Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)
But Ian, don't you think that this just doens't happen at the level of sensei/deshi but that it also happens at the level of senpai/kohai as well (perhaps even more so)?
On your other point - an excellent point I may add here - I think you are right on the money concerning how the top-down institutional structure works through and off of certain inter-personal "reactions." In other words, the institutional is a matter of making the personal (i.e. fear, pride, lack of self-reflection capacities, etc.) work socially (i.e. don't tell the boss he's wrong, since it will only defeat you in the end anyways). Once you are stuck in that quagmire - jeesh - forget about it.
It does seem that some sort of competition element could alleviate some of the negative ramifications of the top-down institutional strucuture, but I think the fact that Rank Aikido still shows up in Tomiki Aikido, for example, tells us that there is more to the solution than this. Larry Camejo has made a similar comment, not in terms of promoting competition, but in terms of utilizing more spontaneous training environments in order to "equalize" the field. I can agree with both efforts in part - meaning, I think both competition aspects and spontaneous training environments should have their place in our training - especially if we want to get away from the kind of delusions that Rank Aikido tends to present. However, a thing with spontaneous training environments is that everyone thinks they have them - when in fact they are only mistaking a habituated cultural trend for the "in the moment" whatever that actually should mark such environments. We thus often come to believe that acting habitually is acting spontaneously, when to act spontaneously is actually a matter of acting outside of habit.
Thanks for the reply, and thanks for taking the time to introduce the next act - Come on everybody, let's hear it for the flying pigs!