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Jim23 04-30-2001 08:54 PM

Are standards going north or south?
 
I have a question regarding standards. Does each generation of students in aikido (or any martial art for that matter) get a little worse or a little better than the preceeding one? Are standards going north or south?

Does an art (especially aikido) generally get watered down or does it get better/stronger with each generation? And what contributes to the solution or the problem? Rigorous training, competition, the almighty dollar, easy promotions/difficult promotions, the country where you train, the style that you train in, etc.

Difficult question isn't it?

Jim23

giriasis 04-30-2001 11:33 PM

Hey, what's wrong with The South? All you stinkin' northerners come down here and tell us southerners what to do. ;) I really like Southern cooking and hospitality (:))but I can pass on the Slavery (:(). Oh you mean "south" as a euphemism for going bad? Well, that's a different story.

Hmmm...

I really don't feel qualified to answer your question. I have only practiced aikido for a year and a half. Any real answer I would give you would be total BS.

Maybe some of our long term practitioners will give us their opinion?

Anne Marie

Kami 05-01-2001 02:41 AM

Re: Are standards going north or south?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Jim23
I have a question regarding standards. Does each generation of students in aikido (or any martial art for that matter) get a little worse or a little better than the preceeding one?
Difficult question isn't it?

Jim23

KAMI : Hello, Jim!
No, it isn't (a difficult question). Just dust-off and read your old history books. In old times, every martial art practitioner (and there were always just a few) were obsessively dedicated to the study of their art. The uchideshi system was very much in use. The teachers, possibly, were better.
Then, Gendai Budo came in, with their vast numbers of students. You couldn't teach
on an individual basis (that's the reason Yoshinkan's training was standardized. It was impossible to teach large police forces the same way Ueshiba and Shioda were used to teach just a few students). Also, for the same reason, you had to reduce the number of techniques; eliminate "dangerous" techniques (you'll lose students that way!); and substitute student's attention, comprehension and perception by just sheer repetition.Today's students live their own lives; work; have a family; personal interests...Aikido is only a small part of their lives.
The introdution of competition would not improve the art but it would surely improve COMPETITION. Very good, if you want to change the art into a sport (not good or bad, just different).
Yes, apart from training and the teacher, I believe Martial Arts are coming downhill.
Hope I'm wrong
Best

P.S. By the way...I'm still farther south. What do you have against regions below the Rio Grande? :confused:

andrew 05-01-2001 06:13 AM

I think there are still probably as many people or more as in the past who study MA fulltime.
With reference to the 99% of people in the normal walks of life, the standard of aikido accross a country will be very much dependant on the number of Shihan available over a lengthy period. (20+ years) So, for instance, remove all th Shihan from the US or France or Italy or wherever and the general standard will be lower in ten years time as newer students won't have had the same kind of access to the very best teachers.
andrew

Kami 05-01-2001 08:35 AM

AND WHEN ALL THE SHIHAN ARE GONE?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by andrew
I think there are still probably as many people or more as in the past who study MA fulltime.
With reference to the 99% of people in the normal walks of life, the standard of aikido accross a country will be very much dependant on the number of Shihan available over a lengthy period. (20+ years) So, for instance, remove all th Shihan from the US or France or Italy or wherever and the general standard will be lower in ten years time as newer students won't have had the same kind of access to the very best teachers.
andrew

KAMI : Hello, Andrew! I suppose, from your post, that you are talking about japanese Shihan. If so, what will happen when they all are gone? Aikido will get downhill? Or not?
I'm really curious to understand correctly what you are expressing...
Best

Aikidoka2000 05-01-2001 09:28 AM

I think that for the most part, the quality of the art lineage depends mainly on the practitioner. I am quite sure that many sensei feel financial pressure to keep and maintain
students and reduce turnover. It is not the BEST of situations, but a reality if a person opens a dojo with the intent of making a profit or living from it. It would seem that of the many people who undertake any martial art, drop out rates are pretty high. I would not necessarily say that this reflects on Aikido itself, but more of a social issue. If we are honest, patience is not something Americans are famous for.
I feel that in any given issue, developing patience is what will truly make a serious student rather than what I see is very common today with many people "cross training" with dabblings in a large variety of arts.
-Tomu

ian 05-01-2001 09:38 AM

What we do is aikido training, a bit like you'd do circuit training to improve your fitness for a marathon. There is no doubt that being fit would help you complete the run, but it would be better to practise by doing a mixture of running and circuit training.

I presume when you talk about Aikido standard Jim, you are referring to the ability for use in a real fight. Therefore I would say that there is a problem in that very few of us get to use it extensively in real situations. This includes most of the people who actually instruct it. Therefore I would say Aikido could easily be becoming worse in standard because of the lack of opportunity to apply it.

However, the techniques and the principles are still there, and there are also people who have to use it practically every week(e.g. police). I would be interested to learn if what they think they have learnt in the transmission from dojo to street. (From my experience most people in the police have their favourite techniques which they use regularly, and there are not any universally accepted 'best' technqiues).

Also, for some aspects of aikido e.g. jo and bokken work, we do not have a culture where these are used regularly, and therefore know very little about how these combat situations look when people are fighting for their life.

In cntrast to the above comments. Aikido was new to the first uchideschi and others practising with Ueshiba. There is nothing to say that they really understood aikido completely then, and they have possibly developed more understanding over their years of training. Therefore I don't think Aikido is necessarily getting worse as we may be getting better at crystalising out the real principles behind it.

Therefore, in general I would say that Aikido 'teaching' is getting better, but people will only ever know how effective THEIR aikido is by using it in real situations (and this isn't a recommendation), and the opportunities for this may be getting less, and therefore we cannot learn fom these experiences. (In the middle ages in England 1 in 20 people died during street violence - which probably adds up to just less than 1 in 10 men)


Ian


Jim23 05-01-2001 10:25 AM

The question wasn't really directed towards using aikido in "real" situations, however, maybe that's what I meant without even realizing it (the need for real self defence).

The question was intended to be more like: does each generation of sprinters get faster? Boxers? Weightlifters? Hmm, these are all sports though.

It's a tricky question in that it could be argued that (and this is just an example) competition could help produce an excellent generation of aikidoka (due to incentive), or perhaps the exact opposite, like what what happened in judo (some would say that what happened there wasn't so bad - but I doubt you'd find that view here in this forum).

Does aikido need more high-ranking students to carry the torch, or will this just lead to quick promotions and lower standards?

We always hear of the old masters being so outstanding. What about the new masters?

Jim23

Jim ashby 05-01-2001 12:45 PM

northwards standards
 
Hi guys. Thought I'd throw in my two pennorth.Having been involved on grading panels for the past six years I would definitely say that standards in our club and organisation are going northwards big style. We have had guests from other organisations who have commented on the constant betterment they have seen. I think that some of the belief that "the old days and the old ways were better" are the same thing as "nostalgia ain't what it used to be".
Have fun,

mj 05-01-2001 02:43 PM

I would say, in a martial sense, no-one could argue that martial arts have not gone downhill post WWII. :(
Remember, the nature of them was changed. :mad:
On the other hand, Aikido is a postwar art, and it's principle was not martial, but 'peace'.
Sport, money and ego are now the battlegrounds of martial arts, whereas, before, the battleground was the testing place for the effectiveness of all arts.
The old ways are gone, now. Taking the sign from a dojo, challenging instructors etc are just tales to be told.
From my own point of view, I believe that (maybe unintentionally,) the purpose of a MA is to develop a society, not an ego or reputation. It is about growing up.
In a modern sense I think that some martial arts don't contribute to that evolution in a person.
From aikidos point of view, I would have to say that (,this is a quote from an old instructor,) a lot of yudansha are confident, not competent. This is not to be disrespectful, the same can be said of many arts. O-sensei didn't create aikido to beat other people remember...

Sam 05-02-2001 04:26 AM

The question of standards is a worrying one to everybody, but I personally belive that aikido standards remain the same, whilst the way we train is in flux. Of course each club trains according to the world that surrounds it and this is one explaination of why techniques are practised differently. However the fundamental principals should be upheld by the shihan and the shihan themselves need the trust and communication of those who proclaim to follow their system.

WHEN ALL THE SHIHAN ARE GONE:I believe (help please PeterR?) that what should happen is each shihan is prepared by their shihan for the task. Mr. Tomiki trained our current shihan so that nothing was lost in transmission. Therefore each shihan has the knowledge of the last.
Therefore I believe that standards now at hombu are the same as forty or fifty years ago.
The reason for any deterioration standards is therefore the fault of those who do not practise as they do at hombu either through ignorance or an egotistical opinion that they do not need guidance even at supposedly high levels.

KAMI: 1. I believe that the uchideshi system is still very much in use.

2. I am disappointed you have used this thread as an opportunity to bash randori.
Is a negative statement concerning competition in a forum with tomiki followers not a little competetive?

Kami 05-02-2001 05:04 AM

PREJUDICE
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Sam
WHEN ALL THE SHIHAN ARE GONE:I believe (help please PeterR?) that what should happen is each shihan is prepared by their shihan for the task. Mr. Tomiki trained our current shihan so that nothing was lost in transmission. Therefore each shihan has the knowledge of the last.
Therefore I believe that standards now at hombu are the same as forty or fifty years ago.

KAMI : each student learns a part of the Aikido taught him by the Founder and so on. That's why, Ueshiba's son Aikido was different from Ueshiba O-Sensei's Aikido and the Aikido of the students of the late Doshu(Yamada, Saotome, Nishio, Tamura, etc...) are all diferente from the Doshu. Practitioners of Tomiki also differ from the Aikido taught by the Founder in some aspects (competition, for instance). And so on and on...

QUOTES : [KAMI: 1. I believe that the uchideshi system is still very much in use
2. I am disappointed you have used this thread as an opportunity to bash randori.
Is a negative statement concerning competition in a forum with tomiki followers not a little competetive?]

KAMI : 1. No. There isn't anymore. In the Uchideshi system, the student lived with the master, learning just from him. Even the so-called "Ueshiba's Uchideshi at Hombu" (Yamada, Saotome, and others) were really "Hombu's Uchideshi" under Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei.And even so, they couldn't reightly be considered "Uchideshi", since they learn from many masters and not just from one. I know of no uchideshi system today. If I'm wrong, please correct me-.
2. You demonstrate a prejudice against me. I have stated previously to Peter Rehse that "I'm done with this discussion", since I'm not competitive and I don't feel the need to win any discussion. And nowhere did I "bash" competition. If you have proofs to the contrary, please show me them. On the contrary, I said : QUOTE["The introdution of competition would not improve the art but it would surely improve COMPETITION. Very good, if you want to change the art into a sport (not good or bad, just different).] Allow me to say that I see no "bashing" in that.
I had long discussions with Peter Rehse but, even if he got impatient with me, after some time, it was not for any lack of elegance on my part but on his perception that "I wasn't accepting his explanations". I disagree with competition. That's all. It's a right that everyone in this list have : to express his opinions. Not rudely but in an educated form. But Peter Rehse himself admited, also previously, to be a little "sensitive"...and so, it seems, are some Tomiki people. Don't be! Read without prejudice and admit other people might have different opinions and the right to express them without aggression.
My question wasn't about competition, it was about japanese Shihan and what would happen to Aikido when they all die. The subject of competition was asked by the beginner of this thread and commented "en passant". You changed the subject but a part of your answer (correct and perfect transmission to his students) does not satisfy me, for the reasons I stated above, i.e., no transmission is correct and perfect, all is flux, martial arts must progress and by progressing become a little diferent from the way Shihan taught).
I hope we may avoid prejudice and try to be elegant in our debate. If you do not find that possible, I'll bow out, since I'm non-competitive.
Sincerely
Kami

andrew 05-02-2001 07:01 AM

Re: AND WHEN ALL THE SHIHAN ARE GONE?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kami


KAMI : Hello, Andrew! I suppose, from your post, that you are talking about japanese Shihan. If so, what will happen when they all are gone? Aikido will get downhill? Or not?
I'm really curious to understand correctly what you are expressing...
Best

Well, no, that's not what I meant at all. I think if you've got a number of people who've studied diligently for 20-40 years under a number of masters each, there will be no drop in standard. Some things will change slightly in the art, some become more emphasised than others, but I don't think things will be "lost." I do think aikido will evolve like this, and is evolving, and has done, though.

Let me just state I fully believe in the old cliche that "you can't learn aikido from a single teacher." I think there's enough Shihan teaching enough people who will become Shihan to maintain standards worldwide.

So far as I'm aware, nationality isn't an issue when deciding whether somebody is a Shihan for some time now, but I don't interest myself in aiki-politics (odd term) enough to know whether it still occors. There _ARE_ non-japanese shihan, I just don't know how many are allowed call themselves shihan. That's a whole other issue.
I think, when the current Shihan are all dead, there will be younger shihan alive who have each learned a lot from several of the current shihan. I hope I'm being clear...

gotta run,
andrew

andrew 05-02-2001 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Sam
Tomiki trained our current shihan so that nothing was lost in transmission. Therefore each shihan has the knowledge of the last.

No, he did not, for even master teachers are subject to the basic physical principles governing the universe.

andrew

Sam 05-02-2001 07:11 AM

Re: PREJUDICE
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kami


KAMI : 1. No. There isn't anymore. In the Uchideshi system, the student lived with the master, learning just from him. Even the so-called "Ueshiba's Uchideshi at Hombu" (Yamada, Saotome, and others) were really "Hombu's Uchideshi" under Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei.And even so, they couldn't reightly be considered "Uchideshi", since they learn from many masters and not just from one. I know of no uchideshi system today. If I'm wrong, please correct me-.
2. You demonstrate a prejudice against me. I have stated previously to Peter Rehse that "I'm done with this discussion", since I'm not competitive and I don't feel the need to win any discussion. And nowhere did I "bash" competition. If you have proofs to the contrary, please show me them. On the contrary, I said : QUOTE["The introdution of competition would not improve the art but it would surely improve COMPETITION. Very good, if you want to change the art into a sport (not good or bad, just different).] Allow me to say that I see no "bashing" in that.
I had long discussions with Peter Rehse but, even if he got impatient with me, after some time, it was not for any lack of elegance on my part but on his perception that "I wasn't accepting his explanations". I disagree with competition. That's all. It's a right that everyone in this list have : to express his opinions. Not rudely but in an educated form. But Peter Rehse himself admited, also previously, to be a little "sensitive"...and so, it seems, are some Tomiki people. Don't be! Read without prejudice and admit other people might have different opinions and the right to express them without aggression.
My question wasn't about competition, it was about japanese Shihan and what would happen to Aikido when they all die. The subject of competition was asked by the beginner of this thread and commented "en passant". You changed the subject but a part of your answer (correct and perfect transmission to his students) does not satisfy me, for the reasons I stated above, i.e., no transmission is correct and perfect, all is flux, martial arts must progress and by progressing become a little diferent from the way Shihan taught).
I hope we may avoid prejudice and try to be elegant in our debate. If you do not find that possible, I'll bow out, since I'm non-competitive.
Sincerely
Kami


Okay,
1. Point taken. my understanding of Uchideshi was a professional aikidoka who trains all day and I am sure there are plenty of uchideshi in this repect. However my understanding of what uchideshi entails was obviously different - I can see how there are no longer uchideshi of the calibre to which you refer.

2. The point to which I was responding is - "the introduction of competition would not improve the art"
I think however that you did not mean to generalise, but in this comment 'the art' is meant to be Aikikai aikido? Maybe not - but I do believe competition has improved tomiki aikido which I believe is not a sport. I do however think randori has no place in traditional aikido as it is today.

I hope that I have not been 'inelegant' in my discussion but have responded to your valid opinion. If I have been, it is due to my direct nature, and for this I apologise.
Do not worry about offending/upsetting me, despite appearing sensitive I merely jumped at the chance to dicuss something which is of great personal interest.
However I don't want to turn this into another randori debate - it would be impolite.

In returning to the thread, on reflection I agree with your point about aikido being in flux, however I have faith in the shihan to make those changes as they see fit - I do not consider myself qualified to make judgements on this matter. This is in my opinion forward movement and evolution if not strictly 'improvement'.
However I do believe that some things should be(and are) set in stone, such as the underlying principals in what we all practice and I do not think it is possible to tamper with these.

Sam 05-02-2001 07:17 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by andrew


No, he did not, for even master teachers are subject to the basic physical principles governing the universe.

andrew

Sorry I don't properly understand what you mean by this?
I guess you mean that in every transmission somthing small is lost?
I guess you are correct, but I do believe that Mr. Tomiki was special in his educational outlook and I don't want to believe in the idea of steady decline of entropy (even if it is true!).

andrew 05-02-2001 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Sam

Sorry I don't properly understand what you mean by this?
I guess you mean that in every transmission somthing small is lost?

I would have fleshed this out, but I had to go hand out exam papers to some sick people.
Simply because of the amount of information in the world, some of it will inevitably be lost. In perhaps a thousand years, precious little will be remembered about current history (in the context of how much information is available now.)

And even had Tomiki been able to fit his entire knolwedge in a handy syllabus, his students are fallible and have their own interpretations. I believe fully that he can have maintained his own _standard_ in his best students, but also that each of them will be slightly different and unique, regardless of uniform syllabi, and that through their own insights the art will evolve. (I think if a martial art does not evolve, it's dead.)

andrew

andrew 05-02-2001 11:09 AM

Re: PREJUDICE
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kami

KAMI : 1. No. There isn't anymore. In the Uchideshi system, the student lived with the master, learning just from him.

That's fine if you're being thought a syllabus of standardised fixed techniques, but aikido teaching is based on principles which meet with different interpretations from different people. I think that because Aikido was not founded on an exhaustive library of narrowly (sorry about that word) defined techniques, and not taught in this manner, and each teacher has their own interpretations of what constitutes technique, that you cannot in fact learn from a single teacher. (I think everybody you train with is your teacher in some fashion, though.)

Furthermore, I think the co-operation involved in "dynamic practice" must surely mean that any great teacher actually teaches each of his students in a slightly different manner when they take Ukemi because each will respond in a unique (albeit simular) way due to differences in size and weight. (Once again, I'm trying to get at the notion of principle > technique.)

So I THINK my point is that I believe that learning from a single master is less effective than benifitting from several, and that the old Uchideshi sytem you refer to is perhaps outdated by the basis of aikido.

I realise my differentiation of principle and technique is probably going a bit over the top here, but hey, I'm young and foolish.

andrew

Kami 05-02-2001 11:49 AM

Re: NO LONGER PREJUDICE ?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Sam

Okay,
2. The point to which I was responding is - "the introduction of competition would not improve the art"
I think however that you did not mean to generalise, but in this comment 'the art' is meant to be Aikikai aikido ?

KAMI : Not at all. For reasons I've explained before I believe a martial art and a sport are two different things. I prefer the art, someone else may prefer the sport. That does not mean an art may not have a sporting part and a sport may not have some parts of the art. But, in my opinion, they tend to separate slowly, just as judo the art became judo the sport, with almost no art at all.

I hope that I have not been 'inelegant' in my discussion but have responded to your valid opinion. If I have been, it is due to my direct nature, and for this I apologise.
Do not worry about offending/upsetting me, despite appearing sensitive I merely jumped at the chance to dicuss something which is of great personal interest.

KAMI : Oh, I really don't know...Perhaps, I was also a bit rash, advocating against any future "break of elegance"...

However I do believe that some things should be(and are) set in stone, such as the underlying principals in what we all practice and I do not think it is possible to tamper with these.

KAMI : Again, I do not know. I personally believe that nothing is "set in stone", all is subject to change, some things more easier than others and some things very hard and difficult to tamper with. I guess the more important is how they are tampered and by whom?
(As you see, no harm done...;)

Best

Kami 05-02-2001 12:31 PM

Re: Re: PREJUDICE
 
Quote:

Originally posted by andrew


That's fine if you're being thought a syllabus of standardised fixed techniques, but aikido teaching is based on principles which meet with different interpretations from different people. I think that because Aikido was not founded on an exhaustive library of narrowly (sorry about that word) defined techniques, and not taught in this manner, and each teacher has their own interpretations of what constitutes technique, that you cannot in fact learn from a single teacher. (I think everybody you train with is your teacher in some fashion, though.)

KAMI : Maybe we're talking about two different things : the Uchideshi System and the possibility of having more than one teacher. The uchideshi system (common in many Koryu arts) implies living with one teacher and just one.
As having more than one teacher, I believe in that too. But only after you study with one teacher, for a time, to learn correctly the basics.

So I THINK my point is that I believe that learning from a single master is less effective than benifitting from several, and that the old Uchideshi sytem you refer to is perhaps outdated by the basis of aikido.

KAMI : There's an excellent study of that in Diane Skoss's book, SWORD AND SPIRIT (By all means, buy it at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com!)in the article called "Uchidachi and Shidachi" by Nishioka Tsuneo.

I realise my differentiation of principle and technique is probably going a bit over the top here, but hey, I'm young and foolish.
andrew

KAMI : From the mouth of the young and foolish comes sometimes great wisdom...
BEst

Mark Cochran 05-02-2001 03:54 PM

Hi I'll try to keep this short. Compition in MA only realy hurt the art if it prevents the students from learning it fully. Such as banning certain techniques as unsafe for compitition. there also if the problem that many people are competiters and not martial arts. They fight only for money or fame. Not for learning what their weeknesses might be or for improvement.
I think that most martial arts are still in good shape. I think that the problems are in some of the dojos and some of the students.

PeterR 05-02-2001 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Mark Cochran
Compition in MA only realy hurt the art if it prevents the students from learning it fully.
Yes - which is why balance is everything. The goal of competition should be to improve the overall martial ability - if the lessons can not be transferred then the purpose is lost. With that view it is not necessary to include all techniques if the lessons to be learnt transcend technique.

You know Ubaldo et al that I would have to stick something in there - red flag to a bull or in other words Moooo!!!

Please remember that the Uchideshi system of old and in fact today was not a lifetime thing. The whole concept of studying only with one teacher because of loyalty is quite a strange idea in this context. During the time as uchideshi which could be a year or five years you spent all your time at your masters side. What you learnt through diffusion or active teaching went beyond what normal students would receive but in the end you would move on or at least stop being uchideshi. Your relationship with your teacher may or may not continue although it usually did in some form.

The uchideshi system continues but as the number of ordinary students grows the ratio of deshi to uchideshi increases and theoretically the overall quality decreases. On the other hand as the number of students increases the chance of true talent showing up also increases - hopefully they have a chance to become uchideshi.

Finally - hey I'm on a coffee break folks - the average student today has much more knowledge of history and a lot less inclined to succumb to myth and legend (at least over the long term). This in my mind results in a more well rounded martial artist.

Jim23 05-02-2001 09:42 PM

Personally, I feel standards are falling. O-sensi must be rolling (doing ukemi) in his grave.

Put all the talk aside for a minute and look at classes with an open mind. Money must be the chief motivator, as there are so many poor, weak students out there. Put the pressure on and you know they'll walk.

Try changing your teaching methods drastically (for a few classes) and see how people react. Just have everyone run for an entire class. Or meditate. Or whatever. Try randori (for non-Tomiki styles) or whatever will shake up the class. Take the class outside the dojo.

Grade less, train more!

I think standards are much lower than in the past (or I hope so).

Jim23

Erik 05-02-2001 11:53 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jim23
Put all the talk aside for a minute and look at classes with an open mind. Money must be the chief motivator, as there are so many poor, weak students out there. Put the pressure on and you know they'll walk.
While I have my issues with some of the Aikido I see, this is not one of them. In fact, I have sometimes wished that dojos pushed more for money. While I'm certain there are dojo out there that fit this criteria, I don't think there are as many as you might see in say Karate or Tae Kwon Do. I see a lot of starving artists as sensei for a lack of a better term. I only know of one dojo in the Bay Area driven by money, otherwise most dojo teach straight-forward Aikido as they see it with what are probably fairly poor business plans. We're rather blessed in this regard as we have a ton of exceptional teachers in the Bay Area and they seem to be driven by a love of the art.

Otherwise, I've been pondering an answer to your question, but I have not been able to put it together. For now I think I'll piggy back on Peter's as he said a lot of things I would agree with.

andrew 05-03-2001 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jim23
Try randori (for non-Tomiki styles) or whatever will shake up the class.
I am under the impression that Randori is practised in all styles.
Also, I've never actually met somebody teaching aikido who was actually interested in money, although I'm aware people like that must exist. (One of the local clubs here in town drops mat fees when membership/attendance goes up)

Inevitably, there'll be low standards in a couple of places because the art has spread so far. You'll find higher standards in the areas visited/overseen by decent teachers.

andrew


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