David Valadez wrote:
For me, that goes contrary to a practice that is attempting to reconcile the world and to understand everyone and everything as One. That's why I start my own practice and the practice of my deshi from the position that we are all here to be roots. We do this in our own way, at our own pace, but we are all attempting to head in the same direction. It's all about orientation and movement for me.
This is precisely my own attitude. When I started, Saotome Sensei flat out stated that he was training future instructors. the training I got held nothing back, in fact quite the opposite... He threw everything at us but the kitchen sink and it has taken quite a number of years to digest. But the Aikido I was shown from the start was the full meal deal.
I am trying to do the same thing with my own students and to those folks I encounter during seminars, and camps when I teach. My whole purpose for writing my article is to get people thinking. Everything I am saying applies to all of us at every level. We've all seen 8th Dans whose technique stopped changing 25 years ago. There are plenty of 6th Dans who stopped looking for anything new decades ago. They are no more following the model of the Founder than the 6th kyu who is coasting in his training.
What I am trying to say is... there is more out there than you are aware of and that you are more capable of "getting it" than you know. The "dumbing down" of Aikido isn't necessary. Its just that people need to be clear about what they are trying to do and structure their training accordingly.
A number of times in these postings the phrase " high level, wahtever that is..." has come up.I know that there is something of a range of opinion as to what constitues "high level"... This constitutes a kind of problem in my mind. Many folks in Aikido have an idea about what is great Aikido based on very limited exposure. This was why Stan Pranin invited all those fabulous non-Aikido teachers to the Expo in the hopes that the Aikido community would take notice. Angier Sensei, Vladimir Vasiliyev, Kenji Ushiro Sensei, Kuroda Sensei all set a standard far higher than what much of the Aikido world is setting for themselves. There was alot more "aiki" in their technique than in much of the Aikido that is being done these days.
I know my article pushed some buttons... People need to understand the larger picture of who I am writing for. Obviously, I can't sit here and criticize styles or teachers. So I write an article and throw out the concepts in the hope that people will take note. Mnay of the folks that I am "obliquely" referring to are not the newbies or the mid-level heads of small dojos all over the country. There are plenty of "big guys" to whom I am referring but people wil have to read what I write and then look around and decide for themselves.
When we are talking about an art in which there is so much uncertainty of what really constitutes "mastery" or "high level", then we are certainly going to have a problem getting to a state of clarity about what we want out of our training and how we should train and with whom to get to those goals.