Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard
I've read the article, Great stuff. Very clear and definable, yet look at what it has brought out in the reader here. Honestly I cannot think of a single thing I disagree with. I would add a few things specifically great toward your summation though.
When you admonish the reader/student to do this or that I think you're missing a dynamic. Most students(people for that matter these days) don't have the wherewithal in their own lives (accurately reflected in your article early on) to...
a. Organize themselves in such a way to progress
b. perceive Aikido as a definable set of goals of improvements
c. participate in definable system with challenges that do not reflect cooperation (recognized again with the fellow who has a black belt in attendance and readership)
d. Stay when frustrated, work through issues and eal with repeated failure.
I think the goals of an organization are the responsibility of the leaders of same. No one should advance until a definable set of standards have been laid out and met. FWIW these standards could include training elsewhere and a return. I have routinely insisted my guys go train in other places. I have even, on occasion, forced them to and brought them myself! I have brought men to Aikido classes who had nothing but disdain for it and wound up having a blast.
Standards could also include a student mandate; that after say- 6 months- the delivery of an essay of personal goals. Overall, it is clear that many do these arts for social interaction, imagined personal empowerment without challenge, real personal empowerment with challenge and physical health. After an essay about their personal goals the teacher can decide how to help them achieve it or ask them to leave if they are in fact not copasetic to the goals of the teacher or organization. I have done this. I have seen it done in front of me.
A set of standardized challenges of actual skills should be mandatory so that no one progresses due to attendance. I would toss that guy out, I have done this to people at least half a dozen times. My standard reply is "please don't bother wasting ….MY..time. It is apparently clear you don't mind wasting yours." I think their type is such a common mindset I have a name for it --Excellence by affiliation.
I think on the whole teachers accept things they do not really want to be involved in, and students with personal issues. All in hopes of building an organization. The real question is ..why? In the end they are usually as disappointed as the student with the results. Last, add to this miasma that we are talking about a supposed span of some 8 years or so of their lives…people change in those years.
So, we can set lofty goals
Being willing to kick people out, being willing to be small, being willing to demand excellence toward your own goals. All a start toward that path.
And now comes the flip side-
We all know and see that relationships form, student bonds happen, with students being an advocate for others students
Teacher/student bonds happen with the teacher just liking the guy and dealing with his shortcomings. Teacher/student issues happen-Sometimes the most talented are also the most difficult to teach.
The teacher -hoping for better holds on to a student- the student falters and then gets better in stages
Great students leave or just simply move for various reasons
Few stay the course
And so on.
So what do we get?
Pretty much what we --have- in these arts. Everybody all over the place with all manner of issues and varying skill sets with frustrated teachers AND students.
I call it life.
Last edited by DH : 12-24-2005 at 08:38 AM.