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AikiWeb System 08-09-2004 11:04 AM

Article: Aikido and Group Sects by Ross Robertson
Discuss the article, "Aikido and Group Sects" by Ross Robertson here.

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Richard Elliott 08-24-2004 09:13 PM

Re: Article: Aikido and Group Sects by Ross Robertson
Hello Sensei Robertson

I hope you are doing well!

Being a former student I know your commitment to reaching out to other dojos and enjoyed participating in the exchanges that Stillpoint had with the Kajukenbo school. I hope you continue this as I am sure your students will learn many things, explicit and implicit, as I did.

As your article goes,'s broad, man; it covers a lot of territory. I'm not a "cut and paste" kind of conversationalist, but there are some particulars I would like to address. I don't seem to be able to access your article for quotes (just as well), so I've copied it on another page.

I "hear" what you say about the progress of group coherency becoming a zeitgeist as such. It seems that your writing that one of the things that characterizes a healthy zeitgeist is that it "reaches out to others" to share and not dominate or judge. Would you be willing to characterize this zeitgeist as a form of trancendence: "It becomes a living being."? If so, could you expand on this a little? I found the question you posed practicing Aikido "not just as a goup of individuals, but as a coordinated singular entity composed of individuals" a little ambiguous. What does this Aikido look like?

When I think about what comprises a living community in actuality, I remember something that occured in many Native American tribes I've read about. There was usually one guy in the tribe that would do everything backwards: He rode his horse backwards, when he took a bath he thru dirt on himself, when someone said hello, he said goodbye and vice versa. If anybody remembers in "Little Big Man" Dustin Hoffman is seen in a couple of scenes doing just this. Also in "Smoke Signals" those two girls spent the whole movie driving there car backwards!. I have forgotten why these guys did this, if anybody knows please let me know!

The paradox you present I think is a real one. I seems to me that when the issues are presented in terms of order or disorder or in terms of metaphors taken from the objective sciences of biology, physics or technology it can get tricky since it seems to me that when an ethical dimension is missing the description of group coherency or lack of can be healthy or unhealthy: Cohesion or lack of, can be good or bad, depending on which side of the political fence your on

I really want to thank you for your treatment of "division" as not necessarily being a bad thing. It's not given much press in Aikido, and I was able to use it for myself when I was in class very well, in a functional way.

Thought provoking essay!

billybob 09-01-2004 07:44 AM

Re: Article: Aikido and Group Sects by Ross Robertson
excellent article sir! i have been chastised for suggesting that the world no longer needs tribalism.
i think you carried forth the argument more clearly and thoroughly. humans are social animals, but any situation can become healthy and dynamic or unhealthy and destructive.

to answer the post above - some native american tribes had a member who was a 'contrary'. it was believed (i'll do my best here) that the tribe's overall health and balance was maintained by having someone in a mirroring role. i refer you to the asian practice of turning one column upside down when constructing a temple to make sure it has no weakness. i'll leave it there - if i try to explain i'll sound stupid to at least half of you!


Richard Elliott 09-01-2004 04:35 PM

Re: Article: Aikido and Group Sects by Ross Robertson
Good enough. Thanks for your attention. I remembered these people were accepted, but I couldn't remember why or what they were called.

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