AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 3, 2002:
Do you think aikido is becoming more martially "diluted" as the generations pass?
More or less martial
In our Dojo we tend to be technical up to 2nd Kyu and more martially focused later. I've just come home from a class where it was pretty martial and also pretty technical. I've only studied for albout twelve tears but I think our dojo is becoming more martial.However I've not voted as i'm not qualified to comment on other styles/associations.
Could you please try to clarify the above question for us (me :) ) not native English speaking. I think I understand but I would greatly appriciate if someone would clarify.
In other words, do you believe that, as the generations of students/teachers pass, aikido is becoming less martial?
Thank you Jun. :)
This is indeed an interesting subject.
As generations pass and we get further away from the original source, I can see the path from the founder's principles being lost.
The problem as I see it lies in where we obtain our instruction. As you know the IAF places restrictions upon how many organisations per country can affiliate to Hombu Dojo (I think this number has been increased to two per country recently)
Within the UK we have 40 Aikido organisations of which two (The BAF & UKA are officially recognised by Hombu) The standards of the remaining 38 organisations are in effect unchallenged. I would suggest that many purporting to study 'Traditional Aikido' do not follow any form of guidelines similar to Hombu Dojo, these organisations have the potential to grade students to such positions where they teach to fellow students and so on and on.. My point being; eventually the Aikido practiced may not be that of the founder.
Naturally I cannot comment on Yoshinkan or Tomiki Ryu because I don't study either of those styles.
I understand human nature, I can appreciate there are many reasons (good and bad) why individuals wish to form and lead their own organisations however, unless we ensure we follow the guidelines (standards) of the source of our art, the quality and purity of what may be practiced in the future could be severely compromised.
National Aikido Communication Database
A very interesting topic...
I think that if we agreed that with each generation we get further away from "THE SOURCE", i.e. that we can never be like it, i.e. we can never get to the same level of understanding --- what's the point in studying the art then?
Do we study Aikido (A) trying to understand our surroundings and the workings of nature (which includes interpersonal relations, which includes maybe fighting)?
Or do we study Aikido (B) year after year just trying to copy our teacher (which can always be a copy only, no original), who him/herself did nothing over the years but copy theirs? Does that imply that our current Shihan, who have studied under O-Sensei, did only copy his moves?
I think studying Aikido in the former fashion (A) IS INDEED studying AT the source, whereas (B) can easily be closer to "FROM the (human)source". I have to admit, though, that I see a risk, even when studying like (A), VERY few of us (not me at least) study Aikido to the extent O-Sensei did, not physically (i.e. x hours every day), nor off the mat (I do not yet enjoy having 24 hours a day time to study Aikido's principles/philosophy; I know, being at work can be a form of Aikido-practice...)
So martially speaking, there is a risk of dilution, but that stems IMO not from us being generations apart from O-Sensei, but us living a less martially-focused life.
I am still at a loss when asked what Aikido will hold for me personally in my life and how far I will be able to understand it, being at the beginning of it (if for no other reason)...
Have fun training (off the keyboard)!
Re: More or less martial
It seems to me that I've got a different impression of 'martial' to many other people. In some ways what Ueshiba was teaching after WWII was something that had already lost lots of its 'martial' aspect; which he did on purpose.
I consider 'martial' to mean for 'war'. In this context it is very much about making sure your opponent is dead. Today, the most realistic martial arts are probably 'practise on the firing range' and excercises which test your psychological toughness and stamina - 'cos these are what we would now use in war.
In most 'martial arts' the 'originators' have just systemised previously known techniques which were derived from real war applications. However, when it comes down to it all 'martial arts' are simulations which do not represent reality e.g.
- solo (karate) kata: useful for remembering techniques, but not reactive to the aggresor
- (karate) sparring: develop good reactions, but often disregard power, precision, strikes to vital points and grappling (since people tend to wear pads).
- judo: realistic grappling, but omit strikes and certain dangerous techniques.
- aikido: includes lots of dangerous techniques, but applied in a way that doesn't cripple or kill. Less focus on striking.
In some ways thats why I believe aikido is a more interesting art - 'cos no technique is really 'illegal' - however it has restrictions on its method of practise that others don't. Whatever, they all offer something, but they are all simulations which have lost part of their martial character.
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