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-   -   Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15292)

bdwilliamscraig 10-23-2008 02:24 PM

Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Does anybody have a sense how many folks here (aikiweb) have been or are interested in Aiki Extensions, the organization, and/or extending aiki principles beyond the dojo? I know that's what this entire sub-forum is about, but I also see the last post was in June. Anybody home?:)

SeiserL 10-24-2008 05:11 AM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
We're here.

Aiki-Extensions' good people with a good concept.

bdwilliamscraig 11-06-2008 03:34 PM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Seems to me the future of Aiki Extensions, the organization, and extensions of aiki practices through arts of peace by whatever name, are tied together but are not identical. If we follow our individual callings toward peace-making with integrity then personal, local, national, and international efforts will grow around the world.

I'm committed to growing an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end, but it seems harder than it should be to get folks to collaborate on the kind of scale the world really needs right now.

I'd more than value an exchange of ideas here that could lead to more extensions of aiki principles beyond the mat. Will you help me make that more likely to happen by inviting people to this thread and talking it up?

Charles Hill 11-07-2008 12:53 AM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Hi Brandon,

Sounds interesting. Maybe a specific idea, topic or question might make it more attractive to others and encourage people to join in.

Charles

Peter Goldsbury 11-07-2008 05:59 AM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Quote:

Brandon Williamscraig wrote: (Post 219183)
Seems to me the future of Aiki Extensions, the organization, and extensions of aiki practices through arts of peace by whatever name, are tied together but are not identical. If we follow our individual callings toward peace-making with integrity then personal, local, national, and international efforts will grow around the world.

I'm committed to growing an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end, but it seems harder than it should be to get folks to collaborate on the kind of scale the world really needs right now.

I'd more than value an exchange of ideas here that could lead to more extensions of aiki principles beyond the mat. Will you help me make that more likely to happen by inviting people to this thread and talking it up?

Mr Williamscraig,

I live in Hiroshima and am often asked by pressure groups whether I support 'The Spirit of Hiroshima'. Of course, it is difficult to answer No here, but then the questioner always assumes that my Yes indicates support for whatever the pressure group is supporting--perhaps a particular view about the morality of the atomic bombing of the city. I have a similar problem with Aiki Extensions.

I had a rather unpleasant experience with Aiki Extensions a few years ago (in these very forums) and I have given the organization a wide birth ever since. With respect, my own problems with your post are the 'ideological' assumptions that lie behind it and underpin it. These are clear to me from your post, especially the second and third paragraphs.

You proceed from 'individual callings towards peace-making with integrity', but then seek to establish 'an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end'. I am not sure what this means, or why we need to establish this (It sounds like a kind of Peace CIA). We have a number of these groups here in Hiroshima.

In the third paragraph, you want an 'exchange of ideas here that could lead to more extensions of aiki principles beyond the mat', but you note elsewhere that nothing has really happened since June. Perhaps there is a connection. I note the title of the thread and suggest that you might think that Extending Aiki more or less automatically leads to Aiki Extensions. After all, you are an executive director of the latter organization. :D

Apologies for the negative tone, but I have to state that the issues raised by my earlier negative experience were not really resolved--at least to my own satisfaction. Of course, I am biased, but then again, so are you. :)

Best wishes,

Ron Tisdale 11-07-2008 06:59 AM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Peter, you always have such a classy way of expressing your reservations about a given topic. I could find no such classy way...thanks for finding it for me.

Best,
Ron

C. David Henderson 11-07-2008 08:39 AM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Honesty is a form of irimi, sometimes.

dave9nine 11-07-2008 12:16 PM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
"Does anybody have a sense how many folks here (aikiweb) have been or are interested in Aiki Extensions, the organization, and/or extending aiki principles beyond the dojo?"

I'd venture to say that everyone is interested--at least on some level--in this. IMHO, the problem with institutionalism is always going to be institutionalism. Can the principles and goals of such an organization be met by people in everyday life without the organizational dedication that is assumed?

''Im committed to growing an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end, but it seems harder than it should be to get folks to collaborate on the kind of scale the world really needs right now."

I was having a discussion with friends recently about "world problems" and the kind of cooperation it takes across lines to change things. A great point was put forth that a lot of problems in the world arise precisely because we as humans have set up institutions, systems, structures, etc, that span over too big of geographic areas to adequetley serve any one area. "we-are-all-connected" arguments aside, if region X cant sustain itself as a self-contained political-economic unit, and all regions are adversly effected the minute one region has a breakdown (ie. the current world financial crisis), than perhaps the solutions have something to do with actualizing a degree of political-economic self-autonmy among smaller communities and regions.
Similarly, my response to the second quote here is that maybe the "scale" you refer to is best addressed by analyzing the composition of the organization, and applying similar concepts of how an institution can work to help spread practices of peaceful conflict resolution, while not taking on the rigid and centralized/heirarchical structures that so often plague non-for-profit organizations.

* as a side, I have head about Aiki-Extensions, and im interested in the concept, but i dont know how it's run--only making general comments here.

bdwilliamscraig 11-17-2008 07:37 PM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Professor Goldsbury,

It was my great pleasure to meet and train near you during the first Aiki Expo in 2002. I was there to participate in Kayla Feder Sensei's demonstration and help Stan Pranin as a volunteer.

I hear your concern that a
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 219202)
questioner always assumes that [a] Yes indicates support for whatever the pressure group is supporting.

If by this you mean that it is common to use the rhetorical device that assumes support for less obvious assumptions following a difficult to dismiss opening question, e.g. "Do you value aikido", followed by "then clearly you'll be giving me money to teach orphans aikido in Ethiopia", then I acknowledge not only the widespread use of the technique but also the occasional indulgence of it in Aiki Extensions. Since the rhetorical choices of individuals can seldom be accurately portrayed as encompassing the will of an entire organization, it is unlikely that you had an unpleasant experience with Aiki Extensions, as such. On the other hand, individual's tend to characterize in some part the gestalt of groups wherein they choose to roost and I would be very interested to know more about the unpleasant interaction on the Aikiweb forums. One of my challenges has been to shift some of the ways AE asks for what it wants in the world - from making assumptions about aikidoka as a group to a focus on clarifying differences and seeking behavioral consensus before moving forward.

I am open to being questioned about my ideological assumptions but not to beginning with the idea that anyone is clear about them without having first allowing me the chance to clarify. I
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 219202)
proceed from 'individual callings towards peace-making with integrity'

to
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 219202)
seek to establish 'an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end'

because these seem to follow logically in my own life. I am fascinated by aikido and require a dojo in which to train. I feel a call to peace-making and immediately desire partnership in order to practice. Their could be an agency that is both central and intelligent, but this is by no means guaranteed. Certainly, there is a danger when humans get together that they will become secretive and power-mad, but that is not a dilemma unique to martial artists. Indeed, at least in a peace-practice community, figuring out ways to avoid this is an explicit requirment for authenticity, whereas it tends to sneak up on those overtly dedicated to things like "Security". I am not qualified to express an opinion if AE is anything like the groups you know in Hiroshima, only to say that during my tenure it has struggled openly to assure structural power distribution and transparency. This is not CIA stuff even when we assume, because we are convinced of it, that the connection between practicing aikido and working for peace are identical in everyone's mind. This is a maturity of thought problem in the mind of the person making the case, not a dilemma inherent in every person who believes the world may be improved in some measure while working together.

Aikido is essential and unique, in my opinion, because it was designed, explicitly and from the ground up, to foreground and make explicit that multi-level, bodymind, martial practice with and responses to conflict are identical with the making of peace. It is a direct-experience methodology with a built-in pedagogy that is super-accessible to almost anybody (one can make a clear beginning and grok the metaphors) in a very short period of time. Aiki Extensions, by extension, is essential because it is the only organization I know of that exists to make this obvious and available to everybody.

Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 219202)
In the third paragraph, [i] want an 'exchange of ideas here that could lead to more extensions of aiki principles beyond the mat'

But you'll need to let me know where "elsewhere" I wrote that "nothing has really happened since June", since my entire impact has landed from that month till this one. A HUGE amount has been done at every level since June and there is indeed a connection. AE has channelled $10k to work with kids in the slums in Sao Paolo, supported a US fundraising tour by our Ethiopian contingent and brought that country's first home grown yudansha for training up to shodan, opened doors via wiki and listserve to all members so they may be in direct communication without going through an administration, contributed to the success of Teaching Aikido to Kids and Aikido in Higher Education seminars, and the list goes on. Our primary failing during this period is being too slow to change our collective habit of pushing all money and energy out, such that we had a first chance to fund the next step into a professional administration and may have missed it. We'll see.

You
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 219202)
note the title of the thread and suggest that [i] might think that Extending Aiki more or less automatically leads to Aiki Extensions. After all, [I am the] executive director of the latter organization. :D

Damn straight. But I only assume people believe similarly when they invoke metaphors and draw clear public parallels to aikido like
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
"in aikido there are several important principles which govern the encounter between uke and tori and some of these can be applied to negotiation practice: for example, flexibility and a readiness to change tactics; an awareness of the strengths, weaknesses and openings of your opponent; and also the very important aspects of the strengths and weaknesses in one's own attack." - Goldsbury http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=473

I hear that the issues raised by your earlier negative experience were not really resolved to your satisfaction and am ready to go whatever way might lead to a more favorable outcome for you. No apologies needed for your "negative tone". I believe you would be more than an asset to AE and the work I believe O'Sensei intended us to create in both the dojo and the world beyond its walls. Hit me with whatever objections you might have because I believe there is a chance, if the responses suit, that you will consider doing work with me that makes the lives of real people measurably better, whatever universal dilemmas exist in working together.

I am, of course, biasedly yours,

Brandon WilliamsCraig

bdwilliamscraig 11-17-2008 08:06 PM

Re: Extending Aiki and Aiki Extensions
 
Quote:

Dave Lewin wrote: (Post 219229)
"I'd venture to say that everyone is interested [in AE] --at least on some level--in this. IMHO, the problem with institutionalism is always going to be institutionalism. Can the principles and goals of such an organization be met by people in everyday life without the organizational dedication that is assumed?

This is a bit like the favorite Washington D.C. trope about "less government = good" which sounds great until you think about it, if you do. The real question is not should people work together (organizational dedication to goals) but HOW should people work together toward the most ideal outcomes. Institutions should see a major part of their mission as avoiding the ISM you quite rightly fear. Doctrinalization is often a specious end and drinking the cool-aid anywhere leads pretty predictable directions.

Sometimes I just need to whine a bit that "it seems harder than it should be to get folks to collaborate on the kind of scale the world really needs right now" but I will not only get up from my falls to train more. I will practice, organizationally, so that my/our ukemi brings me/us back to standing and moving with speed and grace more often than not. This is too important work to just lie around and rub on the Tiger Balm. I'm "committed to growing an inclusive training community, by whatever name, that works together in service toward that end" because
Quote:

Dave Lewin wrote: (Post 219229)
we as humans have set up institutions, systems, structures, etc, that span over too big of geographic areas to adequately serve any one area.

This is the reason for massive social justice organizing and facilitation of local groups getting global support to be able to maintain local governance. That is where AE has been and where it will head or crash. Even in ad hoc or power-distributive institutions, the culturally natural tendency to make unilateral decisions is multiplied by the reality of crises and potentially alleviated by valuing (funding/supporting) professional facilitation (in this case, administration) to get the right mix of process (listening) and task (response).

I was hired, explicitly, to
Quote:

Dave Lewin wrote: (Post 219229)
address by analyzing the composition of the organization, and apply concepts of how an institution can work to help spread practices of peaceful conflict resolution, while not taking on the rigid and centralized/hierarchical structures that so often plague non-for-profit organizations.

Wanna help?
We could really use your insight and energy.

B


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