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Old 05-27-2005, 05:01 AM   #48
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

I think this thread raises two important points when reevaluating (our) aikido.

The first is perception, often I read posts which tend towards the "back in my day we..." normally coupled with a bewailing of failing standards and lazy practitioners. However, what many people forget to factor in is their own increase in skill and thus the standards they are holding everyone else to. A persons assessment of skill is not an immutable bar, but develops over time. I've seen gradings changed to reflect this in such a way that they eventually become ridiculously extreme at the lower kyu levels and have to be re-done to reflect what each grade is actually meant to describe.

The second, and I believe more fundamental change, is the accessibility of aikido to the general populace. My understanding of the martial arts world (please correct me if I'm off base here) is that initially it was almost a glorious secret in the west, open only to those with the perseverance to find a dojo, be accepted and fully commit to train. With an initial "entrance test" such as this, yes I wouldn't be surprised that the average practitioner was of a higher standard, but I'd be surprised if the quality of those at the high end of the arts have declined.

I'm all in favour of pushing the boundaries within training, making every effort to retain the fundamentals of aikido and generally train and teach with purity of focus and respect. However, some recent posts (not just in this thread) have made me uneasy as I read them almost as a plea for aikido to be more exclusive, to only take the best and devil take the slacker.

Now I'm fully aware that I'm an aiki-fruitie hobbyist so may not be able to join the august club of aikido-excellence some may prefer, but for me if I can get any of my students to train to be the best they can be, I'll sit sweating and uncomfortable in my b*****d hakama, but at least I'll be happy.

On the flip side, there has been some very nice posts in this thread, much appreciated.

[you're right, this thread does lead to rants]

Last edited by happysod : 05-27-2005 at 05:04 AM.
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