ever watch M.A.S.H.? Every few shows, Hawkeye's reading through a book to do a procedure. I like Hawkeye.

3)Sure it is. It's Aikido to you. I'd disagree about it being Aikido, but I also disagree that what I see in plenty of dojos is Aikido...but who am I?

4)Aikido is what each of us make it.


Louis,

I didn't ask.

Forgive me if I don't post in this thread anymore. I don't have time.

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 10:22 PM
reading a book on any topic does NOT make you qualified to teach or even explain it... if that were the case I would teach an astounding range of disciplines!!!, my understanding is not the topic of discussion... Hawkeye WAS a DOCTOR, i have no problem with a qualified doctor researching the specifics of any procedure he is performing, in fact that is an acknowledgement that even an expert or master continues to learn and develop... now you are just being contrary!!! walking the dog is not aikido no matter what any one says... Takemusu Aiki doesn't mean anything in the world is aikido... it means infinite variety and creativity IN the art of aikido... come on dude don't just be contrary for the sake of it...

Adam Alexander
01-27-2006, 03:58 PM
Excellent. I think you're now understanding where I'm coming from. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. We can disagree and that's okay...as long as no-one tries to infringe on another. All you gave me for a response was, basically, "that's not how you SHOULD pronounce the word."

I promise to always let you judge your instructors and decide whether they're suitable for you or if they fit your idea of a fraud. How about you not worry about obstructing others to do the same...let freedom ring;)

Edwin Neal
01-28-2006, 10:20 AM
freedom is great Jean, but freedom is not carte blanche... you can't kill someone and claim freedom as an excuse... we should all judge things based on their merit... i just have a problem with frauds who make spurious claims to teach aikido, when you and I would both probably agree that it is not aikido, but some crap they cooked up to bilk unsuspecting students of their money... again i think this issue is important, which is why i continue to discuss it... and i think that ignoring it or placing the burden completely on the prospective student to investigate "senseis" validity is IMHO a little irresponsible and in fact counter to the fundamental principles of aikido...

crbateman
01-28-2006, 11:21 AM
...you and I would both probably agree that it is not aikido, but some crap they cooked up to bilk unsuspecting students of their money...Aikido is NOT profitable. No "con man" in his right (or wrong) mind would choose it as a way to turn a dollar. And there is no reason that any student be "unsuspecting". Caution is just a part of making a careful decision.

...placing the burden completely on the prospective student to investigate "senseis" validity is IMHO a little irresponsible and in fact counter to the fundamental principles of aikido...I would be willing to bet that your typical student is going to have some doubt on his own about a questionable instructor, long before the outside world even gets a whiff. Most people are not stupid. And I cannot fathom being part of any organization whose purpose is to conduct "witch hunts" and investigate instructors.

Another thing to consider is that, even if such a mechanism were put in place, all those teaching at the time of its inception would be legally protected, "grandfathered in" (in the U.S. at least, if engaged in teaching for money) and would be GIVEN OUTRIGHT the very credentials you are seeking to protect. There would be court battles ad infinitum.

Yours is a valid ideal, Edwin, but in reality, it just won't work. Students have the right to choose, and the responsibility for the outcome of a poor choice. That's just the way it is. If you consider this very plausible example: You see a notice on here that Joe Blow Sensei is going to be conducting a seminar in your town, at a cost of $200. You say to yourself "I have never heard of Joe Blow, and neither has anyone else I know in Aikido... I'm staying away." You have made the very same choice, with little or no difficulty, and arrived at the correct solution, only this is just for a weekend and $200. I would have to think that you (and everybody else) would put at least as much thought into a similar decision involving YEARS and THOUSAND$. JMO.

Edwin Neal
01-28-2006, 11:45 AM
much of what you say is too true clark, but still see some of my earlier posts about my personal experience here in my hometown... as to witch hunts and investigations and such... well i don't think it needs to go that route, nor indeed to court battles and such... again if you watch your local news it probably has someone like the lady on my local news who investigates "bad" businesses or ones that flat out rip off their customers, and thus informs prospective customers so they don't have to learn it the hard way... just call me the aikido better business beaureau or some such

crbateman
01-28-2006, 12:08 PM
Yes, but without an accepted public standard, someone must sit in judgment of what is acceptable, else the "action reporter" would have no one to quote, and no context for the report. That, in itself, would be irresponsible. And if you think that someone eking out a living in his dojo, or protective of his public reputation, would hesitate to test the "certification" system in court, you really ARE dreaming. We can't arbitrarily appoint an "Aikido President" or create the "Aikido Police" without being genuinely unfair to SOMEBODY (probably many somebodies). It's too Orwellian, and just not realistic. What IS realistic, is that it simply doesn't mean enough to enough people...

Edwin Neal
01-28-2006, 12:28 PM
yeah thats the feeling i get... most of the other posters seem to think oh well thats just the way it is... too much ego, politics, trouble, etc... my experience really was an eye opener and a few other MA instructors/schools caught some flak because of this guy that i ran into... as a result there is only one MA school in my town now... at one time there were as many as five, and i would never open my own dojo, because of the lingering stink that this guy left... i practice with a few fellow ronin here in town, but we all wish there was something better as the itinerant lifestyle can be costly... gas hotels fees etc... i am not necessarily calling for certification or licenseing perhaps an aikido database that listed "reputable" aikido teachers... yeah i know it has similar problems, but almost all the organizations that are currently active have a legitimate lineage back to osensei... that idea of lineage and time training etc should be openly available so that people like this guy can't mail order his certificate of grandmastery and just suddenly be an aikido master... i'll go out on a limb and say i feel like WE (all aikidoka) could be umbrella-ed under Hombu regardless of style/organization... the only problem there is politics and ego... yeah it's a mess, but just because it is messy and diffucult doesn't mean we shouldn't try

Adam Alexander
01-31-2006, 04:54 PM
Well, here's a solution: Run around the country checking out dojos and giving it your GoodMA seal of approval. You can call it Edwin'sList. There we'll all find the right Aikido dojo.

How's that? I think it's a great idea. Is that "responsible?"

Since this service is of such significance, I'm certain any potential martial artist worth his/her salt will be willing to pay...oh...I don't know...ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!

Irresponsible? Come on. Get a grip. I'm not responsible for other MAists and they're not responsible for me.

But since there's a percieved need, there you go: You can get in on the ground floor.

For the love of God. You'd think that your little idea here would be free.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 05:07 PM
Thanks Jean, i have been looking for my "million dollar idea"... aren't we as humans all responsible for each other's, indeed all of creation's, well being... i think this is a fundamental principle of aikido...

Adam Alexander
01-31-2006, 05:41 PM
aren't we as humans all responsible for each other's well being

No.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 06:08 PM
i believe the principles of aikido say we are responsible for each other... we are all one family... even an attacker...we are guided to lovingly protect them...

crbateman
02-01-2006, 05:10 AM
Edwin, as you are no doubt aware, what you may believe in principle is often NOT what you may see in practice. It is much easier to subscribe to an ideal than it is to make it work on command in real life. What you propose sounds good, but won't happen, because everyone would have to believe in the same ideals as you do, and it is human nature that people don't all think the same. The fact that there are good and verifiable lineages among instructors out there makes it possible to simply choose from those whose lineage you recognize and respect, and avoid those that you don't. If a guy won't talk of his teachers or training history, that doesn't make him a bad guy, just one that you might want to avoid "on principle" if you have a choice. That mechanism, and that choice, is already in place for each of us. Nothing more needs to be done.

Amir Krause
02-01-2006, 11:44 AM
Edwin

I have a very simple problem with your suggestion - it would likely keep people like my Sensei as fraudulent. While in fact he is not. I learn Korindo aikido, a style that does not consider it self connected to Ueshiba, rather, we consider our founder to be Minoro Hirai, and often look at ourselves as a different M.A. My teacher studied Korindo aikido (and Judo and Karate) in Japan for several years and has kept practicing (here and in Japan) and perfecting his studies in the last 30-35 + yrs. And I would consider him as first class world wide (heard similar comments from a friend who studies Tomiki Aikido in Japan now).

I have seen Ueshiba Aikido more then once. Mostly it looks very similar, but the devil is in the details, and there, there are many differences.

My main point is – any governing body of “Aikido” like you described is likely to count us as frauds, for no valid reason.
I have seen Ueshiba Aikido more then once. Mostly it looks very similar, but the devil is in the details, and there, there are many differences. The end result is when I practice at Ueshiba Aikido dojo I am told to correct multiple things, that I do correctly in the context of my system and vice-versa. No “Governing body of Aikido” selected by the majority of practitioners would have approved my current Dan rank or my teacher’s (though in fact he currently is higher ranked and more veteran than all the other Aikido instructors here). The “Governing body of Aikido” would probably have claimed we make multiple basic mistakes and should correct things that are basic to our way of performing techniques, practicing etc.

This is my reason for asking on how you view a unified Aikido; and my reason for currently objecting for the concept you are trying to propagate. Unification the way you described is a long process that eventually turns every member of that body to a “robotic copy”. Since this is against human nature, in the process, most would leave the unified organization and generate multiple other organizations.

Frauds are a problem. But the solution to it must not limit the growth of diverse Aikido dojos.

Amir

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 12:07 PM
i am unfamiliar with Korindo Aikido... please link me to any info you could... my belief and understanding is that Osensei developed aikido and i believe historical evidence backs this up... it is unlikely that anything called aikido came from a source other than Osensei, and is possible that there may be politics and ego that we are not aware of that are the real reason your style claims to be independent of Osensei... as i have said before i am not advocating "uniform" techniques, teaching styles or ranking criterion, be adopted... please let me know more about your style...

Ron Tisdale
02-01-2006, 12:16 PM
Hi All (John, I see you lurking), ;)

Amir just wrote a fantastic post for this thread, but I'd like to point out an additional factor. There are people teaching aikido in new and different ways all the time. Some of them not very highly ranked in terms of the major aikido organizations. One example from my training this past weekend is Ellis Amdur. We all know of him from his Koryu background, but he is a yudansha in the Aikikai as well. He has had the opportunity to train with many of the best aikido instructors in Japan, as well as some not so well known. Because he moved on to other things for a while, I don't believe he is very highly ranked. But his overall experience in martial art in general and aikido in particular should be unquestionable.

Someone asked a person who was at the seminar this weekend "what rank is he?" Personally, I think this shows a fundamental flaw in how we look at aikido and it's instructors. Ellis's seminar was simply beyond issues of rank. It was beyond issues of style. It was beyond the sort of formulaic training we see and participate in 90% of the time. He worked on showing us how to organize our bodies, how to flow from one technique to another, how to work with resistance, how to put what we've learned from our own styles into practice in a free form environment with varying levels of resistance with atemi. With people that in many cases, barely knew each other, if at all. With no injuries that I am aware of, and no bad feelings (even when I had a brown belt kicking my butt :)).

I am beginning to think that people like David Valedez, Bob Wolfe, Ellis Amdur and others are often more on the forward edge of aikido than some of us stuck in the mud of organization, affiliation, and rank. A governing board of aikido would have no place for people like that, and it would be to the detriment of Aikido and each and every person who practices it.

The frauds will eventually take care of themselves...self-selection. It is inevitable. But the un-affiliated gems...where will they come from once Big Brother is watching the hen house???

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
02-01-2006, 12:20 PM
Edwin, use google. Korindo Aikido is a fantastic art, one which I wish was more available. If you get a chance, look up John Goss. Although he is from an off-shoot, he can certainly expose you to a significant portion of the art.

The Ueshiba family did not choose the name aikido. A governing body of martial arts (Butokukai, I believe) made the selection based on many factors. It was originally meant as a broad category of non-sportive martial art, and it certainly applies in the case of Korindo Aikido. Here is an article on the founder of Korindo Aikido. There are more references available by searching the AJ archives.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=87&highlight=korindo+

Best,
Ron


i am unfamiliar with Korindo Aikido... please link me to any info you could... my belief and understanding is that Osensei developed aikido and i believe historical evidence backs this up... it is unlikely that anything called aikido came from a source other than Osensei, and is possible that there may be politics and ego that we are not aware of that are the real reason your style claims to be independent of Osensei... as i have said before i am not advocating "uniform" techniques, teaching styles or ranking criterion, be adopted... please let me know more about your style...

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 12:30 PM
my original intent was to insure that if someone claimed to teach aikido that they indeed could 'do' aikido, not just make some stuff up and call it aikido and claim some fictitious rank... its not what your rank or organization is but what you can do... if you say you can do it then you should be able to do it...
thanks for the links i will check them out...

Amir Krause
02-01-2006, 12:44 PM
Ron

The check is on the way ;)

And if you ever come this way - you are invited :) and I'll be happy to let you kick my but in Randori :cool:



Edwin

I will not answer your questions here since it will change the entire thread direction. As I wrote previously, I know I am not learning from a fraud (I met my sensai teachers in Japan). Let us suffice ourselvs with that.

My point is that a unification with some governing body that gives a "quality stamp" would almost always mean standartization. The quality body has to have some standards.
Those standards would be based on the major styles and unify the, toghether. The smaller styles would not be able to stay within and would become outsiders, suspected frauds because they can never qualify to the standard.

It is difficult enough to be a member of a small style as it is (see your response and immidiate suspicion). Any governing body would only make it more difficult (and then the politics in it would start ... :yuck: )


Amir

John A Butz
02-01-2006, 12:48 PM
Yeah Ron, I am around. :) I find this subject to be interesting for two reasons, the first being the issues you mention in your post re: Ellis, David and Bob and what they are working towards.

The other reason actually stems from an old Aikido Today Magazine interview with Kuroiwa Sensei. In this interview, as I recall, Kuroiwa Sensei stated that he believed that aikido had died with Ueshiba O-Sensei, and that we as practitioners now had to figure it out for ourselves. I take that to mean that falling back on the idea that we are doing the exact martial art of Ueshiba or that certain kinds of practice can maintain the art EXACTLY as he practiced it or give us the ability he possessed, is a deeply flawed perspective.

In my opinion, striving to preserve Aikido as Ueshiba practiced it(and there is a whole 'nuther can of worms re: Iwama vs. Hombu, pre-war v.s post-war etc. that I won't even try to touch on) is forcing us to inbreed, to avoid any new ideas or input in an attempt to keep us "pure". But inbreeding eventually leads to stagnation and weakness. New blood, new ideas, new approaches are necessary to grow and survive. The down side to this is we end up with frauds and approaches that don't pan out.

The upside is that we can also encounter wonderful moments like the seminar Ellis ran last weekend, where a group of people from many different backgrounds came together to see things in a new light, with the explicit permission to take what was taught, keep what worked in your practice and reject what didn't. My image of a unified aikido, if such a thing is possible, is this: all of us, on the mat, without regard to rank, tradition, or who's right and wrong, just training. Walk a mile in the other guys shoes, as it were, and then look at what you do from a slightly different light.

Thats my two cents.


--John A Butz

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 01:22 PM
i would say from after reading through the informational links that the distinction is political... there is a clear lineage to Osensei and thus it is aikido... all you late comers to MY thread please read the entire thread if you have not already, as many of these points have been discussed before... aikido was never meant to be a stagnant unchanging art... pre war post war whatever it is aikido... we preserve the legacy and spirit of Osensei... not a collection of techniques... the splintering of aikido after the founders death has facilitated the hijacking of our art by frauds... this is my concern... please reread and feel free to add your thoughts... do not be concerned with drift in this thread... i'm cool with it... discuss whatever this thread moves you to...

Budd
02-01-2006, 02:30 PM
Edwin,

Are you claiming this thread as yours? Or are you referring to the thread in the testing section that you started?

Ron and John,

This past weekend was lots of fun. I enjoyed getting to play with so many people.

RE: This unification stuff:

A problem I have with the idea of any kind of centralized group mandating what is or isn't aikido is that I couldn't really care less what the mainstream thinks of my practice.

The issue of fraudulent activity is always going to be present and will always need to be combatted. I agree with others regarding the best way to do that is to make information available rather than by group mandate. And by making the information available, I don't necessarily mean through drawn-out witch hunts like I've seen on other message boards.

I already have experienced enough people telling me that my groundwork and strikes "Aren't Aikido", nor would I want to force anyone to follow my training paradigm in order to be "Doing Aikido".

As for getting any number of people to agree on what aikido "is" or "should be" -- I'd be mildly interested to see how far that goes. I only care to the extent that my teacher, my dojomates and myself are all aligned on what our aikido practice will consist of.

I think one of the problems that Edwin (unintentionally or otherwise) may have pointed out is the notion that aikido mostly comes from Ueshiba (one way or another) or via Takeda as Ueshiba's aikido came, largely, from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. In both cases, there are splinter groups, frauds, squabbles, historical interpretations, etc. that don't necessarily align (between aikido and DRA groups and within aikido and DRA groups). It's easy to just shrug and say, "Politics", but part of training and belonging to a group is to do your part in maintaining the health of the group. I've been lucky to take part in a few Olive Branch extensions, which help goodwill, but ultimately haven't really changed how I've dedicated myself to training.

One could argue that it's a result of an art hinging so largely on one person, or the idea that people have of one person. Witness some of the discussions on Aikido Journal regarding who got what from Ueshiba (or who went outside to get it). There's Ueshiba's uchideshi that are still teaching, then their students . . . and so on. Each with differing interpretations (which I don't think can be dismissed by saying, "Well, they all do ikkyo, right, it's just politics?").? Is one right more than the others? Is one embodying the "spirit of O-sensei" more than others? Who gets to make that call and why?

Ultimately, I think what it comes down to is that you practice an activity that you enjoy with honesty. Meaning, the instructor is clear and honest regarding where the curriculum comes from. You are honest about your goals for and the benefits of practice (even if it's just, "I like it" and "it helps me relax" -- I think it's much more realistic than becoming an enlightened mystic -- no offense to any enlightened mystics that might be reading).

My practice of aikido is between my teacher, my training partners and myself.

I prefer to keep it that way.

Though I do have a lot of fun visiting other schools and attending seminars like Amdur Sensei's this past weekend . . .

Ron Tisdale
02-01-2006, 02:39 PM
there is a clear lineage to Osensei and thus it is aikido...

ahem...did you read the sections about where the term *aikido* comes from? Or did you just skip all that...

Best,
Ron (Hey Budd!)

Budd
02-01-2006, 02:41 PM
Ron (Hey Budd!)

Hi Ron!

Sent you a PM.

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 03:00 PM
as an enlightened mystic i take no offense... thanks Budd, for keeping me honest i had forgotten that i had stopped posting on that thread and started dicussing it here... for interested parties this is my original thread on this, good reading...you can see how this has evolved...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9597

as i keep saying i am not saying anything like a Mandated Standardized Aikido, enforced by the Aikipolice... but rather something loose and comfortable and friendly so we can address the issue of frauds... and isn't time for a reconciliation? am I the only one that finds it ironic that the art with the aim of unifying and harmonizing can't even do it amongst themselves?

and Budd don't worry if they say your strikes and ne waza aren't aikido... there is good video/photo evidence as well as some direct students of Osensei that will back it... it may not be the main 'core' of aikido, but it certainly falls in the overall scope of aikido...Takemusu Aiki! i too don't think aikido by committee is applicable each person studies for their own reasons, and has unique goals they don't even have to be the same as your dojomates or sensei's... Honesty and sincerity are values I think we all can agree on...

Budd
02-01-2006, 03:28 PM
I think strides are already being made towards "reconciliation" through the wonderful Aiki Expo (gonna make it one of these years, I swear) events that Mr. Stan Pranin has organized as well as the other smaller seminars that take place (such as the one by Ellis Amdur Sensei las weekend) where a variety of aikido/aikijutsu is represented from a number of affiliations.

Basically, keep training, meet new people, keep training, rinse, repeat . . . budo is good.

And I don't worry about what people say about my strikes or ne waza (unless they are giving me advice or constructive criticism for improvement -- then I'm all ears!), it's just that I don't really want anyone deciding that my aikido practice can't include them.

odudog
02-01-2006, 03:52 PM
You can't open an Aikido dojo in South Korea without government approval. Yoon Sensei {sp?} is in charge of this. He was appointed by the South Korean government. He teaches Aikido and Muy Thai and is a really nice guy and good practitioner. I don't know how he goes about sanctioning the instructors though.

Dai Nippon Butokukai is the Japanese governing body that came up with the term Aikido. In the old days it was an official government body but was disbanded by the US government after the war. If you wanted your style of budo to be legitimized, then you had to get their stamp of approval. They have since come together again but is no longer an official government body and their main purpose is to see that classical budo is preserved and disseminated. My first Aikido instructor is the head of the Dai Nippon Butokukai International Division.

deepsoup
02-01-2006, 04:05 PM
...all you late comers to MY thread...
Sit tight, Edwin, the delusions of grandeur ambulance is on the way. I just hope they can get to you while your head will still fit out of the door.

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 04:22 PM
Budd, i think aikido must include them by the very nature and definition of aikido, but if people don't want to play that way its okay by me... i keep saying it but, most of the oldtimers and Osensei had experience in judo,jj,karate,kendo,yawara,sumo... so these skills were 'assumed', but most aikidoka today and even sensei's don't have that background, so you get wimpy atemi, no groundwork, and then you add on that idea of can't question your sensei, or study other things, and you can't 'add' to aikido, and thats 'not' aikido... well it gets kind of murky... and you end up with stuff that while it can be useful for SD is more like an exercise... i think Osensei meant for aikido to work in all fighting ranges, so to ignore this is bad and potentially very bad for a student in a SD situation...

Qatana
02-01-2006, 05:16 PM
There's an Old Saying about Enlightenment. Something about those who declare themselves to be...

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 05:21 PM
i did not claim to be 'enlightened'... but an 'enlightened mystic'... yes a small difference but all i need is a small loophole to wriggle through...;-))

Amir Krause
02-02-2006, 03:17 AM
Edwin

First- if you have not understood the hints this is not "your thread". You only started it. You are not the only poster nor have you (or me for that matter) any privilege compared to any poster that posts in the next page.


Re: Towards a unified Aïkido ?

Actually I believe in the last couple of years, we do see some sort of unification, of Aikido and many other M.A. it is not done via organizations. But rather, on an individual voluntary basis: internet sites that assist us to recognize others and learn to value their opinions, their different ways, their different techniques, etc.

This also supplies us with communication between students and practitioners. People can ask about the legitimacy of suspect teachers. You can find out about other styles, their history, their views etc. As some have mentioned, this also opens the route for some meetings and seminars.

Reality is stronger then any organization. Frauds will always be there. So long as they can earn something (with Aikido I don't know why they bother - the money is certainly not the reason). Any board that tries to give quality assurance, in order of dealing with fraud,
is bound to generate more harm to the smaller styles and organizations, then the benefit.

As I heard someone define it, with regard too styles - so long as a student can come from one place to another, and practice there, it is still Aikido.

Amir

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 03:31 AM
i admitted my mistake about this thread earlier when Budd pointed it out... i have discussed this topic in several threads and just got confused... your point about the internet helping to build bridges is very good... it is my hope that this can lead to a less virtual, more real reconciliation among groups that have "bad blood" nothing is worse than a feud among family members... again my concern of quality has nothing to do with styles or organizations of any size, and i do not think an attempt at unifying/reconciling should result in harm to them... the definition you give is a good one...

George S. Ledyard
02-02-2006, 06:05 PM
I am beginning to think that people like David Valedez, Bob Wolfe, Ellis Amdur and others are often more on the forward edge of aikido than some of us stuck in the mud of organization, affiliation, and rank. A governing board of aikido would have no place for people like that, and it would be to the detriment of Aikido and each and every person who practices it.

I think that, now that a generation of Aikido teachers has reached 6th Dan, you will see a number of them getting "creative" so to speak. No approach is without its inherent limitations and many of the folks that have gotten to this level are aware of the limitations in what they have been doing and are looking for something to take them to the next level.

In my own case, Saotome sensei has been adament that there is no "style" in Aikido so I have been operating with no constraints in that department for years. Since I haven't even come close to exhausting what Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei have been teaching , I still put alot of focus on mastering what they've been teaching but not in a detailed technical way, but focusing on the principles of what they are doing.

When it comes to teaching, I am completely different from any of my teachers... totally different. And I think that this is precisely what is needed for folks within our organization. The new generation of teachers should provide different ways of looking at what our teachers have been doing, emphasizing different aspects of what we've been taught, providing alternative explanations, etc What would be the point of developing another generation of clones?

Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei are both quite active; one can train with them whenever one wishes to make the effort. We don't need clones, we need people who can give different perspectives on what they are doing. There are folks out there who have been training for decades. If the any particular method of training or explanation of principle was going to work for them it would have by now. They need to see other ways of training, different explanations of the principles, etc. That's why people like Ellis Amdur and Mike Sigman are so important because, although they have enough Aikido to undretsand what we do, they are primarily from outside and can bring fresh insight into the mix. The Aiki Expos have been an integral part in changing the Aikido of many of the senior folks I know. You can even see how someone like Ikeda Sensei has actually changed what he does and how he teaches based on what he learned from various people he connected with at the Expos.

Then there are the folks from "inside" Aikido who are trying to be craetive about how they train themselves and how they teach what they know. They are the ones who have sought out these "alternative" teachers and are now engaged in incorporating the insights they've had into their Aikido. I think these teachers wil lbe integral in keeping Aikido "alive" as it goes into the future.

But don't sell the "stylists" short... Teachers like Shioda, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Hikitsuchi, Saito, Tohei, Shirata, Nishio, etc. had their own unique approaches to the art and we don't always need to look to "outside" influences to make the jumps in our training that we want; often we simply need exposure to different Aikido approaches. Teachers like Auge, John Stevens, Pat Hendricks, Clint George, Wiliam Gleason, etc. are preservers of knowledge that can be of great value. But people need to look beyond the boundaries of their own little "boxes"... We should be training with all of these teachers, not simply training with the folks who "do what we do".

The combined knowledege contained within these different styels as passed on by the different teachers who have chosen to pass it on as it was taught to them is vast indeed. But in my opinion, the people who will end up recognized as the foremost practitioners and teachers of the next generation will be the folks who took the elclectic approach and not the people who specialized in a given style or approach.

Adam Alexander
02-02-2006, 06:49 PM
but freedom is not carte blanche... ..

Agreed. That's why when someone misrepresents something to you, you can file a lawsuit.

There you go!!! All the freedom you need, with the threat of law if you lie. And, you didn't even have to try to infringe on everyone else:)

crbateman
02-02-2006, 09:15 PM
Lawsuits are nowadays less about law, or truth, or even principle, and more about greed, avarice or revenge. Sigh...

Charles Hill
02-03-2006, 12:11 AM
Just a couple comments on Mr.Ledyard`s post and the thread in general. I think that Mr.Ledyard`s comments on Aikido and Aikido teachers should be read as "non-Japanese" Aikido or even "American" Aikido. In my (admittedly limited) experience, Japanese 6th dan and up teachers generally can not be labelled as "creative." The fact that they have advanced so far up the rank chain means that they have been squeezed to fit some model of what someone else thinks is correct. It is my opinion that the Japanese shihan in the US "escaped" from Japan. It seems that none of them were sent by Honbu if you read the various interviews carefully enough. They are all highly individualistic, creative people to put it positively, weird is a less positive word. I believe that they sensed that they would not be able to fufill their vision for what they believed was correct so they sought freedom in the States.

Chiba Sensei has expressed concern for what will happen to his students after he passes. He has said that he doubts that there will be meaningful communication between them and Honbu. This has to be true for every student of Japanese shihan in the US. I think that from a Japanese perspective the only way to a unified Aikido would be through Japan. I also think that the future of Aikido lies outside Japan. So a unified Aikido is just not going to happen.

Charles

kokyu
02-03-2006, 07:42 AM
I think that from a Japanese perspective the only way to a unified Aikido would be through Japan. I also think that the future of Aikido lies outside Japan. So a unified Aikido is just not going to happen.Charles

This might be a stupid question, but could we take some lessons from how Judo and Karate have been organized?

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 07:58 AM
good point Soon, too many people think it has to be about making it all the same... regardless of our internal differences we should respect and cherish each other and present a 'united front' to the world... me and my sister fought like cats and dogs growing up, but no one else better mess with her, or they will be talking to me...

LouieLouie
02-03-2006, 10:30 PM
I the only one that finds it ironic that the art with the aim of unifying and harmonizing can't even do it amongst themselves?...

No you're not Edwin. I may be 5th kyu, but I still agree with you. I would just like to be able to bring new ideas to help you out here. BTW, I started this thread ;)

I still think that some form of unification would profit. Judo and Kendo have has done it. Why can't we?

Louis.

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 11:56 PM
sorry for that i was discussing it on another thread that i did start... just got confused... i think it is entirely possible but i think too many at the top have a vested interest in the status quo... too much ego... maybe one day it will happen if we keep talking about it...