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AikiWeb System 05-18-2003 12:01 AM

AikiWeb Poll for the week of May 18, 2003:

Do you think aikido should be preserved as the founder practiced it, or should it continue to evolve?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Preserved
  • Continue to evolve
Here are the current results.

shihonage 05-18-2003 02:53 AM

It should be practiced the way Founder did it when he was YOUNG.

Hanna B 05-18-2003 03:03 AM

Preservation or development? Both.

Edward 05-18-2003 04:50 AM

With so many styles of aikido today, none of which resembling the founder's style as we see it in old footages, I am not sure if aikido hasen't already evolved very far from Osensei's.

mike lee 05-18-2003 11:34 AM

patience and understanding
I've never seen anyone do aikido waza like O-Sensei, and I'm not sure that he would want people attempting to try. Koichi Tohei was one of O-Sensei's top students, and the aikido of the two men appeared to be as different as their personalities.

As with music, students must first learn the basics before they can perform. Once they can perform, some may move ahead to composing.

The same principle must be applied to aikido. Students must first learn the basics before they can perform. (O-Sensei said there were 3,000 basic techniques in aikido and 16 variations of each technique.)

After students master the basics, the possibilities for genuine innovation within the art certainly exist.

Going back to Koichi Tohei, I've heard it said that he developed his ki curriculum for Americans, because, at that time, Americans had no concept of ki. So, rather than just trying to talk about it (like many people attempt to do on these forums), he developed a teaching method whereby Americans could learn to use and focus their ki with the help of a series of simple exercises. This, I believe, was quite innovative on his part. But mind you, he was 10 dan at the time.

I think that for young students who have yet to master the basics of aikido waza, attempts at creativity are humorous and sometimes even dangerous. It's like someone who just got their drivers license, attempting to compete in the Indy 500.

In the end, aikido is a concept. It's much more than the basic waza that we practice. Yet, once the basics are mastered and the concepts behind aikido are firmly grasped, the possibility for genuine innovation and creativity certainly exists.

opherdonchin 05-18-2003 12:47 PM


It should be practiced the way Founder did it when he was YOUNG.

otto 05-18-2003 04:32 PM

Preserved? Of course is a great gift and a legacy..i think that its out of question..

The real question , for me at least , its possible to stop evolving and developing aikido?

Hope its makes sense.

Plus KI!

Michael Neal 05-18-2003 05:08 PM

I think it is both, preserve and evolve. And evolving can be a simple as changing training methods rather than changing techniques.

erikmenzel 05-19-2003 01:46 AM

After a ziljion years of practise and study one should hope to reach the stage of free development. But, and this is a big but, only after an unimaginable long time of hard training.

Seems logical that one preserving the art before one can expand on it.

As a last remark, I believe that the further evolving of aikido is a pure personal thing and not transmitble to others directly.

ian 05-19-2003 03:52 AM

How do we know how Ueshiba was pracising it anyway? I feel we should aim to achieve what he was doing. Unlike Aleksey-

Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
It should be practiced the way Founder did it when he was YOUNG.

,I believe he improved up to around his 60s. However, unlike many other people I don't believe that we can achieve what he was doing at that time without developing the thorough basics (and effectively going through the same stages that Ueshiba did).

Also, I think many try to make sense of the aikido within their own training, and thus change it slightly - but I would be very wary of deviating too greatly as it is all too easy to end up in a martial arts fantasy world.


MikeE 05-19-2003 07:25 AM

I think Aikido is exactly what it is supposed to be.

JMCavazos 05-19-2003 12:16 PM

It should continue to evolve. Even O'Sensei told his students to continue to evolve the art. I don't think that any good can come from stopping aikido's evolution.

I also think that O'Sensei's aikido got better as he got older. I would prefer to learn the aikido in its more perfected way, than in the beginning developmental stage.

Anyway, that is my opinion.

twilliams423 05-19-2003 12:51 PM

I would delete the last 3 words of Mr Ellefson's sentence.


MikeE 05-19-2003 04:26 PM


You are absolutely right.

Dave Miller 05-19-2003 05:05 PM

When you consider some of the founder's top students, such as Tomiki, they all did Aikido quite differently from him. That's where the "art" of "martial art" comes in. Once a person learns the basic techniques of the martial style (usually around Shodan) then they begin to learn the art of the martial style. This is where divergence and evolution comes in. It's good for the style in terms of both martial skills and art, IMHO.

cindy perkins 05-19-2003 08:45 PM

It has been said -- both. Preserve the base. Let the high dans improvise with deep understanding. Trust the process.

Edward 05-20-2003 01:13 AM

I think you just follow what your teacher is doing for now, and worry about preserving Osensei's aikido later.

mike lee 05-20-2003 02:34 AM

be responsible
In nature, often, but not always, if something doesn't evolve, it eventually becomes extinct.

I think that aikido can and should continually evolve to meet the needs of its practitioners and society.

I think the fear that some have today is that aikido is devolving. There are a host of reasons for this perception that have been discussed at length on other threads and forums. It seems that Aiki Expo is attempting to address this situation this year.

Ultimately, the final responsibility falls on the individual student. Will he continue to sit around in his small town and lament the fact that there are no high-ranking teachers nearby to spoon-feed him aikido, or will he get off his selfish butt and go seek a high-ranking teacher and then train diligently for a number of years in an effort to achieve a basic understanding of his art?

Life could very well pass you by if you wait for a shihan to come to your town and teach you on a long-term basis.

Traditionally, the student seeks out a teacher not the other way around.

In the end, it's aikido students that need to evolve not the art.

ikkainogakusei 05-20-2003 07:57 AM


Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
It should be practiced the way Founder did it when he was YOUNG.

Ah, the assertion of youthful absolutisms.:D

The irony is that aikido came from someone modifying another style.

I think that the 'both' answer is a good one, but I wonder if it is possible. We all have different bodies and different ways in which our personalities/interpretations of 'what is' are manifest in them. I believe that these differences will ensure a great variety of 'different' forms of aikido. To me, aikido is not perfected in this style or that, but perfected within an individual, for that person.

Sure an experienced guide is crucial for such a task, but that guide must also recognise the differences and limitations of a student as well. If I had a musclebound teacheer of 6'4", I would hope that that teacher would recognize that I cannot perform a kishinage the same way that he/she does.

How -=should=- aikido be taught? With an open mind.

:ai: :) :ai:

Mel Barker 05-20-2003 09:35 AM

What Jane said!


tedehara 05-24-2003 02:11 PM

I'm not sure you can preserve O Sensei's Aikido. He didn't try to do that, since you can see it change by viewing films made over his lifetime.

While you can restrict yourself to train in the physical forms that O Sensei used, it will never be the same. As your understanding of the art grows, your performance in it will differ, even if you use the same movements.

Aikido is not a Platonic Form that is preserved throughout eternity. It is about the moment and the changes within that moment.

Jeff R. 05-24-2003 08:23 PM

I'm with cindy perkins (post #16) on this. (Hello, neighbor.)

Society changes, lifestyles change, people change. Preserve the base, the principles, the philosophy, and then the techniques will (I hope) evolve accordingly.

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