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eugene_lo 09-29-2002 11:44 AM

Dilution of aikido
 
I have recently returned to the practice of aikido after nearly a two year hiatus. Prior to that, I studied for about four years. Aikido has changed my life, and I hope to have the oppurtunity to study for many years to come.
I will pose my question now, but please forgive my long-winded approach to explaining why and how I am thinking: in the US, because of the seniority and experience of our own shidoin and aikido in America in general, will Japan continue (or reinstate?) the dispatching of Japanese shihan to the US, or will our own shidoin rise to replace the current shihan when they (and how unfortunate that they will some day) pass away? Will "American Aikido" develop from this?

Now that I am back in aikido, it is startling to see how techniques have evolved. From shihan level to shidoin down to my own dojo. I would like to think that this is what O'Sensei wanted, for people to find their own aikido. I believe that he actually said this, if I am not mistaken. One case in point is Donovan Waite sensei's unique style of ukemi. This is from someone who has been out of the aikido "loop" for the last two years. I can remember seminars where only a handful of people were doing his style of ukemi. Now, it seems everyone (from my small perspective) is doing it. I am only using this as an example of course, because ukemi is such an integral part of aikido, and as such, an obvious example of change (when it does change.)
Now, I greatly respect Waite sensei's aikido, and especially his ukemi. In fact, if I ever get a chance to learn it, I would like to. I think saving your body from repeated impacts with the earth is a good idea. But, through this example, one can see that things are changing in aikido.
At some point, there will be no one left that knew O'Sensei or studied under him. No one left than can directly translate or transmit O'Sensei's aikido (with reference to technique.) Of course, the shihan all have their own individual nuances anyway. And their student's (our shidoin) have their's as well. And so the process of change goes on. Someday, will O'Sensei's aikido (with ref. to technique) even be known except for in rare film footage? I would like to think that the current Doshu is the key to this. Personally, his technique is my favorite, because I think it is the most pure, clean... his "style" of aikido is the nameless "style." Not Yamada's "style", or Kanai's hip/power "style", not "West Coast Chiba/Shibata "style", etc, etc. PLEASE PLEASE do not think that I lack any respect for any of these shihan or any others as well; when I go to seminars that they teach I try to replicate what they teach as best as possible, and am in complete awe when they give demos/do randoori. But I think Doshu's is the most direct translation. I know many people will have to disagree with this, but am I the only one that feels this way?. I hope that my point (or fear) is now starting (even a tad?) to become clear.
I am very much a beginner in aikido, and will remain for many years to come, I feel. I realize that ultimately, attaining truth in aikido means attaining functional use of aikido's spitiual principles and philosophies in our daily lives; the techniques are really secondary in importance. But as a beginner, I recognize that the means to achieve this spiritual knowledge is by technique. And for some reason, whether because I am missing the point of aikido, or because I am too close-minded, I want to hold onto the aikido technique that I see in O'Sensei's footage, and that I saw in the former Dochu, and in the current Doshu. If I had one wish in life, it would be that I was born 40 or 50 years ago, so I could have been there to see it all with my own eyes, and to have had the chance to learn from O'Sensei. I am sure I am not alone in this way of thinking.
I hate to use labels, but one has to admit that there are fundamental differences between "Japanese aikido" and "American aikido." Physical adaptations due to differences in size and body type, and most significantly, cultural differences. By our very different culture do we practice and perhaps, perceive aikido differently.
If there every will be a line of Ueshiba's to minimize the dilution of aikido, or some shihans that were their uchidechis, would they ever again be dispatched to the US, to our good fortune?
To note: I am only referring to technique only. I think that the spiritual principles of aikido have been maintained very well since O'Sensei passed. But then, how long will this last? Already there is rivaly, competition, politics, and bad blood and feelings in aikido, both at the larger levels between association/affiliation, and even at the minor levels between local dojos in Anycity/town, USA. In the larger scope, this "corruption" already started even 30 years ago with the whole Tohei vs. Aikikai affair. How long will aikido last before we are reduced to another sport "martial art" doing nothing but promoting for money, and bickering between ourselves.
At the end of the day, I will just try to practice hard and diligently. For now, the dictating the future of aikido is out of my control.

Choku Tsuki 09-29-2002 07:10 PM

Dilution or Dispersion
 
In this thread the discussion is around the race of teachers, and the question of whether it matters.

If we study aikido's principles, I will bet theories will come and go, and the practices which illustrate them will come and go, only to come around again. Then perhaps we'll discover the waza (and the underlying principles) really didn't go anywhere.

I'll bet the principles will stay alive forever. As far as the principles' transmission from generation to generation, my bet is also that this will become a more relevant to the teacher's cultural and technical background and influences.

--Chuck

Abasan 09-29-2002 11:13 PM

Looks the same might not equate to being the same.

Still, interesting post. Exactly how different is Sensei Waite's ukemi? Any description you can throw at me?

Bruce Baker 09-30-2002 06:54 AM

Yes, and no ...
 
Yes, it is watered down to the effect we don't teach the death, or serious injury that could be used ...

No it is not watered down, but it is your job to see what is hidden right out in the open.

As for Donovan Waite sensei, I haven't had the opportunity to practice with him yet, or attend a seminar, but that is only a matter of time.

One of our junior students, who has had the chance to teach a class or two was learning to impart the rolls and falls of his ukemi, and mistakenly, he described that there was only one way to fall or take a roll for ukemi. That,and other little hints I have injected were the crux of his resentment for many months until he got around to see a few more styles of ukemi, in Aikido, Judo, and jujitsu.

It has always been a wonder to me why such loud slaps are necessary for a good ukemi, and I have gotten more than a few sour looks from instructors for trying to be silent. Maybe it is from my childhood years of playing cowboys and indians, or shoot'em up soldier with sneaking around the bushes, rolling, jumping and falling like stuntmen until mom had a fit because of so much dirt on my clothes. Rolling softly, and quietly reduced the grime and hence reduced the amount of grief I got from mom for playing the guerilla warfare sneaky games.

If you do any type of sports on grassy fields, and there is running with falling involved, you learn how to fall or roll ... or you get hurt. Natural ability to go with the flow in practice, practice, and oops I tripped and fell, accidental practice of practice.

Aikido is no different, but the majority of my early rolls were over the head gymnastic rolls, which did create some apprehension from the teachers ... especially when a double wide middleaged guy is trying to roll like a teenager.

So long as you aren't jerking your neck to cause your head to hit, have some type of round form in rolling, and learn to disperse the energy of a breakfall without causing anyone particular area to absorb the impact of a fall, you will learn many ways to fall and roll as the situations warrant ... or you will go splat, and we all know how splat feels.

I know how you feel being away from Aikido for a while, although my longest away time has been two months, and not years, but just the same, I had the same concerns about the quality of training within my own dojo.

I spoke to my sensei about how many of the basic elements were becoming sloppy, or forgotten, and within a month, the two assistant instructors were again sharp and to the point without missing the elements of a technique from beginning to completion. Half the time they don't see the pressure points, the strikes or distractions, or the opportunity for adding atemi to return to the true roots of a technique, but the fact that they were emphisizing the circle, square, triangle, the simularity of hand to hand to weapons practice, and taking the time to break down the movements so each movement proved a logical step to the next movement, did indeed prove that even the watered down version of Aikido is still valid on its own merit.

(excuse me while I diverge)

When I was in second grade, in the 1950s, an old man came to our school in Red Bank, NJ to demonstrate his martial art, which was judo, but it resembled the Aikido we do today. I remember watching him do many of the incredible feats of strength we attribute to O'Sensei, but later finding out that O'Sensei never came to the USA east, I find he was another teacher from a Judo/Jujitsu school who was quite adept. Not only did he show the unbendable arm, but sat and held back three men who pushed on his forehead, walked on brittle teacups where none of his students could walk with out breaking them, and demonstrated bokken and empty hand techniques simular to our modern Aikido practice.

I have thought about my question of " ... did you hypnotize those people on stage, you were moving very slowly..." which drew a laugh from the master practitioner.

For many years I wondered about my question to the this master, and without realizing it, the same skeptical remarks have been written many responses here on the Aikiweb.

Maybe we are hypnotized to the extent that we don't try hard enough to find the information that validates our practice in both scientific field, and our spiritual / moral well being? Being away from practice, or watching practice from the sidelines, has a sobering affect upon one to initiate a search to find such things beyond, "shut up and practice" answer for all questions where the teacher is not apprised as to how to find the answers?

Maybe, in questioning if Aikido is watered down ... you have taken this first step to finding the answers.

Choku Tsuki 09-30-2002 10:26 AM

Quote:

ahmad abas (Abasan) wrote:
Exactly how different is Sensei Waite's ukemi? Any description you can throw at me?

Sure , why not ?

Abasan 10-01-2002 10:28 PM

Thanks chuck. have not seen it yet since its an invalid file here at the office pc. but will check it out at home.

eugene_lo 10-04-2002 09:53 AM

I was hoping for some more active discussion on this. It is a very important subject for me. However, if anyone thinks that this is a moot point, please say so. Then atleast I would figure out that my arguments go nowhere.

However, I would like to clarify something.

It is overly simplistic to say that this is just a matter of race. I could careless what color my teacher is as long as the teachings are sound.

I am more concerned about where aikido is going. Am I overly fearful (or even pessimistic) that aikido is becoming "diluted?" Moreover, is it even a bad thing that this dilution is occurring?

What do you people out there think about the future of aikido?

I am asking based on a very general and elementary observation of what has happened to martial arts in the US and since they arrived in the US. I think that I can make a general observation that martial arts in the US (and for that matter, even in their countries of origin) have been corrupted. Principles and philosophies have not been held true to. Techniques have vanished or deteriorated. Competition, greed, arrogance, ill-will... must I go on?

I am quite young, and will live to see aikido exist for many years. How will I see it when the time comes that I am old (probably too old to practice), and can still remember former Doshu, current Doshu, Tamura, Saotome, Yamada, etc...?

aikigreg 10-04-2002 10:04 AM

I think you're overly worried about nothing. Aikido will continue to evole. Some of it will devolve. It is the way of things and the only way we can prevent it if from learning all we can from those who are here. Find a good teacher and learn. Then find others. Then you know that Aiki cannot die while you live. What more can you do?

PhilJ 10-06-2002 01:13 AM

Eugene,

The evolution of aikido is going as it should be. Keep your crap-detector finely tuned as you progress through your life, and remember, there's more than just old age out there to kill you. :)

I had a similar series of thoughts about the direction of aikido when I was only 3 years into training. But now, today, I think of the change in aikido this way...

The change isn't good or bad, it's change. It's what things do. We often judge change as good or bad, but really it only aggravates the truth: change happens. Aikido is a perfect fit for our world -- we can change the technique, the thoughts, but it will [usually] mimic the events of the natural world.

Now, what about some of those "unscrupulous" teachers or students? I choose to think of humanity's time on earth as a little window. This timeframe is insignificant compared to the rest of eternity. These people will only be around for the crumb of a speck of time on this planet, so I try not to sweat them.

The short of the long (before I fall asleep!) is that aikido is perfect for change because it embodies the change around us. And, for the changes we don't "like", well, the inappropriate things will likely filter out over long periods of time, long after we die by old age (or delivery truck). ;)

Jim ashby 10-06-2002 01:35 PM

Just finished a weekend seminar with Donovan Waite Sensei. No dilution there!

Have fun.

BTW are you still lurking there Bob?

Bob Dhammi 10-13-2002 11:50 AM

BTW are you still lurking there Bob?[/quote]
Yes Jim I am still here.

cu next Sunday.

Bruce Baker 10-15-2002 05:38 AM

There is another thing to consider, "...there is no dilution of Aikido here," especially when the practitioners find the practice more than satisfys their curiosity.

The fact that we become satisfied with the practice, and are satisfied with the present goals sets our minds in a finite goal that will not allow for the growth and understanding of Aikido as a martial art.

Yes it is a wonderfull thing to have a goal, and to reach that goal, but shouldn't there always be horizons to reach for, even if you travel to them in your mind?

To prevent Aikido from becoming stagnant, we must continue to bring valadation to new or even old techniques found in practice, or other arts that compliment and broaden Aikido practice.

Sean Moffatt 10-22-2002 02:29 PM

I am more concerned about where aikido is going. Am I overly fearful (or even pessimistic) that aikido is becoming "diluted?" Moreover, is it even a bad thing that this dilution is occurring?

Hey Eugene,

You've come to the top of a mountain only to see in the distance there are more mountains to climb. Aikido IS becoming diluted without a doubt. It is a style where creativity is encouraged. Even the direct students of O'Sensei have there own styles. Why? O'Sensei showed one technique too fast then moved onto the next. The Students were left to fill in the holes; to come up with there own interpretation. In other words, to steal his technique. I believe only those who spent most of there lives with him got the best translation.

But we don't have that luxury.

However, we do have mountains of information we can dig through. We have books, videos, eye witness accounts, and (drum roll) teachers of aikido. You'll find that it will be entirely up to you how Aikido should be interpreted. Even if you go to Japan in search of undilluted technique you will find frustration, doubt, lies. Some teachers will have one answer, others will have another. The Friendship demonstrations showed this better then anything. Every high ranking demostrator either said they do technique this way or others would say this is correct technique, not that. What I saw was they were all doing it correctly. Only there egos were incorrect.

I have been doing Aikido for over seven years, young in an art that demands much more time to master. But I too have seen the dillution of technique. More correctly, I can feel the dillution of technique. Wherever I could, I have looked at other arts for answers and to fill in the holes of MY aikido. I've looked at Kendo and that has improved my reaction time. I am studying Iaido which helps with posture and pose. I have looked at striking arts to see the underlying mechanics of atemi and evasion. I have trained in judo and jujitsu and discovered the power of patiencence and relaxation (imagine that. Dosen't Aikido training do that? Sure, if you're not frustrated).

And I have trained in some tai chi and hurt my knee. Which lead me to Aikido (sorry, but that really did happen... that and "Above the Law").

So now, I am training the most in Aikido. I don't adhere to any one dogma of what aikido is supposed to be because what one person does, another may do better. I have been training with the same sensei for 4 years now and adhere to most of his techniques. But what I don't like, I do differently. This may hurt in a dan test later but so what. I'll have peace of mind.

Happy Training (You are too SERIOUS!)

Sean

Misogi-no-Gyo 10-22-2002 09:33 PM

diluted?
 
Quote:

Eugene Lo (eugene_lo) wrote:
I am more concerned about where aikido is going. Am I overly fearful (or even pessimistic) that aikido is becoming "diluted?" Moreover, is it even a bad thing that this dilution is occurring?

Is the basis by which you reach this conclusion based upon the assumption that you have ever really seen, or felt (in either case, directly experienced) "real" aikido? I am not challenging any particular style/teacher/organization, however I have seen quite a bit (more often than not) what many would call Aikido that wouldn't even pass for dance classes at an old-aged home.

If you had asked O-Sensei, "Well, who really knows Aikido?" and he answered, "These ten people over here..." wouldn't you then begin to wonder about the tens of thousands of students who were trying to learn it from someone else??? I would!
Quote:

What do you people out there think about the future of aikido?
A good answer is - it will be what YOU make of it. Find the greatest master you can - and spend your life seeking the depths of his soul.
Quote:

I am asking based on a very general and elementary observation of what has happened to martial arts in the US and since they arrived in the US. I think that I can make a general observation that martial arts in the US (and for that matter, even in their countries of origin) have been corrupted. Principles and philosophies have not been held true to. Techniques have vanished or deteriorated. Competition, greed, arrogance, ill-will... must I go on?
When I read that, It made me think of what my teacher told me he was thinking when he began to train under Seagal Sensei, back at the Osaka Tenshin Dojo. He said, "It was really difficult to confront the fact that he felt he had to study with a "non-Japanese" to get a true representation of the art. One of my senpai, Craig Dunn Sensei, from Taos New Mexico, who came over with Seagal to open the Taos Dojo back in 1981 said something very similar. He said, he found it quite bizarre that after looking high and low for the best Aikido teacher for what he wanted to learn, that he had ended up traveling thousands of miles to study with a Westerner. My point - many of the Japanese teachers, both here and in Japan are the reason for the decline you speak of. I would go as far to say that they are the cracked foundation upon which the international community teeters.

As with everything else - there is always much more mediocrity than good, when you add in the really downright poor attitude of the typical student/apprentice (of any nationality) you get the sorry state of affairs that adds up to the crock of a world we live in. What to do? Live in a cave, vote for new bunch of crooked-lying politicians, encourage anarchy? Well those are certainly the options of 99% of the world's population. I think the bottom line here is - if Mastery were easy, than everybody would be a master. It just isn't that way, nor should it be. If it were, then what would be the value of mastery? Given that, as a choice, we have on the one hand, be like everything else, and help flush the world down the ever-spinning toilet, or take on truly becoming a master on your own. If we really look at O-Sensei, we can see that this is what he did. I believe that he, through aikido, has asked us to do the same. Stand on his shoulders and reach a little higher.

I would say more, but then I would be "Bruce Baker" and he seems to do a better job of that than I ever could...

opherdonchin 10-23-2002 07:49 AM

The dig at Bruce is, of course, gratuitous and unnecessary and really a shame after such a well expressed (if slightly self-aggrandizing) post. On the other hand, I suspect Bruce is not the type to get too offended ...

SeiserL 10-23-2002 07:58 AM

IMHO, Aikido is evolving, not ncessarily diluting. If you want a stronger concentration, find a school that trains hat way. If you want a different concentration, there are those schools too. Its nice to have choices. So many doors that open into Aikido.

Until again,

Lynn

Sean Moffatt 10-23-2002 09:11 AM

Stanley Pranin, editor of Aikido Journal has good article up concerning this current topic. This is the mission statement for next years Aiki Expo. No matter what style you do, this is great advice. http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/art...?ArticleID=112

Misogi-no-Gyo 10-23-2002 07:43 PM

Can you dig it?
 
Quote:

Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
The dig at Bruce is, of course, gratuitous and unnecessary and really a shame after such a well expressed (if slightly self-aggrandizing) post. On the other hand, I suspect Bruce is not the type to get too offended ...

Hmmm? Not a dig at all. I was just noticing that my post was very lengthy, and is becoming typical of my more recent posts. This is something which Bruce can, and often does as well. Bruce tends to speak at great length on subjects he has obviously spent a long time considering. I don't see a problem with length, if the original subject matter, or reply warrant it. Notice I never said anything about the content of Bruce's posts - because I do not have a problem with the content of Bruce's posts. End of story.

I am sure Bruce is happy to know that he has a protector out here on the aikiweb message board <------- Now that "was" a jab. Just to show you how I do it so that next time you get it right. <------- (another jab)

In any case - apologies to Bruce, and to you, too, Opher should either of you have taken even the smallest slight from my remarks. How bout we don't sabotage the thread?

aikido_fudoshin 10-23-2002 08:58 PM

What really makes Aikido dilluted? Is it people wanting to change the art to suit themselves, and the way they feel it should be done? Or is it about those who dont fully understand the art; their knowledge is a product of passing through many, and thus they pass this dillution onto others?

I guess what we really have to look at are the main ideas that will always get passed on because they are essential to what Aikido is. I would think this would involve the basics and the concepts that go along with them. ex. chushin-ryoku, shuchu-ryoku, kokyu-ryoku, ki, irimi, kaiten, ukemi, kihon dosa, kihon waza. Although these principles and techniques may differ from person to person, the idea should still be there. Most importantly though, Aikido should teach someone how to connect the body, mind, and spirit and I would hope that this is something that will not become blurry over time. I believe that if these things are lost then it is not Aikido.

I think the art is safe though. Aikido, in my experience, attracts a certain kind of person. It quickly weeds those out who are not fully intune with themselves and others around them. It takes dedication, commitment, hard work, will to succeed, and a strong heart to develop in Aikido. Aikido is not for the faint at heart. :)

MikeE 10-23-2002 10:46 PM

Dilution is a weakening. I don't think that is happening. If Aikido was "going the way of the dodo" instead of flourishing you probably would have a good argument that it was a stagnant, dead art.

Fear not...Aikido is alive and well.

eugene_lo 10-28-2002 10:32 AM

[Aikido is evolving, not ncessarily diluting. If you want a stronger concentration, find a school that trains hat way. If you want a different concentration, there are those schools too. Its nice to have choices. So many doors that open into Aikido.]

-quote from L.Seiser

Is this just semantics then? You use "evolving", which connotates a positive change. I use "dilution" which can be neutral but in this sense, I feel it is my negative connotation.

I understand that there is a multitude of styles/attitudes/philosophies/dojos/teachers out there all revolving around aikido. These are the "choices" you refer to, yes?

Maybe this is the problem; maybe this is the dilution. Dilution implies weakening; however, I am not implying that EVERYWHERE you go, you will see a weakening in the philosophy and technique of aikido. But, it is there, and it is a significant presence. It is plainly evident in some of the discussion topics here on this very forum. (Need I point out examples: UFC vs. aikido, separating the sexes, I'm worried my sensei has not taught enough of the test, and a year from now I will have not made any progress, etc, etc.) It is plainly clear how angry some people get just talking about these things, and how stauchly defensive they get about them, even to the point of throwing childish, personal insults.

Maybe the problem is that we think we have the liberty to have a wide variation and selection. That we can create our own niche in aikido, our own "style", and split off from there. Granted, styles will naturally change as aikido progresses from personality to personality. But maybe we should be doing something to retard this.

Could our culture have anything to do with this? I study cross-cultural interrelations, and am happy to be able to find connections (even mistaken) between aikido and my work. We are taking a Japanese art, created and developed in a Japanese cultural context, and are modifiying it, deliberately or not, in an American cultural context. The very existence of aikido in America implies inevitability of change. Could our very innate (and thus almost undetectable to our own judgement) value of individuality and freedom be the reason that we so value the "choices" we have in aikido, instead of looking at them as a dilution process?

Maybe we need the constraints applied by history; maybe we need the framework set by the older generation, by the Founder. Maybe we do need to look back as far as we can at what O'Sensei said and did, as well as his son and grandson. For me, the opportunity to train with or observe one of O'Sensei's uchideschi is rare; outside of the dojo, I live on videos and books showing O'Sensei, his students, current Doshu, etc.

For me, the dilution is very real. And I do not refer to what I witness in my own dojo, but, it is there at times as well.

Some might say this: What dilution? What are you talking about? I've seen/felt Donovan Waite's (just an example pulled out of the air from my first post)/Dennis Hooker's/pick your favorite shidoin. No dilution there, as one guy put it. So why worry? Even if there is dilution, maybe I'll be dead before I see it. NOTE: For me, not likely; I've got another good 50 years on this planet before I take the final "breakfall."

First off, my intention was not criticism of their technique; I am no one to criticize technique. And, actually, Waite Sensei's technique, I feel, is almost carbon copy of Yamada's, so maybe a bad example.

My point is, dilution is there. You see the differences. To ignore it... well, would be ignorant. O'Sensei said to make aikido your own, or something to that effect. IMHO, he didn't mean to only look out for aikido in your lifetime. He meant to preserve it for others. But I also feel that he didn't mean we all get carte blanche to branch off "literally and mentally" as we please. He would have never forseen the change in aikido as it exists today. He never would have imagined the change in humanity as it has become today. WW2 was only a taste for him, and enough to prompt him to pursue the spirituality of aikido fervently.

So, what's my point? What is wrong with sticking to tradition, in the strictest sense? Why look forward to see how we can continue to modify aikido to serve our needs? Why not go back to the roots, and stay there/ Will aikido become "stagnant" if we do not make it modern? Japanese, Asian in general, culture remains intact despite deeply rooted values of tradition and reverence for the past. Aikido was nurtured in this framework. What is the fear, what will we lose if this is continued?

IMHO, the dilution will stop.

Once again, sorry about the length. This is VERY important to me, and I don't just want to walk away from aikido for all it has given me.

Sean Moffatt 10-28-2002 12:03 PM

Eugene,

Unfortunately, there is no one orthodox style of Aikido. Everyone will have there say in what is right and wrong. Even at Hombu, this is true.

What people do is find the instructor they enjoy the best and stick with him or her. I hate to say this, but you are going to run face first in into disappointment. Aikido does not have a standard set in stone for transmission of the art. It exploits the philosophy of Takemusu; spontaneous creation.

What you are demanding and will have difficulty finding is direct transmission of techniques that are set in stone. Those who study the old tradtional styles of Jujitsu and other Koryus study this way. But they preserving an ancient and sometimes outdated art. Aikido is built upon principles which uses techniques to teach those principles. It is somewhat similar to Tai chi and Baqua in that respect.

For now, you should focus on principles no matter how the technique is done. Then later on, find an instructor who mirrors the prinicples you have learned.

If the "Principles of Aikido", to quote a book cover, is forgotten, then Aikido will truely become dilluted.

Sean

opherdonchin 10-29-2002 07:35 AM

Eugene,

Reading your long post I was left a little confused: what is it that you see as valuable in a 'blind' adherence to tradition? What, specifically, are you interested in preserving when you seek to preserve the 'ancient' Japanese martial art that Ueshiba invented 50 years ago?

aiki_what 10-29-2002 12:11 PM

Some would argue that Aikido is a "dilution" of Daito Ryu Aikijutsu.......others would argue that the reverse is true...that Aikido is a distillation of Daito Ryu. Who cares, if you get something out of it. Indeed I find it hard to talk about tradition for a martial entity that is less than half a century old.

Alan Drysdale 10-29-2002 12:54 PM

I think that one reason we worry about dilution of aikido is that we are getting better at it, individually, and it is not as mysterious to us any more. We've passed the stage where we worry about which foot to put forward, when our sensei did things we didn't understand and could neither immitate not resist, to where we are competent martial artists. Of course, we see that there is more to learn, and we want to keep moving forwards, but now we see what sensei is doing, and sometimes he (or she) makes mistakes.

Not that I disagree with a lot of what Stan Pranin wrote. I just think it is partly our perspective that has changed.

Alan


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