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Ibaraki Bryan 09-05-2006 08:48 PM

iwama note, censored?
 
Greetings --

I wrote a note about Iwama's political turmoil a couple days ago and I can't find it anywhere on the forum. Does anyone know what happened to it? Was it deleted by a moderator for some reason?

My note was in reference to Gaku Homma Sensei's article:
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_ar...s_message.html

Thanks,
Bryan

Michael Young 09-05-2006 10:29 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Have you sent a message to Jun? Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and clik "Send E-mail".

akiy 09-05-2006 11:15 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Hi Bryan,

No, I can't say I've deleted any of your messages.

Here's a list of all of your posts: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...induser&u=7077

-- Jun

Peter Goldsbury 09-06-2006 12:05 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Bryan Sardoch wrote:
Greetings --

I wrote a note about Iwama's political turmoil a couple days ago and I can't find it anywhere on the forum. Does anyone know what happened to it? Was it deleted by a moderator for some reason?

My note was in reference to Gaku Homma Sensei's article:
http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_ar...s_message.html

Thanks,
Bryan

Hello Bryan,

Why don't you repost the note? I have read Mr Homma's article and I have an opinion, since I have done what he has done, but in reverse (though I have not lived in Japan quite so long as he has lived in the US), but I would prefer to hear what you had to say before giving it.

Best wishes,

Mary Eastland 09-07-2006 08:37 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Hi Peter:
I just reread the aticle. I would like to hear what you have to say about it.
Thanks,
Mary

gdandscompserv 09-07-2006 10:05 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Mr. Goldsbury,
I too would like to hear what you have to say about the article or the situation.
Sincerely,
Ricky

Chris Li 09-07-2006 01:30 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
I'm not Peter, but it seems to me that there was a lot of supposition in the Article, but not all that much hard fact - many (most?) of the stories there could, I suppose, have had different interpretations depending on who was there and what they were looking for.

Of course, stories of this kind of "intolerance" abound on both sides - I've heard much the same kind of stories about both Morhihiro and Hitohiro Saito.

Best,

Chris

Jack Simpson 09-07-2006 03:05 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
It is an interesting article and unfortunate if things are as it is reported. I guess I'm on the right side of the fence currently, but it would be nice if there was no fence.

An interesting side note, I visited Denver for a meeting and visited Homma Sensei's dojo to train. I had invited a friend along as he was interested in seeing what aikido training was like. While I was allowed to train, my friend wasn't allowed to watch the training. Hadn''t heard of that type of procedure before or since in traveling to many other dojos. Pity that door was shut.

Jack :ai:

gdandscompserv 09-07-2006 04:00 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Another interesting side note. My son was accepted into Nippon Kan's uchi-deshi program. A couple weeks into it, he had a shoulder injury and a torn abdominal muscle. His sempai's told him the injuries were his fault since his ukemi wasn't good enough.
These things are contrary to what I learned at Okinawa Aikikai. There I learned that sempai was responsible for the safety of kohai. I recommended to my son that he leave immediately. I also fired off a couple of emails to Nippon Kan explaining to them my dissappointment. My son came home and I have been teaching him aikido as I learned it. Nine months later and he is injury free. :) (Knock on wood)

David Humm 09-07-2006 05:04 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
I am greatly saddened by the contents of the article.

It is very evident that politics emanate at the very top of the aikido pyramid, what the hell chance do 'we' have if these things are happening right at the home of the founder, between people who are widely considered to be the most important within the world wide aikido community. More importantly, what sort of an example is being set by those individuals ?

I have a student at my own dojo who has expressed a lot of interest in visiting Iwama, If the contents of the article are true, and I have no reason to doubt the author, I'd rather see him go elsewhere than experience this form of segregation and negativity. Indeed I'll go so far as to say; my initial feelings were such that my confidence in the aikikai (an organisation to which I am affiliated) has been shaken. As I said before; *if* the contents of the article are accurate and truthful.

I would very much like to hear from someone within the Aikikai who might be able to offer their perspective on the contents of the article.

aikidoc 09-07-2006 05:27 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Another possibility to consider here is the old "Kwai Change Kane" concept from Kung Fu where he was essentially ignored in the beginning. Perhaps the uchi-deshi were undergoing training and were required to not engage anyone regardless of their affiliation. I do not recall it being mentioned if anyone from the aikikai engaged one of them and what their response was to it. Also, how would they be able to tell what each person's affiliation was unless they knew them or they were wearing clothing identifying such? I'm not saying this was not going on as described, however, other possibilities exist.

NagaBaba 09-07-2006 07:11 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
I was in Iwama last spring. Present situation is a result how things were manages after M.Saito sensei passing. Looks like instead of unified all aikidoka, a big precipice was created in country side, where you have two dojo side by side, with extremely small number students practice every day. In my opinion it is contrary to the spirit of O sensei teaching, and what is worse, this is very special place for all aikidoka.

George S. Ledyard 09-07-2006 07:26 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Dave Humm wrote:
I am greatly saddened by the contents of the article.

It is very evident that politics emanate at the very top of the aikido pyramid, what the hell chance do 'we' have if these things are happening right at the home of the founder, between people who are widely considered to be the most important within the world wide aikido community.

You didn't think we in the West were the ones that screwed things up did you? I used to feel guilty, feeling that we in the West were wrecking Aikido. I don't any more as it is eminently clear that the Japanese are quite capable of wrecking things own their own without any help at all from us.

Seriously, there are Japanese teachers who want nothing to do with this type of political behavior and there are those that purpetrate it. In the West we have those that buy into it and keep it going here and we have folks that don't. Our only hope is to simply not buy into it. I am good friends with a senior student of teachers who do not in any way get along with my own teacher. We simply decided that we didn't need to buy into conflicts which started back in the "old country".

I frankly don't know why anyone would be surprised at the described political events at the shrine. At the Aiki Expo, the very people who are now being excluded at the shrine were told by their teacher not to attend the classes offered by the other teachers... What goes around, comes around.

The students, especially the seniors, of one of the oldest and largest Aikido organizations in the United States are not allowed to train with people from outside their limited set of organizational affiliations. I periodically meet them at various seminars when they have "snuck out" to train with new teachers. They are always worried that Sensei X will find out. Not only does the Shihan in question enforce this but the other seniors bring heavy peer pressure on anyone who steps out of line by attending non- approved events.

I have a friend who is a student of a Japanese Shihan with whom he trained in Japan. He currently trains at a dojo here in the states. He wanted to bring his teacher over to do a seminar. One would not have thought that this would be a problem as the teacher in question had been a honbu dojo instructor for many years and is listed on the Aikikai website as one of their affiliated teachers. But the dojo in question received word from the Shihan that oversees them in the states that they were not to host the Shihan from Japan. So my friend had to set up the seminar on his own and any mistaken association with his home dojo was quickly disowned.

This is all complete crap as far as I am concerned. You have American Aikido practitioners of 6th dan and 7th dan who feel they have to restrict their training because some Japanese Shihan gets paranoid. This kind of carry over from feudal times is ridiculous and we need to start acting like the adults we are, not kids dependent on some adult figure for our survival. Obviously, we cannot change what the Japanese choose to do at home. But we do not have to buy into this here, period. We need to refuse to participate.

I train with anyone I feel has something to show me. Anyone from any organization, any student of any teacher, is welcome at my dojo, and, in fact, is welcome at virtually all the events our organization holds. For this type of thing to continue you have to have people who perpetuate it. Just stop. Just say no. Take your lumps from that Shihan who tells you not to train with so and so. The only ability these guys have to control things come from the fact that they can withdraw their support from individuals who cross them. If people collectively just said they didn't want to play any more, what do you think would happen? Can you see the Shihan disowning all of his seniors students? I don't think so... He'd learn to live with it. Maybe he'd find that his students still love him even if they see some other teachers. Maybe he might feel the need to innovate a little to keep his students instead of restricting access. Now, that's a concept...

I think that this is one aspect ofthe whole Japanese thing that we can simply REFUSE to participate in. If no one around the wrold payed any attention to these ridiculous political machinations, I suspect that not only would the leaders in Japan learn to live with it, but they would probably start to change themselves. We can be the incentive for them to do so if we choose.

Gernot Hassenpflug 09-07-2006 07:35 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
George, for a moment I thought it was Mike posting there :-) Good on ya!!!! I didn't know you from Adam when I first joined this board, but I quickly began to see why people respect you. Regards, Gernot

Karen Wolek 09-07-2006 07:56 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
I read the article. All I can say is...

Wow.

I don't understand.

aikidoc 09-07-2006 09:21 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
It even exists here somewhat. I was living in a larger city one time and was invited to teach at a seminar for about an hour. That was until they realized I was not a member of their organization, although I did train at the time in one of their dojos. They quickly withdrew the invite stating that only members of their organization were allowed to teach. This was non Japanese. The organization had a rep for thinking their aikido was the only style. My instructor at the time , Japanese, had his problems with another instructor in his area-he made the wong choice during the split. If he showed up or one of his students showed up at a seminar they would be asked to leave by one of the senior yudansha.

It's sad aikidoka can be so petty, intolerant and unforgiving. I don't think O'Sensei would have been very pleased.

Peter Goldsbury 09-07-2006 09:39 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Mr Homma appears to rely very much on instincts gained from having to survive in a country as a non-native. I also have developed such instincts, but I have also come to realize that it is unwise to trust these instincts entirely, especially at the expense of making efforts to understand the value system of the 'adopted' country.

My 'adopted' country is Japan, of which Mr Homma is a native and the language of which he speaks as a native, so he should have an intuitive understanding of the value system that I am still struggling to comprehend, especially in relation to individual / group values, which lie at the heart of the deshi / master relationship as this is understood here.

I am curious why Mr Homma did not do what I usually do, which is go right to the top and communicate these concerns directly to Doshu or to Isoyama Hiroshi Shihan, who is the effective head of the Ibaragi Dojo and also has impeccable 'Iwama' credentials. If he is not prepared to do this because as a Japanese he has to respect the deshi / master relationship, then I think he has less grounds for writing such a hand-wringing article bemoaning the fact that foreign deshi have gag orders. They are after all deshi and he should know what they are supposed to do.

Like Mr Homma, I am effectively wearing two hats: Japanese and UK. I, too, think it is wrong that members of different dojos cannot communicate with each other. Well, it does not happen in my own dojo, nor does it happen at IAF meetings. If ASU or Iwama members want to attend the training courses at such meetings they are welome and if there is a problem, the buck stops with me.

I am wearing two hats, but, as I stated earlier, I am living in Japan, and if I want to maintain good relationships with others, including my own teacher, there are certain things I have to do. I am not going to have an open breach with him simply because he strongly dislikes people training with other organizations in Hiroshima. With most of these organizations I am not missing too much, but I regret not having trained with Nishio Sensei. However, to have done this, I would have had to make a choice: Nishio Sensei or my own teacher. I made the choice and this had certain consequences.

So, I would offer a challenge to you guys in the US who think it is wrong that members of one of the oldest and largest the large Aikikai organization cannot attend seminars in other organizations. If this is the case, change it.

Best wishes to all,

Peter Goldsbury 09-07-2006 09:57 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

John Riggs wrote:
It's sad aikidoka can be so petty, intolerant and unforgiving. I don't think O'Sensei would have been very pleased.

Hello Mr Riggs,

I am not so sure about that. The split between Tohei Sensei and Kisshomaru Doshu developed while O Sensei was alive, but from everything that I have heard, he might well have been displeased, but did nothing to stop it. Nor did Kisshomaru Doshu take any steps to stop the acrimonious dispute between Nishio Sensei and my own teacher which I referred to in my earlier post.

Now I am not quite sure why this should be so and it might be that I am making assumptions based on 'western' individual values. In the west, with so much emphasis based on free expression and the importance of saying what one feels--immediately, it is very easy also to assume pretty well immediately that non-'western' cultures are lacking in an important respect. Well, I once tried to break up a quarrel between two Japanese shihan in a 'western' way and did not succeed, with the further consequence that my relationship with both was affected, for the worse.

The Japanese go to great lengths to 'solve' conflicts by avoiding them. They do not go in for the kind of stuff that Terry Dobson writes about in Aikido in Everyday Life. If a conflict arises, the 'wa' has been broken, but it is both sides that have broken it. I know this, even from such a simple form of conflict as a road accident.

Best wishes,

crbateman 09-07-2006 10:21 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
It is a shame that so many people think that the only way to cross a bridge is to burn it behind them. I, also, try to "walk the fence" between differing styles and dogma. This is because I know that I have something to learn from all of them. But it is a shame that the two simplest weapons, a smile and a bow, mean so little to some people who like to think of themselves as civilized. When respect is given, it can be expected, but not before. People can respect each other without losing face, and without agreeing on anything. I just wish that the simplicity of that were evident to more people.

Kevin Wilbanks 09-07-2006 10:25 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I am curious why Mr Homma did not do what I usually do, which is go right to the top and communicate these concerns directly to Doshu or to ....

I don't know anything about any of the politics involved in this, but I wondered the same thing upon reading the article. On the one hand, it is hard to imagine what I would consider a decent excuse for being systematically rude to people of a particular organization or affiliation, even less instructing others to do so... even less still when one's art is supposed to be about 'harmony'. The experiences in the article seem to be evidence of this. On the other hand, why wouldn't Mr, Homma have gone to someone in charge and asked them directly what was going on and why? Even if the response was denial or evasion on the part of whomever he consulted, an account of that exchange would have made the article's case much more compelling.

Erick Mead 09-07-2006 11:08 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
... Our only hope is to simply not buy into it. I am good friends with a senior student of teachers who do not in any way get along with my own teacher. We simply decided that we didn't need to buy into conflicts which started back in the "old country". ... This kind of carry over from feudal times is ridiculous ... we do not have to buy into this here, period. We need to refuse to participate.
... Can you see the Shihan disowning all of his seniors students? I don't think so... I think that this is one aspect ofthe whole Japanese thing that we can simply REFUSE to participate in. If no one around the world payed any attention to these ridiculous political machinations, I suspect that not only would the leaders in Japan learn to live with it, but they would probably start to change themselves. We can be the incentive for them to do so if we choose.

This is the best way to deal with this. The Japanese way to deal with an intractable social problem is to collectively imagine that no dispute exists, act that way, pointedly ignore all evidence to the contrary, step over the inconvenient dead bodies --- commenting in charitable tones about the unfortunate dust at this time of year that seems to get all over the floor --- debating which is more pleasing -- the sound of spring frogs versus summer cicadas -- when raised voices are overheard ...

The parties (the proper Japanese ones, anyway) will only go so far in embarassing themselves by continuing a dispute that everyone else is unwilling to validate or even to recognize as occurring. Partisans and retainers will keep it smoldering in well-tended coals, but fire does not spread well over oceans. Japan has had a sad history with fire, as I recall.

Just a thought.

Aren't the koi lovely today, by the way?

Erick Mead 09-07-2006 11:17 PM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
The Japanese go to great lengths to 'solve' conflicts by avoiding them. They do not go in for the kind of stuff that Terry Dobson writes about in Aikido in Everyday Life. If a conflict arises, the 'wa' has been broken, but it is both sides that have broken it. I know this, even from such a simple form of conflict as a road accident.

Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Peter Goldsbury 09-08-2006 01:13 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote:
Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Perhaps so. I am in no position to judge. I do know, however, that when you live here, you are given a chance to have a share in the process of enlightenment. Or not, as you wish.

Peter Goldsbury 09-08-2006 06:04 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote:
Anger dies when everybody who remembers being angry is dead, eh?

Us poor unenlightened crackers have a lot to learn, I guess?

Hello Eric,

On rereading your reply, I think you might have missed my point about the road accident.

I have found by experience here that motorists really go out of their way to avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists. Why? When such an accident happens and there are injuries, as I explained in a blog for Aikido Journal last year, the driver of the larger vehicle is immediately judged largely to blame, to varying degrees.

It is like a Greek tragic drama, in which the main actors are the hero (the driver, because he is guilty of hubris), the other characters (the cyclist/s) and the chorus (the inevitable bystanders, who are also closely involved as 'witnesses'). The gods are the traffic police, who appear to display the same biases as their Greek counterparts.

Unlike other Japanese conflicts, however, this is one that you cannot ignore, for you have to obey the law, and this means the law as it is interpreted by the police, the prosecutors and (especially, for the huge sums of money involved) the insurance companies. I do not know why the law should be like this, but it is, and if you want to live here peaceably, you need to know this. The law governing road accidents has recently been made more severe and if you as a foreigner don't know this, you can end up in a detention house and subsequently in prison, for being in more severe accidents (like accidents in which there is the slightest whiff of alcohol on your breath) and, of course, back home.

I mentioned the insurance companies because they pay out the money, to the victims and to the driver, for the repairs to the car. In the two cases in which I was involved, I largely carried out the instructions of my insurance agent, which was to have no communication whatever with the other party, other than what was thought essential (gifts, flowers, hospital visits, telephone calls in which absolutely nothing was stated very politely--I rarely had to make these calls, probably because I was judged incapable of handling the required nuances in Japanese).

In my opinion, the thinking behind the law is a relic of the ryouseiba rule in the Tokugawa period and the responsibility for the breaking of WA is a major factor. I have been involved in two major accidents (i.e., accidents involving substantial injuries to the other party and substantial damage to my vehicle) and the police have invariably asked, 'How could the conflict (the accident) have been avoided?' Certain answers are not acceptable (e.g., 'I should have stayed at home').

Now, it is my belief (and I have done no research about this, so that my belief is simply a belief) that this model of joint responsibility for the breaking of the WA, the harmony, extends beyond concrete, 'in-your-face' cases like road accidents to other cases like the Iwama problem, about which, because it is also an 'international' problem, it is possible to have various reactions and considered opinions.

I have always been struck by the fact that the Aikikai NEVER publicly discusses such issues. There has been the conflict with Tohei Sensei and now the conflict in Iwama discussed by Homma Sensei. You will find no contribution on the Internet about these issues from the Aikikai. This might be an 'ostrich' reaction, as 'westerners' might see it, or it might be a reaction fully in tune with the accepted cultural norms.

Stanley Pranin and I once interviewed Arikawa Sensei at great length. It was a wonderful interview, but he refused to give permission to make this interview public. I was seriously pissed off and I know Stan was. Of course, you can ask why.

Since George raised the issue as something that he and other like-minded aikidouka would not tolerate, I suggest that a serious conversation takes place with Yamada Yoshimitsu, Saotome Mitsugi and Chiba Kazuo Shihans about the Iwama issue. For my part, I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007.

One other thing. Hiroshi Isoyama is a staunch proponent of 'international aikido' and often gives seminars overseas. However, I find it hard to believe that he would have placed a gagging order on the Ibaragi Dojo deshi. Well, you can be sure that I will ask him and Doshu, also, when we next meet.

Best wishes,

batemanb 09-08-2006 08:27 AM

Re: iwama note, censored?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
For my part, I will raise the question at the IAF Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in Paris in March 2007.

One other thing. Hiroshi Isoyama is a staunch proponent of 'international aikido' and often gives seminars overseas. However, I find it hard to believe that he would have placed a gagging order on the Ibaragi Dojo deshi. Well, you can be sure that I will ask him and Doshu, also, when we next meet.

Best wishes,

Hi Peter,

I hope you are well, I look forward to hearing the respones.

regards
Bryan


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