Exactly... there's a difference between changing it, and throwing it away. If modern doctors did not pay attention to those before them, imagine how horrible our medicine would be! If the masters of old had ignored tradition for the "newer, better ways" (and indeed many did... many koryu died with the modernization of Japan in 1868), we would not have aikido. If Takeda-sensei had decided that he didn't need to preserve some dumb tradition, or O'sensei had decided just to carry a gun rather than improve himself, we would not be posting here on this forum.
As for why I respect the Japanese, Chinese et al of old (if not today)... it can be explained by looking at their bows. Look at a bow that a modern, western deer hunter uses. With scopes, pulleys, lasers, poly age fibers, unbreakable materials, and heat seeking arrows (well, maybe not those), it is almost unrecognizable. Look at a Japanese yumi used for kyudo. It was probably made almost the exact same way that one would have been made almost 400 years ago. The yumi is just as deadly as the western bow. The difference lies in the Japanese philosophy of growing inside, honing your technique and skill, rather than simply finding a new way to make it faster and stronger and prettier and lighter and smaller and... you get the idea.
This is not to say the western search for new technology has not been without benefits. That you are looking on a computer screen reading this is proof enough. We can make our outer, material circumstances better for a while, but to truly grow, to truly live we have to turn inward...
Our job as aikidoka is to make aikido better, without straying from the path of aiki. How can we know where we are headed, or where we should head, if we don't know (or, God forbid, don't care) where we have been?
Last edited by Nick : 07-22-2001 at 08:25 PM.