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AikiWeb System 12-22-2005 05:30 PM

Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Discuss the article, "The Elusive Aiki" by Lynn Seiser here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/lseiser/2005_12.html

Suru 01-08-2007 07:58 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
"However, every so often when I am having a good time, training with honest and genuine intent and intensity, lost in what I am doing, I believe that I see a little glimpse of the elusive Aiki."

Beautifully said, Sempai. In this respect, Aikido reminds me of golf. No matter how poorly a person plays on a given day at the links, there's usually at least one near-perfect moment when the club face strikes the ball almost exactly as the golfer intended. The great shot that follows is sometimes called, "the one that keeps you coming back." The feeling a shot like that gives me is quite similar to the feeling I believe you're describing when you "see [feel] a little glimpse of the elusive Aiki."

The healthy-addictive nature of both Aikido and golf probably stems from something I've discovered in both: the more I practice in either art, the more of those precious moments I earn. Neither golf nor Aikido can ever be won. Some of O'Sensei's final words were, "[I am but a baby in the martial arts]" and even if a golfer gets a hole-in-one on every par 3, an eagle on every par 4, and a double-eagle on every par 5, the course could've been harder, nature (the elements such as wind/rain/snow/temperature could've been fiercer), and his/her playing partners could've been more distracting. Even in *true* win/lose sports, intangibles affect who *wins*.

Drew

SeiserL 01-09-2007 08:32 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Drew Gardner wrote:
"the one that keeps you coming back."

That would be the one.

As Jackie Gleason would say, "How sweet it is."

BTW, I never experienced it in golf. There was always something about those windmills and clown faces that just scared me too much. ;-)

It is the hunt, the journey, for the elusive that makes it so enjoyable. And the people you meet along the way.

eyrie 01-09-2007 06:32 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Ai 合 is NOT harmony... ai means combine, unite, join; gather...

Harmony is wa 和... and 和氣 (adj) means politeness or friendly... ;)

Aiki specifically means to join (with another's) force and connotates "cooperation" or a cooperative/joint effort.

As far as it being elusive, that's more likely due to lack of understanding and/or being explicitly taught....of what aiki is and how to specifically develop it...

Suru 01-09-2007 06:50 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote:

BTW, I never experienced it in golf. There was always something about those windmills and clown faces that just scared me too much. ;-)

That gave me a much needed laugh! It's also funny how kids tend to love clowns while adults tend to be terrified of them. If you ever decide to get into real golf, know that it's a money pit but has been well worth it to me. As far as getting to know people, that's another essential similarity between Aikido and golf. You can get to know someone much better on the mat or on the course than you could in many other environments.

Drew

Takumi 01-10-2007 06:57 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
Ai 合 is NOT harmony... ai means combine, unite, join; gather...

Harmony is wa 和... and 和氣 (adj) means politeness or friendly... ;)

Aiki specifically means to join (with another's) force and connotates "cooperation" or a cooperative/joint effort.

As far as it being elusive, that's more likely due to lack of understanding and/or being explicitly taught....of what aiki is and how to specifically develop it...



What do you define as harmony? If you define it as politeness and friendly and getting along with people, then i agree with you.... But in Aikido, I think ( :ai: ) Ai is harmony, but it means something else. The harmony in Aikido is the joining between nage and uke and the cooperation between the two. To me, that is more harmonious than any other definition.

SeiserL 01-10-2007 08:27 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
As far as it being elusive, that's more likely due to lack of understanding and/or being explicitly taught....of what aiki is and how to specifically develop it...

I humbly bow and look forward to learning more from you.

eyrie 01-10-2007 05:28 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Dylan Clements wrote:
What do you define as harmony? If you define it as politeness and friendly and getting along with people, then i agree with you.... But in Aikido, I think ( :ai: ) Ai is harmony, but it means something else. The harmony in Aikido is the joining between nage and uke and the cooperation between the two. To me, that is more harmonious than any other definition.

It's not my definition... 和 is harmony and means something completely different to 合 which is to unite. Harmony of 氣 is very different to Union of 氣... hmmm... like "love" ;) :P

You can cooperate with someone, but it need not necessarily be harmonious. For example, 合唱 is to sing together (as in a chorus), but unless everyone is "in unison", it could hardly be called "harmonious". ;)

合氣 literally means to join (with another's) 氣 - or rather loosely, to coordinate or join forces, or to be (spiritually) connected. It is not synergy, although synergy may be a result of such connection. It is not an attitude, but without the right attitude, there can be no aiki.

It is not a belief, but without the belief that we are all connected in some way, there is no aiki. It is certainly not a Zen koan, but enlightenment may open your eyes to the Great Path of aiki... ;)

A subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless... if you catch my drift...

SeiserL 01-11-2007 08:04 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
enlightenment may open your eyes to the Great Path of aiki...

Please make sure you contact the Ueshiba family and inform them of their less than enlightened definition.

Josh Reyer 01-11-2007 08:07 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
It's not my definition... 和 is harmony and means something completely different to 合 which is to unite. Harmony of 氣 is very different to Union of 氣... hmmm... like "love" ;) :P

You can cooperate with someone, but it need not necessarily be harmonious. For example, 合唱 is to sing together (as in a chorus), but unless everyone is "in unison", it could hardly be called "harmonious". ;)

Indeed. I think of the term "tachi-ai" (standing together) which is an unharmonious crashing together of two sumo wrestlers at the beginning of a match. Or "ii-ai" (speaking together), which is an argument. "Oshi-ai, heshi-ai" an unharmonious shoving and jostling mob melee.

I don't have years of experience in aikido, and certainly no ability in "ki" or "aiki", but from a linguistic standpoint "ai" as "harmony" doesn't quite gel with my sense of the language.
Quote:

合氣 literally means to join (with another's) 氣 - or rather loosely, to coordinate or join forces, or to be (spiritually) connected. It is not synergy, although synergy may be a result of such connection. It is not an attitude, but without the right attitude, there can be no aiki.

It is not a belief, but without the belief that we are all connected in some way, there is no aiki. It is certainly not a Zen koan, but enlightenment may open your eyes to the Great Path of aiki... ;)

A subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless... if you catch my drift...
In his book Budo, Ueshiba makes an interesting statement:
Quote:

Ueshiba Morihei wrote:
If you learn to control the universal elements within the human heart, you can respond according to the principles of water and fire, yin and yang, when an enemy attacks. If he comes with ki, strike with ki; if comes with water, strike with water; if he comes with fire, strike with fire.

That kind of idea (meet ki with ki, fire with fire, water with water) seems antithetical to most of the surface philosophy I've been exposed to in aikido, particularly in the States, although I imagine to many advanced practitioners the above makes some practical sense from the perspective of many years. But, again from my linguistic perspective, that is exactly the kind of image suggested by the term "aiki". Not a harmonious blending, but proactive matching of forces.

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2007 09:22 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Drew Gardner wrote:
That gave me a much needed laugh! It's also funny how kids tend to love clowns while adults tend to be terrified of them. If you ever decide to get into real golf, know that it's a money pit but has been well worth it to me. As far as getting to know people, that's another essential similarity between Aikido and golf. You can get to know someone much better on the mat or on the course than you could in many other environments.

Drew

As far as I'm concerned, Golf is just a really expensive Western form of Kyudo and it's not as convenient.

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2007 10:06 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Hi Lynn,
I liked your article but I have to say that, in this regard I come down more on the side of the Mike Sigmans out there. Most of us have been left to figure things out on our own. Very few people doing Aikido have much, if any, idea about what they are trying to do. They see their teachers year after year, marvel at the incredible skill these teachers have, and then proceed to practice in a way that will NEVER result in the same type of skill.

Aikido has become (maybe it always was) an incredibly elitist enterprize. There is a huge pyramid of folks practicing yet only a small group at the very top of the pyramid are actually doing Aikido with any understanding of Aiki.

I have trained with people like Ushiro Sensei, Kuroda Sensei, Angier Sensei, Toby Threadgill Sensei etc and have experienced the benefits of an organized and lucid teaching methodology. It was my experience training with these non-Aikido teachers which took my own Aikido up to the point at which, although I am certainly not as proficient as my own teachers, my technique is now working for the sam reasons that theirs does. I understand now what I am shooting for and simply have to keep refining things. I absolutely believe that I could have gotten to this point many years, if not decades earlier if the Aikido teaching methodology was better developed.

This whole "steal the technique" thing we have in Aikido makes me crazy. I have trained in various koryu and am familiar with the training of more than I have done myself. Things are not made purposely obscure in these arts. They have an organized, step by step teaching methodology. You don't go to the next step until you have mastered the previous steps. Teachers are not purposely obscure but actually explain what is going on. I realize that one great advantage these art have is that very few people do them. So the transmission is VERY personal.

But we have inherited an art that has been allowed and even encouraged to grow to vast numbers. I think it is the responsibility of the senior practitioners to develop a systematic analysis of what constitutes the highest level of Aikido skill and to find ways of imparting that knowledge to the wider community. I teach all over the country and I see people hungry for direction in their training, The vast majority of people out there have never trained under a Shihan level instructor for any length of time. Most have never even taken ukemi from someone like that more than a few times in their whole careers.

There are thousands of practitioners out there, putting in tens of thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars into their traning and they are being short changed. Now one cares whether they get it or not. They are left to flounder around and when, occasionally, one of them rises to some level of skill despite the lack of effective teaching methodology, then he or she is admitted to the elite club of folks that the people at the very top of the pyramid constitute. It is the function of the mass of practitioners to support the folks at the very top of the pyramid; noone worries whether these folks "get it", in fact it's pretty much assumed that most will not.

This stuff is teachable. Period. Now it is a fact that, no single person I know has mastered all of the elements that would constitute what O-Sensei had for skill. But collectively, I think that information is out there. There are folks who do have the various pieces. But what is needed is for these folks to a) organize what they know into a step by step process for passing on that knowledge to others and b) to give access to the wider Aikido community. Then the very top Aikido instructors need to pull these elements together in a coherent way. We all need to be training with each other, getting the widest possible exposure. This currently doesn't happen. Stan Pranin can bring some of the finest practitioners of Aiki in the world to an Expo and whole segments of main stream American Aikido simply chose not to participate. That attitude is the death of Aikido's future if it continues.

We have camps and seminars coming out our ears in Aikido. But what I see is most folks attending these events and coming away at the end with nothing more than the knowledge that the teacher is more skilled than they are (which they probabaly knew going in). They do not leave the seminar with any kind of idea of how to direct their training that the next year they will be any closer to understanding what the teacher was doing. This is just plain wrong as far as I am concerened.

Much of what passes for "teaching" in Aikido is really just a form of performance art. It isn't teaching at all. I think this is wrong and it borders on being unethical. As professional instructors we ask people to pay us substantial amounts of money, give us their precious spare time, etc and then we turn around and do nothing more than show them how cool we are for a weekend. That is unacceptable and I think that the students of Aikido need to start demanding more from their teachers. If you don't walk away from a seminar with some concrete things to wrk on, don't train with that teacher again and find someone who can TEACH. If you attend an event in which the teacher demonstrates and then sits on the side and watches the clock until the next technique, do not train with that person again. Demand something better. If you don't feel that you have gained something tangible EVERY time you train with someone, find someone better to train with.

You might have a limited access to dojos at which you can train. Ok, you're stuck with what's available unless you are willing to move. But the folks your dojo brings in for seminars, the folks you choose to travel to train with are under your control. Support the teachers you get the juice from and do not support the ones who can't or won't pass on what they do.

It is not necessary that most Aikido folks are doing Aikido-lite while the "real" stuff is going to the elite folks at the top. It is possible for everyone training to do Aikido using the same principles which the senior teachers do. They might not get as proficient, people will always make verying degrees of commitment to their training, but they will all be working on the same set of skills. This isn't even close to being the case at this point.

MM 01-11-2007 12:05 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
That was a good post.

I guess one of my questions is,

Have you found a teaching methodology yourself? (Please don't view that the wrong way. It's a genuine question because I really don't have a clue as to how one could build something like that)

If so, is it something that you can teach other teachers to use? And would a seminar be enough time?

As for the Expos. They were all West Coast. I never did understand that reasoning. If you're going to bring together that many great teachers, why not locate it centrally where everyone can reach it? If you want to reach the people, you have to be reachable. :) There are a lot of Aikido people out there who can't afford to fly to California but could carpool to say St. Louis. Or have one on each coast rather than all three on one coast.

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2007 03:54 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote:
That was a good post.

I guess one of my questions is,

Have you found a teaching methodology yourself? (Please don't view that the wrong way. It's a genuine question because I really don't have a clue as to how one could build something like that)

If so, is it something that you can teach other teachers to use? And would a seminar be enough time?

As for the Expos. They were all West Coast. I never did understand that reasoning. If you're going to bring together that many great teachers, why not locate it centrally where everyone can reach it? If you want to reach the people, you have to be reachable. :) There are a lot of Aikido people out there who can't afford to fly to California but could carpool to say St. Louis. Or have one on each coast rather than all three on one coast.

To the extent that I understand some element, I can teach it. Of course, you can have something explained, even be able to experience some success on exercises that demonstrate a given principle, and you still have years of on the mat time to be able to actualize that understanding naturally throughout your technique. But at least at that point you are aware of exactly what your are shooting for and if you don't get it you have a good idea what you need to be working on to get there.

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2007 04:28 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote:
As for the Expos. They were all West Coast. I never did understand that reasoning. If you're going to bring together that many great teachers, why not locate it centrally where everyone can reach it? If you want to reach the people, you have to be reachable. :) There are a lot of Aikido people out there who can't afford to fly to California but could carpool to say St. Louis. Or have one on each coast rather than all three on one coast.

People have managed to get to Las Vegas by the millions for their vacations, gambling, and the showgirls... I suspect that folks who really wanted to do so for the training could have done so.

As far as LA went, California has more people doing Aikido than just about anywhere else. Stan had local assistance from folks in the community putting that on.

I regularly travel across the US to attend Aikido Camps and have done so for many years. I live in Seattle. Everything major in Aikido, aside from Mary Heiny, requires substantial travel. My own teacher is on the opposite Coast and getting there is not optional. I get a bit impatient with people who claim that the reason that they didn't go was because it wasn't convenient for them.

Stan Pranin lives in Las Vegas. The events, which took him pretty much full time work for a year to put on and which didn't make any where near enough money to justify the time and effort he put in, were where he could more easily put them together. The folks who purposely ignored the events for political reasons are largely located on the East Coast so trying to be closer to them wouldn't have improved things I suspect. Anyway, I know that Stan was considering a centrally located venue for the future but folks didn't support the concept so now there won't be any more Expos. The folks who were waitin gfor the event to come to them will now be waiting for Godot.

People take training way to much for granted. I date from a time when access to high level teachers was VERY limited. I was unusually fortunate to be able to stumble onto Saotome Sensei in Washington, DC. But the exposure I've had to teachers of that same level has often required substantial effort on my part. Now everyone thinks that events should be convenient for them to go.

People had the chance to train with the most amazing line-up of instructors to ever appear in the states and they chose not to go. Now, training with many of those folks will either require a journey to Japan (just a bit less convenient than the West Coast I'd say) or attending a series of events in the US that may take years and years and far more expense before you'd come close to covering that roster.

When you are serious about your training you find a way to get to the training you need. If you run a dojo you can pay a lot of money to host a high level teacher and hope that the event pays for most of the expense. If you can't do that then you are limited to traveling to get to see folks. We have such a surfeit of Aikido teachers traveling these days that we come to think these things will simply appear on our doorstep. But there are fantastic teachers out there like Kondo Sensei, Okomoto Sensei, Endo Sensei, Kato Sensei, etc who come to the states to only limited locations; perhaps only one or two. Teachers like Angier Sensei get out very little at all these days. If you have the opportunity to train with one of these people, then you find a way to swing it. To have the opportunity to have trained with an entire array of people at this level, all in one place at one time and to have chosen not to... well, I just don't get it. That's why God created plastic... For most people there is always some way to swing it. Very few people are truely unable to find a way to get to something like that if they REALLY want to.

SeiserL 01-11-2007 06:44 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
This stuff is teachable. Period.

Osu Sensei,
Totally agree.
This stuff is explain-able and understand-able.
This stuff is teach-able and learn-able.
IMHO, the "magic" is in learning the "craft" before you try to execute the "art".

I also agree that the training is out there, but you have to seek it out and go to it, rather than passively sitting back and thinking it will just come to you. But I think that about everything.

jeff. 01-11-2007 07:51 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
People have managed to get to Las Vegas by the millions for their vacations, gambling, and the showgirls... I suspect that folks who really wanted to do so for the training could have done so.

sensei

while i appreciate some of what you said in this post, the simple fact is that many people don't get to las vegas. we can't afford it. my travel for the last several years has been completely dependent on being in a touring band, which itself leaves little room for anything other than traveling to and play shows.

the limit to my ability to travel is about 8-10 hours driving. i can't afford to fly. and i can't afford the time to ride the greyhound. i wouldn't even be able to afford to train regularly if it wasn't for the fact that my dojo fees are $40/month (which i sometimes can not afford... luckily, my sensei is very understanding).

so, aikido as an elitist enterprise also comes down to cost. those of us living on little better than minimum wage (or less) simply can not afford to travel in the ways you suggest. if something on the level of an aiki expo was coming close by, i would scrape and save for it. but it would have to be within my 8-10 hours, or even that would be to no avail.

yet i am very serious. i did the scraping and saving thing last year, and was able to spend nine weeks as an uchideshi. but even then i had to hold down a part-time construction job nearby in order to afford to eat. and still ended up owing the dojo i lived in money after i left! (another understanding sensei!)

so please understand that an inability to make it to las vegas or los angeles is not necessarily the result of a lack of (burning) desire, but a simple lack of funds. given the fundamental economic nature of the world we live in.

with sincerity

jeff.

SeiserL 01-11-2007 08:40 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Jeff Miller wrote:
so please understand that an inability to make it to las vegas or los angeles is not necessarily the result of a lack of (burning) desire, but a simple lack of funds. given the fundamental economic nature of the world we live in.

It certainly does not sound, from your disclosure, that Sensei Ledyard was referring to you. Compliments for your efforts.

IMHO, the point being made was that too many people are relatively passive in their pursuit, feeling entitled to have it given or brought to them on a hobbyist level, rather than actively seeking it out. Which is why the "steal this technique" doesn't work in our society. We need to find a way to teach the content and concepts in a way that will afford more people the ability to learn. Raising the level of both the teaching and the student understanding, application, and execution.

My point being that Aiki is elusive mostly because of how we pursue it.

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2007 09:19 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Jeff Miller wrote:
so, aikido as an elitist enterprise also comes down to cost. those of us living on little better than minimum wage (or less) simply can not afford to travel in the ways you suggest. if something on the level of an aiki expo was coming close by, i would scrape and save for it. but it would have to be within my 8-10 hours, or even that would be to no avail.

yet i am very serious. i did the scraping and saving thing last year, and was able to spend nine weeks as an uchideshi. but even then i had to hold down a part-time construction job nearby in order to afford to eat. and still ended up owing the dojo i lived in money after i left! (another understanding sensei!)

so please understand that an inability to make it to las vegas or los angeles is not necessarily the result of a lack of (burning) desire, but a simple lack of funds. given the fundamental economic nature of the world we live in.

I get it... I wasn't really talking specifically to you but more generally. There have been years when i couldn't go to camp as my teacher expected because I didn't have the money. I have been teaching for twenty years and I have been in debt for the majority of that time. I told my son, who is in college, tha he would have to find a way to pay for it because I essentially used his college money to prefect my art. So I get the money thing.

You notice that, if you want it badly enough, teachers can be very understanding. Obviously you want it badly and are doing what you can. There will always be people there to help if you do want it that badly.

Everything is elitist these days... Folks now have the ability to live quite well as professional musicians but because of that I can't afford to attend most concerts I have many friends in body work and alternative health care but poor people can't afford those services so their clients are all well off folks. Instruction is available in almost every art one can imagine but those instructors have to live which puts their instruction out of range for most folks.

Aikido is no different. It costs a vast amount, and I am not just talking about money here, to really take this art to a higher level. I am devoted to making it easier for most folks to do that. But there simply is no substitute for time in and consistent exposure to great instruction. For most folks that entails a lot of expense over time. People have consistently been there for me when I couldn't afford to attend some event or other. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the help I have received over the years. Even with the support you will find, you will still put everything you have into it. It just depends on how much you want it.

Anyway, the Expo thing only upsets because of the little minded political BS that went down. Teachers too insecure to encourage their students to see people who might be better than they are. So they held their people back. I have no patience for that. Period. Not going because of the money I do get...

raul rodrigo 01-11-2007 09:28 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Anyway, the Expo thing only upsets because of the little minded political BS that went down. Teachers too insecure to encourage their students to see people who might be better than they are. So they held their people back. I have no patience for that. Period. Not going because of the money I do get...


SENSEI:

You know this for a fact? That some US shihan held their people back?



best,


RAUL

Mike Sigman 01-11-2007 10:05 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
,
I liked your article but I have to say that, in this regard I come down more on the side of the Mike Sigmans out there. Most of us have been left to figure things out on our own. Very few people doing Aikido have much, if any, idea about what they are trying to do.

Well, there's my entre' that I was looking for to say just this, even though it's not particularly related: George, one of the most difficult things to accept is that not everyone has the same fervor for the same goals that we may have. You're only going to be speaking, at best, to a few people if you're devotedly interested in the acme of an art. The "surfeit" of teachers and students is misleading.

All the Best.

Mike

raul rodrigo 01-12-2007 09:13 AM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

Raul Rodrigo wrote:
SENSEI:

You know this for a fact? That some US shihan held their people back?


I don't mean to imply that I doubt your word. I only wanted to gauge the level of certainty behind that statement. I don't even need to know how you know it. Sorry if that earlier post gave offense.

best,


RAUL

MM 01-12-2007 12:03 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I get it... I wasn't really talking specifically to you but more generally. There have been years when i couldn't go to camp as my teacher expected because I didn't have the money. I have been teaching for twenty years and I have been in debt for the majority of that time. I told my son, who is in college, tha he would have to find a way to pay for it because I essentially used his college money to prefect my art. So I get the money thing.

You notice that, if you want it badly enough, teachers can be very understanding. Obviously you want it badly and are doing what you can. There will always be people there to help if you do want it that badly.

Everything is elitist these days... Folks now have the ability to live quite well as professional musicians but because of that I can't afford to attend most concerts I have many friends in body work and alternative health care but poor people can't afford those services so their clients are all well off folks. Instruction is available in almost every art one can imagine but those instructors have to live which puts their instruction out of range for most folks.

Aikido is no different. It costs a vast amount, and I am not just talking about money here, to really take this art to a higher level. I am devoted to making it easier for most folks to do that. But there simply is no substitute for time in and consistent exposure to great instruction. For most folks that entails a lot of expense over time. People have consistently been there for me when I couldn't afford to attend some event or other. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the help I have received over the years. Even with the support you will find, you will still put everything you have into it. It just depends on how much you want it.

Anyway, the Expo thing only upsets because of the little minded political BS that went down. Teachers too insecure to encourage their students to see people who might be better than they are. So they held their people back. I have no patience for that. Period. Not going because of the money I do get...

I was definitely in the same camp as Jeff when the Expos were going on. Lack of money. However, if they had been as close as St. Louis, I'm sure a few of us could have car pooled, shared hotel room, and expenses to make it. Vegas and California were too far and too expensive to make. If it wasn't for a very understanding sensei, I would have gone without learning.

I do agree with you on the political BS.

And it is too bad that we won't have another Expo.

Thank you for replying with more details and answers.

Mark

Suru 01-12-2007 07:05 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
All I want to say right now publicly is that I recently witnessed Ledyard Sensei in person at the ASU Winter Intensive, and both his teaching ability and training skills were incredible. I was reminded of the John Michael Montgomery lyrics, "Life's a dance you learn as you go / Sometimes you lead sometimes you follow..." We all have egos to defend ourselves from each other's egos...big Catch-22...but if we can *cut* through as much selfishness and fear as possible, we can truly know when to be the teacher and when to be the student. As babies we knew how to do this, yet as adults we find it so difficult! We doubt each other so much here on Aikiweb. I always liked what Ledyard Sensei had to say on here, but was unsure if he had *earned* the right to say it (with boldness). Now I have no doubt.

Drew

MM 01-12-2007 07:41 PM

Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser
 
Hi Drew,
I don't think anyone was doubting Ledyard sensei. Quite the opposite for me. I value his opinion and wondered if he had yet found a way to teach in an organized manner. And I haven't met him yet. :) Although I'm hoping to make one of his seminars this year.


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