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Old 12-22-2005, 06:02 PM   #2
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
Location: Sainte-Catherine-de-la-J.-C., Québec
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 292
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

I agree with most of this article, with the exception that I don't view the path as going up a mountain. I don't believe that there is a pinnacle. O-sensei was a martial arts genious that had the kind of reputation and recognition from his peers few martial artists ever achieve. However, I don't think he died having achieved the end of the road he was on. I don't really think any of us ever does. That is one of the reason's I don't really think the concept of goals is truly relevent in a "do". Which is my main problem with your earlier article. I view my path as unending and lifelong. I also view my path as wider than aikido, but that is another issue altogether.

When it comes to aikido specifically, I feel I weigh my priorities (family being always first, aikido somewhere close behind usually behind work, after all without a job how would I pay my dojo and seminar fees?), and put the effort I can in my training. I fully agree with the need to be realistic as to what you can hope to achieve in relation to your commitment. But one should also remember that in a lifelong path, one's commitment will change with time. I once was a simple grad student that could go to the dojo 5 or 6 days a week, I now have one child, a second on the way and a mortgage. My commitment to aikido is not any lesser but the energy to put into is. Later in life that may change again. Of coarse, I do agree about being realistic about one's degree of training, and while I think it is natural to feel a little resentment that others can do more than yourself, this is something a mature person should be able to get through.

As to instructor's, I wholeheartedly agree with just about everything in your article. Teaching is a true responsibility, and if anything the commitment of a teacher is probably more important than their actual skill level. I have been lucky to have teachers that were both skilled and committed. Teachers who chose to put more time and energy into aikido than I can hope to at this time in my life. Their example has molded my image of what an instructor should be when it comes to commitment to the art. I would like to someday, I don't consider myself quite skilled enough yet, have a class to teach. An opportunity to delve into things in my own way and focus on issues that my own instructor's may not give the attention I would like. But the responsilbility of dojo-cho (never mind anything beyond that) is something I would not take on unless given no choice (for example moving into a area without anybody more qualified) or without increasing my level of training (especially outside seminars, after all, how far can one really advance if surrounded by those behind them and without going out to meet those of greater and similar level?).

Jonathan Olson
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