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tedehara 12-14-2003 05:21 PM

Burakumin Aikido
Burakumin also known as eta (extreme filth) or hinin (non-human) are the untouchables of Japan. They have traditonally done the work others wouldn't do and have been socially discriminated against.

It seems that the aikido community is also developing a burakumin attitude towards certain people. These are people who mix another martial art with aikido, or people who have dubious aikido credentials.

It's easy to dismiss someone who calls himself soke, grandmaster or 10th+ dan. People are suppose to train under a certified instructor but not everyone does. You can't judge a person solely by their credentials or lack of them.

Miyamoto Musashi never formally studied the sword. Yet he had won sixty matches by the time he was 29. Today in Japan he is known as "Kensei", that is "Sword Saint".

Additionally, having an attitude of respect means you respect others. They might be self-delusional. Others may not care for them because they don't fit the image of an aikidoist. However, you can always respect their humanity.

Finally, for those who would like to be exclusionary, there is this problem:

Aikido is not a copyrighted trade mark.

Michael Young 12-14-2003 05:56 PM

I must say I agree with all of your points here. There have been many times when I have seen this type of disrespectful attitude towards people on and off the mat. Etiquette and respect are most important aspects of Aikido. "Aikido begins and ends with respect" Tohei Shihan used to say all the time (I believe he was quoting O'Sensei on this as well). I saw Tohei Sensei truly apply this in his daily living, (I'm sure he made mistakes like the rest of us, though, I'm not deluded)and it is one of the things that I admired so greatly about him...however, he was also quick to point out when disrespect and lack of proper etiquette were shown. We shouldn't be "exclusive" in Aikido, but we should show a healthy dose of criticism, and maybe even disdain, when people show lack of respect for the art O'Sensei and so many others have given their entire lives over to, all in the name of self-promotion, crass comercialism, etc. Of course, this should also be done correctly ; never lower yourself and always show sure your intentions are true and considered before handing out opinions.

BTW I respect the fact that you would create a thread regarding this...I wouldn't be supprised if you get some flack, thanks for sticking your neck out.

My best,


Chris Birke 12-14-2003 06:13 PM

The founders of Aikido were taught the ancient art of pure Aikido (which goes back to 342 bce, if I recall) by their cherished Sensei masters. It was understood that Aikido is only to be done in this fashion, and that maintining its purity of form is intregral to its philosophic core.

Anyone in violation of this (caught training one of the upstart non-Aikido "martial arts" something like Juijitsu, or Judo) would be cast out immidiately (if their souls did not automatically combust from dishonor). It is a given that stories of "Tohei" having done swordplay and wrestling are lies told by infidels.

Origional Aikido techniques come from waterfalls and rock gardens. No combat or testing and evaluation was ever involved because that would have been conflict.

Lastly, good Aikido can protect you from anything, including gunfire and assorted acts of god. Therefore, it is crucial that everyone keep training!

aikidoc 12-14-2003 08:15 PM

I agree you cannot judge people by their credentials. However, there are a lot of fakes and charlatans out there that give themselves lofty credentials and create their own "styles" which are little more than a smattering of this and that art. Go to the e-budo site and see some of the stuff people are throwing out. It is appalling. Someone who has a legitimate 3rd dan suddenly becomes a 10th dan soke by setting up his own soke organization and founding his style of aikido. Then writing a book as an example. There are many other cases. I personally ran across such a fraud in Tennessee claiming to be a 7th dan (he called a 4th dan his mentor). My bs detector was going off. He made up his own organization, bylaws promoting him to 7th dan, etc. It was a little suspicious when he started stealing techniques from me after he asked me to teach classes(a shodan at the time).

The issue of credentials is important in an environment where the unsuspecting and unaware are cheated by charismatic bearers of fake credentials. At least when you earn them, there is no question. That does not mean you are a good teacher, but at least you have a valid background that can be documented, not one where you print your own certificates. Such frauds in my opinion are solely out for taking the public. As such, they do not earn my respect.

Mixing arts can enhance one's aikido or it can destract from it-depends on the person. I used to do 3 arts at one time until I decided I wanted to focus more on the aikido. It enhanced my aikido since I looked at the other arts from an aikido perspective to see what the similarities were and whether I could employ the techniques with an aikido flavor.

I disagree with you on the dubious credentials, sorry. There are few Mushashi's around. Especially most I have seen with dubious credentials. There are too many of the dubious credential types taking a few classes and they saying they teach aikido because it's popular. The art is not the easiest to learn and be good at it. To do so requires mat time-plain and simple you have to train and train with a good instructor. To do otherwise will delude the dubious one into thinking they understand an art that most take a lifetime to feel comfortable with.

sanosuke 12-14-2003 09:25 PM


Origional Aikido techniques come from waterfalls and rock gardens. No combat or testing and evaluation was ever involved because that would have been conflict.
i'm not sure whether i'm correct or not but wasn't aikido techniques comes from daito-ryu, in which testing and evaluation from (sokaku takeda's)combat makes a great deal in its development, and further to aikido?. oh, and wasn't O-sensei that says 'harmony comes from disharmony'?

i'm not against cross training at all, as in my opinion cross training giving you the so-called 'aikido training from different point of view', but as Riggs sensei said:


Mixing arts can enhance one's aikido or it can destract from it-depends on the person
so, in my opinion whatever you cross-train with please do so. Just ignore those negative opinions about you're not training 'pure aikido' or so because you're the one who harvest the benefit from your training. But please bear in mind that you should have one 'core' art that you wish to improve by cross-training, be it aikido or others so that you won't be confused or distracted.

Chris Birke 12-14-2003 09:27 PM

Reza, I was joking =) My story is made up. You are right.

darin 12-15-2003 09:25 AM

So what does all this have to do with burakumin?

Michael Young 12-15-2003 01:26 PM


So what does all this have to do with burakumin?
I think Mr. Ehara was only using this as a metaphor, and like all metaphors, you can only carry it so far...I've noticed a tendancy in these threads to digress into splitting hairs about metaphors and language, when that wasn't the original intention of the poster (although I do understand the need to clarify points on occasion...its just that I'm pretty sure that isn't always the reasoning for doing so) Hopefully Mr. Ehara will respond (if he deems it necessary), as it was his metaphor to begin with.



PS. Its not my intentionto start a discussion about metaphors and "hair splitting" on this thread, so as to respect the orignal post and stick to the topic at hand... I'm always willing to look at a different thread though :)

tedehara 12-15-2003 01:56 PM


Darin Hyde (darin) wrote:
So what does all this have to do with burakumin?

Unlike the Japanese cultural attitude towards the burakumin, I believe the aikido community cannot afford to be in denial about instructors and schools who lack credentials or mix other types of martial arts with aikido and label it as "Aikido".

If John Riggs had no contact with this 7th Dan, then when a prospective student asks him about this instructor, he could not say anything from personal experience. To say, "That person knows nothing about aikido." or "I have nothing to do with that school." means nothing to a prospective student. If we cut ourselves off from knowing what's going on around us, we're doing ourselves and others a disservice.

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