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Peter Goldsbury 08-29-2017 10:49 AM

Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
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I cannot exactly remember when I first became involved with AikiWeb. I see that the first columns appeared in March 2004 and I think my first Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation essay appeared in 2007. However, I was reading the website before that and was also involved in E-Budo, which is another general website, but with a wider scope than AikiWeb.

I have lived in Japan for a long time: I came here in 1980, but had been training in the art since 1970, when I met a Japanese who was also a student at university. Instructing us students was his first experience in teaching the art, but the organization to which he belonged in the UK was different from the one of which I eventually became a member. This latter organization was the Aikikai of Great Britain (AGB) and the fact that my first teacher was not a member at the time was my first introduction to the very intriguing subject of ‘organizations in the Japanese martial arts.' This interesting subject easily resembles in complexity the subject of comparative religion—and I think that Japanese religion is rather more complex and difficult to penetrate than the Christian counterpart, especially for those who are not familiar with Japanese language and culture.

Not long after I came to Japan, I joined a few friends in writing and publishing a monthly magazine, entitled Hiroshima Signpost. This was a magazine of general interest that was eagerly read by the small community of foreign residents and also by those members of the local Japanese community who could read English. I also discovered that it was carefully read by the officials in the offices of the city and prefectural government. The waxing and waning of this publication follows a similar trajectory to the rise and fall in popularity of websites like Aikiweb and E-Budo—and also coincides with the rise of the computer, the Internet, Facebook and Twitter.

In the old days, we used tiny Apple-Mac computers with floppy disks and my Internet connection was dial-in, via a telephone line. So, downloading longer files took all night and you could never be sure that you would find the downloaded file the following morning. The computers thus resembled deities with which we had to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. How times have changed. I am writing this on an i-Mac with a 27-inch screen and a huge memory, and which is connected to the Internet via a fiber-optic cable. The differences are so marked that the early days seem unimaginable now—and yet, when I wake up in the morning and go to my computer to check mail etc., I still have the feeling that I am approaching a deity, or at least something like a being over which I do not have total control.

The obvious benefits also come with problems. I have the uncomfortable feeling that Facebook and Twitter dominate the lives of those who use the Internet in ways that are undesirable—which is why I think there is a place for regulated websites like Aikiweb, where instant gratification is not the primary aim, and where members can pause and reflect on the martial art that they practice and discuss issues of interest in an atmosphere of mutual respect, coupled with the necessary intellectual honesty.

When I received the information about the ‘special' 20-years columns, this was cause for reflection on another matter. I was elected Chairman of the International Aikido Federation (IAF) in 1996 and retired last year, after 20 years in office. So, my time as IAF Chairman almost exactly matches AikiWeb's twenty years. Of course, I was involved with the IAF for quite a long time before that, becoming an official as far back as 1984, and the reason for my involvement owes much to the fact that I was a student and friend of the late K Chiba, who ran the AGB. Back in Japan, Chiba Shihan was very actively involved in setting up the present organizational structure of the Aikikai and wanted to achieve a correct relationship between the two organizations. I am not sure he was completely successful, for the two organizations are so fundamentally different in structure and operation that the reason why Kisshomaru Ueshiba decided to create the IAF still remains an interesting question—and one that has not really been answered. The two organizations flourish and expand, but the fundamental question remains: why a private Japanese martial arts school that strongly eschews competition in any form, needs to operate a ‘democratic' federation that has close links with sports organizations, where successful competition is the touchstone and hallmark of success. The ‘spiritual' nature of aikido as a martial ‘way' is constantly stressed, but the real spiritual nature of the art is not easy to understand, especially for sports organizations that have different activities and aims.

During my time as an IAF official, I visited Tokyo frequently and there used to meet Stanley Pranin. Our friendship led to my participation in the first Aiki Expo in Las Vegas and this afforded an opportunity to meet Jun Akiyama, Ellis Amdur, and others involved in Japanese martial arts. My Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation essays continue, but, alas, the pace of production has become rather slower, as advancing age acts as a check on enthusiasms that I once regarded as blissfully easy to put into practice. I still have thirty more columns lined up and hope that I will be able to write them. In the meantime, I offer Jun Akiyama and the AikiWeb ‘gang' (you know who you are) warmest congratulations on a magnificent achievement and look forward to the next twenty years.

Peter Goldsbury
Peter Goldsbury (b. 28 April 1944). Aikido 7th dan Aikikai, Emeritus Professor at Hiroshima University, teaching philosophy and comparative culture. B. in UK. Began aikido as a student and practiced at various dojo. Became a student of Mitsunari Kanai at the New England Aikikai in 1973. After moving back to the UK in 1975, trained in the Ryushinkan Dojo under Minoru Kanetsuka. Also trained with K Chiba on his frequent visits to the UK. Moved to Hiroshima, Japan, in 1980 and continued training with the resident Shihan, Mazakazu Kitahira, 7th dan Also trained regularly with Seigo Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Tada, Sadateru Arikawa and Masatake Fujita, both in Hiroshima and at the Aikikai Hombu. Was elected Chairman of the IAF in 1998. With two German colleagues, opened a small dojo in Higashi-Hiroshima City in 2001. Instructed at Aiki Expo 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Janet Rosen 08-30-2017 12:41 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Dear PAG: you are one of the shining lights of aikiweb and the online aikido community, thanks to your scholarship and humanity. Thank you for being here.

tarik 08-30-2017 01:37 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Mr. Goldsbury, while I don't contribute as much these days for a variety of reasons (including children), your writing is one of the things that keeps me coming back to aikiweb on a regular basis.

Thank you for those ongoing contributions. They are very valuable.

Peter Goldsbury 08-30-2017 02:33 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Quote:

Tarik Ghbeish wrote: (Post 352050)
Mr. Goldsbury, while I don't contribute as much these days for a variety of reasons (including children), your writing is one of the things that keeps me coming back to aikiweb on a regular basis.

Thank you for those ongoing contributions. They are very valuable.

Thank you for your comments, which will certainly act as a spur to continue my columns at a faster rate than I have managed recently.

Best wishes,

Peter Goldsbury

Peter Goldsbury 08-30-2017 02:36 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 352045)
Dear PAG: you are one of the shining lights of aikiweb and the online aikido community, thanks to your scholarship and humanity. Thank you for being here.

I have sent you a PM.

Janet Rosen 08-30-2017 09:04 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 352052)
I have sent you a PM.

My amused reply sent....

Stefan Stenudd 08-30-2017 10:55 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Peter, my friend, I expect you to go on until you've written all we want to read. And that's enough for a bundle of lifetimes.

A question: Wasn't the IAF formed at first in Europe, back in 1976, and Kisshomaru Doshu insisted it must be done again in Tokyo, later the same year?

Peter Goldsbury 08-30-2017 11:13 PM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Quote:

Stefan Stenudd wrote: (Post 352059)
Peter, my friend, I expect you to go on until you've written all we want to read. And that's enough for a bundle of lifetimes.

A question: Wasn't the IAF formed at first in Europe, back in 1976, and Kisshomaru Doshu insisted it must be done again in Tokyo, later the same year?

Hello Stefan,

I hope you are well.

Somewhere in my filing cabinet is an archive of correspondence with the late K Chiba, concerning this very topic. Chiba Shihan was heavily involved with the creation of the IAF and travelled back and forth between Japan and Europe. I returned from the US in 1975 and from then until 1980 I lived in London. This period, until CS left Japan to live in the US, was the time I got to know him well.

As background, I think you are aware anyway of the early organization of aikido in Europe, with the ACEA, which later became the EAF. The initiative to create the IAF came from judoka and aikidoka from France and Spain, but this was happening well before the federation was actually formed. I understand that the Hombu had been doing some homework about the legal aspects of international organizations and wanted to ensure that the IAF was subject to Japanese law. This is the reason why the second gathering was held in 1976, in Japan. The first meeting was indeed held in Europe and it might have been as early as 1975. For when I first became involved with the IAF, two dates were given as the date of its foundation: 1975, in Europe, and 1976, in Japan.

Best wishes,

PAG

SeiserL 09-02-2017 05:25 PM

Compliments and Appreciation
 
Greetings,
I have always looked forward to reading and learning from your columns.
I enjoyed training with you at that first Aiki-Expo.
Thank you for all you share Sensei.
Until again,
Lynn

Susan Dalton 09-17-2017 09:06 AM

Re: Musings on Twenty Years of AikiWeb
 
Sensei, thank you for your scholarship and dedication to Aikido. I read every word of all your columns, sometimes multiple times.


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